The UK Trade & Investment office brought their specialized version of a new bus for London to at Internet Week NYC 2013 HQ at Metropolitan Pavilion, complete with a consular presentation in the top deck for attendees.
The UK Trade & Investment office brought their specialized version of a new bus for London to at Internet Week NYC 2013 HQ at Metropolitan Pavilion, complete with a consular presentation in the top deck for attendees.
You can get an overview about the Icelandic sagas from a recent program (episode) of In Our Time on BBC Radio 4, hosted by Melvyn Bragg. (More on IOT from this blog.) Below is a short documentary produced by one of the Lord Bragg's interviewees, Emily Lethbridge. It uses music, landscape videography, and interviews of Icelanders to evoke the spirit of the sagas.
British Prime Minister David Cameron met with US life sciences industry leaders to emphasise the UK’s ongoing and long-term commitment to life sciences and to acknowledge the value and investment that the US companies bring to the UK. The PM highlighted genomic medicine and dementia research as priority areas he would like the companies to consider for future investment.
Companies included Abbvie, Amgen, Baxter, Biogen Idec, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Covance, Eli Lilly, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Pope Francis...prayed for “full unity” with the Coptic Orthodox Church as he received Patriarch of Alexandria Tawadros II for an historic visit in the latest sign of closer ties between the Catholic and Orthodox (sic) worlds.
“We long for the day when, in fulfilment of the Lord’s desire, we will be able to communicate from the one chalice,” he said, acknowledging that there had been “centuries of mutual distrust” between their two Christian churches.
This was the first such meeting in 40 years.
To understand the division between the Coptic Church and Roman Catholicism, one has to look to the split between the Oriental Orthodox churches--of which the Coptic Church is one--and the dominant churches of the West and East, which occured as a result of the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451, the Fourth Ecumenical Council, due to what the modern mind almost certainly sees as a technicality.
Chalcedon confirmed that Jesus Christ's humanity and divinity are exemplified as two natures in one hypostasis. More specifically, that Christ is one prosopon (πρόσωπον, often translated into English as "person" though perhaps "identity" could be used) with two natures, fully God and fully man, that are not mixed but in a single and perfect hypóstasis (ὑπόστασις, also often translated into English as "person" though "substance" or "subsistence" could be used).
However, some at the council refused to accept the majority ruling. These non-Chalcedonian Christians insisted on a different Christology: that Christ's natures were not two per se but one, albeit a hybrid, a divine-human nature. Among them were many of the leaders of Egyptian Christians.
Of course, politics was involved in the council's decisions, too, as was the case to varying extents with all of the Ecumenical Councils of the ancient Church.
The majority termed the dissenters Monophysites (monophysite meaning "one nature") and deemed their views dangerously close to Apollanarianism, a heretical Christology that Christ's body was human but His mind was divine, or Eutychianism, that Christ's human nature was dominated by His divine nature--His humanity being "dissolved like a drop of honey into the sea" of His divinity.
However, the non-Chalcedonian Christians term their Christology as miaphysite (meaning "one unified nature") and insist that what the council approved is too close to Nestorianism, which was deemed a hersey twenty years before Chalcedon at the First Council of Ephesus, the Third Ecumenical Council. Nestorianism insists that the human and the divine natures of Jesus are completely separate. It also insists that due to that separation the Virgin Mary cannot be deemed the Theotokos ("Bringer forth of God") but rather the Christotokos ("Bringer forth of Christ").
Non-Chalcedonians are better referred to as the Oriental Orthodox or Miaphysite churches; they are sometimes called the "Old Oriental" churches and their Christology "Alexandrian." They include the Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Eritrean Orthodox, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Syriac (or "Jacobite") Orthodox, and various churches of Oriental Orthodoxy in Indian, such as the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
In the linked-to article instead of "Orthodox" used alone as a name, "Coptic" or "Oriental Orthodox" would have been better in my opinion, to avoid confusion with the Eastern Orthodox Church, the dominant church in Easter Europe and the Middle East.
Images: Francis and Tawadros II; a Coptic cross.
Hooray! I won a copy of Nancy Marie Brown's latest book, Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths! It's about Snorri Sturluson who in many respects is the principle source of our knowledge of Norse mythology and therefore the ultimate influence behind some of the great imaginative works of J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) and Richard Wagner (The Ring Cycle of operas).
From Nancy's blog, God of Wednesday.
In my March 1 post I offered to raffle off an autographed copy of my book Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths. To enter, you had to answer the question, Who is the god of Wednesday and what does he have to do with this blog? Explain me to myself, I pleaded. I promised to print the best answers.Yesterday the names went into a hat and … Congratulations to Scott Isebrand! Scott is a most deserving winner, as you'll see when you read his answer below.
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia had a very successful premiere at Tribeca Film Festival, but director Nicholas Wrathall and his team still need help with the final archival materials and post production.
You can help...and be mentioned in the credits!
Check out the Kickstarter campaign.
But deadline is fast approaching… please get involved.
Ron is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in The French Culinary Institute’s Classic Culinary Arts program in New York City. He maintains a blog showcasing his kitchen creativity, Cooking With Strawberry Tsunami.
Eight of us gathered at a friend's for this extravaganza a la Rob.
For sheer entertainment value, few docs can equal Gore Vidal the United States of Amnesia...a portrait of the novelist, playwright, polemicist, public intellectual, and bullshit detector. Screenings at the Tribeca Film Fest [sold out].... Vidal (who died at 86 in 2012) was of the aristocracy and related to American royalty (his mother married an Auchincloss). Yet he betrayed his class a la FDR with a vengeance. An iconoclast ahead of his time, he candidly wrote about homosexuality in an early novel, The City and the Pillar, which got him blacklisted by book critics at the New York Times. He knew everyone and went everywhere but became mordantly critical of privilege and what he called the "American Empire," offering, in his view, "socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor."
The documentary was written up in Rolling Stone recently, and Robert De Niro stated that it was on his personal short list of must-see films at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. Ron Mwangaguhunga of IFC TV tweeted "amazing documentary on the irrepressible Gore Vidal "The United States of Amnesia" is the best doc I've seen in years.…"; Carl Ansley the tech entrepreneur and investor in TapMesh and TxVia tweeted, "really funny, thought-provoking shit-stirring stuff. Needs/deserves/will get a wide audience"; and Bevy Smith tweeted it was "More than a doc it was an autobiography" of a man she "long admired."
See the interview with Nicholas Wrathall on HuffPostLive about the documentary:
Remember, you can help fund the completion of this documentary to ensure it enjoys a post-Tribeca life.
"Bombastic and overblow." "Sensual." What is Richard Wagner's music? It is different things to different people. Hear Leon Botstein, Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO)--and who when only 23 yearsof age became the youngest college president in US history (Bard College)--briefly discuss some of the famous Preludes from Wagner's great operas, Wagner's career, and the ASO's Wagner performances in this the 200th anniversary year of Wagner's birth...and the 50th anniversary season of the ASO.
Here are two interesting recent articles on Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
"Is Wagner Bad For Us?" by Nicolas Spice, London Review of Books (11 April 2013); from the article:
Theft; the breaking of vows, promises and contracts; seduction, adultery, incest, disobedience, defiance of the gods, daring to ask the one forbidden question, the renunciation of love for power, genital self-mutilation as the price of magic: Wagner’s work is everywhere preoccupied with boundaries set and overstepped, limits reached and exceeded.
Difficulties and disasters dogged [Wagner's opera] Tristan und Isolde from the start and in the Wagner circle it came to be thought of as in some way cursed. The attempt at a first production in Vienna in 1862 foundered: the demands the opera made on players and singers were too much for them and the production was abandoned after 77 rehearsals. The planned public premiere in Munich in 1865 had to be postponed for a month, when Malvina Schnorr, who was singing Isolde, lost her voice on the morning of the first performance after taking a ‘vapour bath’. Relations between the orchestra and the conductor, Hans von Bülow, grew strained: Franz Strauss, father of Richard and the brilliant first horn of the Munich orchestra, had a blazing row with von Bülow, stomped out of the pit and had to be coaxed back. Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfeld, who sang Tristan to his wife’s Isolde, caught a chill on stage and subsequently died; on his deathbed he is said to have called out Wagner’s name. His wife abandoned her career after his death. ‘I drove you to the abyss,’ Wagner wrote in his diary; ‘I pushed him over.’ Four years later, during rehearsals for a revival of the first production, one of von Bülow’s young assistants had a mental breakdown, apparently brought on by the opera, and was institutionalised. In 1911, Felix Mottl collapsed and died while conducting Tristan and Joseph Keilberth met the same end in 1968.
Markus Käbisch, 45, is adept at describing what it's like to listen to this music. He studied music and is now an entrepreneur in the solar industry. He lives in Leipzig, Wagner's birthplace....
Käbisch loves Wagner's music but says he "couldn't handle it every day." He describes it as being, "extremely captivating; when you listen to it the ego and the individual disappear, and you become intoxicated, entering a state of ecstasy." Käbisch calls it "overpowering music." "That's what is so dangerous about it, and it's why this music was so well-suited to politics in the Third Reich." When the conversation turns to Wagner, politics is never far away. Wagner himself conceived his music as political. He didn't want to be merely an artist, but to build a new society, a society of the emotionally transported, of people who seek love instead of striving for money and power. His music was also a propaganda tool for this idea.
Photos: (Click each image for an enlarged version); top: Richard Wagner, 1861 when in exile in Paris; bottom: a 2010 staging of Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival.
Hear me ask my question to the panel of BBC Radio 4's Any Questions? this week. It will be broadcast online and on UK radio at 3:00 p.m. EDT (New York), 20:00 in the UK and available as a free podcast for download.* (Also available for free via iTunes.)
This week's panelists:
Sir Harold Evans of The Sunday Times, US News and World Report, The Atlantic Monthly, and the New York Daily News. In 1986 he founded Conde Nast Traveler. His book The American Century (1998) receiving particular acclaim. He is editor-at-large of The Week Magazine.
Former U.S. Rep. Nan Hayworth (NY 19th Congressional district) who may be considering a re-entry into politics. She was defeated in 2012 by Sean Patrick Maloney (who I've met several times over the course of years, as well as his partner Randy who is a fellow Hawkeye).
U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (MD 4th Congressional district) who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2008 and sits on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
I attended a recording on the evening of April 18th, 2013, of one of my favorite radio shows, BBC Radio 4's Any Questions?, the world's longest-running radio panel discussion program, begun in 1948.** The show traveled across the pond to NYC this week to Columbia University's School of Journalism. Usually the show is broadcast live in the UK, and broadcast from a different location each week.
Attendees' questions are submitted ahead of time and selected by BBC staff. Panelists don't know ahead of time what the questions will be. For this taping, my question was one selected. I got to read my question aloud to the panel. For me this was very exciting.
The show has 3 million listeners a week, and it is part of my BBC Radio 4 triumvirate podcast I listen to each weekend--the other two programs being Friday Night Comedy (The News Quiz hosted by Sandi Toksvig and The Now Show with Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt) and In Our Time with host Melvyn Lord Bragg of Wigton.
*It's rebroadcast at 8:10 a.m. EDT on Saturday, 13:10 in the UK, too. Once archieved, it will be here.
**Technically, Gardeners' Question Time was founded a year earlier, in 1947, but it's a niche program really. ;)
PHOTOS, top to bottom: The panel (in the Pulitzer Building's lecture Hall on campus); me with Congresswoman Donna Edwards; me with Jonathan Dimbleby after the recording.
If you've watched any of the History Channel's Vikings drama, co-produced with MGM, you'll know much has been made of the vikings' use of sunstones as a navigation aide. Not so fast, says Tristan Gooley in a letter to the editor of The Economist:
SIR – The Vikings’ use of sunstones has captured the imagination of scientists more frequently than these stones may have been used practically at sea (“Crystal gazing”, March 9th). There are good reasons why sunstones are unlikely navigation aids, and equally good ones why they may still have been carried on ships.
My belief, formed in the North Atlantic and not the laboratory, is that the Vikings relied on the many clues in nature, including the sun and birds, to navigate effectively (see my recent paper, “Nature’s radar”, for the Royal Institute of Navigation). They may have relied on the sunstone and other legendary routines and rituals to get people to follow them confidently in difficult conditions.
Read the letter in full here.
What may be a sunstone of post-viking use was found recently off the island of Alderney in the English Channel.
Happy Birthday to The Royal Air Force. Founded 1st April 1918 by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force; the first air force in the world to become independent of army or navy control. The RAF's motto is Per Ardua ad Astra - "Through Struggle to the Stars."
Oh, and while we're at it, kudos to the Air Dogs of the RAF Police (RAFP), the training school for which was founded in 1945.
"Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen." - The Book of Common Prayer (1979), The Episcopal Church.
A radical definition of family for a radical definition of sacrifice.
An atheist friend of mine always attends Good Friday services at his local Episcopal Church, the one time each year he crosses the threshold of a house of worship. Once, I asked him why. "Because the f#$*ing bastards killed Christ." The resurrection he rejects in its literal sense. But, there is for him still the crucifixion, which he recognizes as a distressingly human event, and deeply political, and very significant: the enormity of the betrayal, the abuse of might against right, the exploitation of the mob by cynical figures of authority, the baying for blood, the rejection of meekness, the will to power against a new order offered by an unlooked-for messenger, the process of positive change through sacrifice, the despair that may later be revealed as the tragic beginning of a new dispensation, if not a metaphysical dispensation, then a new way of doing things, a new way of being. First the money-changers' tables were overturned. And now this. This! There is violence in the story, and it is not for the faint of heart.
Photo: St. Mark's Church (Episcopal), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, Good Friday, 2013.
Click to view an enlarged version.
Hat-tip to Medievalists.net.
Fossils from a quarry in a region of central Wisconsin known as Blackberry Hill show that the first footprints on land were made by an extinct arthropod known as a euthycarcinoid, and this occurred in the Cambrian period, roughly 500 million years ago. The authors of the study, Joseph Collette of the University of California – Riverside, Kenneth Gass, a researcher from Wisconsin, and James Hagadorn of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, published their findings in the May 2012 issue of the Journal of Paleontology.
The suggestion that extinct arthropods had been walking about on land in what is now called Cambrian times is not a new one. Sir Richard Owen had published that idea in 1852, based on fossil footprints that he named Protichnites from Cambrian beach sandstone of Quebec.
Should "show that the first footprints on land were made by an extinct arthropod...euthycarcinoid" read "show that the earliest known footprints on land were made by an extinct arthropod...euthycarcinoid"?
Apparently not. The article seems to suggest that whatever type of life may have first put footprints upon the earth, the certitude is very high that it wasn't a fish or amphibian.
What drove them to land? Best guess so far: Sex.
Photo: Joseph Collette
To identify the most underpaid jobs, U.S. News analyzed data provided by the compensation experts at PayScale to highlight occupations in which people earn far less than median pay. We further sorted those jobs to isolate those in which workers say the stress is high (a proxy for how demanding the work is) and their work makes an important difference in the world. (See a full methodology note at the bottom of the story.)
Read the article at finance.yahoo.com
(Image via Tumblr posts tagged "assisted living")
Assisted living coordinator (median mid-career salary: $36,900).
Daycare director ($32,100).
Police, fire or ambulance dispatcher ($39,300) -- "one of the most stressful jobs you can have while sitting at a desk".
Office nurse ($42,700).
Medical insurance coordinator ($34,600) -- "When there's a problem, they're the first to hear about it. But when everything goes smoothly, nobody knows they're there".
Lead pharmacy technician ($34,900) -- "pharmacies...are under constant pressure to cut costs".
Veterinary technician ($32,800).
Social worker ($42,300).
Emergency medical technician (EMT) / paramedic ($39,600).
Artistic director [of a theatre, concert hall, performing arts company] ($48,200) -- "grueling lifestyle sacrifices.... Cutbacks in public funding".
DNA evidence has revealed that the oldest known common male ancestor is 340,000 years old, more than twice as old as previous estimates.
New Scientist reports that the sample comes from a recently deceased man named Albert Perry. After the African-American South Carolina man died, one of his relatives submitted a sample of his DNA to a company called Family Tree DNA for analysis.
The findings were published in the The American Journal of Human Genetics and may require researchers to adjust the known timeline of humankind’s evolution.
Evidence for an earlier common genetic ancestry--i.e. evidence for an earlier time to MRCA (TMRCA, time to most recent common ancestor, a.k.a. the time to Y-chromosomal Adam)--has been growing. See Dienekes' Anthropology blog's post on May 20, 2011, "The father of us all: 142 thousand years ago." The estimate of 142,000 years ago was itself was a far cry from the then widely disseminated estimate of 60,000 years years ago.
Nothing like being more than 400% off, huh? Well, that's in part how science works: hopefully cumulatively increased precision and understanding attained by increments of new knowledge and refinements of knowledge and occasional massive leaps, and with no guarantee--it might be added--that some of those increments along the way may be a step backward. But, it's the net result of all the efforts/findings (the increments) along the way that matters. 142,000 years ago or 340,000 years ago.... It's not that the difference doesn't matter, but the difference has a significance that's profoundly minor in light of greater reality they're addressing: the story of us all.
(Photo: An X and a Y chromosome. Univ. of Arizona.)
[W]hen in 1963 Ray Cusick was asked to design some villains for a new BBC science-fiction series [Doctor Who], he sought something different.
The Daleks—mutant monsters in sinister shells—trundled into the clapped-out studio reserved for children’s programmes.
Critics were sceptical, until the fan mail arrived. Children across Britain huddled behind their sofas in squeaking, enjoyable terror....They were among the greatest science-fiction monsters ever conceived.
For all their gimcrack genesis Daleks were—and are—no joke. For adults in 1960s Britain, they were Nazis on castors. “Ex-ter-min-ate” was their ecstatic catchword, death rays their miracle weapon.... Their obedience to orders was unquestioning. Obsessed with their own superiority, their goal was to destroy other lifeforms, if necessary enslaving them first.
Many a serious British professional has a toy Dalek on his desk. In unguarded moments he may even play with it.
The Daleks’ glory reflected greatly on Mr Cusick. But the colossal sums of money they made went elsewhere..... Mr Cusick was a salaried BBC employee and entitled to nothing but thanks. “Is any of this money coming my way?” he asked. It wasn’t.... Only after a long struggle by a loyal boss did he receive a token £100.
Yes, I own a toy Dalek, but the Hasbro C-3PO and R2-D2 retain pride of place. After all, I'm a Yank. Curiously, British actors inhabited all three canister characters: unnamed tricycle riders, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker respectively. Even Respectably.
Hmmm. My spellcheck doesn't like "Daleks". Stupid machine.
The story spread like an urban myth: You’re never going to believe what my friend’s cousin’s co-worker found in the subway. What neither of us knew, or could have predicted, was that Danny had not just saved an abandoned infant; he had found our son.
Hat-tip to MUG.
While we're on the subject of family:
BRIEF FOR POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSORS AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORTand
OF RESPONDENTS IN THE
DENNIS HOLLINGSWORTH, ET AL.,
KRISTIN M. PERRY, ET AL.,
AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF RESPONDENT WINDSOR in IN THE
EDITH SCHLAIN WINDSOR, IN HER CAPACITY AS EXECUTOR OF
THE ESTATE OF THEA CLARA SPYER, ET AL.,