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10 April 2005

the british museum


i checked out the british museum today. admission: free. the museum's collection is incredibly extensive... i spent most of my time in the egyptian, greek, and roman exhibits and also hit an exhibit on all types of money from past to present.

the british museum has an entire hall filled with marble from the parthenon in athens, greece. these sculptures have apparently been the source of an intense debate between the uk and greece as greece has requested they be returned to a new acropolis museum being built in athens. the spin on the informational panel at the museum states "The Parthenon and its sculptures remained largely intact until the temple was converted into a church, perhaps around AD 500, when half of the east pediment was removed and most of the metopes were defaced. In 1687 the building was reduced to ruins by an explosion of gunpowder stored there by the Turkish garrison. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Lord Elgin's agents removed a number of sculptures to England. Acquired by Parliament for The British Museum in 1816, they are now displayed in the gallery endowed by the late Lord Duveen." the british museum has a site up at http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/gr/debate.html where you can read more about the debate.

one exhibit i was especially excited to see was the rosetta stone. discovered in egypt in a town called rashid (rosetta) in 1799, the rosetta stone carries an inscription of one decree written three separate times each in a different language: egyptian hieroglyphs, egypian demotic, and greek. this stone was the key to decrypting the ancient egyptian hieroglyphs.

back in november, i attended a conference on supercomputing in pittsburgh, pennsylvania, and one of the exhibitors at the conference demonstrated a computer with largescale data processing capabilities using cat scan data of egyptian mummies. during the demo, a computer operator virtually explored the inner sarcophagus, the various levels of wrappings, and the human remains beneath... all in realtime. the mummy image could be manipulated in any direction, cross sections could be shown, and different layers of the mummy could be accentuated by filtering the cat scan data. the presentation was amazing. when i discovered that the british museum was playing a 3d feature called 'mummy: the inside story' which boasted the same cat scan imagery, i knew i had to check it out. unfortunately, the presentation was just a bit disappointing for me... after seeing the mummy cat scan image being manipulated in realtime, the movie fell a bit short.

on my way out, i stumbled upon an exhibit entitled Cradle to Grave, which displays two lengths of fabric, each of which contains over 14,000 drugs, "the estimated average prescribed to every person in Britain in their lifetime" according to the informational panel. the cloth illustrating a typical British man's story shows immunizational drugs early on in life, antibiotic drugs at various times, and drugs to treat asthma and heart infection later in life. the cloth illustrating a typical British woman's story shows the same immunizational and antibiotic drugs but also shows her taking contraceptive pills as well as drugs to treat breast cancer later in life. very neat exhibit... included here for the benefit of my former coworkers. :)

i saw my pal sherlock holmes at the museum today... no kidding... same sherlock hat and all. i fear he's trailing me after the disparaging remarks i made about him yesterday. just my opinion, mr. holmes.

posted by paul on Sun 10 Apr 2005 at 18:53:31 est (-05:00)


Paul - When Brad and I were in London we really enjoyed: 1)Madame Toussand's wax museum, 2) a museum on the opposite side of the Thames that showed torture of prisoners (don't remember what it is called) and 3) three musicals. Theater in London is great.

Wish you were here for the transition of prod to the new shared file system......

posted by Cathy on Mon 11 Apr 2005 at 11:51:06 est (-05:00)

three days and no entry??

posted by Cathy on Wed 13 Apr 2005 at 18:58:52 est (-05:00)


It is good to hear you're doing well across the pond. Not a lot is new - no good poker stories or anything. In fact, the entire momentum of our poker movement has screeched to a trickle.

We played over at Kramers on Tuesday. Heeney showed up, but left crying after my boat beat his set. He even threatened to hit me! I know Heeney reads this, so it's all in fun.

Nothing new in terms of music here - no band or anyhting yet. Although I saw a posting for a speedmetal abnd called Chainsaws & Children. When I auditioned, they said I needed a gimmick, and asked where my Coke & rods were.

In other news, the new job is continuing to go well. Regardless, keep it real. I'll be checking in every now and again.


posted by peter on Thu 14 Apr 2005 at 14:08:15 est (-05:00)

You've kind of got an "Indiana Jones" thing going on don't you Paul? Glad to see all is well and that your most pressing issue is synchronizing your biological clock with local time.

Nothing but the best. . .enjoy everything that the world has to offer.

posted by redpath on Thu 14 Apr 2005 at 14:36:53 est (-05:00)

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