November 6th, 2007

Minoan Culture

Archaeologists seek for Minoan fate


They created extraordinary artifacts for hundreds of years, revealing an aesthetic sensibility that influences Western civilization to this day. Then they simply disappeared.


Scholars are seeking answers to one of the great mysteries of the ancient world: What happened to the Minoans of Crete, who controlled a thriving Mediterranean trade network from around 2,200-1,450 BC? Now NOVA senior science editor Evan Hadingham reports on new evidence that a massive tsunami struck the Bronze Age society 3,500 years ago, destabilizing the culture to such a degree that social chaos brought about its ultimate destruction.


As part of Massachusetts Archaeology Month, Mr. Hadingham spoke on the topic at Shrewsbury Public Library. Named after Minos, the mythical king of Crete, the Minoan people were part of a prosperous culture known for its successful sea trade, intricate palaces and fine art.


Mr. Hadingham said the palace ruins of Knossos, first excavated by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans in March 1900, provide the most stunning example of Minoan handiwork.


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Black Holes

Black Holes Launch Powerful Cosmic Winds      

Black holes often are thought of as just endless pits in space and time that destroy everything they pull toward them.

But new findings confirm the reverse is true, too: Black holes can drive extraordinarily powerful winds that push out and force star formation and shape the fate of a galaxy. Supermassive black holes are suspected to lurk in the hearts of many—if not all—large galaxies. These holes drag gas inward, which accrues in rapidly spinning, glowing disks.

Astronomers have long thought that such "accretion disks" give off mighty winds that shape the host galaxies, profoundly influencing how they grow.

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The Papacy

The Five Biggest Badass Popes


It used to be that to become pope, you had to sit pantsless in a horseshoe-shaped chair and let a couple of cardinals see if you had the goods. If you passed, they'd yell "Testiculos habet et bene pendentes!" (He has testicles, and they hang well!) It's true, in those days it took balls to become Pope.


Back then, the Papacy was reserved for the hardasses, guys you wouldn't mess with--the gangsters, the demon-summoners, the corpse-digger-uppers. Here are the ones I consider the biggest badasses. And, no, I didn't make any of this up.


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Quote of the Day

"Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic."

Thomas Szasz