April 25th, 2017

The World's Oldest Library


Over 4,000 rare books and manuscrpits can be found at the world's oldest continually operating library. Al-Qarawiyyin library in Fez, Morocco opened in 1359 AD, inside the world's oldest university, which was built in 859 AD and bears the same name. The library has since been restored to its former glory, and the precious documents that were once under lock and key are now available to the public.

Kemo D. 7
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A New Hope


A chemistry professor in Florida has just found a way to trigger the process of photosynthesis in a synthetic material, turning greenhouse gases into clean air and producing energy all at the same time. The process has great potential for creating a technology that could significantly reduce greenhouse gases linked to climate change, while also creating a clean way to produce energy. "This work is a breakthrough," said UCF Assistant Professor Fernando Uribe-Romo. "Tailoring materials that will absorb a specific color of light is very difficult from the scientific point of view, but from the societal point of view we are contributing to the development of a technology that can help reduce greenhouse gases."

"The idea would be to set up stations that capture large amounts of CO2, like next to a power plant. The gas would be sucked into the station, go through the process and recycle the greenhouse gases while producing energy that would be put back into the power plant." Perhaps someday homeowners could purchase rooftop shingles made of the material, which would clean the air in their neighborhood while producing energy that could be used to power their homes. "That would take new technology and infrastructure to happen," Uribe-Romo said. "But it may be possible."

Kemo D. 7
Source: Science Daily
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The Legend of Libertalia


In the 17th and 18th centuries, Ile Sainte-Marie, a long, thin island off the eastern African coast, became a popular base for pirates. Up to 1,000 pirates reportedly called the rocky island home, including widely-feared brigands Adam Baldridge, William Kidd, Olivier Levasseur, Henry Every, Robert Culliford, Abraham Samuel and Thomas Tew. They lived in the île aux Forbans, an island located in the bay of Sainte Marie’s main town, Ambodifotatra. The beautiful tropical island’s numerous inlets and bays made it the perfect place to hide ships. The pirates sailed mostly from England, Portugal, France and America to make this island off the coast of Madagascar a home, a hideout and a strategic place.

With so many pirates abiding on the island, some even raising families at the time, it’s no wonder Sainte-Marie claims to have what may be the world’s only legitimate pirate cemetery. In the center of the cemetery, there is a large black tomb that locals say is the final resting place of Captain Kidd, buried there in an upright position to punish him for his sins. The pirates were off Ile Sainte-Marie by the late 1700s, when the French seized the island. It wasn’t returned to Madagascar until 1960. The utopian pirate republic of Libertalia was also rumored to exist in this area...

A recently discovered map from 1733 by John de Bry, an archaeologist working on shipwrecks in the area, called the land mass the “Island of Pirates” and identified the location of three pirate ship wrecks.

Kemo D. 7