Tag Archives: history

Listening to the Moon

Paua mosaic moon pendant I made. Closest I could get to an eclipse image from my own photographs!

With the lunar eclipse coming up on January 31st I wanted to mention an astronomer, mathematician, and poet that I’d only recently heard of. Her name was Wang Zhenyi (1768-1797) and in her terribly brief 29 years she covered a lot of ground.

Wang Zhenyi was born in 18th century China to a family that valued education. Her grandfather had a library of some 70 books, and when her father failed his imperial exams he studied medicine on his own and recorded his research, making a living as a travelling pharmacist. Her father taught her about medicine, mathematics and geography, her grandmother taught her poetry, and her grandfather shared his library and his love of astronomy.

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Filed under Historical Facts and Trivia, Nature and Science

tut-ausstellung_ffm_2012_47_28711781955729November 4th is sometimes considered the anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.


Howard Carter’s began what he expected to be his last funded season excavating in the Vally of the Kings November 1rst. He started off by having his workers clear out the area where Rameses VI’s workmen had built their huts.


November 4th they found the rock cut steps that would lead to Tutankhamun’s tomb. They cleared out and found the door by the end of the 5th, but wouldn’t actually enter until his patron joined them some weeks later.

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I’ll ask no thing of man or king…

To wrap up Earth Science Week it seemed appropriate to mention the pioneering geologist and professor, Florence Bascom.


When she got her doctorate in geology in 1893, Bascom was the first woman to obtain a doctorate from Johns Hopkins.


She was the second woman to have a PhD in geology in the United States. (The first was Mary Emilee Holmes, University of Michigan, 1888.*) She is also credited with being the first woman to be hired by the United States Geological Service, the first woman to present a scientific paper at the Geological Society of Washington, and the first female officer of the Geological Society of America.

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Filed under Historical Facts and Trivia, Natural Science

Book Review: Stoned by Aja Raden

For the most part I really enjoyed this book. It’s a fun read with some excellent lines.* y648


I appreciate her efforts to clearly explain things as vastly different as the geological and biological processes that create gemstones and pearls, and different concepts of value to the psychology of want and envy and their roles both in marketing and the shaping of the political world.

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A Demonic Warning

A small traditional demon for the Halloween season!


Tutivillus was a catchall demon for word related slips and sins. One of my professors first mentioned him as a demon that would either record or collect in a giant sack all the idle words and gossip of people who ought to have been praying in church. In other places he’s accused of encouraging this spiritual sloth even amongst the clergy, inspiring them to slur their words or shorten their sermons and prayers.

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Once more unto the breach


DeriDolls William Shakespeare

DeriDolls William Shakespeare

Today is the sort of traditionally celebrated Shakespeare’s birthday. We don’t know the exact date. We know he was baptized on the 26th of April 1564, and that he died on the 23rd of April 1616. I’m not sure when it became a tradition to celebrate his birthday on the day of his death.

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Filed under Books, Crafts, Historical Facts and Trivia

I shall do nothing but look at the sky

Roman Wall Blues

W.H. Auden


Over the heather the wet wind blows,

I’ve lice in my tunic and a cold in my nose.


The rain comes pattering out of the sky,

I’m a Wall soldier, I don’t know why.


The mist creeps over the hard grey stone,

My girl’s in Tungria; I sleep alone.


Aulus goes hanging around her place,

I don’t like his manners, I don’t like his face.


Piso’s a Christian, he worships a fish;

There’d be no kissing if he had his wish.


She gave me a ring but I diced it away;

I want my girl and I want my pay.


When I’m a veteran with only one eye

I shall do nothing but look at the sky.

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Filed under Historical Facts and Trivia, Poetry