Wednesday, October 10, 2007

War weary

This month's issue of the "Voices in Wartime" e-newsletter features the following "Editor's Reflections:"

In the documentary film Voices in Wartime, visual images accompany the words of Rachel Bentham as she recites "War--the concise version". In the pause between each scene, her lines rest in near stillness as if we don’t want to go on. We know what’s next, and indeed, are weary of the war’s resistance to all forms of compassionate thought.

Lately we’ve become justifiably weary of the ineptitude of our nation’s politicians. Their cheaply costumed rhetoric easily infuriates the anti-war warrior. We’re weary of the news media, its opinions and attention deficit regarding the civilian suffering in Iraq, while the silent masses tune out via the new season of sitcoms and the NFL. Patience is a different war of nerves as the work continues to put this war into its grave.

Read the entire article

The ongoing war in Iraq, together with the collective unwillingness of Congress to take meaningful action to conclude it, are indeed frustrating and wearisome, as is the call of some on both sides of the aisle for another unprovoked, irrational and illegal war, this time on Iran. In Burma, in Afghanistan, in the streets of Mexico and the U.s., wherever one looks in the world, violence and conflict abound, seemingly forces of nature, as unpredictable and uncontrolable as weather. For myself, I can't altogether condemn those who "tune out via the new season of sitcoms and the NFL." Under the circumstances, tuning out seems almost to be not only a viable, but a reasonable response.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

REading Lost Gravestones with High Tech

Illegible words on church headstones could be read once more thanks to a scan technology developed in the US.

Scientists at Carnegie Mellon university are making high resolution 3D scans of tombstones to reveal the carved patterns in the stone.

A computer matches the patterns to a database of signature carvings which reveals the words.

The technique could one day also be used by doctors to examine a patient's tongue for signs of illness.

Scientists often find it difficult to distinguish between natural phenomena and man-made art works carved into stone, due to the build-up of algae and surface dirt.

At the moment, archaeologists are forced to do hand-tracing work with plastic sheets and to examine objects first hand in order to decipher obscured writings.

Full Article
Scans reveal lost gravestone text