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Friday, August 19, 2005

Another mixed bag

Fascinating topics on Science Friday today (thanks for the kids' link reminder, Concierge): 1) "Rewilding," or reintroducing animal species similar to those long gone from their original habitats. It sounds kind of sketchy to me...; and 2) "Micro-Oxen" about using living organisms to carry and deliver nanotechnologies. No one is sure where this work may lead, but it's a breathtaking combination of microbiology, chemistry, and engineering.

Oh, here's another scientific breakthrough: My brother visited a booth at the SIGGRAPH 2005 convention he attended in Los Angeles a few weeks back. He put on some sort of earphone set. The display operator then maneuvered a joystick which caused my brother to physically move in the direction the operator designated. Freaky, eh?

And totally off topic, I'm just bursting with disconnected thoughts today, is anybody else as excited as I am that the new season of Survivor is taking place in Guatemala among the Mayan ruins? This was the season for me. Jungle living, pure and simple, with the remains of a fabulous ancient civilization as the backdrop. Jorge and I had a farm down in the foothills of Belize's Maya Mountains for a few years, complete with exotic ruins including an ancient well and several burial mounds, so I would have been perfectly suited for this one. And no need to be sporting a bikini.

By the publicity photos, it looks as if they might be at Tikal, a site I never got to visit, not for fear of the botfly that lays its eggs under your skin, or the deadly fer-de-lance, known locally as the yellow jaw, but for the occasional tourist kidnapping and murder.

Back in the late 80s, Jorge and I made a weekend border crossing from Belize into Guatemala for market day. The exchange rate was too good to pass up. Our enthusiasm was quickly dimmed as we strolled past occupied machine gun nests and found ourselves, especially me, the only blonde for maybe a hundred miles and wearing shorts, scrutinized by everyone in the town. Not a smiley face in sight. Down the main street, vendors had set up little displays, similar to portable voting booths, where, for a quarter, you could plink away with a pellet gun at various homemade targets. The first one we stopped at had an American flag as the backdrop with and array of Barbie dolls waiting to be picked off. Hasta la vista, baby.

Excited by the exhibition in Chicago, Body Worlds, first brought to my attention via Mental Multivitamin, but disappointed by my inability to attend, I was overjoyed when my husband informed me about this exhibit just opened in Tampa at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI.) M-mv was also able to point me in the direction of this article detailing the controversy surrounding the exhibit. (Thanks, M-mv!) I haven't heard from Gracie on the subject yet, but Sarabelle and I are eager to attend once they return from New Jersey.

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