Pollyanna is with you again and would like to open with a suggestion that you take a look at the sky to the Northwest after sunset on the 24th and 25th. There will be a small Olympian convention with Jupiter, Venus and Mercury getting together for a chat and presumably a drink.
Thanks to This Year in Space and Sky and Telescope for the information
For starters, let us refer you to the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights action blog. As the weeks and months go by without Miriam, we continue to realize what we have lost. She got us into the human rights struggle. Please act on behalf of people who are so much in need of support in their trials and tribulations at the hands of oppressive regimes and corporations.
This has been a week of much senseless death at the hands of both man and nature.
KILLING OF INNOCENT CHILDREN
Pollyanna weeps for the two little girls who were murdered in Israel apparently by their father. The mother of the two girls who were murdered on Monday had complained a day earlier to the Arad police, saying she feared her ex-husband would kill her daughters. The police ignored the complaint and did not call the girls’ father in for questioning nor send anyone to the house. On Tuesday the girls, ages three and five, were found strangled in their home in the Bedouin village of Al-Fura’a.
|Sisters Asinad, 3, and Ramais, 5, who were found dead in Bedouin town of Al-Fura’a.|
One must wonder if racism played a role in the police malfeasance. We are promised that heads will roll.
MORE TO MOURN
Pollyanna mourns the loss of life in the terrible tornado in Oklahoma. The blows we sustain from nature are unavoidable, but we must prepare for them as best we can. In the Golan, an Israeli soldier who was working at mine clearing was killed by an explosion of an old mine, despite warnings by the Engineer Corps that these mines were faulty and liable to explode unexpectedly. This amounts to criminal negligence and we hope some lessons will be learned and some careers ended.
MURDER BY MADNESS AND FANATICISM
In Beersheba in Southern Israel a disgruntled bank customer, who had been refused an expanded overdraft, shot and killed four people, including the branch manager, his deputy and two customers before shooting himself. In London, two crazed Muslims attacked a British soldier in the street and hacked him to death with a meat cleaver. A suicide bomber attacked a military base and uranium mine in Niger and killed at least 19 people. This is the tip of the murderous iceberg. Pollyanna is shocked and appalled. There seems to be no end to killing, whether by malice or incompetence. Pollyanna salutes the brave woman, the Cub Scout leader, , Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, who bravely stood up to the killers in London.
THE WALRUS SAYS WE SHOULD SPEAK OF OTHER THINGS:
|Vulture released in Israel with GPS and markings|
Let us move on to happier things and start by welcoming James Levine back to the podium. He conducted a
concert at Carnegie Hall after a long hiatus caused by illness.
Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times
NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of Comet ISON was taken on April 10,
2013, when the comet was slightly closer than Jupiter's orbit at a
distance of 386 million miles from the sun (394 million miles from
CREDIT: NASA, ESA, J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute), and the Hubble Comet ISON Imaging Science Team
A BYZANTINE MOSAIC has been found in southern Israel. It is most impressive, 12 by 8.5 meters in size and was obviously the floor of a public building during the Byzantine period, 4th to 6th century C.E.
|The mosaic discovered prior to construction of a highway in Israel,
was decorated with geometric structures and amphoras, or vessels for
holding wine. The amphoras were also decorated, for instance, one was
flanked by a pair of peacocks.|
CREDIT: Yael Yolovitch, Israel Antiquities Authority
NEWS FROM GENETICS
It is most encouraging that for the first time, scientists have created human embryonic stem cells by transferring the nucleus of a mature cell into an egg.
Using a laser and a tiny needle, researchers suck DNA from a human egg, the first step of a newly revised process that created human embryonic stem cells for the first time.
Courtesy of M. Tachibana
TAMING BY GENE ACTIVITY
A study conducted in Russia over a fifty year period shows that by selective breeding, foxes can become either dog-like, i.e. tame or wolf-like, i.e. more aggressive.
Taming silver foxes (shown) alters their behavior. A new study links those behavior changes to changes in brain chemicals.
Pollyanna sends her mazal tov to Prof. George Daniel Mostow who was awarded the Wolf Prize in mathematics last week for the discovery of the rigidity phenomenon in geometry, known as the strong rigidity theorem.
Wolf Prize laureate Prof. George Daniel Mostow. Photo by David Bachar
Prof. Mostow will turn 90 on July 4, but just took a swim in the Mediterranean. We all salute his great achievements, described by the prize committee who wrote that "In Mostow's work one finds a stunning display of a variety of mathematical disciplines," and that "few mathematicians can compete with the breadth, depth and originality of his works."
The Wolf Prize is awarded annually in Israel to scientists and artists from abroad, for "achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples." So far it has been awarded to 272 laureates from 23 countries, for their contributions to agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, architecture, music, painting and sculpture.
What if is amusing this week.
Those of us who have Ph.D.'s can recall the halcyon days of graduate school and the terrible shock of getting the longed-for degree and being thrust out into the real world where things have to be done. Of course, you can chose an academic career which is in some ways a continuation of graduate school. Those who like money will turn to jobs in industry. Dilbert encounters such a person and we present the beginning of the relationship.
FINICKY EATERS UNITE!