Way back in the first century, Mt. Vesuvius erupted and destroyed the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. In the process, a library of ancient scrolls was carbonized by the extreme heat of the ash coming from the volcano.
Nearly two millennia later, a group of scientists say there might be a way of reading what was locked away in those scrolls during the eruption. Using high-energy x-rays and artificial intelligence, they may be a way to observe the texts without having to risk opening them. Professor Brent Seales, the Computer Science chair at the University of Kentucky, is leading the research:
Although you can see on every flake of papyrus that there is writing, to open it up would require that papyrus to be really limber and flexible – and it is not any more.
image via the Guardian, From left to right: Jens Dopke, Brent Seales, Francoise Berard, Robert Atwood, Christy Chapman, and Thomas Connolley.
Some experts have tried to open some of the Pompeii scrolls before. However, many have been destroyed in the process, and exposing the ancient ink to the air run the risks of fading it completely. So this time, Seales is using the power of machine learning, using algorithms to discern subtle differences between the inked and blank areas in the x-ray scans of the scrolls.
A fragment of a Herculaneum Scroll, via Andrew Brookes/Diamond Light Source Ltd
What do Seales and his team of scientists think they’ll find if they succeed?
“For the most part the writings [in opened scrolls] are Greek philosophy around Epicureanism, which was a prevailing philosophy of the day,” said Seales. Classical libraries typically had both a Greek and a Latin section, the scrolls from the Herculaneum villa could also contain some Latin text.
Dr. Dirk Obbink, another researcher and papyrologist working on the process, had this to say:
A new historical work by Seneca the Elder was discovered among the unidentified Herculaneum papyri only last year, thus showing what uncontemplated rarities remain to be discovered there.
Featured image via Diamond Light Source
Halloween is almost upon us! Or, at the very least, the time to plan ahead for Halloween is almost upon us!
It can be tempting to pick a costume based on one of your favorite characters, or a costume that really amps up the sex appeal. In order to save you from some spooky strife this season, here are some of literary characters you definitely should NOT dress up as this Halloween.
Image via Yandy
I had never heard of Yandy before I began compiling this list, but they seem to specialize in the sexualization of characters no one wanted to see in a sexual context. They also seem to only have one model. Get acquainted with her, she’s in a lot of these.
Image via Popscreen
One of the many themes in A Clockwork Orange is the overexposure to pornography and sexual violence in our society. I’m not sure that Anthony Burgess would really appreciate this version of his iconic anti-hero.
Also, Alex is 15. In the movie adaptation he appears to be closer to 20, but the age discrepancy still seems worth mentioning.
Image via Buzzfeed
Why, Yandy? Why?
Image via Bustle
I don’t need to explain why this one is problematic. You get it.
Image via Yandy
Yandy strikes again. If the lambs had stopped screaming, I think they’d start up again after seeing this.
Image via Tattoopins
Considering that this Pippi is much less sexually charged than many of the ‘child character gone adult’ costumes, I think the most egregious thing about this particular outfit are the heels. Very bold to pair your office pumps with your Raggedy Ann dress.
Image via Yandy
This one is barely even a costume. It’s just green. You could switch that Grinch hat out for a Shrek hat and no one notice the difference.
Plus, there doesn’t need to be a sexy version of the Grinch, he’s already sexy enough…
Image via Tenor
Featured Image Via Yandy
September 25th is Shel Silverstein’s birthday! To celebrate that beloved American poet known for books like The Giving Tree and A Light in the Attic we’ve put together a few of Silverstein’s best quotes.
When the light turns green, you go. When the light turns red, you stop. But what do you do when the light turns blue with orange and lavender spots?
Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.
Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.
If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer
If youre a pretender com sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.
Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
If you’re a bird, be an early early bird–
But if you’re a worm, sleep late.
Although I cannot see your face
As you flip these poems awhile,
Somewhere from some far-off place
I hear you laughing–and I smile.
Featured image via Huffington Post
Housed in a mansion built during the 19th century, Cafe Pushkin is a five-star restaurant serving French and Russian cuisine in the heart of Moscow.
image via inyourpocket.com
Cafe Pushkin’s traditional Russian menu is a bit expensive, but it’s world class cuisine is worth it when you consider the fact you’ll be eating in one of the most beautiful Baroque libraries in the world.
Just imagine thumbing through something by Tolstoy or Dostoevsky after your meal!
image via cafepushkin.ru
Though the restaurant only opened in 1999, dining at Café Pushkin feels like stepping back in time to the days when high society nobles gathered in the mansion to discuss literature, art, and politics.
Image via travelaway.me
There are multiple distinct areas inside — such as The Pharmacy Hall, Fireplace Hall, Summer Terrace — each with its own fabulous décor and atmosphere.
However, book lovers are definitely going to want to dine in the library or mezzanine, which houses the antique collections from the mansion. The Baroque-style decor and rows upon rows of antique books is enough to make any 19th century fan swoon!
Image via travelaway.me
If you’re a Russian Lit fan, you should definitely check out this delightfully bookish restaurant if you ever visit Moscow!
Featured image via CafePushkin.ru