Time Magazine on the Ricci Map

Time Magazine has a good article on the Matteo Ricci map created in China, and coming, permanently, to the University of Minnesota.
I first came across Matteo Ricci in a Jonathan Spence (one of the best scholars on China living today) and have been fascinated about his life and adventures. That biography did mention the map’s creation, and I can’t wait to see it at last!

MIA scores a coup with Titian exhibit

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts will host an exhibit of Venetian Renaissance paintings and drawings which have never been to the U.S. before…Noon says the exhibit of 12 paintings and 13 drawings will be a rare opportunity to see Titian’s work, and how he influenced other major artists, including Tintoretto, Veronese, Bassano and Lotto — whose work will also be part of the exhibit.
The exhibit, “Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland,” will be on display in February 2011.

I’m definitely going to go see this when it comes to Minneapolis.

Alien Star Clusters in the Milky Way

Over on Universe Today, a link to a paper which puts forth the theory that 25% of all of the stars of the Milky Way are originally from other galaxies.
“It turns out that many of the stars and globular star clusters we see when we look into the night sky are not natives, but aliens from other galaxies,” said Duncan Forbes. “They have made their way into our galaxy over the last few billion years.”
Previously astronomers had suspected that some globular star clusters, which each contain between 10000 and several million stars were foreign to our galaxy, but it was difficult to positively identify which ones.”

I think the lede is a little off. Instead of thinking of them as invaders, one might think of them as subjugated stars, since its more likely that the Milky Way *captured* them than any other mechanism. I recall a paper not long ago that identified a former dwarf galaxy within the bounds of the Milky Way, but this paper suggests there are many more dwarf galaxies and globular clusters engulfed by our galaxy than I thought.

Million Dollar Comic

Via the Hero’s Complex, a copy of Action Comic No. 1, the comic that launched Superman, recently fetched $1 million at auction.
The buyer is anonymous.
I’m gobsmacked. In this day and age with people desperately trying to collect comics, I suspect that it will take hundreds of years for a comic released to day to be anything near as valuable. The value in the Action Comics issue is that it is precisely so rare.
Read on at the Hero’s Complex for how other comics have fared at auction. A hint: the Superman auction is an order of magnitude more than the nearest competition in terms of price…

King Tut forensics

King Tutankhamen, known as Egypt’s boy pharaoh, probably spent much of his life in pain before dying at 19 from the combined effects of malaria and a broken leg, scientists say.
You may have read or heard this story already, giving a new analysis of the life (and probable) death of the boy king, King Tut.
Curved spine, cleft palate, malaria, injuries…even if he was a King, he didn’t have that Kingly a life. I did not know that 100 walking sticks were found in the tomb. It makes sense, given the problems he likely had in life.

Post Processing Photo fun

Let’s talk photography a bit, okay, and post processing.
One of the pictures from my North shore, trip, as you may recall. Nice, huh?
Now, thanks to Amazon, I discovered the work of Harold Davis . He had a small article on Amazon about how he post processed an image using photoshop to make it more dramatic in black and white.
I had to try the technique.
The process was simple:
Take the base image.
Convert the color type to LAB.
Equalize the colors in the image
Convert to B&W
Here is that same image after those simple steps:
North Shore
What do you think?