Wow, I didn’t exactly bounce back from the Turkey trip like I thought I would. Here’s what I have been meaning to post. Unrelated, all of it.
The news that they’ve found a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings is, well, big news. This is the first such new discovery since Carter found Tut in 1922, though no one seems to mention that Kent Weeks’ re-discovery of KV5 in 1995 is actually just as profound — possibly more so. I’m skeptical that the new tomb, called KV63, will create as many questions as KV5 did and does. From the scanty information it seems like KV63 was a cache or waypoint or merely a lesser noble’s attempt to flank the pharoahs’ tombs. Time will tell, but one thing is certain: count the references in the media to Zahi Hawass, head of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, versus the number of references to Edwin Brock and Otto Schaden, leaders of the team who actually found the tomb, and you will get a sense of how things go now for archaeologists in the Egypt.
When was the last time the word “museum” was used to sex something up? Never comes to mind. Well, not at the former Chicago Historical Society which has been newly rebranded the Chicago History Museum. While former director Lonnie Bunch takes the helm of the newly-placed National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall in DC, the CHS has dropped the S to seem more inclusive, less upper-crust. Maybe “museum” is better. Though the etymology of the word as a cage for muses suggests old-fashion animals-behind-bars zoos, “museum” at least has an egalitarian sense that “society” does not. Better than the Exelon Chicago History Adventure, I suppose.
On the flight back from Turkey I sat next to a retired DEA agent who had made Istanbul a part-time home. In the 1990’s he was stationed there with the task of evaluating the anti-narcotics programs of the former Soviet ‘stans. He had tons of fascinating stories and, though we did no drugs, his penchant for drinking scotch hand over fist didn’t do me any favors. See not bouncing back from the jetlag, above.
Songbird, the open source, Mozilla-based media player is out in pre-alpha proof-of-concept form. It does little more than play music now, but the interface is awash in non-functional functions that really make you think this could be an iTunes killer if it is sustained and, most importantly, if the development community seizes the add-on opportunities as they have with Firefox and Thunderbird. I am keeping my eye on this one.