Thursday, October 30, 2014
Day 4 is for science and today's subject is Eratosthenes (276-194 BC). The chief librarian of Alexandria who devised a way to measure the earth's size. I've read this page two times and my mind is still boggled. It took a water well, the sun and a measuring stick. Oh, and a pacer - a professional walker trained in taking perfectly equal steps. What?!?
On June 21st, the longest day of the year, Eratosthenes got crackin' with his plan to visit a special well in the neighboring town of Syene and wait for the sun to hit the bottom of the well. That time was 12 noon. By seeing the bottom of the well this meant that the sun was directly overhead in Syene, which was due north of his town of Alexandria. If the sun was directly overhead in Syene then the suns rays must be hitting at an angle in Alexandria. On June 21st (I'm assuming the following year, they don't say) Eratosthenes took a measuring stick and captured the angle cast by the shadow. He knew the angle of the shadow was equivalent to the angle formed by the two cities and the center of the earth. Are you with me?
There's division happening, and fraction making and percentages taking place. What a brain this man had! There's even a little quip about a nickname given to him by his contemporaries, "Beta". He had so many interests that they considered him a dabbler, which they attributed to being second-class, a beta. (I think they were just jealous.)
This brilliant man estimated the circumference of the earth to be 24,700 miles. Today, using the exact same principles developed by Eratosthenes 2,000 years ago, modern instruments estimate the distance around the equator to be 24,902 miles.
There's so much more to learn! I'm really enjoying this book. (I need to read this page again.)
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Nefertiti's husband Pharaoh Akhenaton embraced a new, monotheistic religion that emphasized ethics. I think a massive dose of ethics is very much needed these days! I feel ethics is lost on those in positions that need it most.
I'm really enjoying the information found in The Intellectual Devotional. It gives you just enough to make you want to delve into the subject and learn all you can.
My youngest had her last Halloween Parade at school today. Bitter sweet.
The adorable, tiny years of wanting to be a Princess have passed and now we're into Anime and Manga characters. Lily is a big fan of the anime Attack of Titan. (Anime is the cartoon version. Manga is the print version. You're welcome ;->) Luckily two of her friends like the same anime so they decided to become - Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and their friend Armin Arlert.
Eren, Mikasa and Armin
Lily is donning a wig - and yes, the bangs need to hang in front of her face (drives me crazy but hey, it's not everyday) while her friends made the move and truly cut and/or colored their hair to resemble their character. Have you heard the term "CosPlay"? This is it.
On Halloween night they plan to roam the streets, attacking Titans and claiming as much candy as their pillowcases can hold. Are your kids dressing up this year? What are they going as?
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
The earliest known works of art were found by accident. In 1940 four boys discovered a cave in Montignac in central France. Inside the cave was a series of rooms covered in paintings and these paintings were researched to be between 15,000 to 17,000 years old. Whoa! (Or, what ever is French for 'whoa!').
A majority of the paintings were of animals, mostly silhouette, drawn in careful detail. A belief is that drawing the beasts would bring them under the mans control or increase their numbers when becoming scarce. The few images of man were more crudely drawn. They say it suggests that prehistoric man did not think they themselves were endowed with magical properties. Here's my take - I think the one doing the drawing was mad at the guy he was drawing so he made him look scraggly for eternity. Ah ha! Revenge.
The caves were open to the public however, in 1955 it became apparent that exposure to as many as 1,200 visitors per day was taking a toll on the paintings and the site was closed in 1963. There is a life-sized replica of the cave, located just 200 meters from the original, so you can still get your fix of bison herds, buffalo and scraggly looking cavemen. I'll call them Bob.