Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Week in Links (The Dead and Deadly Edition)

This week saw the death of Ben-Zion Netanyahu, a historian of the Inquisition and a founding member of my department at Cornell. Fortunately, the things that need to be said have been said by others:

Benzion Netanyahu, Hawkish Scholar, Dies at 102

The Fierce Anti-Sephardism and Zionist Militant Supremacy of Ben-Zion Netanyahu

Profs Mark Death of Netanyahu

T.E. Lawrence made his name as a medievalist at the Krak de Chevaliers. I've always suspected that I personally would never get to see it; it never really occurred to me that the reason for that would be its impending destruction, though. Fortress, sure, but not built with modern weaponry in mind:

Syria's Cultural Treasures Latest Uprising Victim

Speaking of Crusader castles:


I'm beginning work to redesign the web site for the intro course so that it is more useful to students and contains a more comprehensive archive of the course materials. I read about a service called Prezi on the Chronicle of Higher Ed web site, and in spite of the sarcastic descriptions on the CHE forum (which kind of sound like people being technophobic just because that's a cool way to assert your scholarly cred), it sounded like it had potential to integrate current and past material in a way that would be intuitive to use and also be visually appealing. But the folks on the CHE forum were right. The model site is literally making me motion sick. So much for that.

General Chemistry on Prezi

British talking heads continue to insult Mary Beard for daring to look like an actual, middle-aged, human woman whilst on the telly. The latest salvo comes from a television presenter who fails to understand that not everybody wants to be a television presenter and that just because one person presents one documentary series — just because she makes her real career accessible to the masses, that is — doesn't mean that her career is actually about that.

'Beautiful' Samantha Brick says BBC presenter Mary Beard is 'too ugly for television'

And Mary Beard continues to be awesome by advocating eating and drinking in libraries:

10 Minutes with Mary Beard

Not to say that one should necessarily eat or drink over rare books or manuscripts, but they're a lot harder to damage (the Spanish Inquisition  notwithstanding) than many libraries would have you think: "It's worth repeating the message that we actively discourage the wearing of gloves when handling our manuscripts. The recent coverage of our acquisition of the St Cuthbert Gospel generated much feedback on the thorny issue of when it is appropriate to wear gloves, and we're keen to continue spreading the message whenever possible! We recommend that you use gloves only when challenging an opponent, holding a hawk in your hand, or doing the washing-up." Amen!

And three more in the manuscript and incunabula department:

The Afghani Geniza

Lebanese Monastery to Archive First Arabic Bible

A Rarity, Even for the Rare Book Room

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