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About Marble and Granite Quarries in America
We know marble and granite are typically quarried in Brazil and Italy but few people realize that the United States is a leading producer of granite and marble also. In 2016 more than 580,000 tons of granite and over 55,000 tons of marble were produced in quarries across the country. For example, the Danby Marble Quarry located in Vermont has been producing amazing marble for over 100 years. As you may or may not know, this marble has been used to build some of the country&rsquos most iconic monuments, such as the Jefferson Memorial and the Supreme Court.
Mountain White Danby Marble Countertops
INTERPRETING ROPE CHANNELS: LIFTING, SETTING AND THE BIRTH OF GREEK MONUMENTAL ARCHITECTURE
The first stone ashlar blocks of Greek architecture, those of the mid-seventh-century temples at Isthmia and Corinth, pose a problem for understanding the beginnings of Greek stone construction. 1 Their peculiar feature is the presence of grooves plausibly explained as a way to move the blocks with ropes. Yet scholars disagree about how these ropes would have been used, and during what stage of construction. The first excavators of the two temples suggested that the ropes would have served to lift each block into place, and were subsequently extracted from the grooves once the block had been set against its neighbour. Later scholars dismissed this theory as both inconsistent with the evidence and technically impracticable, questioning whether lifting machines were used in Greek construction as early as the mid-seventh century. Currently, the widely accepted view holds that the crane appeared in the Greek world only in the late sixth century. An alternative hypothesis is that the grooves were cut early in the construction process so that ropes could be used to manoeuvre the blocks within the quarry. However, the ‘lifting’ theory continues to have its adherents. Clarifying the significance of these parallel grooves is thus a matter of some importance to the history of Greek construction. This article reassesses the alternative theses on the basis of a new examination of the evidence, and demonstrates that the idea that the grooves served for lifting is the most plausible. Furthermore, it argues that forerunners of the crane appeared in Greece well before the late sixth century. Finally, by examining how the blocks would have been manoeuvred into place after lifting, it contends that the grooves also served the purpose of placement, with a method anticipating the Classical period's sophisticated lever technique.
Ερμηνεύοντας τις αύλακες περίδεσης. Η ανύψωση, η τοποθέτηση και η γένεση της Ελληνικής Μνημειακής αρχιτεκτονικής.
Οι πρώτες λιθόπλινθοι της Ελληνικής Αρχιτεκτονικής, των ναών των μέσων του 7 ου αιώνα π.Χ. στην Ισθμία και την Κόρινθο, θέτουν ένα πρόβλημα για την κατανόηση των αρχών της λίθινης οικοδομικής. Αυτό το ιδιαίτερο χαρακτηριστικό τους είναι η παρουσία αυλάκων ερμηνευμένων λογικά ως ένα μέσα για μετακίνηση των πλίνθων με σχοινιά. Ωστόσο οι ερευνητές διαφωνούν ως προς τον τρόπο με τον οποίο αυτά τα σχοινιά θα χρησιμοποιούνταν και σε ποιο κατασκευαστικό στάδιο. Οι πρώτοι ανασκαφείς των δύο ναών πρότειναν ότι τα σχοινιά θα εξυπηρετούσαν την ανύψωση κάθε λιθόπλινθου στη θέση της, και ύστερα απομακρύνονταν από τις αυλακώσεις όταν η λιθόπλινθος είχε τοποθετηθεί σε επαφή με τη διπλανή της. Αργότερα ερευνητές απέρριψαν αυτή τη θεωρία τόσο ως αντιφατική με τα τεκμήρια όσο και τεχνικά ανέφικτη, αμφισβητώντας αν ανυψωτικές μηχανές χρησιμοποιούνταν στην αρχαιοελληνική οικοδομική ήδη από τα μέσα του 7 ου αι. π.Χ. Επί του παρόντος, η ευρέως αποδεκτή θεωρία υποστηρίζει ότι ο γερανός εμφανίστηκε στον Ελληνικό κόσμο μόνο στον ύστερο 6 ο αι. π.Χ. Μια εναλλακτική υπόθεση είναι ότι οι αύλακες ανοίγονταν νωρίς στην κατασκευαστική διαδικασία ώστε να μπορούν να χρησιμοποιηθούν σχοινιά για τη μετακίνηση των λιθόπλινθων μέσα στο λατομείο. Ωστόσο, η «ανυψωτική» θεωρία συνεχίζει να βρίσκει υποστηρικτές. Η διευκρίνηση της σημασίας αυτών των παράλληλων αυλακώσεων είναι έτσι ένα θέμα ιδιαίτερης σπουδαιότητας για την ιστορία της αρχαίας ελληνικής οικοδομικής. Αυτό το άρθρο, επανεκτιμά την εναλλακτική θεωρία με βάση την επανεξέταση των τεκμηρίων, και αποδεικνύει πως η ιδέα ότι οι αύλακες χρησίμευαν για την ανύψωση είναι η πιο εύλογη. Επιπλέον, το άρθρο υποστηρίζει ότι οι πρόδρομοι του γερανού εμφανίστηκαν στην Ελλάδα πολύ πριν τα τέλη του 6 ου αι. Τέλος, μέσω της εξέτασης του τρόπου με τον οποίο οι λιθίπλινθοι θα μετακινούνταν στη θέση τους μετά την ανύψωση, διατείνεται ότι οι αύλακες χρησίμευαν επίσης στην τοποθέτηση, με μια μέθοδο που προβλέπει την εκλεπτισμένη τεχνική των μοχλών της Κλασικής περιόδου.
The Island Of Stone Money
There's a tiny island called Yap out in the Pacific Ocean. Economists love it because it helps answer this really basic question: What is money?
There's no gold or silver on Yap. But hundreds of years ago, explorers from Yap found limestone deposits on an island hundreds of miles away. And they carved this limestone into huge stone discs, which they brought back across the sea on their small bamboo boats.
It's unclear if these stones started as money. But at some point the people on Yap realized what most societies realize. They needed something that everyone agrees you can use to pay for stuff.
And like many societies, the people of Yap took the thing they had that was pretty — their version of gold — and decided that was money.
A piece of stone money was really valuable you wouldn't use it for some everyday purchase. You'd use it for something big — a daughter's dowry, say.
"If somebody was in real dire straits, and something happened to their crop of food or they were running low on provisions and they had some stone money, they might trade," says Scott Fitzpatrick, an anthropologist at North Carolina State University who is an expert on Yap.
One key thing about this money: It was really heavy. A big piece could weigh more than a car.
As a result, this very concrete form of money quickly made the jump to being something very abstract.
"They often talk about the stones themselves not changing hands at all," Fitzpatrick says. "In fact, most of the time they wouldn't."
So imagine there's this great big stone disc sitting in a village. One person gives it to another person. But the stone doesn't move. It's just that everybody in the village knows the stone now has a new owner.
In fact, the stone doesn't even need to be on the island to count as money.
One time, according to the island's oral tradition, a work crew was bringing was bringing a giant stone coin back to yap on a boat. And just before they got back to the island, they hit a big storm. The stone wound up on the bottom of the ocean.
The crew made it back to the island and told everybody what happened. And everybody decided that the piece of stone money was still good — even though it was on the bottom of the ocean.
"So somebody today owns this piece of stone money, even though nobody's seen it for over 100 years or more," Fitzgerald says.
This system, in the end, feels really familiar. If you go online to pay your electric bill, what's really changing in the world?
Some digits in your bank account get shifted around, along with some digits in the power company's bank account.
In other words, that stone money on the bottom of the ocean that you used to own now belongs to the power company.
Our headline has been used before. It's the name both of a book about Yap, written a century ago, and a 1991 paper by the economist Milton Friedman, who compared Yap's monetary system to the gold standard.
Scott Fitzpatrick, with stone money. courtesy Scott Fitzpatrick hide caption
South Pole Expeditions Then and Now: How Does Their Food and Gear Compare?
A new Antarctic expedition is retracing the 1911-1912 route of Captain Robert Scott.
The plan: Four months, 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) on foot, in temperatures down to -58 Fahrenheit (-50 Celsius), along the same route to the South Pole that claimed the lives of British polar explorer Captain Robert Scott and his men more than a century ago. (Read "Race to the South Pole" in National Geographic magazine.)
That's what British polar adventurer Ben Saunders and teammate Tarka L'Herpiniere are facing in an Antarctic journey that will take them from Scott's historic hut on Ross Island, over the Ross Ice Shelf, up the massive Beardmore Glacier, and across the freezing Polar Plateau.
If successful, the Scott Expedition, which launches this weekend, will become the longest unsupported human-powered journey in polar history. (Follow the team's progress on their blog.)
Polar travel has come a long way since Scott's day, of course. For a start, he didn't have freeze-proof laptops, electrolyte drinks, or a mobile satellite hub. Here's how the gear and food of the two South Pole expeditions compare.
Diet. The staple food of Scott's five-man party was pemmican, a mixture of dried beef and fat, to which water was added. Researchers have calculated that the team's rations, which also included pony meat and lots of biscuits, were 2,000 to 3,000 calories short of the daily intake necessary to keep up with the extreme physical demands. (See "Rare Pictures: Scott's South Pole Expedition, 100 Years Later.")
By contrast, Saunders and L'Herpiniere will consume almost 6,000 calories a day—a combined total of 1.3 million calories for the trip. The largely freeze-dried menu includes porridge and cream for breakfast, energy and protein bar snacks washed down with hot carbohydrate and electrolyte drinks, and chicken curry with added fat for dinner.
Diet is the main difference between then and now, according to Saunders. "We've invested many years of trial and testing into customizing a diet that will give us the sustenance we need to cover the full 1,800 miles," he said.
Ian Stone, a researcher in polar history at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, U.K., described the new expedition as "a hellish prospect."
And, he noted, since the trek won't have any support from others along the way, the pair can't accept so much as a cup of tea at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole research station, which now marks the South Pole, before they turn around. (Read a first-person account of visiting the South Pole.)
Sleds and Weight. Saunders and L'Herpiniere will be hauling handmade carbon-fiber sleds with Kevlar bases. Lightweight yet tough enough to withstand banging into rock-solid ice, the sleds are specially designed so they can be shortened as the pair drops off supplies for the return trip.
Though Scott had wooden sleds, the outward journey as far as the Polar Plateau involved a mixture of transport: motorized sledges, as well as ponies and dogs for hauling loads. In fact, Scott's expedition wasn't unsupported. (See pictures of more modern Antarctic expeditions.)
"They started off with a large number of men who gradually went back to base having pulled most of the heavy loads, so the actual Pole party didn't have as much to pull," polar historian Stone noted.
Whereas Scott's South Pole team each dragged 200 pounds (91 kilograms), Saunders' and L'Herpiniere's sleds will start out carrying 440 pounds (200 kilograms) of weight. While benefiting from a century of innovation in polar equipment, "we're going to be hauling significantly heavier loads," Saunders said.
The duo has gone to extreme lengths to reduce weight—cutting off clothing labels, replacing metal zip-pullers with nylon loops, trimming the corners off freeze-dried food packets, drilling holes in toothbrush handles, and so on.
Skis. The Scott Expedition will be using skis that are designed for competition ski mountaineering. Significantly lighter and shorter than touring skis typically used for polar environments, they're also extremely strong. The skis have been customized by adding a nylon skin to the undersides to provide extra traction for the heavy loads.
Scott's team used wooden skis. Well, four of the five did, as Stone pointed out. The fifth member, Henry Bowers, was a last-minute inclusion to the South Pole party, despite not having his skis with him.
"The poor sod had to walk all the way from the top of the Beardmore Glacier to the South Pole and back," Stone said.
Not that the others were very proficient on skis, unlike the Norwegian team, led by Roald Amundsen, which beat Scott to the South Pole by four weeks.
"Amundsen's people were all consummate skiers," Stone added. Fortunately, so are Saunders and L'Herpiniere.
Clothing. Saunders and L'Herpiniere will be protected by high-tech mountaineering clothing with outer fabrics that have been specially tailored for the Antarctic's dry environment.
All water is frozen or falls as snow, so a rainproof membrane isn't needed, Saunders explained. Breathability, however, is crucial—pulling a 440-pound (200-kilogram) sled generates an awful lot of heat, even at -49 Fahrenheit (-45 Celsius), he said.
Scott's South Pole expedition was kitted out by Burberry, whose polar garments consisted of wool and cotton. Amundsen's team also wore natural fur. "If you see a picture of Amundsen's expedition, they all look very furry, but Scott's expedition looks as if they're about to climb some peak in the [English] Lake District," Stone observed. (Find out how Amundsen won the race to the South Pole, in his own words.)
Communication. Once Scott's team was on the Polar Plateau, they were on their own with no means of communication. The story of their fateful journey was gleaned only after Scott's diary was retrieved from the tent in which the last survivors died.
Saunders and L'Herpiniere will stay connected and provide regular updates (including photos and videos) using laptops connected to a mobile satellite hub. The ultralight laptops are modified so they have no moving parts and can cope with being repeatedly frozen to at least -40 Fahrenheit (-40 Celsius). (See pictures from the Amundsen and Scott expeditions.)
Powered by portable solar panels that attach to the sleds or tent, the laptops also provide the luxury of watching pre-downloaded films in the evening.
"We've got a bit of a mix—everything from Breaking Bad to Love Actually," Saunders said.
"It's hard to know exactly what you're going to be in the mood for before you leave, so we've catered for all eventualities."
Stone Weight From The Comacchio Shipwreck - History
Liberty Ships built by the United States Maritime Commission in World War II
"Liberty ship" was the name given to the EC2 type ship designed for "Emergency" construction by the United States Maritime Commission in World War II. Liberty ships were nicknamed "ugly ducklings" by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The first of the 2,711 Liberty ships was the SS Patrick Henry , launched on Sept. 27, 1941, and built to a standardized, mass produced design. (2,710 ships were completed, as one burned at the dock.) The 250,000 parts were pre-fabricated throughout the country in 250-ton sections and welded together in about 70 days. One Liberty ship, the SS Robert E. Peary was built in four and a half days. A Liberty cost under $2,000,000.
The Liberty was 441 feet long and 56 feet wide. Her three-cylinder, reciprocating steam engine, fed by two oil-burning boilers produced 2,500 hp and a speed of 11 knots. Her 5 holds could carry over 9,000 tons of cargo, plus airplanes, tanks, and locomotives lashed to its deck. A Liberty could carry 2,840 jeeps, 440 tanks, or 230 million rounds of rifle ammunition.
Liberty ships were named after prominent (deceased) Americans, starting with Patrick Henry and the signers of the Declaration of Independence. 18 that were named for outstanding African-Americans.
Any group which raised $2 million dollars in War Bonds could suggest a name for a Liberty ship, thus, one is named for the founder of the 4-H movement in Kansas, the first Ukrainian immigrant to America, an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Union, and the woman who suggested the poppy as a symbol of American soldiers who died in World War I. The Francis J. O'Gara was named after a mariner who was presumed dead, but who in fact, was a Prisoner of War. He was the only person to visit a Liberty ship named in his honor.
History of Anchor Design
The importance of the anchor in the history of seafaring people is perhaps little understood. Yet, literally thousands of ships of war or commerce have been lost due to the failure of ground tackle, and the resultant loss of lives, vessels and cargo most probably had significant impact on the world. Despite this fact, it is incredible to note how little advancement was made in anchor design from the earliest Chinese anchors until just prior to World War II. The Greeks, the Romans, the Spanish, the English, and the other mariners would have handled their ships differently in exploration, in trade and in battle had they possessed anchors that could be trusted in bad weather. In fact, ship design itself would have been different had the concepts of modern anchor design been known.
A heavy stone tied to a crude rope was prehistoric man's first "anchor". <stone anchor-1> To tie the stone more securely, grooves were cut around the oblong shapes but they relied on weight alone for holding rather than hooking or burying as did later anchors. To overcome aimless dragging, wooden crooks, cages or iron hooks were added which resulted in a slight increase in holding power.
Those "killicks" are still used in many primitive societies throughout the world. <killick anchor-2> These were still not true anchors and they dragged on hard bottoms and became buried in mud.
Even the Egyptians, with their expertise in engineering, still used conical stakes with papyrus cable in 2200 B.C. But anchoring was not as important as it would become, becuase early boats were small and always beached when not in use. As water travel increased, so too did the need for larger boats and better anchors.
The earliest true anchors, which held by shape rather than by weight alone, were the East Indian <east indian anchor-3> and similar types. In about 2000 B.C., the Chinese developed an anchor with the stock at the head which is still being used today aboard Chinese junks. <Chinese-4>
The first record of an anchor design, variations of which became known as the "Old Fashioned" or "Common" anchor, was on Greek and Syrian coins of about 750 B.C. <Ancient Greek (from coins) anchor-5> This anchor has two hooked arms and an opposing stock. This general type continued in use for a period of twenty-six centuries, and was still used by the British and U.S. Navies in the 1800's. Flukes had appeared on Roman anchors of this design before the time of Christ.
The "Old Fashioned" or "Common" anchor is also referred to as a "kedge" by ship chandlers and others today. The term originally meant a small anchor capable of being handled by boat cres, which was used to "kedge" or pull a ship off the bottom, or along in shallow water, by dropping anchors out ahead of it.
Ancient Greek seamen used these early anchors to put in for trade at the mouth of the Nile. Stones heavy enough to hold merchant galleys were impossible to retieve from the deep delta mud. the more efficient iron anchors wre much lighter, but even they were often sheathed in wood to keep them from settling too deeply.
Britons, sailing against Caesar's invaders, had perhaps the strangest mooring tackle of all time--heavy stones secured to the world's first anchor chain. Iron links were used because the Britons had no strong rope.
These heavy links, incidentally greatly affected the ship design of that day. The weight of the links plus the weight of the stones was so great that only short lengths of chain could be used. For this reason, the Britons anchored with their chains practically up and down, with no freedom to rise and fall riding at anchor was one plunge into the waves after another. To survive these rides, a peculiar vessel evolved with unusually high head and gunwales. Sir Walter Raleigh in his "Disclosure on the First Invention of Ships" said, "Instead of fitting their furniture to their ships they formed their ships to their furniture."
Much information on ancient anchors was obtained in 1930 when Lake Nemi, near Rome, was drained. two huge anchors were found there near hulks of two galleys built by Emperor Caligula in 40 A.D.
One of these was an all-iron "Common" anchor weighing 900 lbs. Its shank was 11 ft. 8 in. long, and its stock was 9 ft. 9 in. long, held in place by a cotter pin. Stowing was easily accomplished by removing the stock and laying the anchor flat.
The other anchor from Lake Nemi <Roman Ship anchor-6> had an 18 ft. oak shank with two oak, iron-tipped arms and a 7 ft. 10 in. solid lead stock. The discovery of this anchor explained the presence of lead bars found about the shores of the Mediterranean which weighted up to 1380 lbs.
The Roman wood and lead anchor was lighter than the iron anchor used in those times. This lighter anchor was used regularly by vessels stopping at the Nile Delta. A ship given to Ptolemy by Heiron of Syracuse had eight iron and four wooden anchors.
With the fall of Rome, this great knowledge of morring ships at sea was apparently lost. Some Viking ships in 800 A.D. carried small iron anchors with flukes and rings, and an old tapestry shows Norman invaders carrying a double flukedanchor (without a stock) to England's shore.
In the fifteenth century the large "Old Fashioned" anchor was seen again on the shiops of the great navigators <Old Fashioned anchor-7>. This anchor type with flukes and fixed wooden stock was still standard equipment on U.S. Navy ships as late as 1860.
Other anchoring advancements were being made. In the 16th century, Sir Walter Raleigh reported that first use of the capstan. He also commented on the value of scope, saying "Witness our small Millbrooke men of Cornwal. They ride it out at anchor half seas over between England and Ireland all the winter quarter. And witness the Hollanders that ride before Dunkirk, with the wind at N.W. makeing a lee shoar in all weathers. For it is the length of calbeis the life of the shipos in all extremities."
"And the reason is that it takes so many bendings and waves as the ship riding at the length is not able to stretch it. And nothing breaks that is not stretched in extremity."
Later such navigators as Bougainville and Cook suggested iron chain for securing anchors instead of hemp rope. Lt. Samuel Brown, of the British Navy, fitted the "Penelope" with the first modern anchor chain in 1809.
But the first real depature in anchor design since 600 B.C. was Hawkins' patent in 1821 of the "Stockless" or "Patent" anchor. <Stockless or Patent anchor - 8> This anchor had two wide flukes hinged at the bottom of the shank in such a manner that they would both presumably bitea at once. The "Stockless" is in common use in larger ships today primarily due to its easy stowage in hawse pipe.
A "Wishbone" anchor <Wishbone anchor - 9> was patented by Piper in 1822, but was not widely used. Another hinged-arm anchor <Porter anchor - 10> ws patented by Porter in England in 1838, although it had been shown 16 years earlier in the patent issued by Piper. This "antifouling" design was very popular as evidence by the number still being recovered from the bottoms of Europe's ports.
The "Mushroom" <Mushroom anchor - 11> first appeared sometime after 1850, and has been used mainly for permanent moorings.
Yale Guide to Anchor Rode - While Yale Cordage Co. calls this white paper "Anchoring Technology", and it has a bit of anchor history as well, it's mainly about anchor rode physics and recommendations.
Shell announced the final investment decision to develop the Stones field in May 2013. Work then began to construct the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel and subsea infrastructure. The FPSO, called Turritella, set sail from a shipyard in Singapore in October 2015 and arrived in the Gulf of Mexico in January 2016.
Development of the Stones field began with two subsea production wells tied back to Turritella. Six further production wells will be added later, as well as a multi-phase system to pump oil and gas from the seabed to the FPSO, increasing recoverable volumes and production rates. All eight wells will ultimately be connected to Turritella. The reservoir depth is around 8,077 metres (26,500 feet) below sea level, and 5,181 metres (17,000 feet) below the mud line.
Cat on a cold patio roof.
Anyone who has a cat will tell you that they are experts when it comes to psychological warfare. Whilst you crave their love and attention (because just look at them! Fluffy, purring balls of cute!), they treat you with contempt, tolerating you long enough to provide belly rubs and food on their terms. They often call the shots in the relationship. They can do what they want – they are independent (ish). This is my cat Dwight Kat Shrute. A big, fat, four year old tabby, who only seeks us out for a belly rub, food or to sleep on our legs at night when we fall asleep. He is an indoor cat, his only foray out of the house is when he darts into the garage as we go in and out in the course of putting our washing through the dryer. He will run in, flop on the concrete and then proceeds to roll all over the floor. He has a nosey through the tools and bits and pieces that we have stored in the garage. If we are not quick enough, he will even spring up into the dryer (often on top of the clean clothes fresh out from the washing machine). When he gets in the dryer, he then seems to puff himself up so as to make it hard for us to remove him from the dryer.
Whilst he likes to sit by the window and watch the birds outside, he prefers to be inside where he gets the house, great food and the dryer. We were proud that our cat shunned the great outdoors – look at our cat, being responsible and not out there killing native wildlife. What a great cat we have.
You know sometimes it is bad to get complacent…
Last month my parents were visiting from interstate. My husband and I had turned our young son’s bedroom into the guest room and Mish got to camp out in the home office. In preparing his bedroom for my parents to sleep in, I noticed that the window flyscreen had fallen out and onto the patio roof. We would sort that out later (my dad actually fixed it for us), but at the time we were not too worried as the window was fitted with a safety lock, so the window could only be slid open no more than a gap of 12cm. My husband slid the window open to let fresh air into the room, and I made the comment “maybe we should keep the bedroom door closed whilst the window is open. I don’t want Dwight to get out.” Mike looked at me as if I had two heads, “what? Really? No, he won’t fit through that tiny gap. Look at him, the cat is a tank! Too fat to make that little gap. Plus, he has never shown an interest in getting out. Pffft!” Still, I insisted that the room remained closed off for as long as the window was open.
Later that evening my parents arrived and we spent the night catching up on everything over dinner. The kids were loving being with their Nanny and Poppy. Ripley, our dog, remembered my dad from the last visit and she was all over him like Velcro (he is the bringer of cookies and bones). Our guinea pig, Doctor Who sat in his hutch and kept staring at mum – I believe it was because he recognised a fellow vegan in my mum. Dwight thundered down the stairs and into the lounge. He stopped and stared at us all before going over and giving Ripley a quick cat bath. They had a play fight and Dwight sat on his little armchair and watched us all for a few minutes before heading in to the kitchen for his dinner.
As the night wore on, we decided it was time to all head off to bed. I got Tilly and Mish sorted and tucked up in their beds. My parents changed and settled down in the guest room. Mike went into the study to play a quick game of warships on his computer, whilst I headed back downstairs to do a final check of the doors and windows. As I walked around downstairs I realised that I had not seen Dwight since he wandered out of the lounge room hours earlier. Usually he comes back downstairs to circle me in the hopes I will give him an extra packet of food before bed. I called out for him. Nothing. I searched all of the downstairs, behind furniture. No cat. I went into the garage on the chance that maybe he snuck in as I was changing the laundry over in the dryer. I poked about the tools and boxes. No cat. I turned and looked at the dryer which was thumping away. My heart froze. No! Did he jump in the dryer without me realising? Surely not! Oh my GOD! With my heart pounding and hands trembling, I paused the dryer and opened the door. The warm air rushed out at me. I sniffed, relieved that all I could smell was warm, clean sheets and not singed fur. I began to take the sheets out of the dryer and let out a huge sigh of relief when I saw that Dwight was not in the dryer.
Alright, so not downstairs, he must be in his usual spot – under my bed. I run upstairs and into my bedroom where I called out to him before dropping to my hands and knees to look under the bedframe. He was not there. Home office – nope. Tilly’s room – nope. Mish’s (guest) room – nope. I was getting annoyed. Where was this bloody cat? Mike was not concerned. He continued his computer game, convinced the cat would appear out of thin air as cats so often do. My parents though were just as bewildered as I was as to where he could be, and they came out to help me look for him. We did another search of the house to no avail. The only thing left would be outside. But how? Oh my God, the WINDOW! Mike was still incredulous of my theory that Dwight had managed to slip into the room and squish himself through a 12cm gap and out to freedom.
Mum and I went out to the backyard whilst dad looked out the bedroom window onto the patio roof. He was not on the roof, not in the backyard. Maybe he jumped across to the neighbours’ patio which winds around to a big garden with trees. From there he would climb down and into another yard. I had a vision of my big fat cat wandering around the pool in the yard behind our home. What if he got down, but could not get back up over the fence to come home? I came in to see that Mike had decided to join the search party and had gone out the front to see if he could find this cat of ours. He shook his head at mum and I. So we went out to look for ourselves. I crawled around the communal driveway, peeking under parked cars. Mum poked about in the garden beds. We make clicking and cooing sounds. God knows what the neighbours made of it – two women outside rummaging through the gardens, making weird sounds – at twelve o’clock at night. It was freezing and I began to get upset and angry that Dwight could do this to me. I bought him his favourite food earlier that day, I let him shred my arm as he let me rub his belly, and now he has the audacity to leave me. Break up with me without as much as a post-it-note (a little Sex and the City reference there).
As I stood by the trees, feeling hopeless, rejected and pissed off because it was freezing cold and I was no doubt cementing my neighbours opinion of me as being a bit odd, I heard a rustling. I looked up into the branches and in the dim light I could make out a grey, furry body and a little face with big black eyes and twitching whiskers. “Dwight!” I gasped. Mum heard me and came running over to where I stood. “Oh, not Dwight. Just a possum.” As it sat in the tree peering down at mum and I, we stood with arms outstretched, wriggling our fingers to try and coax it down so we could pat it. Looking back, not a smart move on our part as mum and I have shit night vision, so for all we know, we could have been offering our arms and fingers to a large rabid rat. We were none the wiser.
Not the possum mum and I encountered (and tried to adopt), but looks exactly like it (image: free stock).
It was no use. The possum/rat grew bored with us and climbed over the fence. Mum and I were freezing, we both realised we were out walking around on the cold concrete barefoot. We had to go back inside, there was nothing more we could do. Dwight was gone. Inside, mum and I decided we would camp out in the lounge room so we would hear Dwight if he returned. Mike and Dad did a final look out the upstairs windows overlooking the patio roof, but Dwight was nowhere to be seen. Soon the house was quiet. Kids, Mike and Dad were sound asleep. Mum and I sat up in the lounge room, mum offered me words of comfort. She assured me that Dwight would come back home. If someone found him, they would help him because he is such a lovely cat. We could check with the vet and council in the morning to see if he had been brought in. “He will come home Jassie. I know he will.” In my head I was seeing him being skittled by a car – we are surrounded on all sides by main roads. I saw him being attacked by a dog – he has grown up with our Ripley, but she is such a dope of a love pupper, she would never hurt a fly. I saw him being picked up by a stranger and taken in as their new cat.
A small Roman mirror, made up of a square lead frame and a convex reflective glass surface, was recently recovered in Padua in a grave dating back to the second half of the 2nd century AD. It was investigated with a multidisciplinary approach. During restoration, the artefact was dismantled, its individual components cleaned, consolidated and then reassembled. Chemical and isotopic analyses were carried out on microscopic fragments from both the glass and the lead components to identify their origin and production technologies. Structured-light 3D scanning was used both to produce a model of the artefact and to reconstruct its optical properties. Archaeometric results show that the 200 μm thick reflective glass surface, coated with a thin lead film, belongs to the Sb-colourless group. The lead frame is now totally oxidised. The lead isotope ratios of both the glass coating and the frame show a common composition, statistically close to some Romanian ores. These data suggest a multistep production process, most likely carried out in the same workshop. The distribution of similar finds mainly between the Northern-Adriatic basin and the Danube could indicate that these products were manufactured in the central-eastern provinces of the Roman Empire, presumably in the Southern Carpathian area, close to the local lead ore deposits. The typology is well defined thanks to the 3D model that is an important tool for morphometric investigations. The optical properties of the mirror, given by its convex spherical surface with a 9 cm radius, suggest the object was actually used as a makeup tool.
In conclusion, this multidisciplinary approach reveals that despite its non-precious materials, the mirror can be considered a product of superior technological and scientific skills.