Stolen brains, from ashes to diamonds, and a possible new king unearthed

I am sorry. I have neglected my blog. I wished I could say it was because of this:

In fact, it was the post-holidays and post-PhD hibernation. As in the past couple of weeks news have been piling up, I chose the top 3 stories.

1. “Brain thefts boost attendance at tiny museum“: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/18/brain-thefts-boost-attendance-at-tiny-museum/4641775/

It seems that what started as an unfortunate event for the Indiana Medical History Museum in Indianapolis, the theft of around 300 jars with organs specimens, put the unknown museum on the visitors map. I guess every jar has a silver lining 🙂

2. “From Ashes To Ashes To Diamonds: A Way To Treasure The Dead“: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/19/263128098/swiss-company-compresses-cremation-ashes-into-diamonds

First time I’ve heard about this I was in a Sheffield crematorium, on my birthday (quite a celebration that was). The basic idea is that ashes can be turned into diamonds (basic chemistry and physics), and so: “Diamonds are supposed to be a girl’s best friend. Now, they might also be her mother, father or grandmother“.

3. “King Alfred the Great ‘find’: Is this the new Richard III?“: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25784726

The discovery of Richard III under a car park started a frenzy last year, among press, the public and especially among academics. Though we might have expected the next royal remains to pop up in a pharmacy or supermarket, we were wrong: what might be the remains of King Alfred (849-899) were found when going through some remains unearthed in Winchester in 1999 (in the abbey’s grounds). However, it is just a pelvis fragment, and the researchers think it is as likely it belongs to Alfred or his son (or none of the above). You can read the story at the link above (or more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-25760383).

In any case, I am personally quite happy when such discoveries come forward, not just to shake up a bit the academic world and bring it closer to the public, but also because they make us question what should Archaeology admit as evidence.

PS: On the weird side of news is the one about the curator of an upcoming London exhibition, Extremes (in short: he friezes, and does yoga) : http://www.culture24.org.uk/science-and-nature/art464127-Curator-freezes-tries-hot-yoga-in-shirt-tie-ahead-of-Horniman-Extremes-exhibition

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