Archive for April 22nd, 2012
Sociobiologist E.O. Wilson on the evolution of culture …
The Louvre of the Paleolithic galleries is at the Grotte Chauvet in the Ardèche region of southern France. The masterpiece among its productions, created by a single artist with red ocher, charcoal, and engraving, is a herd of four horses (a native wild species in Europe at that time) running together. Each of the animals is represented by only its head, but each is individual in character. The herd is tight and oriented obliquely, as though seen from slightly above and to the left. The edges of the muzzles were chiseled into bas relief to bring them into greater prominence. Exact analyses of the figures have found that multiple artists first painted a pair of rhinoceros males in head-to-head combat, then two aurochs (wild cattle) facing away. The two groups were placed to leave a space in the middle. Into the space the single artist stepped to create his little herd of horses.
The annual Lyrid meteor shower will hit its peak this weekend and promises to put on an eye-catching display. So much so, NASA is pulling out all the stops.
NASA scientists plan to track the Lyrid meteor shower using a network of all-sky cameras on Earth, as well as from a student-launched balloon in California. Meanwhile, an astronaut on the International Space Station will attempt to photograph the meteors from space.
All of the work is timed for the peak of the Lyrids display of "shooting stars," which occurs late Saturday night and early Sunday (April 21 and 22). The meteors will appear to emanate from the constellation Lyra, which will appear in the northeastern sky at midnight local time, between the two days. The best time to see them is in the hours before dawn.
Reporter's note: Nothing visible last night from our small patch of cloud-covered earth, unfortunately. But things are looking up – a clearing sky late tonight & early morning is forecast for Chicago — cleardarksky.com