Thursday, October 21, 2010

Facts, New or Not

Don't think you can't have a scintillating dinner conversation tonight. This mix of facts, new or not, will help you get somebody's ear.

✦ Israeli archaeologists have uncovered recently a private box in the upper level of the theatre at King Herod's winter palace in the Judean desert. Enclosing its back and sides are elaborate wall paintings in a style believed to date to approximately 15 BCE.

✦ Some of us like traditional story ballets; others, the abstractions of modern dance. In Sweden, an entirely new form may find favor with those with open minds. Researchers assisted by a professional dancer-choreographer, have created a robotic swan that dances ballet. It's been said that its performance to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake has moved viewers to tears (you be the judge). A press release about the dancing swan, which is one meter tall and has 19 joints, is here.

✦ Guinness World Records has bestowed upon Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle the honor of three entries: Fastest Selling Album by a Female (UK), Most Successful First Week UK Debut Album Sale, and Oldest Artist to Reach No. 1 with a Debut Album (US and UK). For those who want them, the details are here.

✦ India has the only one of its kind: a public karaoke-for-literacy program carried on the country's national television network.

✦ Cambridge, Massachusetts, has more than its fair share of big thinkers. One of them is artist Matthew Mazzotta. His "Park Spark" invention casts a new, if literal, light on how not to waste waste.

✦ At last! Someone has come up with a creative way to turn an ugly oil-drilling rig into. . . a hotel for scuba divers and snorklers. Sited in the Celebes Sea, with Sipadan Island nearby, the Seaventures Dive Resort draws visitors from Japan, Hong Kong, China, England, and, on occasion, the United States. The guest accommodations are a bit cramped, perhaps, but the diving — and marine life down below — promise an experience you're unlikely to ever have at your local water park.

✦ The Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, located off England's southeast coast, is the largest such operation in  the world. Owned by Vattenfall, the fifth largest energy producer is Europe, the wind farm's 100 turbines are expected to generate enough renewable electricity to power more than 200,000 homes. A video about the wind farm is here.


M.L. Gallagher said...

Well I never!

I can't wait to entice my houseguests with these nuggets at dinner tonight. Whoooeee! They're gonna be surprised by my edification.

katdish said...

You are a virtual cornicopia of interesting facts, links and information. Thanks again.

Robin Arnold said...

Just in time. I'm running out of stuff to dazzle my dad with!

Hannah Stephenson said...

I truly think of you as a curator (and talented writer, of course).

Karaoke for literacy!! Sounds amazing!!!

thelmaz said...

Can't wait to casually drop one of these facts into my conversation tonight.

n. davis rosback said...

that swan is a hoot!

S. Etole said...

your awareness of all the different links you provide for us is astounding ...