tech, AI, Mount Vesuvius, research, ancient scrolls, reading carbonized papyrus
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Researchers Use AI to Read Word on Ancient Scroll Burned by Vesuvius (Maria)

The author writes, “When the blast from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius reached Herculaneum in AD 79, it burned hundreds of ancient scrolls to a crisp in the library of a luxury villa and buried the Roman town in ash and pumice. The disaster appeared to have destroyed the scrolls for good, but nearly 2,000 years later researchers have extracted the first word from one of the texts, using artificial intelligence to peer deep inside the delicate, charred remains. … Researchers have since uncovered more letters from the ancient scroll.”

‘I Hope It Can Endure’: Examples of Jewish-Arab Solidarity Offer Hope in Israel (Gerry)

From The Guardian: “Since the new wave of violence engulfing the region began on 7 October — when Hamas burst through the Gaza security fence and rampaged through dozens of Israeli communities, killing 1,400, leading Israel to declare a war on the strip that has killed 2,200 — some have found hope in the ability of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel to band together. Thousands of volunteers of different ethnicities are working to help victims of the violence and clean up neglected bomb shelters, amid many other efforts at calming the heightened tensions around the country.”

Saudi Arabia Puts Israel Deal on Ice Amid War, Engages With Iran: Report (Mili)

The author writes, “Saudi Arabia is putting United States-backed plans to normalize ties with Israel on ice, two sources familiar with Riyadh’s thinking told Reuters news agency, signaling a rapid rethink of its foreign policy priorities as war escalates between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas.”

The Army Is Planning for a Conflict With China — Including Shoring Up Blood Supply (Sean)

From Defense One: “The service’s medical command is experimenting with blood storage and distribution, as it looks to overcome the logistical challenges of the Indo-Pacific.”

Scholastic’s ‘Bigot Button’ (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “This year, facing pressure from right-wing ideologues, Scholastic is facilitating the exclusion of books that feature people of color and/or LGBTQ characters. Scholastic has grouped many of these titles in a collection called ‘Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice.’ School officials are then given the option to exclude the entire set of books from the book fair. Scholastic has, in the words of one librarian, given schools a ‘bigot button’ to exclude these books and mollify intolerant pressure groups.” 

How to Build a Heat-Resilient City (Laura)

The authors write, “As climate change fuels a succession of historic heat waves, the urban heat island effect in many American cities is pushing the limits of human survivability. That’s the case in desert cities like Phoenix, where temperatures crested 110 degrees F for 30 straight days this summer, and also in cooler climes like Chicago, which has seen a series of scalding triple-digit weeks over the past few months. Dealing with this type of heat requires more than isolated interventions — reflective roofs here or mist machines there. Rather, the crisis of the past summer has shown that most American urban centers will need to consider a revamp from the ground up.”

Inside A Married Couple’s 5-Year Quest to Uncover the Secrets of Costco (Reader Steve)

From The Seattle Times: “Last month, a few days before Costco’s 40th anniversary, [David and Susan Schwartz] published The Joy of Costco: A Treasure Hunt from A to Z, a colorful encyclopedia stuffed full of Costco trivia, history and stories. The Seattle Times chatted with the Schwartzes … about their research and favorite facts about the Seattle-born warehouse chain.”


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