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Gordon Wells
Worked at Emory University
Lives in Stellenbosch
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Gordon Wells

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Watch A Timelapse Video Made From 150,000 Photographs Of A Coral Reef

“Don’t go fishing when your house is on fire"
Go in the New Yorker
It took computers eighty-four years less than predicted to start beating humans at a Chinese board game called Go.
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Wonderful infographic from the Washington Post showing what happens to your body if sat at a desk all day, and ways to avoid / fix the problems

#infographic #sittingdangers #healthyliving #sittingdisease #washingtonpost #badposture #badpositioning  
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I too loved the show in the beginning, but once I realized that the laugh tracks they add are totally fake, I tried to listen to the actual jokes. It's appalling how flat the jokes really are. Still I do love Sheldon as a character and I do still watch the show now and again.

Gordon Wells

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Once upon a time there was bi-partisan support for National Parks and the EPA
The House of Representatives is planning to vote next week to overturn a 108 year-old law that presidents of both parties have used to protect iconic American places, including the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and Arches National Park.
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Gordon Wells

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This is fantastic. I always thought the US should've tried to infiltrate an elite force ahead of time to defend the museum of Baghdad (where possible comprising Iraqi Americans, sympathetic both to the causes of preserving Iraqi history and defending Democracy). Col. Bogdanos did the next best thing. 
Unlooting the Iraq Museum

This week US Marines Col. Matthew Bogdanos gave a Long Now talk on his experience in Iraq leading the efforts to recover the priceless artifacts looted from the Iraq National Museum in April 2003.  Here’s my summary of the talk:

Iraq’s National Museum in Baghdad had been closed to the public by Saddam Hussein for over two decades when his regime fell in April 02003. Iraqis felt no connection to the world renowned cultural treasures inside. Like every other government building, it was trashed and looted.

Marine Col. Matthew Bogdanos, then in Basra leading a counter-terrorism group, volunteered part of his team to attempt recovery of the lost artifacts. He arrived at the museum with 14 people to protect its dozen buildings and 11 acres in a still-active battle zone. Invited by the museum director, they took up residence and analyzed the place as a crime scene.

Missing were some of civilization’s most historic archeological treasures. From 3200 BC, the Sacred Vase of Warka, the world’s oldest carved stone ritual vessel. From 2600 BC, the solid gold bull’s head from the Golden Harp of Ur. From 2250 BC, the copper Akkadian Bassetki Statue, the earliest known example of lost-wax casting. From 3100 BC, the limestone Mask of Warka, the first naturalistic depiction of a human face. From 800 BC, the Treasure of Nimrud— a fabulous hoard of hundreds of pieces of exquisite Assyrian gold jewelry and gems. Plus thousands of other artifacts and antiquities, including Uruk inscribed cylinder seals from 2500 BC.

Bidding on the international antiquities black market went to $25,000 for Uruk cylinder seals, $40 million for the Vase of Warka.

Since the goal was recovery, not prosecution, Bogdanos instituted a total amnesty for return of stolen artifacts—no questions asked, and also no payment, just a cordial cup of tea for thanks. Having learned from duty in Afghanistan to listen closely to the locals, Bogdanos and his team walked the streets, visited the mosques, played backgammon in the neighborhoods, and followed up on friendly tips (every one of which turned out to be genuine). 3,000 items had been taken from the museum by random looters. Local Iraqis returned 95% of them.

The prime pieces stolen by professional thieves took longer to track down. Raids on smuggler’s trucks and hiding places turned up more items. The Bassetki Statue was found hidden in a cesspool; the Mask of Warka had been buried in the ground. Some pieces began turning up all over the world and were seized when identified. (Bogdanos noted that Geneva, Switzerland, is where that kind of contraband often rests in warehouses that law enforcement is not allowed to search.)

It turned out Saddam himself had looted the museum of the Treasure of Nimrud and the gold bull’s head back in 01990. Tips led to a flooded underground vault in the bombed-out Central Bank of Iraq, and the priceless items were discovered.

Everything found was returned to the Iraq National Museum, where the great antiquities are gradually being restored to public display. Iraq, and the world, is retaking possession of its most ancient heritage.

Bogdanos quoted Sophocles: “Whoever neglects the arts… has lost the past and is dead to the future.”


(This talk was neither recorded nor filmed, because material presented in it is part of a still on-going investigation. You can get the full story from Bogdanos’ excellent book, Thieves of Baghdad.)

Gordon Wells

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One of my favourite things. Nice round up of the +Dogfish Head Craft Brewery continuously hopped IPAs.  
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Gordon Wells

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Reminds me of my desire to have seminal scientific papers redone as illuminated manuscripts (so who've y'all's handy with parchment?)
‘The Shining’

Artist Transforms Violent Movie Scenes Into Wild Ottoman-Style Paintings
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  • Emory University
    Post Doc, Chemistry Dept., 2011 - 2013
  • University of Pretoria
    Post Doc, Biochemistry Dept. Malaria Research Group, 2010 - 2011
  • Meraka Institute, CSIR
    Scientific Officer, HPC Research Group, 2008 - 2010
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