Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pot pourri of Blogs, Astrolabes, and Chivalry

Tess Gerritsen has returned to writing her blog.

I had become a fan of hers via her blog, and enjoyed reading her perspectives on writing, publishing as well as realities full time authors face. A few months ago, Tess quit blogging due to flak generated by some trolls who were not followers of her blog and were alerted to one of her posts. They did not understand her humor and they hounded her.

I unsubscribed from the offending blog community which was one that I read casually, but was disgusted at how they treated her. I do not wish to have anything further to do with them.

Anyway, I am glad Tess is back and I look forward to reading her posts once again as well as her future novels. By the way, her book The Bone Garden is now out in paperback and is ranked #11 on the New York Times Bestseller list. If you have not read any of Tess Gerritsen's work before, that is a wonderful place to start as it is a stand alone book.

It deals with the gruesome medical history of "resurrectionists" who trafficked in human cadavers for medical school students and the contributions of Oliver Wendell Holmes in treating the epidemic of puerperal fever. The book is a murder mystery/thriller/historical novel and I highly recommend it.

For some reason, Googlemort did not alert me right away when she began posting again. Instead my Google Reader for some reason kept those posts in a cache and then eleven unread posts appeared all at once making me think she went on a blogging spree.

For the medievalists who follow my blog, here is a link to a picture of Tess at Hadrian's wall.

Speaking of medievalists...I did not realize that medieval astrolabes were all that rare until I saw an article posted by the News for Medievalists blog which said in part:

A "calculator" used in the time of Geoffrey Chaucer and described as one of the most sophisticated such tools before the computer is to remain in London.

The Canterbury Astrolabe Quadrant is one of only eight instruments of this type known to have survived from the Middle Ages, the British Museum said. The museum tried to buy the object last year but was outbid at auction.

But it has now been able to acquire it for £350,000 due to a £125,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, £50,000 from The Art Fund and £175,000 from British Museum Friends and other sources. It will go on display in the museum early next month.

Had I realized astrolabes were so important, I would have posted a picture of one in my write up about the Institut du Monde Arabe last year.

So here is a picture of a Carolingian era astrolabe in that beautiful museum.

And here is its label showing that it is of the Carolingian era, even though its origins are from Spain.

The term chivalry has come to mean many different things over the years, but to me it is a sense of fairness rather than the pervasive "win at all costs" mentality. This pre-occupation with winning has caused many to bemoan if there is any sense of sportmanship anymore and whether or not we would recognize it if we saw it.

A friend of mine, who is an ethics practitioner, is planning a speech entitled "The Ethics of Sport....Does Anybody Still Play Fair?" and offered a link to an amazing story of a college softball conference championship where fairness ruled the day over the attitude of wishing injuries to your opponents if that might lead to your side winning.

These women did the right thing, and the story warms my heart. It is truly the lesson of not whether or not you win or lose, but how you play the game that is important.

(Blogger created new gadgets, so I am experimenting to see if this is a better use than the embedded video. Please let me know if this is something you prefer. Also your thoughts on the chivalrous act done on behalf of an opposing player.)


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