There’s a cat pic, funny tweets and a podcast in this one

Saturday:

And the Olympics are on, of course, which, in our house, means two weeks of Olympics. Also it means a two-week quixotic attempt to understand NBC’s programming strategy. That’s the true Olympic sport around these parts.

Also, this, from last night:

Actual tears.

And then we got criticized:

I really enjoyed this episode of the podcast. I saw this story a few days back and thought I’d like to find an expert and talk about this with them. You know, localize what is, honestly, an incredible news story:

In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.

Using a revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for “Light Detection And Ranging”), scholars digitally removed the tree canopy from aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed.

The story goes on at great length, and one of the many cool tidbits is that this research is going to force archeologists to revise their old population estimates from about five million people to 10 or 15 million. That’s no blip.

So of course I wanted to talk about this. I looked around and it turns out there are at least two experts on Mayan culture on campus. One is on sabbatical, but the other is here and she was incredibly gracious with her time. Anne Pyburn is the provost professor of anthropology, which is a university honor acknowledging her national reputation for scholarship, research and teaching. And wouldn’t you know it, she has spent more than a little time in these same jungles, working on this same sort of thing, with a Mayan specialty.

She talks about it all in the very measured way that experts often do, but she has some great ideas about what it all means. If I could just spend a few days a week following up on some significant story with a campus expert and examine why it all matters it would be an excellent use of my time.

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