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22 September 2010

Building stones of the Haghia Sophia

The Haghia Sophia (or “Ayasophia”) is an astounding building in old town Istanbul. It is an ancient cathedral turned mosque turned museum. Through all these incarnations, the Hagia Sophia has retained some features and had other ones added on: it is a palimpsest of architecture, symbology, and history. Walking through its soaring main chamber, or side passages and alcoves, visitors like me stand with necks bent and mouths agape. It …

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14 September 2010

The Blue Mosque

In Istanbul over the summer, Lily and I checked out the “Blue Mosque,” named for the predominant color of the mosaic tiles in its interior. It’s more formally know as “Sultan Ahmed Mosque,” named for the sultan who commissioned its construction in 1609. It is an elegant building: I loved the “pile of bubbles” effect of the multiple domes, and then the skyward piercing forms of the minarets. It also …

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2 September 2010

The Creationists by Ronald L. Numbers

Over the summer, I finished reading an excellent history of creationism called The Creationists, authored by Ronald L. Numbers. Many of my students at Northern Virginia Community College come to my geology classes from a creationist background. Some are true believers, some are looking for the perspective of science. Some are quiet about it, others flaunt it. Regardless of whether their minds are already made up or not, I deal …

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2 June 2010

1453, by Roger Crowley

So,  I think I dropped a hint here that I was planning to travel to Turkey this summer. Lily and I will be there from the end of June until the middle of July. (And I’ll be going back in October for the Tectonic Crossroads conference.) In preparation for a trip like this, I enjoy doing some research and reading some books. There are a lot of books about Turkey, …

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