MySci Round-Up, November 2: Cleopatramania!


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Everybody’s suddenly very excited about the Cleopatra, the ancient queen of Egypt in the First Century BC, and with good reason. Stacy Schiff’s new biography,
Cleopatra: A Life, which is getting rave reviews, contends that both history and Hollywood have portrayed her inaccurately. The ancient queen turns out to have been a lot less like Elizabeth Taylor and more like, well, Hillary Clinton—a trailblazing, independent-minded female politician, well-versed in diplomacy and governance. Meanwhile, the Web’s gossip-industrial complex is chattering about a proposed Hollywood biopic based on Schiff’s bio on Cleopatra, possibly with James Cameron directing and with Angelina Jolie in the title role. Meanwhile, Egyptian archaeologists are still hoping to uncover the tomb of Cleopatra and her lover Marc Antony (the Roman general, not the one who married Jennifer Lopez). Here’s a National Geographic News article from back in May, describing the excavation of a Greek-built temple west of Alexandria, where Cleopatra experts believe that the queen may have been buried after her suicide in 30 BC. Back in 2008, researchers unearthed an alabaster bust of Cleopatra, coins with her image, and other period artifacts that hint at her presence. But before you cue up your old 45 of “Walk Like an Egyptian,” be sure to watch “Egypt Unwrapped: The Real Cleopatra” tonight on the National Geographic Channel at 8P et/pt.


Okay, here’s the news.

NASA wants to send humanoid robot to the Moon. 
It’ll be vastly cheaper, and it can hit golf balls just as far.

Mechanical fish can pull 15Gs with acceleration. 
Maybe NASA should send the fish to the Moon instead.

Tracks of a running bipedal baby brontosaurus? 
It’s a discovery that could rock our conception of dinosaurs. Plus, try saying “bipedal baby brontosaurus” three times in a row really fast.

Algae for biofuels—it’s coming, but how soon?  
Hard to say, but we’re intrigued by those TV commercials where the biologist with the Amish-style beard talks about how they consume carbon dioxide in the process.

Possible hotspot for life found in ancient Mars volcano. 
We don’t mean there’s life there now—but there may have once been inhabitants of the tiny, single-celled variety.