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Particle Physics and Pony Fiction Experimentalist

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Daring Done? The Sphinx, the Ethics of Adventure Archaeology, and a detour to Palmyra · 8:06pm Sep 11th, 2017

This was an episode with tonnes of details to like. It’s nice to finally meet a canonical sphinx—this has me looking up my notes from when I wrote Chapter 2 of Time on Their Hooves. Of course we always knew a magical land of ponies and griffons must have them. The human-headed version of ancient Egypt wouldn’t fit, so the Southern Equestrian variety seems to be a cross between a pegasus and a giant ferocious kitty. Why not? Makes you wonder how they are related to griffons and hippogriffs.

Also interesting to see another side to Daring Do’s character, now deeply troubled about the social and environmental impact of her line of work... She’ll be signing up to the Archaeological Institute Code of Ethics next.

This episode could be taken as a parable of many acts of western adventurism in the Middle East... Done with intentions to help—yet with the style of a treasure hunt. Causing considerable damage—and thus antagonising the local population. Laying the ground to let malicious individuals and groups to exploit the hostility...

(Reading that again, it almost sounds like a riddle)

Going a bit off-topic, the episode made me think of a story of the Palmyra arch.

Palmyra is an ancient ruined city in Syria. A site of enormous archaeological interest, and at one time, one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country. In May 2015 it was captured by Islamic State, causing considerable damage, including destroying the Monumental Arch, which dated back to the 3rd century. The city was retaken by the Syrian army in 2016.

Source: wikimedia

The same year the Institute for Digital Archaeology set out to make a replica. First producing a 3D computer model by an image analysis of photographs taken before the destruction, then carving a reproduction from marble by robot.

The result has been displayed in London, New York and Italy, with the intention that it will find a permanent home in Palmyra.

Source: Garry Knight

While only a tiny piece of the total cost of a war believed to have killed over 400,000, it is still a nice gesture of reconstruction.

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Comments ( 7 )

This episode could be taken as a parable of many acts of western adventurism in the Middle East... Done with intentions to help—yet with the style of a treasure hunt.

Huh. That's... yet another political angle to an episode that was also about fake news and character assassination. I'm finding it mighty hard to escape the conclusion that it was deliberate.

Oh, and I think you mean "ethics" in the title, not "ethnics".

I seem to recall a Daring Do poster from an earlier season depicting a sphinx with a lion's head. Sharp teeth aside, this one looks to have just a pony head to me :applejackunsure:

But yeah, interesting angle. That's from someone who has also written a sphinx story which could be taken as a parable of western adventurism in the Middle East.

Thanks for pointing out the typo - I'm having a bad day for them.

If the political angle was deliberate, it was also deliberately vague - acknowledging the issues, but not in a way that can be tied too closely to any particular story. But it's interesting to see how things have changed from the simple 'Reading Is Cool' message of the first Daring episode to something rather more sophisticated.

I like this post except you call a group of religious fanatics a nation. I refuse to give those murderous destroyers-of-culture the honor and call them Dæsh instead. Dæsh is a term which does not translate well which literally means hit, strike, et cetera but carries the meaning of uncouth, barbaric, et cetera. The acronym of the name they chose is Dæsh, so it is their fault. They hate consider being called Dæsh such an insult that they threaten to cut off the tongue of those calling them that. If they hate being called Dæsh, I am all for calling them Dæsh. I wish that humans would just abandon religion.

Hmm, interesting. I would never have thought of this episode that way.


I wish that humans would just abandon religion.

I'm gonna have to disagree with what you mean there, though I do agree in a different way. But, I will not go beyond stating that for the sake of Pineta's mental sanity and the respect of both of our time allowances. (unless you want to get into it, in which case PM me, k?)

If you hate Dæsh, I imagine you love the YPG?


> “If you hate Dæsh, I imagine you love the YPG?”

For the time being, yes. As for the future, imagine that we are the USA in WWⅡ. After the war, I have no way of knowing whether YGP will be England or the Soviet Union.

Tomorrow (12017-09-15 HC (HoloceneCalendar)), Cassini will plunge into Saturn.

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