GRBS Online and Free!

Seen on the Digital Classicist list:

Volume 49 (2009) will be the last volume of GRBS printed on paper. Beginning with volume 50, issues will be published quarterly on-line on the GRBS website, on terms of free access. We undertake this transformation in the hope of affording our authors a wider readership; out of concern for the financial state of our libraries; and in the belief that the dissemination of knowledge should be free.

The current process of submission and peer-review of papers will continue unchanged. The on-line format will be identical with our pages as now printed, and so articles will continue to be cited by volume, year, and page numbers.

Our hope is that both authors and readers will judge this new medium to be to their advantage, and that such open access will be of benefit to continuing scholarship on Greece.

– The editors

http://www.duke.edu/web/classics/grbs

GRBS has been free online for a few years already; definitely worth bookmarking if you haven’t already.

Vatican Museums Open Late!

This is good news … from ABC:

The Vatican Museum, full of priceless paintings, sculptures and archeological treasures is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, and one of the most visited places in Italy.

Anyone who has been to the museum will recall the long lines snaking around the outer wall of Vatican City, the world’s smallest independent country completely surrounded by the city of Rome. Waiting times to enter the Vatican Museum can be as long as two hours or more. Last year, four and half million people endured the wait for the opportunity to see the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael rooms, and the other countless treasures inside the museum.

But in an experiment starting this Friday night, July 24, the museum will open for a trial period in the evening from 7pm until 11pm. Only once before has the museum ever opened at night, and that was for the special events during the beatification of Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

Vatican museum director, Antonio Paolucci, in an interview with Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper, explains that this is an opportunity for average Romans – those who work during the day – to be able to come and visit. “I don’t believe there will be long lines of tourists,” he said. “We want to return the Vatican Museum to the citizens, to the Romans here who now at times feel it has been taken over by the tourists, by the foreigners.”

Mr. Paolucci says that most tourists usually book their visits well in advance, but during this special night opening, Romans can just show up and try to enter.

Typically, visitors usually start forming lines several hours before the opening each morning. The lines will last most of the day. Only those on vacation or with the whole day off to spend waiting have had an opportunity to visit up.

Normally, the Vatican Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)

Not-Quite-As-Swift-Footed-Achilles?

An interesting item made the rounds of assorted newspapers this weekend … here’s the version from the Sun Times:

Not only have Olympic swimmers and sprinters gotten faster over the last 100 years — but they have grown in average size at a much faster rate than the normal population, a new analysis finds.

While the average human has gained about 1.9 inches in height since 1900, the research shows that the fastest swimmers have grown 4.5 inches and the swiftest runners have grown 6.4 inches.

“The trends revealed by our analysis suggest that speed records will continue to be dominated by heavier and taller athletes,” said Duke University researcher Jordan Charles.

Using mathematical formulas, Charles also predicted running speeds during the Greek or Roman empires.

“In antiquity, body weights were roughly 70 percent less than they are today,” Charles said. “Using our theory, a 100-meter dash that is won in 13 seconds would have taken about 14 seconds back then.”

Olympic swimming juggernaut Michael Phelps is 6’4,” with a disproprtionate arm span of 6’7″ and size 14 feet. He weighs about 200 pounds.

Interesting, but I was really wondering about that 70 per cent claim; on this reading, your average Achilles type — assuming he was the ancient equivalent of a Phelps, more or less — would weigh only 60 pounds!!!  Happily, the Guardian seems to have picked up on the difference between “70 percent less” and “70 percent of” (albeit in a correction).