Also Seen: ‘Anthill': ‘The Iliad’—With Ants?

An excerpt from a piece in the WSJ:

Renowned biologist and naturalist E.O. Wilson, who has studied ants for more than 60 years and has won two Pulitzer Prizes, is publishing his first novel, “Anthill,” an epic tale of men and insects that centers on the fate of an ant colony in rural Alabama.

Mr. Wilson, 80 years old, says he aimed to draw “a parallel between the epics of the ants and the epics of competing human societies.”

The parallels are plentiful: in “Anthill,” Mr. Wilson describes how ants build elaborate cities, grow and store food to prevent famine, form social hierarchies with worker and soldier castes, keep their young in nurseries and deposit their dead in cemeteries.

Literary bloggers and reviewers have likened Mr. Wilson’s narrative treatment of warring ant colonies to the “Iliad.” Mr. Wilson describes a miniature version of the Trojan War as battles between rival tribes of ants escalate, an ant city gets invaded and plundered and a once-thriving ant civilization collapses.

via ‘Anthill': ‘The Iliad’—With Ants? |

Classical ‘You Are There’ Podcasts

Some folks may know that Robert Culp passed on last week … a brief notice in Birmingham News mentioned, inter alia:

Culp’s career began in the 50s, when he appeared in “You Are There: The Death of Socrates.” His career spanned five decades, including both television and film.

… now I couldn’t find any of the television version, but I did find some nice podcasts of the radio version (which I think was called ‘CBS News Is There’). Here are the ones I’ve come across (I’ve only listened to the Socrates one at this point):

… the You Are There podcast site doesn’t seem to have been updated since summer of 2008; the above  (for the most part) seem to have appeared on more than one occasion; if a link doesn’t work, it might be relocated (?) …

The Temple of Theseus Needs Restoring

Actually, it seems to be a folly from the 18th century:

More than £1 million of restoration work will be needed to return a historic monument to its former glory after decades of vandalism has taken its toll.

The Temple of Theseus has been virtually concealed within woodland inside the grounds of Hagley Hall, near Stourbridge.

The building pays homage to an ancient Greek temple built in 449 B.C. in the country’s capital Athens.

Generations of visitors were able to marvel at the brick and stone-built temple during visits to 350-acre Hagley Park.

But after the A456 Birmingham Road was built, the temple became separated from the main Hagley Hall, leaving it at the mercy of vandals.

The site has been closed to the public for a number of years in a bid to halt the vandal attacks.

Huge gaping holes in the building’s ceiling, where plaster has broken away, reveal exposed roof beams.Unsightly graffiti has been daubed around walls inside the building which has now had mesh-metal fencing put around it.

The Grade-I listed building was built around the 1750s close to the time when the 63ft Wychbury Obelisk was constructed.

Lord Cobham, Christopher Charles Lyttelton, who owns Hagley Hall and Park, says his family has worked closely with English Heritage who may provide some of the funding for the works on the temple.

“It is a shame it has got into this state,” he said. “We were unable to keep it secure and I believe it became a bit of a hangout for people.

“I’m sure it will cost at least a million pounds to get it back to something like it was.”

The estate is waiting to hear if an application for more than £1 million worth of funding for works on Hagley Hall itself has been successful.

The original hall roof was destroyed in 1925.

via Restoring temple to cost £1m | Express & Star.

There’s a bit more info on this and associated follies in the Hagley Hall Wikipedia page