But straightway as they sped over the wide Cretan sea night scared them, that night which they name the Pall of Darkness; the stars pierced not that fatal night nor the beams of the moon, but black chaos descended from heaven, or haply some other darkness came, rising from the nethermost depths. And the heroes, whether they drifted in Hades or on the waters, knew not one whit; but they committed their return to the sea in helpless doubt whither it was bearing them. But Jason raised his hands and cried to Phoebus with mighty voice, calling on him to save them; and the tears ran down in his distress; and often did he promise to bring countless offerings to Pytho, to Amyclae, and to Ortygia. And quickly, O son of Leto, swift to hear, didst thou come down from heaven to the Melantian rocks, which lie there in the sea. Then darting upon one of the twin peaks, thou raisedst aloft in thy right hand thy golden bow; and the bow flashed a dazzling gleam all round. And to their sight appeared a small island of the Sporades, over against the tiny isle Hippuris, and there they cast anchor and stayed; and straightway dawn arose and gave them light; and they made for Apollo a glorious abode in a shady wood, and a shady altar, calling on Phoebus the “Gleamer”, because of the gleam far-seen; and that bare island they called Anaphe, for that Phoebus had revealed it to men sore bewildered. And they sacrificed all that men could provide for sacrifice on a desolate strand; wherefore when Medea’s Phaeacian handmaids saw them pouring water for libations on the burning brands, they could no longer restrain laughter within their bosoms, for that ever they had seen oxen in plenty slain in the halls of Alcinous. And the heroes delighted in the jest and attacked them with taunting words; and merry railing and contention flung to and fro were kindled among them. And from that sport of the heroes such scoffs do the women fling at the men in that island whenever they propitiate with sacrifices Apollo the gleaming god, the warder of Anaphe. (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 4, 1694-1730)



The description of statements does not attempt to evade verbal performances in order to discover behind them or below their apparent surface a hidden element, a secret meaning that lies buried within them, or which emerges through them without saying so; and yet the statement is not immediately visible; it is not given in such a manifest way as a grammatical or logical structure (even if such a structure is not entirely clear, or is very difficult to elucidate). The statement is neither visible nor hidden. (Michel Foucault, The Archeology of Knowledge, 1969/1972)



Museum number: 1864,0220.1
Date: 490 B.C. (circa)
Findspot: excavated Anaphe (said to be from) Materials: marble
Dimensions: height 1.01 metres
Acquisition name: purchased from: Percy Smythe, 8th Viscount Strangford Previous owner/ex- collection: Percy Clinton Sydney Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford
Acquisition date: 1864
Curator’s comments: BM Sculpture. This is one of the latest examples of the archaic kouros type, dating from about 500-490 B.C. The old attitude is maintained with a developed treatment of anatomical details. A general resemblance to the figures from the pediments of the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina has long been noted, and most writers have followed Brunn in considering the statue Aeginetan. More recently, it has been thought Boeotian by Buschor, and by Langlotz a local island work under Doric influence. (The British Museum Collection, online database)



The story of life’s origin is one of the great, unsolved mysteries of science. The puzzle boils down to bridging the gap between two worlds–chemistry and biology. We know how molecules behave, and we know how cells work. But we still don’t know how a soup of lifeless molecules could have given rise to the first living cells. “It’s a really tough problem,” says Sara Walker, an astrobiologist at Arizona State University. But she thinks it can be cracked. “One of the things that’s most distinctive about living systems is the way they handle information, and the way it’s distributed in the system”. A potential candidate [to study the distribution of information] is a measure called “integrated information.” Dr. Giulio Tononi, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, has shown that it’s possible to calculate how much integrated information there is in a network, a quantity he has dubbed φ (phi). The integrated information theory (IIT) starts from phenomenology and makes use of thought experiments to claim that consciousness is integrated information.



On 31st October 2014, I visited Room 15 on the ground floor of the British Museum, where the Strangford Apollo of Anafi is exhibited. As I could not locate the statue, I asked two security guards to help me. As they pointed at an empty space with a mark on the floor and at the shadow of a different, headless statue next to it, they realized the Apollo was no longer at its usual position. I started taking photos and filming. They tried to alert the Greek- Roman Department through their walkie-talkies. At the same time, a museum guide, driven by her routine, without realizing the statue was no longer there, gave a group of perplexed tourists a 3-4 minute description of the missing statue, her back to the empty space, before rushing to the next exhibit. As the Greek-Roman Department did not answer, the two guards, increasingly concerned, asked me to walk up to the Study Room of the department in Gallery 69 to inquire about the statue and report back to them. When I spoke to one of the researchers in the Study Room, she confirmed the statue had been recently removed and was on loan to a museum in Melbourne until December 2014 and will be visible again at the British Museum in March 2015. (Piergiorgio’s notes)



The Earth’s shadow or Earth shadow (also sometimes known as the dark segment) are names for the shadow that the Earth itself casts on its atmosphere. This shadow is often visible from the surface of the Earth, as a dark band in the sky near the horizon. This atmospheric phenomenon can sometimes be seen twice a day, around the times of sunset and sunrise. Whereas the phenomenon of night (a function of being in the shadow of the Earth) is very familiar to all, the effect of the Earth’s shadow on the atmosphere is quite often visible in the sky, and yet often goes unrecognized. This shadow is visible to observers as it falls on the atmosphere of the Earth during the twilight hours. When the weather conditions and the observer’s viewing point permit a clear sight of the horizon, the shadow can be seen as a dark blue or greyish- blue band. Assuming the sky is clear, the Earth’s shadow is visible in the opposite half of the sky to the sunset or sunrise, and is seen right above the horizon as a dark blue band. A related phenomenon is the “Belt of Venus” or “anti-twilight arch” (sometimes written as “antitwilight arch”), a pink band that is visible above the dark blue of the Earth’s shadow, in the same part of the sky. No defined line divides the Earth’s shadow and the Belt of Venus; one colored band blends into the other in the sky. (Wikipedia, The Earth’s shadow)


December 2014