Nero’s Golden House – disastrous collapse

I really have been too busy – I missed the news article and seeing the link at a blog I usually read daily! Via Cronaca I learn that a big chunk of the Domus Aurea, Nero’s Golden House, collapsed! Yikes!
The Domus Aurea is almost entirely buried under a later bath (now a public park on the Oppian Hill – it overlooks the Colosseum). It looks like some of the grassy park just slid into the open palace below like a sink hole.
Lucky for my students – I don’t take them there any more. It’s far too hard on site to actually understand what it was like because the space was relentlessly broken up by the reinforcing walls designed to hold up that later bathhouse – the Golden House just doesn’t make any sense from the inside. You can stand over at the Forum end of the Colosseum and get about as much out of it.
Still, not a good thing.

Watch Sales Fall. Faculty Salaries Stall.

The AAUP numbers are out. For the first time since the 1970s full-time faculty salaries lag inflation (not that there aren’t lots of complications to such a reduction as that).
Meanwhile, over at I read:

In the U.S., sales of watches costing more than $100 fell by a third last year, according to market analysts NPD Group, of Port Washington, New York. Swiss watch exports fell 22 percent in 2009, the biggest drop since 1932, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

What really worries me is that the kinds of folks described here:

“The decline of bonus culture had a big effect on the watch market,” said Catherine Macdonald-Home, editor of Luxury Briefing, a trade publication. “A lot of guys would buy a watch with their first bonus. It was seen as a rite of passage.”

sometimes grew up to send their children here and places like it. And if that stops happening . . . well, the business model of the expensive liberal arts college is looking less sustainable, as they say.
Happy Monday morning to you!

Foggy Morning

You know you’ve been in Upstate NY awhile when, on staggering into the bathroom before putting on glasses you glance out the window and say to yourself “Ugh, snow,” based on the quality of the light, and then realize it’s just fog. But you weren’t so surprised at the possibility of snow, even on April 8th. *SIGH*

Two housekeeping issues – blogroll and coffee

I did some blogroll pruning, revision, and addition (hey, Anna in Brooklyn!!). Movabletype ate part of my template (or I did, I’m not sure), but there you go. I need to upgrade anyway some weekend.
Second – I’m trying to think of what concept I’m looking for….specific gravity? I have different coffees and for some of them when I pour in the half’n’half it swirls around and distributes itself and for others I have to use a spoon because it sinks to the bottom and stays. Specific gravity of liquids?

Christus resurrexit!

Vere resurrexit!
Happy Easter!
Up here the weather frequently refuses to cooperate with the liturgical year, but this has been a lovely week – can’t have been an Easter Vigil rained out anywhere in the North East! Even those people who’ve taken up with a dawn tradition will have it good this morning.

Really odd sarcophagus very close to Rome

This article at National Geographic is all about a lead sarcophagus folded like a burrrito around a skeleton. Or maybe more? They haven’t opened it yet for all sorts of technical reasons (archaeologists nowadays are such wimps! Afraid of a little lead dust!).
The sarcophagus was found at Gabii (the link goes to the excavation website – neat aerial views) and is now being examined at the American Academy in Rome.