National Geographic July 2016, Part 2

Great White Mystery by Erik Vance, photography by Brian Sherry

We think we know the great white shark. After all, didn’t Richard Dreyfuss tell us everything we need to know in Jaws? Actually, not so much. Vance lists some of the things we don’t know about the great white shark, including such things as the life expectancy, gestation period or the age at which a great white undergoes puberty (or whatever passes for puberty among sharks). This information was why my first thought about posting a link to my Amazon Associates account wasn’t for Jaws but for Deep Wizardry, the second book in Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series.* The whole “we don’t know where they come from or where they go” part of this article reminded me of a great white shark whose very long name the kids shorten to “Ed” in Deep Wizardry.

The article goes on to talk about some of the things we do know about great white sharks, like their anatomy and the areas of the ocean where they are seen most frequently. And the article ends by asking whether the great white shark is a healthy or threatened population. The answer is, as of the publication of this article, as yet unknown

Greece, Gods, and the Great Beyond by Caroline Alexander, photographs by Vincent J. Musi and David Coventry

This is a little bit of text on the evolution of religion in Ancient Greece, from propitiating the gods that were believed to cause good and bad thing to befall them and with a fear of death and the underworld through the mystery cults that eventually informed the religion that became Christianity.

The photographs are of Greek sacred sites, including the Erechtheion in Athens and, in an interesting choice, the Temple of Athena in Delphi. The Temple of Apollo was much more famous, being where the Oracle did her oracle-ing. I wonder if the photograph didn’t turn out as well as the one of the Temple of Athena (which is a lovely photo).

There is also a two-page illustration of what Samothrace looked like at its peak, including where the famous statue of Nike was located. This page also has a reconstruction of what Nike probably looked like before she lost her arms and head.

If you want to see Nike, by the way, and don’t have the time or money to go to the Louvre, a cement reproduction of the statue can be seen at Miraflores Park on Hildebrand in San Antonio. Miraflores Park is still, a decade after the city took possession of it, not open to the public, but you can see the statue from the street.

*As threatened previously, I also need to include a link to the first book, So You Want to Be a Wizard.


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