Wednesday News: Baron Franz Nopsca, power couples, collective memory, and Lisa Frank coloring book
History Forgot This Rogue Aristocrat Who Discovered Dinosaurs and Died Penniless – Interesting chronicle of the life and career of Baron Franz Nopcsa von Felso-Szilvas, a self-taught scientist who also led a very adventurous life, even working as a spy for the Austro-Hungarian empire. It is unclear why he has only recently been brought back into the public consciousness, a feat accomplished by “a loose international brotherhood of paleobiologists, Albanologists and LGBT activists.” I could see a Romance novel inspired by his life, without the tragic ending, of course.
He was one of the first scientists to look at fossilized dinosaur bones and see a living, social creature. In fact, he was a staunch believer in the evolutionary relationship between birds and dinosaurs, decades before the idea became widely accepted among paleontologists. His overall contributions to the field have led some to call him the forgotten father of dinosaur paleobiology. “Nopcsa was asking questions nobody else was asking,” says David Weishampel, a paleontologist at the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution at John Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Nopcsa was equally brilliant as a structural geologist. While most of the scientific community still scoffed at the theory of continental drift, he provided some of the strongest evidence for such movement. He mapped the geology of Albania and became one of the country’s foremost ethnographers and historians. “It would be no exaggeration to say that he knew the country and its people better than any foreigner of his day,” says Robert Elsie, a scholar of Albania and the translator and editor of Nopcsa’s memoirs, published in English in 2014.
Over his career, Nopcsa published several tomes and more than 150 scientific papers. Yet his name barely appears in textbooks. No historical plaque adorns any of the places he lived or taught. Even his grave is unmarked. – Smithsonian Magazine
Julie Chen and Hollywood Power Spouses Speak Out: “Being a Trophy Wife Is an Antiquated Trope” – A treatment of power couples in Hollywood, where “one partner’s power serves to amplify the other’s,” against the stereotype of the Hollywood trophy wife. I happen to love Romances where the protagonists are both highly successful, ambitious, and competent, because it makes for a different and interesting power negotiation.
More than 65 percent of power spouses continue to work in their chosen professions. Some partners are at the top of their career fields, including interior design (Molly Isaksen, wife of UTA’s Jay Sures; and Commune Design’s Ramin Shamshiri, husband of Universal Pictures chief Donna Langley) and fashion design (Laurie Feltheimer, wife of Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer). Says Laurie: “My goal in life was not to marry a rich guy — we have a really balanced relationship.” – The Hollywood Reporter
The Power of Collective Memory – We talk a lot about collective memory in a historical or cultural context (how, for example, historical events are represented differently, depending on where someone is situated socially), but this essay focuses on the more basic measure of collective memory (and collective forgetting) in terms of what is remembered and forgotten over time. Also what is misremembered – people, for example, identifying Alexander Hamilton as a US president.
Collective memory is a burgeoning topic of research, one that might be used to understand the perspective of people in other groups, whether of a nation or of a political party or other social group. In certain cases, we can also measure collective forgetting, as in our study of presidents. Those results reveal the evanescence of fame and provide a means to measure its decline. The memory of the most famous individual in a country for years will gently slide into oblivion over time. Extrapolating from our data, we estimated that Lyndon Johnson would be about as well remembered as James Polk in about 2054. – Scientific American
Lisa Frank fans and ’90s girls alike, take note: a Lisa Frank adult coloring book is coming! Soon, you’ll be able to unwind from a stressful day by leisurely filling in cheerful images of kittens, unicorns, and bunnies. Who could ask for more than that?
. . . The exact date has yet to be clarified, but the company has since revealed that the books will be available at Dollar General stores sometime next month. Further details will be shared in a future post on the brand’s Facebook page. – SELF