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first_imgThe acknowledgment of Islamic culture’s contribution to Western civilisation remains, for the most part, restricted to the margins of public knowledge in the West. In similar fashion, much of the Islamic world remains unaware of its rich medieval past, its scientific and philosophical dialogues with classical antiquity and medieval Christian Europe. The figure of the cleric played, and still plays, a blocking role in the interpretation of history. The image of the terrorising “heathen Turk” in sermons of Pope Urban II and St Bernard of Clairvaux proved a comforting notion to the Crusader imagination. It was not just a mere war, but became a Christian jihad. Despite this perception of Islam, many denizens of medieval Christian West believed otherwise. The Englishman Adelard of Bath (died 1142) was the first significant populariser of the achievement of Islamic learning. In these achievements, Adelard saw the apotheosis of human knowledge. The Bodleian Library’s new exhibition, ‘Medieval Views of the Cosmos’, centres on the Bodleian’s newly acquired medieval Arabic treatise, the Book of Curiosities, containing diagrams of the heavens and maps of the earth, many of which are without parallels. It dispels the miasma around this period of history and charts an eclectic history of medieval Islamic and Christian cartography, lodging the Book in its various cultural contexts. The reception of Greek, Arab, Persian and Indian influences aided the creativity of Islamic celestial and terrestrial cartography. One such treatise, The Book of the Constellations of the Fixed Stars demonstrates the cultural diversity of Islamic civilisation. The teastained hues of the folios display drawings of each of 48 classical constellations overlapped by the pre-Islamic categorisation of stars called “lunar mansions”. The representation of Orion as a long-sleeved warrior armed with a celestial dagger, formed by red-dotted marks, marries the potency of the visual imagination with the human desire to make sense of one’s surroundings. Indeed, the spirit of human exploration lurks within maps of five river systems in the Book of Curiosities; the Nile, the Oxus, the Euphrates, the Tigris and the Indus. The serpentine quality of the Nile, as it endlessly meanders from one end of the manuscript to another, marked by small tributaries, is remarkable. Furthermore, legends and myths come to form an aspect of the tradition of Islamic cartography with the waqwaq tree, a frightening component of the spirit of exploration. The depiction of brown bodies sprouting out of green vegetation, hanging from the branches, connected by voluminous capillaries of blood wavers between grotesque and grand-guignol.ARCHIVE: 6th week TT 2004last_img read more

first_imgNew Mexico utility says carbon capture plan too expensive, backs coal plant closure FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:New Mexico’s largest utility has fleshed out its analysis of the environmental and economic impacts of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology as a potential lifeline for its ailing coal plant. The results are not promising.Retrofitting the San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture technology would bring the Public Service Co. of New Mexico’s (PNM) total transition plan cost to over $6 billion, $1.3 billion more than its preferred long-term scenario, which includes retiring the plant in 2022, the utility announced Monday.PNM confirmed initial assumptions it made about the economic and environmental impracticalities of prolonging the plant’s life through the technology after state regulatory staff challenged its current retirement plan in October testimony to the state’s Public Regulation Commission (PRC). Staff argued the utility had not fully explored a carbon capture scenario in its plan to abandon the coal-fired facility early.But there are too many economic and environmental unknowns in carbon capture, according to utility spokesperson Raymond Sandoval, including downstream carbon impacts of enhanced oil recovery and the risks of investing in nascent technology. Instead, the utility thinks the plant should be retired in 2022 and its leftover costs secured through bonds, as was called for in the state’s landmark Energy Transition Act (ETA).The ongoing proceeding at the PRC is bringing to light many diverse opinions on how and when the state’s 940 MW coal-fired plant should be retired.Environmental groups and PNM agree that carbon capture is not the best option, but local group Enchant Energy is banking on the technology to extend the plant’s life. Farmington, New Mexico, where the plant is sited, recently signed an agreement with Enchant to give the company 95% ownership of the plant. But to fully transfer ownership, the company needs approval from the plant’s other four owners. PNM says it doesn’t recognize the transfer because the agreement didn’t properly assess liabilities of continuing to operate the plant.More: PNM: Carbon capture would raise San Juan transition cost to $6B, as PRC, legislator battle rageslast_img read more