[meteorite-list] Commercialization, meteorite coins and other ridiculous wastes of time

From: Rob McCafferty <rob_mccafferty_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2007 05:55:35 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <127812.50228.qm_at_web50905.mail.re2.yahoo.com>

A great post Sterling. I kinda knew the Library of
Alexandria was coming as soon as you mentioned the two
possible methods of safeguarding.
Qhile the curation and storing of these artifacts in
institutions is vitally important, that they are
locked away invisible to all but a select few is a
travesty. I'm proud to show off my limited collection
to anyone who shows an interest.
Who is doing science the greater service?
OK it's the Natural History Museum, isn't it...Well
I'm doing my bit!
Rob McC

--- "Sterling K. Webb" <sterling_k_webb at sbcglobal.net>

> Hi, Thaddeus, List
> > curation of specimens safeguards [them]
> Well, that's the assumption of those who
> "curate,"
> but is it justified? Museums of today, great
> medieval
> libraries, and all famed institutions of
> preservation have
> the survival of knowledge in its physical form as
> their
> justification.
> There are two possible strategies for survival.
> First,
> consolidation in a fortress, a protective enclave
> dedicated
> to their preservation, an ivory, stone, or steel
> tower. Or,
> secondly, dissemination, spread the treasure far and
> wide,
> to be possessed by as many hands as possible.
> We can look to history for a test of the two
> strategies,
> used with two treasures of equal age and common
> origin:
> Greek literature and Greek money, both arising in
> the 7th
> century BC in the same lands.
> Money was (and always is) disseminated. There is
> virtually no issue of Greek coinage of which we do
> not
> possess, these millennia later, excellent examples,
> thousands
> of distinguishable types, mintings, issues, a
> staggering
> variety. Dissemination has preserved these objects
> well
> from no other cause than their commercial value.
> Literature is the classic case of preservation
> by assorted
> institutions, from the great Library of Alexandria
> down to
> hundreds of other ancient repositories, and
> continued
> "curation" by similar institutions dedicated solely
> to that
> purpose for centuries.
> The result?
> I have seven plays by Sophocles; do you have a
> copy
> of the other 116? The missing 73 plays of Aeschylus?
> The
> lost 76 plays of Euripides? A "Complete Works" of
> the
> great poet Archiochus? Even one complete poem? No?
> Neither does anybody else...
> Keenly, someone will point out that coins are
> mechanically
> produced and reproduced, but literature has not
> been, until
> the printing press. This is not true, however.
> Manuscripts were
> "manufactured" by vast factories, scriptoria
> employing direct
> human industry, for many centuries, copies by the
> ton.
> The key difference between the two is how the
> attempt to
> preserve them was conducted down through history.
> The method
> of reverential "temples" of preservation failed; the
> method of
> crass commercial valuation succeeded.
> Sterling K. Webb
> ----- Original Message -----From: Thaddeus
> BesedinTo: Jake BakerCc:
> meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.comSent: Sunday,
> April 01, 2007 10:21 AMSubject: Re: [meteorite-list]
> Commercialization,meteorite coins and
> otherridiculous wastes of timeJake,Indeed propaganda
> is important, but it should be provided at no charge
> if itis the preservation and dissemination of
> knowledge that is desired. Ameteorite coin is no
> better a fetish than a meteorite itself,
> accompaniedwith accessible information.In defense of
> academic repositories, the curation of specimens
> safeguardsscientifically-important materials from
> the fate of commodities; too badcommodification has
> been a necessary evil in permitting the
> accessibility weenjoy in our pursuit of possession
> of meteorites.-ThaddeusJake Baker
> <bakers5acres at frontiernet.net> wrote:I've read the
> messages about this subject bantered about.First I
> have a problem with 'scient
> ific' repositories and museums. I like tobe able to
> look closely at what I choose and not what some
> academic wants tospoon feed me. My mind can process
> more than a few 'selected' pieces oncertain
> subjects. If you ask to see a particular piece or
> subject the stockanswer is 'you'll have to make an
> appointment' or 'that is scheduled forMarch two
> years from now'. I may never get back to see it. In
> a lot of casesI helped fund it with taxes. It isn't
> right that a few employees andscientists are the
> only people 'allowed' to see, touch and experience
> thesewonders of our world. Yes institutes rescue and
> preserve items but for what?So the articles can sit
> in a drawer, box or bottle for years and thebuilding
> finally burns down and nothing is left? It's selfish
> and selfserving.I like the way that museums used to
> be. Everything they had was on display.I grew up in
> Iowa and as a child in the 1960s spent days in the
> Iowa StateCapitol Museum looking at everything from
> civil war relics, stuf
> fed animals,American Indian garments of the
> 17-1800s to Dr. Bean's one of a kind fossilplates.
> Dr. Bean was a dentist who spent years extracting
> crinoid (sp)colonies from limestone parent material.
> His works have a world widereputation. When we went
> to Iowa on vacation in 1999 I wanted to show
> myhusband Dr Bean's fossils but the answer was
> 'that's not available . . . .". I was truly
> disappointed there wasn't a single fossil on
> display.With the individual collector (or dealer)
> that doesn't happen. People areproud of what they
> have found, traded for or purchased. Most are more
> thanwilling to share their knowledge with adults and
> children. If you have seenthe wonder in a child's
> eyes when they look at crystals, meteorites, or
> evencommon rocks you know what I mean. Many children
> and adults who are curiouswill never make it to a
> museum or a big city. Many don't have the funds
> orphysical ability to get there. Many children have
> parents who just don'tcare or are chemically
> addicted
> . If a small meteorite is purchased or givento a
> rural grade school or an inner city school and
> ignites a passion in onechild and that child turns
> off the tv, violent video games or cell phone tofind
> a meteorite, rocks or get outside to learn about
> geology or nature -that's success. That's what
> sharing and education is about. If we want abetter
> world - we have to cultivate the minds of children
> as one cultivatesa garden. They will eventually be
> taking care of us.So - all of you who see this
> subject from the perspective of a largemetropolitan
> city dweller or a person of science who lives in
> anintellectual vacuum try and look at the subject
> and world from anotherperspective. Put your egos,
> opinions and bias aside and do what benefits themost
> people. You all have experience, education and
> knowledge to share.Leave the fertilizer in the
> garden.Barb BakerShow Low, Arizona(50 miles from
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Received on Wed 04 Apr 2007 08:55:35 AM PDT

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