The Dead Sea Scrolls are 2,000 years old and very sensitive to direct light. At the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where they are housed, the scrolls are rotated every few months to minimize the damage. As Bloomberg explains it, the Great Isaiah Scroll, which is the most ancient biblical manuscript on Earth, is so sensitive that only a copy of it is on display.
Earlier this year we heard about a curious case of leprosy that jumped from armadillos to humans. We also know that a certain nefarious flu came to us via water fowl, and HIV likely affected chimpanzees before humans.
The Obama administration is expanding its controversial drone program to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
The Washington Post first reported last week that the administration was setting up secret bases for the unmanned aircraft all over the region. U.S. officials say the drone surveillance will allow them to keep watch on terrorists in Yemen and Somalia. The question is whether the program will eventually go a step further and include armed drones to kill terrorists before they strike.
Afghanistan buried a former president last week, but there is concern in Kabul that something else may have been buried as well: the peace process. In nearly two years since the U.S. opened the prospect of negotiations with the Taliban, progress has been hard to discern.
The assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was also the head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, may have quashed any negotiations that were under way. It also may have given new strength to those who never supported the idea of talking with the Taliban.
Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, has died of cancer in a Nairobi hospital. She was 71. Maathai, of Kenya, became a Nobel laureate in 2004 for her work promoting environmental stewardship, empowering women and peaceful resistance to violence.