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Autobiographical comic about a belly dancer in Egypt

Luna of Cairo is an excellent comic written by a woman who works as a belly dancer on a riverboat in Cairo. She gets frequently harassed by men (once a couple of young men sprayed tear gas at her and her friend," just for fun"). Crime is rampant, too ("daily fights, kidnappings, muggings, rapes, murders, and rising sectarian violence). Yet she stays because she loves to belly dance. It's illustrated by Leela Corman.

In 2008, Luna left New York City on a Fulbright scholarship to write a book about dance in Egypt. She holds a master's in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and a B.A. in journalism and political science. She is fluent in Egyptian Arabic, Spanish and English.
Luna of Cairo (Thanks, Jeff!)

Investigators: Egyptian statue not cursed

A 3,800 year-old stone figure with a creepy propensity to move around slowly has disappointed investigators at Manchester Museum. It was merely vibrations causing the convex-based relic to spin, not an entertaining curse. [BBC] Rob 14

A new theory for the death of King Tut

What killed the young Pharaoh Tutankhamen? Theories have ranged from assassination plots to epilepsy, but a new analysis of injuries visible on his mummy suggests that a chariot race accident might have been to blame. Maggie 13

Report: Egypt's Morsi under house arrest in military coup

At Gawker, Max Read gathers accounts from Twitter and elswhere about the unfurling chaos in Cairo: "The Army is said to have placed a travel ban on Morsi and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In Tahrir Square, the huge anti-Morsi protest that spurred the Army to act continues; elsewhere, Muslim Brotherhood party members and Morsi supporters are holding counter-protests." Rob 11

Watch live: massive demonstration in Egypt's Tahrir square, as Morsi regime falls

A live stream of dramatic events unfolding in Egypt today. The NYT Lede blog is a reliable and constantly-refreshing source of updates. The Guardian is another. [Stream: Online TV, Egypt]

Cairo protesters zap military helicopter with lasers

Agence France-Presse posted this amazing photo (just a thumbnail shown here, click through for the full image) of protesters in Cairo zapping a military helicopter with lasers of varying power and color. As one of my tweeps said, behold the future of drone countermeasures.

#PHOTO: Egyptian protestors direct laser lights on a military helicopter flying over the presidential palace in Cairo

Help transcribe ancient Egyptian texts

You don't need to know an ancient language to help scientists read ancient literature. Researchers are looking for volunteers for a crowdsource project aimed at transcribing (and, later, translating) the words written on a series of crumbling papyrus scrolls, found in a trash heap at the site of what was once Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. Maggie

Saboteurs caught trying to sever major undersea Internet cable to Egypt


The Egyptian military claims it caught saboteurs in a small boat trying to sever one of the country's main undersea Internet cables. No word yet on who the guys were and what their motive might be:

Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said in a statement on his official Facebook page that divers were arrested while “cutting the undersea cable” of the country’s main communications company, Telecom Egypt. The statement said they were caught on a speeding fishing boat just off the port city of Alexandria.

The statement was accompanied by a photo showing three young men, apparently Egyptian, staring up at the camera in what looks like an inflatable launch. It did not further have details on who they were or why they would have wanted to cut a cable.

Egypt: Naval forces capture 3 divers trying to cut undersea Internet cable [AP]

(via /.)

Photos from on top of the Great Pyramid

The Pyramids of Giza close to tourists at 4:00 pm. Recently, a group of Russians managed to hide out at the site after closing time and scramble up the Great Pyramid of Cheops in the fading light. Naturally, they took photos. (Because if there is one thing the Internet has taught me about Russians, it's that they like to climb to dangerous heights and then take photos.)

These shots are kind of fabulous, not just for the thrill of "yeah, somebody broke the rules!", but because of the perspective you get from on high that isn't visible in the many ground-level shots I've seen. From on top of the Pyramid, you can see how the stone is pockmarked and carved — it really looks like something humans cut out of the Earth. You can also see the graffiti left by generations of tourists in multiple languages; English, Arabic, French, and more. And you can see the edge of the modern city, shimmering just at the horizon. I don't think I'd previously had such a profound sense of how closely modern Egyptians lived and worked to the Great Pyramid, before. What a fascinating view!

Thanks to Steve Silberman for the link!

Cairollers: Cairo's first rollerderby team


Lex sez, "I've just posted an interview with Indie Hannah of the Cai Rollers, Cairo (and Egypt's) first roller derby league. They're a mixture of local women and international residents, and are finally practising after the project has been over a year in the making. They're had to fight hard to get to this point, and have plenty of struggles ahead of them."

Who are the CaiRollers? Many leagues in far-flung places are conglomerations of ex-pats with little local involvement. Something tells me that's not the case for you...

Nope, CaiRollers are as diverse as the city. Right now, we have about eight skaters, one coach and two volunteers who make up the foundation and are all working equally as hard to get this league going. Skaters include Egyptian natives, Egyptians with dual citizenship who are third world kids having grown up around the world, and some ex-pats from other parts of the world including America and Argentina. Our volunteer--hopefully future refs--are equally as diverse from Africa and America. Our belief and value systems range from Muslim to Christian, Agnostic to Buddhist. We range from teachers and nonprofit workers to female entrepreneurs.

Up Close and Personal with the CaiRollers of Cairo, Egypt

Incredible 360° interactive panorama of Great Pyramids

AirPano created a breathtaking 360° interactive panorama of Egypt's Great Pyramids of Giza. The video above shows how AirPano collected the images that went into the panorama. How did they do it? As Greg from Daily Grail explains, "Just like the aliens that built the Giza pyramids, they used UFOs (or possibly remote-controlled drone-copters) to fly a panoramic camera up to certain points above the plateau in order to get the best possible view of these jaw-dropping structures." When I visited the pyramids as a 13-year-old, I was struck by how close the pyramids are to bustling Cairo. I imagined a long camel trek into the desert (hey, I was 13!) when it was really just a 15 minute taxi ride. Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt • 360° Aerial Panorama

Tutankhamen: A mummy story for grown-ups

When Howard Carter opened the tomb of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamen in 1922 he found a series of chambers piled high with “wonderful things.” For nerds of a certain age, this is a story we’ve heard many times before. King Tut was a part of our lives from childhood. On the list of “Dead Things Small Children Get Really Excited About”, he ranks just below dinosaurs and just above Pompeii. By the time we reached junior high, we had explored the Valley of the Kings through diagrams in National Geographic, catalogued Tut’s treasures in the pages of glossy DK picture books, and watched innumerable actors recreate Carter’s day of discovery on TV documentaries.

Given all that you already know about the Tutankhamen story, why should you bother reading Joyce Tyldesley’s new book Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King? Because Tyldesley asks (and answers) questions those old familiar sources seldom bothered with. Her book takes a popular kid’s history and fleshes it out with grown-up levels of depth and context. For instance: Why exactly was King Tut buried with all those grave goods to begin with?

The answer isn’t as simple as you might suspect. The golden couches, ornate game boards, food, and flowers are all usually presented as things Tutankhamen thought he’d need in the afterlife. But that doesn’t match up with what we know about ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, Tyldesley writes. Kings were supposed to spend their afterlives away from the tomb—reborn as a star, or merged with the god Osiris. It was non-royal elite who, at one point, thought they would need to deck out their tombs to be eternal vacation homes. By Tut’s time, though, even they were granted access to Osiris’ kingdom. Technically, there was no religious reason to bury anyone with as much stuff as Tut had, let alone a king. Howard Carter’s “wonderful things” were probably a function of cultural tradition, rather than religious necessity. It was about wealth and appearances, an effort to keep up with the Joneses which spiraled so out of control that real treasures were eventually replaced by representations of treasure. More important, Tyldesley says, there’s no reason to suspect that an older king would have been buried with more grave goods than Tutankhamen got.

Read the rest

Trompe l'oeil graffiti vanishes Egyptian military barrier


Noordijk sez, "Egyptian graffiti artists make this military street barrier 'disappear.'"

Sheikh Rihan mural

Egyptian port-workers refuse to sign for tons of US-made tear-gas shipped in by Ministry of the Interiorworkers


Five port workers in Cairo refused to sign for a shipment of 7.5 tons of tear-gas from the US, fearing that it would be used against demonstrators; another 14 tons of tear-gas were expected from the US at the time. Peaceful protesters in Tahrir Square were subjected to relentless gas attacks by the military government last week. The shipment was eventually released and sent to storage owned by the Ministry of Interior in Cairo.

Egypt’s al-Shorouk newspaper reported that upon the arrival of the shipment, massive disagreements broke out between employees, where five employees refused to sign for the shipment, one after the other.

The five, being dubbed by activists as the “brave five”, were to be refereed to a investigative committee as to why they refused to perform their duties, which has since called off.

The news about the shipment’s arrival stirred the Twittersphere, after it was consumed all day with the country’s first post-revolution elections, and activists mocked the reinforcement of weapons that is being used against them.

UPDATE: Egypt imports 21 tons of tear gas from the US, port staff refuses to sign for it (via JWZ)

(Image: Water & tear Gas!, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from 89031137@N00's photostream)

Battered Tahrir Square protester recounts Monday clashes

Alejandro De La Cruz from Turnstyle News tells Boing Boing,

Our reporter out of Egypt, Shadi Rahimi, has completed an online post with video on a Tahrir Square protester who was in the middle of Monday's clashes. The demonstrator, whose name is Saleh, says he was battered, arrested and later released. He says he considers his fate "fortunate" compare to those who lost their lives.

When Rahimi met up with Saleh, he was still deciding whether to boycott Egypt's historic vote.

More here, Video Link.