The Roomnet

The Boston Globe Connections column yesterday printed my essay on my experience away from the Internet, forced to actually connect with the other people in my presence to learn anything — and enjoying it. I coined a phrase to describe the collected brainpower in a room: the Roomnet. Earlier this year, an archaeological dig took…

Rise of the Black Pharoahs

While in Sudan earlier this year, a film crew from National Geographic came to El Kurru to document our work and interview the dig director, Geoff Emberling. The fruits of their labor aired on PBS on October 1 as “Rise of the Black Pharaohs.” Here’s the PBS description: About the ProgramThe Egypt of the Great…

The Sudanese Hug Revisited

In January, the Boston Globe Magazine published an essay I wrote about my friendship with Mahmoud, a Sudanese archaeologist, and a greeting I had never seen before, the Sudanese Hug. The basic gesture is a right handed pat on another person’s left shoulder while they do the same to you. The Sudanese Hug is more…

Smart People by Lydia Diamond

My wife thought Smart People by Lydia Diamond was going to be one of those plays where four people sit around and talk. According to the ads, they would be talking about privilege and ambition and race. She was right for about 5 minutes. The opening four person dinner party ended mid-scene. Then we were…

The Barber of Aleppo

I discovered a cool online magazine called The Weeklings. They publish one essay a day about culture, from music to movies and comics, to someone’s random musings on the Syrian Civil War. Last Thursday, those random musings were mine: I’ve been thinking a lot about the Arab man who held a sharp razor to my…

25 Years Ago in Tiananmen Square

Commentators are discussing the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. On June 4, 1989, Chinese army troops rolled into the center of Beijing to destroy the nascent democracy movement there. For those unfamiliar with the geography of Beijing, it would be the equivalent of tanks on Washington’s National Mall. I remember the June 4…