June 21st, 2005

[LINK] A Real Da Vinci Conspiracy?

A conspiracy of one, at least. From The Globe and Mail:

"Cerca, trova--seek and you shall find--says a tantalizing five-century-old message painted on a fresco in the council hall of Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.

Researchers now believe these cryptic words could be a clue to the location of a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting and are pressing local authorities to allow them to search for the masterpiece of Renaissance art.

Maurizio Seracini, an Italian art researcher, first noticed the message during a survey of the hall 30 years ago, but his team lacked the technology then to see what lay behind Giorgio Vasari's 16th-century fresco,
Battle of Marciano in the Chiana Valley.

However, radar and X-ray scans conducted between 2002 and 2003 have detected a cavity behind the section of wall the message was painted on, which Seracini believes may conceal Leonardo's unfinished mural painting, the
Battle of Anghiari.

As the website of Anghiari commune explains, the 1440 Battle of Anghiari decided the future of central Italy, though had it not been for Leonardo's apparently failed mural, it might have passed unrecorded. I wonder if Leonardo's mural should be recovered: Since he and contemporaries considered it a failure, is there any reason to put it on display apart from the 21st century's voracious curiosity?

[LINK] A Nascent Protectionism in Taiwan?

Huang Tien-lin's Taipei Times article "Is Taiwan the sick tiger of Asia?" is interesting, not quite so much because it's making the argument that China is gutting domestic industries and harming economic growth but because it's being published by one of the premier English-language newspapers of Taiwan, the country that has arguably seen the greatest benefit from the post-Mao revival of the China trade. Tien-lin compares Taiwan unfavourably to South Korea, which (he argues) has favoured capital-intensive investments in South Korea which accelerate economic growth in that country, whereas Taiwanese firms have favoured labour-intensive investments in mainland China. Thoughts on this argument?

At least one thing is for certain: Support for protectionism isn't only a North Atlantic thing in the 21st century.

[URBAN NOTE] An Evening Stroll

Instead of waiting for a bus that didn't seem to be coming outside the Dufferin TTC station, at the intersection of Bloor West and Dufferin, I decided to walk south on Dufferin as far as College, on the west side opposite Dufferin Grove Park. Dufferin south of Bloor is a different sort of neighbourhood than Queen Street West west of University, pleasingly so, lined (at the north) by the Dufferin Mall and aforementioned park and south by single-family homes built in brick.Even if that stroll hadn't been worth it, there would have been the complaint fo the white-haired bus driver who finally pulled up at Dufferin and College over the phone top his supervisor: "I'm packed to the gills here."
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