World Digital Library makes a debut
The World Digital Library, an electronic resource devoted to offering the totality of human knowledge in seven languages, was officially launched this week. Presented in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian, the Internet resource is meant to accommodate an unlimited number of entries from any country or library that wishes to contribute. So far, the offerings include oracle-bone rubbings from the Library of China, a Japanese work that is considered the first novel ever written, and interviews with former American slaves. “Everybody is welcome,” said U.S. Librarian of Congress James Billington.
Oldest Nobel Laureate turns 100
The world’s oldest Nobel laureate has turned 100. Rita Levi-Montalcini, who shared the 1986 medicine prize for her work on mechanisms that regulate cell and organ growth, still works daily at the European Brain Research Institute in Rome, which she founded. At her birthday party there, she recounted how Benito Mussolini’s anti-Jewish laws forced her to abandon university work and focus on research, which she conducted in a homemade lab. “If it wasn’t for this, then today I’d be an old woman—which obviously I am—but I think that difficulties can be really helpful in life,” she said. “At 100, I have a mind that is superior—thanks to experience—than when I was 20.”
Star Wars fans share a kidney
As members of Vader’s Fist 501st Legion, a Web-based Star Wars fan group, Jeff Romanoff and Eric Seemann share a love of imperial stormtroopers and R2D2. Now they share a kidney, too. Seemann learned through the group’s website that Romanoff was suffering from Von Hippel-Lindau disease, a rare genetic disorder that had given him kidney cancer. Rather than see Romanoff end up on a dialysis machine, Seemann volunteered to donate one of his kidneys. The operation was performed April 3 and both are doing fine. “I will honor the rest of my life to the sacrifice he has made for me,” said Romanoff.