Missing tail puzzles latest restorers of SphinxRestorers...

May 26, 1992

Missing tail puzzles latest restorers of Sphinx

Restorers have redone his nails and removed unsightly concrete flab from his flanks. But when it comes to the Sphinx's tail, experts say they are stumped.

"A lot of it is missing. Maybe half," said Mahmoud Mabrouk, a sculptor in charge of giving the ancient Sphinx a body-lift.

Mr. Mabrouk said the tail was missing 2,000 years ago when Greek and Roman restorers joined a long list of Sphinx-savers. They decided against tackling the problem of the missing tail. Mr. Mabrouk said that's what he'll do.

The part of the tail Mr. Mabrouk can find swirls around the base of the massive limestone lion's right rear paw, then curves voluptuotsly upward, toward the rib cage. Then it abruptly.

"What a problem, "he said. "I'd like to catch that Sphinx by the tail and swing it."

Blowing in:

Lying on your back in the middle of a field, looking straight up, provides a great view of what the sky is doing. So scientists working in the Midwest have adapted that idea for a new collection of wind-watching radars -- with better weather forecasts as the result.

The new wind profilers tell forecasters not just which way the wind is blowing, but how fast. They look like 40-foot by 40-foot bedsprings, but they can measure wind direction and speed several miles straight up. Scientists would like to see the network extended to improve hurricane tracking.

The new machinery has sharply improved forecasting of storms. One official tells of a blizzard in the Denver area. Traditional forecasts called for 4 inches of snow. Forecasts based on wind profiler data predicted 20 inches. It was a 20-inch snowstorm.

Taxol's limits:

The experimental drug taxol, made from a yew tree, is among the most potent new treatments ever tested against lung cancer, but it's still unlikely to cure this leading cancer killer, doctors report.

"The only thing that will have an impact on survival is getting our children not to smoke," said Dr. William K. Murphy of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Briefly noted:

Resarchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have capped a 30-year quest by transplanting larynxes in dogs.

Ancient Pavilion

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