Category Archives: History and Culture

Evidence of Pre Olympian Deity Worship in Greece

An Altar Beyond Olympus for a Deity Predating Zeus – New York Times
Before Zeus hurled his first thunderbolt from Olympus, the pre-Greek people occupying the land presumably paid homage and offered sacrifices to their own gods and goddesses, whose nature and identities are unknown to scholars today.
But archaeologists say they have now found the ashes, bones and other evidence of animal sacrifices to some pre-Zeus deity on the summit of Mount Lykaion, in the region of Greece known as Arcadia. The remains were uncovered last summer at an altar later devoted to Zeus.

Armistice (Veterans) Day

As the son of a (late) World War II veteran, and the brother of a veteran, I remember, and honor all of those who have served. As I said last year, without such veterans defending my country, my life would be a very different alternate history, if I existed at all. All I can say is, Thank You.
Funny enough, I didn’t see any Veterans around here selling poppies to wear. However, my Second Life Sim, Prim Perfect Reporter Jvstin Tomorrow, has a virtual one to wear today.

Remember, Remember…

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Ever should be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys,
Let the bells ring!
Holloa boys, holloa boys,
God save the King!
A penny loaf to feed the Pope,
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him,
A pint o’ beer to rinse it down,
A faggot o’ sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say the Pope is dead.

50th Anniversary of Sputnik

On October 4,1957, the Soviet Union launched the first object into orbit, Sputnik 1.
The satellite travelled at 29,000 kilometers (18,000 mi) per hour and emitted radio signals at around 20.005 and 40.002 MHz which were monitored by Amateur radio operators throughout the world. The signals continued for 22 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on October 26, 1957.Sputnik 1 burned as it fell from orbit upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere, after traveling about 60 million km (37 million miles) in orbit.
It was *not* the first object to reach space, however. In 1944, a V2 rocket was launched from Peenemünde on a vertical test shot sub-orbital trajectory to an altitude of 176 km (109 miles), well beyond the 100 km (62 miles) altitude generally considered to be the border of space.

World languages dying off

Via the NY Times and NPR’s All things Considered.
Of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, linguists
say, nearly half are in danger of extinction and are likely to
disappear in this century. In fact, they are now falling out of use at
a rate of about one every two weeks.
Some endangered languages vanish in an instant, at the death of the sole surviving speaker.
Others are lost gradually in bilingual cultures, as indigenous tongues
are overwhelmed by the dominant language at school, in the marketplace
and on television.
New research, reported today, has identified the five regions of the
world where languages are disappearing most rapidly. The “hot spots”
of imminent language extinctions are: Northern Australia, Central
South America, North America’s upper Pacific coastal zone, Eastern
Siberia and Oklahoma and Southwest United States. All of the areas are
occupied by aboriginal people speaking diverse languages, but in
decreasing numbers.
The study was based on field research and data analysis supported by
the National Geographic Society and the Living Tongues Institute for
Endangered Languages, an organization for the documentation,
revitalization and maintenance of languages at risk. The findings are
described in the October issue of National Geographic magazine and at
www.languagehotspots.org.

As for me, I am saddened at the death of languages. I am not a good or even an average linguist, sometimes much to my chagrin. I *wish* I had an ear and mind for languages, but mastery of languages eludes me. Maybe I need to learn in some other fashion.
Language is a tool for expressing ourselves, and truths about the world, and so when a language is lost, one of those methods of doing so is lost. Languages, and the control of language is a powerful thing. And so the loss of language is like a loss of biodiversity. It makes the social ecosystem of humanity just a little more diminished, to our loss and sorrow.
Jack Vance’s novel The Languages of Pao illustrates this perfectly.