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Mineral fodder - We may think we are the first organisms to remake the planet, but life has been transforming the earth for aeons
"One could easily be forgiven for thinking that life bears little connection to rocks. From high-school science curricula to Wikipedia, the institutional separation of geology and biology seems as ingrained today as when the 18th-century Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus first distinguished animals, vegetables, and minerals. After all, what could be more different than a fragrant rose and a cold chunk of granite?" - Maitani
"As university students today well know, power-point obsessed lecturers have internalized the idea, drawn from evolutionary biology, that the primary mode of perception for primates is vision. As university students today also well know, this modern pedagogical axiom can suck the life right out of a room. Back in ancient times, or in the 1980s when I first attended university, only the dullest of lecturers required anything so fancy as plastic slides on an overhead projector. Everything was oral, chalkboards were sufficient, and it was wonderful. Or at least I thought it was, the occasional droning aside. My how things have changed. Today it would be unthinkable to deliver a lecture without the aid or crutch of power-point. If the slides are especially busy, students need pay no mind to the babbling person, or reader, who advances them." - Maitani
"Those who study traditional cultures in general and hunter-gatherers in particular are no doubt aware of these issues, but awareness and understanding are two different things. I’ve been groping toward some understanding, inspired in this task initially by Jack Goody’s Domestication of the Savage Mind (1977). While Goody’s classic opened my eyes to these issues, my ears were not opened... more... - Maitani
Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy - Maitani
"...during the floods papyrus swamps provided a larder of fresh food (birds, fish and game). In the modern world papyrus swamps are key to the development and sustainability of many areas in Africa where the swamps today act as sewage filters." (comment by on the article posted here )
I have had a papyrus for years, and I keep the pot in standing water. I was really astonished by the fact that water and soil never developed that rotten smell (like other plants when getting too much water), they don't smell at all. - Maitani
AWOL - The Ancient World Online: Antiquity in the Online-Publikationsserver (OPUS) der Universität Würzburg -
AWOL - The Ancient World Online: Antiquity in the Online-Publikationsserver (OPUS) der Universität Würzburg
"Antiquity in the Online-Publikationsserver (OPUS) der Universität Würzburg" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
The Ancient Egyptian invention that made everything else possible - -
The Ancient Egyptian invention that made everything else possible -
"The history of Egypt boggles the mind. By any standard the scale of achievement was enormous, but through it all, it seems clear that the economy remained rooted in agriculture. It was the everyday business of the ancient Egyptians to produce food. This they did using a system that was the envy of all. Sandra Postel, Director of the Global Water Policy Project, said that overall, Egypt’s system of basin irrigation proved inherently more stable from an ecological, political, social, and institutional perspective than that of any other irrigation-based society in human history, including the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia where a fallow year had to be interposed to rest the land between harvests on land that was also subject to salinization, something that did not happen along the Nile. “Fundamentally … the system sustained an advanced civilization through numerous political upheavals and other destabilizing events over some 5,000 years. No other place on Earth has been in continuous cultivation for so long.”" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
I'm currently working my way through a rather long lecture series on Egypt's rather long history. I'm all the way up to the 19th dynasty now and 1177 B.C. is on the horizon :) - Eivind
So you've already learned about the Battle of Kadesh? - Maitani
I am quite interested in Egypt's relations with Mittani and with the Hittites. - Maitani
Aye. I've had quite a bit to do with the Hittites lately. Mittani's been around, too. To get back to papyrus: When the Hittites switch from clay tablets to papyrus, we stop hearing from them. Thanks, Egypt :-P - Eivind from Android
:D, Eivind! Btw., the article mainly deals with the part papyrus boats and ropes play in the evolving Egyptian civilization prior to 3,000 BCE: "By far the most ingenious item that emerged from that period was rope, without which building boats and houses would have been more difficult, not to mention the erection of monuments for which Egypt is remembered in later times." It is fascinating to read. - Maitani
I read it, and I agree :) - Eivind
4,000-Year-Old Burial with Chariots Discovered in South Caucasus -
4,000-Year-Old Burial with Chariots Discovered in South Caucasus
"An ancient burial containing chariots, gold artifacts and possible human sacrifices has been discovered by archaeologists in the country of Georgia, in the south Caucasus." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Archaeologists discoveredthe timber burial chamber within a 39-foot-high (12 meters) mound called a kurgan. When the archaeologists reached the chamber they found an assortment of treasures, including two chariots, each with four wooden wheels." - Maitani
“In the Ukraine”? “In Ukraine”? “On Ukraine”?—Clarifying the Issue - Languages Of The World | Languages Of The World -
“In the Ukraine”? “In Ukraine”? “On Ukraine”?—Clarifying the Issue - Languages Of The World | Languages Of The World
"As was noted above, some Ukrainians think that the use of the definite article with the name of their country makes it sound as if Ukraine is not a sovereign state. This idea, however, is mistaken. A number of current and former names of sovereign states, including those of the two Cold War superpowers, contain “the”: the United States and the Soviet Union. Note also the Netherlands, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the People’s Republic of China. Some writers have suggested that the definite article is used with sovereign state names only if they are plural. This stipulation might be said to work for the United States, the Netherlands and the Philippines, but “the United States” has generally been conceived as a singular entity since the Civil War (before the 1860s, one would usually write “the United States are…,” whereas since that time the correct usage is “the United States is…” Other countries that... more... - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Young Leonard Cohen Reads His Poetry in 1966 (Before His Days as a Musician Began) - | Open Culture -
Young Leonard Cohen Reads His Poetry in 1966 (Before His Days as a Musician Began) - | Open Culture
"Many a singer-songwriter who first rose to prominence in the 1960s has taken the label of “poet,” usually applied by adoring fans, no doubt to the objection of a fair few serious poetry enthusiasts. But who among them could deny Leonard Cohen’s status as a poet? Though best known as a musician, Cohen has also racked up indisputable writerly credentials, having published not just the novels Beautiful Losers and The Favorite Game but many books of poetry including Death of a Lady’s Man, Let Us Compare Mythologies, and Flowers for Hitler. Some of them include not just poems written as poems but song lyrics — or perhaps works that began as songs but became poems. Surely his albums contain songs that began as poems. Those interested in figuring out Cohen’s simultaneous development as a poet and songwriter would do well to listen to his early poetry readings, like that of “Prayer for Messiah” at the top of the post." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
You should listen to the 92nd Y poetry readings <3 - Maitani
Why Germany Wants to Look Like Its Soccer Team - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society -
Why Germany Wants to Look Like Its Soccer Team - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society
"In a country where immigrants haven’t always been welcome, politicians champion Die Mannschaft as an integrated model of diversity." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"On the evening of June 25, 2008, Germany played one of the most-hyped soccer games in its long, proud history: The semi-finals of the 2008 UEFA European Championship. It wasn’t the country’s most important match—by 2008 Germany had already won both the European Championship and the World Cup three times—but the match carried a new kind of cultural importance. Germany’s opponent was... more... - Maitani
Leo Tolstoy's Family Recipe for Macaroni and Cheese - | Open Culture -
Leo Tolstoy's Family Recipe for Macaroni and Cheese - | Open Culture
"In 1874, Stepan Andreevich Bers published The Cookbook and gave it as a gift to his sister, countess Sophia Andreevna Tolstaya, the wife of the great Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy. The book contained a collection of Tolstoy family recipes, the dishes they served to their family and friends, those fortunate souls who belonged to the aristocratic ruling class of late czarist Russia. Almost 150 years later, this cookbook has been translated and republished by Sergei Beltyukov. Available in an inexpensive Kindle format ($3.99), Leo Tolstoy’s family recipe book features dozens of recipes, everything from Tartar Sauce and Spiced Mushrooms (what’s a Russian kitchen without mushrooms?), to Stuffed Dumplings and Green Beans à la Maître d’Hôtel, to Coffee Cake and Viennese Pie. The text comes with a translation, too, of Russian weights and measures used during the period. One recipe Mr. Beltyukov provided to us (which I didn’t see in the book) is for the Tolstoy’s good ole Mac ‘N’ Cheese dish. It goes something like this:" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
It was the best of cheese, it was the worst of cheese. - Stephen Mack
I love the photo because it reminds me of the Russian hospitality I experienced years ago. :-) - Maitani
Note to David Brat: Free Markets Are Not Calvinist | Religion Dispatches -
"The confusion may go back even farther than Max Weber’s “Protestant ethic” thesis, all the way to the 16th century, when the Protestant reformer John Calvin waxed poetic in his Institutes of the Christian Religion about the importance of “freedom” in a Christian’s life. A Christian is no longer a slave to the law—neither the Torah nor the laws of the Roman Church. The Christian is free from condemnation, free to obey God joyfully, and free to make individual choices about earthly matters—even including usury (lending money at interest). So thus far it may seem that Calvin put his stamp of approval on the market free-for-all that’s so popular with bankers, business owners, financiers, and Brat voters." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"But this is nothing like John Calvin’s own thinking. Despite his love of freedom, Calvin also had what we might call “Talibanesque” tendencies, since he believed in the sovereignty of God and the total depravity of humankind; humans are so sinful that even believers get it wrong most of the time and thus need strict rules to save them from themselves and others. In particular, Calvin worried about how the rich and powerful would use their privileged positions to exploit the poor and vulnerable." - Maitani
You shouldn't read Calvin's texts literally. If you just read between the lines and interpret the stuff that is meant to be interpreted rather than just taken at face value and disregard the stuff that absolutely doesn't fit this ideology, you'll find that Calvin was, indeed, a right-wing, free-market wingnut libertarian. - Eivind
I haven't read Calvin yet, but I have no doubt about that, Eivind. I wonder who else we could monopolize as free market libertarians with this approach. :-) - Maitani
Nelson "Laissez-faire" Mandela would be a respectable addition :) - Eivind from Android
Seen on an afternoon walk through my hometown
:) - Jenny H. from Android
THE HISTORIES OF HERODOTUS, TRANSLATED BY TOM HOLLAND essay by Steve Donoghue found via #3quarksdaily
I read Waterfield's 2008 translation (Oxford World's Classics). This is the first example from his translation: "The men may well be magicians, since the Scythians and the Greeks who live in Scythia say that once a year every Neurian becomes a wolf for a few days and then reverts to his original state. Personally I do not believe this, but they make the claim despite its implausibility,... more... - Eivind
Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: The Mystery of Language evolution (Hauser et al. 2014) -
Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: The Mystery of Language evolution (Hauser et al. 2014)
Marc D. Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert C. Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard Lewontin - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our... more... - Maitani
you can download a provisional pdf of the full article here - Maitani
"This is the essential problem of serial order: the existence of generalized schemata of action which determine the sequence of specific acts, acts which in themselves or in their associations seem to have no temporal valence. In evolutionary terms, Lashley is suggesting that a key innovation, maybe THE key innovation, was learning to map structured ideas onto structured action plans (=... more... - Maitani
Language Log recommends a work setting forth a different approach (which sounds fascinating to me): Karl Lashley, The Problem of Serial Oder in Behavior (1951). Here is the pdf: - Maitani
Does learning a second language lead to a new identity? | OUPblog -
Does learning a second language lead to a new identity? | OUPblog
"But what if we took a different approach. Rather than ask what makes learning a second language so hard, let’s ask what makes it easier." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"One group of successful language learners includes those who write in a second language. For example, Joseph Conrad, born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, wrote Heart of Darkness in English, a language he spoke with a very strong accent. He was of Polish origin and considered himself to be of Polish origin his entire life. Despite his heavy accent, he is regarded by many as one of the... more... - Maitani
BBC News - The day trip that devastated New York's Little Germany -
BBC News - The day trip that devastated New York's Little Germany
Show all
"On a fine summer's day 110 years ago, more than 1,000 people died in a disaster in New York. It was a massive blow to the city's German community, which never fully recovered." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
This Is Your Brain on Writing by Carl Zimmer - -
"A novelist scrawling away in a notebook in seclusion may not seem to have much in common with an NBA player doing a reverse layup on a basketball court before a screaming crowd. But if you could peer inside their heads, you might see some striking similarities in how their brains were churning." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Steve Donoghue at The Quarterly Conversation: "For centuries, men of letters and plenty of his fellow historians took great pleasure in reducing the prototypical chronicler, Herodotus of Halicarnassus, to the status of a mere wonder-monger, the garrulous and credulous counter-weight to the austere objectivity of his younger contemporary and immediate successor, Thucydides. In fact, it was a thinly veiled slight in Thucydides’s great work on the Peloponnesian War that got the tradition of Herodotus-bashing started; after that, a bitterly moralizing essay by Plutarch kept it going, it flourished in the Renaissance, and it persisted into modern times. Even fifty years ago, the great classicist Peter Green was gently mocking the standard reduction of “The Father of History”:" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Here is Herodotus: a garrulous, credulous collector of sailors’ stories and Oriental novelle, ahistorical in method, factually inaccurate, superstitious and pietistic, politically innocent, his guiding motto cherchez la femme et n’oubliez pas le Dieu" - Maitani
RT @QueensClassics: Homeric Mediterranean: the home towns of the heroes.
Download 78 Free Online History Courses: From Ancient Greece to The Modern World - | Open Culture -
Download 78 Free Online History Courses: From Ancient Greece to The Modern World - | Open Culture
Telemachos in Ithaca | OUPblog -
Telemachos in Ithaca | OUPblog
"How do you hear the call of the poet to the Muse that opens every epic poem? The following is extract from Barry B. Powell’s new free verse translation of The Odyssey by Homer. It is accompanied by two recordings: one of the first 105 lines in Ancient Greek, the other of the first 155 lines in the new translation. How does your understanding change in each of the different versions?" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Sing to me of the resourceful man, O Muse, who wandered far after he had sacked the sacred city of Troy. He saw the cities of many men and he learned their minds. He suffered many pains on the sea in his spirit, seeking to save his life and the homecoming of his companions. But even so he could not save his companions, though he wanted to, for they perished of their own folly—the... more... - Maitani
Egyptologist unravels ancient mystery -- ScienceDaily -
Egyptologist unravels ancient mystery -- ScienceDaily
"It is one of the greatest archaeological mysteries of all times: the disappearance of a Persian army of 50,000 men in the Egyptian desert around 524 BC. A professor has now unearthed a cover-up affair and solved the riddle." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Herodotus It must have been a sand storm, writes the Greek historian Herodotus. He tells the story of the Persian King Cambyses, who entered the Egyptian desert near Luxor (then Thebes) with 50,000 men. The troops supposedly never returned; they were swallowed by a sand dune. A fantastic tale that was long the subject of many debates." - Maitani
When it comes to numbers, culture counts -- ScienceDaily -
When it comes to numbers, culture counts -- ScienceDaily
"A new study finds that in a Bolivian rainforest society, children learn to count just like in the US, but on a delayed timetable." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"American children learn the meanings of number words gradually: First they understand "one," then they add "two, "three," and "four," in sequence. At that point, however, a dramatic shift in understanding takes place, and children grasp the meanings of not only "five" and "six," but all of the number words they know." - Maitani
"Scientists have also seen this pattern in children raised speaking other languages, including Japanese and Russian. In all of these industrialized nations, number learning begins around age 2, and children fully understand numbers and counting by the age of 4 or 5." - Maitani
Style Over Substance | Boston Review -
Style Over Substance | Boston Review
"During the war Proust expanded his novel from a projected three volumes to seven. By 1919 Gide had changed his mind about this work in progress, and Gallimard proudly published its second volume. Within a Budding Grove promptly won France’s most prestigious literary prize, Le Prix Goncourt. National, then international, praise followed—in abundance. A few years later Virginia Woolf would sit down to thank a friend for sending her a slab of nougat from Saint-Tropez, but, put in mind of France by the package, she soon found herself talking only of the novel. “My great adventure is really Proust,” she wrote, “I am in a state of amazement; as if a miracle were being done before my eyes. How, at last, has someone solidified what has always escaped—and made it too into this beautiful and perfectly enduring substance? One has to put the book down and gasp. The pleasure becomes physical—like sun and wine and grapes and perfect serenity and intense vitality combined.”" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"One of the most striking aspects of the reception of Proust’s work is how far and how fast that serenity and vitality stretched. One might think that a novel of more than 3,000 pages in which nothing of historical note happens would have a hard time finding an audience at home, and a still harder time abroad. But it did not. As Erich Auerbach wrote in 1925 in one of his first publications (recently made available in English in Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach):" - Maitani
First Edition Compiled By George Lakoff, Jane Espenson, and Adele Goldberg August, 1989 Second Edition Compiled By George Lakoff, Jane Espenson, and Alan Schwartz Cognitive Linguistics Group University of California at Berkeley October, 1991" - Maitani
"This is the second attempt to compile in one place the results of metaphor research since the publication of Reddy’s ‘‘The Conduit Metaphor’’ and Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By. This list is a compilation taken from published books and papers, student papers at Berkeley and elsewhere, and research seminars. This represents perhaps 20 percent (a very rough estimate) of the material we have that needs to be compiled." - Maitani
To me, this is one of the most exciting finds of recent time. - Maitani
Jane Espenson? Interesting! - WoH: Professor MOTHRA
Who is she? I haven't heard of her yet. - Maitani She is a favourite writer of mine, and I was lucky enough to sit on a panel with her a couple of years ago. I think it's the same Jane - I'm going to check! - WoH: Professor MOTHRA
On Beauty and Fragrance
"Though in the Middle Ages plants were used far more out of necessity than they are today, they were also admired for their beauty and fragrance. The medieval pleasure garden was designed for delight, enjoyment, and refreshment; fruit and vegetable production was not the objective." - Maitani
"A quiet life has many rewards: not least of these Is the joy that comes to him who devotes himself to the art They knew at Paestum, and learns the ancient skill of obscene Priapus—the joy that comes of devoting himself to a garden..." - Maitani
Stephen Greenblatt on Shakespeare's debt to Montaigne
"When, near the end of his career, Shakespeare wrote The Tempest, the tragicomic romance that seems at least in retrospect to signal his impending retirement to Stratford, he had in his mind and quite possibly on his desk a book of Montaigne’s Essays. One of those essays, “Of the Cannibals,” has long been recognized as a source upon which Shakespeare was clearly drawing." - Maitani
The Invasion of America: How the United States Took Over an Eighth of the World -
The Invasion of America: How the United States Took Over an Eighth of the World
"Between 1776 and 1887, the United States seized over 1.5 billion acres from America's indigenous people by treaty and executive order. Explore how in this interactive map of every Native American land cession during that period." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
found in Another Word For It - Maitani
Study 40+ Languages with Free Lessons from the U.S. Foreign Service Institute - | Open Culture -
Study 40+ Languages with Free Lessons from the U.S. Foreign Service Institute - | Open Culture
"I spent this afternoon chatting with a travel writer about how we first allowed ourselves to start learning foreign languages. That notion may sound a bit odd, especially to those of you living in countries where everyone grows up trilingual. But Americans — even American travelers — have struggled with the concept of mastering languages other than English. Sometimes it has seemed merely unnecessary; at other times, downright impossible. But no matter our nationality, our increasingly globalized 21st-century lives have put to rest any and all excuses in which we might dress up our linguistic parochialism. Technology has also done more than its share, given the ever-growing abundance of free and effective language-learning resources on the internet. Take for example, our pretty massive list of Free Foreign Language Lessons. Or discover this trove of language learning resources from the U.S. Foreign Service Institute, a government agency long tasked with teaching the widest possible... more... - Maitani from Bookmarklet
A lot of these are really old. I tried to use the Korean one last year, but found it was done in the 50s and 60s. (The "new" text is from 1968!) In the past 40+ years, Romanization of Hangul has been streamlined, a lot of words are no longer used in favor of more Korean words and even pronunciations/spellings have changed. - Anika
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