Sunday Reads: Hands, Fists, and Astronomical UnitsPosted: September 23, 2012
It is Sunday, and this morning’s post is full of linky goodness. You got your coffee? Then let’s go! First a couple of links on language…In Chicago they have completed a dictionary on language used everyday in ancient Egypt
This should be interesting.
The ancient language is Demotic Egyptian, a name given by the Greeks to denote it was the tongue of the demos, or common people. It was written as a flowing script and was used in Egypt from about 500 B.C. to 500 A.D., when the land was occupied and usually dominated by foreigners, including Persians, Greeks and Romans.
The language lives on today in words such as adobe, which came from the Egyptian word for brick. The word moved through Demotic, onto Arabic and eventually to Spain during the time of Islamic domination there, explained Janet Johnson, editor of the Chicago Demotic Dictionary.
Ebony, the dark wood that was traded down the Nile from Nubia (present-day Sudan), also comes from Demotic roots. The name Susan is indirectly related to the Demotic word for water lily.
Isn’t it cool!
Demotic was used for business and legal agreements, literary text, personal letters and religious and magic text as well.
I don’t know why, but I thought of that scene from Bubba Ho-tep, with the mummy writing graffiti in the bathroom stall…”Cleopatra does the nasty.” I could not find the clip, but I did find this one that does have a bit of the Egyptian hieroglyphics :
This other link on language is fascinating too: Black American Sign Language is distinct from its mainstream counterpart, study shows
Carolyn McCaskill, is a deaf, African-American woman who has made it her profession to study deaf culture. A professor at Gallaudet University, the famous institution for deaf and hard of hearing students, McCaskill has been ensconced in such learning communities from a young age. But when she entered a racially integrated school for the first time at 15, she was shocked to learn that she could not understand the signs of her fellow students and teachers — because they were white.
“I was dumbfounded,” McCaskill told The Washington Post about her ordeal. “I was like, ‘What in the world is going on?’” The teenaged McCaskill had to relearn signs for simple words and the correct spaces around her body in which to make them in order to communicate.
“I put my signs aside,” she said.
McCaskill’s puzzlement at the divergent form of sign language American blacks use is not unique. Many in the deaf community have long observed the differences between how blacks and mainstream groups sign, and the fact that such distinctions persist even when blacks and whites closely socialize.
Now take a look at the rest of that article at the link.
Next up we have a couple of links that focus on fashion, both are photo heavy links. Valentino’s Swoon-Worthy Costumes for the New York City Ballet
Dance and fashion have gone hand in hand throughout history. Now that New York City Ballet’s fall season begins on the heels of the Fashion Week catwalk shows (both huge cultural draws at Lincoln Center), it feels right to accentuate the centuries-old connection. This year, the company’s fall gala, on September 20, pays homage to the master couturier Valentino Garavani, who just happens to love classical dance. The program will feature five ballets—two premieres and four with brand-new costumes designed by Valentino. The fifth ballet, George Balanchine’s Rubies, was chosen because it is already wearing Valentino’s signature color: red. Given how challenging galas can be to structure, and the element of surprise they require, a fashion component, says Peter Martins, NYCB’s ballet master in chief, “is something we would like to explore going forward.”
Now this is a funny image: Face Of The Day – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast
Aaron Paul and Dita Von Teese attend the Burberry Spring Summer 2013 Womenswear Show at Kensington Gardens on September 17, 2012 in London, England. By Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Burberry. Lauren Yapalater compiled many more photos of “Aaron Paul [Being] Very Confused By Burberry”.
Since we are enjoying photographs and fashion, here is one that may knock your socks off. Yes, real women have curves!
Again, sticking with the photo gallery a bit longer…
There are some beautiful images here: Astronomy Photographer Of The Year Winners | TPM Media
The Royal Observatory Greenwich on Sept. 20 announced the winners of its Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest. The winning images, collected in this slideshow, are on display in a free exhibit at the observatory. The photo captions included are verbatim from the selected images.
I love the one with the full moon, it looks like Halloween to me.
And since we have stumbled onto the Astronomy section of the post, check this out:
The world’s top astronomical body has endorsed the definition of the “Astronomical Unit” (AU), a measurement used to calculate the distance between stars and planets.
The AU — based on the distance between Earth and the Sun — has long been in use by astronomers, and the decision by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) simply removes a tiny three-metre (10-feet) margin of error.
“Until now, the value in metres of AU was determined experimentally, depending on the models, observations and reference system that was used,” it said.
Officially, the AU is 149,597,870,700 metres (149,597,870.7 kilometres or 92,955,807.273 miles) exactly.
Well, I don’t have any other space themed stories for you, but I do have one about a woman who is way out there in the right wingnut void. Phyllis Schlafly Claims Title IX Damaged US Performance at the Olympics | rightwingwatch.org
One of the main stories to come out of the 2012 London Olympics was the outright dominance of American female athletes, anothersign of the success of the Title IX, which barred discrimination between men’s and women’s educational programs and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. But Title IX has always provoked the ire of Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum. In a radio alert today, Schlafly claims Title IX in fact “weakened our competitiveness” at the Olympics.
The US won 104 medals in London (58 for women and 45 for men), which Schlafly believes shows that male athletes suffered a severe injustice. “Feminist-imposed gender quotas hurt us at the Olympics in events which our Nation once dominated,” Schlafly claims, “While our Nation won the most medals for the fifth consecutive Summer Olympics, many of our medals were in contests of dubious value like beach volleyball. Title IX quotas have hurt our competitiveness in sports that are most helpful to the development of our young men.” Schlafly points to the US failure to win medals in wrestling as a sign of Title IX’s allegedly disastrous impact; however, throughout Olympic history the US has neverdominated wrestling in the Olympics” And while Schlafly believes that the policy wreaked havoc on male collegiate sports, female athletes and women’s teams still receive significantly less financial support compared to their male peers.
Video at the link.
Well, I bet there are some woman athletes who would love to use their fists and send Ms. Schlafly to the moon…best to just clench them instead. Clenching left hand could help athletes avoid choking under pressure
Some athletes may improve their performance under pressure simply by squeezing a ball or clenching their left hand before competition to activate certain parts of the brain, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.
In three experiments with experienced soccer players, judo experts and badminton players, researchers in Germany tested the athletes’ skills during practice and then in stressful competitions before a large crowd or video camera. Right-handed athletes who squeezed a ball in their left hand before competing were less likely to choke under pressure than right-handed players who squeezed a ball in their right hand. The study was published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
Hey, that’s all folks, y’all have a great Sunday. I will be celebrating my son’s 15th birthday…so see you later tonight. Happy Birthday Jake!