Sunday Reads: Hands, Fists, and Astronomical Units

Good Morning!

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!

Laura Byrnes Photography Print – La Cholita Dia de los Muertos | Pinup Girl Clothing

Laura Byrnes Photography Print - La Cholita Dia de los Muertos

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:

‘Astronomical Unit’ officially adopted by astronomers | The Raw Story

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 |

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!

36 Comments on “Sunday Reads: Hands, Fists, and Astronomical Units”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    I have to say I am somewhat in Ann Romney’s corner.

    Why climb all over Mitt’s remarks when what he said is nothing the GOP hasn’t been pushing going back to Ronald Reagan. Under the Dems the poor and disadvanteged are nothing more than lazy, blood sucking pigs, looking for a free ride and without them we would all be better off. We’ve heard it for years but with cellphones now in attendance at most gatherings he was “caught” on tape expressing it aloud. No more “closed door” meetings where technology is concerned.

    What I find ironic is that only the day before this “revelation” the GOP congressional candidates were making the same pitch only using “code language” to disguise their true feelings. Send them to Washington and they guarantee the dismantling of these programs. But from the coverage and the fall out that followed, these blood sucking “bluebloods” were put in an untenable position of having to defend themselves when sharing the ballot with Mittens who openly defined their collective positions.

    Scott Brown, our junior senator from MA, has voted against most policies that were intended to bring some relief to his constituents but 9 times out of 10 he voted strictly along party lines to defeat. He was one of the first to grab a microphone to distance himself from Mitt which just happens to be one of the biggest frauds of his campaign. Listening to Scott now you would hesitate to understand that his “victory” two years ago did not include a lot of support from the Tea Party who vow to rid the government of any and all social programs designed to offer a measure of relief to those in need.

    So Ann Romney was not incorrect in asking these two faced morons to just “stop it!”. Mitt may be an ass but he had plenty of company up until Tuesday when the sh*t hit the fan threatening to take the entire lot of them along with him.

  2. Beata says:

    It’s sad to see the beautiful original costumes designed by Karinska for Balanchine’s “Rubies” being replaced by Valentino designs. Meh, “progress”. I hope the costume change will not be permanent.

    Karinska collaborated with Chagall, using his drawings, to design the fabulous costumes for Balanchine’s “Firebird”:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Wonderful post!! I can’t tell you how fascinated I am about the ancient Egyptian dictionary and learning that some of their words have been passed down to us. I wonder if the dictionary will be published?

  4. I wanted to update y’all on the case of the girl who was raped in Texas last year: Another defendent sentenced in rape of 11-year-old Texas girl | theGrio

    • RalphB says:

      The other seven defendants are going away just like the first, unless I miss my guess. The only way out of a 99 year sentence is probably making some kind of deal cause juries sympathetic to them won’t be found.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Good news. Thanks, JJ.

  5. Hey, a do-over! Univision Anchor: Mitt Romney Demanded Favorable Crowd, Introduction Do-Over At Forum | Mediaite

    While both candidates for president appeared in separate Univision forums in Florida this week, Republican candidate Mitt Romney secured himself several advantages over President Obama, according to a report by Buzzfeed‘s McKay Coppins. Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas told Buzzfeed that while both candidates had agreed to distribute their share of tickets mainly to students, Romney’s campaign reneged at the last minute, demanding to bus in activists to fill the seats. Salinas also said Romney forced Univision to re-shoot his introduction by refusing to come onstage until they relented.

    Considering the kind of week Romney was having, and his crushing disadvantage to President Obama with Hispanic voters, he certainly needed the help, and by hook or crook, he got it.

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    In the event anyone here missed Moyers this week, his guest for nearly the full hour was Trevor Potter (former FEC chair, Republican & Colbert’s Super PAC attorney). Great show, as always talking about CU & how HORRIBLE it was/is. Next week: The United States of ALEC. Can’t wait. In the preview they showed a tape of Reagan saying how wonderful ALEC was. Then a more current clip of Boehner singing the praises of ALEC. In my book, at least, Moyers is really Must See TV.

  7. ecocatwoman says:

    In case ya’ll missed this about the Mormon Church & its investments: And here’s a “nice” promo for Deseret Ranches right here in Central Florida:

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m glad this is getting around. Bloomberg had a terrific article in July called How the Mormons Make Money.

      What I want to know is how much of Romney’s giving went to any other cause than the Mormon church. How much for breast cancer and MS? I assume they gave some to Ann’s disease causes. But how much for hungry and homeless children? His donations were broken down on his 2010 returns, but I can’t find anything in the 2011 ones.

    • Fannie says:

      Wow, that’s something……what have they done for all the sexual abuse that’s gone on in the church…………..

  8. RalphB says:

    The headline is a deceptive stoner fist bump but the story is good.

    Salon: Study: Marijuana prevents spread of cancer

    Two scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco have found that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-toxic marijuana compound that delivers many of weed’s benefits without the high, might stop metastasis in aggressive cancer, “potentially altering the fatality of the disease forever.”
    “We started by researching breast cancer,” Desprez told HuffPo. “But now we’ve found that cannabidiol works with many kinds of aggressive cancers — brain, prostate — any kind in which these high levels of ID-1 are present.”

    The finding has already gone through laboratory and animal testing, and is awaiting approval for the real test, a clinical trial in humans. Desprez hopes they can move forward with their research immediately. “We’ve found no toxicity in the animals we’ve tested, and cannabidiol is already used in humans for a variety of other ailments,” he told the Huffington Post.
    CBD has been used to help treat seizures, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

    Smoking marijuana, however, may not deliver enough CBD for it to be effective, the researchers said.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      For me the saddest part of medical breakthroughs is that while animals are used as test subjects, the treatment for animals comes years & years after the treatment has been approved for humans. I’ve lost several animals to cancer over the years – two recently to untreatable, fast developing cancers – & I would have been thrilled to try this for them.

    • NW Luna says:

      Cannabidiol works to reduce spasticity and neuropathic pain for some people with MS, but not all. And it does not seem to actually slow or stop MS itself; only that symptom.

      Also, marijuana has been bred for higher and higher THC. Yet the compound that appears to be helpful for some diseases is the cannabidiol, not the THC.

      Not to mention cannabis can increase anxiety and can decrease cognitive abilities.

      Certainly research should continue. But considering the number of patients with metastatic cancers who use cannabis to help pain/nausea, yet aren’t cured, makes me suspicious of the claim. The story says cannabis “might” stop metastasis. Screw ’em for raising hope when there’s only a “might.”

  9. dakinikat says:

    First Lady: Voting Rights Is ‘Movement of Our Era’

    Michelle Obama says protecting the right to vote has become the nation’s most important civil rights issue.

    The first lady tells a gathering of black lawmakers and leaders that they owe it to those who fought and died for equal rights in the 1960s to make sure every voter can freely cast a ballot.

    Her comments at an annual awards banquet for the Congressional Black Caucus come amidst a push in more than a dozen states to pass laws requiring voters to show ID at the polls. Critics say the laws unfairly harm minorities, poor people and college students — all groups that tend to vote Democratic.

    Comparing it to the civil rights movement, Obama calls voting rights “the march or our time” and “the sit in of our day.”

  10. dakinikat says:

    Conservative Pundit Call Mitt Romney The Least Popular Presidential Candidate In History

    • RalphB says:

      Was watching a rerun of Dancin Dave and it’s odd, except for Bay Buchanan being a totally wasted talking point generator, no one defends Romney. The only thing they can say on Romney’s behalf is that Obama doesn’t have a detailed agenda for a 2nd term.

    • RalphB says:

      They had a chart of candidate approval/disapproval ratings through the years. Brooks didn’t really break any news with that.

  11. RalphB says:

    Sarah, Proud and Tall with a great post on what’s going down in the “Wingnut Fart-Rebreathing Loop” of the intertubz. If (When) Obama wins, they are going to be so shocked. Long post but worth it.

    From whence shall my salvation come?

    Frighteningly, there is a whole world of Dicks out there, all of them believing that Romney absolutely will win.

    For example, the other day someone on Balloon Juice (I can’t recall who because I am old and drunk) pointed to Unskewed Polls where polls are “unskewed” by “re-sampling” them based on Rasmussen’s “Partisan Trends” report which says that the number of Republicans in the US is at a record high.

    There is a wonderful post here, where someone called Dean Chambers will explain to you how the method works, using an extended and ineffably tortuous “Student Government Association (SGA)” metaphor that has to be read to be believed.

  12. dakinikat says:

    Today, in 1952, Nixon gave the Checkers speech. Romney should take some pointers on how to save your ass. Pat may have had a respectable republican cloth coat instead of a “mink coat”. Can you imagine Romney bragging about that?

  13. roofingbird says:

    Some people will go to their grave arguing their disagreement with women’s rights. That Schlafly hasn’t made it there yet is a comment on whether only the good die young. The article noted is so clearly full of errors and skewed ideology it could be little sad. That is, If I didn’t think it was deliberate lying and therefore evil or at least debased.