Odious and Peculiar
Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.
O&P's Current Pick:
Friday, February 10, 2017
News of the 21st Century: the Navy is synthesizing hagfish slime and contemplating its potential.
“From a tactical standpoint, it would be interesting to have a material that can change the properties of the water at dilute concentrations in a matter of seconds,” Ryan Kincer, a materials engineer at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, said in a statement.
The Navy also envisions using the material in products to protect firefighters and divers, as an anti-shark spray, and as a coating for ships to protect against algae, barnacles and other aquatic life that typically attach to them.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Incomprehensible phrases from Maltese - not quite the Monty Python Hungarian phrasebook, but close!
“Therefore penis, Mr Parish Priest!”
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Data from forests in the Alaska panhandle translated into music - the results are very nice:
"To represent the changing forests of the Alexander Archipelago in music, Sawe used a different instrument or group of instruments for each of the five conifer species Oakes measured—piano for yellow-cedar, flute for western hemlock, cello and bass for Sitka spruce, violin and viola for mountain hemlock, and clarinet for shore pine. In the clip above, each note represents a tree, and its pitch and how hard it’s hit corresponds with tree’s height and diameter. (Lower, shorter notes stand for younger trees, while higher, longer notes stand for older ones.) Dead trees are represented by dropped notes—gaps of silence that widen as the sonification moves from the cooler study plots in the north to the warmer plots in the south."
Friday, June 03, 2016
When passing to the other world, the soul of a person who has hit a dog “shall fly howling louder and more sorely grieved than the sheep does in the lofty forest when the wolf ranges.” A man who kills a dog is required by the Avesta to perform a list of penances eighteen lines long. One of the penances is to kill a thousand cats.
From a fascinating book review by Chas Clifton. Another for the reading list!
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
The Tatooine Cycle.
There was once a great queen of Alt Da Rann and Leia was her name. War had sprung up between her people and those of Da Thféider. She sent messengers to ask for aid from the wildman, Cenn Obi. He lived in the wilderness far to the west. These were the messengers she sent: Síd Tríphe Óg, who knew all the languages of man and beast,(2) and the dwarf, Artú.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Learn Tuvan with Songs
Great website! It's appealing even if you're not trying to learn Tuvan, but would just like to look at some lyrics and translations to famous throat-singing numbers.
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
A well-known Jysk tongue-twister, a æ u å æ ø i æ å, means “I am on the island in the stream” and contains no consonants.
A Guide to Endangered Languages
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Abyaneh, the red village (great photos in the link!):
At the foot of the hill, the fort of Hanjan is enthroned above the here already dry wadi. A veritable Fort of the Tatar Steppe: it has awaited the enemy for two thousand years, but the enemy has not come. The invaders forgot the valley hidden among the mountains in the middle of the desert. While the seventh-century Arab conquerors forced their religion and language onto almost all Persia, the inhabitants of the valley remained Zoroastrians until the 16th century, when the central power of the Safavid dynasty was established, and they still speak the Middle Persian language of the pre-conquest Sasanian empire.
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Goannas are the best burrowers! Also, a conclusion that heartily pleases me:
....these new finds have shown that living reptiles.... are doing some incredibly complex things. Co-operatively built family burrows (McAlpin et al. 2011), warrens formed of numerous individual burrows, and – now – deep, deep, spiralling corkscrew-like burrows. The expectation that complex structures of this sort can only be attributed to mammals.... ha, it’s dead.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Cambrai was divided in two equal parts and each half installed in either the right or left side of the choir of the church. An entry in the capitulary acts of February 4, 1473, shows that on only three days of the year did the singers come together to perform in the middle of the aisle: Maundy Thursday, Holy Saturday, and Pentecost…On all other days, they sang from either side, each half grouped around its own lectern, and performing from its own music book. A bizarre confirmation of the existing space between the two sides comes from an entry of September 9, 1493, that reprimands the lesser vicars for throwing meat and bones from one side of the choir to the other during the divine service
Emphasis mine. Via Unquiet Thoughts (whose music as the duet Mignarda I highly recommend).
Friday, March 13, 2015