The smurfs are an obvious reference to the Barallot heresy. Gargamel represents the Dominicans.
Odious and Peculiar
Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.
Thursday, May 11, 2023
Thursday, April 20, 2023
Huchen and taimen appetites have also found their way into folklore. Ainu stories from Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido speak of monstrous taimen (known as chirai in Ainu) large and voracious enough to eat deer, bear, and humans whole. In Mongolia, legend tells of an especially harsh winter when starving herdsmen discovered a giant taimen trapped in river ice. Relieved to find food, the herdsmen chopped off pieces of its flesh. They survived the winter, but when the river ice melted in spring, the giant taimen came onto the land, tracked them down, and ate them all.
Saturday, April 08, 2023
Thursday, March 09, 2023
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
"Two or three years ago they were just another snake cult."
To believe that psychedelics had a central role in our evolution I would need to see them at the center of religious iconography regarding knowledge and creation worldwide. And this would have to be the case from the beginning. This seems like an impossibly high bar to clear.
And yet, this is true of snakes, which are worshiped all across the globe, and have been from the beginning. One strange coincidence is how often they are associated with knowledge, despite having a peanut for a brain. What no one has noticed is that snakes themselves contain a hallucinogen: their venom. I argue that there was an ancient psychedelic snake cult concerned with selfhood from which modern snake symbolism descends.
Filed under "sure, why not?".
Thursday, January 12, 2023
Saturday, December 31, 2022
I missed this when it dropped, but there's an examination of St Brides done by the Assume Nothing podcast. I've not far in, but so far it is relatively unsensationalized.
Their own summary:
Ireland, 1984. St Brides School for young ladies opens its doors in the quiet fishing village of Burtonport, county Donegal -- but all is not as it seems.
The mistress and 'girls' appear to believe that they live not only in a different century, but in an entirely different world.
They are The Silver Sisterhood...
Most of the St Brides games may be found on Internet Archive. If you like that sort of thing, they are the sort of thing that you will like.
Happy New Year!
Sunday, December 04, 2022
The Computer: Ruin of Science and Threat to Mankind
File under "well, not wrong".
Thursday, December 01, 2022
As do so many, I have occasionally wondered about the idiom tace is Latin for a candle. Here is the phrase's history, though its logic is no clearer than before. At least I now know how it's traditionally pronounced: /ˈteɪsiː/ (generally with a Monty Python accent, I trust).
Related and perhaps even stranger:
The usual explanation of brandy is Latin for a goose is that it must be read as What is the Latin for goose? (The answer is) brandy, with a pun on the word answer: the homophonous Latin noun anser means goose, and brandy was drunk as a digestive after the eating of goose, in the same way as an answer follows a question. A variant, brandy is Latin for fish, first appeared with the following explanation in London Labour and the London Poor (London, 1851), by Henry Mayhew (1812-87), English social researcher, journalist, playwright and advocate of reform:We are told that the thirst and uneasy feeling at the stomach, frequently experienced after the use of the richer species of fish, have led to the employment of spirit to this kind of food. Hence, says Dr. Pereira, the vulgar proverb, “Brandy is Latin for Fish.”
Via Languagehat, of course.
Tuesday, November 08, 2022
Via Odious: King of the Hill dubbed into Tocharian. You're welcome.
Friday, October 28, 2022
More Hegel discovered. Just what we need?
I spent a fairly pleasant winter a couple decades ago 'working' at around 12,000 ft., mostly just reading Phenomenology of Spirit in a small shelter with a propane heater that had a minor leak--which only enhanced the hypoxic environment. I still have my notes but they look like marginalia from Miskatonic University.
Saturday, September 24, 2022
Silphion discovered growing in Turkey (maybe).
Monday, September 12, 2022
Razib Khan's latest quiz. Median score is 16. I got 27, and felt pretty good about it.
Friday, August 26, 2022
Scruton on architecture, at St. John's.
Tuesday, December 07, 2021
Rumor has it that McCartney would have played Frodo, George Harrison would’ve portrayed Gandalf, Ringo Starr would’ve been Sam, and, funnily enough, John Lennon would have played Gollum.
Fortunately, Tolkien himself had the wisdom to cast this idea into the fires of Orodruin.
Monday, November 08, 2021
Multiocular O - just going to quote Wikipedia:
Multiocular O (ꙮ) is an exotic glyph variant of the Cyrillic letter O. This glyph variant can be found in certain manuscripts in the Old Church Slavonic phrase "серафими многоꙮчитїи" (serafimi mnogoočitii, "many-eyed seraphim").
There are apparently other instances of Old Church Slavonic scribes playing around thus, rather like people dotting their i-s with little hearts or me turning the letter S into a python given the slightest excuse.
Hat tip: Odious.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Yes. That Highlander. Not, frankly, recommended except as a curiosity.
Tuesday, September 07, 2021
Today I learned: the first English translation of Euclid included pop-ups for 3-D proofs. (I was fact checking a claim that John Dee was the translator. No, but he wrote the preface and did some editing.)
Sloth bears! (with excellent photographs)
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
The Ambracian gulf is a lowland lament with brekekekex! from Preveza, koax! from Amphilochia and an answering koax! from across the mountains from Missolonghi.
-Patrick Leigh Fermor, Roumeli, Travels in Northern Greece
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Tuesday, April 06, 2021
Washington, man... where cattle rustling is white-collar crime.
Cody Easterday, has admitted to a scheme in which Defendant [Easterday] has falsified records and submitted fictitious invoices in order to defraud Plaintiff [Tyson] out of more than $225 million. Among other things, Defendant has manufactured documents in order to hide the fact that it was reporting to Plaintiff approximately 200,000 cattle that simply did not exist
A newly filed federal lawsuit alleges WSU researchers stole blood samples and trade secrets used in a proprietary genetic test to rate the beef tenderness of cows prior to slaughter.
Re. the latter I will note that the term "Callipyge Gene" is really wasted in being applied to tenderness of beef.
Monday, February 22, 2021
Sunday, February 21, 2021
All empires should be judged by their drink. Thus:
Mongols: arkhi (though I can't find a good source for the history of this one)
America: moonshine, Heaven preserve us
Zulus; Egyptians; Incans; Sumerians: lite beer
Mexica: hot chocolate
I was not prepared for some of the mammals.
Monday, February 08, 2021
Fun toy: Scroll around the globe and eavesdrop on local streaming radio. Language lovers will have a great time. Music lovers will be intensely frustrated by the realization that most of the world now listens to the same crap we do, albeit sometimes in their native languages. But there may be rewards for the persistent.
Friday, January 29, 2021
For all you liguistomasochists out there: Tongue twisters in Klallam, a Coast Salish language from Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Click on them for sound.
Here's a map of Klallam toponyms if your interests that way tend.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Vedius Pollio and execution by lamprey... Wikipedia's notes claim that it must rather have been morays. Appalling and rather tough to credit either way, even by Roman standards, but nonetheless remarkable.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
A summary of the state of social science:
Criticizing bad science from an abstract, 10000-foot view is pleasant: you hear about some stuff that doesn't replicate, some methodologies that seem a bit silly. "They should improve their methods", "p-hacking is bad", "we must change the incentives", you declare Zeuslike from your throne in the clouds, and then go on with your day.
But actually diving into the sea of trash that is social science gives you a more tangible perspective, a more visceral revulsion, and perhaps even a sense of Lovecraftian awe at the sheer magnitude of it all: a vast landfill—a great agglomeration of garbage extending as far as the eye can see, effluvious waves crashing and throwing up a foul foam of p=0.049 papers. As you walk up to the diving platform, the deformed attendant hands you a pair of flippers. Noticing your reticence, he gives a subtle nod as if to say: "come on then, jump in".
...it isn’t surprising that this [necrophagous] habit in armadillos has led to various concerns and superstitions: the idea that armadillos might excavate graves and consume the recently deceased is present in several areas, most famously in the Paraguayan Chaco. There are also all kinds of rumours about armadillos being especially abundant, or especially plump and healthy, in or near cemeteries.
An odd tidbit lifted from this longer piece from Tetrapod Zoology on predatory armadillos.
Sunday, September 06, 2020
Now a portion of this lost genetic diversity may be recovered by cloning historic Przewalski’s horse from frozen cells. Successful breeding can increase genetic diversity by reintroducing lost variants to the surviving population. This is the hope for the new foal, Kurt, who was cloned from cells that had been cryopreserved at the SDZG Frozen Zoo in 1980. These were cells from a stallion that was born in 1975 in the UK, was transferred to the US in 1978, and lived until 1998. He was recorded as Stud Book number 615 (SB615) and known as “Kuporovic” by his zookeepers.
Tuesday, September 01, 2020
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
IF the knowing well how to expose any Infirmity or Vice were a sufficient Security for the Virtue which is contrary, how excellent an Age might we be presum’d to live in! Never was there in our Nation a time known, when Folly and Extravagance of every kind were more sharply inspected, or more wittily ridicul’d. And one might hope at least from this good Symptom, that our Age was in no declining state; since whatever our Distempers are, we stand so well affected to our Remedys.
--Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times
Monday, June 08, 2020
Saturday, May 30, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020
Scientists have created a mouse embryo that's part human -- 4% to be exact.
The hybrid is what scientists call a human-animal chimera, a single organism that's made up of two different sets of cells -- in this case, a mouse embryo that has both mouse cells and human cells.
Now we wait for D'Joan.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Buncha HEMA-types and some archaeologists looked at the dings in ancient swords then whacked each other trying to replicate.
Wednesday, April 08, 2020
[Exodus] says: “and the frog arose and covered the land of Egypt.” The word “frog” is written in the singular (“tzefardei’a” in the original Hebrew). What could the Torah be telling us? Rashi finds a Midrash that sees into the unusual wording of our verse: “There was one frog, and when they would hit it, it would spew out bands and bands of little frogs” (based on Midrash Tanchuma, Va’eira 14). Apparently, G-d caused one giant frog to emerge from the Nile. When the terrified Egyptians hit it, it spewed out smaller frogs. The more they struck it, the more frogs would come out. The more frogs came out, the more they would strike it.There's a moral too. Happy Passover/Holy Week/Amphibian Appreciation!