“How do we know what ancient Egyptian sounded like, or Old English? Linguistics gives us the tools to reconstruct lost languages from the words we speak today. Here’s how it’s done.
The most important method of linguistic reconstruction is known as the comparative method. It entails pretty much exactly what you would expect - it looks for related languages and then looks for orderly patterns of changing sounds to figure out a common starting point, which takes the form of a proto-language. The most famous example of this is probably Proto-Indo-European, the reconstructed language that is the common ancestor of the (deep breath) Albanian, Armenian, Baltic, Celtic, Germanic (which includes English), Greek, Indo-Iranian, Italic, and Slavic language families, not to mention a handful more that have since become extinct.
We won’t go into the specific sound changes that allowed linguists to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European word for “dog” as *ḱwṓn, but can examine the basic processes that go into language reconstruction and understand how living languages can still carry with them the “fossils” of languages that haven’t been spoken for millennia.”
It is impossible to destroy the conspiracy theory with evidence to the contrary. When presented with evidence that contradicts the conspiracy, the conspiracy theorist will immediately declare the evidence fraudulent, fabricated, or otherwise incredulous. He/She will incorporate the ‘proof’ into the theory, thereby expanding the boundaries of the conspiracy.
Herein lies the misunderstanding; a conspiracy theorist is not interested in debating the existence of the conspiracy. For him/her, the conspiracy exists, and the pressing concern is to uncover/document any ‘evidence’ that supports his/her belief, and nothing else. In other words, he/she has committed to a journey of cherry-picking information.
So why give them a birth certificate? It serves no purpose. It has not convinced anyone of anything. The ‘birthers’ have already incorporated it into the conspiracy and declared it fraudulent, fabricated, or otherwise incredulous. No amount of evidence will ever suffice. For the birther, Obama is a Kenyan, case closed, and any information that contradicts that belief, is all part of the trick.
"Our progress toward intergalactic fellowship has suffered another blow, as SETI suspended operations of its Allen Telescope Array. Funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the array is a collection of radio dishes that scan the skies for signs of life; now it’ll be in "hibernation" mode until 2013, when the institute’s new round of funding begins. SETI hopes to raise $5 million to bring the Array back online before then, while it continues to use other telescopes around the world, including the Hubble Space Telescope. The budget woes are especially bitter given the number of recently identified alien planets – NASA’s Kepler mission found 1,235. If any of them are broadcasting the next Wow! signal, let’s hope it doesn’t fall on deaf earthling ears.”
“The Apollo program created a zeitgeist in the country where science was seen as a way to take us into the future. And once that attitude descends on a culture, it affects everything. It affects what you want to be when you grow up. It affects how government monies are spent. It affects how people treat the field of science….
I see it as three-pronged: the teachers, the actual agencies that fund curiosity-driven research, and then the vision statement. And the vision statement comes from saying, ‘We’re going to Mars,’ ‘We’re going to land on an asteroid,’ ‘We’re going to understand the nature of the universe.’ All three of these together I think is the one-two-three punch that can take us out of our doldrums and put us back in the leadership role that so many of us took for granted in the 20th century.”
”— Neil DeGrasse Tyson, on the factors that lead to scientific innovation and popular acceptance of science, from this conversation
A starting pitching staff with a collective ERA of 5.00 heading into Thursday’s game (fifth-highest in MLB), 40 walks issued (fifth-most in MLB) and 17 home runs allowed (most in MLB).
Two relievers demoted to Triple-A Rochester. Two called up, with the expectation of helping provide depth for a bullpen diluted by a former closer whose uphill climb from Tommy John surgery looks steeper than most thought last month.
Said closer’s ERA has risen above 11.00, and his slider has less bite — this after posting a spring ERA over 9.00. With a similar slider.
Another reliever on the disabled list since April 9 (retroactive to April 4) with shoulder bursitis.
An offense that, heading into Thursday, ranked last in runs (54), home runs (6), on-base percentage (.284) and slugging percentage (.314), and second to last in line drives (15.8%).
Not to mention, an offense that still has yet to score more than five runs in a game.
One of my favorite things to do in the world is play Jean-Ralphio on the insanely funny Parks and Recreation. Last night, JR made a quick appearance to show Tom how to give the perfect best man speech. JRizzy is coming back for two more episodes later this season, so I’m posting a few clips…
“50 Cent did not disappoint. He ordered a grapefruit soda. The waiter brings him the grapefruit soda. And then 50 Cent said the greatest thing anyone could ever say when you see a grapefruit soda…He looks at the waiter and says, “Why isn’t this purple?” And it took me a few seconds, and then I realized, “Oh my god, 50 Cent has no idea what a grapefruit is!”… I was like, “Everybody in the restaurant, you need to SHUT UP right now cuz a waiter’s about to explain to a grown man what a grapefruit is.””—Aziz Ansari on Letterman last night, explaining his spotting of 50 Cent at a restaurant in NYC (via culturalcloseup) (via andria)
Uptown has been a lightning rod forever. Back in the early 80s when Calhoun Square (a former school) was proposed, a lot of the small businesses opposed it. Their rallying cry was “No UpDale”, a reference to the Dales malls. But it was built, and a tolerable level of gentrification was established.
Fast forward a decade, and chunks of Uptown were in decline. There were battles between Baldies and Neo-Nazis (see this City Pages article). The head shop burned down! More and more chains were moving in. People were being priced out of their apartments (Uptown was once considered the “Gay Ghetto”). They built an ugly library. They remodeled the McDonald’s so us punks couldn’t sit out on their patio!! The Suburban World was shuttered for a time and reformatted as some kind of dinner theater. They started carding us at the Golden Leaf when we wanted to buy cigarettes. Oh, the humanity!!
By the time I was in my 20s, a lot of the places I frequented were closing. The Rainbow (another bastion of underage debauchery), Taco Bell (yeah, yeah), and even Prince’s “New Power Generation” boutique. All gone.
What’s left? Well, there’s Ragstock. And the Uptown Theater. And Cheapo (which has been in about 50 locations in that 5 block radius).
Bottom line? Uptown’s resilient, for better or worse. That’s a great asset for a neighborhood to have. There’s always going to be things we don’t like about it. Personally, I don’t like spending time there; but it’s where I became a teen. It was my drive-in theater, my opera house, my opium den. It’s where I developed a personality. And I’ll never lose sight of that.
“I have to say, as someone who is not Christian, it’s hard for me to believe Christians are a persecuted people in America. God-willing, maybe one of you one day will even rise up and get to be president of this country — or maybe forty-four in a row. But, that’s my point, is they’ve taken this idea of no establishment as persecution, because they feel entitled, not to equal status, but to greater status.”—