Remembered a story I heard once that Columbus on one of his later expeditions brought along speakers of Hebrew and Arabic, in the hopes that they might be able to communicate with North Americans in some version of the “original language.”  Found myself on the wikipedia page for “Proto-Human language.”

A fairly large number of words have been tentatively traced back to the ancestor language, based on the occurrence of similar sound-and-meaning forms in languages across the globe. The best-known such vocabulary list is that of John Bengtson and Merritt Ruhlen (1994), who identify 27 “global etymologies”.

Source: Ruhlen 1994b:103. The symbol V stands for “a vowel whose precise character is unknown” (ib. 105).

Based on these correspondences, Merritt Ruhlen (1994b:105) lists these roots for the ancestor language:

  • ku = ‘who’
  • ma = ‘what’
  • pal = ‘two’
  • akwa = ‘water’
  • tik = ‘finger’
  • kanV = ‘arm’
  • boko = ‘arm’
  • buŋku = ‘knee’
  • sum = ‘hair’
  • putV = ‘vulva’
  • čuna = ‘nose, smell’

To summarize some further reading: these findings are controversial.

Una’s Tits

Una’s Tits, also known as Cape Renard Tower, are two towers of basalt, each topped by a cap of ice, guarding the northern entrance to the Lemaire Channel on the Antarctic Peninsula… they are officially named “Una’s Tits” and are identified as such on navigation charts.

Una was a woman living in Stanley, Falkland Islands who was working for what is now the British Antarctic Survey.

Flickr user Liam Quinn says this about Una:

named after the Falklands office secretary who would have been one of the last women seen by British Antarctic staff around 1950.

Three diligent minutes of internet searching leaves me without a last name, and I think I prefer it that way.

Photo from wikipedia, via this great category.

I did not know

that there is a middle school in LA named after Johnnie Cochran:

(let me stress once again that if I don’t source a photo, it’s from Wikipedia or I took it myself.  This one’s from Wiki)

Photos of Antarctica from The Atlantic

That snow’s not dirty – those are penguins.  On South Georgia Island, a Norwegian whalers’ church:

See ’em big.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Get a load of this dandy:

Born in Glasgow the year Seward bought Alaska from the Russians, one of twelve children, he became an architect.  He designed this house which wasn’t built until 1996:

He had this idea for Liverpool Cathedral:

But they built this instead:

(Giles Gilbert Scott, the winning architect, was 22)

Frustrated with architecture, Rennie became a painter:

The fort in Port-Vendres, France?  Or a mad vision of the PCH between Big Sur and San Francisco?

The Lighthouse, Glasgow:

Died 1928.

(Cathedral plan from here, everything else from Wikipedia per usual)

Photos by Sze Tsung Leong

ht bldgblog’s twitter.  STL’s website.

Top is China, bottom is Quito, Ecuador.

Karen Russells

Have not read Swamplandia! or St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Who Were Raised By Wolves – on title alone both sound excellent – but I did enjoy Karen Russell’s article about Spanish bullfighter Juan Jose Padilla, seen here before a bull gored out his left eye:

Pepe doesn’t think he will ever recover from his son’s accident.

“I thought that I had killed him,” he says in a raw voice. “I thought that I had murdered my son. I was the one who encouraged him in this profession….”

Pepe Padilla has raised three toreros. (Oscar, the middle son, retired as a banderillero the day after Juan Jose’s goring and now runs a chain of pet-supply stores.) Pepe coached his sons after school, caping cows with them in the green hills around Jerez. He once dreamed of being a matador himself. As a teenager, he was a novillero, a matador in training. “But I was a coward,” he says, smiling. “Not like my Juan.”

Today, Pepe is a charmer in his sixties with uncorrected teeth, gold jewelry wreathed by silver chest hair, and one droopy eyelid. For decades he worked as a baker in Jerez, sleeping three or four hours, heading back out before dawn to support his seven children. (Seven children! Franco years, he grins, shaking his head. Everything scarce and hard-won, including condoms.)

So I went on twitter to see if Karen Russell was on there.  She is not, but there are 50+ other Karen Russells.  Here are some of the twitter biographies of these other Karen Russells:

Country girl at heart who loves her kids (fifth grader & my Navy girl), husband (the judge) and my animals (horses and dog). Life is Good!!!!

I’m a public relations professor, but in my spare time I read mysteries (and sometimes watch on film).

Lives in Fife. Ex Army, Qualified Veterinary Nurse. Doesn’t suffer fools.

Mom of 4 boys, blogger, addicted to Young Adult books, Facebook, and twitter.

23 & a sweet down-to-earth TX girl ! I work as a Paralegal in Downtown Houston!

Married 40 something mum working in OT, diagnosed in may 2011 with severe inflammatory arthritis,learning to accept life changes 🙂

Born, live and work in the best place in the world…. Yorkshire!!!

Christian, mom of three, wife, I make videos of various Christian topics

A curious lover of life who never tires of trivial facts or useful knowledge.

Mother of one, forgiven sinner, lover of classic rock, reader of mysteries, rider of motorcycles, and sometime knitter.

Accountancy student at Glasgow Uni, flute player, Scout Leader, and master of procrastination.

i am a mom to 3 special need boys

registered nurse, church pianist

engaged to a woman who has taught me to be a better woman and mother. so that makes me the luckiest woman in this world.

A feisty free spirit that has low tolerance for stupidity and loves to bake. I also love my grands

im 47 yrs old seperated from my husband i have four sons two are in the army and now my 16 yr old is thinking of joining.i was born in north london.

love spendin time with family n friends,love my job not many can say that haha, have two georgous children who are my world


Nutty 40 something that loves horse riding, badminton, hockey and watching pretty much all sport, am an Arsenal supporter, have 2 daughters & grumpy husband.

I teach mathematics