gwynhefar: (Hurricane Warning)
Oh, great! So we can devastating flooding and wind damage as well as more toxic gunk on our shores. Lovely. Frankly, this terrifies the hell out of me.

Trouble On Horizon If Hurricanes Hit Oil Spill In Gulf
gwynhefar: (Louisiana)
The new estimate for oil pouring into the Gulf is 210,000 gallons per day. The entire seafood production industry in the eastern part of the Louisiana Coast is shut down, as is much of it on the Mississippi and Alabama coasts as well. These are areas where a significant portion of the economy is based on seafood and tourism (another area that is suffering major losses - who wants to go on vacation to see an oil spill). The current law caps BP's liability at 75 million - nowhere near enough to compensate for the losses caused by the spill. And Sarah Palin is still saying "drill, baby, drill."

I mean, I know Louisiana hasn't always been the best behaved state in the country. But really, whatever higher powers are out there, you can stop dumping on us now. Please?
gwynhefar: (Default)
Well, front page news this morning is that there are 7 confirmed cases of H1N1/swine flu in Louisiana with 16 more suspected, with 5 of the confirmed cases being the school children in Lafayette that people were talking about last week. They've been closing a bunch of schools, both the ones the infected students go to and in some cases, other schools that have siblings of the infected students. So far all the confirmed cases are responding well to treatment. So I guess we'll see.
gwynhefar: (DW Oooh Shiny)
A Dalek was found in a pond!

Finally, *proof* of the invasion! ;)
gwynhefar: (did you know you could fly?)
There are those moments in every generation . . . the ones that the world looks back on years later and asks 'where were you when . . .' Today was one of those moments.

It occurs to me, that those moments are almost always bad. Let's review, shall we. In my life we have:

Challenger -- 1/28/86 I was only 6 years old. I barely remember it. I don't *think* I saw the event live. I know I did see the footage not long after, but by that time I knew what was going to happen when I watched it. I think that was probably for the best.

Berlin Wall -- 1989-1990 I list this even though it wasn't really a single *event*. I do know that it did not become real to me until I saw the images of the dismantling in 1990. Hey, I was 10 when the border was opened, and I certainly didn't understand all the political maneuvering.

Oklahoma City Bombing -- 4/19/95 I was in high school. I was also a self-absorbed teenager, so I didn't really pay much attention to the larger implications of an act of domestic terrorism. I do know that what really got me was the day care.

Columbine -- 4/20/99 Only 2 days before my 20th birthday. My first thought was that I was thankful to be out of high school. Another was that those kids sounded a lot like me when I was in high school, which scared me, although my response to being an outcast has always been to turn inward and lock myself in my room, never to lash out. But still . . .

9/11 -- 9/11/01 That was the year I'd taken off between undergrad and grad school, and I was working at a credit union. We kept CNN on television in the lobby for people to watch as the waited in line, so it was on while we were all setting up to open. I remember counting out my drawer when I noticed the "Breaking News" heading and the picture of the towers. I stopped to watch just in time to see the second plane hit, although from that angle I hadn't noticed the plane, just the huge fireball. I called to my co-workers and we all stood glued to the TV for most of the day. One of the loan officers had a brother and a sister who both worked close to the towers, and he was unable to get in touch with them until almost closing, so that made it personal for us.

Katrina -- 8/29/05 This was the first one I didn't just watch on the TV. I lived it, and I won't go into detail because I already have many times. Just that there are two moments that stick out in my mind -- sitting on my bed up against the corner of the room with my knees to my chest terrified as the apartment literally shook around me, and that moment of relief after the storm had passed and before we knew that the levees had broken. For that one moment I actually had the thought, 'well that was actually kinda cool'. Then we started hearing about the levees, and 'cool' went out the window.

Virginia Tech Massacre -- 4/16/07 I went into work late that day and the first I heard of this was my mother calling me on my way into work to tell me that my brother was ok. My response was, 'well, why wouldn't he be?'. That's when she told me what had happened. I was pretty much useless at work that day, glued to CNN's webpage as the casualties started coming in. All I could think of was that I was so relieved that my brother hadn't had a class that morning, because he had classes in that building. This one hit so much harder than Columbine because my brother was there and it so easily could have been him.

Gustav -- 9/1/08 Ironically, I slept through the worst of Gustav, so I didn't feel my apartment shaking like in Katrina. By the time I was awake, the worst of the wind had passed. Bored with no power I went to investigate the voices I heard outside and spent most of the rest of the storm in the stairwell alcove of my building with my neighbours watching the trees whip by. Every half an hour or so one of my neighbours ran out to clear the drain in the parkinglot so the water didn't rise above the curb and flood the downstairs apartments. Of course it was the week without power and standing in line for hours just to get ice that was the worst of it.

Which brings us to today -- 1/20/09 Only the second positive thing on my list. Others have already said far better than I what this day means to them, and to history. All I will say is that I cried. And that I have hope.
gwynhefar: (zomg!)
Ok, so I have never viewed the Discovery channel or their Discovery.com website as a citeable source by any stretch of the imagination, but I did credit them with generally trying to give accurate facts, even if the delivery were slanted in favour of one theory or another. However, this article has completely blown any faith I may have had in their credibility.

The article describes a bowl recently found and dated to between the 2nd century BC/BCE and the 1st century AD/CE as the "earliest reference to Christ". The bowl apparently carries a Greek inscription which the article transliterated as "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS" and translated as meaning either, "by Christ the magician" or "the magician by Christ." A photograph of the bowl is provided for our edification.

Let's look at that, shall we?




Now, I don't read Greek, but I *do* know my Greek letters. Bear with me a moment here. Clearly visible in the picture is the "DIA CHRSTOU" part of the inscription. Let's take a look. For those of you who don't know the Greek letters, allow me to 'spell' it out for you:

Δ = capital D
ι = lowercase i
α = lowercase a (it's a little distorted here, but hey, they're carving on clay)
Χ = capital CH (in Greek, the hard 'Ch' sound as in 'Christ' is one letter)
ρ = lowercase r (yes, I know it looks like a 'p'. It's an 'r')
σ = lowercase s (oftentimes, like here, truncated so it looks more like a 'c')
τ = lowercase t
ο = lowercase o (short o, not long o)
υ = lowercase u (again, looks like a 'v', it's actually a 'u')

D-i-a CH-r-s-t-o-u yes? But wait! you say. You're missing something. There's an extra letter in there, nice and clear, between the ρ and the σ. Why, so there is! And look, it's η

η = lowercase e. Yes, 'e', not 'i'. Remember, 'i' is ι It's actually a pretty clear inscription. No amount of hemming and hawing is going to make that η a ι; make that 'e' an 'i'.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, our ever-helpful Oxford English Dictionary gives the root word (helpfully spelled out in both English and Greek) as Χριστος where ς is the lowercase 's' when it comes at the end of the word. In other words, "CH-r-i-s-t-o-s" The "-ou" instead of the "-os" in the inscription makes the noun possessive.

So, summing up, the bowl does *not* say "DIA CHRISTOU O GOISTAIS". It doesn't even say "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS" (note how the article conveniently omits the troublesome vowel entirely in its transcription). It says "DIA CHRESTOU O GOISTAIS". "Chrestou" ≠ 'Christ,' folks

Only hint in the whole article that this whole "earliest reference to Christ" thing might not be all it's cracked up to be? One sentence, buried on the second page: "Bert Smith, a professor of classical archaeology and art at Oxford University, suggests the engraving might be a dedication, or present, made by a certain 'Chrestos' belonging to a possible religious association called Ogoistais."

Yeah, way to show the unbiased scholarship, guys.
gwynhefar: (birds of a feather)
Intersting article on the possibility of assisted colonisation as a conservation method

If nothing else, the fourth paragraph on the second page answers my long-held question about the plural of "mongoose".
gwynhefar: (Wilde)
RIP George Carlin

He will be missed.

Um . . ok

May. 21st, 2008 09:43 am
gwynhefar: (WTF)
Gold Toothpick/Earwax Spoon Found

There are times I've wished I worked for one of these salvage companies. Even if you don't get to keep the stuff, the sheer delight of discovering something so bizarre has got to be worth it.
gwynhefar: (Someone is watching)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow who brought this to my attention:

Olbermann's Special Comment

Finally *someone* is saying it.
gwynhefar: (gay pride)
California legalises gay marriage

Take that, homophobes!

*bounce* *bounce* *bounce*
gwynhefar: (no permission)
Sperm cells created from female embryo

Hah! Take that, men! You are now superfluous. We don't need you anymore. Women shall rule the world and there's nothing you can do about it!

Mwuahahahahaha
gwynhefar: (as shackles)
Terry Pratchett has early-onset Alzheimer's Yes, as Terry says here, 'he ain't dead yet', but still, it's not happy news.
gwynhefar: (Default)
In case anyone out there sees the words "LSU" and "shooting" in the same sentence -- I'm fine. Apparently two grad students who were roommates were shot in their on-campus apartment last night.

I had to call the whole family this morning - after my brother they're understandably jumpy about such things and I wanted to make sure no one panicked.
gwynhefar: (Default)
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Check out this cute little guy. He's an albino bottlenose dolphin, and he's a lovely shade of pink! More pictures here

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