Tag Archives: History

Something about U Brits.

(Pic: AP Images)

Whichever branch of the English language you are brought up with, you have to admit parts of it are an inconsistent mess. There are words that are spelled broadly the same but pronounced entirely differently—cough, bough, borough, through, brought—words that are spelled entirely differently but pronounced the same—write, right, two, too, to—and words that do the same job and have only slightly different spellings—obfuscate, obfusticate.

And of course, as with most things that are old and full of character, there’s a lot of beauty in that mess, but also a lot of room for people to argue over which aspect of the mess best exemplifies the true spirit of this living, breathing, evolving thing we all use every day.

via Why Did America Drop The ‘U’ In British Spellings? | Anglophenia | BBC America.

 

Language, to paraphrase George Orwell, is a powerful thing. I always wondered why we Americans had a different spelling for “flavor” instead of “flavour.” To be honest, some of the British ‘U-versions’ always seemed nicer. As for Ax, I’ve seen the one ending in ‘e’ just as much over here.

Also, why do we say “Zee” for Z instead of “Zed”? Don’t tell me it had to do with that damn song we were taught in Kindergarten!  Actually, if you look at those ancient English tomes, say from Shakespeare’s days, the English language was radically different back then. The spelling for words they use over there in those days had vowels in places that today both the British and we Yanks would find odd. Noah Webster produced his dictionary 200 years ago. So what will the English language in the “Anglo world” be like 200 years from now?

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What if Tunguska happened in Berlin?

Saw a thing the other day about the Tunguska Event, which was a massive explosion in 1908 caused by what many believe to be an asteroid hitting Siberia. The blast was akin to 30 megaton nuclear weapon (the largest atomic weapon explosion on Earth was the Tsar Bomba by the USSR at 50 megatons). The butterfly effect is when something minor changes causing a ripple throughout everything else eventually. Watching this program, it dawned on me…how would have history have turned out if the asteroid had hit Berlin or St. Petersburg or London in 1908 instead of Siberia?

What if the story of Noah’s flood in The Bible was really about a comet impact?

Watching the History Channel this morning and they have this program about asteroids and comets that have hit the Earth over the past 4 billion + years and their craters and effect of such impacts. They think the last major impact on Earth with a comet may have been over 2,000 years ago. Now I’m not a big believer in the literalness of the Bible, I think they are all basic parables and stuff. Nor am I big on the whole Noah story, but what if that story was really some sort of eye witness account of an impact from a comet?

I’ve seen several educational shows about asteroids and comets in the past whether on one of the two History Channels or the Science Channel. These shows explain that it isn’t if the Earth can be hit by one of these celestial bodies but when. One of these shows, The Universe, had a portion where scientists said they recently discovered a massive crater deep in the Indian Ocean. Perhaps that’s the physical proof that some large body from outer space hit the Earth during Noah’s time?

Now the story in Genesis, to me, is just a story. For when they said the world flooded for 40 days and 40 nights, one has to keep in mind that the authors are saying this from their perspective. To them, the “world” only extended as far as they knew it, which could have been Asia and part of the Mediterranean Sea.  But while I don’t think some deity convinced  some antediluvian patriarch and a few of his family members to build a boat that allegedly saved all the world’s animals. I do have to wonder if this fairy tale and others in the various sacred religious texts are in reality just accounting for some historical events that have been lavished with these other props.

What would have happened to the rest of the British Empire if it, instead of Russia or Germany, faced a revolution after World War 1?

Having an intellectual discussion on historical what-ifs with a friend of mine. I would love to know what you think. We basically switched the history periods of Britain with Germany from 1917-20. At the time the major powers were all on the cusp of revolutions similarly seen in Russia. What I’m wondering is, assuming there was a revolt akin to either Germany (deposition of the Kaiser, the Sparticist Uprising) or the February Revolution in Russia that overthrew the Czar, what would have happened to the rest of the British Empire like India or Nigeria or Australia or Canada?

What would have happened to the rest of the British Empire if it, instead of Russia or Germany, faced a revolution after World War 1?

Having an intellectual discussion on historical what-ifs with a friend of mine. I would love to know what you think. We basically switched the history periods of Britain with Germany from 1917-20. At the time the major powers were all on the cusp of revolutions similarly seen in Russia. What I’m wondering is, assuming there was a revolt akin to either Germany (deposition of the Kaiser, the Sparticist Uprising) or the February Revolution in Russia that overthrew the Czar, what would have happened to the rest of the British Empire like India or Nigeria or Australia or Canada?

We need to start looking to ourselves, because the problem is here not over there (something of a rant)

There are two excellent articles in Foreign Policy that I came across. Both covering similar topic which both are by David Rothkopf. The first is an interview with the Financial Time’s Ed Luce who wrote a book, “Time to Start Thinking”, which is essentially a modern version of Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous classic, “Democracy in America.” The second piece is much shorter, and basically highlights the same theme only adding in the additional critique that we should stop looking for external enemies. If you have the time, I say read these, its just about spot on.

Since 1992 this country’s political class has been looking for a grand distraction following the end of the Cold War. Why? Because its easier for them to have you focus on foreign threats (albeit some are real, but most are inflated beyond their reality) supposedly against the American public versus the more acute threats inside our country. The political class first got this relief, as the article notes, during World War 2. Roosevelt actually was tackling the real problem until a true bigger threat emerged. But when the war was over, their were still domestic problems to be looked at. But nope, why get the people ginned up for that when we can say “WATCH OUT..COMMIES! LOOK OVER THERE!”.

We need to look at ourselves, people. The 15% unemployed or underemployed, that’s a threat. Our fiscal situation where there is talk of Social Security now possibly cutting benefits by 30% in exactly 4 years, that’s a threat. Our education system is broken, where college costs are inflating beyond reason, that’s a threat. Our bridges and roads and sewers and infrastructure is crumbling rapidly putting us in danger, that’s a threat. Our culture is warped. Our kids are killing kids. Gated communities, illegal immigration, your purchasing power decreasing every year, fraud, social immobility, rising bureaucratic regulations, the fact that about 90% of the House races are basically noncompetitive , shit the list goes on. These are symptoms of a much larger threat. But go ahead, listen to the those who are in the leadership circles in the political class pining to blame the brown man or the one who can’t speak English, or the gays or the one clinging to their Bible or whatever if you want.

We need to start looking to ourselves, because the problem is here not over there (something of a rant)

There are two excellent articles in Foreign Policy that I came across. Both covering similar topic which both are by David Rothkopf. The first is an interview with the Financial Time’s Ed Luce who wrote a book, “Time to Start Thinking”, which is essentially a modern version of Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous classic, “Democracy in America.” The second piece is much shorter, and basically highlights the same theme only adding in the additional critique that we should stop looking for external enemies. If you have the time, I say read these, its just about spot on.

Since 1992 this country’s political class has been looking for a grand distraction following the end of the Cold War. Why? Because its easier for them to have you focus on foreign threats (albeit some are real, but most are inflated beyond their reality) supposedly against the American public versus the more acute threats inside our country. The political class first got this relief, as the article notes, during World War 2. Roosevelt actually was tackling the real problem until a true bigger threat emerged. But when the war was over, their were still domestic problems to be looked at. But nope, why get the people ginned up for that when we can say “WATCH OUT..COMMIES! LOOK OVER THERE!”.

We need to look at ourselves, people. The 15% unemployed or underemployed, that’s a threat. Our fiscal situation where there is talk of Social Security now possibly cutting benefits by 30% in exactly 4 years, that’s a threat. Our education system is broken, where college costs are inflating beyond reason, that’s a threat. Our bridges and roads and sewers and infrastructure is crumbling rapidly putting us in danger, that’s a threat. Our culture is warped. Our kids are killing kids. Gated communities, illegal immigration, your purchasing power decreasing every year, fraud, social immobility, rising bureaucratic regulations, the fact that about 90% of the House races are basically noncompetitive , shit the list goes on. These are symptoms of a much larger threat. But go ahead, listen to the those who are in the leadership circles in the political class pining to blame the brown man or the one who can’t speak English, or the gays or the one clinging to their Bible or whatever if you want.