Like something out of a Science Fiction film, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault looks like a monolith rising out of the snowy mountains in Norway. Its purpose could be out of the same film: It’s a depository for seeds from around the world, to preserve plants in case of global disaster, whether fire, flood, ice or nuclear. To read the whole story, check out the Wikipedia article by clicking on the image below. If you write Science Fiction, be inspired! If you are into gardening, global environmental issues, or simply worried about the direction society is heading, take comfort… there are people planning ahead.
Monthly Archives: February 2014
For writers and bloggers, being reminded of the basic grammar rules from time to time is a good thing; they can help to improve our communication and efficiency. If you’re like me, you may be writing along when a question pops up like, “Does this sentence need a comma here or not?” The more familiar we become with the rules (and keep in mind that there are some differences between nationally-accepted rules, e.g. between the British standard and the American standard), the faster such decisions will become and the less time will be lost on such mundanely important details. Click on the image below for a link to the 20 most common grammar errors and how to solve them.
We can blame both spellings on the Romans! February is fairly clear: Februa is thought to be a Sabine word (maybe we could blame them for italics, too), meaning “purifications”; Februarius mensis was the month of purification. Before 450 BC this was actually the last month in the ancient calendar and referred to the feast of purification celebrated on the ides of that month throughout the Roman Empire. Ides was the term used for approximately mid-month, being the 13th or 15th, depending on whether that particular month had 29 or 31 days. Interestingly, in English it replaced the Old English solmonað (“mud month”… very appropriate, that) sometime in the 12th century when they began using the Old French term Feverier.
Wednesday accumulated slightly more pedigree before landing in our agendas: It started off as the “day of (the god) Mercury,” the Latin dies Mercurii. It was confiscated by the Scandinavians for their own religious version for Odin, Oðinsdagr (Old Norse) or Onsdag in Swedish. This came with them over the Channel and was adopted by their English counterparts as wodnesdæg, or “Woden’s day.” Old Frisian came fairly close to modern English with Wonsdei (I’ve probably seen that spelling on Facebook from people who can’t type with their i-phones properly…). By the mid- 400 AD period, the Germanic Goths had been converted from Paganism to Christianity by Greek missionaries, and their language began to reflect the changes: The astrological or religious terms gave way to ecclesiastical (or at least neutral) ones. This difference is reflected in words like Mittwoch (German for Wednesday, meaning literally “mid-week”), sreda (Russian), or środa (Polish), both meaning literally “middle.”
So there you have it: Blame it on the Romans, or the Vikings; but whoever you blame, just remember to spell them in correct modern English.
What happens when complete strangers, from enemy-nations, meet face to face? Or in this case, screen to screen? Smiles, and the realisation that at the core, humanity transcends race, colour, creed, nationality, culture and language. Coca-Cola engineered the experience; unfortunately it’s not a permanent installation due to the complex technology involved, but what if it one day could be a permanent fixture? So many people are alone in a crowd; it would be a possibility to connect with a stranger face to face, and maybe in the process, even meet a new friend. To read the article and see the video, please click on the image below.