Lithuanian, which is spoken only by around 3.2 million people worldwide (most of whom live in Lithuania), is one of the oldest and most linguistically-pure languages in the world.
In fact, it retains many features of “Proto-Indo-European,” which is the common ancestor of the Indo-European language family (which includes every major European language plus Hindi, Farsi, Bengali, and some others).
In other words, when you listen to Lithuanian, you come closest to hearing the one language that was spoken in 3700 BC before it diverged into the many languages we know today (although some scholars debate the exact time when the language split).
This is a sculpture of the Buddha, dating back from the 1st to 2nd century AD, found in what is today eastern Afghanistan (but what was then called Gandhara). Notice the resemblance to a Greek sculpture? That’s not a coincidence: this unique piece reflects a rare art form known Greco-Buddhist style.
This fusion of Greek, Indian, Persian, and Buddhist culture developed between 300 BC and the 400 AD in what is now modern Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. It was the result of a long chain of interactions begun by Greek forays into India that began with Alexander the Great. Even though his empire collapsed almost right after his death, what most people don’t know is that it broke into various Greek-ruled kingdoms that remained for centuries and fused local cultures with Greek (also called Hellenic) culture.
Examples include Greek rulers claiming to be reincarnations of previous local leaders, certain Buddhist figures being portrayed as Greek gods (and visa versa), a combination of clothing styles, exchange of rituals, and even the creation of new languages and philosophies.
In fact, to this day, you can still find some Afghans, Pakistanis, and Indians who are descended from Greeks. It’s claimed that Buddhism may have influenced Western thought through Greece too: some have found similarities between the teachings of Jesus and the Stoics with that of the Buddha (though the connection is disputed and difficult to trace).
Charles Ramsey, the man who helped rescue three Cleveland women presumed dead after going missing a decade ago, has become an instant Internet meme. Its hardly surprising: the interviews he gave yesterday provide plenty of fodder for a viral video, including memorable sound bites (I was eatin’ my McDonalds) and lots of enthusiastic…
1. Mamihlapinatapei (Yaghan, an indigenous language of Southern Chile): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start.
2. Yuanfen(Chinese): A relationship by fate or destiny. This is a complex concept. It draws on principles of predetermination in Chinese culture, which dictate relationships, encounters and affinities, mostly among lovers and friends.
3. Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone’s hair.
4. Retrouvailles (French): The happiness of meeting again after a long time.
5. Ilunga (Bantu): A person who is willing to forgive abuse or heartbreak the first time; tolerate it the second time, but never a third time.
6. La Douleur Exquise (French): The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.
7. Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love.
8. Ya’aburnee (Arabic): “You bury me.” It’s a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person, because of how difficult it would be to live without them.
9. Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you’re first falling in love.
10. Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling of longing for someone that you love and is lost. Another linguist describes it as a “vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist.”
Sao Paulo street artist Felipe Carrelli turns abandoned cars into art and garden spaces transforming neighborhood eyesores into beautiful public art installations. Felipe first came up with the idea last year after a car that was abandoned on the street near where he works became a shelter for homeless people. The urban project called “Ocupe Carrinho”, or Occupy the Car has been welcomed by the neighborhood, so much so that a lot of residents have pitched in to help beautify other cars. “People from the community are very happy,” says Carrelli, “they help us paint and also water the plants.”
The oldest known musical melody, performed by the very talented Michael Levy on the lyre. This ancient musical fragment dates back to 1400 BCE. and was discovered in the 1950s in Ugarit, Syria. It was interpreted by Dr. Richard Dumbrill. He wrote a book entitled “The Archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near East.”
Only 2% to 5% of all books published in the United States come from a non-English source. While some foreign authors publish their works in English, most of them don’t, which means we’re totally unexposed to the overwhelming majority of the world’s literature.
US publishers claim that translations would cost too much, and that Americans aren’t interested in foreign literature.
But this raises an issue of causality: is this lack of interest the reason why publishers don’t bother translating non-English material? Or is it the lack of such publishing that causes or facilitates of our disinterest?
I suspect it is a little bit of both. Furthermore, one could argue that this is a consequence of our cultural and political hegemony: American culture is ubiquitous across the world, while comparatively little of the world’s culture makes inroads here (at least not in the mainstream). Perhaps this is because our dominant position in the world (real or perceived) makes learning about other cultures seem redundant or unnecessary. Our geographic size and relative isolation also presumably breeds a sense of insularity.
Regardless, I find this very unfortunate — though all the more reason to learn a foreign language. The free exchange of ideas, insights, and concepts — many of which exist only certain cultures and languages — is vital to a free and prosperous society.
The victim “describes himself as an emo,” police said in a statement, adding that officers had arrested a 14-year-old boy and a 44-year-old man over the attack.
“The assault has been reported as an alternative subculture hate crime and will be investigated as such,” the statement added.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said the injured teen was hit “several times.”
Garry Shewan, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said: “It is unfortunate that this incident happened, but the fact we were able to identify this as a hate crime is very positive. Just last Thursday we announced that we will now record alternative subculture as a hate motivation.”
Sophie Lancaster was fatally attacked in a park in Lancashire, northern England, because of her goth appearance in 2007.
“We hope this encourages victims to continue to come forward so we can take positive action against offenders,” he added.
In England, a hate crime is defined by prosecutors as “a criminal offense motivated by prejudice based on a person’s disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”
The decision by police to include subcultures was partly a result of the 2007 killing of Sophie Lancaster, a 20-year-old in the northern England county of Lancashire, who was kicked and stamped to death for being a goth
Seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons’ suicide was the harrowing end to a story involving not only sexual assault, but also the issues of harassment and victim-blaming that are problematic symptoms of rape culture. According to her mother Leah Parsons’ post on her Facebook, Rehtaeh was subject to significant bullying from her peers, who labeled her as a “slut”:
“The [p]erson Rehtaeh once was all changed one dreaded night in November 2011. She went with a friend to another’s home. In that home she was raped by four young boys…one of those boys took a photo of her being raped and decided it would be fun to distribute the photo to everyone in Rehtaeh’s school and community where it quickly went viral. Because the boys already had a “slut” story, the victim of the rape Rehtaeh was considered a SLUT.”
Parsons didn’t know about the assault until days after it happened, when Rehteah broke down in the kitchen crying. At that point, it was too late for a rape kit — which may have contributed to the fact that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) dropped their investigation after a year without charges.
But there were other issues with the investigation as well, Parsons told the Halifax Chronicle Herald: “[t]hey didn’t even interview the boys until much, much later” and “nothing was done about [the photos] because they couldn’t prove who had pressed the photo button on the phone.” She was told that even the distribution of the photos was “not really a criminal issue,” despite the fact that Rehtaeh was 15 at the time, meaning the photos constituted child pornography.
While the investigation was ongoing, Rehtaeh struggled with anger and depression leading to her hospitalization on one occasion. She also moved to a different city to avoid harassment of her peers, including a barrage of texts asking “Will you have sex with me?” and telling her “You’re such a slut.” The Steubenville victim similarly faced harassing text messages after her identity was revealed by news coverage, including threats resulting in charges against two teens.
Compared with grains, tubers are inherently more productive. If the head of a wheat or rice plant grows too big, the plant will fall over, with fatal results. Growing underground, tubers are not limited by the rest of the plant. In 2008 a Lebanese farmer dug up a potato that weighed nearly 25 pounds. It was bigger than his head.
Many researchers believe that the potato’s arrival in northern Europe spelled an end to famine there. (Corn, another American crop, played a similar but smaller role in southern Europe.) More than that, as the historian William H. McNeill has argued, the potato led to empire: “By feeding rapidly growing populations, [it] permitted a handful of European nations to assert dominion over most of the world between 1750 and 1950.” The potato, in other words, fueled the rise of the West.
Equally important, the European and North American adoption of the potato set the template for modern agriculture—the so-called agro-industrial complex. Not only did the Columbian Exchange carry the potato across the Atlantic, it also brought the world’s first intensive fertilizer: Peruvian guano. And when potatoes fell to the attack of another import, the Colorado potato beetle, panicked farmers turned to the first artificial pesticide: a form of arsenic. Competition to produce ever-more-potent arsenic blends launched the modern pesticide industry. In the 1940s and 1950s, improved crops, high-intensity fertilizers and chemical pesticides created the Green Revolution, the explosion of agricultural productivity that transformed farms from Illinois to Indonesia—and set off a political argument about the food supply that grows more intense by the day.