Book Review: The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson

Book Review: The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson

Ant-lover and Professor Emeritus of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, Edward O. Wilson has been arguing for the unity and connectedness of all human knowledge for many decades. In his latest book The Origins of Creativity, Wilson singles out creativity as humanity’s most important legacy which has allowed us to evolve and dominate other organisms on…

Celestial ceilings and soaring skies in Poland

The quirky meander through the origins of language in the Polish calendar

With a few exceptions that are Latin, the Polish month names of the year take more from the Pagan world of seasonal changes, rather than from the Latin calendar that we all know and use in English. What's even more interesting is that even though Poland is historically a Catholic country, they chose to distance…

What do the longest living people in the world have in common?

Ancient Word of the Day: Rema

Rema (Shetland Scots) The mirror-calm surface of the sea on a calm day. A body of water with a surface as smooth as cream. Comes from the Scots word "reyme", meaning "cream"). Rjómalogn (Icelandic) Cream-calm, used to denote  profoundly tranquil weather or sea. Arafin (Welsh) Calm or slow weather in Welsh. blikkstille./ blekkstille (Norwegian) A…

Ancient Word of the Day: Whelm

Ancient Word of the Day: Whelm

Whelm originates from Old English and it means to overturn or capsize a hollow vessel (a boat, a heart); to bury by wave, flood, storm, avalanche. The etymology is from the Old English hwelfan, to 'upheave'. This explains the modern use of "overwhelmed" and "underwhelmed". No voice divine the storm allay'd, No light propitious shone;…

Book Review – Word to the Wise by Mark Broatch

Book Review – Word to the Wise by Mark Broatch

Although I am an experienced writer, sometimes I get it wrong, either through laziness, tiredness or ignorance. The first two are under my control which is why I tend to circle back the day after I write, to re-edit professional work before I send it out. I’m the first to admit that I make mistakes.…

Ancient word of the day: Dægeseage

Ancient word of the day: Dægeseage

The ancient word of the day is Dægeseage. This is an old English word for daisy. The origin of Dægeseage is literally daisy or day's eye. Which makes sense when you think about the quaint little flower and its tendency to follow the arc of the sun through the sky from dawn to dusk, soaking in as much light and goodness as possible.

Ancient word of the day: Celandine

Ancient word of the day: Celandine

This pretty yellow star-like flower is from the buttercup family. It is common to see it flourishing at the beginning of spring in new grasses, hedges and in at the banks of rivers. It blankets forest floors. Commonly thought of as being a weed, it is still absolutely beautiful to behold.

Every Picture Tells A Story: Teens in Brooklyn (1980's)

List of the week: Adult words I used as a teenager to make myself sound more intelligent

As a teenager I was incredibly precocious at times, spouting big words to make myself feel older and more worldly in high school. Later on, as my vocabulary developed at University, I dropped these intellectual bombs into conversations to make myself feel better in the company of people more middle class and posh than I was.

Scotland's Momentous Decision on September 18th

Travel: A Survival Guide to Edinburgh Slang and Scots Words

If you ever go to Edinburgh and find yourself in one of its countless excellent pubs, you may want to strike up a conversation with one of the grave looking, old guys at the bar drinking pints. If so, you will want to be able to hold a conversation while also not making a fanny…

Polski jedzenie/ Polish food: My om nom nom nominations

Eight words in Polish that have no English equivalent

You may have noticed that I'm on a bit of a Polish love-spree right now. If you're still here and reading about it, that means you haven't tired of my meanderings into everything to do with Polish culture, food and art. Because of the PB I've decided to learn the language. After all, the PB…

The beautiful poetry of the Maori/Polynesian Star Compass - Atea a Rangi

What is a pepeha in Maori culture? How can I write one?

In Maori culture, people come to know you through where you are from, not what you have achieved in life. The first question a pakeha asks when they meet you is 'what do you do?', the first question a Maori asks is 'Where are you from?'. A pepeha is a form of introduction that establishes…

<3 The Internet: Localingual the global language encyclopedia

Locallingual is the brainchild of a programmer named David. It's a web-based app that allows visitors to contribute their voices and accents according to regions, towns, countries, languages, and gender. It's a fascinating online archive of people's voices and can allow you to hear nuances in accents in regions and it's also a valueable language…

A history of the world's languages as a gnarly willow tree

A history of the world’s languages as a gnarly willow tree

The world's mother tongues have blended and intermingled since humans first stood upright and emerged out of the primeval forests. Here's a really awesome family tree beautifully illustrated by Minna Sundberg. Minna is an immensely talented illustrator who has been creating a wonderful tales set in northern Europe for her online web comic Stand Still,…

Polski jedzenie/ Polish food: My om nom nom nominations

Polski jedzenie/ Polish food: My om nom nom nominations

Polish food could be considered similar to many other central European traditional dishes. There's a sprinkling of a German, Czech, Slovakian, Ukrainian and Russian influences here. Although any Pole worthy of his or her passport will patiently explain to you that while there are similarities, Poland are the original creators of some of the most…

Mysterious Rongorongo Glyphs from Easter Island's Rapa Nui Tribe

Mysterious Rongorongo Glyphs from Easter Island

A collection of 24 sacred wooden objects from Easter Island bear Rongorongo inscriptions, a system of glyphs that was discovered in the 19th Century and is still a mystery to historians. Numerous attempts at decyphering the proto-writing have been unsuccessful. These pieces of wood (a lot of it driftwood) are weathered, burned and damaged and…

Churches, Weeds, Wildflowers and Wonder

Decode ancient manuscripts in this online course about Medieval Spanish Burgos

A new Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) aims to involve people are volunteer historians who are needed to decrypt and decode 1,500 pages of medieval manuscripts from the Cathedral of Burgos (Spain). Even better, there is a Massive Open Online Course that accompanies the process. Read more about it here.  To Won's Father: An Ancient…

Unseen Art from Australia’s First Fleet

The quirky origins of Australia’s native animal names

Although I thought that the cockatoo was an Aboriginal word, it's not! Its a relic of the first Europeans visiting the spice isles of Maluku (now Malaysia) in the 15th Century. They had birds there akin to cassowaries and cockatoos. Other well-known Aboriginal-sounding names are in fact from abroad as well. ‘Bandicoot’: an Indian name…