A Sacrifice Made to the Loss of a Mind

27/M/Boston/Engaged. I'm a Ph.D. student in computer science and linguistics. I run on metal, wordplay, and snark. Most of the languages I speak are dead. This blog is mostly language and science stuff, books and science fiction/fantasy media (when there's a TV show on I like), with the occasional post from my personal blog or video of me playing stuff on the guitar. I also write a lot, but I'm way too chickenshit to post any of it. Maybe some day. Follow for more.


Star Trails by Weerapong Chaipuck

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

(via thedemon-hauntedworld)


I always figured that “cubicle” comes from its cubical shape, but TIL that it’s more directly from the Latin “cubiculum" (bedchamber), itself from the Latin "cubō" (I lie down, I sleep).

Funnily enough, this seems not to be related to the origins of “cube”, which comes (via Latin & French) from the Ancient Greek “κύβος" (square, cube, die), itself of uncertain origin.

But when I sleep in my cubicle it’s all “we have some concerns” and “you’re wasting money.”

(via thedailyetymology)

Creative ideas probably occur as part of a potentially dangerous mental process, when associations in the brain are flying freely during unconscious mental states — how thoughts must become momentarily disorganized prior to organizing. Such a process is very similar to that which occurs during psychotic states of mania, depression, or schizophrenia. In fact, the great Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who gave schizophrenia its name, described a “loosening of associations” as its most characteristic feature: “Of the thousands of associative threads that guide our thinking, this disease seems to interrupt, quite haphazardly, sometimes single threads, sometimes a whole group, and sometimes whole segments of them.”

I love you, Scandinavia, and you can put out all the awesome metal you want—but I will never forgive you for “Barbie Girl.”

In order, this is a legitimate monologue.

In order, this is a legitimate monologue.

(via reajeasa)

Usually with Spanish names you can easily figure out the English equivalent: John/Juan, Robert/Roberto, Mary/María, but the Spanish version of “James” is usually given as “Diego.”


So it goes like this: the Hebrew origin of the name “Jacob” is usually given as Ya’akov.  This got Hellenized as Iakobos, which became Iacobus in Latin.  A variant of this was Iacomus.  (Iacobus and Iacomus are the origin of Italian Giacobo and Giacomo, respectively).


1. Iacomus got shortened to James in French, and then passed to English.

2. Iacomus/Iacobus got shorted to Yaco or Yago in early Spanish, and “Saint James” was Sant Yago, which got reanalyzed to San Tyago or San Tiago (as in Santiago, Chile), and later San Diego.

So yes, Diego = James and both of them = Jake or Jacob.


Salt has been a very valued spice for thousands of years, and that has rubbed off on our language.

In Roman times, wages were paid in salt (sal), according to Pliny the Elder, and that gave rise to the term salarium – our current salary. Another theory links the two words differently: a salary was the money used to buy salt.

Some other experts even claim that the word for soldier, soldarius, is also derived from salt (as a “person who receives a salary”), though a link with the coin solidus seems more robust.

For the final link between salt and money, the Latin verb saldare (current Spanish and Portuguese saldar, Italian saldare), meaning to “pay off a debt”, literally means sal dare, or “give salt”.

Think of it next time you tip over a saltshaker – you’ll be wasting money!

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]

(via thedailyetymology)


Some of the funniest book dedications ever.

(via englishmajorhumor)


An interesting article about the revitalization of the Sanskrit language (at least literary).


"A scientific colleague tells me about a recent trip to the New Guinea highlands where she visited a stone age culture hardly contacted by Western civilization. They were ignorant of wristwatches, soft drinks, and frozen food. But they knew about Apollo 11. They knew that humans had walked on the moon. They knew the names of Armstrong and Aldrin and Collins. They wanted to know who was visiting the moon these days." - Carl Sagan

After traveling four days and more than 238,900 miles, the Lunar Module Eagle began its descent to the surface of the Moon. Very early on, however, it became clear to Aldrin and Armstrong that their telemetry was incorrect as they recognized lunar landmarks were being passed too early. At approximately 6,000 miles above the surface, numerous guidance computer program alarms distracted the crew as they communicated with flight controllers. Mission Control engineers soon reassured the Eagle to continue with the descent as it was determined that their system was being overloaded with extra tasks not necessary to land on the Moon. After looking out of the window a few moments later, Armstrong was forced to take semi-manual control as he noticed that the navigational systems were guiding them towards an area comprised of boulders and an uneven landing surface. This manual override would require Aldrin to call out velocity and altitude data before landing fuel ran out. After a somewhat frantic period, the Lunar Module safely landed on the moon on July 20th, 1969 — with about 25 seconds of fuel remaining.

As an estimated 600 million people watched, Neil Armstrong became the first ambassador of the planet Earth to walk on another world. For over 2.5 hours, he and Buzz Aldrin captured the imagination of our species as they performed various scientific and geological experiments. Along with planting an American flag, a commemorative plaque marking this monumental human achievement was mounted to the Apollo 11 Lunar Module — and remains as a relic of humanity’s first journey on the Moon.

“We came in peace for all mankind. That statement really to me was a very symbolic one — not just of our mission, but of the entire Apollo effort.” - Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot

Apollo 11 was arguably our most exciting adventure, and over the span of three years, NASA sent a total of 12 astronauts to explore the Moon. However, not since 1972 have human beings been beyond low-Earth orbit. Please watch our video, The Spirit of Apollo, and consider what raising the NASA budget will once again do for our society.


(via sagansense)