(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘floods

The mother of all tongues…

 

The spread of Indo-European, the product of Proto-Indo-European, 4,000-1,000 BCE

source

By the 19th century, linguists knew that all modern Indo-European languages descended from a single tongue. Called Proto-Indo-European, or PIE, it was spoken by a people who lived from roughly 4500 to 2500 B.C., and left no written texts. The question became, what did PIE sound like? In 1868, German linguist August Schleicher used reconstructed Proto-Indo-European vocabulary to create a fable in order to hear some approximation of PIE. Called “The Sheep and the Horses,” and also known today as Schleicher’s Fable, the short parable tells the story of a shorn sheep who encounters a group of unpleasant horses. As linguists have continued to discover more about PIE, this sonic experiment continues and the fable is periodically updated to reflect the most current understanding of how this extinct language would have sounded when it was spoken some six thousand years ago. Since there is considerable disagreement among scholars about PIE, no one version can be considered definitive.

Here, University of Kentucky linguist Andrew Byrd recites his version of the fable using pronunciation informed by the latest insights into reconstructed PIE.

More of the story– and another cool fable in PIE– at “Telling Tales in Proto-Indo-European” in Archaeology.

###

As we practice pronunciation, we might recall that it was on this date in 1814 that London suffered “The Great Beer Flood Disaster” when the metal bands on an immense vat at Meux’s Horse Shoe Brewery snapped, releasing a tidal wave of 3,555 barrels of Porter (571 tons– more than 1 million pints), which swept away the brewery walls, flooded nearby basements, and collapsed several adjacent tenements. While there were reports of over twenty fatalities resulting from poisoning by the porter fumes or alcohol coma, it appears that the death toll was 8, and those from the destruction caused by the huge wave of beer in the structures surrounding the brewery.

(The U.S. had its own vat mishap in 1919, when a Boston molasses plant suffered similarly-burst bands, creating a heavy wave of molasses moving at a speed of an estimated 35 mph; it killed 21 and injured 150.)

Meux’s Horse Shoe Brewery

source

 

 

Written by LW

October 17, 2013 at 1:01 am

Out of harm’s way?…

The online real-estate service Trulia has crunched federal-disaster data to create a series of local maps and a collection of national maps showing the worst cities to live in for weatherphobes and quake-haters – stay out of California metropolises if you fear having your home burnt down, for instance, and Oklahoma City is a terrible place to hunker if you don’t want EF-4 twisters knocking at your door. The Trulia team warns:

Most metros were high risk for at least one of the five natural disasters [hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, forest fires and earthquakes], even though no metro area is high risk for everything. Earthquakes and wildfires tend to go hand-in-hand, with California and other parts of the West at high risk for both. Hurricanes and flooding also tend to strike the same places, particularly in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. Tornadoes affect much of the south-central U.S. What parts of the country are left? Not the Northeast coastal cities, which – as we all know after Hurricane Sandy – face hurricane and flood risk. Instead, the metros at medium-to-low risk for all five disasters span Ohio (Cleveland, Akron, and Dayton), upstate New York (Syracuse and Buffalo), and other parts of the Northeast and Midwest, away from the coasts…

Where should one head to avoid the next great storm? Here are the top 10 large housing markets in America that are most removed from “nature’s wrath,” according to the company’s risk assessment (the prices refer to the average home-asking price per square foot):

  1. Syracuse, New York* ($89)
  2. Cleveland ($80)
  3. Akron, Ohio ($81)
  4. Buffalo ($93)
  5. Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Maryland ($174)
  6. Dayton, Ohio ($72)
  7. Allentown, Pennsylvania-New Jersey ($109)
  8. Chicago ($113)
  9. Denver ($129)
  10. Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Michigan ($94)

* Syracuse: Trulia says the “data on flood risk, which comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA], is incomplete for Syracuse and for several other metros not on the ten lower-risk list.”

Read the whole story at “These U.S. Cities Are the Safest Refuges From Natural Disasters“; and explore the Trulia maps here.

###

As we dream of Oz, we might recall that it was on this date in 1834 that Mt. Vesuvius erupted. Again.

Vesuvius famously erupted in 79 CE, destroying Pompeii and Herculaneum; but the volcano had erupted many times before, and has again, many times since.

The last major eruption was in March 1944. It destroyed the villages of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Massa di Somma, Ottaviano, and part of San Giorgio a Cremano.  At the time of the eruption, the United States Army Air Forces 340th Bombardment Group was based at Pompeii Airfield near Terzigno, Italy, just a few kilometers from the eastern base of the mountain. Tephra (rock fragments ejected by the eruption) and hot ash damaged the fuselages, the engines, the Plexiglas windshields, and the gun turrets of the 340th’s B-25 Mitchell bombers; estimates were that 78 to 88 aircraft were completely destroyed.

Vesuvius from Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby

source

Written by LW

August 18, 2013 at 1:01 am

%d bloggers like this: