Place Name Origin: Tucson

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While taking a drive this morning, my husband brought up the word origin and proper pronunciation of the place Tucson. So, if you don’t want to sound like a green-horn from back east, give a read of what I found on  Wikipedia:

“The Spanish name of the city, Tucsón [tukˈson], derived from the O’odham Cuk Ṣon [tʃʊk ʂɔːn], meaning “(at the) base of the black [hill]”, a reference to a basalt-covered hill now known as Sentinel Peak, also known as “A” Mountain. Tucson is sometimes referred to as “The Old Pueblo”.”

Word Definition: Millinery

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My sister sent me a link for a Department Store Museum, having me recall how our maternal grandmother worked a while at a local department store: Harris Company. She said our grandmother worked in millinery, and that was why when we went shopping, she always stopped there first. Not wanting to show my ignorance, I quickly ran to my Merriam-Webster Dictionary app. So that none of you should be caught flat/ footed, here is what the word means. Enjoy!

mil·li·nery\ˈmi-lə-ˌner-ē\
noun

: women’s hats

: the business of making or selling women’s hats

Full Definition:

1 : women’s apparel for the head

2 : the business or work of a milliner

Examples: a shop that sells millinery
First use: 1676

c. 2016, Merriam-Webster App

The Best Headache Treatment Tip For You

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Last night I felt a very bad migraine coming on. I usually take a Maxalt at bedtime, but that was a few hours away. I thought to bear with the pain until that time, so we began to make a very light dinner of French Onion Soup with shredded Jack Cheese, and saltine crackers. It was very welcome, as I wasn’t feeling very good. I didn’t think anymore about it until this morning. To my surprise, I realized I didn’t take my Maxalt last night. It was then I began to wonder about the healing properties of the humble onion. So, I began a search of the Internet. This is part of an article that I found:

(The) “Onion is known to be a miracle-cure for headache. Let the tears overflow through your eyes, anyway they were about to flow on account of the unbearable headache, and soon you will wonder where this headache has gone. The cost of the onion will not exceed the professional charges of the medical practitioner, whatever may be the market trend!” (Javier Fuller)

So, next time you feel a migraine coming on, you might want to select Campbell’s French Onion Soup rather than reaching for the Maxalt.

Have a great day!

Source: HealthGuide.org

The Mother of All Languages

By GAUTAM NAIK
Updated April 15, 2011 12:01 a.m. ET

The world’s 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago, a new study suggests.

The finding, published Thursday in the journal Science, could help explain how the first spoken language emerged, spread and contributed to the evolutionary success of the human species.
Cave art may have been spurred by the evolution of complex language. Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and author of the study, found that the first migrating populations leaving Africa laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures by taking their single language with them—the mother of all mother tongues.
“It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of,” Dr. Atkinson said. About 50,000 years ago—the exact timeline is debated—there was a sudden and marked shift in how modern humans behaved. They began to create cave art and bone artifacts and developed far more sophisticated hunting tools. Many experts argue that this unusual spurt in creative activity was likely caused by a key innovation: complex language, which enabled abstract thought. The work done by Dr. Atkinson supports this notion.
His research is based on phonemes, distinct units of sound such as vowels, consonants and tones, and an idea borrowed from population genetics known as “the founder effect.” That principle holds that when a very small number of individuals break off from a larger population, there is a gradual loss of genetic variation and complexity in the breakaway group. 

Dr. Atkinson figured that if a similar founder effect could be discerned in phonemes, it would support the idea that modern verbal communication originated on that continent and only then expanded elsewhere. In an analysis of 504 world languages, Dr. Atkinson found that, on average, dialects with the most phonemes are spoken in Africa, while those with the fewest phonemes are spoken in South America and on tropical islands in the Pacific. The study also found that the pattern of phoneme usage globally mirrors the pattern of human genetic diversity, which also declined as modern humans set up colonies elsewhere. Today, areas such as sub-Saharan Africa that have hosted human life for millennia still use far more phonemes in their languages than more recently colonized regions do.
“It’s a wonderful contribution and another piece of the mosaic” supporting the out-of-Africa hypothesis, said Ekkehard Wolff, professor emeritus of African Languages and Linguistics at the University of Leipzig in Germany, who read the paper.
Dr. Atkinson’s findings are consistent with the prevailing view of the origin of modern humans, known as the “out of Africa” hypothesis. Bolstered by recent genetic evidence, it says that modern humans emerged in Africa alone, about 200,000 years ago. Then, about 50,000 to 70,000 years ago, a small number of them moved out and colonized the rest of the world, becoming the ancestors of all non-African populations on the planet.
The origin of early languages is fuzzier. Truly ancient languages haven’t left empirical evidence that scientists can study. And many linguists believe it is hard to say anything definitive about languages prior to 8,000 years ago, as their relationships would have become jumbled over the millennia. But the latest Science paper “and our own observations suggest that it is possible to detect an arrow of time” underlying proto-human languages spoken more than 8,000 years ago, said Murray Gell-Mann of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, who read the Science paper and supports it. The “arrow of time” is based on the notion that it is possible to use data from modern languages to trace their origins back 10,000 years or even further.
Dr. Gell-Mann, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist with a keen interest in historical linguistics, is co-founder of a project known as Evolution of Human Languages. He concedes that his “arrow of time” view is a minority one.
Only humans have the biological capacity to communicate with a rich language based on symbols and rules, enabling us to pass on cultural ideas to future generations. Without language, culture as we know it wouldn’t exist, so scientists are keen to pin down where it sprang from.
Dr. Atkinson’s approach has its limits. Genes change slowly, over many generations, while the diversity of phonemes amid a population group can change rapidly as language evolves. While distance from Africa can explain as much as 85% of the genetic diversity of populations, a similar distance measurement can explain only 19% of the variation in phonemic diversity. Dr. Atkinson said the measure is still statistically significant.
Another theory of the origin of modern humans, known as the multiregional hypothesis, holds that earlier forms of humans originated in Africa and then slowly developed their anatomically modern form in every area of the Old World. This scenario implies that several variants of modern human language could have emerged somewhat independently in different locations, rather than solely in Africa. Early migrants from Africa probably had to battle significant odds. A founder effect on a breakaway human population tends to reduce its size, genetic complexity and fitness. A similar effect could have limited “the size and cultural complexity of societies at the vanguard of the human expansion” out of Africa, the paper notes.

Write to Gautam Naik at gautam.naik@wsj.com

Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704547604576262572791243528#:QVApc4OTdBB5vA

Exploring the Famous Legend of St. George and the Dragon

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Exploring the Famous Legend of St. George and the Dragon

30 APRIL, 2016 – 00:49 DHWTY

St. George is perhaps one of Christianity’s most famous saints, and is best-known as the patron saint of England. Apart from this well-known fact, St. George is also the patron saint of a number of other countries, including Portugal, Georgia, Lithuania, and Greece. The most popular tale regarding this saint is the one in which he slays a dragon. Thus, St. George is most commonly depicted as a knight mounted on a horse and in the process of spearing a dragon. This image has inspired many artists over the years, and has been portrayed on various coats of arms.

St. George’s Early Life

St. George is believed to have lived during the latter part of the 3rd century AD and served as a soldier in the Roman army. Most sources agree that this saint was born in Cappadocia, an area which is located in modern day Turkey. The parents of St. George are said to have been Christians, and he inherited this faith from them. It has been claimed that after the death of St. George’s father, his mother returned to her hometown in Palestine, taking the saint with her. St. George then joined the Roman army, and eventually obtained the rank of Tribune.

Portrait of St. George by Hans von Kulmbach, circa 1510.

Portrait of St. George by Hans von Kulmbach, circa 1510. (Public Domain)

St. George’s Protest

The persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian at the beginning of the 4th century AD was objected to by St. George, who resigned from his military office as a sign of protest. When the emperor’s order against the Christians was torn up by St. George, Diocletian was furious. In an attempt to force St. George to renounce his Christian faith, he was imprisoned and tortured by the emperor’s men. The saint, however, refused to reject his faith. Seeing that their efforts were of no use, St. George’s jailers had him dragged through the streets of Diospolis (known also as Lydda) in Palestine and beheaded.

Saint George dragged through the streets of Diospolis, by Bernat Martorell, 15th century.

Saint George dragged through the streets of Diospolis, by Bernat Martorell, 15th century. (Public Domain)

The story of St. George’s life would have been quite similar to that of his many contemporary martyrs, i.e. refusing to give up their Christian faith in the face of a persecuting pagan emperor, and paying for it with their lives, if it had not been for one particular tale.

It was St. George’s combat with a dragon that set him apart from most of his fellow martyrs. The best known form of this legend is said to be found in the Legenda Aurea (translated as ‘Golden Legend’), which was written during the 13th century by Jacobus de Voragine, an Italian chronicler and archbishop of Genoa.

Combat with a Dragon

In the account of the Legenda Aurea, St. George is said to have passed by a city called Silene, which is in the province of Libya. Beside this city was a pond, and in this pond lived a “dragon which envenomed all the country”. The people of the city decided to feed the beast with two sheep each day so that it would not harm them. When the dragon’s appetite was not satiated, the people of the city began sacrificing human beings to it,

“Then was an ordinance made in the town that there should be taken the children and young people of them of the town by lot, and every each one as it fell, were he gentle or poor, should be delivered when the lot fell on him or her.”

Saint George and the Dragon by Gustave Moreau, 1889/1890.

Saint George and the Dragon by Gustave Moreau, 1889/1890. (Public Domain)

One day, the lot fell on the king’s daughter, who was prepared to be offered to the dragon. It was during this time that St. George passed by the city, and saw the princess. When he enquired as to what going on, St. George was told about the dragon, and he decided to slay the beast. The battle with the dragon, as described by de Voragine, is as follows:

“Thus as they spake together the dragon appeared and came running to them, and S. George was upon his horse, and drew out his sword and garnished him with the sign of the cross, and rode hardily against the dragon which came towards him, and smote him with his spear and hurt him sore and threw him to the ground. And after said to the maid: Deliver to me your girdle, and bind it about the neck of the dragon and be not afeard. When she had done so the dragon followed her as it had been a meek beast and debonair.”

St. George brought the dragon to Silene, converted the king and his people to the Christian faith, and then slayed the dragon.

St. George on Horseback, Meister des Döbelner Hochaltars, 1511/13, Hamburger Kunsthalle.

St. George on Horseback, Meister des Döbelner Hochaltars, 1511/13, Hamburger Kunsthalle. (Public Domain)

It has been said that St. George’s military prowess made him popular amongst the knights of Medieval Europe, especially following the crusades. During the First Crusade, for example, an apparition of St. George is said to have aided the crusaders during their successful siege of Antioch in 1098.

Another popular myth was that the English king Richard the Lionheart saw a vision of St. George during his siege of Acre, which lasted from 1189 to 1191. The king then rebuilt a church in honor of the saint in Lydda, and adopted his emblem (a red cross on a white background) as England’s arms. This myth, however, was disproved during the 1990s.

Featured image: Paolo Uccello’s Saint George and the Dragon. Photo source: Public domain.

By Wu Mingren

References

Campbell, J., 2015. St George’s Day: When is it, who is England’s patron saint – and why isn’t it a bank holiday??. [Online]
Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/st-georges-day-when-is-it-who-is-englands-patron-saint-and-why-isnt-it-a-bank-holiday-10187608.html

Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend [Online]

[Caxton, W. (trans.), 1483. Jacobus de Voragine’s The Golden Legend.]

Available at: http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/goldenlegend/index.asp

Morris, M., 2009. Slaying Myths: St George and the Dragon. [Online]
Available at: http://www.historytoday.com/marc-morris/slaying-myths-st-george-and-dragon

The BBC, 2009. Saint George. [Online]
Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/saints/george_1.shtml

The Royal Mint Limited, 2016. St George the Dragon Slayer: the legend. [Online]
Available at: http://www.royalmint.com/discover/sovereigns/st-george-the-dragon-slayer

Thurston, H., 1909. St. George. [Online]

Available at: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06453a.htm See more at: http://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/exploring-famous-legend-st-george-and-dragon-005794?nopaging=1#sthash.SlSbwoes.dpuf

DNA evidence has shown that most men in Europe descend from just three Bronze Age males

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By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor

First Published: 12:01AM BST 20 May 2015

 Almost two out of three modern European men (64 per cent) were descended from just three Bronze Age males

Most European men descend from just three Bronze Age dominant forefathers who began a ‘population explosion’ several thousand years ago. 

A research team from the University of Leicester looked at the DNA sequences of 334 men from 17 European and Middle Eastern populations. 

The study shows that almost two out of three modern European men (64 per cent) were descended from just three males. 

Archaeologists have been puzzled about whether European populations started to surge in the stone age or later. But the new research appears to suggest that there was a rapid expansion of communities in the succeeding Bronze Age.

It appears that that between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago there was a raid explosion in the size of populations from the Balkans to the British Isles. 

Professor Mark Jobling from the Department of Genetics at Leicester University said: “The population expansion falls within the Bronze Age, which involved changes in burial practices, the spread of horse-riding and developments in weaponry. 
“Dominant males linked with these cultures could be responsible for the Y chromosome patterns we see today.” 

Now the team is hoping to study skeletal remains to see if they can pinpoint the exact period that triggered the sudden population expansion.

Study lead author Chiara Batini, from the University of Leicester’s Department of Genetics, added: “Given the cultural complexity of the Bronze Age, it’s difficult to link a particular event to the population growth that we infer. 
“But Y-chromosome DNA sequences from skeletal remains are becoming available, and this will help us to understand what happened, and when.” 

The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11615902/Most-European-men-descended-from-just-three-ancestors.html

Word Definition: Zephyr

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 zeph·yr\ˈze-fər\noun

* a very slight or gentle wind

Full Definition: 

* 1 a : a breeze from the west 
b : a gentle breeze

* 2 : any of various lightweight fabrics and articles of clothing

Examples: * a summer zephyr gently stirred her hair

Origin: Middle English Zephirus, west wind (personified), from Latin Zephyrus, god of the westwind & zephyrus west wind, zephyr, from Greek Zephyros & zephyros.
First use: 1611

Zephyr: air, breath, puff, waft, breeze

(c) Merriam-Webster Dictionary App

Bible may be older than previously thought, hi-tech analysis indicates

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By DANIEL K. EISENBUD
Tue, 12 Apr 2016, 08:05 AM

Inscriptions dating to 600 BCE suggest widespread literacy at the time of Kingdom of Judah, say Tel Aviv University researchers.
ShowImage.ashx?ID=336990&p=150
Photo by: MICHAEL CORDONSKY

Scholars have long debated how much of the Bible was composed before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Judah, in 586 BCE.

While experts agree that key biblical texts were written starting in the 7th century BCE, the exact date of the compilation of these books remains in question.

Now, a groundbreaking new study by Tel Aviv University (TAU) published in theProceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences this week, sheds important new light on the debate.

“There’s a heated discussion regarding the timing of the composition of a critical mass of biblical texts,” said Prof.

Israel Finkelstein of TAU’s Department of Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations, who led the research with Prof. Eliezer Piasetzky, of the university’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

“But to answer this, one must ask a broader question: What were the literacy rates in Judah at the end of the First Temple period? And what were the literacy rates later on, under Persian rule?” According to the study, the researchers determined that widespread literacy was required for the massive undertaking, and it provides empirical evidence of that literacy in the final days of the Kingdom of Judah.

A profusion of literate individuals in Judah may have set the stage for the compilation of biblical works that constitute the basis of Judahite history and theology, such as the early version of the books of Deuteronomy to Second Kings, according to the researchers.

Using cutting-edge computerized image processing and machine learning tools, the TAU team analyzed 16 inscriptions unearthed at an excavation in the remote fort of Arad, and deduced that the texts had been written by at least six authors.

The content of the inscriptions disclosed that reading and writing abilities existed throughout the military chain of command, from the highest echelon, all the way down to the deputy quartermaster of the fort.

http://m.jpost.com/Israel-News/Old-Testament-may-be-older-than-previously-thought-hi-tech-analysis-indicates-451004#article=6020RDFDODRFNUM0QjlFNUE3REI3RDNGM0I0REQ5QzgxRjM=

Fascinating Native American Contributions 

21 March 2016

By K. H.

1. The U.S. Constitution is partially based upon the Great Law of Peace, the constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy.

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In 1988, the United States Congress passed a resolution to recognize the influence of the Iroquois League upon the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

2. Native Americans made the oldest cotton cloth ever found.

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Cotton cloth has been unearthed by archaeologists from caves in Mexico which date back as far as 8,000 years ago. Remains of both cotton cloth and cotton bolls were found.

3. The Cherokee, like many tribes, traced their families through the mother. As a result, women often held leadership roles.

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Women of great influence became known as “Ghigau,” meaning Beloved Woman, the highest role to which a Cherokee woman could aspire. The name also translates into War Woman and was often awarded to courageous women warriors.

4. Even though most Native Americans live in the west today, the single city with the largest population is New York.

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5. Christopher Columbus was not the first to meet the Native Americans, the Vikings were.5

First making their way to North America in the 11th century, archaeological evidence suggests they encountered Native American some 500 years before Columbus arrived.

6. The English language has adopted countless Native American words.

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Some examples include: barbecue, cannibal, caribou, chipmunk, chocolate, cougar, hammock, hurricane, mahogany, moose, opossum, potato, skunk, squash, toboggan and woodchuck.

Skip to content7. The 1894 Census Bureau estimated more than 40 “official” Indian Wars in the United States that cost the lives of some 19,000 white and 30,000 Native American men women, and children.

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In addition to the official Indian Wars, there were hundreds of skirmishes between the settlers and the Native Americans that resulted when pioneers pushed westward, trespassing upon traditional Native American lands.

8. The first kidnapping in America took place when Italian explorers kidnapped a Native American child to bring to France in July, 1524.

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9. The red dye that was the most valuable export from the New World in the 16th century and was used on British uniforms in the Revolutionary War was developed by Native Americans.

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The process in which dried cactus-eating insects could be turned into red dye – called cochineal – was developed centuries ago.

10. Some time between 600-1450 AD in Arizona, the Hohokam were constructing one of the most sophisticated irrigation networks ever created using pre-industrial technology.

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11. Native Americans cultivated and developed many plants that are very important in the world today, including white and sweet potatoes, corn, beans, tobacco, chocolate, peanuts, cotton, rubber and gum. They also invented popcorn!

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12. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, American Indians were remarkably free of serious diseases and rarely died from illness.

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However, as Europeans and colonists began to arrive, bringing with them measles, scarlet fever, typhoid, typhus, influenza, whooping cough, tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria, chicken pox, and small pox. Epidemics over the years killed millions of people.

13. Many old Native American villages, located on waterways and trails, would eventually become trading posts and then small villages as pioneers moved westward.

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Today, some are the sites of large cities such as of Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas City, Kansas; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Pocatello, Idaho, and countless others.

14. Native Americans were some of the first developers of anesthetics, using coca, peyote, datura and other plants for partial or total loss of sensation or consciousness during surgery.

Immigrant doctors who came to America were unaware of these techniques until the mid-19th century. Before this, they performed surgery after giving the patients alcohol or knocking them out.

15. Native Americans were the first people to make maple syrup, using basically the same method which is used today.

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16. During World War II, the Japanese Army could not break the secret code of the U.S. Military. The code was simply a group of Navajo volunteers speaking their Native American language on their field radios.

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Source: http://first-americans.com/16-important-facts-you-should-know-about-native-american-heritage/

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