Fanax: the Mycenaean term for "king"; pronounced "wanax". The funny initial letter, "F", is called digamma and shows up in Archaic Greek epigraphy (papyrus and tablet writings). The sound, if not the letter form, and its linguistic equivalent initially show up in the heiroglyphic writings (Linear B) of Bronze Age Greece both at Pylos, in the far west of Greece (Peloponnese), and at Knossos in north central Crete, the funny "F". Specifically, digamma shows up in the Greek of Homer's Iliad with the word "F"anax, but there it's a "rough breathing" in the form "(h)anax", where the term is linked to an important individual at Pylos. In Classical and Hellenistic Greek, the F continues in this aspirant, or "h" sound, form at the beginning of many Greek words.

Entries for month: May 2008

Too good to be true

May 28, 2008 ·

So, I was almost beginning to think that maybe Deer Park was just far enough west to avoid Brood XIV, this year's cicada class:  Return of Class of 1991.

No such luck.  While we were out of town on Sunday / Monday, apparently the ground finally warmed up enough to release the little buggers and now the yard is filling up already.  Went to take the garbage out this morning, and there were a dozen or more all clustered on the back stoop.  Ewwwww

Nasty little things.  Now will come the noise, as they all dry out and start hunting for mates.  Double ewwwwww

Kritsky, The Cicada Guy, who researches right here out of the College of Mount St Joseph, has clocked the bugs' noise at 96 decibals in his own back yard.  When the noise comes, it comes.  The noise is bad enough, the huge slow bugs crawling in your hair day after day is bad enough, having them around for 6 straight weeks is bad enough, but then around July 4 they will all suddenly die ... and the entire bloody city will REEK of rotten meat.  So we have that to look forward to.

Update: corrected Gene Kritsky's academic affiliation

Tags: politics

It ain't us

May 19, 2008 ·

From the peer-reviewed climate change data, with "consensus" of over 9,000 Ph.D. scientists.  (Bolding of the text is my own.)

The U.S. temperature record has two intermediate uptrends of comparable magnitude, one occurring before the 6-fold increase in hydrocarbon use and one during it. Between these two is an intermediate temperature downtrend, which led in the 1970s to fears of an impending new ice age. This decrease in temperature occurred during a period in which hydrocarbon use increased 3-fold.

Seven independent records – solar irradiance; Arctic, Northern Hemisphere, global, and U.S. annual average surface air temperatures; sea level; and glacier length – all exhibit these three intermediate trends, as shown in Figure 13. These trends confirm one another. Solar irradiance correlates with them. Hydrocarbon use does not.

Tags: politics

Cicada Hell

May 02, 2008 ·

Hopefully they won't be nearly as numerous as the massive invasion of 2004, which was Brood X, but Brood XIV is on its way, having been dormant since 1991.  Should be on the emergence over the next few weeks, and supposedly mostly a bit east of us, but not by much.  Guess we'll get what we get, but they really are truly disgusting, especially in these massive 17-year swarms.  I just hope there are few enough of them this year that the cats and dogs and birds don't get full and stop eating them!

For those who remember and those who don't, we had a very fun collective fiction on the occassion of their 2004 appearance, which can be read in full on the blog.  For those who have never been through it, or were too young to remember or have some other lame excuse, just trust me that if we get the full swarm, we're going to need your prayers!

Tags: family

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