For 2013 I would publish a word that I had said, read or heard throughout the course of the day. Keeping this up has been a bit of a task with several hiccups across the year but here is my list of all 365 words.
Is tomorrow the last day of this decade or do we still have 366 days to go? Either way is acceptable, but because I love finding out the reasons for this sort of thing I thought I’d share them with you. 🙂 Continue reading When does the new decade start? (Was there a year zero?)
I’ve just been watching a National Geographic documentary on the notorious pirate ‘Blackbeard’ called Blackbeard’s Lost Pirate Ship. Personally it raised a lot of questions on what I don’t know about pirates (which are considered one of the coolest things to be in pop culture). They’ve always had a certain cool factor and this has only grown with the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies. I suppose what I know started when I was little, I was introduced to the common stereotype is an eye patch wearing, peg legged, parrot adorned, black bearded captain flying a jolly roger from his ship. And its not surprising that a lot of that is an amalgamation of several people! To keep things simple I’ve started at the earliest known reference and I’m going to work my way forward hopefully you enjoy it.
Pirate Origins: The Sea People
The earliest consistent known acts of what we consider piracy happened in the late Bronze age, 13th Century BC, by the Phahroh Merneptah, he simply refered to them as “the foreign peoples of the sea” and drawn in the Medinet Habu with feathers. Whilst not the traditional view of pirates with cannons and galleon ships they made many inventions which aided sailing helping to keep them ahead of the local authorities and are still in widespread use today. Such innovations include the loose-footed or ‘free’ lower yardarm which greatly improved sailing under unfavourable wind conditions, the crows nest for early warning alarms and the reintroduction of the eastern use of ashlar (dressed and mortar-less brick) which was first seen 2700 years earlier! The sea peoples were also had origins of many ideas we have of Vikings, having horned helmets and identical prows at stern and aft.
Alas their raiding of undefended/unfortified ports finalised a collapse of Egyptian economy but not before they were attacked en masses and soon got them a reputation, which lead to attacks struck back at the Egyptians by sea and by land with help of the Libyans. Despite having less advanced ships the Egyptians were able to outmanoeuvre the Sea Peoples with oars and sails inshore in southern Canaan (Philistia). This coupled with bombardment of the shieldless Sea People with arrows from Seaborne archers prevented their swordsmen and javaliers from succeeding on land.
Those that weren’t killed or captured are presumed to have merged with the local indigenous peoples maintaining their enigmatic origins to this very date. (Which is why I’ve linked out to so many places as information is very, very scattered!)
Whilst being trapped in a prison you can not see, taste or feel is considered a paranoid fantasy is might be a possible solution to a problem 100 trillion years in the making, the end of the universe. Why the sudden interest in the Matrix? It has been 10 years since its release at cinemas worldwide, a film that stimulated a great deal of speculation not only in philosophy, particularly existentialism but religion, cyberpunk culture and digital story telling effects.
Everyone knows that you get yellow fire from burning wood, depending on what you add to a fire you can change the colour of its flame. The reason particular colours are given out is due to the energy level the ‘burning’ happens at. Remember the old period table? (or if you had modern enough science teacher; a periodic galaxy?) well its all down its arrangement.
The Sciencey Bit
(Skip this if you really don’t want to know why) The reason different compounds or elements produce different colours when burnt is the oxygen combines with them changing the arrangement of the atoms electrons.
Electrons form orbits or ‘shells’ with higher levels of potential energy for each one in each each orbit, filling up the bottom orbits first. When an electron is exchanged from one shell to another light (photons) must be emitted with an energy matching the change in ‘height’ (potential energy) to maintain balance. The energy of a photon is determined by the Planck constant multiplied by its frequency (E = h×?) which means that different energies result in different frequencies some of which can be seen as a colour.
The Example Bit
The most readily known examples of coloured fire are interstellar stars, although in all honesty they’re not really balls of fire but energy releasing spheres of luminous plasma. Anyway, they come in a variety of different colours depending on there temperature which is based on there dominant fuel, in the The Sun’s case it is 75% Hydrogen and 24% Helium giving it a yellow colour from our atmosphere. As the Sun ages the Hydrogen will become Helium through fusion and it will appear red, just like the the Sun Krypton orbits in Superman and it is called what is known as a Red Dwarf. As the Helium ‘burns’ together into even denser materials it will eventually change to White Dwarf.
Another example that is slightly more down to Earth is the use of different compounds for stunning sky bound effects called fireworks. To produce the most brilliant colours other elements are used to enhance the colour produced from burning, usually Chlorine, which is toxic in large amounts.
The Safety Bit
WARNING: I wouldn’t suggest acquiring any of these elements and trying it out for yourself, especially since some of these substances alone are radioactive, toxic or both! This is intended as a reverse lookup; you see the colour then work out what made it. I’ve not listed every substance just the ones I could find any information on.
The Referencey Bit
|Alkaline Earth||Violent Reaction in Moisture, White Fume|
|Transition||Gold||Easily Magnetic, Symbol from the Word ‘Ferrum’|
|Alkali||Silvery White||Easily Cut with Knife, Reactive with Water, White Fume|
|Transition||Silvery Metallic||Yellowish green||Poisonous, esp. if inhaled|
|Transition||Grey Metallic||Yellowish green||May have facilitated multicellular lifeforms|
|Alkali Earth||Mades rare Gem Benitoite|
|Metalloids||(Deep) Brown||Bright green||Used in Scientific Glassware|
|Poor||Silvery White||Pure green||Highly Toxic|
|Metalloids||Lustrous Silver||Pale Green|
|Non||Dull Red with White Sheen||Pale bluish green||Reactive when Cut, therefore used in Matches|
|Poor||Blue||Slightly Radioactive, Very Low Toxicity, Yellow Fume|
|Poor||Light Grey||Blue||Used in Liquid Crystal Displays, Toxic|
|Post-transition||Blue||High Density, Toxic, Stops Xrays Easily|
|Non||Dark Grey with metallic sheen||Azure blue||Key Ingredient in Head’n’Shoulders, MacGuffin in Evolution|
|Alkali Metal||Silvery White||Highly Reactive with Water|
|Alkali||Grey White||Highly Reactive with Water OR air|
|Poor||White||Common Use, Very High Strength:Weight Ratio|
|Alkaline Earth||White Fume|
|Transition||White||Food Colourant E171 (Titanium Dioxide)|
Since Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and given it to man we have used it for both work and pleasure. A wood burning campfire is one of my favourite ways to enjoy this privilege and since being taught in (Cub) Scouts I’ve made quite a few. There are a variety of different ways to set one up and each has it uses, for instance a Jamaican-log-fire or Cross-fire (2 logs parallel with tinder between them and kindling ontop) maximizes heat retention and is best for cooking whereas a log cabin or pyramid/teepee is best for emanating heat for warmth. Whilst I know several ways to set up and light the wood I find that I know very little about the wood itself so I started gathering lists of wood/trees in Britain. It became obvious that I wouldn’t want to just stop at names so I’ve put some other bits aside for future posts.
It’s not been easy gathering this information, so many species and variants in so many places the only exacting way to keep track was referencing each by its Latin name instead of it common name.
For those of you without a photographic memory you may need to work at remembering all the flat information. One of my favourites is Fraxinus excelsior or Ash, which as the name implies is a good fire wood and helps me retain the knowledge by association.
English and Latin Wood Names and Family
|Family||Name (Britain)||Name Elsewhere||Latin|
|Alder||(Common) Alder||Alder||Alnus glutinosa|
|Alder||Alder Buckthorn||Black Dogwood||Rhamnus frangula|
|Apple||Crab Apple||Apple||Malus sylvestris|
|Ash||(Common) Ash||White Ash||Fraxinus excelsior|
|Beech||Copper (European) Beech||Fagus sylvatica|
|Birch||Silver Birch||Gray Birch||Betula pendula|
|Birch||Downy Birch or White Birch||White Birch||Betula pubescens|
|Cherry & Plum||Wild Cherry||Prunus avium|
|Cherry & Plum||Bird Cherry||Prunus padus|
|Cherry & Plum||Blackthorn or ‘Plum’||Sloe||Prunus spinosa|
|Blackhaw||(European) Cranberrybush||Guelder-rose||Viburnum opulus|
|Blackhaw||Wayfaring Tree||Viburnum lantana|
|Dogwood||Common Dogwood||Cornus sanguinea|
|Elm||Wych Elm||Slippery Elm||Ulmus glabra|
|Elm||English Elm||Ulmus procera|
|Hawthorn||Common Hawthorn||Crataegus monogyna|
|Hawthorn||Midland Hawthorn||Crataegus laevigata|
|Hazel||Common Hazel||Corylus avellana|
|Hornbeam||European (common) Hornbeam||Ironwood||Carpinus betulus|
|Holly||European Holly||Holly, American||Ilex aquifolium|
|Ditypic or Soapberry||(Common) Horse Chestnut||Buckeye||Aesculus hippocastanum|
|Juniper||(Common) Juniper||Juniperus communis|
|Family||Name (Britain)||Name Elsewhere||Latin|
|Basswood||Tilia cordata Tilia platyphyllos|
|Maples||Field Maple||Acer campestre|
|Oak||English Oak||Pedunculate Oak||Quercus robur|
|Oak||Sessile Oak||Quercus petraea|
|Oak||Turkey Oak||Quercus cerris|
|Pine||Monterey Pine||Pinus radiata|
|Pine||Scots Pine||Pinus sylvestris|
|Poplar||Black Poplar||Cottonwood||Populus nigra|
|Rowan & Whitebeam||European Rowan or Mountain Ash||Wiggen Tree||Sorbus aucuparia|
|Rowan & Whitebeam||(Common) Whitebeam||Sorbus aria|
|Rowan & Whitebeam||Service Tree||Sorbus domestica|
|Rowan & Whitebeam||Wild Service Tree||Checkers Tree||Sorbus torminalis|
|Bittersweet||Common Spindle Tree||Euonymus europaeus|
|Strawberry Tree||Strawberry Tree||Arbutus unedo|
|Willow||Grey ‘Pussy’ Williow||Salix cinerea subsp. oleifolia|
|Willow||Bay Willow||Salix pentandra|
|Willow||Crack Willow||Salix fragilis|
|Willow||White Willow||Willow||Salix alba|
|Willow||Almond-leaved Willow||Salix triandra|
|Yew||European ‘Common’ Yew||Yew||Taxus baccata|
|Family||Name (Britain)||Name Elsewhere||Latin|
|2 Sources||3 Sources||4 Sources||5 Sources|