Category Archives: Culture

Culture for the cultured and uncultured alike.

Animal’s Daily National Geographic News

The October, 1961 National Geographic.

When I was a little kid, I always enjoyed going through the monthly National Geographic, once the Old Man had read it and passed it down through my siblings to me.  It was a quality publication in those days, full of fascinating insights into exotic locales.  Somewhere around here I still have an October 1961 edition, and it’s neat to look through that and see the state of the world the month I was born.

The current National Geographic – currently going by the childishly stupid NatGeo – is none of these things.  Law & Liberty’s Mark Judge describes the fall of this magazine.  Excerpt:

Today, National Geographic, like so much of the rest of the culture, seems gripped in a mania focused on guilt over race and gender. As part of the magazine’s April 2018 “The Race Issue,” editor Susan Goldberg offered this headline: “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.” Goldberg hired a scholar, John Edwin Mason of the University of Virginia, to dig through the archives and find white supremacy. Interviewed by Vox, Mason announced that “the magazine was born at the height of so-called ‘scientific’ racism and imperialism — including American imperialism. This culture of white supremacy shaped the outlook of the magazine’s editors, writers, and photographers, who were always white and almost always men.” Responding to a 2018 cover featuring a cowboy on horseback, Mason argues that “the image of the white cowboy reproduces and romanticizes the mythic iconography of settler colonialism and white supremacy.”

And then there was the ridiculous hagiographic Fauci, a documentary that gives the impression that the proper response to public authority is unquestioning obedience and unceasing praise.

It’s sad – read the whole thing, because Mr. Judge describes his father’s work and how he met many of the leading lights of the original National Geographic.  But I think this, like so many things, is a sign of the descent of American society into kakistocracy.  There are so many signs that it’s difficult to name them all, but I’ll give an example:  Written English.  In my business I have occasion to read written work, such as work instructions, investigation plans and reports, and so on, written in many cases by recent college graduates but also at times by experienced people with ten or fifteen years of industry experience.  And the average writing skill?  It ranges from middling to absolutely awful, with a few stellar exceptions that I can only assume are self-taught.

National Geographic is just another example.  When I reached adulthood, I had bought my own subscription to this old periodical and maintained it until sometime in the late Nineties.  The last straw was their cable TV channel, the mostly terrible programming thereon, and the descent of the magazine as Mr. Judge describes.  Not to mention the stupid “NatGeo” appellation.

It was once a fine American periodical, professional, fact-based, scrupulously edited and fascinating.  No longer.  And that’s too bad.

Animal’s Daily Twitter News

Before we start, check out the first chapter of a new fiction series over at Glibertarians!  And a belated thanks to The Other McCain for the Rule Five link.

Now then:  Elon Musk has bought a 9% share in Twitter, making him the single largest shareholder.  This might yield some lulz.  Excerpt:

April 4 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) top boss Elon Musk revealed a 9.2% stake in Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), worth nearly $3 billion, likely making him the biggest shareholder in the micro-blogging site and triggering a more than 20% rise in its shares.

Musk’s move comes close on the heels of his tweet that he was giving a “serious thought” to building a new social media platform, while questioning Twitter’s commitment to free speech.

A prolific Twitter user, Musk has over 80 million followers since joining the site in 2009 and has used the platform to make several announcements, including teasing a go-private deal for Tesla that landed him in regulatory scrutiny.

Of late, however, he has been critical of the social media platform and its policies, saying the company is undermining democracy by failing to adhere to free-speech principles.

“It does send a message to Twitter … having a meaningful stake in the company will keep them on their toes, because that passive stake could very quickly become an active stake,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC.

Granted Twitter will probably remain, well, Twitter.  Twitter is living proof of the old maxim, ‘Never argue with idiots.  They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.’  Twitter has the worst noise-to-signal ratio on the internet, and as I’m sure you know, they’re up against some pretty stiff competition.

But Twitter’s current management, as I’m sure you also know, has been engaged in some pretty heavy-handed censorship of any commentary anywhere on the spectrum that is to the right of Leon Trotsky.  With Elon Musk in the shareholder’s meetings, that might well change.  He owns a substantial stake in that company now, one large enough to give him a good deal of leverage, and he has repeatedly made plain his belief in unfettered free speech.

It will be very interesting to see what happens now.

Rule Five Dying Giants Friday

You may find this interesting, in light of current events – I did.  Russia is Dying Out.  Excerpt:

“One hundred and forty-six million [people] for such a vast territory is insufficient,” said Vladimir Putin at the end of last year. Russians haven’t been having enough children to replace themselves since the early Sixties. Birth rates are also stagnant in the West, but in Russia the problem is compounded by excess deaths: Russians die almost a decade earlier than Brits. Their President is clearly worried that he’s running out of subjects.

It’s a humiliating state of affairs because Russian power has always been built on the foundation of demography. Back in the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville foresaw that Russia would become a world power, because “Russia is of all the nations of the Old World the one whose population is increasing most rapidly”. The only other country with its population potential was the United States. De Tocqueville prophesised that, “Each one of them seems called by a secret design of Providence to hold in its hands one day the destinies of half the world.” A century later, they were the world’s two uncontested superpowers.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Russia’s population was 136 million, and was still booming, just as those of other European powers started to slow. Germany’s population was 56 million, excluding its colonies, and the threat of ever-larger cohorts of Russian recruits into the Tsar’s ranks haunted Germany’s leadership; historian and public intellectual Friedrich Meinecke fretted over the “almost inexhaustible fertility” of the Slavs while Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg complained that “Russia grows and grows and lies on us like an ever-heavier nightmare”. This pressure was probably the decisive factor in Germany’s 1914 leap in the dark. German Secretary of State Gottlieb von Jagow wrote to the German ambassador in London as the storm was gathering that “in a few years, Russia will be ready … Then she will crush us on land by weight of numbers.”

That was then.  This is now:

Meanwhile Russia is losing thousands of young men in the war in Ukraine. Many in their early twenties, they are unlikely to have had any children, which doesn’t bode well for Russia. Already ageing and shrinking, the nation simply cannot sustain the kind of campaign it has fought in the past. Its days of vastly superior manpower are over. A long, grinding war followed by a bloody occupation would cripple it.

Let’s face it:  Russia is already crippled.  As Mark Steyn so aptly points out, the future belongs to those who show up for it, and the Russians aren’t showing up.  They’ve got company:  Most of Europe, Japan and even China are facing severe demographic crises.  The United States’ increasing population is mostly due to immigration, legal and (increasingly) illegal.

But Russia’s problem is worse.  Russia has always seemed to be a nation that should have been great, but instead has always had a dark cloud hovering overhead.  They have vast territory and rich natural resources, but have always been hampered by bad government – first a progression of incompetent tsars, then the calamitous Soviet Union, now the oligarchy of Putin and his minions.

Sure, we have our demographic problems here.  But look at the flow of people – people are desperate to leave Russia, and desperate to get into the United States.  For all our problems, especially with our current incompetent leadership, we’re still pretty much the best place on the planet to live.

At least, we will be, if the ineptness of our current “political leadership” doesn’t blunder us into a third world war.  And that’s real danger in Russia’s current situation.  Desperate men will do desperate things, and men facing the death of their country by apathy may be exceedingly dangerous, especially when they have nuclear weapons.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Late last week, a bunch of airline CEOs and other representatives of the various airlines jumped on the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration to drop the masking requirements, already.  They state in part:

The persistent and steady decline of hospitalization and death rates are the most compelling indicators that our country is well protected against severe disease from COVID-19.  Now is the time for the Administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions…that are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.”

To which I can only say, “about damn time.”  The whole thing entered well into the theater of the absurd months ago.  I’m flying rather less than I did a few years ago, but Mrs. Animal still flies regularly to Denver to take her elderly parents to doctor’s appointments and so forth, so we bought some of these to (technically) meet the stupid face-diaper requirement.  We like them a lot – you can still actually breathe through them.  If you have to wear a face diaper, wear one that doesn’t really feel like a face diaper.

With that said…

On To the Links!

Tulsi Gabbard dishes up some reality.

Corruption, thy name is Clinton.  And Biden.  And Obama.

Why we need the patriarchy.

What is the coldest place in the universe, after Hillary Clinton’s heart?

I’ll start thinking climate change is a crisis when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.  John “Lurch” Kerry, I’m looking at you and your private jet.

Women and minorities hardest hit.

The Dying Dems.

These people’s approval ratings are somewhere between polecats and syphilis.  If you ask me, that’s too high.

Five myths about spicy food debunked.  Pass the chicken vindaloo, please.

The Hunter Biden saga just keeps getting worse.

The Clintons:  “Let’s set up a crooked fake foundation to finance our jet-setting lifestyle and only actually send a small portion of it to charitable work!”  The Bidens:  Hold my beer!

Now physical fitness is racist.  You can’t even parody these people any more.

Owls in daylight.  We have a diurnal owl around here, the Northern Hawk Owl.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation’s Malcolm Harris is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Cynthia Miller-Idriss is an idiot.

This idiot is going to mumble and stumble us into World War III.

Centenary University is apparently staffed with and by idiots.  And if you read the subhead, some folks at Fox News aren’t all that sharp, either.

An idiot announces a major policy change without knowing it.

The Hill’s William Becker is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Anthea Butler is an idiot.

The Bulwark’s Jonathan Last is an idiot.  Seriously, anyone with enough brains to pound sand can see how President Biden(‘s handlers) are making a complete hash of this thing.

Salon’s Heather Parton is an idiot.  As I’ve said before, I’ll start believing climate change is a crisis when the people who keep telling me climate change is a crisis start acting like climate change is a crisis.

Newsweek’s Allan Katz is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a sawed-off little runt, and an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Cyndi Lauper is best known for her Eighties work, with songs like She Bop and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun getting lots of radio play, as well as prime-time feature on MTV back when it was actually Music Television.

But what a lot of people don’t know about  her is that, when she wasn’t affecting the scratchy, nasal tone of the aforementioned tunes, she actually has a lovely, earthy, almost Joplin-esque voice.  In her 2003 album At Last, we finally go to see what she was capable of, especially when she was paired with an artist like Tony Bennett.

Here, then, from that album, is the title song, At Last.  Enjoy also, as a bonus, her duet with Tony Bennett on Making Whoopee.

 

Animal’s Daily Cultural Relativity News

Before we start, check out the first installment in my new series over at Glibertarians.

Meanwhile, in a Third World shithole that for some insane reason we send millions and millions of American taxpayer dollars to, a mentally ill man was stoned to death by an enraged mob.  Excerpt:

An enraged mob stoned to death a middle-aged man for allegedly desecrating the Quran inside a mosque in a remote village in eastern Pakistan, police said Sunday. Three police officers also were injured, and more than 80 men have been detained.

The mosque’s custodian said he saw the man burning the Muslim holy book and told others before informing police, according to police spokesman Chaudhry Imran. The violence took place Saturday evening in Khanewal district in Punjab province.

Imran said police rushed to the mosque and found the man surrounded by an angry crowd. Officer Mohammad Iqbal and two subordinates tried to take custody of the man but the group began throwing stones at them, seriously injuring Iqbal and slightly injuring the other two officers.

Munawar Gujjar, chief of Tulamba police station, said he rushed reinforcements to the mosque but they did not arrive before the mob had stoned to death the man and hung his body from a tree.

Gujjar said the victim was Mushtaq Ahmed, 41, of a nearby village.

“The ill-fated man has been mentally unstable for the last 15 years and according to his family often went missing from home for days begging and eating whatever he could find,” he said. He said the body was handed to the family.

Fucking savages.

I guess the obvious question is “why are U.S. taxpayer dollars still going to these assholes,” but the real head-scratcher is how, in the supposedly-advanced 21st century, people are so medieval as to stone a mentally ill guy to death for… being mentally ill.  Imagine if a clearly mentally ill man went into a Baptist church in Texas and started burning a Bible; the congregation might be upset, the authorities would be summoned, but nobody would float the idea of stoning the guy to death.  Indeed, in Pakistan, the authorities actually tried to save the guy (to their credit, I suppose) and took a few taps from the rock-throwing crowd themselves.

Now, the story says eighty men were arrested.  OK, then what happened?  What, if anything, will they be charged with?  When are the trials?  What are the likely sentences, if they are convicted?  Or, as usual, will this be the last thing we hear of this, after which it will quietly fade away, because, you know, cultures, or something.

The story concludes:

Mob attacks on people accused of blasphemy are common in this conservative Islamic nation. International and national rights groups say blasphemy accusations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan.

As I said – fucking savages.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Bacon Time, and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Mrs. Animal and I enjoy movies, but a lot of what Hollywood has produced in the last couple of decades has been, well, crap.  We find a lot of foreign flicks to be more entertaining.  Not the artsy-fartsy crap you find at Cannes, but stuff that’s a little more down to earth.  Here are three you might want to check out.

Men in Hope (Czech Republic, 2011) This film might be called, loosely, a romantic comedy, centering on a restaurant owner having an extramarital affair with the delectable Vika Kerekes.  But it’s a lot more than that.  The down side is that I’ve never been able to find it on DVD or Blu-Ray.  My digital copy was downloaded from a now-gone torrent site that my son-in-law helped me find, and we had to figure out how to add in a separate file for the English subtitles.  Worth it.  Here’s a sample:

Jeon Woochi (South Korea, 2009) While the trailer makes this look like a serious magic/martial arts film, it’s not.  It has plenty of those aspects, but the main character, an undisciplined, skirt-chasing Tao master five hundred years out of his own time, brings plenty of comedy to the fray, too.  My favorite line:  “Let’s show them some tricks!”  This one you can get on DVD, subtitles and all.  Here’s the English subtitled trailer:

And finally, a new favorite, Cleo (Germany, 2019).  This stars the beautiful German actress Marleen Lohse as the title character, an amateur archeologist searching Berlin for a magic clock that might allow her to undo the untimely deaths of her parents.  It’s a fun movie, with just the right blend of romance, silliness and fascinating cinematic effects without resorting to the now-near-ubiquitous CGI.  The trailer:

Hollywood is growing pretty stale these days.  Fortunately for those of us who enjoy movies, there are lots of other alternatives.

Animal’s Daily Issues & Causes News

This is interesting:  What Issue Was Really at the Heart of the Civil War, and is it Relevant Today?  Excerpt:

The central question regarding secession, in both cases, was the same as South Carolina’s in 1832 and 1861.  If the people of a state surmise that the federal government is pursuing policy which comprises the liberty and prosperity of its citizens, does that state have to conform to what is perceived by the people of the state as unconstitutional abuse of power, or, more bluntly, intolerable tyranny?

Dumbing down history to simple, easily digestible falsehoods (like “the Civil War was fought to free the slaves,” for example) is the easiest and most effective way to make those falsehoods common knowledge.  That’s why the leftist propagandists and racial grievance hustlers in academia, the media, and the government do it.  The truth about what led the country to the Civil War, however, is anything but simple or easily digestible.

And:

Red and blue states have, in fact, diverged into patterns of life which have become increasingly antithetical in recent years, and antagonisms and rivalries are growing in intensity.  Blue states did fleece the taxpayers of red states last year by demanding a federal bailout for their decision to keep their states irrationally closed during the pandemic and in order to keep their broken, and internally unsustainable, entitlement programs afloat.   There is a high moral tone being expressed on abortion in red states, an institution which disregards the right to life among the unborn just as the institution of slavery disregarded the right to liberty among slaves.  Extremists on both sides are inflaming passions.  Effete coastal liberals and elitists in the media and academia view middle-class, red state denizens as anachronistic God-worshippers who prioritize their families and communities before the needs of the national collective, and are thereby impediments on that Hegelian path of history toward their inevitable vision of “progress.” 

Red and blue states do, in many ways, seem as separate parts locked in a struggle which must be resolved if we are to function as a nation.  Will this warring duality be resolved, or will we explode when, for example, the federal government decides to mandate vaccination IDs be issued by all of the states, and several states refuse?  

Again, if the people of a state surmise that the federal government is pursuing policy which comprises the liberty and prosperity of its citizens, does that state have to conform to what is perceived by the people of the state as unconstitutional abuse of power, or can it express its autonomy and liberty without the prospect of being attacked by the federal government for having done so?

That last sentence is key.  Why?  Well, I’m a-gonna tell you.

The big question, of course, is “if one or more states announces their secession from the Union, will the Imperial City seek again to restore that Union by force of arms?”  My guess is “probably not,” but that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be a conflict.

I’ve hashed this out a number of times in these virtual pages.  To say a civil war is something no sensible person wants to see happen is the grossest of understatements.  But it’s also getting hard to deny that we’re in something of a cold civil war now, and it’s getting harder and harder to see how things will shake out – because the current state of affairs sure can’t last forever.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

It’s been a cold, cold autumn here in the Great Land.  Now, at mid-week, temps have moderated some, but Sunday morning when we woke it was eighteen below.  Typical overnight temps this time of year are about twenty-five degrees warmer than that.  A lot of folks up here wouldn’t mind a little bit of that global warming right now.

Winter in the Great Land.

The reason for this is known, though, and it’s nothing new.  A high-pressure area has been parked over the Alaska Range for a while now, pushing air from north of Broad Pass down into south-central Alaska.  It happened last March and April, too, plunging overnight lows into the upper teens – below.  And that’s OK – as I’ve become fond of saying, it’s not Miami Beach, it’s Alaska.  Soon enough the wheel will turn and spring will come, and then we’ll be in the fullest bloom of another gorgeous Alaska summer.  It’s all expected, and all worth it.

And so…

On To the Links!

No shit, Sherlock.

OK, in holiday seasons past I’ve usually dropped some cash in the Salvation Army buckets as I passed them.  No more.  They can fuck right off.

The ugliest airplane ever made?  I don’t know about ugliest, but I bet it’s in the top ten.

No shit, Sherlock part deux.

From Newt Gingrich:  Mob looting in our major cities should be a wake-up call.  This probably rates another “No shit, Sherlock,” but the pols who run those cities don’t seem to be getting the message.

The Left can’t meme.

Sorry, Wayne, but you’re wrong on this one.

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

Get out of the cities, True Believers.  This kind of shit is going to get worse before it gets better.

Give leftist thugs all the due process they can handle.

Speak for yourselves.

“I don’t have a political ax to grind; I just saw behind the Biden curtain, and I grew concerned with what I saw. The Biden family aggressively leveraged the Biden family name to make millions of dollars from foreign entities even though some were from Communist-controlled China.”

This Week’s Idiots:

MSNBC’s Anthea Butler is an idiot.

The Seattle Times’ A.S. Dillingham is an idiot.

American Prospect’s Jeff Faux is an idiot.  (Really?  The guy’s name is literally Jeff Fake.)

LeBron James, who is apparently some kind of sportsball player, is an idiot.

Vox’s Terry Nguyen (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Guardian’s David Pepper is an idiot.

The Columbus Dispatch’s William Derrough is an idiot.

Pete Buttigieg is an idiot.

Juan Williams continues his breakdown.

The Hill’s Bill Schneider is an idiot.

The American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner is an idiot.

Human Event’s Charlie Kirk is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Country music seems to be in large part a Southern thing, but there are some notable exceptions.  One of those is Aaron Lewis, who’s become a favorite of mine.  I do enjoy that one of his tunes has to do with the fact that rural folks and the rural lifestyle isn’t exclusive to the South; that there are small towns and rural communities all over the North as well.  I’m not sure if he was referring to the Great Land in this tune, but it sure applies.

Anyway.  The song is Northern Redneck, from his album Sinner.  And here it is.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

OK, there’s a funny and accurate bit in this bit of commentary:

Kamala Harris isn’t disliked because she’s a non-white woman; Kamala Harris was chosen as vice president because she’s a non-white woman, and she’s disliked because she has nothing to recommend her beyond those facts. In the highest of high dudgeon, her defenders will propose that this is Joe Biden’s fault, for not “using” Harris correctly in her role. But this too is unjust. In truth, there is no good way to “use” Kamala Harris, because Kamala Harris is a talentless mediocrity whose only political flair is for making things worse than they were before she arrived(Emphasis added by me.)

Boy howdy, ain’t that the truth.

But what do you expect from a VP selected by a lifelong mediocrity, serial plagiarizer, liar and now dementia-ridden C-lister?  And she was selected, honestly, because she has brown skin and a vagina, and no relevant qualifications?  We have achieved kakistocracy, True Believers, and the two Janus-like faces it wears are those of President “Groper” Joe Biden and Kamala “Heels-Up” Harris.

And so…

On To the Links!

This guy gets it.

People are buying guns, primary reason cited is self-defense.  No shit.

Let them eat cake.

This time for sure!

Lungfish cocoons are alive.  Well, sure, but are they any good to eat?

We can hope.  After all, the GOP is driving us off the fiscal cliff a little slower than the Dems.

No shit, Sherlock.

For once, justice was served – not guilty on all counts!

Can Democrats Avoid Electoral Disaster in 2022?  Probably not – they’re stuck on stupid.

Fake President, fake White House.

Why the hell was this guy on the street?

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

Plant-based meat is better for the planet?  Fuck that.

It’s not just us – the Global Debt Trap.

This Week’s Idiots:

MSNBC’s Dean Obeidallah (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

If what these idiots are proposing is the New American Dream, then we’re well and truly fucked.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The New Yorker’s Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an idiot.

San Francisco is still run by idiots.

MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross is an idiot.

Derrick Johnson, the head of the NAACP, is an idiot.

Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The LA Times’ Raj Patel is an idiot.

Salon’s Lucian Truscott is an idiot.

The Atlantic’s David Bright is an idiot.

Newsweek’s Isaac Bailey is an idiot.

Salon’s Chancey DeVega (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Michael Harriot is an idiot.

This idiot thinks taking your dog to the vet should be free.  Sorry, honey, but TANSTAAFL applies.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

There are some artists out there whose politics I can’t abide, but still I listen to their work now and then, because brains and talent don’t necessarily go hand in hand.  A good example would be the trio of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.

Leftists the three of them, but (at least recently) they haven’t been as obnoxiously vocal as some, seemingly content to “shut up and sing.”  I like a lot of their work, but my favorite is their 1982 tune Southern Cross.  Here is that tune; enjoy.

Rule Five Linguistics Friday

I’ve always found languages interesting, although I have very little talent or ability to easily pick up new ones.  I can struggle along in German if people speak slowly, and I know a few key phrases in Japanese, Spanish and French.  But a recent study has found a possible origin for what are known as the “Transeuropean languages.”  Excerpt:

In contrast to previously proposed homelands, which range from the Altai6,7,8 to the Yellow River22 to the Greater Khingan Mountains23 to the Amur basin24, we find support for a Transeurasian origin in the West Liao River region in the Early Neolithic. After a primary break-up of the family in the Neolithic, further dispersals took place in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. The ancestor of the Mongolic languages expanded northwards to the Mongolian Plateau, Proto-Turkic moved westwards over the eastern steppe and the other branches moved eastwards: Proto-Tungusic to the Amur–Ussuri–Khanka region, Proto-Koreanic to the Korean Peninsula and Proto-Japonic over Korea to the Japanese islands (Fig. 1b).

Through a qualitative analysis in which we examined agropastoral words that were revealed in the reconstructed vocabulary of the proto-languages (Supplementary Data 5), we further identified items that are culturally diagnostic for ancestral speech communities in a particular region at a particular time. Common ancestral languages that separated in the Neolithic, such as Proto-Transeurasian, Proto-Altaic, Proto-Mongolo-Tungusic and Proto-Japano-Koreanic, reflect a small core of inherited words that relate to cultivation (‘field’, ‘sow’, ‘plant’, ‘grow’, ‘cultivate’, ‘spade’); millets but not rice or other crops (‘millet seed’, ‘millet gruel’, ‘barnyard millet’); food production and preservation (‘ferment’, ‘grind’, ‘crush to pulp’, ‘brew’); wild foods suggestive of sedentism (‘walnut’, ‘acorn’, ‘chestnut’); textile production (‘sew’, ‘weave cloth’, ‘weave with a loom’, ‘spin’, ‘cut cloth’, ‘ramie’, ‘hemp’); and pigs and dogs as the only domesticated animals.

By contrast, individual subfamilies that separated in the Bronze Age, such as Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Koreanic and Japonic, inserted new subsistence terms that relate to the cultivation of rice, wheat and barley; dairying; domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep and horses; farming or kitchen tools; and textiles such as silk (Supplementary Data 5). These words are borrowings that result from linguistic interaction between Bronze Age populations speaking various Transeurasian and non-Transeurasian languages.

I know, that’s a little dry.  This is an actual no-shit scientific paper, published in Nature, which still manages to be a reputable journal.

What I find interesting about this is the common origin for a bunch of different languages, from Turkic to Japanese.  Let’s take just two of them in particular:  Korean and Japanese.  These two languages are spoken by two relatively similar peoples who have some bad history, not just in World War II but well before that – and yet now we have not only genetic but also linguistic data linking them through a common ancestry.

Interesting stuff.

English, of course, along with Gaelic, the Scandinavian and Latin languages and a few others are Indo-European languages.  There has been some interesting work done re-creating what the original proto-Indo-European may have sounded like, and also where and when it was spoken.

I wonder if one could go back farther than that?  It’s probably impossible, but wouldn’t it be interesting to hear how the first modern human inhabitants of Ice Age Europe spoke?  Or the ancestral American Indians as they straggled across Beringia?  What did the Neandertal sound like?  Could Homo erectus speak, and if so, what was their language like?

Probably questions we can’t answer and, barring a working time machine, never will.  But it’s fun to ponder all the same.