Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! Turkey, India, Mayans & the Stars : Origin of the Name of the Bird We Call the Turkey - LexiLine Journal 471

Happy Thanksgiving!

You might think that the name of the American Turkey bird comes from Turkey, but you would be wrong.

Nevertheless, believe it or not, there is no accepted etymology for the origin of the word for the bird we call the "Turkey", a word which has been analyzed lexically at great depth by Alain Theriault in his 1996 posting at the Linguist List.

There is also a comprehensive lexical list at the Wiktionary.

The closest words to English "turkey" are German Trut-hahn, Latvian ti-tars, Hebrew tar-negol hodu "Indian rooster", Igbo (southern Nigera) toro toro, Irish turcai, Italian tacchino, Ladin (Switzerland) tachin, Lower Sorbian turk, Sorbian truta, Romanian curca, Telugu (Dravidian language of India) Tarkee Kodi (compare those two words with the Hebrew). Many other languages of the world have a word for the bird turkey starting with a word like hind- or ind- or something similar to it meaning "bird of India".

If the Turkey originated in Europe, the Latvian terms tark-šķēt or tark-šķis might give the essential clue since these words mean to "chatter, clapper, patter, rattle", i.e. "to gobble".

But as explained by Michael Qunion at World Wide Words, the turkey originally came from Mexico of the New World and was brought to the Old World by the Spaniards, in part via India and the East Indies, which is how the bird got called the "Indian" bird.

The Maya term for the turkey cock (the male) was ah tzo based on current evidence so that an original *tzor- form is not inconceivable. Since Tzorkin viz. Tzolkin means "cosmic matrix" (whence calendar) and Chorti, the name of the Maya people, means "river of stars", the name of the Turkey bird may have come originally from the contact of the first European explorers with the tribal populations of Mexico prior to the colonial era, i.e. rather than "bird of India", which the explorers thought they had discovered, it was actually a "bird of the Maya", whence also names of the Turkey that reference Peru.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Megaliths of Jharkhand India - LexiLine Journal 470

Subhashis Das of Hazaribagh, India, has been working for years to make the little-known megaliths of Jharkhand, India better known and to keep them from being destroyed and vandalized. Telegraph India has an account of his pioneer activities to save the megaliths of Jharkhand and to research their ancient significance. See in this regard also Sacred Sites International .

Subhashis Das points out that megaliths often have astronomical significance and were in ancient days sometimes also used as border stones. He suggests other uses as well.

He has sent me the following link to his website pages - which are well worth reading:

Megaliths of Jharkhand

http://megalithsofjharkhand.tripod.com/index.html

A better-known site in Jharkand for example is Punkree Burwadih, which Subhshis Das has discovered to be a prehistoric observtory.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The 66 Science Blogs at Seed Media - LexiLine Journal 469

What is academic archaeology REALLY like? Read for example:
Science Blogs is the largest online blogging community dedicated to science. It was created as an experiment in science communication by the Seed Media Group, an emerging science media and communications company, who write:

"We have selected our 60+ bloggers based on their originality, insight, talent, and dedication and how we think they would contribute to the discussion at ScienceBlogs. Our role, as we see it, is to create and continue to improve this forum for discussion, and to ensure that the rich dialogue that takes place at ScienceBlogs resonates outside the blogosphere."

One blog - The Scientifc Indian - even links to a simply fantastic Larry Lessig video presentation on user-generated content (UGC)... a confluence of science and law. Even if you read no further, make sure you see that video in entirety to fully understand modern "digital culture" and the major issues facing intellectual property law today. See also particularly the Evolution Blog about evolution and creation, and examine particularly What the Dumbledore Flap Teaches Us About the Constitution citing to Harry Potter and the Framer's Intent, a scathing demolition by Michael C. Dorf - via J.K. Rowling and fictional intent - of Constitutional originalism. Dorf writes:

"Speaking at Carnegie Hall last week, J.K. Rowling, author of the phenomenally popular Harry Potter series, revealed that Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is gay. Rowling explained that she was prompted to out the fictional Dumbledore when she noticed a reference to a female romantic interest of his in a draft of the screenplay for the planned sixth Potter film. If the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince makes Dumbledore's sexual orientation explicit, then that will settle the matter, at least so far as the fictional cinematic version of Dumbledore is concerned. But given that the Potter books, now complete, make no mention of Dumbledore's sexuality, Rowling would not appear to have any authority to declare the print version of Dumbledore gay, straight or bi. Her views on such matters are naturally of interest to fans of her books, but the work must stand on its own. These principles may seem obvious enough when considering the relation of a fiction writer's intentions to her text, but they are highly contentious when it comes to legal documents. In the balance of this column, I will explain why James Madison is no more of an authority on the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, than J.K. Rowling is on Dumbledore's sexual orientation."
Read the rest here.

Below is the list of the current 66 Science Blogs together with our comments - or not - about them, and/or including a link to a sample posting we have selected.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Indus Valley Script as Astronomy and Compared to Easter Island Script - LexiLine Journal 468

Daniel Salas has alerted me to his website and his interpretation of "Indo-European Sanskrit decipherment of the Indus Valley script " as astronomy. He writes there:

"I found that the Indus Valley script signs matched the star constellations along the ecliptic. "

I am very sympathetic to his approach since it mirrors some of my own views about the common astronomical origin of many symbols in disparate cultures. I do not however agree with many of his individual interpretations, but I think he is definitely on the right track in seeing symbols of the Indus Valley script to be astronomical signs for the Nakshatras (ancient Vedic Sanskrit moon stations of the sky). In other words, he is very right in seeing the astronomical connection. I then saw it is my responsibility, based on my experience with ancient astronomical scripts, to identify those symbols that I can.

Below, I compare one of the seals that Daniel Salas shows on his website with my decipherment 26 years ago of a wooden tablet from Easter Island known as "Honolulu Tablet No. B. 3622 which I showed to be an ancient zodiac, as published in the year 1981 in An Astrological Zodiac in the Script of Easter Island. That there is a clear connection between that Easter Island script and the Indus Valley seal pictured byDaniel Salas is beyond doubt, and I interpret the Indus Valley seal accordingly below.

At the bottom of the graphic right (and reproduced next to it left) is the Indus Valley seal pictured by Salas:



To our eye, the second line appears merely to be a variant writing of the same symbols.

In the middle of the page below is found the Easter Island Zodiac deciphered by me in the year 1981:


If we now directly compare the Indus Valley seal with the Easter Island tablet we get the following comparison and identification of astronomical signs:

indus valley easter island zodiac astronomical signs

The second row of symbols on the seal appears to be a variant form of the same group of symbols - or - perhaps this lower group of symbols applies to the southern heavens, which would support the ancient Vedic Sanskrit legends that the ancient seafarers mapped the southern heavens so as to be nearly identical to their northern counterparts. Richard Hinckley Allen in Star Names, Dover Publications, N.Y. 1997, reports of ancient legends that the southern stars were initially created by ancient seafarers to approximate the shape of Northern constellations in similar positions. Allen writes in Star Names (p. 436) as follows:
"Before the observations of the navigators of the 15th and 16th centuries the singular belief prevailed that the southern heavens contained a constellation near the pole similar to our Bear or Wain; indeed it is said to have been represented on an early map or globe. Manilus wrote:

The lower Pole resemblance bears
To this Above, and shines with equal stars;
With Bears averse, round which the Draco twines;'

and Al Biruni repeated the Sanskrit legend that at one time in the history of the Creation an attempt was made by Visvamitra to form a southern heavenly home for the body of the dead king, the pious Somadatta; and this work was not abandoned till a southern pole and another Bear had been located in positions corresponding to the northern, this pole passing through the island Lunka, or Vadavamukha (Ceylon). The Anglo-Saxon Manual made distinct mention of this duplicate constellation 'which we can never see.'...
"

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