June 21, 2011
Words and birds
"Auspicious" is a great word that shows up now and then on solemn occasions, but the etymology is kind of interesting. It is related to the word auspice, Latin auspicium, meaning someone who looks at birds.
Lots of peoples historically and probably now as well look to signs from the flight of birds for omens. The Romans were particularly bonkers about it. We got the word auspicious from those times when the signs from the birds were favorable.
I kind of wish the Spousal Unit and I had an auspicium with us on a hike we took this weekend. It happened really fast--too fast to take a picture. We saw in broad daylight an owl fly by with a young rabbit in its claws.
It's still unclear how auspicious it was. We thought it was cool, but the rabbit probably had his own take on the situation.
DOS AND DON'TS. Here's economist Jared Bernstein on how to handle a fragile economic recovery.
SLAVERY IN THE MODERN WORLD is alive and well.
THE STATE OF THE OCEANS: not good.
WHY DIDN'T WE JUST KEEP HUNTING AND GATHERING? Archaeological evidence suggests that the rise of agriculture was a downer for those involved. After spending several hours pulling weeds this weekend, I can see why.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED