Word Wednesday.

Subvert

Transitive verb.

1: to overturn or overthrow from the foundation: Ruin.

2: to pervert or corrupt by an undermining of morals, allegiance, or faith.

– subverter, noun.

[Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French subvertir, from Latin subvertere, literally, to turn from beneath, from sub– + vertere to turn.]

(14th Century)

It was “an evil of such magnitude as to threaten the moral, social and national life of our country,” the handiwork of publishers with “diabolical intent” to “weaken morality and thereby destroy religion and subvert the social order.” – The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, David Hadju.

Minecraft and The Middle Ages: All About Teaching.

Chang’an from John Miller on Vimeo.

The simple architectural elements of the game make Minecraft ideal to be used in teaching about the Middle Ages. One example can be found in the recently published book Minecraft in the Classroom: Ideas, inspiration, and student projects for teachers – one chapter examines how John Miller, a history teacher based in California, made use of the game for Grade 7 classes learning about medieval China. The students used the game to recreate the Tang Dynasty capital of Chang’an.

“They were highly motivated and inspired by the work done by previous classes,” Miller explained. “They challenged themselves to learn more and to be better and more historically accurate builders. They created choices for building materials and debated which blocks to use for greater authenticity.”

[…]

He now is planning on enlarging the project so that students “could pass through the gates, travel north on horseback, and encounter the Great Wall. Beyond that be Genghis Khan and the Mongols. As student progress, I’ll create a pathway west that would take them along the Silk Road, with building options to support the study of trade and commerce. They would eventually end in Constantinople and then travel to Florence and learn about Renaissance Italy.”

Other teachers and educational companies have established lesson plans making use of Minecraft. At Wonderful World of Humanities on Minecraftedu.com, detailed resources are offered that allow one to use the game to do things like explore Ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria or live in a medieval castle.

With access to data, the possibilities with this game even grow further. Last year the Danish Geodata Agency used official topographical data to create a 1:1 facsimile of Denmark, including  historical places, buildings, roads and monuments. “You can freely move around in Denmark,” the agency explains, “find your own residential area, to build and tear down as you can in whichever any other Minecraft world.” Meanwhile, the New York Public Library has made it possible for users to turn one of the library’s 20,000 digitized historical maps into a Minecraft world.

There’s much more to read, and many more videos at Medievalists, have a wander!

Word Wednesday.

Hubris

Noun.

Exaggerated pride or self-confidence.

Hubristic, adjective.

[Origin: Greek, possibly a back-formation from hubristic or else from Greek hybris “wanton violence, insolence, outrage,” originally “presumption toward the gods”.]

(1884)

“There was a pertness to my tone that I regretted the moment it was out of my mouth for, to my ear, it spoke far too plainly of my intent. It was fortunate for me that the hubris of prideful men swells about them like a rising sea and fills their ears with nothing but the roaring of the ovations that await them. I might have told the apothecary every detail of the plot then, I think, and he would have heard nothing. If he had observed the opening and closing of my lips, doubtless he would have taken it for applause.” – The Nature of Monsters, Clare Clark.

Word Wednesday.

Poxy

Adjective.

1: rotten; lousy.

2: having little value, importance, or influence.

From Pox (noun):

1: a virus disease

2: a disastrous evil: plague, curse.

[Origin: alteration of pocks, plural of pock.]

(Circa 1530)

“Plus he’s a land stealer,” adds Red Coyote. “Suckin’ old white guy. He should be called Prospero Corp. Next thing he’ll discover oil on it, develop it, machine-gun everyone to keep them off it.” “You’re such a poxy communist,” says SnakeEye. – Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood.

Word Wednesday.

Bane

Noun.

1a: obsolete: Killer, Slayer b: Poison c: Death, Destruction d: Woe.

2: A source of harm or ruin: Curse.

[Origin: Middle English, from Old English bana; akin to Old High German bano death.]

(Before 12th Century.)

3: Bane

Transitive verb baned; baning: obsolete: to kill especially with poison. (1578)

“People” – Geralt turned his head – “like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves. When they get blind-drunk, cheat, steal, beat their wives, starve an old woman, when they kill a trapped fox with an axe or riddle the last existing unicorn with arrows, they like to think that the Bane entering cottages at daybreak is more monstrous than they are. They feel better then. They find it easier to live.” – The Last Wish, Andrzej Sapkowski.

Word Wednesday.

Batrachian

Noun.

Amphibian; especially: Frog, Toad.

– batrachian adjective.

[Origin: ultimately from Greek batrachos frog.]

(Circa 1828.)

“When the migraine began to fade a little, Marc looked at Merlin, now pinioned by two policemen and moving his batrachian lips in an incoherent automatic way.” – The Accordionist, Fred Vargas.

Sept. 20th: Grave Robbing 101 at Lincoln Park.

Here’s a fun thing to do on a Wednesday evening if you’re in the area:

When the area now known as Lincoln Park was City Cemetery during the 1840s to 1860s, it was a regular smorgasbord for grave robbers — medical schools tended to have a “no questions asked” policy, and a fresh cadaver could pay as much as a month in the coal mines.

Author and tour guide Adam Selzer leads “pupils” on a walking tour of Lincoln Park, showing relics of the old cemetery, a tomb snooping demonstration, and repeating stories and quotes from the archives about all of the body snatching that took place on the grounds — featuring enough tricks of the trade to launch your very own career. Humorous, entertaining, and educational as all get out.

Tickets are $20.00, and all the details are at Atlas Obscura.

Word Wednesday.

Frizzling

Verb.

1: Frizzle

Verb: Frizzled; frizzling: Frizz, Curl.

[Origin: probably akin to Old Frisian frīsle curl]

(1573)

2: Frizzle

Noun: A crisp curl. (1613)

3: Frizzle

Verb: Frizzled; Frizzling

Transitive verb

1: to fry until crisp and curled.

2: Burn, Scorch.

Intransitive verb: to cook with a sizzling noise.

[Origin: fry + sizzle]

(1839)

“The sun was high in the heavens when my companion woke me from a heavy sleep and announced that the porridge was cooked and there was just time to bathe. The grateful smell of frizzling bacon entered the tent door.” – The Willows, Algernon Blackwood.

Word Wednesday.

Zeugma

Noun.

The use of a word to modify or govern two or more words usually in such a manner that it applies to each in a different sense or makes sense with only one (as in “opened the door and her heart to the homeless boy”).

[Origin: Middle English zeuma, from Medieval Latin, from Latin zeugma, from Greek, literally, joining, from zeugnynai to join; akin to Latin jungere to join.]

(15th Century)

“Elinor smiled. ‘Ooh, extended metaphors.’ ‘It’ll be zeugma next.’ ‘I love it when you talk dirty to me.’ – Splinter the Silence, Val McDermid.

Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain.

A while back, Rick asked me about Bitcoin. Along with the rather alarmed look on my face, I shook my head and said “stay the fuck away from it.” That said, I wasn’t in a position to explain all the reasons why, or the history of it and all that. I just muttered “stay the fuck away” again. Conveniently, David Gerard has a book all about that! Many of you are familiar with Mr. Gerard from Rational Wiki. I got this for Rick, but of course, I had to read it too, because book.

It’s excellent, covers what you need to know, and is informative, entertaining, and sometimes, horrifying. So if you’ve been curious, or thinking maybe you ought to “get in on that”, read first. You can read select excerpts from the book here.

Word Wednesday.

Didactic

Adjective.

1a: designed or intended to teach b: intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment.

2: making moral observations.

– didactical, adjective.

– didactically, adverb.

– didacticism, noun.

[Origin: Greek didaktikos, from didaskein to teach.}

(1658)

“King Rat’s London snarl had assumed a didactic tone. “Pay attention, ratling. This here is the entrance to your ceremonial abode.” – King Rat, China Miéville.