Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wednesday: Whassup?

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This picture reminds me of yesterday's discussion of good wives.

I don't know about you, but I find this fascinating.

This month, the only surviving copy of the 500-year-old map that first used the name America goes on permanent display at the Library of Congress. The map is, in a word, an enigma. The mapmaker named the territory he drew America, only to change his mind later. No one knows why. Somehow, he was able to accurately draw South America and place a huge ocean west of America years before European explorers discovered the Pacific -- which begs the question: how could he have known?

The map was created by a German monk named Martin Waldseemuller. Thirteen years after Christopher Columbus first landed in the Western Hemisphere, the Duke of Lorraine brought Waldseemuller and a group of scholars together at a monastery in Saint-Die in France to create a new map of the world. The result was an astonishingly accurate map with remarkably modern overtones. Experts agree that the actual shape of South America as depicted by Waldseemuller is correct and that the width of South America at certain key points is correct within 70 miles of accuracy. Given what Europeans are believed to have known about the world at the time, it should not have been possible for the mapmaker to produce it. How in the world did he do it?

Fact: The map depicts the west coast of South America reasonably accurately.
Fact: Vasco Nunez de Balboa did not reach the Pacific by land until 1513.
Fact: Ferdinand Magellan did not round the southern tip of the continent until 1520.

The mapmakers purportedly based the map on the 1,300-year-old works of the Egyptian geographer Ptolemy as well as letters Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci wrote describing his voyages to the new world. Scholars agree, however, that the map could not have been drawn based on Vespucci's writings.

Waldseemuller named the new land after Vespucci, explaining that he came up with the name America based on the navigator's first name. Sometime later, he changed his mind, resulting in an atlas done by Waldseemuller some six years later showing only part of the east coast of the Americas. The territory is therein referred to as Terra Incognita -- unknown land. A subsequent mariner's map (1516), drawn on the same scale as the 1507 map, shows only parts of the new continents and reconnects the northern area to Asia. South America is labeled Terra Nova -- New World -- and North America is labeled Terra de Cuba -- Land of Cuba -- essentially reconnecting North America to the Asian mainland, suggestive of a continual world of land mass rather than separated by those bodies of water that separate us from Europe and Asia.

So many delicious questions, so few answers.

More maps -- not exactly official, but fun.

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It's snowing here today. Pretty!

Because I've already taken up so much time and space, we'll just do a very short meme today.

I think I'm grownup because ____________.

On the other hand, I think I'll never grow up because ____________.

If I ever grow up, I want to _____________.

If I have to grow up, let me wait another ______ years to do it.

Some people are born old; I was born _________.

I'm not sure whassup with these Words Gone Wild, but TWISTED LINGUISTICS is going to attempt to find out.

pesonal - Of or relating to pesos earned by peons.

These are making my head hurt, so would you guys please see if there's anything you can do with them?


And we have from that ever-maddening "editor" person:


Charles said...

Oddly reminds me of the article I read on Reuters, yesterday.

You forgot to mention the $10 Million price paid for the map, which considering the circumstances could very well be a fake.

Anonymous said...


history w/o


Kanrei said...

Aliens! The Sumarians were the first civilization. They came up with government, human rights, cities...the list goes on. According to their own texts (they came up with writing a well), they were taught it all from the "Sky Gods". Hmmmm.....

Kanrei said...

I think I'm grownup because they make me pay taxes, work, and be on a jury.

On the other hand, I think I'll never grow up because I hate paying taxes, working, and jury duty.

If I ever grow up, I want to avoid paying taxes, working, and serving on a jury.

If I have to grow up, let me wait another million or so years to do it.

Some people are born old; I was born alive mostly with a somewhat dead brain.

VE said...

1. because I can no longer fit in the womb

2. because gravity keeps pushing me back down

3. to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony. I'd like to buy the world a coke....oh never mind

4. another infinite amount

5. born free as the as the wind blows. As free as the grass grows...hey, wait a minute, why do I have a sudden urge to go back to the Africa now?

VE said...

Oh and thanks Serena and Charles for the nice comments on the poem. You're right Charles, that took 20 minutes of my lunchtime to come up with that! Talk about dedication...

Charles said...

You're quite welcome, I think you earned your praise.

Serena Joy said...

True, Charles, although one would think (hope!) they did all the requisite testing for fraud before handing over the 10 million.

I'm banning hisory, /t., because there can be no history w/o /t.:)

Sumarian Sky Gods. I like that concept, Kan. And it explains much. Hmmm. LOVE your meme answers.:)

VE, never mind the sudden urge to return to Africa. Why the sudden urge to sing annoying jingles? LOL. You're welcome for the poem comments. Your poetic prowess earned praise -- big-time.:)

G-Man said...

1)I get a 'Senior' discount at Tim Horton's
2)I'm a Toy-R-Us kid
5)...In a crossfire hurricane!!

There she goes again
She's always making us think
Thats our Serena!!

Hi Baby girl..xoxox

Serena Joy said...

Hi, Big Daddy G. Wow, I wish I'd been born in a crossfire hurricane! I'll bet that would have made for some mondo good mojo. I'll bet your Horton's discount card gets a hell of a workout, too; Galen do love his coffee.:-)

snowelf said...

Those map facts were fascinating!! I dig stuff like that... It really makes you wonder!

I think I'm grownup because I pay my own bills.

On the other hand, I think I'll never grow up because I like being childish sometimes.

If I ever grow up, I want to find the fountain of youth.

If I have to grow up, let me wait another 50 years to do it.

Some people are born old; I was born with a pen missing from my hand. (Don't worry, I found one!) ;)

Enjoy your snow! It's freezing, but at least it finally looks like winter here!!


Serena Joy said...

Great answers, Snow. Just keep on doing that second one; it'll keep you young and you won't even need to find that fountain of youth. My snow didn't amount to much but it was pretty while it lasted.