May 30, 2011KR BlogKR

Short Takes: Etymology of the End of the World

Stanford University on the tangible power of metaphors.

The etymology of the word “rapture” shares roots with “rape,” but around 1629 first took on a sense of “spiritual ecstasy.”

If any of you happen to be carrying around a 500-year-old copy of the Nuremberg Chronicles in a “big plastic sack,” get in touch–we have a deal for you.

Less than a year ago, Google Books said there were about 130 million books in the world, excluding copies and serials.

So when extraterrestrials arrive, who’s doing the talking (or writing) that represents the human race? Maybe you.

Carmen Callil: “The depth of humanity, all those different qualities one looks for in great writing are represented in huge measure among them. This puff of indignation is for them, and for the translators who labour in the vineyard on behalf of many of those on the list ??? not always successfully, but for all who read in the English language.”

The bait-and-switch: at Dartmouth, researchers have harnessed the power of video games to add verbal tags to archived images.

Carsten Jensen: ““I caught what Susan Sontag once called ???the illness of relativism’, in which you start comparing one work to another until your standards are dictated not by the rare masterpiece but by the multitude of mediocre works you are obliged to read. The result being that if a real masterpiece appears, you have run out of superlatives with which to describe it.”