A month later and I can confirm that Ancient Rome was a fascinating place. I already knew that though, so here are three things I didn’t know on March 1st 2014:
- There’s evidence to suggest that Swahili and Zulu have had more influence on the English language than Cornish and Welsh. Sure, everyone knows that the modern English language is a mish-mash of various Indo-European languages and whatever else was picked up over the centuries. However, the thought that Swahili and Zulu (languages now based in South-Eastern and Southern Africa, respectively) contributed more than languages once spoken on the border of England, let alone within England itself, is a bit mind-boggling. The theory and evidence towards it being historical fact are in a book called Borrowed Words.
- A lot of people, particularly here in England, probably don’t know that there’s an actual religion to describe their unique branch of non-religion. Sound confusing? It’s actually not. People who don’t believe in God are atheists (or agnostics but let’s cast that aside for a bit) but not all atheists are one and the same. An atheist from England will have different cultural values than an atheist from India, for example. In England, most of those atheists will probably identify with Christian atheism. If you believe in the principles of Christianity (think of the ten commandments) but not God (or Jesus as an extension of God) then you’re a Christian atheist. Christian atheists believe in the morality and wisdom of Jesus’ teachings but not his divinity. If that summarises you then congratulations, you’ve found the name of your religion.
- This one’s a little bit more of a collection of things I learnt but it’s another that answers a question that I had as a child. “Why are all planes painted white?”, I asked myself, while pretending that I one day wanted to be a pilot. Well, as it transpires, there’s a plethora of reasons. White paint doesn’t fade as noticeably (imagine seeing your plane as you board and noticing its old, faded paint), it helps with temperature regulation (much in the same way that the anecdotal white Jeep does in Africa) and white paint, on a smaller level, highlights any flaws such as cracks with greater ease. It might also be cheaper to both paint and maintain, too, which surely goes down a treat with the businesses that own and maintain the planes.
Here’s to another 30 day’s worth of new knowledge.