Daniela is a Citizen!

Our friend Daniela Imre, whose photos and commentary appear here on occasion, and who owns the father of our pups, became a citizen of the USA today. It was the first time Libby and I had ever attended such a ceremony, and we found it extremely moving.

Daniela was born in Israel, is a veteran of their army, came to the US, got a master’s in architecture at Harvard, practiced around the country, got another degree in education, and moved to Magdalena where she has worked on the (…difficult) Alamo reservation for three years. In the photo above she is flanked by the judge who swore her in (right) and another judge who spoke, a woman who was born in Pakistan, came to the US at 12, moved around the world with her parents, went to Marymount in NY, ran a restaurant in Taos, and is now an appeals court judge here. (I think I skipped a few things there). You can always try something new in the US.

And here she is with her new flag!

“Oldest English Words” Identified

I stumbled across this piece in the BBC website that discusses a computer-enabled mathematical model that analyses the rate of change of words in English and related languages. It appears to be me that this is a new application of glottochronology , a technique that has been around for quite a while.

The researchers at Reading University in the UK, claim “I”, “we”, “two” and “three” are among the most ancient English words. They also say that they can use their model to predict when words will drop out of the language, and list “squeeze”, “guts”, “stick” and “bad” as probable early casualties.

One intriguing feature of this model is an algorithm that allows you to build a phrasebook of common words between two periods of time:

“You type in a date in the past or in the future and it will give you a list of words that would have changed going back in time or will change going into the future,” Professor Pagel told BBC News.

“From that list you can derive a phrasebook of words you could use if you tried to show up and talk to, for example, William the Conqueror.”

That brought me up short. Doesn’t this guy know William the Conqueror spoke French?

Rocky Mountain News, RIP

This isn’t unexpected, but Scripps finally announced they are pulling the plug tomorrow on Colorado’s oldest newspaper, founded 1859. When I first moved here in the 1970s, I much preferred the tabloid Rocky to the Denver Post, but it’s been evident in recent years that the owning chain has been starving the poor girl to death. Sad day.

Philip Jose Farmer, RIP

This esteemed science fiction writer died yesterday at age 91. I especially enjoyed his “Riverworld” series of novels that featured Sir Richard Francis Burton as a main character. Phil Farmer and I are not related, but when I was in graduate school at CU – Boulder, I remember meeting his step-daughter at a party. How’s that for three degrees of separation?

Landscaping Crew Discovers Clovis Cache in Boulder

Exciting news – the Denver Post and NY Times picked it up, but the best account comes from this press release issued by the University of Colorado.

A cache of 83 lithic tools was discovered by Brant Turney’s landscaping crew while they were working in Patrick Mahaffy’s yard in Boulder last May. Mahaffy contacted the University and archaeologist Doug Bamforth came out to investigate and has been leading the research.

Dating this find has had to be by “backdoor” methods as there are no Clovis projectile points in the cache and no organic material available for radiocarbon assays. CU geologist Pete Birkeland (I took pedology from him back in the day) verified that the sediments were of Pleistocene age, but analysis of blood residue on the tools sealed the deal. The collection was sent to Robert Yohe at California State University – Bakersfield who performed the protein analysis. This revealed that tools had been used to butcher sheep, horse, camel, and bear. Native horse and camel have been extinct here since the end of the Pleistocene.

This is quite a collection and I am in awe of the giant bifacial knife that Bamforth is holding (foreground top photo). He says these tools are typologically similar to some from another Clovis cache, the Fenn Cache, from up in the Yellowstone area.

Lithic materials found in the cache come from southern Wyoming and the Colorado Western Slope, showing that these people traveled and traded. Some of the very best flint-knapping known in North American archaeology is the oldest (like this find) and Paleoindian craftsmen seem to have been particular about their raw material.


Visit with Good Photos

Our friend Tim came by this weekend. We hadn’t seen him since before he was busy rediscovering the Ivory- billed woodpecker.

He is also an accomplished photographer and took a lot of good pix of Casa Q and its surroundings. Here Libby, Ataika, and I walk up the main street.

My library. I’m looking at a picture of a barb pigeon in Darwin’s Variations of Animals and Plants Under Domestication. I may do an article on Darwin’s pigeons for the Living Bird.

He also enjoyed a look at my Grant shotgun (I really have to write more about it) and my hounds.

You should read his latest book, a , most unusual autobiography with falconry and travel.

And I hope there won’t be such a stretch until his next visit.