Thursday, 24 April 2008

who named the oceans ?

i can only find two answers so far. there is the pacific, comes from the latin mare pacifium, meaning peaceful sea. the modern version was bestowed upon it by Ferdinand Magellan, a Portugese maritime explorer in the late 15th/early 16th century. He was also the first known man to successfuly circumnavigate the entire globe. He discovered the Pacific by going through a strait of water passing through Argentina, now named the Magellan Straits. Obv why. (i think he might be a new addition to my dream dinner party list).

the other one i found is the atlantic, which isn't as interesting. during the period when ancient greece dominated the world, people assumed what part of the atlantic they could see was not an ocean but a river, flowing around the entirety of their flat discus of a world. so, it makes sense that the first part of the word atlantic refers to atlas - the guy whose job it was to carry us round on his shoulder.

i can't believe the indian ocean is only called the indian ocean, i mean, it is the 3rd biggest (but also the calmest) ocean in the world (which is why the East India Company was so wildly successful and I guess why Britain then conquered and ruled the country, since trade across the waters dividing them was so easy). It was known as the Western Ocean by Chinese traders, but even that seems weirdly Anglicised. Maybe I am being spastic. What is Chinese for Western?

It does seem strange it should be named after the country on one side of it. Why isn't it the Madagascan Ocean? And what did people call it before westerners discovered India? Or before Indians knew there was something waiting to fuck them over on the other side of it?

Saturday, 12 April 2008

James Blunt.

Before James Blunt was James Blunt my friend dated him. So, when James Blunt became James Blunt I found it even funnier/more irritating than most. However, there has been a turnaround in events. This is, to the great man himself, the most important moment in James Blunt's career.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Charles Holden (1875-1960)

Charles Holden was the architect responsible for nearly every London Underground Station built in the 1920s and 1930s, mostly the Northern and Piccadilly Lines. Some of his designs were only built in 1940s due to lack of funds, those are mostly on the Central Line out west. He also made Senate House, London's first skyscraper - though it seems teeny now. Much as I appreciate ole Norman Foster's attempt at designing buildings which are supposed to symbolise what exactly modern London is, I don't think he comes close to Mr. C. Holden's Tube. Art Deco for public buildings - no lumps or bumps or superfluous bits, each section functions perfectly and none of them have fallen down. They might only be ticket halls but I think they are nicer to sit in than Buckingham Palace. Even if Buckingham Palace was shrunk down and put inside the penthouse of the Gerkhin (which, if you didnae know is still on the market. no one bought it cos it is crazy expensive but you can make appointments with Foxtons, if you pull of pretending to be loaded, they will show you round it.)

Who designed London's Victorian sewers? Bazelgette. Almost like a simile.

Frog Blog.