8 Ancient Writing Systems That Haven't Been Deciphered Yet The Indus Valley civilization was one of the most advanced in the world for more than 500 years, with more than a thousand settlements sprawling across 250,000 square miles of what is now Pakistan and northwest India from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. It had several large, well-planned cities like Mohenjo-daro, common iconography—and a script no one has been able to understand. Over at Nature, Andrew Robinson looks at the reasons why the Indus Valley script has been so difficult to crack, and details some recent attempts to decipher it. Since we don't know anything about the underlying language and there's no multilingual Rosetta stone, scholars have analyzed its structure for clues and compared it to other scripts. Most Indologists think it's "logo-syllabic" script like Sumerian cuneiform or Mayan glyphs.
Insight & Intelligence™:Best Science Apps: December Picks Trendy Chem ★★★ Platform: iPad/iPhone/Android Cost: Free + Sleek design, good synthesis of information in build mode – Some exercises get a bit redundant You might say that the Trendy Chem app is doubly trendy. First, its sleek, high-tech-looking design is sure to earn "cool" points from chemistry students; second, this app emphasizes teaching students about chemical trends of the periodic table.
Want to influence the world? Map reveals the best languages to speak Speak or write in English, and the world will hear you. Speak or write in Tamil or Portuguese, and you may have a harder time getting your message out. Now, a new method for mapping how information flows around the globe identifies the best languages to spread your ideas far and wide. One hint: If you’re considering a second language, try Spanish instead of Chinese. New Study Reveals Most Influential Languages What makes a language important on a global scale? Is it the oldest? The one spoken by the most people? What about the one that has the greatest ability to reach other people by being translated? Feast Your Eyes on This Beautiful Linguistic Family Tree 552K 18.4KShare337 When linguists talk about the historical relationship between languages, they use a tree metaphor. An ancient source (say, Indo-European) has various branches (e.g., Romance, Germanic), which themselves have branches (West Germanic, North Germanic), which feed into specific languages (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian).
Future - The secret “anti-languages” you’re not supposed to know Could you erectify a luxurimole flackoblots? Have you hidden your chocolate cake from Penelope? Or maybe you’re just going to vada the bona omi? If you understand any of these sentences, you speak an English “anti-language”. Since at least Tudor times, secret argots have been used in the underworld of prisoners, escaped slaves and criminal gangs as a way of confusing and befuddling the authorities. Thieves’ Cant, Polari, and Gobbledygook (yes, it’s a real form of slang) are just a few of the examples from the past – but anti-languages are mercurial beasts that are forever evolving into new and more vibrant forms.
25+ apps that the TED staff swears make their everyday lives easier At our small, fast-moving nonprofit company, everyone does a couple of jobs — and productivity apps help us manage roles that shift between coding, writing/designing and running a full-scale conference twice a year. We asked the TED staff what apps they can’t live without. And beyond the classics—Instagram, Google Maps, Spotify, Uber, Seamless—we found some great apps that might help you too.
English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet Let's start with the dull stuff, because pragmatism. The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself. I mention all that ... because language.
A Map Of The Loneliest Places On Earth If you really feel like escaping from the world, and that quiet spot you used to run away to as a kid just won’t cut it, then you might want to use this map as a guide. This cartogram-- world maps in which territories are resized according to a particular variable-- was created by geographer Benjamin Hennig, the creator of the website Views Of The World which has tons more awesome data visualizations like this one. The idea behind this particular map was to visualize the loneliest places on Earth, but rather than showing us the most and least populated areas, the cartogram highlights the remotest areas. To do this, the travel time that is necessary to reach the nearest major city (defined as having over 50,000 inhabitants) from a given point was calculated, and then each grid cell was resized accordingly.