MIT Robot Breaks Rubik’s Cube World Record, Solving It in 0.38 Seconds

A robot cre­at­ed by MIT stu­dents Ben Katz and Jared Di Car­lo man­aged to solve a Rubik’s Cube in a record-break­ing, light­ning-fast 0.38 sec­onds. The video above shows it hap­pen­ing in real time, then in pro­gres­sive­ly slow­er times. By com­par­i­son, Yusheng Du, a Chi­nese speed­cu­ber, holds the [human] record for solv­ing a 3x3x3 cube in 3.47 sec­onds.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

via Boing­Bo­ing

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

Who Is Neil Young?: A Video Essay Explores the Two Sides of the Versatile Musician–Folk Icon and Father of Grunge

Neil Young has worked with Rick James in the Mynah Birds and David Cros­by, Steven Stills, and Gra­ham Nash in CSNY. He’s record­ed every­thing from tear­jerk­ing piano bal­lads to bril­liant­ly mean­der­ing psych rock to folk, coun­try, and ear­ly 80s elec­tron­ic. He per­fect­ed the spon­ta­neous sound of albums record­ed live and loose in a barn, but he is metic­u­lous about tech­nol­o­gy and sound qual­i­ty. He’s a super­star and self-described “rich hip­pie” who has near-uni­ver­sal cred­i­bil­i­ty with indie artists. He is both “a hip­pie icon but also the god­fa­ther of grunge,” says the Poly­phon­ic video above.

Young’s many seem­ing con­tra­dic­tions only strength­en his musi­cal integri­ty. The shag­gy Cana­di­an singer, song­writer, gui­tarist, and leader of Buf­fa­lo Spring­field and Crazy Horse has made films under the pseu­do­nym “Bernard Shakey,” record­ed sound­tracks for acclaimed films, and inspired far more than the sig­na­ture Seat­tle sound, though Pearl Jam and Nir­vana both acknowl­edged their debt.

The Vel­vet Under­ground may get much of the cred­it for the son­ic qual­i­ties of indie and alter­na­tive rock, but Young deserves more than a lit­tle recog­ni­tion for influ­enc­ing not only Kurt Cobain but also the likes of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Son­ic Youth’s Kim Gor­don, and Pave­men­t’s Stephen Malk­mus.

It’s a hell of a rock and roll resume, to have achieved last­ing, sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence on mod­ern folk, coun­try, and indie rock, just to name the most obvi­ous gen­res Young has touched, in a career show­cas­ing some of the most emo­tion­al­ly hon­est music ever cap­tured on record. Despite the sham­bling, seem­ing­ly out-of-con­trol nature of much of his out­put, it’s a very care­ful­ly craft­ed show­case. The 1979 live album Rust Nev­er Sleeps, for exam­ple, func­tions as both a sum­ma­tion of his musi­cal out­put up to that point and a meta­com­men­tary on the many—or well, the two—sides of Neil Young.

On one side, mel­low, moody, solo acoustic folk, on the oth­er, rau­cous, dis­tort­ed rock and roll, cour­tesy of Crazy Horse. Book­end­ing the record, the mir­ror image songs “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)” and “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black),” tracks that apply the two dif­fer­ent treat­ments to sim­i­lar lyrics and arrange­ments, inte­grat­ing the two sides of Young, which Poly­phon­ic rough­ly divides into his acoustic Cana­di­an pas­toral side—warbling home­sick bal­lads full of ref­er­ences to Ontario and oth­er points north—and his Amer­i­can side: raw, edgy, full of right­eous polit­i­cal indig­na­tion in songs like “Ohio, “South­ern Man,” “Alaba­ma,” and “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

Those who love Neil Young need no fur­ther induce­ment to embrace his con­tra­dic­tions, even when his work is uneven. The ten­sion between them keeps fans hang­ing on, know­ing full well that his less suc­cess­ful efforts are paths on the way to yet more bril­liant restate­ments of his major themes and minor chords. Those less famil­iar, or less appre­cia­tive, of Neil Young’s for­mi­da­ble lega­cy may find they’ve under­es­ti­mat­ed him after watch­ing this whirl­wind tour through his tire­less cru­sade against musi­cal com­pla­cen­cy, war, racism, and envi­ron­ment destruc­tion, and the rust that has crept over so many of his con­tem­po­raries.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

When Neil Young & Rick James Cre­at­ed the 60’s Motown Band, The Mynah Birds

Neil Young Per­forms Clas­sic Songs in 1971 Con­cert: “Old Man,” “Heart of Gold” & More

Neil Young’s Film “Le Noise” Debuts Online

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Keith Moon Plays Drums Onstage with Led Zeppelin in What Would Be His Last Live Performance (1977)

When Led Zep­pelin appeared in late 1968, they already had the mak­ings of a super­group, so to speak, though only found­ing mem­ber Jim­my Page was a famous rock star. Four equal­ly tal­ent­ed and sea­soned musi­cians, each inte­gral to the band’s sound. But it might have been oth­er­wise. Page first intend­ed to cre­ate a lit­er­al super­group, join­ing his fel­low for­mer Yard­bird Jeff Beck and The Who’s Kei­th Moon and John Entwistle.

Who knows what might have come of it? Moon sup­pos­ed­ly quipped that it would go down like a lead bal­loon, inspir­ing the name of the band that was to come. This his­to­ry makes all the more poignant the fact that Moon’s last onstage per­for­mance before his death was with Led Zep­pelin.

Moon joined the band dur­ing the L.A. stop of their 1977 tour to ram­ble drunk­en­ly into the micro­phone and sit in on a drum and tam­bourine with John Bon­ham dur­ing a near­ly 20-minute drum solo on “Moby Dick.”

Moon also joined the band dur­ing the two-song encore of “Whole Lot­ta Love” and “Rock & Roll.” See parts of those per­for­mances at the top in audi­ence footage. His brief moments behind John Bonham’s drums can­not be con­sid­ered rep­re­sen­ta­tive of what a hypo­thet­i­cal Kei­th Moon-backed Led Zep­pelin might sound like. Not only was he play­ing anoth­er drummer’s kit—a sig­nif­i­cant hand­i­cap for Moon—but also, the Kei­th Moon of 1977 was not the Kei­th Moon of 1968. These doc­u­ments of rock his­to­ry can’t tell us what might have been, only, for a brief moment, what was.

Moon has been regard­ed as one of the great­est drum­mers in rock for his huge musi­cal per­son­al­i­ty. “No drum­mer in a true rock & roll band has ever been given—has ever seized, perhaps—so much space and pres­ence,” wrote Greil Mar­cus in trib­ute when Moon died the year after his Led Zep­pelin cameo. Moon, “as Jon Lan­dau point­ed out years ago… played the parts con­ven­tion­al­ly giv­en over to the lead gui­tar.” Moon called him­self, with typ­i­cal sar­casm, “the best Kei­th Moon-type drum­mer,” an insight into just how sin­gu­lar his play­ing was. His total lack of restraint fit The Who per­fect­ly.

But his­to­ry would decree that Bon­ham become the ide­al Led Zep­pelin-type drum­mer. He played lead parts as well, but nev­er at the expense of rhythm. The pit­fall of a supergroup—or a group of equal­ly superb musicians—is that every­one can tend to over­play. Bon­ham was a superb musi­cian, but also a drum­mer who knew exact­ly how to accom­mo­date oth­ers’ virtuosity—building spa­cious rhyth­mic struc­tures that held togeth­er the bom­bast of Plant and Page in a coher­ent whole. Bon­ham could fol­low Page’s riffs just as often as he could deploy his own thun­der­ing hooks.

Kei­th Moon was at his best play­ing Kei­th Moon, sound­ing “as if he came out of nowhere to take over the world,” wrote Mar­cus. The Who’s “best sin­gles and album tracks not only fea­tured Moon, they were built around him,” Entwistle and Town­shend pro­vid­ing struc­ture while Moon sup­plied the fiery core. Hear him at his incan­des­cent best in the iso­lat­ed drum track for “Wont’ Get Fooled Again” above and read more about what made him so indeli­bly unique in Mar­cus’ eulo­gy for “the best drum­mer in the his­to­ry of rock ‘n roll.” Lis­ten to a full audi­ence audio record­ing of that 1977 con­cert just below.

via Jam­Base

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Iso­lat­ed Drum Tracks From Six of Rock’s Great­est: Bon­ham, Moon, Peart, Copeland, Grohl & Starr

Watch/Hear Led Zeppelin’s Ear­li­est Per­for­mances from 1968–69 & Cel­e­brate the 50th Anniver­sary of the Band’s Birth

What Makes John Bon­ham Such a Good Drum­mer? A New Video Essay Breaks Down His Inim­itable Style

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

Discover Kōlams, the Traditional Indian Patterns That Combine Art, Mathematics & Magic

Have accom­plished abstract geo­met­ri­cal artists come out of any demo­graph­ic in greater num­bers than from the women of South Asia? Not when even the most demand­ing art-school cur­ricu­lum can’t hope to equal the rig­or of the kōlam, a com­plex kind of line draw­ing prac­ticed by women every­where from India to Sri Lan­ka to Malaysia to Thai­land. Using hum­ble mate­ri­als like chalk and rice flour on the ground in front of their homes, they inter­weave not just lines, shapes, and pat­terns but reli­gious, philo­soph­i­cal, and mag­i­cal motifs as well — and they cre­ate their kōlams anew each and every day.

“Feed­ing A Thou­sand Souls: Kōlam” by Thacher Gallery at the Uni­ver­si­ty of San Fran­cis­co is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

“Tak­ing a clump of rice flour in a bowl (or a coconut shell), the kōlam artist steps onto her fresh­ly washed can­vas: the ground at the entrance of her house, or any patch of floor mark­ing an entry­point,” writes Atlas Obscu­ra’s Rohi­ni Cha­ki.

Work­ing swift­ly, she takes pinch­es of rice flour and draws geo­met­ric pat­terns: curved lines, labyrinthine loops around red or white dots, hexag­o­nal frac­tals, or flo­ral pat­terns resem­bling the lotus, a sym­bol of the god­dess of pros­per­i­ty, Lak­sh­mi, for whom the kōlam is drawn as a prayer in illus­tra­tion.”

Col­or­ful Kolam — Sivasankaran — Own work

Kōlams are thought to bring pros­per­i­ty, but they also have oth­er uses, such as feed­ing ants, birds, and oth­er pass­ing crea­tures. Cha­ki quotes Uni­ver­si­ty of San Fran­cis­co The­ol­o­gy and Reli­gious Stud­ies pro­fes­sor Vijaya Nagara­jan as describ­ing their ful­fill­ing the Hin­du “karmic oblig­a­tion” to “feed a thou­sand souls.” Kōlams have also become an object of gen­uine inter­est for math­e­mati­cians and com­put­er sci­en­tists due to their recur­sive nature: “They start out small, but can be built out by con­tin­u­ing to enlarge the same sub­pat­tern, cre­at­ing a com­plex over­all design,” Cha­ki writes. “This has fas­ci­nat­ed math­e­mati­cians, because the pat­terns elu­ci­date fun­da­men­tal math­e­mat­i­cal prin­ci­ples.”

“Kolam” by resakse is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Like any tra­di­tion­al art form, the kōlam does­n’t have quite as many prac­ti­tion­ers as it used to, much less prac­ti­tion­ers who can meet the stan­dard of mas­tery of com­plet­ing an entire work with­out once stand­ing up or even lift­ing their hand. But even so, the kōlam is hard­ly on the brink of dying out: you can see a few of their cre­ators in action in the video at the top of the post, and the age of social media has offered kōlam cre­ators of any age — and now even the occa­sion­al man — the kind of expo­sure that even the busiest front door could nev­er match. Some who get into kōlams in the 21st cen­tu­ry may want to cre­ate ones that show ever more com­plex­i­ty of geom­e­try and depth of ref­er­ence, but the best among them won’t for­get the mean­ing, accord­ing to Cha­ki, of the for­m’s very name: beau­ty.

Read more about kōlams at Atlas Obscu­ra.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Math­e­mat­ics Made Vis­i­ble: The Extra­or­di­nary Math­e­mat­i­cal Art of M.C. Esch­er

New Iran­ian Video Game, Engare, Explores the Ele­gant Geom­e­try of Islam­ic Art

The Com­plex Geom­e­try of Islam­ic Art & Design: A Short Intro­duc­tion

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

Graduation Highlight: Billionaire Robert F. Smith Announces That He’ll Pay Off the Student Loans of Morehouse’s Class of 2019

Robert F. Smith, the bil­lion­aire CEO of Vista Equi­ty Part­ners, received an hon­orary degree from More­house Col­lege on Sun­day. And he gave some­thing back–a grant to retire the stu­dent loans of More­house­’s 2019 grad­u­at­ing class. Like that an esti­mat­ed $40 mil­lion in debt was gone.

Mean­while, in oth­er news, a titan of indus­try spent $90 mil­lion this week on a Jeff Koons rab­bit stat­ue. And now it will like­ly serve as an orna­ment piece in a walled-off man­sion some­where. Imag­ine how that mon­ey could have been put to more pro­duc­tive use…

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Is the Leonar­do da Vin­ci Paint­ing “Sal­va­tor Mun­di” (Which Sold for $450 Mil­lion in 2017) Actu­al­ly Authen­tic?: Michael Lewis Explores the Ques­tion in His New Pod­cast

John Waters’ RISD Grad­u­a­tion Speech: Real Wealth is Nev­er Hav­ing to Spend Time with A‑Holes

Meryl Streep Gives Grad­u­a­tion Speech at Barnard

David Byrne’s Grad­u­a­tion Speech Offers Trou­bling and Encour­ag­ing Advice for Stu­dents in the Arts

Jim Car­rey Com­mence­ment Speech: It’s Bet­ter to Fail at What You Love Than Fail at What You Don’t

‘This Is Water’: Com­plete Audio of David Fos­ter Wallace’s Keny­on Grad­u­a­tion Speech (2005)

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 2 ) |

Pink Floyd Songs Played Splendidly on a Harp Guitar: “Comfortably Numb,” “Wish You Were Here” & More

Harp gui­tars have been around since at least the 19th cen­tu­ry, and if you want a good, enthu­si­as­tic, intel­lec­tu­al argu­ment on the exact date of its birth, you’ll find many an orga­nol­o­gist ready to do that. (Here’s a page filled with infor­ma­tion about the sub­ject.) But it was only recent­ly, in 2014, that the Grove Dic­tio­nary of Musi­cal Instru­ments final­ly rec­og­nized the harp gui­tar as its own thing. New- or old-fan­gled as it might be, the harp gui­tar con­tains both the usu­al six strings and fret­ted neck and a neigh­bor­ing series of unstopped open strings. Well known musi­cians who have played them include John McLaugh­lin, David Lind­ley, and Rob­bie Robert­son.

But look up the instru­ment on the ‘net and there’s one name that will pop up before any­body else: 29 year old Cana­di­an Jamie Dupuis. He’s earned mil­lions of views on his YouTube chan­nel for arrang­ing and per­form­ing cov­ers of rock and met­al clas­sics.

He’s cer­tain­ly a fan of Pink Floyd, as you can see above in his cov­er of “Com­fort­ably Numb.” The ring­ing, echo­ing qual­i­ty of the harp guitar’s body suit the song well, as it starts to resem­ble a sort of synth-string wash.

The acoustic-based Floyd songs work as well as you might expect. “Wish You Were Here” for exam­ple.
Dupuis shows his skill with the more exper­i­men­tal elec­tron­ics of Dark Side of the Moon. He adds a slide gui­tar and effects to “Time”:

…which works even bet­ter on “Breathe”:

And he brings out the very strange look­ing Dyer Elec­tric Gui­tar Harp for “Wel­come to the Machine,” using some dou­ble-track­ing to give him some solo­ing space.

You can hear all his Floyd cov­ers as a playlist here, and then check out his oth­er Harp Gui­tar cov­ers from Ozzy Osbourne to Tears for Fears here as well as some clas­si­cal arrange­ments.

Oh and yes, he also plays reg­u­lar ol’ acoustic gui­tar and some ban­jo. The man cer­tain­ly knows his way around a fret: enjoy!

via Laugh­ing Squid

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig in the Sky” Played on the Theremin

Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” Mov­ing­ly Per­formed by the Six-String Sol­diers, of The Unit­ed States Army Field Band

Dire Straits’ “Sul­tans Of Swing” Played on the Gayageum, a Kore­an Instru­ment Dat­ing Back to the 6th Cen­tu­ry

A One-Man Pink Floyd Band Cre­ates Note-Per­fect Cov­ers of “Echoes,” “Com­fort­ably Numb,” “Moth­er” & Oth­er Clas­sics: Watch 19-Year-Old Wun­derkind Ewan Cun­ning­ham in Action

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

A New Archive Transcribes and Puts Online the Diaries & Notebooks of Women Artists, Art Historians, Critics and Dealers

While one is still com­par­a­tive­ly young, one has many more thoughts & cer­tain­ly sen­ti­ments than one is able to make use of. It seems as if these might be stored up so that in old age or when one became less pro­lif­ic one could find mat­ter to use. Every thought or sug­ges­tion could be of use.

- Gertrude Van­der­bilt Whit­neysculp­tor, col­lec­tor, founder of the Whit­ney Muse­um of Amer­i­can Art, 1906

There are very few moral defens­es for rum­mag­ing inside another’s pri­vate diary or sketch­book, until that per­son shuf­fles off this mor­tal coil … and even then snoop­ers may get burned by what they read.

Or not.

Bore­dom is anoth­er strong pos­si­bil­i­ty.

Best to stick with fig­ures of his­tor­i­cal import.

With all due respect to Fri­da Kahlo, I pre­fer those whom his­to­ry hasn’t turned into mega-celebs.

It’s fun to dis­cov­er a fas­ci­nat­ing per­son via her own words and doo­dles, rather than seek them out as a bedaz­zled fan girl.

The Women’s His­to­ry Project at the Archives of Amer­i­can Art is scan­ning a trove of hand­writ­ten papers as part of a year long mis­sion to pre­serve and pass along the cre­ative process­es and dai­ly doings of var­i­ous women artists, art his­to­ri­ans, crit­ics, deal­ers, and gallery own­ers. Fas­ci­nat­ing read­ing awaits those who can get past the enig­mat­ic antique scrawl. More on that below.

A sam­ple:

Por­traitist Cecil­ia Beaux’s let­ters to her friend, fre­quent sit­ter, and pos­si­ble lover, actress Dorothea Gilder. (See Beaux’s paint­ing of “Mrs. Theodore Roo­sevelt and daugh­ter Ethel” from 1902 up top.)

The note­book of sculp­tor Anna Cole­man Ladd, stuffed with quotes, poems, research, def­i­n­i­tions, and auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal mus­ings, dat­ed the same year that she found­ed the Amer­i­can Red Cross Stu­dio for Por­trait Masks for severe­ly dis­fig­ured WW1 vets.

The above men­tioned Whitney’s 1914 trav­el diary, when she made sev­er­al trips to France in the name of estab­lish­ing and sup­port­ing a hos­pi­tal in north-cen­tral France.

Ready to explore?

You can do more than that.

The project is a part of the Smith­son­ian Tran­scrip­tion Cen­ter, which depends upon the pub­lic to take a crack at deci­pher­ing the obscure cur­sive of these hand­writ­ten pages, strike-throughs, mar­gin­a­lia, and all.  You can try your hand at a sin­gle sen­tence or tack­le an entire col­lec­tion or diary. No wor­ries if you have no tran­scrip­tion expe­ri­ence. The Cen­ter has easy to fol­low instruc­tions here.

Your efforts will make the dig­i­tized doc­u­ments key­word search­able, while pre­serv­ing the orig­i­nal cre­ators’ mem­o­ries for future gen­er­a­tions. New con­tent will be added month­ly through March 2020.

Begin your explo­rations of the Women’s His­to­ry Project at the Archives of Amer­i­can Art here.

via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ven­er­a­ble Female Artists, Musi­cians & Authors Give Advice to the Young: Pat­ti Smith, Lau­rie Ander­son & More

The Dai­ly Rit­u­als of 143 Famous Female Cre­ators: Octavia But­ler, Edith Whar­ton, Coco Chanel & More

“The Artist Project” Reveals What 127 Influ­en­tial Artists See When They Look at Art: An Acclaimed Video Series from The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in New York City this June for the next install­ment of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

What Did Etruscan Sound Like? An Animated Video Pronounces the Ancient Language That We Still Don’t Fully Understand

Read­ers of Open Cul­ture no doubt have more pro­nounced poly­glot ten­den­cies than aver­age web-surfers, and per­haps even toward rel­a­tive­ly unlike­ly lan­guages, but let us ask this: how many Etr­uscan speak­ers do you know? You’ve prob­a­bly heard that name, which refers to the civ­i­liza­tion that exist­ed in ancient Italy between rough­ly the eleventh and third cen­tu­ry BC and in rough­ly the era of mod­ern-day Tus­cany. The Etr­uscans had their own lan­guage, but it did­n’t sur­vive their civ­i­liza­tion’s assim­i­la­tion into the Roman Repub­lic in com­plete enough shape for us to under­stand it today. But even if we can’t under­stand texts com­posed in Etr­uscan, we’ve at least deter­mined what spo­ken Etr­uscan sound­ed like.

The ani­mat­ed NativLang video above tells the sto­ry of the Etr­uscan lan­guage’s redis­cov­ery, from its appear­ance on the linen wrap­pings of a mum­my in a sar­coph­a­gus pur­chased by a Euro­pean in the mid-1800s; to the deter­mi­na­tion that many of the let­ters Euro­pean lan­guages use descend­ed from it (first passed down from the Phoeni­cians and then to the Greeks); to the frus­trat­ed search for an “Etr­uscan Roset­ta Stone.”

It also breaks down sev­er­al Etr­uscan words : cre­ice, mean­ing “Greece”; ruma, mean­ing “Rome”; and pher­su, mean­ing “mask,” but which “lives on right at the heart of our Eng­lish vocab­u­lary as per­son.” Along the way, the video’s nar­ra­tor pro­vides exam­ples of quite a few Etr­uscan sounds and how we now know they were pro­nounced.

Lin­guists have fig­ured all this out with a rel­a­tive pauci­ty of sources, mak­ing each and every arti­fact inscribed with Etr­uscan writ­ing invalu­able to their quest for full com­pre­hen­sion: the Cip­pus Perus­i­nus, for exam­ple, a legal con­tract lit­er­al­ly etched in stone, or the afore­men­tioned mum­my wrap­pings, the mean­ing of which remains obscure. “We don’t know how this text got to Egypt. But thanks to all this work, we can tell it’s a kind of rit­u­al cal­en­dar, and some­times we can fol­low whole threads of text.” The nar­ra­tor pro­nounces a few of them, and “it’s almost like, if you close your eyes, I could take you right back to the days of flu­ent Etr­uscan. But ask how to say a sim­ple yes or no, and we’re lost again.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear What the Lan­guage Spo­ken by Our Ances­tors 6,000 Years Ago Might Have Sound­ed Like: A Recon­struc­tion of the Pro­to-Indo-Euro­pean Lan­guage

Hear the Epic of Gil­gamesh Read in its Orig­i­nal Ancient Lan­guage, Akka­di­an

Learn Latin, Old Eng­lish, San­skrit, Clas­si­cal Greek & Oth­er Ancient Lan­guages in 10 Lessons

What Ancient Latin Sound­ed Like, And How We Know It

Hear What Homer’s Odyssey Sound­ed Like When Sung in the Orig­i­nal Ancient Greek

The Evo­lu­tion of the Alpha­bet: A Col­or­ful Flow­chart, Cov­er­ing 3,800 Years, Takes You From Ancient Egypt to Today

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

« Go BackMore in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.