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Archive for the ‘Learn Something New’ Category

Learn about HAM Radio/Amateur Radio at the next Hackerspace LA Meetup – August 31, 2016 @ 7 pm

August 19th, 2016 Comments off

 HAM and CB Radio Basics

Come and see what HAM radio is all about along with Hackerspace LA!

Is HAM radio still relevant in this day of cell phones and high-speed Internet connections wherever you go? You Bet! From emergency communication services during natural disasters to communicating with the International Space Station and student satellites in space, HAM radio bridges huge distances in science and between people.

Lynn O’Connell and Jennifer Oliver O’Connell will cover basic amateur radio theory and requirements to get you going on your way to enjoying this hobby.  

We’ll also have radios on display and knowledgeable individuals that will be happy to answer any question you may have about HAM. 

Our Speakers:

Hackerspacela logo

Join us at a Hackerspace Los Angeles weekly meet up.  Come by and mingle with like-minded people and see what others are working on.  Find out what planned activities we have and how you can participate.  

If you are interested in helping us establish a permanent location in the San Fernando Valley you need to be here to help us plan this and make it happen. 
We’ll still be holding classes/workshops of various interests once a month.  I will be posting the schedule later in the week and will be announced in separate meetup for each of the workshops.

Learn Something New: Univoltine/Bivoltine/Multivoltine/Voltinism from The Bee-Friendly Garden

February 15th, 2016 Comments off

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there is always something new to learn. Sometimes these new things are words or concepts you have heard all your life, but perhaps you never understood. Learn Something New is a series that will highlight some of the things I learn, big and small in the coming days. — Douglas


I’m fairly knowledgeable about bees and other insects, but I’m reading The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn right now (full review coming soon) and came across a series of unknown words within the 20 pages. While I was probably aware that there were bees and insects that raised 1, 2 or multiple generation per year, the terms themselves were new to me. Of course, the names themselves are fairly easy to decipher if you know your Greek and Latin root words, but not the deeper scientific meanings.
Uni=1, Volta=times (similar to the Italian word, volta, as in Una prima volta or Once Upon a Time).
In this case, the words relate directly to how many broods or generation of organism creates in one calendar or seasonal year.
This is just one situation where knowing the base meaning of the word gives little to no indication of the scientific usage of the word. Good to know!

Bees take a drink. Photo: Douglas E. Welch

From Wikipedia…

Voltinism is a term used in biology to indicate the number of broods or generations of an organism in a year. The term is most often applied to insects, and is particularly in use insericulture, where silkworm varieties vary in their voltinism.

  • Univoltine – (adjective) referring to organisms having one brood or generation per year
  • Bivoltine – (adjective) referring to organisms having two broods or generations per year
  • Multivoltine – (adjective) referring to organisms having more than two broods or generations per year
  • Semivoltine – (adjective) referring to organisms whose generation time is more than one year
These terms will certainly be something I remember in further reading about bees and other insects and in discussions with my naturalist friends.  Just knowing the meaning of the words opens up a new avenue of knowledge and will color my future reading, research and cultivation of bees in my own garden. I don’t have hives, but I do have quite a collection of bees in my garden and knowing which one’s raise multiple broods — and when they do it — will help me to help them along.

Previously on Learn Something New:

Graduation Gift! – The Useful Book : 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop by David Bowers and Sharon Bowers [Book]

February 4th, 2016 Comments off

The Useful Book : 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop
David Bowers and Sharon Bowers

Available May 17, 2016 – Pre-order Now

The Useful Book : 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop by David Bowers and Sharon Bowers [Book]

I am always looking for great tips and hints about all aspects of my, whether in print form or online, so when I saw The Useful Book pop up in my list of possible reviews I grabbed it immediately. I was expecting some great ideas within its covers, but it quickly had me thinking more deeply than that.

At 52 years old, I still remember a high school where we all had to take 1 quarter of Home Economics and Shop during our high school career. I was very non-traditional for the mid-1970’s though, finding Home Ec much more enjoyable than shop class, but I still remember being thankful for the exposure to both power tools and the basics of cooking.

As I have raised my own son over the last 17 years, I noticed and bemoaned the lack of instruction in the various “life skills” we all need as we grow older. Gone are lessons in making our own meals, replaced with AP Government and AP Algebra. That’s not to say I don’t think those subjects are important, but, for me, balance is important in all aspects of life. This is why I have made a point of helping my son learn about life in a variety of ways, from how to pay bills each month (and how much it costs for groceries) to cooking, home repairs and all the little things he will need to know as he reaches adulthood.

This is where The Useful Book really struck home for me. My son is about to head off to college and I immediately saw this book as the “Missing Manual” to life on your own. I plan on making sure he has a copy in his boxes whenever he moves out and takes the first steps in his adult life and I would recommend you do the same. Everyone needs a great starter guide to life on their own, and The Useful Book is perfect for that. The Useful Book has “graduation gift” written all over it! (SMILE)

Do you have a Senior about to graduate High School, too? Sure, you can send them a nice, fat, check for a graduation present, but you might want to stash it inside a copy of this book.

The tips and hints in The Useful Book range from cooking, sewing, domestic arts, to repairs and simple building projects to the basics of plumbing and electricity — just about every aspect of adult life They are presented in clear and complete language and enhanced by tons of graphics throughout. The section on Laundry alone is enough to recommend the book. I am sure we all remember that first time of having to wash our own clothes and the sometimes disastrous results. Why not give you child a head start in that department and help prevent a batch of white clothes that suddenly turn blue or pink in the wash.

The book design is great for use as a research book when you REALLY need some information, but can also be scanned or read as its own personal Home Economics and Shop class — for those who never experienced it. I plan on keeping my own copy around the house, too. You never know when you might need a reminder of how to “Remove Gum From A Rug” or “How to Patch a Hole in a Wall.”

The Useful Book : 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop by David Bowers and Sharon Bowers [Book] Useful book 2

Click for larger images

I liken The Useful Book to another very useful book I was given as a wedding gift — and one I would also recommend for any young adult starting out — The Joy of Cooking,

Sure, the recipes and techniques in JOC aren’t exactly gourmet or cutting edge, but when I have needed a reminder of how to best cook polenta or make a basic cake from scratch, it was always where I turned first. Your kids aren’t going to want (or be too embarrassed) to call you when little problems pop up in their lives, so why not give them a useful and comfortable life reference they can use to solve their most basic problems. 

Parenting is all about education and The Useful Book is an educational gift that keeps on giving, long after your children leave the nest and start building lives of their own. Like many parental lessons, your kids might find a gift of The Useful Book a bit embarrassing at first, but I can guarantee you they will refer to it again and again — and be extremely grateful for your gift — for a long time to come.

David Bowers is a woodworker, painter, author of Bake Like a Man: A Real Man’s Cookbook, and stay-at-home dad.

Sharon Bowers contributes to iVillage and Parents magazine, and is the author of Ghoulish Goodies, Candy Construction, and The Idiot’s Guide to Cooking Chicken.

Highly Recommended

Learn Something New: Graupel – pellet-shaped snow

January 4th, 2015 Comments off

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there is always something new to learn. Sometimes these new things are words or concepts you have heard all your life, but perhaps you never understood. Learn Something New is a series that will highlight some of the things I learn, big and small in the coming days. — Douglas

Graupel – pellet-shaped snow

Although I grew up in Northern Ohio, where snow is a normal part of winter each year — and I have seen snow like this many times — I never knew that there was a specific name for it. Preceding a cold Winter storm here in Los Angeles, I saw mention of graupel as the official scientific name for what we always just called pellet snow. So, once again, I learned something new without even trying. Here is some more information on graupel for the meteorologically inclined. (LAUGH) Once other interesting fact I found was that, due to the shape of the pellets, they can lead to avalanche danger, as they have the same properties as ball bearing when a layer of heavier snow falls on top of a layer of graupel.

Learn Something New: Graupel - pellet-shaped snow

Graupel from Wikipedia

Graupel (German pronunciation: [ˈɡʁaʊpɛl]English /ˈɡrpəl/, also called soft hail or snow pellets)[1] is precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water are collected and freeze on a falling snowflake, forming a 2–5 mm (0.079–0.197 in) ball of rime. The term graupel comes from the German language.

Graupel is distinct from hail, small hail and ice pellets: the World Meteorological Organization defines small hail as snow pellets encapsulated by ice, a precipitation halfway between graupel and hail.[2] The METAR code for graupel is GS.

Under some atmospheric conditions,[which?] snow crystals may encounter supercooled water droplets. These droplets, which have a diameter of about 10 µm (0.00039 in), can exist in the liquid state at temperatures as low as −40 °C (−40 °F), far below the normal freezing point. Contact between a snow crystal and the supercooled droplets results in freezing of the liquid droplets onto the surface of the crystal. This process of crystal growth is known as accretion. Crystals that exhibit frozen droplets on their surfaces are referred to as rimed. When this process continues so that the shape of the original snow crystal is no longer identifiable, the resulting crystal is referred to as graupel.[3] Graupel was formerly referred to by meteorologists as soft hail. However, graupel is easily distinguishable from hail in both the shape and strength of the pellet and the circumstances in which it falls. Ice from hail is formed in hard, relatively uniform layers and usually falls only during thunderstorms. Graupel forms fragile, oblong shapes and falls in place of typical snowflakes in wintry mix situations, often in concert with ice pellets. Graupel is also fragile enough that it will typically fall apart when touched.[4]  — Wikipedia

More information on Graupel:

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Learn Something New: Cask Ale

September 7th, 2014 Comments off

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there is always something new to learn. Sometimes these new things are words or concepts you have heard all your life, but perhaps you never understood. Learn Something New is a series that will highlight some of the things I learn, big and small in the coming days. — Douglas

Cask Ale

As many of you already know, I have the tendency to go “Down the Rabbit-hole” whenever I come across something new and interesting. My most recent fascination is cask ales, a particular way of making and serving beer. The recent opening of MacLoed Ale Brewing Co just a few streets away piqued my interest and now I find I am wanting to learn more and more about the particulars of cask ales.

I have often thought about brewing my own beer, but the batch size and (seeming) complexity of beer brewing has kept me away. I have made my own hard ciders, which I described as “brewing on training wheels” as it is much, much ease than beer and lends itself to smaller, 1 gallon, batches rather than the typical 5 gallon batches of beer.

Learn Something New: Cask Ale

That said, I am fascinated with beer brewing and my 2 trips to the UK have only increased that interest over the years. I have never been a huge fan of standard, mass produced, American beers and seek out microbrews and other limited runs as often as I can. This has made me very interested in cask ales, as they harken back to an earlier, more traditional era of beer making and serving.

I’ll leave a deeper description of cask ales to the links below, but there are  2 important aspects of cask ales over more modern methods.  First, cask ales are still very much “alive” in their casks, being unfiltered and unpasteurized, unlike mass produced  beers. This means they typically have a lower level of carbonation as they are then pumped from casks rather than using additional CO2 to carbonate and serve them. For me, this results in a much more flavorful, if flatter beer, where you can easily taste all the components of the flavor. Second, cask ales are typically served a relatively warmer temperatures, which I think, again, enhances their flavor and also mouth feel. Cask ales also tend to have lower alcohol levels to the fermenting methods used.

MacLeod Ale Brewing Co will be having a panel discussion on cask ales at the brewery on September 23, 2014. This will be a great opportunity to learn even more.


Cask Ale from Wikipedia

Cask ale or cask-conditioned beer is unfiltered and unpasteurised beer which is conditioned (including secondary fermentation) and served from a caskwithout additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure. Cask ale may also be referred to as real ale, a term coined by the Campaign for Real Ale, often now extended to cover bottle-conditioned beer as well.[1]

The fundamental distinction between real and other ales is that the yeast is still present and living in the container from which the real ale is served, although it will have settled to the bottom and is usually not poured into the glass. Because the yeast is still alive, a slow process of fermentation continues in the cask or bottle on the way to the consumer, allowing the beer to retain its freshness. Another distinction is that real ale should be served without the aid of added carbon dioxide, or “top pressure” as it is commonly known. Common dispensing methods are the handpump, or “by gravity” direct from the cask. Electric pumps are occasionally seen, especially in the Midlands and Scotland. — Wikipedia

More information on Cask Ale:

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Learn Something New: Gretna Green

August 10th, 2014 Comments off

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there is always something new to learn. Sometimes these new things are words or concepts you have heard all your life, but perhaps you never understood. Learn Something New is a series that will highlight some of the things I learn, big and small in the coming days. — Douglas

Gretna Green

I have seen streets all over the country with this name, but never had any idea to what it referred or why. Recently one of my regular email subscriptions provided an answer without me even asking the question. A Word A Day is a great little email newsletter introducing you to a new word every day. Often each week will have a theme for each of the words like eponyms (word derived from people’s names), toponyms (words derived from geographic places)  and more. They also contain an audio pronunciation guide and a short bit of info on the etymology of the word.

Gretna green historical etching

For example, here is their entry on Gretna Green:

 Gretna Green


(GRET-nuh green


1. A place where couples elope to get married.
2. Such a wedding.


After Gretna Green, a village in Scotland on the English border. English couples who had not reached the age of majority eloped to Gretna Green where such a wedding was permitted. A wedding was typically performed by a blacksmith in his shop. Earliest documented use: 1813.


“They finished up with a Gretna Green elopement of a couple in a terrible old Model T Ford, with Father chasing after them all over the aerodrome.”
Nevil Shute; Round the Bend; William Morrow; 1951.


At least half the mystery novels published violate the law that the solution, once revealed, must seem to be inevitable. -Raymond Chandler, writer (1888-1959)  — A Word A Day

So for us Americans, I would liken Gretna Green to a couple eloping to Las Vegas or perhaps, Mexico for a quickie wedding. These are still within the boarder the US, but the concept of making a quick wedding get-away still applies, especially one designed to avoid a parents disapproval.

Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings. It is in Dumfries and Galloway, near the mouth of the River Esk and was historically the first village in Scotland, following the old coaching route from London to EdinburghGretna Green railway station serves both Gretna Green and Gretna.[1] The Quintinshill rail crash, with 226 deaths the worst rail crash in British history, occurred near Gretna Green in 1915.

Gretna Green sits alongside the main town of Gretna.[1] Both are accessed from the A74(M) motorway and are situated near to the border of Scotland with England.[1]

Gretna Green is one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations, hosting over 5,000 weddings each year in the Gretna/Gretna Green area, and one of every six Scottish weddings.[2]

Grenta Green

More information on Gretna Green:

It has usually been assumed that Gretna’s famous “runaway marriages” began in 1754 when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act came into force in England. Under the Act, if a parent of a minor (i.e., a person under the age of 21) objected, they could prevent the marriage going ahead. The Act tightened up the requirements for marrying in England and Wales but did not apply in Scotland, where it was possible for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 with or without parental consent (see Marriage in Scotland). It was, however, only in the 1770s, with the construction of a toll road passing through the thitherto obscure village of Graitney, that Gretna Green became the first easily reachable village over the Scottish border.[3] The Old Blacksmith‘s Shop, built around 1712, and Gretna Hall Blacksmith’s Shop (1710) became, in popular folklore at least, the focal tourist points for the marriage trade. The Old Blacksmith’s opened to the public as a visitor attraction as early as 1887. — Wikipedia

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Learn Something New: Polymath

July 20th, 2014 Comments off

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there is always something new to learn. Sometimes these new things are words or concepts you have heard all your life, but perhaps you never understood. Learn Something New is a series that will highlight some of the things I learn, big and small in the coming days. — Douglas


Learn Something New: Polymath

Polymath is another word that has been popping up a lot in my book, magazine and only reading. I am humbled that it has been applied to all of our family at one time or another. I have always believed that is it good to know a little about a lot, but also know a lot about certain areas in your life. I cultivate learning at all times and in all aspects. Certain topics will take my interest so much that I “go down the rabbit hole” with Alice and spend a bit of time exploring all the aspects of a particular world like coffee, beekeeping, beer and more. I think all of us in the family have a similar trait. We adore history, science, technology, theater, and literature in differing levels, but with the same breadth of study.

There term Renaissance Man is a common synonym, too and Leonardo Da Vinci is probably one of the best known and often used examples.

 polymath (Greekπολυμαθήςpolymathēs, “having learned much”)[1] is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems. The term was first used in the seventeenth century but the related term,polyhistor, is an ancient term with similar meaning.

The term is often used to describe those great thinkers of the Renaissance and the Golden Age of Islam,[2] each of whom excelled at several fields in science and the arts, including such individuals as Leonardo da VinciMichelangeloGalileo GalileiPaolo Sarpi,[3] Nicolaus CopernicusFrancis BaconThomas BrowneMichael Servetus,[4] Ibn al-Haytham,[5][6] Ibn Sina,[6][7] and Omar Khayyám.[8]

In Renaissance Italy, the idea of the polymath was expressed by one of its most accomplished representatives, Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472), in the statement that “a man can do all things if he will.”[9] Embodying a basic tenet of Renaissance humanism that humans are limitless in their capacity for development, the concept led to the notion that people should embrace all knowledge and develop their capacities as fully as possible. This was expressed in the term “Renaissance man” which is often applied to the gifted people of that age who sought to develop their abilities in all areas of accomplishment: intellectual, artistic, social and physical. This term entered the lexicon during the twentieth century and has now been applied to great thinkers living before and after the Renaissance. — Wikipedia

More information on Polymath:


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Learn Something New: What is a Lothario and Where did the name originate?

July 14th, 2014 Comments off

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there is always something new to learn. Sometimes these new things are words or concepts you have heard all your life, but perhaps you never understood. Learn Something New is a series that will highlight some of the things I learn, big and small in the coming days. — Douglas


I have heard the term Lothario used in books, television and movies since I was born, but I never question where the word came from or its origin. Watching Murdoch Mysteries on Netflix the there night (we are working our way through the entire series) the word was used again. That mention, and this blog series, finally drive me to dig a little deeper into the origins of Lothario and how he came to be so remembered throughout history.

As with many themes like tilting at windmills and impossible dreams, Lothario originated in Cervantes novel Don Quixote. It is not part of the main storyline itself, but rather a story that is told by one of the characters. This would make Lothario an eponym — a word derived from a name, changing from referring specifically to the character, Lothario, and gradually applied to any unscrupulous seducer.

Don Quixote, Part One contains stories that do not directly involve the two main characters, but which are narrated by some of the picaresque figures encountered by Quixote and Sancho during their travels. The longest and best known story is El Curioso Impertinente (The Impertinently Curious Man), in Part One, Book Four, chapters 33–35, which is read to a group of travelers at an inn, about a Florentine nobleman, Anselmo, who becomes obsessed with testing his wife’s fidelity, and talks his close friend Lothario to attempt to seduce her. In Part Two, the author acknowledges the criticism of his digressions in Part One and promises to concentrate the narrative on the central characters (although at one point he laments that his narrative muse has been constrained in this manner).

El Curioso Impertinente summary

For no particular reason, Anselmo decides to test the fidelity of his wife, Camilla, and asks his friend, Lothario, to seduce her. Thinking that to be madness, Lothario reluctantly agrees, and soon reports to Anselmo that Camilla is a faithful wife. Anselmo learns that Lothario has lied and attempted no seduction. He makes Lothario promise to try for real and leaves town to make this easier. Lothario tries and Camilla writes letters to her husband telling him and asking him to return; Anselmo makes no reply and does not return. Lothario actually falls in love and Camilla eventually reciprocates and their affair continues once Anselmo returns.

One day, Lothario sees a man leaving Camilla’s house and jealously presumes she has found another lover. He tells Anselmo he has at last been successful and arranges a time and place for Anselmo to see the seduction. Before this rendezvous, Lothario learns that the man was actually the lover of Camilla’s maid. He and Camilla contrive to deceive Anselmo further: when Anselmo watches them she refuses Lothario, protests her love for her husband and stabs herself lightly in the breast. Reassured of her fidelity, the affair restarts with Anselmo none the wiser.

The maid’s lover is discovered by Anselmo. Fearing that Anselmo will kill her, the maid says she will tell him a secret the next day. Anselmo tells Camilla this is to happen and Camilla expects that her affair is to be revealed. Lothario and Camilla flee that night and the maid flees the next day. Anselmo searches for them in vain before learning from a stranger of his wife’s affair. He starts to write the story but dies of grief before he can finish.

Lothario is also a character in the play The Fair Penitent (1703), by Nicholas Rowe, based on the earlier 17th-century play, The Fatal Dowry (which itself drew on Cervantes).[1] In Rowe’s play, Lothario is a libertine who seduces and betrays Calista; and its success is arguably the source for the proverbial nature of his name in subsequent English culture[2] – as when Anthony Trollope wrote a century later of “the elegant fluency of a practised Lothario”.[3] — Wikipedia

More information on Lothario:


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Learn Something New: Amanuensis

July 6th, 2014 Comments off

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there is always something new to learn. Sometimes these new things are words or concepts you have heard all your life, but perhaps you never understood. Learn Something New is a series that will highlight some of the things I learn, big and small in the coming days. — Douglas


I have come across this word several times in the last few months and while it is somewhat easy to figure out its meaning via context, it was unknown enough to me to send me scrambling for my Google Search to delve into it a bit farther. This “Use over Time” chart from Google seems to indicate that the usage of the word is slightly on the rise, which may account for the multiple times I have bumped into it in newly released books including the book mentioned in the last Learn Something New post, The Swerve.

Amanuensis Word Usage Chart from Google. com

Amanuensis chart

So, what is Amanuensis? The quick and dirty answer is “a literary or artistic assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts.” In context of my reading, it also seems to be more generically applied as meaning “a right hand man” or a dedicated assistant. Like a lot of Latin terms, it even pops up in Harry Potter in the name of a shop in Diagon Alley, Amanuensis Quills. It is always interesting to see an archaic term like this come back into usage. It also points out the packrat nature of English to absorb and use words from all sorts of different languages.

 The word originated in ancient Rome, for a slave at his master’s personal service “within hand reach”, performing any command; later it was specifically applied to an intimately trusted servant (often a freedman) acting as a personal secretary.

 A similar semantic evolution occurred at the French royal court, where the secrétaire de la main du roi, originally a lowly clerk specializing in producing, at royal command, the Sovereign’s signature on more documents than he cared to put his pen to, developed into the secrétaires d’état, the first permanent portfolio ministers, to which the British Secretaries of State would be the counterpart.

The term is often used interchangeably with secretary or scribe. — Wikipedia

More information on Syllabus and other Word Origins:


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Learn Something New: Syllabus

July 3rd, 2014 Comments off

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there is always something new to learn. Sometimes these new things are words or concepts you have heard all your life, but perhaps you never understood. Learn Something New is a series that will highlight some of the things I learn, big and small in the coming days. — Douglas


Spend any time in school and you will be presented with a syllabus, if not countless syllabi, at the beginning of each class. I was familiar with the concept of a syllabus, but in reading a new book, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt, I came across a short description of the origins of the syllabus, which date far back to Ancient Greece.

“Papyrus rolls were carefully indexed, labeled (with a protruding tag called in Greek a sillybos), and stacked on shelves or stored in the leather baskets.” — The Swerve

Papyrus scroll

P. Oxy. I 29, one of the Oxyrhynchus papyri, includes a fragment of Euclid’s Elements. via Wikipedia

I vaguely remember such a description from somewhere in my deep, dark, educational past, but it made be want to learn a bit more about syllabi, their history and their uses.

For most of us on the modern day, a syllabus is a table of contents, a calendar or even a contract between the teacher (usually a college professor) and their students. It usually lays out the concepts that will be studied, books that will be used, a calendar for topics, quizzes, tests and other major events during the term of the class. They can be detailed or general, depending on the teacher and the educational institution for which they work. This is quite a change from what was, in antiquity, basically a table of contents or short index of the papyrus roll it was attached to.

Like many ancient words, syllabus seems to be a misreading/miscopy of a Ancient Greek word which was introduced as scrolls were copied over and over. It is quite amazing how language changes over time, usually through mistakes or misreadings than concious choice.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word syllabus derives from modern Latin syllabus “list”, in turn from a misreading of the Greek σίττυβας sittybas “parchment label, table of contents”, which first occurred in a 15th century print of Cicero‘s letters to Atticus.[1][2] Earlier Latin dictionaries such as Lewis and Short contain the word syllabus,[3] relating it to the non-existent Greek word σύλλαβος, which appears to be a mistaken reading of syllaba “syllable”; the newer Oxford Latin Dictionary does not contain this word.[4] The apparent change from sitty- to sylla- is explained as a hypercorrection by analogy to συλλαμβάνω.[4]

Because the word syllabus is formed in Latin by mistake, the Latinate plural form syllabi might be considered a hypercorrection.[5] The OED, however, admits both syllabuses and syllabi as the plural form.[1] Wikipedia

More information on Syllabus and other Word Origins:

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