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Great Scott! It's early Halloween! Not only is it going to be impossible to buy a pumpkin now, but I've missed Columbus day! One of my ever so much favorite holidays! ... to mock.
Ah, yes, Columbus day, that ever so significant holiday that marks when Christopher Columbus discovered America! It's just, well, not to be a party pooper or anything, I would ever so hate that, but, well, every single thing about that statement is wrong. Columbus obviously didn't discover the Americas, since people had been living here for thousands of years before 1492, so any reasonable person has switched to the less stupidly wrong version 'first European' to discover America. Except that's also explicitly wrong, as the Nordic settlement of Vinland in Nova Scotia courtesy of our friend Leif Ericson predates Columbus by nearly 500 years. (Lets just ignore the fact that Europeans were living in Greenland at the time and that it is part of America.) Even his name is wrong, born as Christoffa Corombo in Genoa in 1451, which became Cristoforo Colombo in proper Italian, which became Cristóbal Colón when he moved to Spain. Columbus? Who knows where that came from. But inaccuracies aside, it was a tremendous voyage bravely taken despite the very real risk of falling off the edge of the world. Shit, no, sorry about that. Any educated person in Europe (such as a king) has know full well that the Earth was round for nearly two millennia before that, it's just that they had also known for the same amount of time just how big the planet was. (Aristotle was the 4th century BCE academic version of Chuck Norris.) If you look at a globe and cut out the super-continent of America, you'd start to understand why. The whole dyeing of starvation in the middle of the ocean less then a third of the way to your destination is kind of a drawback. It's just that Chris was both bad at converting measurements, and rather painfully bad at math and came up with a terrestrial circumference that was about 15 000 Km short. It was this wildly inaccurate estimate that made him so convinced he found Asia, and why in the long run the whole thing ended up being named after Amerigo Vespucci instead. That's right kids, if you are terrifyingly bad at your job but ridiculously lucky, you too can be arrested on trumped up charges to invalidate your overly generous contractual payments and get remembered in an annoying pointless quasi holiday by people who can't even get your name right. Keep reaching for those stars!
posted by davethecat @ 29 Oct 2010 06:29 pm -
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