The First Bit
This week is an extra flags special -- The Variable is all about flags this week.
I also should note that today is September 11th, 2018, the 17-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States that brought down the Twin Towers and killed hundreds of people. Rest in peace. This is also a chance to make my stance on religion known. While I'll respect your right to believe what you want, I want everybody to know this: Religion, at its extreme, is very violent and often kills, and the only way to truly safeguard yourself against becoming an extremist is to completely escapt the strong grasp of theism and disavow faith without evidence.
Sorry for the controversial statement! I just felt the need to write that everywhere I could today. On a happier note, here's a picture of Emma being her fluffy little self I just took!
For once since starting this blog, I haven't finished a book since last week! However, I am making quite a bit of progress.
If you didn't know, I'm currently in the midst of rereading the Harry Potter series, by Joanne Rowling, for the first time after reading it seven or so years ago, when I was in second grade. At the moment, I'm 280 pages into The Goblet of Fire (a 734-page book), and I have to say: it's really good! I don't want to give anything away, so I'm just going to say... if you some how haven't read Harry Potter yet, read it!
I'm also reading a book for school, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, but as of late it has been upgraded to a pleasure read (the same thing that happened when I read my favorite book of all time, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak)! It's about a missionary family in 1959 Belgian Congo (1960 where I am in the book, and the synopsis says it spans 3 decades), but that's only the base level of the story. I'm only 240 into the 543-page book, and already it's covered so much -- from family life to religion to politics, and much more. My verdict: Read it!!!
Map of the Week
Today, I have for you a geographic map... a map of a land long before the concept of a country existed. When Homo spaiens was still a hunter-gatherer species. When the Sahara was green.
Yes, that's right. Just 7,000 years ago, Africa was practically all green, or at least yellow. As you can see on the map, the huge, equatorial Congolese rainforests were at least twice as massive as they are today.
Related to the rainforests, you can see that the lakes and rivers were much, much larger back then! The rivers extended much farther inland, and many of the lakes were bigger than a bunch of modern-day countries combined. Lake Chad, for example, (a redundant name, as chad means lake), situated in the middle of the greener bit of Green Sahara, was many times larger than it is today! (Map of lake chad for reference.)
And technically, the sahara wasn't really what you could call "green." But compared to today's sahara, it was practically a paradise! Instead of an arid desert bigger than the USA, it was a dry but easily inhabitable savannah bigger than the USA. (It's climate would've been comparable to the savannahs of modern-day Kenya.)
Now, let's continue, shall we?
Flag of the Week
This week's Flag of the Week is a fun, punny one. It's not the flag of a real place, but I love it nonethelesss. It plays off of many of my interests: writing, vexillology, politics, and humor/satire.
It's the flag of an author-itorian dictatorship.
I know, it's a bad pun. But I love it. And doesn't this just look like the flag of some faschist state controlled by an authoritarian writer police force? "The word of writers is final. Write... or else!"
The Redesign Gold Mine [The Variable]
I'm a frequenter of the social media platform Reddit. If you don't know what it's all about, basically anyone can create a community of people interested in the same thing, called a "subreddit," ("sub") and other people can subscribe to that subreddit to post in it and see other subscribers' posts in it. A subreddit's url is marked as "reddit.com/r/subname," giving them the nickname r/subname.
Well, one of my favorite subs is r/vexillology. As you may or may not know, vexillology is the study of flags. Thus, r/vexillology is a place for people to post interesting flags they've found, but also flag redesigns and original flags. Redesigns are actually the most common posts on the subreddit, which is why I titled this post The Redesign Gold Mine. Here's an example of a redesign:
It's a redesigned Irish flag that shows some of the musical tradition of Ireland in a nice, simple seal.
However, there is a much more common type of rediesign -- that being X flag in the style of Y flag. Here are a few:
US flag in the style of a US state flag (US state flags are mostly terrible and look something like that).
Spanish flag in the style of France/Italy / as a tricolor (I actually think it looks better than the real flag of Spain).
A Celtic-inspired flag of Israel.
Saudi Arabian flag in the style of the Syrian flag.
And of course, there are many, many more -- thousands upon thousands! I hope you are inspired now to be more fascinated than every by the art of flag design!
Fun fact: the word ciao comes from Old Italian schiavo, meaning I am your slave. I'll just let that sink in.
Well, I hope you enjoyed today's post! I had fun writing it! But now I've gotta do a bit of homework so I can join author Kim Chance on Twitter for her monthly writerly questionnaire game, Chance2Connect... and hopefully meet some cool fellow writers!
If you have any feedback, please let me know in the comments section below, by emailing me, or on my Twitter @ByronLEllington.
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Also, don't forget that I'm soon going to be hosting the first ever BLE Milestone Writing Contest on my Twitter, when I hit 2,000 followers.
Again, thank you so much for reading! Have a wonderful life! See you next time!