7 Ways to Be Ready Next Time News Breaks in Latin


When Pope Benedict announced his resignation yesterday, the first reporter to break the story was Giovanna Chirri. The Pope gave his statement in Latin, and while Chirri's French colleagues knew something was up when they saw the sad look on Benedict's face and caught a few words like "incapability," Chirri got the scoop because she understood Latin.

Classics majors everywhere swelled with pride and emailed the story to their parents. "See, Mom? It is useful!" While the opportunities to prove your mettle on the world stage through Latin might be few and far between, Latin is not just a fossilized church language. It is alive in the modern world, doing lively modern things. Here are VII ways to keep up your Latin, and be ready when the next chance to be a Latin superstar presents itself.

1. Read children's books in Latin

Non mi placent, O Pincerna,
Virent ova! Viret perna!

They do not please me, O waiter,
Eggs that are green! Ham that is green!

You can find the Doctore Seuss classics Virent ova! Viret perna! (Green Eggs and Ham), or Cattus Pettasatus (The Cat in the Hat), or even Quomodo Invidiosulus nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit (How the Grinch Stole Christmas). There's also Winnie Ille Pu, Harry Potter et Philosophi Lapis, Hobbitus Ille, and many others. Get your kids started early!

2. Learn your Latin computer terms

spreadsheet -- tabula computativa

joystick -- manipulus

download -- extrahere

RAM -- memoria volatilis

the program has crashed the system -- systema a programmate dirutum est

World Wide Web --  Tela Totius Terrae

Konrad Kokoszkiewicz put together a list of all the terms you need.

3. Rock out to Black Sabbath in Latin

"War Pigs (Verres Militares)"

The Estonian musical group Rondellus did a cover album of Black Sabbath songs sung in Latin, 14th century style.

4. Do your social networking in Latin

You could join the social networking site Schola, where all the fun takes place in Latin. Or, if you're not quite ready for that, switch your Facebook language to Latin. Instead of the rather casual and insouciant "How's it going?" it will ask you, with great dignity, "Quid cogitas?" or "What are your thoughts?"

5. Listen to the radio in Latin

Radio Bremen in Germany does a weekly roundup of the news in Latin, as does Radio YLE in Finland.

6. Learn something from Latin Wikipedia

Sure, the Latin Wikipedia, or Vikipædia, has lots of articles on church history and ancient battles, but it also has articles on baseball (basipila), The Simpsons, and Doctor Who.

7. Read a Latin newspaper

Since 2004, Ephemeris has been bringing the news of the world to the Latin reading public. Yesterday's headline? "Benedictus XVI a munere se abdicat." The article ends:

"Joanna Chirri, diurnaria agenturae Italicae ANSA, prima inter collegas praesentes intellexit verba Benedicti XVI Latine pronuntiata, quibus ipse a munere discessit."

"Joanna Chirri, journalist with the Italian agency ANSA, was the first of the colleagues present to understand Pope Benedict's Latin announcement, with which he left office."

Watch a Rogue Pet Dog Interrupt a Russian News Anchor on Air

Last week, a Russian news broadcast briefly went to the dogs after its host was startled by a surprise co-anchor: a friendly black canine that wandered on set, announced its presence with a loud bark, and climbed onto her desk.


As TODAY reports, Mir24 TV anchor Ilona Linarte went off script for a few minutes, telling viewers "I've got a dog here. What is this dog doing in the studio?" After the initial shock wore off, she gave her furry guest a tepid welcome, patting its head as she gently pushed it off the desk. ("I actually prefer cats,'' Linarte remarked. "I'm a cat lady.")

Linarte’s query was answered when the TV station announced that the dog had accompanied another show’s guest on set, and somehow got loose. That said, rogue animals have a proud tradition of crashing live news broadcasts around the world, so we’re assuming this won’t be the last time a news anchor is upstaged by an adorable guest star (some of which have better hair than them).

[h/t TODAY]

Falcon Heavy and Dragon. Image credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0
SpaceX Is Sending Two Private Citizens Around the Moon
Falcon Heavy and Dragon. Image credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0
Falcon Heavy and Dragon. Image credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0

Two members of the public are set to take an historic trip around the Moon, according to an announcement from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. As The Verge reports, the anonymous private citizens have already placed substantial deposits on the commercial space flight.

The private spacecraft company SpaceX revealed on Monday that the Falcon Heavy rocket will be launching with its Crew Dragon spacecraft in late 2018. The mission will consist of a circumnavigation of the Moon, passing over the body’s surface before traveling farther into space and returning to Earth. In total, the trip will cover 300,000 to 400,000 miles and take a week to complete.

A noteworthy part of the plan is the human cargo that will be on board. Instead of professional astronauts, the craft will carry two paying customers into space. The passengers, who’ve yet to be named, will both need to pass several fitness tests before they're permitted to make the journey. According to The Verge, Musk said the customers are “very serious” and that the cost of the trip is “comparable” to that of a crewed mission to the International Space Station. The goal for SpaceX is to eventually send one or two commercial flights into space each year, which could account for 10 to 20 percent of the company’s earnings.

[h/t The Verge]


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