aku-aku: v.. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
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rosetta disk launch
Posted by dav at 2004 February 25 05:34 PM
File under: Geek

The Long Now Foundation's Rosetta Project is an international collaboration which has put "a meaningful survey and near permanent archive of 1,000 languages" onto a disk which the European Space Agency is set to launch into space in about ten hours. Jim Mason of the Long Now Foundation has filed this (sometimes surreal) on-the-spot report of the pre-launch atmosphere in French Guiana:

though the concentration of linguists in french guiana has proved to be very low, the concentration of rocket scientists is likely the highest i have ever seen. it is very funny to get on a plane in paris and 90% of those on the plane are the proverbial and much referenced rocket scientists. you get on the bus, it is full of rocket scientists. you have dinner, the table is all rocket scientists. you ask a question about the chemical composition of the second stage liquid booster while having a drink at the bar, and most of the bar starts to answer in great detail. they are all very excited.

[...]

then in cayenne it is carnival every night. it is very steamy and thinly clothed. between the parade groups, the boys like to have little brawls in the street, which when they get a little too heated the police throw tear gas bombs into the middle of everything. then everyone runs away about 4 blocks, as that's what it takes to get the sting out of your eyes and throat, then everyone reforms and they start pounding on the 55 gal plastic cleaning drums that form basis of the drum section for the processions, and the rhythmic mob begins to roll again.

Read the full text here.

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