X-rays in many languages

Consider a few words in English and their versions in Russian.

X-ray = Roentgeni

Jet = Reactivni

It is strange how language and meaning are related. How does a jet engine work? Newton said "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction", or so we are told, and so of course the jet engine works in this manner. Reaction. If you grow up with this terminology, would you ever become, later in life, confused as to how a spaceship works, since there is nothing for the fire out the back of the ship to "push on"? Some people were confused about this during the space race in the 20th century, at least in the United States.

What about X-Rays? How does that become "Roentgen"? Roentgen was the guy who discovered X-rays. Why, in English, did the word become X-ray then?

It's not just English.

There appear to be, basically, two major groups - some languages use Roentgen in the word for X-Ray, and some languages that just use the letter 'X'. Then there are some that have their own thing (Inuktitut for example) but they are a very small proportion.

Here is a brief list of how various languages say 'X-ray', taken from Wikipedia's page on X-ray - that is, the languages with semi-latin alphabets. The list is broken into the two groups described above. Please forgive my amateur transliterations of cyrillic (Bulgarian etc).

The X-Rayers

Asturian (Spain) - Rayos X

Breton - Skinoù X

Catalan - Raigs X

Welsh - Pelydr-X

Greek - Ακτίνες Χ

English - X-Ray

Esperanto - Ikso-radioj

Spanish - Rayos X

Basque - X izpi

French - Rayon X

Gan Chinese - X光

Galician - Raios X

Fiji Hindi - X-ray

Haitian Creole - Reyon X

Bahasa Indonesian - Sinar-X

Italian - Raggi X

Japanese - X線

Basa Jawa (Indonesia) - Sinar-X

Ligurian (Italy) - Raggi X

Malayan - Sinar-X

Occitan (France/Italy/Spain) - Rais X

Oromoo - X-rays

Portugese - Raios X

Romanian - Radiație X

Sicilian - Raggi X

Serbo-Croatian - X-zrake

Sundanese (Indonesia, Java) - Sinar X

Tagalog )Flipino) - Rayo ekis

Turkish - X-ray

Uyghur - X ئۇيغۇرچە

Vietnamese - Tia X

Waray Waray (Phillipines) - Rayos ekis

Chinese - X射线

The Roentgens

Azerbaijan - Rentgen şüalari

Samogitian (Lithuania) - Rentgena spėndolē

Bulgarian - Rengenovo Lchenie

Ukranian - Rentgenivski Viprominuvannya

Tatar (Russia) - Rentgen Nurlanshi

Swedish - Röntgsenstrålning

Slovakian - Röntgenové žiarenie

Slovenian - Rentgenski žarki

Polish - Promieniowanie rentgenowskie

Netherlands (Dutch) - Röntgenstraling

Norwegian - Røntgenstråling

Lithuanian - Rentgeno spinduliai

Latvian - Rentgenstari

Macedonian - Rentgenski Zratsi

Bosnian - Rendgensko zračenje

Czech - Rentenové záření

Danish - Røntgenstråling

German - Röntgenstrahlung

Finnish - Röntgensäteily

Hungarian (Magyar) - Röntgensugárzás

Icelandic - Röntgengeislun

Kazhakstani - Rentgen Seooleleri

Lak (Caucasus Mountains / Dagestan / Russia) - Rentgendalul tinttu

Serbian - Rendgenske zrake

Their own special thing

Inuktitut (Canada/Alaska/Greeland) - taraqtuut

What can one determine from all this? Is there a pattern? I've no idea.

But, here is a very crude map. In the purple countries, they say 'X-ray' (or whatever their version of 'ray' is). In the Green countries they say Roentgen, and maybe 'ray' as well, depending. In Brown areas, well, that is Inuktitut, who made up their own word. Black countries were places that were not researched for this blog post. There's only 24 hours in the day ya know.

(Released under License: Creative Commons CC BY SA 3.0, as a derived work from Wikipedia Blank World Map by Al McDonald, hyper-metrix | twitter account @F1LT3R )

By the way.

Don't get Slovenian mixed up with Slovakian!

One is named Slovenčina
One is named Slovenščina

See? Totally different.

Yulia Tymoshenko arrested

Yulia Tymoshenko has been arrested. It is an interesting case.

The president of Ukraine, Yanukovich, is arguing that he has nothing to do with the court system, and that it is independent.

Tymoshenko, on the other hand, disagrees. She had this to say to judge Kireyev recently, as printed in the International Business Times, quoting her statements and her twitter account:

Corruption Trial of Ukraine's Former Prime Minister Marked with Disorder, August 1 2011.

"You don't have the right to consider this case. You are fully integrated into a system of political repression directed by authorities."

. . .

"My voice will be even louder from prison, because the whole world will hear me," she said.

. . .

“Clearly, Kireyev is not in charge and somewhere deep down in his soul he may be innocent. Bedbugs, for instance, are also innocent. They need food and a career,”

This is a strange paralell with the situation regarding president Obama and the Espionage Act cases his DOJ has brought. Some Obama supporters have argued he can't be involved in the court system - on the other hand, the supporters of the accused, like Thomas Drake, have argued that obviously he has some influence. After all, he directly hired Lanny Breuer, the man in charge of the 'leak crackdown' (which, of course, others call the 'whistleblower crackdown'). Breuer hired William Welch, a prosecutor who has pioneered new uses on State Secrets Privilege and the subpoenaing of reporters to reveal sources.

One has to wonder what is going on inside the soul of William Welch. Surely he did not dream, as a young law student, of imprisoning the innocent for practicing their freedom of speech. Surely, at some point, his spine must have tingled and his heart beat a little faster, when he studied the First Amendment, and the history of the English legal system and the Americans rebellion against the Monarchy. Surely somewhere in there is the guy who fought public corruption and mortgage fraud, instead of the guy who has pushed the bounds of what the public would consider acceptable behavior while going after people who were basically innocent.

Carl Sagan versus Roger Hedgecock

Carl Sagan from "Pale Blue Dot":

"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."

Compare with Roger Hedgecock, from The Roger Hedgecock Show, July 22 2011 (the day of the Breivik mass murders in Norway):

"The biggest news of the day . . . It's a 9/11 attack on Norway. . . . Norway hasn't had violent attack since WWII . . .

A jihad type group has claimed responsibility, and people have been quick to point out that Al-Qaeda has condemned Norway for participating in the Afghan war, there are troops from Norway there, for participating in the Libya attack . . . and the uh Norwegians had just indicted an Imam in Oslo for suggesting that uh the Norwegian leaders oughta be uh killed.

Uh so tensions have been racheting up . . . in Norway, and against Norway, by uh international Islam, including of course the fifth column of uh Muslim immigrants into that country who have formed, as they have in every European country, a solid uh Sharia based . . . subversive element in those socities, a disruptive element in those socities, as the Brits are finding out to their dismay, as well as the French and others . . . the Germans by the way as well . . .

Today these attacks in Norway, a bomb, or possibly two, destroying, and by the way, the biggest damage to the oil ministry, keep in mind, again, . . . gotta follow the money. Remember ... remember Watergate? Follow the money. . . .

. . . your attack is on the government buildings. . . . not many people were at work. You know, it's a socialist country, they don't work too much. . . the oil ministry is right across the way from the prime ministers office. . . . the oil ministry's actually burning. So the attack is on the oil ministry. Now, why would that be? Well, again, follow the money.

Norway . . . has chosen to pay for it's socialism . . . with off-shore oil drilling, enormously successfull at producing a huge alternative to OPEC flow of oil into the world markets. Saudis and others don't like that. Follow the money. So you've got uh this attack.

Now the ruling party has been . . . pretty staunchly pro-west, in supporting . . . as Spain did, before the famous attacks there, back in uh 2004 . . . It will be interesting to see what the Norwegians do as a response to this attack, because it was not just against the government buildings, and the ministry of oil, and the prime minister . . . it was against their children. . . . hundreds of them are on this island. . . It looks like a 9/11 today in Norway, again with an obvious uh political impact, as with Spain, to try to peel off another of our allies in the . . . war here against radical Islam.

The Norwegians have had problems with their immigrant Muslim population that have not been well reported in the United States. I started delving into this today. Every, every, rape in the past 5 years in Oslo Norway, every, single, rape, in the past 5 years in Oslo Norway, was committed by Muslim young men against, uh, female Norwegians. Every, single, one. The latest of which was on the steps of the parliament. . . .

Why am I calling that up? Because, I'm sorry, if you uh have you know spent any time at all in the history of the uh conquest of lands by Muslim armies, rape is a weapon. Conquest through rape is a concept in the warfare of uh Muslim against Infidel. So there you have it. A, a remarkable day today in uh Norway, the beginning of a new front in the uh war between radical Islam and the all the rest of us.

It is a war that is not going away no matter what you try to call it to try to make it go away. It is a war that's not going away, even though we're gonna draw down, withdraw, go away, it is not going to go away, and it is proven today again something that we've got to consider and remember:

Your children and mine could be killed tomorrow by a radical muslim, in the name of Allah, anywhere on this planet. The war is not going away. The clash of civilizations is not going away. It is the theme that will dominate the rest of our lives and I fear the rest of our childrens lives. In fact it has dominated the news, more or less, since the 7th century"

Hedgecock starts out with an assumption that, to a certain portion of his audience, sounds perfectly reasonable. Then, based on this assumption, he speculates, and his speculations take him far, far away from where he started. It turned out, however, that his basic assumptions, the identity and motivation of the murderer, (Breivik, a muslim-hater) were totally, completely, 100% wrong - i.e. observation of reality did not match his theory. Furthermore, a large number of his facts were wrong, like the rape statistics, the use of rape in warfare, the statement that Norway has had no violent attacks since WWII, etc etc etc.

Why contrast these two pieces of language? Political diatribes and conspiracy theories are fascinating. Of course you could replace 'Muslim' with 'Jew' in Hedgecocks speech and you would have language from Der Sturmer or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Certain groups of people find these theories absolutely compelling and logical and believable. Why is this? Is it linked to the phenomenon of cult psychology? Personal experience? Biochemistry of the brain? How do you know if you have read something that is blatantly false? How do you know if you believe something that is completely wrong? What if you, yourself, got carried away and wrote something that was totally wrong?

Carl Sagan and others studied the UFO encounters, their nature and variety, and why people believed them... what if you could apply these same methods of inquiry to study other conspiracy theories, of politics and religion and war?

Sagan described the television series he hosted, Cosmos, in the first episode:

"We wish to pursue the truth, no matter where it leads. But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate. But we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact."

Sagan described science to Charlie Rose, shortly before his death:

" . . . science is more than a body of knowledge, it is a way of thinking; a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. If, if we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we're up for grabs, for the next charlatan, political, or religious, who comes ambling along."


Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (1994), Random House, via wikipedia

Cosmos, the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean, Carl Sagan et al, PBS, 1980

Roger Hedgecock Show - 7/22/2011 Hour 1: Tragedy in Norway

An interview with Carl Sagan, Charlie Rose Show, PBS, May 27, 1996

Update: Sept 2011

From Wikileaks: 09TELAVIV2188

\"Trouble in Turkestan\"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(April 4): \"International terrorism barged last week
[in Uzbekistan], with a series of bombings that have
killed more than 40 people in Tashkent and Bukhara, and
wounded dozens more. For the terrorists, the aim here
is obvious. Uzbekistan, under the leadership of
communist-era boss Islam Karimov, has allowed the
establishment of American military bases on its soil,
thus offering the U.S. a vital springboard into nearby
Afghanistan. As they have done in Spain last month, it
seems that America\'s enemies are out to attack its
allies in the war on terrorism. Fortunately, the Uzbek
leadership has responded with the kind of resolve that
Spain has avoided, making it plain that it will meet
the terrorists in the battlefield rather than seek ways
to understand and appease them.... [But] it is one
thing to fight an Islamism whose declared goal is the
restoration of medieval theocracy. It is an entirely
different thing to delay the arrival of political

Why do I quote this? Because the argument is quite similar to Roger Hedgecock's argument. Note that he gets the basic facts of his case wrong - assuming that a terrorist incident was caused by Muslims when the evidence is shoddy to non-existant.

If one reads the work of Craig Murray, like his book "Murder in Samarkand" or "Dirty Diplomacy", the Uzbekistan government version of the facts surrounding the bombings is rather questionable.

First of all, the government has a nasty habit of declaring people 'Islamic terrorists' when there is no evidence to support the assertion. It also has a rather unpleasant tendency to torture people, and people's children, so that they will provide such evidence. Murray witnesses the trials of some accused 'Islamic terrorists', and notes one incident where a child was molested by government agents in front of a relative, so that the relative would say that a person was a Muslim terrorist.

Secondly, the Uzbekistan government tends to not have a strong investigative police force. For example, Murray visits the site of some of the bombings in Uzbekistan shortly after they occur - he finds the entire crime scene has been essentially 'scrubbed', and cleaned up. No police cordons, no tape, no chalk outlines, no CSI teams collecting forensic evidence. No journalists writing in depth articles or books about the case, no nothing. Just an explosion, some dead bodies, and a few hours later, a clean, quiet street, in the middle of a gigantic city.

These small phrases in the Jerusalem Post are tips of icebergs of doubt. "Islamic Terrorist" is a phrase that the reader assumes they know the meaning of. But this is where the reader falls down. How do we know these bombings were perpetrated by Muslims terrorists? Where is the evidence? As Murray demonstrates, the evidence consists mainly of the word of a repressive dictatorship which has a vested interest in promoting the idea that there are a bunch of Muslim terrorists within it's borders that justify the 'emergency measures' of the state, and it's aggrandizement of power.

But if one were to take this evidence to, say, a jury of 12 citizens, and try to argue that these bombing were perpetrated by Muslim terrorsits, I am wagering that the jury would not be convinced. You need more than the word of a dictator and a torturer to convince most people that something is true.

This combustible mixture of ignorance and power

What would Carl Sagan have thought of the Thomas Drake case, the NSA whistleblower? I have no idea. However.

Charlie Rose of PBS did a last interview with Dr Carl Sagan, shortly before his death in the 1990s, about the dangers of ignorance and the importance of public knowledge about science and technology. Immediately the case of Thomas Drake and his friends leapt to mind. The interview starts out discussing the lack of scientific understanding in the populace:

Sagan: "We live in an age, based on science and technology, with formidable technological powers. . . and if we don't understand it. . . . then who is making all the decisions about science and technology that are going to determine what kind of future our children will have?"

Rose: What's the danger of all this . . . ?

Sagan: "There's two kinds of dangers. One is what I just talked about, that we've arranged a society based on science and technology, in which nobody understands anything about science and technology, and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power, sooner or later, is gonna blow up in our faces. I mean, who is running the science and technology in a democracy if the people don't know anything about it?

And the second reason that I'm worried about this is that science is more than a body of knowledge, it is a way of thinking; a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. If, if we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we're up for grabs, for the next charlatan, political, or religious, who comes ambling along. It .. It's a thing that Jefferson lay great stress on. It wasn't enough, he said, to enshrine some rights in a constitution or a bill of rights. The people had to be educated and they had to practice their skepticism and their education, otherwise, we don't run the government, the government runs us."

What was Thomas Drake trying to do, when he revealed details of NSA's Trailblazer Project to Siobhan Gorman, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun? He has said that he was trying to blow the whistle on waste, and on what he felt was illegal activity at NSA. Some authors have said he was 'leaking'.

But he, and Gorman, and his friends Diane Roark, Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, Ed Loomis, and many others, were also trying to engage in this great effort, of educating the public about science and technology - the same project in which Dr. Sagan was engaged for so much of his life.

Traditionally, many scientific dissidents have been involved in things like physics, atomics, and engineering. One of the first modern dystopian novels was We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, a former naval engineer. Some of the best exposés of the Soviet system were from Alexander Solzhenytsin's Gulag Archipelago, whose experience as a 'prisoner scientist' (a Zek) was described in his book the First Cirlce. Then there were men like Andrei Sakharov and Einstein, both involved in the dawn of nuclear weapons. Sakharov later wrote a book "My Country and the World", critical of the Soviet system; not only it's misuse of science, but it's economics and political treatment of dissenters.

The relationship between science, technology, and power compelled these people to act and to speak out against the abuses of new technologies perpetrated by the governments of the world. Einstein and many other scientists founded organizations like the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the Federation of American Scientists, to try to grapple with the dangers of the new weaponry unleashed by the leaders of the nations. But the organizations mission was also to publicize these issues and to educate the people about what was really going on behind the closed doors and barbed wire fences of governments and militaries.

This heritage can be seen in the Drake trial. The Federation of the American Scientist's Steven Aftergood covered the Drake trial in great detail on his blog, and the FAS Government Secrecy project scanned the court documents and uploaded them to the world wide web, an entity that Sagan anticipated in his Cosmos when he mentioned the beginnings of a revolutionary global network of information, connecting the minds of billions of people.

Dr. Sagan was in the mold of Einstein and Sakharov - he opposed the nuclear arms race to the detriment of his own career. Two of his biographers, Keay Davidson and William Poundstone, said at a lecture that he had been not been voted into the National Academy of Sciences partly because his anti nuclear activity.

Einstein was also seen as a 'security risk' by various governments, the Nazis because he was Jewish and pacifist, and the Americans because he was too socialist. In the Soviet Union, Andrei Sakharov's life was severely restricted, and his friends and family were persecuted by the state. These people were all punished, in various degrees by various governments, for what they thought, and for how they thought it.

But now, perhaps, it is the information scientists and technologists who are picking up the flag, and becoming the new protestors of the abuses of a new powerful technology - the massive use of IT systems to spy on people. Not just Thomas Drake and his friends in IT, but other workers within the system too, like Thomas Tamm, a lawyer who helped reveal the NSA's domestic spying operations. In the age of the surveillance states, and the national security industrial complexes, maybe the new relationship between information and power is compelling the information scientists and their associates to speak out, as the nuclear scientists spoke out before them. Maybe Thomas Drake and his friends were in the mold of the Sakharovs and Einsteins too (and, perhaps, if we follow Dr. Sagan, we could go back farther, to people like Copernicus, Hypatia, and Aristarchus of Samos). And maybe the information scientists are being punished, in varying degrees, as their predecessors the atomic scientists were. Not for any particular action or for holding any particular viewpoint, per se. But more, as those before them, for their way of thinking, for their skepticism, and for their questions.

For being scientists, when the priests of the technocracy wanted orthodoxy and submission.


An interview with Carl Sagan, May 27, 1996, PBS, Charlie Rose.


Sep 2011 - Solzhenytsin wrote Gulag.. not Sakharov.. what a typo

Sagan and Sakharov - punished for opposing nuclear weapons

Marijuana Users.com has two lecture from Keay Davidson and William Poundstone, filmed at Cal Tech back in the 1990s, hosted by Michael Shermer of the Skeptic Magazine.

At the end, they both describe why he was not voted into the National Academy of Sciences. One, he was sometimes abrasive with the wrong people. But two - Davidson says that his "anti-nuclear activites" made other scientists oppose him.

Sakharov, a pioneer in Soviet nuclear weapons technology, later turned against the weapons and the abuse of science by the powerful. He was punished in a much more sever manner, of course, because he lived in the Soviet Union. He could not travel freely or work freely, his friends and family were harassed and their careers harmed, and other various indignities suffered by Soviet dissidents.

What they had in common? I have not studied either in depth, but this pacifist streak, which can also be found in Einstein, and many other scientists, seems to have rubbed others wrong.

Ann Druyan, in the intro to the re-released Cosmos (on hulu.com), talks in pleading tones about how the military was employing a huge percentage of scientists, which she viewed as a waste. Sagan echoes this one of the episodes of Cosmos. But these pacifists seem to be speaking along the same lines as some of the most famous warriors - President Eisenhower, for example, in his Cross of Iron speech. Or even MacArthur, who felt that a 'spiritual recrudescence' was required in the atomic age.

The person who asked the question of Davidson implied that the scientists who voted him out were perhaps acting on emotion, rather than reason.


[1] General MacArthur Saw Hope in a Nuclear Age GERALD FLURRY, the Trumpet .com

[2] COSMOS, Sagan et al, hulu.com

"Fascism has no other aesthetics besides corpses."

"Fascism has no other aesthetics besides corpses."

From Alexey Polkovsky's description of early WWII photographs, "No Fascists Here", June 24 2011, Novaya Gazeta.

"This is now my profession: Propaganda"

"Someone will have a look and say "This is pretty. I want to do this too."

He will then take a knife and go kill."

From Maxim Martsinkevich, aka "Tesak", a member of Dmitry Rumyantsev's "National Socialist Society" / "National Socialist Organization" Neo-Nazi group in Russia, describing his attack videos. He was sent to prison because at a political debate at the Bilingua cafe he and others had shouted "seig hail" and "kill the liberals" and several other comments at the crowd. Current TV described the charges as "instigating ethnic hatred" and "threatening violence".

Later, neo nazis killed two people in a 'beheading video' and put it on the internet, demanding Tesak's release from prison (and other things).

As of 2011, Tesak is out of prison and has a youtube channel.

Chrisof Putzer, the Current TV reporter, found the reporting task very difficult. From Vanguard Diary: (on youtube)

"As a reporter, it's a challenge to cover what these guys are saying, what they are thinking, and what they are doing without becoming an unwitting carrier of their message."

Also disturbing, people on youtube began making "Russian Neo Nazi Beheading Reaction" videos. Sort of like the "Two Girls One Cup" phenomenon. But instead of watching something fake, they are watching something real. And not only adults are doing this - kids are doing it too.

For example, there is user "GtaFreak2010", who appears to be around 12. He seems to attribute his reaction to the video as linked to his heavy usage of violent video games:

"That was a bit weird... normally I can go through this stuff... but , if I was going to explain to you .... It wasn't scary, it wasn't the worst thing I've ever seen in my life, it wasn't that bad, the camera guy wasn't amazing at angling it, you could see enough of it. . . . if you faint at blood and stuff I suggest you don't

. . .

Thanks. Subscribe, like, comment. . . . I don't know if you really wanna watch it. It's, it's not that bad . . . I warn you, if it's gory or you're really young and you don't really want to see this kinda stuff, then I suggest you dont . . . I don't get scared too easily, or, gore doesn't really affect me cause I watch a lot of violence, play violent video games, so it doesn't affect me that much, but, that was kind of weird, I don't understand what the point of that was.

Where are his parents? Do they know what he is watching? Do they care?


"From Russia With Hate", Current TV, "Vanguard", Christof Putzel et al, Nov 12, 2007

EXTREMIST HELD AFTER DEBATE By Julia Vail, St. Petersburg Times, July 6, 2007

Moscow’s Immigrants Face Wave of Skinhead Violence By MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ, February 19, 2008

Links via Maxim Martsinkevich article on wikipedia

NSO link, English wikipedia.

Russian Neo-Nazi Beheading REACTION, youtube, GtaFreak2010