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30 August 2015


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Uh... don't know how to tell you this but the Rosetta Stone inscription is written in *two* languages; ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek. Also there were only three scripts (Hieroglyphs, Demotic and ancient Greek, the pictographs you mention are considered part of the demotic script.

Yeah, Yeah I know, nobody likes a nitpicker...



There is a jump in the recording at 10.05 minutes.

Also, I must have misheard, but did you say there was "Demonic" Egyptian on the Rosetta Stone?


Demotic not demonic.


Though a Demonic language would have been cool.

Steve Beattie

Science "nerds". Give me a break!

Jeffrey W Percival

I was very, very disappointed by the casual slurs on scientists and engineers. Really?

Russell Peter McCreight

Another terrific episode Mr. Duncan!


come on guys, give mike a break! he was only joking..

Jeff Sheedy

Acre /ˈɑːkər/ or /ˈeɪkər/ is pronounced roughly the same as the measure of land with the same spelling or with the "a" sound of "father" not Ack-rae.

Steve Beattie

I think he was attempting a French pronunciation. Hard to say because he usually uses English place-names where one is available (e.g. - Paris(rhymes with heiress), Venice, Cairo, Alexandria . . .)

Quentin Fulford

An obvious case of being too cute by half. Of course Mike was just joking about Napoleon's "nerds". Such a ridiculously revisionist negative stereotyping of Bonaparte's scholastic cohort couldn't have been meant in earnest. He surely knows that the savants who accompanied Napoleon to Egypt were among the true intellectual heirs of the Enlightenment philosophes, not a bunch of social misfits. Regular listeners ought to know from Mike's constant switching back and forth between English and Kardashian that Revolutions is not intended to be a serious dissertation on history. It's high-quality infotainment, nothing more. So cut him some slack. For anyone interested in a serious treatment of the expedition, I recommend this website from the Linda Hall Library:


Jeffrey W Percival

Quentin: I don't buy it. I have a well-developed sense of humor, and love wry commentary, but this usage stood out as unnecessary and out of place. It sounded just like the stuff typically coming out of the liberal arts wing of the academic establishment. I've listened to it again, and it's wrapped in nothing but bad taste. I've listened to everything Mike has recorded, and have high respect for his accomplishment, but this disappointed me.


As an Engineer I can only say 'lighten up francis'. Mike would be the first one to admit he himself is a nerd. And being a nerd has not been a slur for about 30 years. Step into the 1990s it is not that hard.



As an Engineer I can only say 'lighten up francis'. Mike would be the first one to admit he himself is a nerd. And being a nerd has not been a slur for about 30 years. Step into the 1990s it is not that hard.

Posted by: John | 03 September 2015 at 09:39 AM


I too am an engineer and I agree with John's comment.

Steve Beattie

If the term hasn't been a slur for thirty years, then why don't I see much difference between "Revenge of the Nerds" (1983) and "Big Bang Theory"? Both shows perpetuate a negative stereotype. If BBT were about black people being drug-addicted criminals or Jews being greedy misers we wouldn't tolerate it. I have a B.Sc. and work in a science-related job but I would resent being called a "nerd" because I'm also very interested in literature, history, philosophy and art.


So, this is totally unrelated to this weeks episode (and to this revolution), but apparently archaeologists have discovered the site where Scottish soldiers killed during and after the Battle of Dunbar are buried. So, that's pretty cool.



I stand with Mike! #FrenchScienceNerds

Quentin Fulford

Jeffery: I followed your lead and listened to the episode again. I can't fault you for taking offence. I didn't notice it the first time but, in fact, the aspersion was thrice cast. It obviously wasn't just a passing attempt at humor. Mike has an obvious bias towards political and military figures but I don't think that justifies the denigration of others. Note that none of the scientists who were part of the expedition, including such luminaries as Claude-Louis Berthollet and Gaspard Monge, were even mentioned by name. Moreover, of the many great discoveries made by the team, only those of the Rosetta Stone and the ancient canal were deemed worthy of inclusion. I may be mistaken but, to the best of my recollection, even Antoine Lavoisier, was passed over in earlier episodes. Perhaps someday another podcaster will take a more interdisciplinary approach to this fascinating period of history.

Quentin Fulford

Jeffrey: Sorry about misspelling your name.

Matt Coleman

Wow Steve. You're like a one man strike force, defusing stereotypes of nerds being hypersensitive, self-impressed, humorless apparatchiks!

We are all deeply in your debt for bringing to light this towering case of e-injustice!

Nash Irongay



Holy shit guys. This was a great episode. Mike is a funny guy who makes political and military history both palatable and relatable to mass audiences. Scientific expeditions are reasonably outside the scope of a podcast called Revolutions. We're lucky to be getting this much on account of the baby he has on the way and the chaos his household must be in.
Also, it's now the 21st century and I welcome you to it. We nerds have reclaimed the word. Rejoice!

Steve Beattie

Jeremy - I can't tell if you're being sarcastic but it doesn't matter. I used some egregious examples simply to make a point - that stereotypes hinder our ability to appreciate our fellow human beings in all their wonderful diversity. The term "nerds" is pejorative to some and not to others. Any dictionary will confirm this. Prudence therefore dictates that it should be avoided where any confusion might arise. My neighbor Quentin, who has also chimed in on this discussion, tells me that Mike posted and then retracted a very clever riposte yesterday in which he assured us that that no offence whatsoever was intended. That's good enough for me. I do consider it folly to use a 20th/21st century term to describe 18th century persons but that's just my opinion. By the way Mike, did you really fail to mention Lavoisier, one of the most famous victims of the Terror? Okay - on to the next episode.

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