The oldest written record of "fuck" has been discovered — and it comes from a plague quarantine

The new BBC documentary Scotland — Contains Strong Language explores the Bannatyne Manuscript from 1568. Written by Edinburgh Merchant George Bannatyne while he was quarantined during — appropriately enough — a plague, the collection includes a poem titled "The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy," an account of a duel between two poets said to have been conducted before the court of King James IV.

As Ars Technica explains:

Flyting is a poetic genre in Scotland—essentially a poetry slam or rap battle, in which participants exchange creative insults with as much verbal pyrotechnics (doubling and tripling of rhymes, lots of alliteration) as they can muster. (It's a safe bet Shakespeare excelled at this art form.)

And it is in that poem that these words were found, amidst the barbs shot back-and-forth between these poets: "wan fukkit funling."

According to Dr Joanna Kopaczyk, a historical linguistics expert from Glasgow University, that makes it the first recorded use of the word "fuck."

To me, that looks more like Scots than Middle English, although both languages were derived from Olde English. There are also some people who insist that Scots is merely a dialect of English, rather than its own language. Scots should also not be confused with Scottish Gaelic. That being said: is anyone surprised that Scotland would be home to the first "fuck?"

Scotland's claim to fame as birthplace of the F-word revealed [Brian Ferguson / The Scotsman]

500-year-old manuscript contains earliest known use of the “F-word” [Jennifer Ouelette / Ars Technica]

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Canadian firefighters offering drive-by birthday greetings

The world is full of sad, maddening horseshit, right now. So, it's important that we latch on to any rays of light that can be found.

In Calgary, Canada, firefighters are doing what they can to ensure that kids and elderly folks who are forced to celebrate their birthdays in a time of turmoil, have something to brighten what would otherwise be a shelter at home, friends-at-a-distance affair.

From The CBC:

Fire Chief Steve Dongworth says firefighters have already been delivering some birthday greetings outside homes with sirens and lights blaring.

But he says the fire department has now formalized the practice through a new program called Drive-By Birthdays.

The program is open to children between the ages of four and 12 or anyone 75 and older who has a birthday... Drive-By Birthdays can be booked online until the end of May.

Of course, if an emergency call is received while the firefighters are serenading you outside of your home, you shouldn't be surprised to see them take off faster than shit through a goose. Officials speaking on behalf of the Calgary Fire Department mentioned that if social distancing measures were still in effect beyond the end of May, they'd be cool with extending the program.

It's a small gesture, but times being what they are, small gestures are really all that most of us have to offer.

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The next few months are going to be amazing for Nintendo Switch ports

As anyone that's been kicking around here for the past few years knows, I love the Nintendo Switch—not so much for its new games, although I do dig a number of those too. For me, the Switch is the ultimate port machine. As I do the majority of my work on a slowly dying early 2015 13" MacBook Pro Retina laptop, it's reasonable to say that I haven't been set up to play the majority of PC, PS4 and Xbox titles that have come down the pike, these past five years. Happily, My Switch is allowing me to catch up. I'm in the middle of The Witcher III right now. I've been playing a bit of the Metro series (which is great in handheld mode) on and off and, Good lord: Mario Kart. Yes, it's a Nintendo original, but I never had a pal who owned a Nintendo U to play it with. Now's my chance.

Over the past week, I've heard some fabulous news about a number of ports that I'll be thrilled to play when I'm not busy with work check this out:

The Outer Worlds, which is essentially Fallout: New Vegas in space, will be released for the Switch in June XCOM 2, one of the best strategy games I've ever had the chance to play and not finish, will be released for the Switch on May 29th The Borderlands Legendary Collection, which includes Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Seque, comes out on the same day BioShock Remastered, BioShock 2 Remastered, and BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition are all dropping at the end of May as well

There's no good time to be quarantined or sheltering in place (although we're currently doing so for a very good reason). Read the rest