Sunday, January 28, 2007

Odds and Ends

I am really working hard on the next "Information" post. I've gotten hung up on action potentials but, for anyone interested, I'll have it up later this week. I had to review such simple things as electrochemistry.

The Growlery has a couple of posts that bear commenting:

The source of the word "limey" is indeed from the practice of eating limes for vitamin C by the British Navy. I didn't mean it in a scurrilous tone by any stretch. While all the other sailors were getting the handle "scurvy bastard" attached to them, the Brits were drinking gin and tonic (quinine - malaria prophylaxis) with, of course, limes. There you are.

As for Pommie, I always heard it as "Pommie Bastard" when I lived in Ireland. But this was so long ago that it was at the beginning of the last "troubles" in North Ireland and it was used by the "Jackeenes" in Dublin. They're the ones who've lived in Dublin since before the Vikings got stomped by Brian Boru at Clontraf. I always thought was a reference to that little "pom" on the top of the British soldier's cap. I accept that it might have arisen in WWI with the influx in Europe of all those Australian troops fighting the "bloody Turks" and losing their legs as in "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda." Pomegranate sounds fine to me.

Aside stimulated by WWI and British soldiers: My college roomate's grandfather lived in Boston (on Beacon Street.) He was a doc in the British Army in WWI and had been in a mess tent in Egypt when T.E. Lawerence came rolling by. Small world.

Oh, about your Prince:
Prince Charles has been reminiscing about living in Australia as a teenager, saying he hiked for 70 miles and was called a "pommie bastard".

Here's another thing from the Growlery:
This question of symbols is one to which Jim Putnam periodically returns, for example here and more recently, less explicitly but just as certainly here ... it's a fascinating one, and goes to the very core of every area of human activity. Every one of us holds within her or his mind a model of the universe, and that model is built from symbols.
This whetted my appetite since there is no doubt that the internal workings of the mind must use symbols in some nuanced way and I don't, at the moment, have a biochemical explanation for this.


As for the comments by the Growlery re education and information, I wish I had an eon to reply. I can see I would have to sharpen the pencils since he has got the hands on experience.

Hat tip to Jim Putnam and his recent comments here. Again and again I go back to the scenario of "what should a good German have done." Norman Mailer's new book is about Hitler's early life; essentially an attempt to understand how someone could become such a monster. It may be that he was born that way, but certain experiences shaped him in his course. Are we not shaping the experience of children both in Iraq and, to a lesser degree in the West by perpetrating an endless civil war? What will be the result on the emerging Iraqi population? What will a young man of 5-10 years old be like in 15-20 years after having lived through this carnage. Has it not radicalized the Lebanese and Palestinians? Where does Ha mas and Hezbollah get its recruits except from this pool of radicalized young men, and, increasingly women?

We have much to ponder.

1 comment:

Felix Grant said...

> I am really working hard on the
> next "Information" post ... for
> anyone interested...

In case you had any doubts: I'm interested!

> ... the word "limey" ... I didn't
> mean it in a scurrilous tone...

Don't worry - I never imagined that you did :-)