Sunday, July 22, 2007

I was listening to a podcast of ABC's All in the mind about genetics (nature v nuture): The 2007 Alfred Deakin Innovation Lecture: Nature? Nurture? What makes us human? by Matt Ridley. The speaker described a discovery of the occurrence of a bit of DNA which can influence how a person reacts to stressful events. You are not born to be depressed, but perhaps you are born with the potential to become depressed when stressed. I would not be the slightests surprised to learn that other slightly variant strings of the DNA molecule showed the potential for other conditions, especially those like RA and FMS which sometimes seem to be triggered by a physical assault to the body, sometimes a bad case of the flu, sometimes a motor vehicle accident.

Another favourite podcast is The Splendid Table which is full of laughter, doughnuts, and delicious food ideas. Some of the other food broadcasts are a bit pretentious to me, while this one can tell you the best place to get 5-way chili in Cincinnati. They also have a free email for an easyy midweek meal. Unfortunately with the season reversed, some are not appropriate for a Canberra winter: when I'm thinking of split pea soup and they want me to make potato salad. But good recipes have no use-by-date, so there's always next summer. On the other hand, when a new book coms out, the author is interviewed on all of them. So NPR Food will have the same interviewee as The Splendid Table and so on.

I was moaning to my MIL about all the stuff that still needed sorting out, like books. She told me to close the door to the Bear's bedroom and get to when I could. Ignoring her advice but intending to follow it, I went in just to get rid of some stuff I knew was discardable (conference notes from a meeting he went to in 1990) and of course that got me started. If I want the sci fi/fantasy/mysteries to be bought, they have to be at least sorted to exclude my books that ended up in there, or books of his I haven't read yet. I also put most of the civil war books together. What do I do with a shelf and a half of very old physics textbooks? I looked up to find the Imp supervising from the top of the wardrobe. I really must read more but I tend to fall asleep; perhaps I need a thriller.

You may have noticed a trend in my knitting. I don't have UFOs because I don't even start things. I haven't started the alpaca vest but i've got the materials an pattern right here. I've started the red tweed jumper twice but am going to postpone the top-down raglan because I am going to wear the Bear's jumpers around the house. I will start the Christmas baby jumper which I have decided is going to be stripes in white, pink, purple, and yellow Merino Bambino if I can keep the Imp from snagging balls of yarn out of the bag. It I put the other stuff away I'll have less clutter around my chair.

Round 15: We were beaten by the Weagles by only 12 points playing in Subiaco. They were still making stupid mistakes but were better than I've see them play against a hard side like WCE. I was trying to carry on a conversation on the phone to J (there are a lot of J's in my life and I will not distinguish at the loss of anonymity) while simultaneously yelling at the TV.

I didn't sleep well (again) and my legs were screaming when I woke up so I may go read and probably fall sleep. I think the book I'm reading isn't interesting enough. Seems a bit simplistic (S.M. Stirling's Conquistador). The BBBB Empires of the word is wonderful, since it not historical linguistics 101 which would have concentrated on the structure of the languages while this book talks about the social and political history of languages. This side of linguistics gets short shrift in traditional grad education because of the influence of Chomsky who pronounced dialects as mere performance variations and that we have our language hardwired in the brain. Therefore you don't learn that the Egyptians and the Canaanites exchanged diplomatic letters in Akkadian, a language dead in the sense that nobody spoke it, but it was still used. This is the side of linguistics I really loved and Ostler got on my good side by declaring Swahili a real Bantu language (the Bear argued it was a creole and I told him no creole would keep 8 noun classes). Having once spoken Swahili gets you nowhere except to know that they were really speaking it on ER when Carter was in the MSF field hospital in the Sudan.

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