26 04 2007


22 04 2007


16 04 2007

Hypnotism of octopus

14 04 2007

Surprising as it sounds, octopuses can be hypnotized. The Dutch zoologist, J. ten Cate, proved this with the common octopus. It was not an easy subject, but when it succumbed it was found that the most effective way was to hold the octopus in one hand with the mouth upwards, and with the arms and body hanging downwards. The great difficulty was to prevent the arms from touching his hand or arm, as this completely broke the spell. But when he was able to prevent such contact, and to hold the octopus in the required position long enough, it was hypnotized perfectly. It breathed easily, and the arms hung limply, with no trace of movement.

When the octopus was thus hypnotized an arm could be lifted, and when released it fell as lifeless as a piece of rope – as great a contrast with the normal behavior of an arm as could possibly be imagined. The octopus could be thrown from hand to hand and showed no more reaction than if it had been a football. A heavy pinch with surgical nippers, or even more drastic treatment, was required to awaken it.

Kingdom of the Octopus p. 84, Frank W. Lane (1960, Sheridan House, NY)

Adorno on Beckett and the Deformed Subject

13 04 2007

I got an e-mail from Mr Gridneff, don;t read, with a link to this video on YouTube

and so came to this video of Adorno on Beckett and the Deformed Subject

Adorno is saying…

…immer von Beckett ist eine technische Reduktion bis zum außersten
…always from Beckett is a technical reduction to the extreme
Aber diese Reduktiion ist ja wirklich das was die Welt aus uns macht
…das heißt die Welt aus uns gemacht diese Stümpfe von Menschen
also diese Menschen die eigentlich ihr ihr ich verloren haben
but this reduction is really what the world makes out of us
…that is the world [has] made out of us these stumps of men

so these men who have actually lost their their I
die sind wirklich die Produkte der Welt in welche wir leben
who are really the products of the world in which we live

Evolutionary Biology of Plants

10 04 2007

The cactus has its bristling armament of spines that can radiate heat and defend its water-packed stem from herbivory (p 5)

Consider that the cactus spine would be an impossible adaptation unless the cactus stem or some other organ type carried on photosynthesis. The cactus spine is a highly modified leaf that functions in ways not otherwise normally entertained by green foliage leaves because the cactus stem is capable of assuming tasks of typical photosynthetic leaves (light interception, gas interchange, etc.). (p 6)

The Evolutionary Biology of Plants, Karl J. Niklas

Verbs of vague application 2

6 04 2007

Wright concludes the chapter as follows:

§8: 18. Since the differentiation between a verb of specific application and one of vague application very often resides simply in a difference of short vowels, the beginner reading unvocalized material will often face a problem in deciding which is intended. Here again (as with the case of the ambiguity over the status of a prepositional phrase mentioned in §2: 11) the overall structure of the sentence is the deciding factor. When a verb is of such a nature that it implies the participation of two entities, then it can only have a specific application if either the sentence itself or the context in which it is placed mentions two entities: if mention is made of only one, then the reader must assume that the other entity is unmentioned and that the veb is a form of vague application. Take the following example:

قتل بعضهم اللُصُوص الذين هجمول على القَرْية فى تلك اللَيْلة

mentions two entities, and the verb is therefore of specific application, and the sentence is capable (according to contextual likelihood) of standing for either ‘the robbers who attacked the village on that night killed some of them’ or ‘some of them killed the robbers who attacked the village on that night’; but if قتل بعضهم is a complete sentence, then it may represent ‘he killed some of them’ provided that the context suggests the participation of a previously mentioned ‘he’ in the action, but if this is not so then the verb must be assumed to be of vague application, and the statement represents ‘some of them were killed’.