Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Miscellany: Odds, Ends and Personals


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Email from Wayne B in respect of Part 2 of the Chinese treasure fleet post:

Otto that was one of the best history pieces I have recently read. 

The most interesting was the quote that invaders over the millennia have not understood "how hard it was to continuously resupply garrisons in distant outposts. Much wiser to subjugate through trade, to let prosperity be the reward for allegiance. It took Western powers another 400 years to learn this lesson."

War has always been based on some form of economics. Even sectarian based wars had an economic base in some fashion.

If more people studied the past, instead of promoting socially based political ideology, they would quickly know how the plan for the future to overcome current social problems.

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Some thoughts . . .

Sitting at my computer with my hand on my mouse (I hate keypads), it again struck me how dynamic language is. A new development begats new terms that become standard expression, such as “mouse”. Little kids use computer jargon as routine conversation.

Correspondingly, as new words become part of the language, others have had their day and drop out. An example is the saying that the exception proves the rule. Why should an exception verify a rule?? The answer is that it does not, the term “prove” in this context means “to test”. Hence the exception tests the rule, which makes a lot more sense. A related use still exists: a proving ground is a testing ground for weapons.

Even words that I have used above – begats, hence – I believe are falling into disuse, but that’s only a feeling I have, I don’t have any hard evidence.

Latin phrases are also being used less and less in law. They were de riguer (I selected that one deliberately) when I was a young law student and were used a lot more in the courts

Which brings to mind a limerick with a Latin legalism:

There once was a lawyer named Rex
With minuscule organs of sex.
Arraigned for exposure,
He maintained with composure,
"De minimis non curat lex."

Translation: The law does not concern itself with small things (meaning trivial matters).

Take the term selfie, which has given rise to selfie stick. Self portraits with cameras have been around as long as cameras have been in use, the first being by Robert Cornelius in 1839:


The word "selfie", however, dates from 2002. According to Wikipedia, it originated in Oz:

It first appeared in Karl Kruszelnicki's 'Dr Karl Self-Serve Science Forum', an Australian internet forum (ABC Online) on 13 September 2002. The concept of uploading group self-taken photographs to the internet, although with a disposable camera and not a smartphone, dates to a webpage created by Australians in September 2001, including photos taken in the late 1990s (captured by the Internet Archive in April 2004)



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