Monday, July 19, 2010

The Unmoved Mover

Aristotle begins by describing substance, of which he says there are three types: the sensible, which is subdivided into the perishable, which belongs to physics, and the eternal, which belongs to "another science." He notes that sensible substance is changeable and that there are several types of change, including quality and quantity, generation and destruction, increase and decrease, alteration, and motion.
Aristotle's argument for the existence of the unmoved mover progresses as follows:

  1. There exists movement in the world.
  2. Things that move were set into motion by something else.
  3. If everything that moves were caused to move by something else, there would be an infinite chain of causes. This can't happen.
  4. Thus, there must have been something that caused the first movement.
  5. From 3, this first cause cannot itself have been moved.
  6. From 4, there must be an unmoved mover

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Tooth Fairy is a Rat

I really don't know why I was looking up the Tooth Fairy but I found some interesting information. Tooth tradition is present in several western cultures under different names. In early Europe, it was a tradition to bury baby teeth that fell out. In Anglo-Saxon and Latin American culture when a child's 6th tooth falls out it is customary for the tooth fairy to slip a gift or money under the child's pillow, but to leave the tooth as a reward for the child growing strong.
This is displayed in Spanish-speaking countries by a character who is called Ratoncito Pérez, a little mouse with a common surname, or just "ratón de los dientes" (tooth mouse). The "Ratoncito Pérez" character was created around 1894 by the priest Luis Coloma (1851–1915), later a member of the Real Academia Española. The Crown asked Coloma to write a tale for the eight-year old Alfonso XIII, as one of his teeth had fallen out. A Ratón Pérez appeared in the tale of the Vain Little Mouse. The Ratoncito Pérez was used by Colgate marketing in Venezuela[2] and Spain[citation needed].
In Italy, the Tooth Fairy (Fatina) is also often replaced by a small mouse (topino). In France, this character is called La Petite Souris ("The Little Mouse"). From parts of Lowland Scotland comes a tradition similar to the fairy mouse: a white fairy rat who purchases the teeth with coins.
This connection between mice and teeth is similar to how in some Asian countries, such as India, Korea and Vietnam, when a child loses a tooth the usual custom is that he or she should throw it onto the roof if it came from the lower jaw, or into the space beneath the floor if it came from the upper jaw. While doing this, the child shouts a request for the tooth to be replaced with the tooth of a mouse. This tradition is based on the fact that the teeth of mice go on growing for their whole life, a characteristic of all rodents. So really the tooth fairy is really just a euphemism for a rat sneaking under your pillow and taking your teeth.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

English Words That Came From Chinese

I think I was most surprised about the words tycoon and ketchup.

A direct translation from Chinese 洗脑 xǐ nǎo (where 洗 literally means "wash", while 脑 means "brain", hence brainwash), a term and psychological concept first used by the People's Volunteer Army during the Korean War. It may refer to a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas; or persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship. The term "brainwashing" came into the mainstream English language after Western media sources first utilized the term to describe the attitudes of POWs returning from the Korean War.

Chop chop 
from Cantonese chuk chuk 速速, lit. hurry, urgent

from Chinese Pidgin English chowchow which means food, perhaps based on Cantonese 炒, lit. stir fry (cooking)

Chow mein 
from Taishanese 炒麵 (chau meing), lit. stir fried noodle, when the first Chinese immigrants, from Taishan came to the United States.

There are a few theories on were the word Ketchup and Catsup come from one is that the word derives from one of two words from the Fujian region of coastal southern China: "kôe-chiap" (in the Xiamen accent) or "kê-chiap" (in theZhangzhou accent). Both of these words come from the Amoy dialect of China, where it meant the brine of pickled fish or shellfish.[11] The Chinese characters representing the word kôe-chiap are disputed, with two primary theories as to the word's original Chinese orthography.

Eggplant sauce
The first theory[12] states that the word "ketchup" derives from a Chinese word composed of two characters (茄汁), which means "eggplant sauce". The first character (茄), meaning "eggplant," is also the root for the word "tomato" (番茄 in Mandarin and Cantonese or 紅毛茄 in Taiwanese), though at the time tomatoes were unknown in China. The second character (汁) means "juice" or "sauce." Pronunciations of this word vary by region, but their similarities to the English "ketchup" can be noticed. This theory seems the most valid to man y because other theories seem to be connected to this theory with eggplant sauce being one of the ancestors of tomato ketchup worldwide.

from the Amoy dialect for tea 茶, which is pronounced "tey".

via Japanese 大官, lit. high official; or 大君, lit. great nobleman

colloquial English word for 'tea', originally from Chinese 茶 (Mandarin chá).