Category Archives: Brain

Today’s INSIGHT: ‘Benchmark’ Is NOT A Mark On A Bench, It Comes From Surveying.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE & read here. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benchmark_(surveying)

The post shown at the top, on Facebook this morning, was what got me thinking. I had seen the marks & knew them to be surveying marks. DID NOT know that they were the ‘benchmarks‘. Wow.

Did you know? That is why I am sharing. Neat.


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by Anura Guruge


‘Synesthesia’ — When One Sense Automatically & Always Also Invokes Another.

by Anura Guruge


I am pretty sure I had never heard of ‘synesthesia’ before coming across it in “Sam Kean’s” book “The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons” I started reading last week. I am big fan of “Sam Kean”.


I heard an excerpt from one of his books on NPR a few years ago, & knew at once that I needed to read that book. As is my won’t I bought all three of his then published books at the same time. Here they are:


I learnt a lot from his ‘The Disappearing Spoon‘ — which was the first one I chose to read. Until I read it in the book I had never heard of ‘Argyria‘ (i.e., permanently turning blue from ingesting too much silver) or how our brains need iodine in order to function satisfactorily.


So now I have learnt about ‘synesthesia‘, i.e., when one sense invokes another, e.g., seeing different colors when they hear noise. Franz Liszt (1811 — 1886), the Hungarian composer, had synesthesia. He was as such a synesthete. But, there are lots of other forms. Some might see colored shapes floating around them while having sex.

Wikipedia as a fairly decent article about it. Start there if you are interested — & you should be.

LSD, I also learnt, invokes temporary synesthesia! Didn’t, of course, know that either.



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by Anura Guruge


San Diego Zoo, Elephant Close-Call With 2-Year Old & Brain-Dead Father — It Was An African Elephant.

by Anura Guruge





What puzzles me most is how he managed to get into the enclosure. Two things here. I would have thought that the zoo would have had enough barriers to keep a person way. Plus, I would have thought that at least one ‘zoo keeper‘ would always be within striking distance of this enclosure. It is not as if they would not have enough to do.

In the YouTube videos you can see images of the brain-dead dad. He looks drugged & I detect some ‘Asian’ in him. Obviously he was NOT thinking straight — BUT then again I used to go & pet a wild, fully-grown Bengal tiger at an open air zoo in England! But, in my case I was only putting MY ARM at risk — & I had spent days building up a ‘rapport’ with that tiger.

However, what struck me the MOST was that it was an African elephant, most likely a bull at that. How can you tell? The ears. Yes, African elephants, bull or cow, are markedly more aggressive than Indian elephants.

Watching the videos I learnt that they had both African & Indian (also called ‘Asian’) elephants in the enclosure. I find it interesting that none of the other elephants came to see what was going on. They tend to be curious animals.

I am by no means an expert, but having grown up in Ceylon I know a bit about Indian elephants — given the nearly daily exposure we would have to domesticated one. I like elephants. But, I am partial to Indian elephants. To I, they are better looking & have far better temperaments.

Bottom line here. Do not try to break into elephant enclosures — full stop. Exposing a 2-year old to an elephant you do NOT know is beyond stupid. Yes, in Ceylon, with a domesticated elephant that I already knew, I would have no compunction about offering a 2-year old baby for them to pet! Yes, they will PET a baby with their trunk with GREAT AFFECTION. They are BIG cuddly puppies! Very loyal & affectionate. SMILE. But, I did STRESS domesticated — & Indian.


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by Anura Guruge


 

Today’s INSIGHT: Ever Wonder As To How Church Steeples Came To Be, & What Church Had The First?

by Anura Guruge


Iconic white church steeple in Machias, Maine — so quintessential of New England churches.


Last week during my perambulations on the Bold Coast of Maine, I got thinking about church steeples — given that every town (or village) in that neck of the woods appear to have a quintessentially New England white church with a rampant steeple.

Yes, of course, I have heard the theory as to their symbolism — the desire to reach out to the heavens. But, there is also a phallic element — as in Obelisks (& I was thinking of the iconic one that dominates St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican). That ancient obelisks, in Egypt, paid homage to male ‘fertility’ is well understood. Putting a cross on top of a obelisk, as at the Vatican, does not disguise the original intent. So, there is that aspect.

What I got thinking about was ‘what would have been the first church to sport a steeple (as we know them now)‘? I did realize that this piece of history might have gone unnoted, unrecorded & is possibly now not known. Some quick research confirmed that. We just don’t know. It is now surmised that Christian steeples probably came to be around the 6th century. I guess that kind of makes sense. We do NOT know what church sported the first steeple.

The best that we can do today is identify the majestic Chartres Cathedral (in France) has having the OLDEST original steeple that is still standing. These steeples were built in the 12th century. So, he have appear to have lost about 600-years worth of history when it comes to church steeples. Thought that you may want to think of this.


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by Anura Guruge


 

Today’s INSIGHT: Did You Know That ‘Belvedere’ Means A Building With A View?

by Anura Guruge


A belvedere. The ‘Liberty Hall’ in Machiasport, Maine (Bold Coast). See sign below, which is on the right of the stairs.




Then there was “Mr. Belvedere” the U.S. TV sitcom that I was familiar with. So, I had assumed that it was a Surname.


The Belvedere I was familiar with. Yes, at the Vatican. I had assumed (wrongly) that it was named after a cardinal who paid to have it built! Click to ENLARGE & read here. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortile_del_Belvedere



This imposing building is in Machiasport, Maine, on Route 92 — across the road from the river (opening). I had parked the car, just south of ‘Fort O’Brien State Historic Site‘ & was exploring the area, starting with the Fort, on foot. I stop & read signs. So, I saw the sign shown at top. I had never seen ‘Belvedere’ used as such. It was obvious it was referring to the building. So, that evening when I was back at the motel (in Machias) I Googled it. WOW.

Yes, I knew ‘Belle’ was beautiful. ‘Verde’. I had seen Spanish variants in Arizona. I had never put it together. It was interesting. I wanted to share with you.

What do you think? Cool … eh?


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by Anura Guruge


 

Today’s INSIGHT: Did You Know That ‘Stew’ Was The Name For A Brothel (A Whorehouse)?

by Anura Guruge


I had no idea. I was confused the first time I heard it used in that context. Appears that in 12th Century England it WAS the word for a whorehouse. Routinely used.

I learnt this via the latest Amazon Audible book I am listening, viz. “A Mortal Bane”. See below. Kind of neat. I can see how this word could evolve over time.


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by Anura Guruge


 

Today’s INSIGHT: Ever Wondered What The Name ‘Canada’ Means?

by Anura Guruge


As some of you know names intrigue me & I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the origins & meanings of names. I wish I had more time to pursue this fobile. Ideally, I would look up each & every name I come across. I still need to find what ‘Craig‘ stands for & where it came from. That is just one of thousands.

The other day ‘Canada‘ popped into my mind. Had no idea. Did YOU? Had to look it up.

Check the Wikipedia entry. They even have two alternate, humorous, suggestions.


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by Anura Guruge


 

Today’s INSIGHT: ‘Drummer’ Used To Be Another Name For Travelling Salesman.

by Anura Guruge


Did YOU know that? I did not.

I was reading a book set in the 1860s when the term came up — it was talking about two ‘drummers’ who were visiting a midwest Army fort carrying their ‘goods’. Stumped I. So, had to look it up. WOW.

So, I had to SHARE with you. What do you think?


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by Anura Guruge


 

Today’s INSIGHT: ‘Bagatelle’ Is An Actual Place & There Is A Board Game Of That Name.

by Anura Guruge


The board game. A type of pocket billiards. Goal is to get the small balls into the ‘holes’ made from the pegs using the small cue.


‘Mere bagatelle’ (a phrase I am fond of) comes from the Château de Bagatelle, outside Paris (France). It was basically built as a ‘folly’ — a trifle. Hence, mere Bagatelle. COOL. I just found that out, after encountering the Bagatelle board game on Facebook. Had never heard of it or seen a board. The board game was played at the French Château, hence the name. Cute. I love to learn new things. Wanted to share this with you. Pass it along. SMILE. Enjoy.


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by Anura Guruge


 

Today’s INSIGHT For Thought: Babies Are Born Capable Of Speaking ANY Language In The World.

by Anura Guruge


It is patently obvious when YOU THINK about it, BUT I am not sure how many of us have ever given it any thought.

Babies, worldwide, when born are NOT ‘programmed’ (or predisposed) to speak any particular language. As long as they are ‘normal’ they will pick-up & learn whatever TONGUE they are most exposed to, i.e., the so called ‘mother tongue’.

I, as you should be able to tell, am NOT good at languages. I listen to Chinese or Russian & am CONVINCED that I would never have been able to master such languages. But, IF I had grown up being exposed to one of those languages it would have become my mother tongue. WOW.

You have to think about this. Quite neat when you finally get you mind around all of it.

No baby is born to speak English, Swahili, Sinhalese, Italian, Russian, Vietnamese or whatever.

Babies are born language-neutral.


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by Anura Guruge