Monthly Archives: February 2016

Some proverbs are more fluff than pith

‘Jini rnadhen, tini chul-o bnadhen’ This Bengali proverb means that the person who cooks also does her own hair. That is purely the literal meaning though. What it really means is that she who has to cook is also the … Continue reading

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Flipping the bird, four centuries on

Four hundred years ago today, a man was asked to either defend his scientific ideas or surrender them. He was said to have sinned against the Bible, a book that had no single author and very little historical accuracy. His … Continue reading

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The problem with Merle…

“I couldn’t dance or sing or write or paint. The only possible opening seemed to be in some line in which I could use my face. This was, in fact, no better than a hundred other faces, but it did … Continue reading

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God bless you! Now take your plague elsewhere please

It might be only just another day in February 2016, but about fifteen hundred years ago, this was the day when Pope Gregory decided that people would have to say ‘God bless you’ every time they heard someone else sneeze. … Continue reading

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An Australian identity, 1880s style.

Shearing the Rams, by Tom Roberts. An Englishman by birth, Roberts moved to Australia as a boy of seventeen. He trained in England and became a master of peinture sur le motif or open air painting. This later led to … Continue reading

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Today’s Google Doodle: Dimitri Mendeleev

In the first volume of Principles of Chemistry Mendeleev discussed only eight of the then known sixty-three elements. He finished with the halogens, including chlorine and iodine. When he began the second volume he found that he needed to organise … Continue reading

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Swarnakumari Debi

In the year 1876 the December chill in Calcutta was suddenly stirred by the appearance of an anonymous novel. Its title was ‘Deep Nirbaan’ or the Extinguishing of the Lamp. Its readers were amazed by the maturity of the unknown … Continue reading

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