Primate testicle size

July 27, 2015

From the July 18th New Scientist, in the In Brief section, “Zoologger: The sex-addicted tiny lemur with giant testicles” (on-line; in print, “Tiny lemur is best endowed primate”):

“Oh my god! How do they manage to walk and climb without bumping these things on every branch?” asked Johanna Rode-Margono the first time she saw the testicles of a giant mouse lemur close up.

In turns out they don’t. They stumble and bump their balls with almost every step they take, says Rode-Margono, who is at Oxford Brookes University, UK. At a mere 300 grams, the lemur is roughly squirrel-sized. But for its size, it has the largest testicles in the primate world (American Journal of Physical Anthropology, doi.org/54q).

If we had the same testes size, relative to weight, the average man would have balls as big as grapefruits, says Rode-Margono.

The lemurs mate all year round but constant copulation has not saved them from deforestation – fewer than 17,000 giant mouse lemurs are left, she says.

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Misleadingly named animals

July 27, 2015

Via Kim Darnell on Facebook (a very long time ago), this poster:

Eight composite names — some N + N, some Adj + N. The question here is the semantic contribution of each of the parts. The poster deliberately disregards the fact that these are common names, not technical labels from biology; and it insists on treating these names as definitions, which is something no mere label can do. And it throws in some tongue-in-cheek remarks.

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Bacteriological picture books

July 27, 2015

A Tom Gauld cartoon in the latest (July 18th) New Scientist:

(#1)

Bacteria crossed with children’s picture books.

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Land of 1,000 Dances

July 26, 2015

Following up on my “Name Rhymes” posting (with examples from Cab Calloway and Paul Simon), Mike Pope wrote to remind me about Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1,000 Dances”, with a rather different rhyme scheme involving names. From one version of this song (there are many):

Got to know how to pony
Like Bony Maronie
..
Do the Watusi
Like my little Lucy
..
Out in the alley
With Long Tall Sally
Twistin’ with Lucy
Doin’ the Watusi

In my earlier posting, the rhyming words are adjacent in a line. Here we have rhyming couplets, but still involving names.

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Kongtoon

July 26, 2015

Today’s Bizarro, with yet another King Kong cartoon (it’s a cartoon meme):

The movie King Kong has a firm place in American popular culture: the giant gorilla has appeared as a character in a long series of movies and tv shows after the 1933 original film.

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Don Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

xx

Associative thinking

July 26, 2015

Today’s One Big Happy:

In trying to recover a memory, we are all inclined to wander from one idea to an associated idea, sometimes losing track of the point of the original mental search — but some people are especially given to this kind of associative thinking, as here.

Ingrid Bergman, by the way.

Dave Blazek

July 26, 2015

Another cartoonist new to this blog (like Ken Krimstein, recently posted on). The Loose Change cartoon by Blazek below (from 2010) came to me from the Grammarly Facebook page via a friend:

(#1)

Pin the Apostrophe on the Word.

There’s a rich vein of cartoons mocking English teachers for their purported inclination to focus on minutiae.

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Shirtless shark-fighting teens

July 26, 2015

(Not much on language, but entertaining nonetheless.)

What unites SoCal teens, shirtless dancers, and fighters of flying sharks? Take a moment to think.

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Name rhymes

July 25, 2015

Heard recently as music accompanying an NPR show: Cab Calloway performing “Everybody Eats at My House”, rhyming (or half-rhyming) food names and personal names, beginning:

(1) Have a banana, Hannah
Try the salami, Tommy
Get with the gravy, Davy
Everybody eats when they come to my house

(Four-line verses, with three that rhyme food names with personal names, plus a constant final line. The verse form should probably be called a Calloway.) Read the rest of this entry »

Failure to reach proverbial status

July 25, 2015

A Roz Chast cartoon from the July 27th New Yorker:

Each panel has its subject failing to reach the level required for some piece of formulaic language to apply:

She’s a force of nature.
After he was made, people threw away the mold.
She’s completely irrepressible.


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