Archive for the ‘Language and medicine’ Category

Brewster Rockit to the rescue

July 15, 2017

[revised version]

From David Preston, yesterday’s Brewster Rockit comic strip, in a male character attempts to mansplain mansplaining to Pamela Mae Snap (aka Irritable Belle):

(#1) (Note strategic use of speech bubbles in the third panel.)

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A medical mouthful

May 22, 2017

That would be endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). It’s the cholangiopancreatography that especially interests me. I was hoping that there would be some way to break that monster into pieces, like this:

cholangio-pancreato-graphy ‘imaging of the bile duct and the pancreas’

but cholangio- and pancreato- are both combining forms, with a linking –o– that has to be written solid with what follows. So we’re stuck with the whole long business.

All this is on my mind because I’m undergoing this procedure on June 7th; I had the diagnostic MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography) back on the 11th.

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Chenillar moments, including frass and lepidopterism

May 14, 2017

Two caterpillar notes, an old one and a very recent one.

First, from a Language Log posting of mine from 6/2/06:

As for the oak moths, we’ve been exceptionally afflicted by them this spring at Stanford — a rain of caterpillars [California Oakworms, Phryganidia californica], then masses of cocoons, and now clouds of moths.  Ick.  Susie Fork [posting on the Elkhorn Slough site], however, sounds pretty pro-moth.  Well, the Elkhorn Slough staff seem to value all the organisms they study.  But then they don’t have to live with clumps of cocoons disfiguring the pieces in the New Guinea Sculpture Garden, the way we do.

(#1)

Then from a visit to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden last week:

(#2)

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Toxic moments

May 13, 2017

First, a story came by on NPR in which a tale of five dead hunters in Oregon played a central role, as did the terrible poison tetrodotoxin. And then an episode of the tv series Death in Paradise in which this poison plays a central role. Rough-skinned newts, pufferfish, and garter snakes all have parts to play in the story, as do arms races in evolution. And of course tetrodotoxin and the entertainments of Death in Paradise.

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From the FoxFiles

May 3, 2017

… of demented p.r. releases sent to Margalit Fox. On Facebook today:

Most, ah, arresting lede on any press release I’ve ever received: “I am a former incarcerated acid chemist. …”

Putting aside the question of the intended parsing of former incarcerated acid chemist (conveying, I assume, something like ‘acid chemist formerly incarcerated’), I focus on acid chemist, which has a straight sense — as in nucleic acid chemist ‘chemist who studies nucleic acids (like DNA and RNA) — and a high sense, as in this book title:

  (#1)

where the acid in question is the psychedelic drug LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as simply as acid.

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The Congressional Brain Injury Task Force

April 6, 2017

The U.S. has such a thing, and its name is a compound with three possibly relevant parsings into constituents (for in the glosses conveys something like ‘to investigate’):

(1)  [ Congressional ]  [ [ Brain Injury ] [ Task Force ] ]

‘ a task force, associated with Congress, for brain injury

(2)  [ [ Congressional Brain ]  [ Injury ] ] [ Task Force ]

‘a task force for injury to the Congressional brain

(3)  [ [ Congressional ] [ Brain Injury ] ] [Task Force ]

‘a task force for Congressional brain injury

(1) is the intended reading. (2) has an entertaining sense involving a Congressional brain, a brain that Congress has (or is otherwise associated with). (3) involves (a) brain injury that is associated in some way with Congress. I’m much taken with readings (2) and (3), especially (2), which reminded me of the October 1980 Doonesbury sequence “The Mysterious World of Reagan’s Brain”.

The intended reading is entirely clear, but sportive readers will play with the alternatives

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Friday cartoon 3: more news for penises

March 10, 2017

Today’s Bizarro:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

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Spring bulbs

March 9, 2017

… and other flowers. The plants come into bloom on a schedule that’s some complex of day length and temperature. Locally we’ve been having stretches of late cold weather (“patchy morning frost in low-lying areas”, the weather forecasts will say), so some plants are on the late side. Out my front door: the calla lilies are just now opening up, and the Victorian box — Pittosporum — hasn’t yet come into fragrant bloom. (For enthusiasts of resembloid composites: calla lilies aren’t lilies (Lilium), and Victorial box isn’t any kind of box (Buxus); see my 3/17/12 St. Patrick’s Day posting.) But the first narcissus bloomed in January, and a visit with Juan Gomez to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden on Tuesday confronted us with great swaths of blooming narcissus, of many cultivars, as well as tulips, grape hyacinths, and snowdrops.

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Morning names for the new year

January 1, 2017

Two morning names for today, totally unrelated to one another: the nickname Ozzie or Ozzy; and the adjective puerperal.

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Pharmaceutical morning names

December 24, 2016

Today’s morning name, an AZ name: AstraZeneca. Which of course led me quickly to the singer Astrud Zeneca.

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