Gwendoogle Part LXIX – Language and Mathematics and a Very Expensive Pet

Gwendoogle

Answers served with some silliness and just a hint of mathematics

Kathryn searched (regarding those who swear by Jericho, or the lack thereof): Further research has led to one mention of the exclamation (or swear?) “by Jericho” outside of the song to which I was listening (a rendition of the song “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho” by the Swingle Singers), that being in the Libertine play Friendship in Fashion, where the character Sneak seems very fond of it.
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After all this time, I still haven’t been able to dig up a single other instance of this swear. Neither have I been able to verify the Swingle Singer’s swearing despite listening to their rendition several times. Nor have I found a script for Friendship in Fashion.

Thus, I conclude: I ain’t got a clue.

DJ Matticus searched: Alrighty then?
I’m glad you approve of my complete acceptance of my utter ignorance.

Neekers searched: Why is a grapefruit called a grapefruit?
Grapefruit grow on their trees in clusters, resembling the way that grapes grow on their vines. Someone must have wandered along and decided that grapefruit looked like huge, yellow grapes, and their first idea to call them  “The Golden Grapes of the Golden Giants from Giantland” was shot down in favor of something shorter.

Flip the Otter searched: Quid est?
Camelum, quo togam habet, est.

Kathryn searched: What is the line between sanity and insanity?
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DJ Matticus searched (regarding my previous list of cowards): Why did you pick Theon Greyjoy from HBO’s Game of Thrones rather than Theon Greyjoy from George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire?
Because I haven’t read Mr. Martin’s series.  I read the first book, and worked halfway through the second before it had to go back to the library. That was two years ago. When I realized I wasn’t anxious to get the book back out, I realized that I might enjoy myself better between other pages.

While I’m sure that Book Theon is also a coward, the only one that I have first-hand experience with is Television Theon, and so Television Theon is the one that earned a ranking on my list.

Also, I think I’m carrying a deep-seated belief that George R.R. Martin carries enough talent to make me sympathize with Book Theon, if I were watching everything he’s done through his eyes.

Ducky searched: How did English get “pan” as a cooking utensil while Greek used it to describe a whole?
Because English rifled through a different Greek pocket when it came up with its word. English’s pan came from the old English’s panne, which came from Proto-Germanic’s panna which likely borrowed from Vulgar Latin’s patna, which definitely came from Latin’s patina, which definitely came from Greek’s patane, which meant plate or dish.

It’s just coincidence that our multilingual, centuries long game of telephone ended with the same spelling for two different words.

Flip the Otter searched: Why is the motivation gone?
One: because it is a vile thing that turns even the most lazy men into complete achievers. Two: that stack of books I want to read is over a thousand titles high. The entire fictional world is waiting for me. Do you really think there’s even the slightest chance I won’t spend the entire day with my nose in a book just because you say the dishes need to be done?

Kathryn searched: What is the line between order and chaos?
Linebetweenchoasandorder

Flip the Otter searched: Why can’t I have magical space dragons?
Have you done your research?

Do you know how much a magical space dragon eats? I’m going to guess somewhere around 40,000 calories a day (because that’s how much science thinks a T-Rex would eat a day, and that seems like a good baseline). Assuming that your magical space dragon is carnivorous (as most are), that’s forty-seven pounds of steak a day. That’s $235 of steak a day. Three hundred and twenty-nine pounds and $1,645 of steak a week.

And that’s just buying the food. Have you thought about delivery? Presumably, your magical space dragon will live in space, and NASA (who kind of has a monopoly on outer space deliveries here in the United States) charges $10,000 to move one pound of payload into Earth Orbit. They are looking to reduce that cost to under a hundred dollars a pound within the next forty years, but for now, that means it would cost 3.29 million dollars to feed your magical space dragon for a week.

That’s 13.1 million dollars to feed your space dragon for a month.

And 157.9 million dollars to feed your space dragon for a year.

And you want more than one?

I’m not helping you rob a bank.

DJ Matticus searched: How can Superman even drink Kryptonian Lager? Wouldn’t that be lethal for him?
[blinks] Do you want to try telling Superman that he couldn’t handle such a strong liquor? I mostly stay out of the way of guys who can toss me through the planet.

Kathryn searched: What is the line between fantasy and realism?
I’d argue it varies, dependent on what comes last on the list of things that any specific person could believe were real. It’s probably a very squiggly line, that moves when nudged just gently enough.

Kate Kearney searched: Did you know that Google Translate has Ancient Greek?
[raises eyebrow]

[checks]

Nope. Because it doesn’t. [squinty-eyed look] Is this one of those things, like trying to convince your best friend that gullible isn’t in the dictionary? If so, I only have one response for you, Google-Translated from English, to Modern Greek, to Italian, to Bengali, to Czech, to Estonian, to Dutch, to Romanian, to Japanese, to Esperanto, to Swahili, to German, to Latin, to Swedish, to English:

A small amount, between prove

(That started out as I’m not gullible, you fiend. Ask me about my stance on treating language as a mathematical concept and the attempt to make it more about macro-transliteration than true translation.)

Have a question for Gwendoogle? Leave it in comments below and I’ll be back next week to answer it.

The question bucket currently has: 42 questions

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6 thoughts on “Gwendoogle Part LXIX – Language and Mathematics and a Very Expensive Pet

  1. I… had completely forgotten about that question…. I have no answer either.

    Now, here’s an unorthodox request. I know you don’t like fanfiction generally, but I am wondering about what would happen if Rick Riordan’s demigods found Hesiod’s account of the Five Ages. You seem better qualified than me to answer this.

  2. “Also, I think I’m carrying a deep-seated belief that George R.R. Martin carries enough talent to make me sympathize with Book Theon, if I were watching everything he’s done through his eyes.” – A very astute observation and answer. And, while I think the books are worth reading, I can appreciate putting them aside rather than forcing yourself to read them.

    • I will probably pick the books up at another time. I remember finding interesting differences between the books and the television show (differences that were often slanted in the books’ favor), but that was not the time. I take it you’re one of Mr. Martin’s avid readers?

      • I’m an avid reader of the Fire and Ice series, I haven’t bothered to pick up any of his other books. It’s his world building that keeps bringing me back… so much detail, so many intricacies. Plus, you know, dragons…

        • The dragons are quite amazing. And as far as world-building goes, he’s definitely one of the more ambitious authors, and of the most ambitious, one of the few that manages to dunk you in head first, even while almost overwhelming you with the details. That is incredible.

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