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The Sea Turtle's Tale: Back to the sea, and back again to the land - Comments

maton100's Avatar Comment 1 by maton100

I love turtles.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 14:54:00 UTC | #272622

Szymanowski's Avatar Comment 2 by Szymanowski

palimpsest
I'll bet Richard became a zoologist and wrote this essay solely for the opportunity to use the word "palimpsest" in a sentence.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 15:47:00 UTC | #272675

DeepFritz's Avatar Comment 3 by DeepFritz

The Ancestors tale is my favourite piece of all of Richard's works. It is a supreme achievement and a beautiful series of stories about why living creatures are the way they are.

I think the Redwood's tale (talking about carbon dating) should be compulsory learning material (infact the entire book should be) for every schoolkid.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 16:29:00 UTC | #272703

mdowe's Avatar Comment 4 by mdowe

Re: 2. Comment #286482 by Szymanowski

That's a real word? ... I thought it was just a typo =P

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 17:27:00 UTC | #272719

Brian English's Avatar Comment 5 by Brian English

Whales (including the small whales we call dolphins)
Minor quibble, but Orcas (Killer Whales) are dolphins and are not small.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 18:22:00 UTC | #272727

Titania's Avatar Comment 6 by Titania

1. Comment #286429 by maton100

I love turtles.


I love Dawkins. I could read his work and listen to him speak all day long and never tire.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 18:34:00 UTC | #272729

Titania's Avatar Comment 7 by Titania

Tortoises therefore represent a remarkable double return. In common with all mammals, reptiles and birds, their remote ancestors were marine fish and before that various more or less worm-like creatures stretching back, still in the sea, to the primeval bacteria.


I hope wooter doesn’t read this blasphemy or he will post the video again. Just in case he does;

http://www.skeptics.com.au/articles/dawkins.htm

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 18:49:00 UTC | #272733

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 8 by Lisa Bauer

#2 Szymanowski

I'll bet Richard became a zoologist and wrote this essay solely for the opportunity to use the word "palimpsest" in a sentence.


Silly, if that were his true goal in life, he could have just become an antiquarian or an ancient historian. Then he could write lengthy treatises on, say, the Archimedes palimpsest. :-P

I love turtles (and tortoises) too, and it's always a pleasure to learn more about them (and other animals) from somebody whose passion for the subject shines through every sentence.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 18:51:00 UTC | #272734

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 9 by rod-the-farmer

Layla, is that not the National Geographic girl ? What a haunting beauty.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 19:47:00 UTC | #272740

transylvanian's Avatar Comment 10 by transylvanian

Szymanowski said: "I'll bet Richard became a zoologist and wrote this essay solely for the opportunity to use the word 'palimpsest' in a sentence."

I think being able to slip "panglossian" in there occasionally is pretty great, too.

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 19:55:00 UTC | #272743

Elles's Avatar Comment 11 by Elles

It's probably just a British thing, but please tell me that I'm not the only one who laughed at Richard's pronunciation of Iguana.

It's not my fault that I've heard it pronounced completely differently all my life...

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 21:47:00 UTC | #272750

Sittingduck's Avatar Comment 12 by Sittingduck

One Australian river turtle, indeed, gets the majority of its oxygen by breathing, as an Australian would not hesitate to say, through its arse.


A turtle that reminds me of some political pundits inhabiting the US airwaves....

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 21:51:00 UTC | #272752

N. Fidel's Avatar Comment 13 by N. Fidel

The Ancestor's Tale is Professor Dawkins' best book by long odds, and the best part: he's apparently still writing it. The computer print-outs of this and other tales published exclusively on this board are comfortably wedged in my copy of this fantastic tome.

Any possibility of their inclusion in future reprints?

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 23:04:00 UTC | #272761

Jesse.'s Avatar Comment 14 by Jesse.

I love these additional stories to the ancestors tale. It's my favorite among his books by far. My thanks to the professor for writing and posting this.

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 00:31:00 UTC | #272771

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 15 by robotaholic

omg i love Richard Dawkins - he's performing again! THIS is getting back to basics. THIS is Dawkin's being #1

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 00:39:00 UTC | #272774

Alun ap Rhisiart's Avatar Comment 16 by Alun ap Rhisiart

Rod, the photographer is Steve McCurry, from Magnum, a great photographer, as you say.
http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP=XSpecific_MAG.PhotographerDetail_VPage&l1=0&pid=2K7O3R13O2CM&nm=Steve McCurry

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 01:09:00 UTC | #272782

Ian's Avatar Comment 17 by Ian

Having only a sketchy knowledge of what a palimpsest is, I wikied it and found the following:

..the consumption of old codices for the sake of the material was so great that a synodal decree of the year 691 forbade the destruction of manuscripts of the Scriptures or the church fathers, except for imperfect or injured volumes. Such a decree put added pressure on retrieving the vellum on which secular manuscripts were written.


Religion does poison everything.

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 02:13:00 UTC | #272793

Roger Stanyard's Avatar Comment 18 by Roger Stanyard

Elles, well how do non-English pronounce Iguana?

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 03:04:00 UTC | #272797

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 19 by rod-the-farmer

North Americans typically pronounce it as IG-WANA. It is unusual to hear IG-YOU-WANA. I suspect it is a bit like JAG-YOU-AR. West of the pond you hear mostly JAG-WAR. In rare cases you will hear that middle U pronounced by someone who owns one of those cars, and wishes to appear correct, based on the pronunciation used by the manufacturer. Personally, I just say JAG.

Far more common in N. America is a similar mis-pronunciation, of PORSH. Even among their owners. Dropping the final E sound drives me nuts.

To get the point across I say (falsely) that I own a COR-VET-EEE.

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 03:23:00 UTC | #272798

JRTate's Avatar Comment 20 by JRTate

Far more common in N. America is a similar mis-pronunciation, of PORSH. Even among their owners. Dropping the final E sound drives me nuts.

To get the point across I say (falsely) that I own a COR-VET-EEE.


Do you ever stop to take a second to listen to yourself or just think about how petty you're being, rod?

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 03:37:00 UTC | #272801

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 21 by rod-the-farmer

Ancient turtle discovered on Skye

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7736786.stm

How timely.

And as for JRTate, I NEVER consider myself petty in this regard. Proper use of your native language is a sign of your level of education. What would you think of someone who mis-pronounced your own name ? Repeatedly, even after you took the time to correct them. Would you feel insulted ? Would you feel the person doing it was being deliberately rude, or just mentally challenged and unable to speak properly ? When we teach our infant children to speak, hopefully we try to teach them the "right" way to say words. That is so they will be understood by all who hear them. Next time you go by a Porsche dealer, drop by and ask them how they pronounce the name of the car they sell. It is rude and/or ignorant to mis-pronounce the name. Pick one. Or both.

Reminds me of the old joke - What is the difference between a Porsche and a Porcupine ?

Answer - On the Porcupine, the pricks are on the outside.

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 04:35:00 UTC | #272818

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 22 by Lisa Bauer

#17 Ian

Having only a sketchy knowledge of what a palimpsest is, I wikied it and found the following:
..the consumption of old codices for the sake of the material was so great that a synodal decree of the year 691 forbade the destruction of manuscripts of the Scriptures or the church fathers, except for imperfect or injured volumes. Such a decree put added pressure on retrieving the vellum on which secular manuscripts were written.


It's hard to imagine a time when writing materials were so expensive that people would go to such lengths to clean off and reuse them.

Religion does poison everything.


Well...Jews in the Middle Ages, and sometimes even today, avoided destroying or reusing any piece of writing with the name of God on it (hence why some write God as G-d) and would instead put them away in a geniza, a storeroom, in the synagogue. A chance discovery of such a room in Cairo, the Cairo Geniza, has been one of the most important sources of first-hand documentation of Middle Eastern medieval history, with 200,000 manuscripts dating from medieval times to the 19th century. Had the original owners of these manuscripts not had such an irrational belief, we would be the poorer for not having them. (Then again, I suppose it could be said that life was made much poorer for countless numbers of people because of silly religious rules like that one...)

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 05:53:00 UTC | #272859

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 23 by Lisa Bauer

#9 rod-the-farmer

Layla, is that not the National Geographic girl ? What a haunting beauty.

I was wondering how long it would take somebody to notice! Yes, this is an outtake picture of Sharbat Gula, one they didn't use at the time. I was a bit disappointed when they found her again that the National Geographic staff didn't offer to help her emigrate somewhere, or at least offer her some of the money she's helped them earn. (Well, maybe they did, but she or Mr. Sharbat Gula turned it down -- they didn't say.)

One of the reasons I picked it was because I frequently try to hide my face, whether I'm nervous, embarrassed, frightened...I can easily see why many women prefer to hide their faces, honestly.

Incidentally, about tortoises:
And finally they returned yet again to the land as tortoises, some of which, though not the Galápagos giants, now live in the driest of deserts.

I knew somebody who owned a desert tortoise, not uncommon as pets around here, who acted almost like a dog. He would beg for food, scratch at the door, and liked being "petted". He was so cute!

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 06:09:00 UTC | #272865

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 24 by Dr. Strangegod

Rod - Dude, iguana and jaguar are both Spanish/Mexican words. The are pronounced with Spanish inflection. Porche is not mispronounced, it's just shortened for ease of use into a single syllable like many words. British folk can be forgiven for mispronouncing Spanish/Mexican words, but Americans should not be. Freakin' Canadians, yeesh ...

By the way, and way off topic, everyone take a look at the aurora shot on Saturn on today's APOD. Weird shit.

EDIT: Replaced "infliction" with "inflection", thanks to jabber.

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 06:50:00 UTC | #272876

amaranthus02@hotmail.com's Avatar Comment 25 by amaranthus02@hotmail.com

@ Rod the farmer
"To get the point across I say (falsely) that I own a COR-VET-EEE."

correctly, that should be Corvett-uh, with a guttral rhotic consonant on the R.
- Porsche, which should correctly be pronounced Porch-uh not Porsh-ee..that would , i suppose, make someone who has been Porche-d by someone who is a Porsch-er (as in poacher - poachee).

I dont think its petty to insist on correct pronunciation - in the Orient (the continent, not the local restaurant), that approach could get you into serious trouble!

Never confuse precision for pedantry

oh - and Lucas, i have never heard of a Spanish infliction - unless you're talking about what they did to the Aztecs....i suspect you may mean affliction, or possibly inflexion?

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 07:04:00 UTC | #272881

Riley's Avatar Comment 26 by Riley

I definitely have enjoyed the Ancestor's Tale. I especially like the short story quality of the book. I can open it up to any section and read something interesting.

However, when reading this book and thinking about the process of natural selection, I couldn't help thinking that the process by which we come into being is not statistically improbable. It seems to me to be very probable, if not inevitable, given the amount of time we've had.

I don't mean "us" exactly, but rather "us": cell-based, seeing, hearing, smelling, sexually-reproducing, intelligent life.

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 07:15:00 UTC | #272885

amaranthus02@hotmail.com's Avatar Comment 27 by amaranthus02@hotmail.com

i own a VW which i pronounce - FolksVargen - *wink*

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 07:23:00 UTC | #272887

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 28 by rod-the-farmer

Thanks, jabber. Porsche actually comes in at least two varieties. Back porches (911 et al.) and front porches (924, 944 and 928). Mid-engined versions are less common, and mostly race cars. I have driven a number of them, and raced against more. They are great cars. Wish I could afford to buy & service one.

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 08:30:00 UTC | #272905

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 29 by God fearing Atheist

#286695 by jabber
i own a VW which i pronounce - FolksVargen - *wink*


I once had a Pakistani lecturer with a thick accent. I tried to imagine him speaking German. :-)

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 08:37:00 UTC | #272909

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 30 by Stafford Gordon

Those Turtles! They just can't make up their minds can they.

Wed, 19 Nov 2008 09:25:00 UTC | #272919