Sunday, 22 April 2018

Received Ideas in Quotes 9

The Queen wanted to be President of the George Formby Society but was told she was too important, despite pointing out she knew all the songs by heart.

Aboriginal people in Australia have never been covered by a flora and fauna act, under either federal or state law. But despite several attempts by various people to set the record straight, the myth continues to circulate, perhaps because, as one academic told Fact Check, it "embodies elements of a deeper truth about discrimination". (The act was allegedly repealed in 1967.)

Around 600 A.D., Pope Gregory the Great decreed that fetal rabbits... were not meat, and could be eaten during Lent, when meat was not allowed. Monks in France... quickly saw an opportunity and began to keep and breed rabbits. (New York Times, which goes on to debunk the story. Or was capybara redefined as a fish for the benefit of new converts in South America?)

Leonardo DaVinci painted another younger Mona Lisa which is said to have been kept in a secret vault in Switzerland. (@Museum_Facts)

A common (Glasgow?) tenement feature is a bookshelf that looks suspiciously like a door. During construction the entire street would be connected by interior doorways, saving builders going downstairs to move between blocks. They bricked them up on their way through and out. (Ryan Vance @rjjvance)

No, the surge in measles is not caused by trips to Europe. The surge in measles is caused by people not vaccinating their children. (@drphiliplee1)

Planning and determination characterise intimate partner homicide, not ‘just snapping’. (Dr Jane Monckton Smith @JMoncktonSmith)

Sailors used to catch turtles for food and store them upside down on deck, supposedly they could live for months like this without eating. (Via FB)

Journalist and former MI6 man Malcolm Muggeridge claimed that an Abwehr officer thought Wodehouse's novels were naturalistic and sent over spies in spats who were picked up in hours. ((((Edwin Moore))) @GlasgowAlbum)

The man who is believed responsible for introducing this early version of the guillotine, James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, was executed by the Maiden in 1581. (Atlas Obscura)

“Your family would either have fine china, which could withstand high temperatures” – in which case you would put the tea in first, then the milk – or you might be below stairs, drinking out of mugs, “and if they put the hot in first, the mugs would crack”. So if you live above stairs, you put your milk in last, to show that you are the kind of person who owns decent china. Below stairs, milk in first. (Times, 2018 Have you tried this with mugs? I’ve never known an earthenware mug to crack when you poured boiling water into it. And besides, the servants’ hall would have drunk tea out of cups.)

Apparently it wasn't until top-name chocolatiers got angry that they couldn't photograph their products that Kodak finally made an emulsion that should film black people adequately! (Via Twitter)

Were deleted 78s “used as ballast”, and this is how they ended up in the UK? (the central hole was used to string them together, or to delete the record.)

Why on earth would they use old soul records for ballast on ships - surely you would use something like SAND or something cheaper and more easily attainable and transportable. Seems rather unlikely that someone would say "Let's transport a load of old deleted 45 rpm records to the port so we can use them as ballast on our ships." 'Yeah, great idea, I'll send some vans to downtown Detroit...”

Old books are sold on “for ballast” in 2018. But all ballast these days is water in tanks (formerly sand and gravel). If you chucked old books into a hold they would get wet and turn to pulp. And would they be heavy enough?

On reflection, the teller says: “It was the story I was told by the shop owner who had connections with other second-hand shops around the country. She did say they were shipped in containers though maybe not as ballast.” (Via FB)

The Pith Helmet is a hard-shell, high-crowned hat with a wide, sloping brim made of the ‘pith’ (soft heartwood) of the Sola plant. It’s for this reason they’re also called Sola Topees or Sola hats. ( The plant is called “sola”, and Wikipedia suggests that they became “solar” topees through a process of folk etymology. There’s much discussion on the Web, but so far no reference to the helmets’ purpose in protecting white people from sunstroke.)

When I was in Burma I was assured that the Indian sun, even at its coolest, had a peculiar deadliness which could only be warded off by wearing a helmet of cork or pith. ‘Natives’, their skulls being thicker, had no need of these helmets... Some people, not content with cork and pith, believed in the mysterious virtues of red flannel and had little patches of it sewn into their shirts over the top vertebra. The Eurasian community, anxious to emphasize their white ancestry, used at that time to wear topis even larger and thicker than those of the British... But why should the British in India have built up this superstition about sunstroke? Because an endless emphasis on the differences between the ‘natives’ and yourself is one of the necessary props of imperialism. You can only rule over a subject race, especially when you are in a small minority, if you honestly believe yourself to be racially superior, and it helps towards this if you can believe that the subject race is biologically different. There were quite a number of ways in which Europeans in India used to believe, without any evidence, that Asiatic bodies differed from their own. Even quite considerable anatomical differences were supposed to exist. But this nonsense about Europeans being subject to sunstroke and Orientals not, was the most cherished superstition of all. The thin skull was the mark of racial superiority, and the pith topi was a sort of emblem of imperialism. 
(George Orwell, As I Please)

I regularly see kids who cannot even cross the road properly because they never walk anywhere!

I remember another mum describing how she proudly listened to her son read while she was cooking dinner only to discover when she came into the room that the book was shut and he was reciting from memory.

When I was young Easter eggs always had the word “Easter” on them.

More here, and links to the rest.

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