Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Miscellany: Some Odds, Ends and Personals

Today is Oz Day . . .


Some Byter contributions last week:

* * * * * * * *
From Byter Martin S in respect of my comment that the footprints of the astronauts on the moon would remain for millions of years, there being no wind and atmosphere:

It is a common fallacy to believe that the footprints in the moon will remain for millions of years. 
Whilst the atmosphere on the moon, is, in fact minimal, other processes ensure that there is a turnover of soil on the surface of the moon. Often called Gardening. 
These are not limited to:
· Micrometeorites , their impacts and ejecta.
· Thermal changes between night and day
· Electrostatic effects on individual dust grains (as seen by Apollo 8 and so on..) which cause a constant but light dusting across the moon. 
As to the exact turnover on the regolith of the moon, it remains unclear, but millions of years is not possible, but most likely more persistent than scribing your name on beach at low tide. 
Martin S

Thanks Martin.

Cartoon by Adams from the Daily Telegraph on the death of Neil Armstrong in 2012. The cartoon depicts Armstrong’s first footprint still existing 1,000 years into the future, but Earth is missing from the picture, a comment on the problems facing the Earth at present

* * * * * * * *
From Byter Brett B in respect of my comment in the same post that the Wright Brothers carried out the first heavier than air manned flight that returned safely to earth, in 1903:

There is some (minor) controversy over the Wright Brothers claim:

Bell may have stolen the invention of the telephone, Hillary may not have been the first man to climb Everest, Shakespeare may have been written by Bacon and now Gustave Whitehead may have flown before the Wright brothers.

The above article is lengthy so I will set out only the first paragraph:

Gustave Albin Whitehead, born Gustav Albin Weisskopf, (1 January 1874 – 10 October 1927) was an aviation pioneer who emigrated from Germany to the United States where he designed and built gliders, flying machines and engines between 1897 and 1915. Controversy surrounds published accounts and Whitehead's own claims that he flew a powered machine successfully several times in 1901 and 1902, predating the first flights by the Wright Brothers in 1903.

Thanks Brett.


In honour of Australian Day, some comments about Australian slang, Part 1:

First recorded in the 1980’s, the shortened form for ambulance officer is included here to illustrate a common feature of Australian English: the shortening of words and the addition of “o” at the end. Examples: arvo (afternoon), Salvo(Salvation army officer), gyno (gynaecologist) journo (journalist), and nicknames such as Johnno, Jacko, and Robbo.

The expression that something is apples, meaning all is well, derives from the rhyming slang expression “apple and spice”, meaning “nice”. Often times rhyming slang gets shortened to and loses connection with the original longer rhyme, eg China from China plate, meaning mate. 

The poor old bandicoot comes in for a lot of negative Aussie slang: as miserable as a bandicoot, as poor as a bandicoot, as bald as a bandicoot, as blind as a bandicoot and as hungry as a bandicoot. A lot of this relates to its appearance, particularly its long face:

In 1837 H. Watson in Lecture on South Australia wrote “The land here is generally good; there is a small proportion that is actually good for nothing; to use a colonial phrase, "a bandicoot (an animal between a rat and a rabbit) would starve upon it".

Banksia Men:
May Gibbs modelled the bad guys in her children’s books on the woody cones of the Banksia trees and shrubs:

The nice figures were Gumnut Babies . . .

 . . . and Wattle Babies

The Barcoo River in Western Queensland has given rise to numerous expressions to refer to hardships, privations, and living conditions of the outback. Banjo Patterson starts his poem “A Bush Christening” with the words 

On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Diseases and ailments associated with dietary deficiency were often associated with the Barcoo region, hence a form of scurvy from lack of fresh fruit and vegetables was known as Barcoo Rot. Another condition which caused vomiting was known as Barcoo Vomit and Barcoo Spew, but ended up just being shortened to Barcoo.

According to Patsy Adam Smith: ‘I see you’ve learnt the Barcoo Salute’, said a Buln Buln Shire Councillor to the Duke of Edinburgh. ‘What’s that?’ said His Royal Highness, waving his hand again to brush the flies off his face. ‘That’s it’, said the man from the bush.

No longer referring to birth outside marriage, the term bastard can now be a term of endearment (“you old bastard”) or of disapproval (“he was a proper bastard”). Look at the context and the manner of delivery to see which applies. 

An example of the use of the word in the original sense from the days when a child born outside marriage was stigmatised and a cause for shame:
A young and busy Melbourne barrister had been taking his summer holidays at a remote Tasmanian holiday resort. Last year he was finally successful in seducing the resort owner’s beautiful 19 year old daughter. He was thus anticipating with excitement coming back to the resort.  When he got of his car he noticed, to his surprise, his lover with a small baby on her lap.  “Kim, why didn’t you write or phone me when you found out you were pregnant? I would have rearranged my court schedule and would have flown here as soon as possible. You know I care for you and we could have got married, and the baby would have my name.” Kim replied: “Well, when I told my parents that I was pregnant and that you were the father, we had a thorough discussion about what I should do. We all came to the conclusion that it would be far better to have a bastard in the family than a lawyer.”

Big note:
To big note oneself is to boast or brag. It derives from tthe 1950’s, pre-decimal currency (1966) when bank notes were larger. A big note man was one who had large amounts of money in large denominations and hence in larger physical size as well. Flashing large sums of money about and showing off came to be known as big noting.

Billy can:
The name comes from the large cans used for transporting bouilli orbully beef on Australia-bound ships or during exploration of the outback. After use tehse cans were modified for boiling water over a fire; however there is a suggestion that the word may be associated with the Aboriginal billa, meaning water as in billabong. 

The billy has come to symbolise the spirit of exploration of the outback. To boil the billy most often means to make tea. "Billy Tea" is the name of a popular brand of tea long sold in Australian grocers and supermarkets. Billies feature in many of Henry Lawson's stories and poems. Banjo Paterson's refers to the billy in the first verse and chorus of Waltzing Matilda: "And he sang as he looked at the old billy boiling", which was later changed by the Billy Tea Company to "And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled..."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.