Author Archives: David J. James
Original YT playout date: 10 October 2008
Another fine show with Stu, Matt, JO and the gang, such stalwarts as Jason, Allan Caddick, Peter chapman et alia dramatis personae. Read the rest of this entry
Original YT playout date: 8 October 2008
A reworking of recent storm driving footage of mine bringing out some of the drama of the storm, with music by Grieg. Read the rest of this entry
Original YT playout date: 8 October 2008
The fourth Mike Mendoza show. Please give your feedback and rate the footage. Please add your views on the debate to comments below.
Read the rest of this entry
Original YT playout date: 6 October 2008
The saga of Jimmy the cat continues.
Read the rest of this entry
Original YT playout date: 4 October 2008
Some of the atmosphere in a Sunday afternoon service at the main Roman Catholic cathedral in London.
Original YT playout date: 4 October 2008
Mike’s third show on PRUK.
Please feel free to debate the issues or comment the show in the comments section. Especially since the Skype chat is not active anymore and we have one long-running chat for a whole load of shows, it may be useful to make particular show related comments here on YouTube.
Read the rest of this entry
I have heard it said that the oldest profession is prostitution, but this is not what the Holy Bible states. The first actual task, other than dressing and keeping the Garden of Eden, was that Adam had to give names to each of the Creations God made.
וַיִּצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים מִן־הָֽאֲדָמָה כָּל־חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה וְאֵת כָּל־עֹוף הַשָּׁמַיִם וַיָּבֵא אֶל־הָאָדָם לִרְאֹות מַה־יִּקְרָא־לֹו וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר
יִקְרָא־לֹו הָֽאָדָם נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה הוּא שְׁמֹֽו׃
“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” (Genesis 2:19)
This is a beautiful image of the pre-fall state of Man, in fact at this point he was even doing this alone as Eve had not been formed. But here we have Man at the first profession as it really was, that of taxonomist, describing and naming all the wonderful things God had made, with God as the loving father bringing each of the Creations to Adam “to see what he would call them”.
We don’t have access to his language any more so we don’t know what he called them, how he used the perfect language God had given him to describe and name each one of the thousands of animals God had made and placed into the Garden, but we do know that God was pleased with Adam’s naming, and the names given were given the seal of divine approval as we see “whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof”
Taxonomy was also a part of the modern revival of knowledge and Linnaeus, who was far from a perfect unfallen human being but nevertheless an exceptional mind, starting from the 1758 work Systema Naturae began the work again of naming all living things systematically. Linnaeus to Adam in this respect being something not unakin to Nehemiah to Solomon with regard to the Temple.
Maybe I am just a pedant, but it would be really nice if journalists who write about science or nature could take the trouble to use the proper conventions when writing the names of plants and animals. These conventions where begun by Linnaeus rather than Adam as far as we know, but they are accepted as law within the corpus of documents and institutions which have authority with regard to the naming of things these days. Namely: the genus should be written always with a capital letter and the species name with a small letter.
When I see a journalist who doesn’t adhere to this convention, then I know immediately that I am wasting my time trying to learn something form someone who himself, or herself, has no more idea than Jon Snow about anything, but at least I can look at the photographs, I suppose.
Just to give you one example of how it is supposed to work. The lovely orange and black bird in the image I have taken for this post is called various things in common parlance. It is known to us by the common name of Andean cock-of-the rock (to distinguish it from a related species with a more northerly range not touching that of this bird – that one is orange all over without a black back and is called the Guianan cock-of-the-rock. The Andean one is also known internationally by its local name in Quechua, or “Tunki”, and of course in various languages there are names for this species, with such highlights visible in the left column of Wikipedia that is the go-to resource for this sort of thing as Andenfelsenhahn, Андский скальный петушок, Gallito de las rocas peruano, Skalikurek andyjski, Skalňák andský, Coq-de-roche péruvien and many many more. Even a Spanish Esperantist calling himself Kani managed to make an Esperanto one and played the role of Adamo very nicely in giving it the name “Anda montarkoko”.
Nevertheless, each of these pages, to the extent that they are up-to-date, contain the information that the name of the bird in question is “Rupicola peruvianus (Latham 1790)”. The genus is Rupicola and the species is peruvianus, and the name afterwards is the name of the person who was Adam for the species – in this case Latham 1790 refers to the gentleman pictured on the right, namely John Latham, the author of several works on the birds of remoter parts of the world especially Australia, but “Latham 1790” means his Index Ornithologica, in which about 80 species of birds are described to science for the first time.
Now the reason why there are brackets around the author and the description date is that in this case the son of Adam we are talking about was not the first Adam. In this taxonomical arena you get second Adams also, and unlike in the soteriological arena you also get third and fourth ones. Other people have been involved in the question of taxonomy, unlike in the Garden of Eden where even Eve had not yet been formed, modern taxonomy is a team game, and in the case of our handsome fowl Linnaeus himself had got in first with a name for the Guianan cousin, which he called Pipra rupricola, in 1766.
Now here is where it gets interesting. Linnaeus had concocted the genus Pipra a bit earlier (he got the word from Aristotle but nobody to this day knows what Aristotle had in mind when he used it for a bird, other than the fact that it was a bird) and he put in it a group of birds called manakins (from the Dutch word for a little man, but this is the English term and outside of the scientific system – I mention the etymology in passing). This is in a family called Pipridae again using Linnaeo-Aristotelian word. The genus Pipra still exists and contains three species, none of which was actually put there by Linnaeus because two of them where only discovered later by other scientists and one of them was known to Linnaeus but placed by him in the genus Parus (I’m now talking about Parus aureolus, the lovely crimson-hooded manakin. Another bird placed in Parus by Linnaeus also got replaced to Pseudopipra, and in fact scientist after scientist, whether Gould or Reichenbach in the era before people looked at genomes or a whole set of them in the twenty-first century, revisited the genus Pipra and usually ransacked species out of it and carted them off to other passerine genera or other families of bird altogether – well you can’t have species from different families sharing a single genus that’s clear. So already probably in the mid 19th Century we have Pipra rupricola and Pipra peruvianus getting shunted off into the Cotingidae family and in need of their own new genus.
Now the convention is to work with what you’ve got and to look at every scientific work that’s been published, peer-reviewed and accepted to date. In fact there was a French ornithologist called Mathurin Jacques Brisson who had as early as 1760 (two years only after Linnaeus placed the Guianan cock-of-the-rock in Pipra and well before Latham followed suit) stated right here in this book to the left, here, placed the coq de la roche (of which he only knew the Guianan species and was unaaware there was another one) in a genus called Rupricola. He wasn’t buying the idea of having tanagers, manakins and a whole selection of dissimilar birds in one genus but he took Linnaeus’ “rupicola” or “rock-dwelling” species name and turned it into a genus name. From that point you should have Rupicola rupicola and had Brisson been the first describer and not the second one for that species it would have instead of (Linnaeus 1766) Brisson 1760 without the brackets. The mystery is how it comes to be that Brisson decides the genus but Linnaeus, describing the bird in 1766, gets to be the describer mentioned after the name. This particular part of the mystery is beyond me and therefore if anyone knows you are more than welcome to tell me in the comments.
If someone turns out to have a got a bit wrong, but have been mainly right but first anyway, they get the honorable mention, but it gets put in brackets. If the name is still what the discovere said it was, then there aren’t any brackets.
But in fact you do not need to state that part in order to be perfectly in order. Just as you do not need, when talking about the Andean cock-of-the-rock, as a continuing good example, to mention any of the four subspecies that have been identified. John Gould (he of gouldian finch fame) was in on this already in 1859 with his subspecies Rupricola peruvianus sanguinolentus Gould 1859, no brackets as he got it in the right genus, Brisson’s one, which bird he found at the Western end while a couple of Germans called Cabanis and Heine were scouring the trees of Bolivia to find a different subspecies, and both of these get a mention in Rupricola peruvianus saturatus Cabanis & Heine 1859. Not only were these gentlemen in competition as to who could get the most new bird species, they were also in competition as to who could grow the best potential nesting sites for these discoveries on their own chins. Another contender in both categories was a latecomer, Władek Taczanowski, who found Rupricola peruvianus aequatorialis Taczanowski 1889 and also got away with no brackets. He was one of Poland’s finest, having discovered about 40 species and 20 subspecies of birds as well as having about 8 other ones names after him, but of course nobody every talks about him and there’s never so much as a street names after him, not even in his native Lubin, which is a great pity. I would like to ask Rafal What’s his Name, the Mayor of Warsaw, to honour this unknown but influential Polish scientist with a street name when the next ones get built. If any of my readers has any influence with him, please use your leverage.
Anyway, I’ll close out on his image.
First produced by me as an answer to a Quora question, this became relatively popular over there, so I thought I would bring it home here and share it with you. It is a few unwritten rules (now written) for how you can avoid comment or offence of general faux pas in these eating situations known as buffets, and they include rules that apply in varying contexts, including conference or party buffets where people know each other or who are supposed to be getting to know each other, as well as restaurants having buffets like the “Swedish table” at breakfast where you are not expected to be using the food as an adjunct to another social purpose. Some are in public places, others inside comanies or even people’s houses. Some of these buffets are culinary occasions intended to enable the tasting of different types of food and some are mere convenience, with containers piled with cheaply made and poor-quality food. Some of these rules don’t apply therefore to every occasion, whereas some probably would. Unless you know that a rule wouldn’t apply, assume it would.
- If there’s a queue, don’t jump it.
- Once you have charged your plate with a reasonable amount of food, move away from the area in order not to cause congestion.
- If there are platters for vegans, or food allergy people, only take from them if you are in that group, unless it is close to the end and you’re sure they won’t need them. It’s a dirty trick by greedy pigs to analyse what some other people can’t eat in the company and come to that last, but go first to the only stuff those people can eat. Don’t be like that.
- Don’t hog all the best things because you were lucky enough to be near the front of the queue.
- Don’t pile your plate high.
- Don’t take more than you can eat. I know you cannot send the food from this buffet to the starving children, but that is not a reason to be wasteful.
- Take the cutlery and handle it appropriately. If you are not sure you can handle the food in mod air without dropping it on the floor, take it to one of those tables (in mixer situations). Then ask the people who are already round that table if you can join them.
- Don’t handle the food with your fingers, and if you have taken something, don’t put it back. Don’t maul the collective food even with the tongs. If you have to cut cheese, know how to cut it in a civilised way, with a “nez” and not straight on like some kind of philistine. If you are no good at cutting bread, don’t do it. If you do want to cut bread, handle the loaf via the cloth. try and show a certain culture in a discrete way, because people may be observing you even without especially meaning to.
- Likewise don’t sneeze, cough, fart, spit, or leave your dirty plates and cups around the food. Leave the dirty plates, glasses and cutlery in the place provided or give them to the waiter. Especially don’t leave glasses in places where someone could accidentally break them and cut themselves.
- If the idea of the buffet is a social event then bear that in mind and use it as a means to the end of getting to know people and don’t live for food like some modern Epicurian.
- If you have a buffet arrangement as part of a job interview then bear in mind you are still on parade during this time and someone is likely watching your savoir-vivre and true character which tends to come out when the trough opens before certain people’s snouts.
- Use the cloakroom especially if it is a standing buffet. Don’t have people tripping over your briefcase, and don’t knock someone’s plate or glass out of their hand with your stupid backpack. Don’t come inappropriately dressed if there was a dress code stated on the invitation, and don’t wear outdoor clothing to an indoor event.
- If you are the host, or an employee of the hosting company or organisation, you must stand back and give the best of it to the guests.
- Don’t juggle with too many containers or items of cutlery, and don’t take risks with other people’s carpets.
- If it’s a restaurant don’t take the food out unless it was all paid for by the event organisers and would just go to waste, in which case you should indeed take some to go but always check with the manager. If it’s an in house do make sure any decent left overs are saved for those colleagues who couldn’t attend the event.
- Don’t gatecrash if you are not supposed to be there or try to weedle other unexpected guests in at the last minute. Likewise if you are expected but know you cannot attend, try to give the organisers some notice, the more the better.
- Be polite to the wait staff and the cloakroom attendant, including being aware of and adhering to the tip culture of the place you are.
- Don’t hog one person if it is a networking buffet, cramping their style, but circulate. Work the room, and develop some elegant ways of rounding off conversations. If you tell someone you have to go home and they see you chatting away to someone else ten minutes later, you can well imagine what conclusion they will come to and what they will think. Better is to say “I promised such and such to catch up with him this evening, please excuse me”.
- Don’t forget you business cards for social buffets and don’t forget the follow-up in mail or phone afterwards. Don’t worry if you don’t meet everyone. I usually leave when I have ten cards even if I could get more. Good follow up on ten cards is better than thirty cards with poor follow up.
- Have some regard for your health. If you are on a diet, the abundance of quality free food is not reason enough to abandon it. I like to walk home afterwards, weather and safety permitting.
Original YT playout date: 27 September 2008
The second part of Lee Delehanty’s charming children’s story of Jimmy the cat and his three Russian raven droogs.
***Statistics and Credits***
Views at the time added to HTV: 336
Likes at the time added to HTV: 6
Dislikes at time added to HTV: 0
Popularity % ” ” ” =L/(L+D): 100.0%
Comments at time added: 3
Total interactions at time added: 9
Total interactions to views 2.7%
Other people featured: None
Genre: Reading of children’s literature
Music used: None
Languages used: English
Animals/plants featured: Ravens and Cats