Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Miscellaneous links, July 13

Is population a problem? (From Seed Magazine)
The Creativity Crisis via MindHacks post Creative Beginnings. Torrance tasks indicate that American creativity is decreasing. The problem may be: "Plucker recently toured a number of such schools in Shanghai and Beijing. He was amazed by a boy who, for a class science project, rigged a tracking device for his moped with parts from a cell phone. When faculty of a major Chinese university asked Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. “After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud,” Plucker says. “They said, ‘You’re racing toward our old model. But we’re racing toward your model, as fast as we can.’ ”"
Paruchuri Sreenivas on the origins and changes in the meaning of the word 'gentoo':
"Tracing the origin of the word, Yule in his Hobson-Jobson, explains the
term "Gentile" and how it came to mean Telugu people specifically. When the Portugese arrived in India, the Vijayanagara Empire was at the height of its glory. The officials were Telugus and for the Portugese, they were "par excellance 'Gentiles' and their language the 'Gentile' language." Yule mentions that Gentoo as a name of the Telugu people was first used in 1648 in a book printed in Amsterdam. But, really speaking the meaning did not stick to these people since then. The travellers continued to use the word to mean Hindus in general.

The government of Fort St. George used the word "Gentue" to mean the Hindus in general, as a record from 1685 shows. The same can be deduced from the writings of Edward Carleyan (1697), John Fryer (who travelled for nine years in the East between 1672 and 1681) and Alexander Hamilton (travelled as a trader between 1688 and 1723).

The word denoting the people is used to denote the language of the people towards the end of the 17th century by the Government. When the East Indies Company wanted to raise an amount of 100,000 pounds streling at 6%, it was ordered that this matter be translated into 'Portuguez', 'Gentue', 'Mallabar' and 'Moores'. The word was used on more than one occasion to mean the language as well as the people.

For a period of time the meaning of the word was given as Tamil. cf. Talboys J Wheelr, A History of the English settlements in India as told in the govt. records, 1878, p. 128, or La Croze and Ziegenbalg, who were active in Tamil country, spoke of the local Hindus as 'Gentiles' speaking Tamule or Malabare.

There are also references from Bengal in which the "orginal language of the country" was mentioned as 'Bengala' or 'Gentoo'.

Then the word appeared in Portugese literature also. Etha M. Pope, whenever he made a reference to the Hindu mythology mentioned the 'Gentios de India oriental'.

Towards the end of the 18th century Colonel Mackenzie used 'Gentoo' as a synonym for Telugu language. In 1800 Dr. J. Webbe suggested to Munro about the 'Gentoo' translation of the Regulations as an answer for the Ceded Districts for even the most ordinary of them understood 'Gentoo'. Later, as I cited yesterday, A.D. Campbell used it in the title to his Telugu Grammar (1816) and later also to his Dictionary (1821). William Brown did the same in 1818. The last we see the use of this word is from 1839. Later the specific meaning of the word as Telugu receded in the same way as it had appeared."

Ed Yong on The secret history of X and Z – how sex chromosomes from humans and chickens found common ground. More links to earlier posts and some clarifications by the author of the study Daniel Bellot in the post.

Antiaging protein also boosts learning and memory from Science News.

Mahmud of Ghazni had Hindu generals. From comments in the post The Daughter of Islam of Chapati Mystery.

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