Friday, May 13, 2011

Viscous fingering, venom delivery, and other phenomena

1. Some entertaining PRL titles from Blogger Outage Day:
Abstract of the venom article:

In the majority of venomous snakes, and in many other reptiles, venom is conveyed from the animal’s gland to the prey’s tissue through an open groove on the surface of the teeth and not through a tubular fang. Here we focus on two key aspects of the grooved delivery system: the hydrodynamics of venom as it interacts with the groove geometry, and the efficiency of the tooth-groove-venom complex as the tooth penetrates the prey’s tissue. We show that the surface tension of the venom is the driving force underlying the envenomation dynamics. In so doing, we explain not only the efficacy of the open groove, but also the prevalence of this mechanism among reptiles.
1'. Lovely high-speed video of how hummingbirds drink -- turns out it isn't capillary action after all. (Wired Science via Jeremy)

2. William Barnes was a delatinizer:
He called for the purification of English by removal of Greek, Latin and foreign influences so that it might be better understood by those without a classical education. For example, the word "photograph" (from Greek light+writing) would become "sun-print" (from Saxon). Other terms include "wortlore" (botany), "welkinfire" (meteor) and "nipperlings" (forceps).
3. R.S. Thomas's poem "In Church" is an unusually clear-cut example of the standard use of the linebreak in accentual verse (3 beats to the line here):
These are the hard ribs
Of a body that our prayers have failed
To animate. Shadows advance
From their corners to take possession
Of places light held
For an hour. The bats resume
Their business. The uneasiness of the pews
Ceases. There is no other sound
In the darkness but the sound of a man
Breathing, testing his faith
On emptiness, nailing his questions
One by one to an untenanted cross.
I will have more to say about this anon; I'm just posting the passage now in case I forget how it goes.

2 comments:

Jenny Davidson said...

That use of line breaks (esp in first half) makes me want to punch someone and might be my most precise answer to the question "Why don't you read more contemporary poetry?"!!! Ugh, reverential... makes me hear the annoying paused vocal upswing of the notional reader aloud, too...

Sarang said...

Yes, I picked this up from a Peter Howarth review; Howarth says: "His pared-down lines no longer sound as though he were slicing away all self-deceit; those famous line-breaks now seem more like theatrical pauses, halting mid-sentence to let the echo reverberate round his empty church."