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Ovid (2709)

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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Saturday May 04, 2002
07:35 PM

Amphibians, I tell ya.

[ #4673 ]

I went down to get a haircut at a cheap hair salon, looked at the line and decided it was worth paying more to avoid standing in line (typical American, eh?).

So there I am, sitting in a chair with a beautiful woman with a sharp instrument hovering over me and I'm thinking about the fact that I'm paying three times as much as the other place so this had better be good. While I'm thinking about this, the conversation mysteriously turned to the topic of spiders and snakes. I mentioned that a friend of mine, an amateur herpetologist (they study reptiles and amphibians - get your mind out my gutter), had terrible arachnophobia. I went on to mention that I had read an article that herpetologists are more likely to be arachnophobes than the general population. I thought that was a bit odd. She replied that it didn't seem so strange to her because spiders and snakes are basically the same thing.

"Oh, really? How do you mean?"

I assumed she was going to get philosophical and mention how they are both basically reviled in popular culture or something like that. Uh, no. She went a totally different direction.

"They're both amphibians."

I kept a straight face. Whirling blades of death were scant inches from my neck. Prudence seemed the best course of action.

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  • Ch'osh (Score:3, Interesting)

    I assume she meant non-mammals.

    BTW, an old professor of mine studies "folk ontologies". I.e., non-technical ontologies that are part of a culture, as opposed to devised for a particular classification system. When he did studies on Navajo, he found that they had a term that basically meant "mammal" (as opposed to their specific terms for prairie-dogs, wolves, etc.), a generic term for "bird",... and I remember one generic term that was less easy to translate: it was "ch'osh", and I'm pretty sure it included snakes and bugs. As such, it's a 'non-natural' class, like "vermin" in English. I'm not sure if it included ants (of which there are very very many in Navajoland), or fish (of which there are none), or frogs/toads (which are here and there in Navajoland).

    • Of course, when the Bible uses a term like "four-footed creeping things," it's immediately lambasted as a contradiction with known science because for some reason it's expected to use future knowledge of scientific classification instead of terms the people of the day would have used. :)

      BTW, I think I once heard one or more tribes of Native Americans (maybe Navajo?) had a legend that the ground was made of ants. (It was somewhere in the SimAnt manual, actually.)

      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • BTW, I think I once heard one or more tribes of Native Americans (maybe Navajo?) had a legend that the ground was made of ants. (It was somewhere in the SimAnt manual, actually.)

        I've never heard that from Navajos, but I do dimly remember that the Navajo creation myth involves some of the first humans having to migrate from realm to realm looking for a world that was liveable, and at least some of the earlier (before this one) realms were unliveable because of scary ants that can shoot "zigzag light