Monday, 16 November 2009

What does jumping or jump the gun mean: Origin, meaning and Example

What does jumping or jump the gun mean? Meaning, origin and example.
Not much confusion as to the meaning. When one jumps the gun you commit yourself to an action before it is wise to do so. Most references refer to negative results that happen when this action is taken. Jumping the gun can be as a result of impatience, trying to gain an unfair advantage or simply taking a decision based on incomplete information or no information at all.
Impulsive action without thinking could also be jumping the gun from my way of thinking.
So, get your ducks in a row before you take an action you might regret later.
Now, the origin part. As with the greater majority of sayings, idioms etc there are often multiple sources quoted.
The most popular source quoted relates to things athletic. In track and field events the athletes line up and wait for the starter’s gun to go off before running off as fast as possible. To jump the gun means the athlete takes off before the starter’s gun has been fired. This means the athlete has an unfair advantage, and the race is usually restarted after declaring a false start.
From what I can gather the first printed reference was in 1942. Jumping the gun was previously known as “ to beat the pistol” with printed references back to 1905.
A second quoted origin relates to things naval and military. In the military sense the infantry were in positions behind their artillery. As the enemy approached the soldiers would sometimes rush forward to engage the attackers and suffer casualties inflicted by their own guns. Jumping the gun was rushing forward before the artillery guns had ceased firing, which was not a wise thing to do.
A third source relates to pegging of claims in Oklahoma in the 1800’s. Prospectors had to wait until a cannon was fired before they could rush off and do the pegging part of their claim. Those who started running before the cannon was fired were shot by troops, who were there to ensure that all was undertaken in an orderly fashion. Not many references to this one though.
Nowadays the meaning has evolved to include the concept of taking a decision based on information that is incomplete or not accurate. No sounds of guns.
If, for example, you were waiting for a traffic light to turn green, and you drove off while the light was still red, you would be jumping the gun.
Image : Wikipedia
UPDATE 9 December 2009
Truth be told, I get virtually no comments on posts. That I do not mind. The site averages round about 120 page reads a day. Given the limited time I have to do justice to the occasion and the limted number of posts, I am happy.
Now and then one gets a nice comment and thats nice. (One that jumps to mind was something to the effect of " thank you for helping me with my homework, I got 90%". That is a topic for discussion me-thinks.
The garbage that is entered into the comments section is horrible. This post is a good example.
So, all comments from now on I will have to "moderate".
Why...why why?

Monday, 09 November 2009

Etymology of the word War: Origin and meaning

After a couple of posts triggered by Poppy Day I started wondering as to the origin of the word "war" and the dictionary definition.
The explanations below I have copied and pasted from Wikipedia. The link will take you to more detailed information and recognition of sources.

"War is a reciprocated, armed conflict between two or more non-congruous entities, aimed at reorganising a subjectively designed, geo-politically desired result."

"From late Old English (c.1050), wyrre, werre, from Old North French werre "war" (Fr. guerre), from Frankish *werra, from Proto-Germanic *werso (Compare with Old Saxon werran, Old high German werran, German verwirren "to confuse, perplex"). Cognates suggest the original sense was "to bring into confusion."

There was no common Germanic word for "war" at the dawn of historical times. Spanish, Portuguese, Italian guerra are from the same source; Romanic peoples turned to Germanic for a word to avoid Latin "bellum" because its form tended to merge with bello- "beautiful."

Albert Einstein: Quotes on War

Albert Einstein quotes on war.
In a couple of days it will be the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The end of World War 1, at this time and date during 1918.
Poppy Day, Remembrance Day.
The War to end all Wars was the current thinking at the time. History has proved this thinking wrong.
Wars have been a permanent part of history and an important part of the formation and development of Nations.
I tried to recall a reasonable period of time during the 20th century that was conflict free, with not much success.
The termination of one conflict was soon followed by another. A different place a different time, with different motives, but with the same results.
I suppose that as soon as one is threatened by force to loss of life, land and property, one defends oneself with equal and or greater force. That is the greater order of things.
Albert Einstein war an anti- war believer, and a bunch of his anti-war quotes that I collected from a number of sources are:

- I do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two-thirds of the people of the earth will be killed.

- I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

- Force always attracts men of low morality.

- He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice

- Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism - how passionately I hate them!

- It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder

- The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.

- You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.

Nevertheless wars have always been around, are around, and will be around until such time as it progresses that one step too far, and civilization will no longer resemble what it is today.
Etymology, meaning and origin of the word 'war" , click here

Poppy Day, Remembrance Day : Origin and meaning

The official name of Poppy day is Remembrance day, also known as Armistice day. This day commemorates the ending of the First Word War by the signing of the Armistice Treaty in a railway carriage in Compi├Ęgne Forest on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.
Why poppies and why red poppies?
Inspired from the poem by Major John McCrae, In Flanders Fields, a Canadian military doctor, in 1915.
After the battles were fought, poppies bloomed on these fields and the colour red relates to the blood that was shed.
Poppy day is a day of remembrance for both military and civilians who have paid the ultimate price in conflict.
Although mainly associated with World War One, this day of remembrance has become appicable to all killed in times of war. for more detail and links

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Etymology,origin and meaning of the word "war" click here.

Friday, 06 November 2009

Silly Signs : Bird Toilet

Proof that birds can read

received via e-mail, source on image

What does Utopia Utopian mean? Origin and definition.

What does Utopia or Utopian mean?
Start off with the origin of the word. First used in 1516 by Sir Thomas More in his book “Of the Best State of a Republic, and of the New Island Utopia”. On this Island everything was perfect. A state of bliss.
The word Utopia has Greek origins meaning “no place”.
So, if Utopia is no place and Utopia is a place of harmony and bliss then one could deduct that Utopia does not exist, as in no place is a place of bliss and harmony?
I am still trying to get my mind around what I typed in the previous sentence, but it makes sense if you read it more than once.
Utopia appears to be more of a philosophical concept than a practical place. Utopia or Utopian is commonly defined as a place, or more commonly as a political concept, that is strived towards but never really achieved.
A definition from a philosophical dictionary states “ an imagined perfect place or state of things”, which is the best definition I could find.
Most other dictionaries revolve around words such as “idealistic and impractical state of affairs.”
Therefore, Utopian can be seen as more inspirational concept than practical, something to aim for (perfection) that is not realistically attainable in the real world.
A Idealist would have Utopian goals, which would be in direct contrast with the thinking of Cynics or Skeptics
A modern day example of a Utopian concept?
Everyone on earth having a common understanding of climate change and a global practical plan to address the problem.

Back to main page for more stuff

Thursday, 05 November 2009

How to make a man irresistible

Source unknown

A cynic’s view of climate change.

Climate change is a reality, despite the skeptics who maintain that it is all a figment of the imagination, and, like an irritating itch, it will pass with time.
Forget about trying to prove or quantify whether it is a reality or not. Al Gore and his Inconvenient Truth road show is evidence enough for anyone who has an object on top of his spinal cord that is larger than a golf ball.
The issue is what can, and will be done about it?
The answer is easy. Absolutely nothing of significance.
Bit of lip service here, an annual conference there, and throw in a couple of demonstrations, by mostly environmentally privileged people, both here and there.
Anybody who wants to enter into a discussion about climate change and how to handle it must by default have an understanding of Thomas Malthus’ theory regarding population and resources. One of the Classical Economists (late 1700’s), he believed that there is a balance between population levels and their pressure on resources and “nature”. He believed that if population levels were not kept in control, and in balance with the environment, nature would do it for mankind in a cruel and savage manner.
Now, his theory has been, and still is, discounted by many, as this was applicable to circumstances long ago. Before the use of fertilizers, fossil fuel and the Industrial Revolution. These factors allowed more people to live per Unit of Mother Nature’s Resources. (Just thought that definition out, I like it)
According to some sources, 10 percent of all people born on earth are alive today. Scary stuff once more.
This is true, but the Production Revolution has created its own monster in the depletion of resources and contamination of the atmosphere.
Economic growth is a concept aggressively pursued by countries, companies and individuals. This is the way of modern life. Those who have, want more and better, and those who don’t have, also want to have more and better. That is the greater order of things. This comes at the price of resource depletion, atmospheric pollution and climate change, and in the long term, the demise of the human race. Hail The Economic Growth Theory!!!
So, theoretically, the whole doomsday scenario can be avoided if the global economy adopts a negative growth policy. Fifty years ago this was foreseen, and the corrective projections were: -
- 75% reduction in natural resource utilization
- 50% reduction in pollution generation
- 40% reduction in investment
- 30% reduction in birth rate.
Scary stuff. No ways any one country will adopt this kind of strategy.
So, what will happen is there will be a lot of talk about alternative energy, carbon footprints and walking to the 711 on a Sunday morning instead of using the 4X4.
Unless there is a paradigm shift in the way mankind thinks, or a quantum leap in fossil fuel replacement with lower utilization of natural resources in the chase after production goods, mankind’s evolutionary progress will be replaced by an era of devolution. Everything manufactured by man, will in time, be reclaimed by nature. That is a fact. A thousand years after man, there will be virtually no evidence the he was ever here, so says DSTV.
The current global turmoil will fade into insignificance when low lying countries and cities start flooding and crops fail worldwide. When individuals start fighting amongst themselves to ensure their basic needs. Back to the Neanderthal man concept.
Einstein said..” I know not what weapons will be used in World War 3, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones”
We are prodding Mother Nature with a very sharp stick, and her revenge will be swift and brutal

One of the countless definitions (mostly derogatory) of a cynic is:-
“… one who sees what's going on, knows that others see what's going on and maddeningly knows that nothing will ever be done about it.”

That is why I am a die-hard cynic

Image source ; Unknown

Go to home page and read some more stuff...

Tuesday, 03 November 2009

Country Cousins Robertson : Gutted

Country Cousins (Old Saddles)restaurant was gutted in the early hours of this morning.



Posted by Picasa

Monday, 02 November 2009

NK Kerk, Swellendam

NG Kerk Swellendam, van die mooiste kerke in die omgewing




Posted by Picasa

La Mont : Cheese and Wine

La Mont, between Ashton and Swellendam.
Excellent setting, large variety of cheeses etc to choose from, and Van Loveren wines at cellar prices.
Good value for money.
Place to put your mind into neutral and enjoy
(Cheese and wine only)




Tradouw Pass : Montagu to Swellendam

A few random images taken while having an lazy drive over the pass to Swellendam. Confused as to whether the correct name is Tradouw or Tradouws Pass.


Entrance to pass fom Barrydale side of the mountain


Posted by Picasa

Only four bullet holes in this sign. Sign must be newer than it looks. (Click on image to enlarge)

Silly Signs: Road Kill Cafe


Sign board between Montagu and Barrydale.
Posted by Picasa