August 4th, 2009

ostrich riding

Turn of Phrase

Back again!

I need to know when and where the phrase "It's like riding a bicycle" came into popular use to mean "it's easy to do and you'll remember it quickly."

I tried Googling it, but I just got a lot of blogs in which people said "It's like riding a bicycle."

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • ginzai

Effects of starvation and renourishment; effects of this on a broken bone

I've a medical question for you guys and would be very grateful if you could help me out.

Setting: Midwest United States, 2000s
Character effected: Male, age 27, 6'1", in good health with a high metabolism. Very physically active. ~180 lbs.

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I've read some interesting articles while trying to do research, particularly on the starvation topic. has some good details, as did the ones I read about the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. If any of you have any ideas, I would be most grateful to hear them! Thanks!
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What's a Tiger doing in the Jamaican Anansi stories?

(There will be a brief pause to allow the wiseacres in the audience to reply, "Getting pwned by Anansi.")

What I'm wondering is how this memetic mutation, which seems to be peculiar to Jamaica, came about--more precisely, how an animal native to neither Ghana nor the New World came to replace the original lion or leopard antagonist. (Not having read Anansi Boys, I don't know whether Neil Gaiman  [who has a track record of doing his cultural homework] addresses this issue.)

Here are my Google-fu attempts:
Anansi AND/OR Anancy+Jamaica AND/OR Jamaican+tiger
Anansi AND/OR Anancy+Jamaica AND/OR Jamaican+diaspora+tiger
"Jamaican folklore"+diaspora+Anansi AND/OR Anancy+tiger

These are a couple of the sites I found:

I also checked the Static Shock entry on Wikipedia:  (The question arose owing to an episode of that show guest-starring a superheroic version of Anansi; a running gag therein has to do with the fact that one of his enemies, Osebo the Leopard, is inexplicably sporting tiger stripes; this would seem to be an in-joking nod to the Jamaican tradition.)

ETA: Apparently at least some Latin American Spanish-speakers use the word tigre to denote jaguars as well--possibly owing to the same Continent Confusion that led to the people of the New World being called "Indians."  Thanks for the etymological tip!  The presence of Chinese and Indian indentured servants under British rule--something else I'd not known about--might also conceivably have helped reinforce the Tiger association.

Jobs in a desalination plant

I'm considering having a minor character fake her way into a job in a desalination plant. For complicated reasons, she won't be able to get a basic, unskilled job there (though I'd still like to know what such jobs would entail), she will probably have to go for something slightly more senior. (She's late 30's/early 40s). Is there any job that someone actually unskilled but bright and persuasive, with a good, fake CV and good, fake references (large numbers of credible-sounding people will be ready to vouch for her) might plausibly be able to get - and carry  out once she'd got it?

I searched "desalination plant work" etc, then more specific strings like "job in a desalination plant"  - with which I got this:

... which was suprisingly helpful, but still doesn't tell me what the jobs actually entail - e.g what do the "local operators" and the "labourers" do? I need to be able to have someone say "She works there as an [x]" "Or she does [x] there," in such a way that the reader can get a sense of the job, and "She works there as an operator" won't really tell them anything.