Shackleton

Today’s new word is “carminative.”

It describes something, usually a drug, that stops farting. I fell across it in an odd place: an essay about Shackleton’s medical kit from his expedition to Antarctica in 1914, and which shows that brilliant writing can turn the most distant, indifferent subject into a pulpit for new thoughts on science, medicine, ‘life back then,’ and of course, endurance.

Meanwhile here is this week’s Omnium-Gatherum…

1. Old dog. Nice trick. And the Oscar goes to

2. What to do when a publisher rejects your work. Just remember that Gabriel Garcia Marquez was rejected by The New Yorker in 1981, and the next year he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I love the mellifluence of Roger Angell’s rejection note: “We look forward with undiminished expectation to the pleasure of considering more work of yours in the near future.”

3. How long have humans rowed boats backwards? You’d think they’d learn how to do it forwards sooner than 2019.

4. Her words live on. Hilary Mantel died last week at 70 of a stroke. She brought us sweeping novels like Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, but also tiny jewels like Nadine at Forty, where “Each day we re-enact, on ourselves, what was done to us.”

5. In our secrets lies our sickness. CAMH is running a suicide prevention program with patients talking about their depression and how they got help. Here’s Rohan Mehta on rising from the depths of despair.

6. Know any 12-year-old philanthropists? Especially Canadians. Most especially, female Canadians. Vancouver-born Audrey Sung played Carnegie Hall at the age of 9 and has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and prize money to charities, including The Royal Conservatory.

7. It’s not news that science is trying to ‘de-extinct’ woolly mammoths. It is that the CIA is an investor. Its venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, is more interested in the capability than the mammoths.

8. The Nobels and their distant relatives. Next month Nobel Prizes will be given to the world’s most brilliant scientists and peacemakers. But the prizes I yearn to see are the Ig Nobels, which were handed out earlier this month for discoveries that make people laugh, then think. Here’s the 10 winners.

9. This England. Kenneth Branagh gives a ‘mesmerizing’ performance as Boris Johnson, airing on Sky in Britain. Also, here’s Sally Hawkins in another show on lost rulers.

10. What are the most popular songs by far? Old ones. They now represent 70% of the US music market. And what kings support classical music? Old ones: King Charles played cello in his Cambridge college orchestra and is a big fan today.

Finally, the idea of Tiny Desk concerts deserves to spread, given that’s where we’re spending more of our lives and shopkeepers need new reasons to draw us in off the street.

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1 thought on “Today’s new word is “carminative.””

  1. Cornelia Molson

    I love those ignobel awards. Look forward to reading some, especially the one about legal writing being the result of poor writing skills and not specialized knowledge. I’ve been saying that to no avail forever.
    Thanks for those.
    PS also the dog. Amazing how many creatures are smarter than they’ve been given credit for. (Could not figure out how to get rid of that dangling participle in the time available)

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