The obscure word of the week is metonym

This week’s really obscure English word is metonym. It describes what happens when one word is used in substitution for another, with which it is closely associated but where the true meaning is often quite different. Commonly a place-name is substituted for an institution or idea: for instance, ‘Moscow’ is often used in western news … More The obscure word of the week is metonym

Our earliest ever ancestor had a big mouth and spewed – er –

Humanity’s earliest ancestor was dug up a while ago. Well, when I say ‘our’ ancestor, it’s also the ancestor of fish, amphibians, reptiles and starfish among other things. It’s  540 million years old, it’s called Saccorhytus coronarius, and it’s a primitive deuterosome, a type is thought to be one of the earliest common ancestors of quite … More Our earliest ever ancestor had a big mouth and spewed – er –

The flaws of twentieth century thinking

One of the flaws of twentieth century thinking was that a lot of it was geared towards systematising the human universe around us. Everything had to be reduced to mechanisms, often simplistic, often single-cause. This was certainly true academically, particularly in the humanities which were styling themselves as ‘scientific’ on the basis of that systematisation. … More The flaws of twentieth century thinking