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The lovely and scholarly museAmuse has returned to our board. In celebration, we devote this week to words from characters from Greek mythology.

protean – exceedingly variable; readily assuming different shapes or forms.
[The Greek sea god Proteus could change his shape at will.]
quote:
What accounts for al Qaeda's ongoing effectiveness in the face of an unprecedented onslaught? The answer lies in the organization's remarkably protean nature. Over its life span, al Qaeda has constantly evolved and shown a surprising willingness to adapt its mission.
- Jessica Stern, The Protean Enemy, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2003
 
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OK. How about Procrustean, as in Procrustean bed?

"Producing or designed to produce strict conformity by ruthless or arbitrary means." [A-H]

From the name of a Greek legendary brigand, Prokroustes, who had an iron bed on which he made his victims spend the night. If they were too short, he stretched them and if too long he chopped off their feet to make them fit. They all expired.
 
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Ahh, sweet bliss of a "target rich environment."

Is it too obvious to leap immediately to all the adjectives -- titanic, herculean, olympian, promethean? Or the darker "stygian" and its relative, chthonian?

(The latter is not strictly a character, but it is a lovely if menacing term I last saw used by the late Edward Gorey.)

Then of course there is the plutocracy, a class to which so many aspire...

RJA
 
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Dear wordcrafter,

I am deeply honored. Smile
 
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Great words, Richard! I love 'chthonian'! It looks so strange in English.

Btw are you Greek? Your last name is Greek to me. Wink
 
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My heritage is indeed Greek.

And if you permit just a little stretching of language, I would translate "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" as "Beware the gifted Greek."

Reverting to theme, we must include "tantalize."

RJA
 
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Also: sisyphean.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by various folks:
Or the darker "stygian" and its relative, chthonian
Procrustean
plutocracy
tantalize
sisyphean


Excellent, lady and gentlemen! Indeed, I'd considered a theme of such darker greek-myth words (antaean, cyclopean, sop to cerebus, gorgon, harpy, hydra, medusa, lamia, nemesis, sphinx, sthenia, tartarean) -- which of course do not pertain to our dear thalian Muse. Big Grin Keep those contributions coming, and in a future month we may make that a 2-week theme.

Could someone check plutocrat, which perhaps has a different origin?
 
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On plutocrat -- Random House unabridged (1967)cites "Plutus, god personifying wealth, sometimes comfused with Pluto. A comedy (388 B.C.) by Aristophanes.

And to encourage the full fortnight, we can include "odyssey."

RJA
 
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A plutocracy comprises a government system where wealth is the principal basis of power (from the Greek ploutos meaning wealth).

Plutus was the son of Jason and Ceres, and the Greek god of wealth. He was represented as bearing a cornucopia, and as blind, because his gifts were bestowed without discrimination of merit. See Dictionary.com.

There is a connection with the Roman god Pluto, who was the son of Saturn and Rhea, brother of Jupiter and Neptune, and the dark and gloomy god of the Lower World. His name comes from ploutos -- the idea is that the Lower World is the source of wealth from the ground -- gold, silver, etc.

Hades was the Greek equivalent god, and also the name for the Lower World itself.

[This message was edited by arnie on Tue Mar 2nd, 2004 at 7:21.]
 
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For our dear museamuse we have musical and mosaic.
 
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An interesting link to round out the gloss on "Plutus" at http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Plutus.html

Also, that site reminds me to offer the anodyne to the darker side, the more tranquil "irenic."

RJA
 
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promethean (usually capitalized) - so boldly creative as to have a life-giving quality; inspiring.

[The titan Prometheus made man out of clay and gave mankind fire. He was subjected to gruesome punishment for stealing that fire from Olympus. His punishment was gruesome. His name means "forethought", from pro forward + perhaps a derivative from menos mind.]

The word sometimes has a dark connotation, somewhat akin to a Faustian bargain. We'll look into this in a few days.
quote:
[Architect Frank Lloyd] Wright was Promethean in his ambition and imagination. He attempted to relate his buildings to time as well as space. He incorporated earth, fire, water and air symbolically into his conceptions.
- George Gurley, Kansas City Star, July 28, 1996 (Acknowledgement: quotation taken from Webs. Dict. of Allusions)
 
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Looking up "Thalia" on Dictionary.com I discovered that she was not only one of the nine Muses, but she was also one of the three Graces and one of the Nereids as well!
 
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Arnie's post triggers a memory about early forms of "goddess groups," in this case, proto-sets of "Charites."

The Spartans' earliest duo were Cleta and Phaeane, meaning sound and light. The Athenians likewise had a charitable (!) pair, Auxon and Hegemone, meaning increase and queen.

From the first Athenian we get the name of the chemical that makes plants bend towards the light - auxon. From the second we get hegemony.

(Note that auxon in fact operates by retaining water on the side AWAY from the light. Plants are thus not truly helio-philic, but rather scoto-phobic...)

RJA
 
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Orphean - hauntingly beautiful or enchanting (literary)
[most dictionaries, if they list this word at all, give only "Of or pertaining to Orpheus, the mythic poet and musician". AHD notes that his "music had the power to move even inanimate objects," and by it he "almost succeeded in rescuing his wife Eurydice from Hades."]
quote:
Something was expected of me, some Orphean performance that would gain me access to the underworld where she was hidden.
- The Magus by John Fowles
 
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Do we consider the oracle at Delphi a character? If so, perhaps we may admit "delphic," which the OED describes as enigmatic, obscure, and which modern observers might call "politic " No fool, she who sat on the stool...

RJA
 
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syphilis - we all know this word, but what are its origins? Perhaps Greek mythology.

The 1530 poem Syphilis, sive Morbus Gallicus" ("Syphilis, or the French Disease"), by Veronese doctor Girolamo Fracastoro (1483-1553), tells of the shepherd Syphilus, supposed to be the first sufferer. Sixteen years later Fracastoro's treatise De Contagione originated the use of the word as a name for the disease.

It's unclear why Fracastoro chose this name. Perhaps he took it from Greek sys + philos¹ loving. Or it may come from the tale in Ovid of Siphylus or Sipylus (the manuscripts vary), Niobe's impious son, whom Apollo was turned to stone.


¹The sources don't mention this, but I trepidate that the source might be phallos rather than philos.
 
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I've wanted to write a short story for some time now. The two main characters are Mister Quark from Finnegans Wake and Syphilis the Shephard from Syphilis sive Morbus Gallicus, who may or may not be lovers. The first bit of dialog would be: "Phyllis had syphilis." Einstein and Goedel are minor characters, a la Pozzo and Lucky in Waiting for Godot. These two spend most of the play gambling on nuclear events. There's a chorus of Ideological Green Furies who opine on everything. Meanwhile ...
 
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Similarly, I have always wanted to write a pornographic western just so I could title it "Meanwhile, Back on the Raunch."
 
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quote:
Originally posted by jheem:
a short story ... two main characters are ... Syphilis the Shephard ... The first bit of dialog would be: "Phyllis had syphilis."


In what sense do you mean the word "had"? Wink Eek
 
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We recently saw the word "promethean". That concept somewhat relates to today's pair of words – one for last week's theme (words of logic), and one for this week's theme.


pandora's box – a source of many unforeseen troubles
[Greek mythology: Zeus gave Pandora a box with instructions that she not open it. But she was overcome by curiosity and opened it, and all the miseries and evils flew out to afflict mankind.]

slippery slope – a dangerous and irreversible course: the slippery slope from narcotics to prison. [Wordcrafter note: I do not think this definition is entirely accurate, but can find no better. Comments?]
In logic, the argument, "If we do A as proposed, it will lead to B, and then to C …. [etc. to disaster]." For example, " If we forbid partial-birth abortion, soon all abortion will become illegal."

Today's words each have the concept of "opening the door to disaster". "Promethean" can also can have this overtone, as in today's quotation.
quote:
[concerning the implications and dangers of cloning] There is, of course, the slippery slope argument, and it is certainly true that there have been many such slopes down which we have slipped, or joyously skied, in the past few decades. But unless we believe that we are not masters of our fate, that the Promethean bargain is completely uncontrollable, this is not a slope we need slip down, at least with proper regulation.
– Theodore Dalrymple, Cloning human cells is not the beginning of the slippery slope, Telegraph, Feb. 13, 2004
 
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rhadamanthine – rigorously and uncompromisingly just
[In myth Rhadamanthus, because of his inflexible integrity, was made one of the three judges of the dead in the lower world, together with Aeacus and Minos.]
quote:
You can hear the heavy newspaper reviewers, the wits of the glossy mag- azines, and the deep voices of the academic quarterlies - those Rhadamanthine judges of the quick and the dead in the world of literature - searching their hearts for condemnation bitter enough to reflect the greatest possible credit upon themselves.
- Robertson Davies, The Merry Heart: Reflections on Reading, Writing, and the World of Books
 
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psaphonic – related to outrageous self-promotion

But a caution: today's "word" is an interesting borderline case. One can seriously question whether it is a word at all and, if it is, what that word means.

The story of Psaphon, perhaps one of the most obscure figures of Greek myth, is told only by Aelianus [Aelian] (2nd/3rd c.), himself rather obscure. Psaphon, in novel self-promotion, released birds that he had trained to call out his name, "Psaphon! Psaphon!" [Some net-sources say they cried out "Psaphon is a god!"]

Interesting, but has his name become a word? You won't find it in OED or in any of the other major published dictionaries (nor in Bailey's, by the way), and Ciardi says he "proposes" that word – thus indicating that no such word exists. On the other hand, you will find psaphonic listed in several of the more "personalized" dictionaries. (e.g., Novovatzky & Shea; Mrs. Bryne; Berent & Evans [all published in paper; I have personally checked the first two); on-line sources listed in one-look.) None give back-up; they may well be quoting each other.

If it's a word, what does it mean? Those dictionaries that list it say "____ one's rise to fame" – the blank being either "seeking" or "planning" "preoccupied with plotting". Unfortunately, definition this doesn't seem faithful to the myth. It misses the myth's concept of outrageous self-promotion. It is so broad that it would include, for example, even a diligent and virtuous aspirant, a self-aware Horatio Alger.

Ciardi however says, "Nor can I resist this opportunity to propose to the language the word psaphonic Of advertising (implying that it is for the birds)." This definition seems more true to the myth and more is in accord with the few usages I can find (quoted below) other than people playing displaying a word they have learned.
quote:
BREWER DICTIONARY OF PHRASE AND FABLE (1894):
Psaphon's Birds: Puffers, flatterers. [citing Moore, "Rhymes on the Road: "To what far region have his songs not flown, / Like Psaphon's birds, speaking their master's name."]

What do writers hope for from those who comment on their work in public? ... [In] book reviews, ... "Praise is what we want, praise is what we want, praise is what we want." Martin Walser, one of the most intelligent essayists of contemporary German literature, ... Germany's cleverest chatterbox, knew very well what he was talking about when he bluntly declared that the prototype of the author was the Egyptian shepherd Psaphon who had taught the birds to sing his praises.
– Marcel Reich-Ranicki, The Author of Himself
 
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Scanning the list, one sees our administrator has given us an elevated tone. At the risk of puncturing that, I offer "augean." From Webster (1913):

(Class. Myth.) Of or pertaining to Augeus, king of Elis, whose stable contained 3000 oxen, and had not been cleaned for 30 years. Hercules cleansed it in a single day.

RJA
 
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So although the definition is to genteel to say so, "augean" has the odor of "full of sh*t"?
 
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Interesting, but has his name become a word? You won't find it in OED or in any of the other major published dictionaries (nor in Bailey's, by the way), and Ciardi says he "proposes" that word – thus indicating that no such word exists. On the other hand, you will find psaphonic listed in several of the more "personalized" dictionaries.
Ah, you logophiles can't have it both ways. Nope, it is not a word if it has been around for awhile and yet isn't in the OED. We have already decided that (I won't bring up the similar word that I have in mind. Wink)
 
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quote:
Looking up "Thalia" on Dictionary.com I discovered that she was not only one of the nine Muses, but she was also one of the three Graces and one of the Nereids as well!


That girl really got around, didn't she?! Cool
 
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Our topic is characters from Greek Myth. While not mythical, Pyrrhus was a "character" - perhaps we might admit "pyrrhic," as in "won at terrible cost?"

Additional meanings include "war dance," and the dibrach meter.

RJA
 
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quote:
Originally posted by museamuse:
The muse "Thalia" ... That girl really got around, didn't she?! Cool


The french word for a tease, in the sense Richard and Kalleh mentioned here, is "une allumeuse".

Yes, she did get around.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Ah, you logophiles can't have it both ways. Nope, it is not a word if it has been around for awhile and yet isn't in the OED. We have already decided that (I won't bring up the similar word that I have in mind. Wink)

We have already decided that? I certainly haven't! As I said earlier, The OED Online defines word as "Speech, utterance, verbal expression".

Tinman
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Arvanitis:
(Note that auxon in fact operates by retaining water on the side AWAY from the light. Plants are thus not truly helio-philic, but rather scoto-phobic...)

RJA

Auxins cause plants to bend toward a light source by promoting greater growth on the side opposite the light, not by retaining water.

Auxins are a group of plant hormones that affect growth. In 1881, Charles Darwin and his son noticed that coleoptiles (sheaths which protect emerging grass stems) bended toward light. In 1926, Frits Went discovered that a substance produced in apical meristems (in plant tips) migrated out of the tips and was responsible for the bending. It is now known that the bending is caused by an unequal distribution

[This message was edited by tinman on Tue Mar 9th, 2004 at 23:23.]
 
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Auxin does indeed cause plants to expand on the side AWAY from light. Therefore word-lovers may take delight in the distinction between "scoto-phobic" and "helio-philic."

I prefer the wordplay, at cost of perhaps simplyfying the science. If tinman wishes to explore the actual chemical mechanisms of that expansion, I offer from
http://okok.essortment.com/planthormonegr_reua.htm

"A key component in the growth response of the cells to auxin are the proton pumps located in the plasma membrane. The proton pumps are stimulated by the auxin, in the shoots region of elongation. This action lowers the pH in the wall. The fabric of the wall is loosened by the acidification of the wall. This causes cross links between cellulose micro fibrils to break. Once this has occurred the wall is more plastic like, which allows the cell to take up more water through elongation and osmosis."

Thus we see, the elongation, on the side away from the light, is indeed a form of plant edema.

RJA
 
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Hey! What happened to my post? I must have somehow inadvertantly deleted half of it. You can see it was cut off in mid-sentence, and I wouldn't intentionally do that. Oh, well.

quote:
Originally posted by Robert Arvanitis:
I prefer the wordplay, at cost of perhaps simplyfying the science. If tinman wishes to explore the actual chemical mechanisms of that expansion, I offer from
http://okok.essortment.com/planthormonegr_reua.htm
Thus we see, the elongation, on the side away from the light, is indeed a form of plant edema.

RJA

I like wordplay, too, but not at the expense of scientific accuracy. The point I was trying to make is that auxins are hormones and they do not retain water. They stimulate growth and elongation. Elongation naturally involves the uptake of water by the cell.

The site you cite is interesting. The article was written by Chelsea Palmer. It doesn't say when it was written or what her credentials are. It was copyright by PageWise in 2002, but I don't know if it was written then or merely posted by PageWise then. PageWise doesn't guarantee the accuracy, either. Their "License and Terms of Use" contains the following sentence: "Contents may not be accurate, complete, or up to date."
Thus, I can't judge how accurate it is, except by how it meshes with what I know and what I've read by reputable sources.

There are some misspellings and sloppy writing in the article that lead me to believe it was not written by a professional, though some professionals have pretty poor writing, too. Rather, it looks to me like a class paper written by a high-school student.

The information I posted was from "Introductory Plant Biology, 6th edition", 1994, by Kingsley R. Stern of the University of California, Chico, CA. The website I posted was from The University of Hamburg Faculty of Biology, and was dated 07/31/2003.

Tinman
 
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So let's review the bidding…

I offer two unusual Greek characters – Hegemone and Auxon, who give us hegemony and auxin.

The second word leads us to the idea that plants are not in fact drawn towards the light, but rather away from the dark.

Finally I note the (relatively) rapid response of plants is accomplished not by growing entirely new cells, but rather by absorbing water more rapidly on the dark side. So we get to enjoy words like "helio-centric" and "scoto-phobic."

NOW, plants normally grow by replicating the number of cells. In the case of responding to light however, that takes too long. So along comes auxin, which among other things loosens cell walls, and permits expansion of individual cells. Remember, unlike animal cells, plant cells have walls which limit their size and position. So the cell walls gotta go before we grow. I refer loosely to this expansion of individual cells, as '"retaining water," since that's the principal constituent.

An objection is raised. While no one really knows the exact mechanism of cell expansion, it is somehow inaccurate and unacceptable to call it "retaining water."

I cite a source which gave me the impression that loose cell walls allow edema, and a bending towards the light side.

Not content, a secondary objection is raised, that spelling errors may impugn the science.

With a punctiliousness approaching rabidity, I offer sites from government and university, and we all know how those credentials guarantee complete reliability:

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=34831
"The theory states that hormone-stimulated proton pumping results in acid-dependent cell wall loosening (presumably through activation of cell wall enzymes [Cleland, 1981 ]), which in turn permits cell expansion."

http://cmsc.minotstateu.edu/Biology/Keller.html
"Mechanism in which cell wall acidification leads to activation of wall loosening enzymes which then allows cell expansion."

Have we now completely stamped out any remaining charm arising from the ancient Greek goddesses? Or do we require further "upmanship?"

RJA
 
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Fate being what it is, our characters from Greek Myth would be incomplete without atropine,
Noun
1. A poisonous crystalline alkaloid extracted from the nightshade family; used as an antispasmodic and to dilate the eye pupil.

Etymology: Atropine \At"ro*pine\, noun. [Greek expression inflexible; hence one of the three Parc[ae]; 'a priv. to turn.]. (Websters 1913)

Parcae being the barbaric (non-Greek, in this case Latin) term for the Moirae -- Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.


RJA
 
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Robert Arvanitis: atropine: a poisonous crystalline alkaloid; used as an antispasmodic.
the Moirae -- Clotho, Lachesis and Aptropos [the Fates, who spin, measure and cut off the thread of one's life].


Higgledly piggledy.
Moirae triumverate
(Clotho, Lachesis and
Atropos) mete,

Giving the name for a
Poisonous crystalline
Antispasmodical
Alkaloid?
Neat!
 
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The theme, Greek characters, persists unbidden during the day, until youthful memories resurface -- lab work on crystallography.

Tantalum, so named because it was tantalizingly difficult to isolate. And hidden within, even more elusive, Niobium, for Tantalus' daughter...


RJA
 
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...Then, several weeks later, a fire engine wails by, and instead of pondering the nature of the emergency, the mind turns to ancient Greek myth, namely, the sirens...


RJA
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Arvanitis, March 11, 2004:

Thank you for those last two sites. I'm not sure whether or not you understand what I said. I certainly don't understand all that you said, and you've made some inaccurate and misleading statements. So let me review your last post.
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Arvanitis:
So let's review the bidding…

OK.
quote:
I offer two unusual Greek characters – Hegemone and Auxon, who give us hegemony and auxin.

I'm not familiar with these characters.
quote:
The second word leads us to the idea that plants are not in fact drawn towards the light, but rather away from the dark.

Say it whichever way you want. Auxin migrates from the apical meristem to the stem, where it induces growth. The auxin concentration is greater on the side away from the light source (natural or artificial light), thus inducing more growth on that side and causing the plant to bend toward the light. The movement of an organism in response to an external stimulus is called tropism. Movement in response to light (either natural or artificial) is called phototropism. In general, plant shoots are positively phototropic, while their roots are either insensitive to light or are negatively phototropic.
quote:
Finally I note the (relatively) rapid response of plants is accomplished not by growing entirely new cells, but rather by absorbing water more rapidly on the dark side. So we get to enjoy words like "helio-centric" and "scoto-phobic."

That's not really what you said. You said (on Mar. 2) "auxon in fact operates by retaining water on the side AWAY from the light". "Auxon retaining water" and "cells absorbing water" are not the same thing. The first statement is false; the second is true. This may sound like a minor point to you, but it isn’t to me.
quote:
NOW, plants normally grow by replicating the number of cells. In the case of responding to light however, that takes too long. So along comes auxin, which among other things loosens cell walls, and permits expansion of individual cells.

That’s an extreme over-simplification of plant growth. Your use of the word “normally” in the first sentence seems to imply that what follows in subsequent sentences is abnormal. Phototropism is a normal response in plants.
quote:
Remember, unlike animal cells, plant cells have walls which limit their size and position. So the cell walls gotta go before we grow. I refer loosely to this expansion of individual cells, as '"retaining water," since that's the principal constituent.

Yes, plants have cell walls while animals don't. Some cell walls are elastic and can stretch, while others are more rigid. I’m not sure what you mean by “the walls gotta go before we grow”. “Cell wall loosening” refers not to the disintegration of the cell wall, but rather to its being made more relaxed and extensible.
quote:
An objection is raised. While no one really knows the exact mechanism of cell expansion, it is somehow inaccurate and unacceptable to call it "retaining water."

“Absorbing water” is more accurate than “retaining water”.
quote:
I cite a source which gave me the impression that loose cell walls allow edema, and a bending towards the light side.

The relaxing of the cell walls decreases the turgor in the plant, thus allowing it to absorb more water through osmosis. Edema is a poor word to use here, since it implies pathology and excessive accumulation of water. Water is absorbed in this case, but it is not excessive or pathological. It is a perfectly normal and healthy response of the plant to light.
quote:
Not content, a secondary objection is raised, that spelling errors may impugn the science.

That’s an oversimplification of my objection. Yes, I noted the numerous spelling and grammatical errors. I also noted that the qualifications of the author were not cited. I did not say the science was inaccurate, but that there was not enough information for me to make a judgement. I surmised the article was probably not written by an authority on the subject. We have discussed on this board before how the Web has made copious amounts of information available, but a substantial portion of it is inaccurate. We deem a site credible or not credible based on a number of factors. How well written the article is, the qualifications of the author, and references are some of the things I look for.
quote:
With a punctiliousness approaching rabidity, I offer sites from government and university, and we all know how those credentials guarantee complete reliability:

Sarcasm noted. I appreciate a healthy skepticism.
quote:
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=34831
"The theory states that hormone-stimulated proton pumping results in acid-dependent cell wall loosening (presumably through activation of cell wall enzymes [Cleland, 1981 ]), which in turn permits cell expansion."

Posting this one sentence out of context is misleading. This excellent article is titled “Evidence That Auxin-Induced Growth of Tobacco Leaf Tissues Does Not Involve Cell Wall Acidification”. It was written by Christopher P. Keller and Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh of the Department of Botany, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, and published by the American Society of Plant Physiologists in 1998. The above quote is taken from the introduction and refers to the “acid growth theory for the underlying mechanism of auxin action” (found in the sentence previous to the one quoted). However, the title of the article says that there is no evidence that “Cell Wall Acidification” is responsible for the growth in tobacco leaf tissues. The last sentence of the abstract reads

“Although cell wall loosening of some form appears to be involved, taken together, our results suggest that auxin-induced growth stimulation of tobacco leaf strips results primarily from a mechanism not involving acid growth.”

This was not the expected result, as noted earlier in the abstract. There are at least three mechanisms that can cause cell wall loosening, according to Dr. Roger Hangarter of the Department of Biology, Indiana University:

Cell expansion involves loosening of existing wall materials and production of new material. Cell wall loosening can occur by at least 3 mechanisms:

1) Wall acidification - H+ATPase in plasma membrane 'pumps" H+ from cytoplasm into cell wall. The pH of the wall drops and carboxylic acids become protonated and 'salt bridges" are broken.

In addition, the enzyme "expansin" is activated and causes cellulose micro fibers to slip (mechanism of expansin action is unknown). This results in cell wall "creep".

Hydrolytic enzymes like cellulase and pectinase, "degrade" cell walls by breaking polymers into smaller subunits or by breaking crosslinks.
quote:
http://cmsc.minotstateu.edu/Biology/Keller.html
"Mechanism in which cell wall acidification leads to activation of wall loosening enzymes which then allows cell expansion."

This is a bio of Dr. Christopher Keller, lead author of the article cited above. It outlines his education and work. Once again this quote is misleading. If you look at it carefully, you will notice it is not a complete sentence. The complete sentence says exactly the opposite of what this quote would have you believe:

“It initiates only after a long lag (1 hour) and, does not involve the so-called Acid-Growth Mechanism in which cell wall acidification leads to activation of wall loosening enzymes which then allows cell expansion.”

That sentence may be a little more understandable in the context of the entire paragraph:

2) Auxin-induced cell wall loosening and the control of tobacco leaf expansion.

“In research completed before coming to MSU, Dr. Keller found that excised tobacco leaf strips have a substantial growth response following auxin treatment but that auxin-induced growth of tobacco leaf tissues is unusual. It initiates only after a long lag (1 hour) and, does not involve the so-called Acid-Growth Mechanism in which cell wall acidification leads to activation of wall loosening enzymes which then allows cell expansion. Cell wall acidification does not occur, but auxin-induced growth is apparently still mediated by an increase in cell wall loosening or extensibility. In recent experiments a constant stress methodology is being used to determine the extent and time course of changes in extensibility of isolated cell walls from tobacco leaf strips that have been variously treated with auxin. The hypothesis to be tested is whether auxin-induced growth of tobacco leaf tissues results from increased production of wall loosening enzymes”

(Note: There is no final period. I assume it was inadvertently left out. Another possibility is that there was more to the sentence and it was cut off.)
quote:
Have we now completely stamped out any remaining charm arising from the ancient Greek goddesses? Or do we require further "upmanship?"

I’m not trying to detract from the “charm arising from the ancient Greek goddesses”. No “upmanship” is intended on my part. My original comment was that auxin does not retain water. Auxin stimulates growth.

Tinman

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wordcrafter: promethean (usually capitalized) - so boldly creative as to have a life-giving quality; inspiring. [The word sometimes has a dark connotation, somewhat akin to a Faustian bargain.]

Indeed. The novel Frankenstein revolves around that very darkness, and its exact title is Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus
 
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I thank tinman for inspiring recollection of three more words from Greek mythology:

Fury - (classical mythology) the hideous snake-haired monsters (usually three in number) who pursued unpunished criminals; Erinyes; Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone,

From The FreeDictionary.com

Hector \Hec"tor\, n. [From the Trojan warrior Hector, the son of Priam.] A bully; a blustering, turbulent, insolent fellow, one who vexes or provokes.

\Hec"tor\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Hectored}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Hectoring}.] To treat with insolence; to threaten; to bully; hence, to torment by words, to tease, to taunt, to worry or irritate by bullying.

Harpy \Har"py\, n.; pl. Harpies. [F. harpie, L. harpyia, Gr. ?, from the root of ? to snatch, to seize. Gf. Rapacious.] (Gr. Myth.) A fabulous winged monster, ravenous and filthy, having the face of a woman and the body of a vulture, with long claws, and the face pale with hunger.

Both from Webster's 1913 Dictionary

For the new reader, a reprise. Back in March, I was so delighted to offer two words, derived from the goddesses Auxon and Hegemone, that I wrote "auxin (induces plants to…) retain water." I was less than puntilious, omitting the phrase "induces plants to…"

That elision set off the avenging furies within tinman, who writes "This may sound like a minor point to you, but it isn’t to me." Meanwhile of the Greek words themselves, the whole purpose of our forum, he writes, "I'm not familiar with these characters."

ON WORDS: To date, including the current reply, I believe I have offered this forum 22 contributions. Alas, tinman has offered none. Perhaps tinman may wish to consult the fine works by E. Hamilton, G. Frazer, or R. Graves, in case the original Greek is not available to him.

ON SCIENCE: There may be more suitable places for tinman to pursue this question with me. We may then learn if his scientific learning really justifies his hectoring.


RJA
 
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quote:
There may be more suitable places for tinman to pursue this question with me.
Possibly. There are unlikely to be less suitable places.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I'm sorry if RJA feels "hectored" by my recent posts. I'm not trying to bully or torment anyone. My original post was meant to correct a misstatement RJA made about auxin. I don't believe his misstatement was deliberate, and I'm sorry if anyone got the impression that I did. We often correct each other on this board, but never maliously. If I had misstated a facet of Greek Mythology, I feel certain that RJA would have, quite rightly, corrected me.

RJA posted some sites along with some quotes from them. The quotes were misleading, inadvertant or not, and I pointed that out.

This is a word board. Discussion of the uses and misuses of words is pertinent. It seems that the proper use of words, grammar, spelling, and punctuation should be of paramount importance.

Again, let me say that I am not trying to malign anyone. There is no room for personal invective on this board.

Tinman
 
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