So, whatchu bin searchin’ for?

I have been doing some mad Internet searching lately. Some of the questions to be answered:

Who is Noam Chomsky? This may seem like a trivial question for more educated folks, but I have never heard anything other than passing references to his name, often in a critical context. I have George to thank for renewing my curiosity regarding Chomsky.

Basic biographical and bibliographical information can be found at his MIT site. While this is nice for learning that (big surprise) he’s a famous linguist and involves himself in “intellectual history, comtemporary issues, international affairs, and U.S. foreign policy”, it didn’t cough up any information on why he’s so controversial (if, in fact, he is).

Wikipedia has a Noam Chomsky page that is quite helpful. In summary, Chomsky is a old-school Zionist, anti-capitalist, and a well-known leftie. That would be a reference to political affiliation, of course. He is apparently known for criticizing the foreign policies of the U.S., calling the U.S. the leading terrorist state of the world and criticizing the United States’ allies. Sounds like a fascinating guy, quite frankly. I think, when my reading load slows down (see below), I think I will pick up a book or two by him.

A a follow-up question, what is the pronounciation of “Chomsky”? Is it just chom-skee?

Who is Coetzee? Again, inspired by the post by George, I decided to hunt down information about John Michael Coetzee. Coetzee is a South African who became anti-imperialist during the apartheid; his writing on the topic (among others) and his experiences landed him Booker Prizes and the Nobel Literature Prize.

I have put The Life and Times of Michael K and Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life on hold for my own reading pleasure, along with a book that explains the sociopolitical background of Coetzee’s works.

How the hell do nurses get the numbers for blood pressure? I found the relevant information for my impromptu question here. Essentially, when the bladder of the cuff inflates, circulation is cut off, and the stethoscope “perceives no noise”. As the cuff is released, the number on the dial is noted when the stethoscope begins to register noise again (systolic blood pressure). The cuff continues to deflate, and another “whoosh” registers on the stethoscope. When the stethoscope stops registering noise (after the deflation of the cuff), the dial measurement is read again (diastolic blood pressure). These two numbers form the blood pressure.

I have too much free time, don’t I? Well, curiousity shan’t kill this kitty.

[Listening to “No Turning Back” [Kelis / Kaleidoscope]]

  • Hannah

    Yeah, it’s just “chom’-skee” (with the apostrophe for emphasis of the first syllable). He speaks here a lot, mainly abusing his fame as a linguist to get in on whatever political discussion he can, but hey, go left.


  • Hannah

    Um, I didn’t mean to sign my name twice…I am not smart enough to use your comment feature…

  • Hannah

    Ooh, sorry, one more comment–in Bio we had to learn how to manually take blood pressure. It was a lot of fun. I guess that was all you missed by taking Physics instead.

  • Chomsky

    Hannah: Have you been to any of his talks? Does he seem like a… well, a rational guy? I mean, he’s obviously some kind of famous, but does he sound like a complete crackpot? (It sounds like you don’t like him overly much, based on a light rhetorical analysis of your comment… )[;)]

  • Hannah

    Yeah so I went to one of his most recent talks and found him to be about the same as you did–old-school Zionist, and very left-wing. The Zionism can be a little scary at times, but some of the things that he thinks are right on–about government health care and such. It’s like with any extremist: you can find some things that make sense, and other stuff just scares you. Well, at least it does if you’re not one of his followers and might be a little more open-minded to other views (read: scaredy-cat centrist who cannot make up her mind). Well, so, yeah. Blah. Don’t bother with rhetorical analysis on anything I say or write as I no longer am able to speak or write with any intelligence. That is, unless you want a technical paper…? [:o]

  • Oooh, look who got a comment thingy! Makes a lurker happy! Anyhow, Chomsky – I’ve read several essays and liked some better than others. He’s VERY left-wing, sometimes too much so, I find. I don’t understand any of the lingustics stuff that I am constantly exposed to because a lingustics class is taught in the same lecture hall as my computer science class and the notes are always left on the board….