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(Born Wednesday 14 May 2014 at 5:23 AM, 3.3 kg 53 cm)

 

Marvellous.  Emily, my eldest daughter, has given birth to my first natural Grandchild (I have three step-grandchildren).  She and Guido have named him Leander.  Mother and child are well.

According to Wikipedia, the original most famous Leander is the central character the the Greek Myth of Hero and Leander.

In the myth, Leander (Ancient Greek: Λέανδρος, Léandros), a young man from Abydos on the Asian side of the Dardanelles fell in love with Hero a priestess of Aphrodite (Roman equivalent: Venus the goddess of love) who dwelt in a tower in Sestos on the European side of the Hellespont

His soft words, and his argument that Aphrodite would scorn the worship of a virgin, persuaded the beautiful Hero to take Leander as her lover. Every night he would swim across the Hellespont to be with her. Hero would light a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way. These trysts lasted through the warm summer.

On Hellespont, guilty of true love's blood,
In view and opposite two cities stood,
Sea-borderers, disjoin'd by Neptune's might:
The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight.
At Sestos Hero dwelt; Hero the fair,
Whom young Apollo courted for her hair.

from Christopher Marlowe's poem Hero and Leander

 

But one stormy winter night, the waves tossed Leander in the sea and the breezes blew out Hero's light.  Leander lost his way and was drowned. When Hero saw his dead body, she threw herself over the edge of the tower to her death to be with him.

 


The Last Watch of Hero by Frederic Leighton,
depicting Hero anxiously waiting for Leander during the storm.

 

According to Wikipedia, people named Leander include:

A number of warships and warship classes of the Royal Navy have been given this famous name:

  • HMS Leander, various Royal Navy ships

    • Leander class, three ship classes

     

  • HMNZS Leander, a Royal New Zealand Navy light cruiser of World War II, originally HMS Leander of the British Royal Navy

  • SS Leander, a number of ships with this name

  • Leander (clipper), a clipper built in 1867

 

I like the Myth of Hero and Leander.

When we were in Turkey in 2005 we crossed the Hellespont twice in a rented car. It didn't float on water but there was a convenient ferry. We were there principally to visit the battle site at Gallipoli but the whole region is interesting.  The Hellespont (Dardanelles) has been famous in history, myth and religion since the invention of writing; and maybe earlier.  The ancient city of Troy was nearby.

 

 

 


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Travel

Bridge over the River Kwai

 

 

In 1957-58 the film ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai‘ was ground breaking.  It was remarkable for being mainly shot on location (in Ceylon not Thailand) rather than in a studio and for involving the construction and demolition of a real, fully functioning rail bridge.   It's still regarded by many as one of the finest movies ever made. 

One of the things a tourist to Bangkok is encouraged to do is to take a day trip to the actual bridge.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Memory

 

 

 

Our memories are fundamental to who we are. All our knowledge and all our skills and other abilities reside in memory. As a consequence so do all our: beliefs; tastes; loves; hates; hopes; and fears.

Yet our memories are neither permanent nor unchangeable and this has many consequences.  Not the least of these is the bearing memory has on our truthfulness.

According to the Macquarie Dictionary a lie is: "a false statement made with intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood - something intended or serving to convey a false impression".  So when we remember something that didn't happen, perhaps from a dream or a suggestion made by someone else, or we forget something that did happen, we are not lying when we falsely assert that it happened or truthfully deny it.

The alarming thing is that this may happen quite frequently without our noticing. Mostly this is trivial but when it contradicts someone else's recollections, in a way that has serious legal or social implications, it can change lives or become front page news.

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Opinions and Philosophy

The race for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine

 

 

 

 

As we all now know (unless we've been living under a rock) the only way of defeating a pandemic is to achieve 'herd immunity' for the community at large; while strictly quarantining the most vulnerable.

Herd immunity can be achieved by most people in a community catching a virus and suffering the consequences or by vaccination.

It's over two centuries since Edward Jenner used cowpox to 'vaccinate' (from 'vacca' - Latin for cow) against smallpox. Since then medical science has been developing ways to pre-warn our immune systems of potentially harmful viruses using 'vaccines'.

In the last fifty years herd immunity has successfully been achieved against many viruses using vaccination and the race is on to achieve the same against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19).

Developing; manufacturing; and distributing a vaccine is at the leading edge of our scientific capabilities and knowledge and is a highly skilled; technologically advanced; and expensive undertaking. Yet the rewards are potentially great, when the economic and societal consequences of the current pandemic are dire and governments around the world are desperate for a solution. 

So elite researchers on every continent have joined the race with 51 vaccines now in clinical trials on humans and at least 75 in preclinical trials on animals.

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