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Scott Toste
Explorer - Scientist - Scholar - Farmer - Family Man
Explorer - Scientist - Scholar - Farmer - Family Man

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I've discovered a new word (for me it is new): Synecdoche
It's a kind of metaphor as a type of conceptual substitution in which a part of something represents the whole or it may use a whole to represent a part.

“bread” refers to food or money
“gray beard” refers to an old man
“sails” refers to a whole ship
“suits” refers to businessmen
"boots” refers to soldiers
“coke” is a common synecdoche for all carbonated drinks
“Pentagon” is a synecdoche when it refers to a few decision makers.
The word “glasses” refers to spectacles.

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I watched this video while I ate my lunch this afternoon and found it quite enlightening. "Megan Phelps-Roper shares details of life inside America's most controversial church and describes how conversations on Twitter were key to her decision to leave it. In this extraordinary talk, she shares her personal experience of extreme polarization, along with some sharp ways we can learn to successfully engage across ideological lines."

The merit of this particular TED talk is that it describes the importance of engaging others who hold views different than your own. In this era of political and ideological division, it was refreshing to hear how some people have engaged each other in a thoughtful and compassionate manner.

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“Cassini provided scientists with a wealth of data about Enceladus’ surface and the composition of its powerful plumes. This data showed evidence of a deep saltwater ocean with an energy source beneath Enceladus’ surface. The presence of water, warmth, and organic molecules are the necessary requirements for sustaining life as we know it. Water is proven to exist, while the tidal forces from Saturn provide the necessary heat. Based on observations of other bodies in the Solar System, Enceladus likely contains the raw ingredients for life as well. The suspected existence of all three hints at the possible presence of the precursors to amino acids in this vast subsurface ocean. Should we find extraterrestrial life on Enceladus – or in the geyser-like plumes erupting into space – the implications are almost incomprehensible.”

When you think about life beyond Earth, you likely think of it occurring on a somewhat Earth-like planet. A rocky world, with either a past or present liquid ocean atop the surface, seems ideal. But that might not even be where life on Earth originated! Deep beneath the Earth’s surface, geologically active hydrothermal vents currently support diverse colonies of life without any energy from the Sun. Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus, has a subsurface ocean unlike any other world we’ve yet discovered. The tidal forces of Saturn itself provide the necessary heat, and also create cracks in the Enceladean surface, enabling massive geysers. This subsurface ocean rises hundreds of kilometers high, regularly resurfaces the world with a coat of fresh ice, and even creates the E-ring of Saturn. But most spectacularly, it may house actively living organisms, and could be the next-best world for life, after Earth, in the Solar System today.

Come get the full story on Enceladus, and welcome Starts With A Bang’s newest contributor, the remarkable Jesse Shanahan!

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News source bias diagram.

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Here's a short (25 minute) animated version of William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar."

O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever livèd in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy—
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue—
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men.
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy.
Blood and destruction shall be so in use,
And dreadful objects so familiar,
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quartered with the hands of war,
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds,
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

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"Friends, Roman, Countrymen, I come to bury Caesar not to praise him." -- from Mark Antony's funeral speech in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar"

The significance of Antony's speech is to persuade the citizens that Brutus is wrong and that Caesar did not deserve to die. By saying that Brutus is an "honorable man," then giving examples of Caesar's altruistic qualities, he is using verbal irony. The oration style is clearly persuasive - or rhetoric.

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Beware the Ides of March.

On this day, in 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was assassinated by Roman Senators who feared Caesar's growing power. At that time the Senate was the source of power in the Roman world. An uneasy alliance had developed between Julius Caesar and the Senate. They granted him many titles such as dictator perpetuo (dictator for life) hoping it would satisfy his aspirations for more power. Fearing that he would crown himself king, a group of 60 Senators conspired against Caesar and plotted his assassination in order to preserve their power. A fortuneteller (seer) warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The Ides of March are come", implying that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar," when Caesar is warned by the fortuneteller to "beware the Ides of March." At the theater, the conspirators gathered and stabbed Caesar to death. Among them was Caesar's close friend, Brutus, whose treachery shocked him. Shakespeare immortalized this act of betrayal in the line uttered by the dying Caesar, "Et tu, Brute?" It translates, "You, too, Brutus?"

Why is Julius Caesar's death so important? It is seen as the end of the Roman Republic and beginning of the Roman Empire. After Julius Caesar's death, a civil war broke out between the conspiring Senators and Caesar's heir, Octavius, and his ally Mark Antony. Octavius and Antony were victorious over the Senators. Mark Antony then aligned himself with Cleopatra hoping to use the wealth of Egypt against Octavius. A second civil war then happened between Octavius and Mark Antony with Antony losing. The victorious Octavius adopted the name Caesar Agustus and declared himself the first Roman Emperor.

Now you know why the Ides of March are famous, but where does the name come from? March, in the oldest Roman calendar, was the first month of the year. The Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st of the following month). The Ides occurred near the midpoint, on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. The Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar. On the earliest calendar, the Ides of March would have been the first full moon of the new year.

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