Charles Brian Orner


Interested readers will discover additional details here in a wide variety of areas, including the arts, astronomy, business, culture, environment, gaming, geography, language, history, literature, music, mythology, philosophy, politics, religion, and science. Spend a little time with the notes; it'll pique your interest. Then buy the book. Most notes have been taken from public sources such as Wikipedia. The remainder are given attribution.

Chapter 28

1    Myrddin Wyllt (a legendary figure associated in some sources with events in the sixth century), is a figure in medieval Welsh legend, known as a prophet and a madman. He is the most important prototype for the modern composite image of Merlin, the wizard from Arthurian legend.
2    God of the Gaps is a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence. The term was invented by Christian theologians not to discredit theism but rather to point out the fallacy of relying on teleological arguments for God’s existence. The phrase is also used to refer to a form of the argument from ignorance fallacy.
Argument from ignorance, also known as appeal to ignorance, is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that there is insufficient investigation and therefore insufficient information to prove the proposition satisfactorily to be either true or false. Nor does it allow the admission that the choices may in fact not be two (true or false), but may be as many as four (true, false, unknown between true or false, unknowable among the first three).
3    In the Russian-speaking criminal underworld, the knife is referred to as the “feather.”
4    A shit pump is slang for a soldier who displays a poor attitude, or meets the bare minimum standard; an overall bad soldier.
5    Historically, the meaning of the letter ‘X’ traces back to the Arabic word for “thing,” or šay’. In ancient texts, such as Al-Jabr, a manuscript written in Baghdad in 820 A.D. that established the rules of algebra, mathematical variables were called things. (An equation might read “three things equal fifteen,” for example — the thing being five.) When Al-Jabr was later translated into Old Spanish, the word šay’ was written as “xei.” This soon came to be abbreviated as x.
6    Charon’s obol is an allusive term for the coin placed in or on the mouth of a dead person before burial. Greek and Latin literary sources specify the coin as an obol, and explain it as a payment or bribe for Charon, the ferryman who conveyed souls across the river that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. Archaeological examples of these coins, of various denominations in practice, have been called “the most famous grave goods from antiquity. Contrary to popular aetiology there is little evidence to connect the myth of Charon to the custom of placing a pair of coins on the eyes of the deceased, though the larger gold-foil coverings discussed above might include pieces shaped for the eyes. Pairs of coins are sometimes found in burials, including cremation urns; among the collections of the British Museum is an urn from Athens, ca. 300 BC, that contained cremated remains, two obols, and a terracotta figure of a mourning siren. Ancient Greek and Latin literary sources, however, mention a pair of coins only when a return trip is anticipated, as in the case of Psyche’s catabasis, and never in regard to sealing the eyes.
7    Béla Fleck and the Flecktones is a primarily instrumental group from the United States, that draws equally on bluegrass, fusion and post-bop, sometimes dubbed “blu-bop”. The band formed in 1988, to perform on the PBS series Lonesome Pine Specials. The Flecktones consist of Bela Fleck on acoustic and electric banjo, Victor Wooten on bass, his brother, Future Man on Drumitar, Howard Levy on harmonica and keyboard and Jeff Coffin on saxophone The Flecktones have toured extensively since then, often playing over two hundred concerts per year. Each of the current members of the quartet has released at least one solo album. The band’s name is a play on the name of the 1960’s rock band Dick Dale and the Del-Tones. 



Brian Orner