Riding roughshod over someone is to disregard the person’s physical and mental welfare. A horse is roughshod when the nails are left protruding out of its shoes so that the animal does not slip and fall. Being ridden over by a roughshod horse would be agonizing. In 1790 Robert Burns wrote about “a rough-shod troop o’Hell,” and Thomas Moore used the term in its modern metaphorical sense in his 1813 Intercepted Letters when he wrote, “‘Tis a scheme of the Romanists, so help me God! To ride over Your Most Royal Highness roughshod.”
Tilting at windmills, which refers to attempting the ludicrous or impossible, is based on an episode in Cervantes’ 17th- century classic Don Quixote, in which the hero believes the windmills are monsters that he intends to take on in mortal combat. Tilting is the competition in medieval jousting tournaments in which one contestant tries to knock the other off his horse. Shakespeare was one of the first to write about charging ahead at full tilt, a phrase that came to refer to proceeding with determination as quickly as possible in a particular endeavor.
"Out of the silver heat mirage he ran. The sky burned, and under him the paving was a black mirror reflecting sun-fire. Sweat sprayed his skin with each foot strike so that he ran in a hot mist of his own creation. With each slap on the softened asphalt, his soles absorbed heat that rose through his arches and ankles and the stems of his shins. It was a carnival of pain, but he loved each stride because running distilled him to his essence and the heat hastened this distillation." - James Tabor, from "The Runner," a short story
Thirty years ago in Russia, not far from Kovno, a Jewish peasant woman awaited her seventh baby. When her time came, she had mild labor pains, but nothing happened. Months later a doctor suggested an operation. She refused. Years passed, the family emigrated to the U. S., settled in Detroit.
Last fortnight, bothered by a heaviness in her belly at night, the old woman screwed up her courage to see Dr. Joseph Gilbert Israel, crack Detroit gynecologist. Dr. Israel palpated her abdomen, discovered a hard, round object like a baseball. His first astonished thought was that she, aged 66, was going to have a baby. But the object was too hard to be a living baby's head. Besides it was outside the womb.
Dr. Israel hospitalized his patient last week, called in two colleagues and an X-ray technician. The X-ray photographs showed that she was carrying in her belly what doctors call a lithopedian ("stone baby")—a retained fetus which has calcified. It was in the normal knee-chest position, head down and perfectly formed. Obviously the baby had died just at full term. Other lithopedians have been recorded, but they were invariably formless round masses. Dr. Israel decided that he had the only full-term lithopedian known to medicine.
After hearing the old woman's story, Dr. Israel guessed that what probably happened was this: After the ovum was fertilized, instead of traveling normally down the fallopian tube, it traveled upward, broke out into the abdominal cavity, caught and clung to the outside of the womb, received enough nourishment there to develop normally. But since it was outside the womb, the labor contractions could not expel it, and it died.
Last week Dr. Israel tried to make up his mind whether it would be better to leave the 30-year-old lithopedian where it was or take it out. At latest reports he had not decided.
This happens when a fetus dies during an ectopic pregnancy. The baby is too large to be reabsorbed by the body. This caused the body to surround the fetus with calcium. A woman can be pregnant for years with the dead child. The longest documented pregnancy 46 years.
A bizarre contraption has just been put together in the northern Utah town of Plain City. It's the first full-scale test of a major invention from the University of Utah. If it works, it could have worldwide significance and will save people here lots of money on their sewer bills.
It looks like alien mushrooms sprouting in a sewage lagoon, but it may be the wave of the future in sewage treatment.
Don Weston, Plain City director of environmental services, said, "The good bacteria stays in there and just continues to eat, eat, eat and propagate and propagate."
For the folks in Plain City, the new concept came at a good time. Their sewage volume is increasing with growth. Effluent discharges are getting closer to violating pollution standards. They face the enormous cost of a mechanical sewage plant.
"They figured it would be right around $13 million. And this is going to cost us $100,000," Weston said.
Over the next couple of weeks, they'll be filling up the lagoon so the sewage will rise above the level of the domes. Air will bubble through them and up through the sewage.
"We call them PooGloos," said Professor Kraig Johnson, with the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Utah.
A University of Utah team invented the igloo concept and have successfully treated sewage in the lab. "I don't know why somebody didn't think of this already. It's elegant in its simplicity," Johnson said.
The idea is to give bacteria lots of surface area to grow on, plenty of oxygen, and a dark environment to prevent algae growth. "If you can keep the algae from growing and enhance the bacteria, then the pollutants are removed by the bacteria," Johnson explained.
The result is faster, cheaper sewage treatment. "This way we can use two of our six ponds to do the same thing, and I can shut half this plant down once these are going," Weston said.
And homeowners don't have to pay for a big new plant.
Plain City mayor Jay Jenkins said, "We've got real low sewer rates. We're down around the $10-a-month area. And our feeling was if we would have had to go to a mechanical plant, we probably would have ended up having to increase that to around $40 or $50 a month."
If it works, communities all over the world may have PooGloos in their future. The University shares the patents, so if PooGloos catch on around the world, the U will split the profits with the inventors.
For more information, click the related link to the right of the story.
A book by Daniel L. Schacter describes an instance of supposedly unintentional plagiarism by Friedrich Nietzsche in Thus Spake Zarathustra. One of Nietzsche's characters goes on a dreamlike journey that closely mimics a classic german fable. Presumably, Nietzsche heard this fable before, but forgot it until he wrote what he thought was a novel story.
I read a newspaper article recently detailing a similar story about Helen Keller. In her autobiography "The Story of My Life," Ms. Keller describes how, at age 12, she wrote a story � "The Frost King" � that created her own publishing scandal. "Mr. Anagnos was delighted with 'The Frost King,' and published it in one of the Perkins Institution reports," Ms. Keller wrote (Chapter 14 at afb.org/mylife). "This was the pinnacle of my happiness, from which I was in a little while dashed to earth. I had been in Boston only a short time when it was discovered that a story similar to 'The Frost King,' called 'The Frost Fairies' by Miss Margaret T. Canby, had appeared before I was born in a book called 'Birdie and His Friends.' The two stories were so much alike in thought and language that it was evident Miss Canby's story had been read to me, and that mine was � a plagiarism."
The world's largest flower, called Rafflesia, can have a diameter up to one meter and can weigh up to 10 kilograms. It also smells like rotting flesh. Discovery News tells us that its genetic roots have been uncovered and that this plant that smells so bad is related to delicate flowers such as poinsettias or violets.
I think I should clear up that my remark about applesauce being offended was a joke. I think 'Indian Style' is fine, but people get SO dang offended at the littlest things in our American Culture. If we all lighten up it might be a better world.