Brain Eater Question

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peter wezeman

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Dec 1, 2003, 6:14:58 PM12/1/03
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I was wondering what would be the proper scientific term for the
common "brain eater" with which we are so familiar. According to my
medical terminology book either "cerebrophage" or "encephalophage"
would be correct. The results of my survey so far indicate that
people consider "encephalophage" to be the "scarier" of the two
(if that is a consideration). Do you at rasfw prefer one or the
other, or perhaps something else completely? I would like to hear
what it would be called using French, Germanic (yes, I read Anderson's
_Uncleftish Beholding_, it's great), Slavic, or other roots. I liked
Harrison's term from Serbo-Croation for "time machine": "Vremeatron".

Thank you,
Peter Wezeman
anti-social Darwinist

Bill Snyder

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Dec 1, 2003, 6:50:48 PM12/1/03
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On 1 Dec 2003 15:14:58 -0800, peterw...@hotmail.com (peter wezeman)
wrote:

Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out who
that was. (It would be too cheap (and far too easy) a shot IMO to
name it after any prominent victim, ala Gehrig's Disease.)

--
Bill Snyder [This space unintentionally left blank.]

James Nicoll

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Dec 1, 2003, 6:56:51 PM12/1/03
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In article <hkknsvgjn378d42e9...@4ax.com>,

Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>On 1 Dec 2003 15:14:58 -0800, peterw...@hotmail.com (peter wezeman)
>wrote:
>
>>I was wondering what would be the proper scientific term for the
>>common "brain eater" with which we are so familiar. According to my
>>medical terminology book either "cerebrophage" or "encephalophage"
>>would be correct. The results of my survey so far indicate that
>>people consider "encephalophage" to be the "scarier" of the two
>>(if that is a consideration). Do you at rasfw prefer one or the
>>other, or perhaps something else completely? I would like to hear
>>what it would be called using French, Germanic (yes, I read Anderson's
>>_Uncleftish Beholding_, it's great), Slavic, or other roots. I liked
>>Harrison's term from Serbo-Croation for "time machine": "Vremeatron".
>
>Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
>whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out who
>that was.

That would be me, I think.
--
It's amazing how the waterdrops form: a ball of water with an air bubble
inside it and inside of that one more bubble of water. It looks so beautiful
[...]. I realized something: the world is interesting for the man who can
be surprised. -Valentin Lebedev-

Dorothy J Heydt

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Dec 1, 2003, 7:51:17 PM12/1/03
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In article <7c5510c.03120...@posting.google.com>,

peter wezeman <peterw...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>I was wondering what would be the proper scientific term for the
>common "brain eater" with which we are so familiar. According to my
>medical terminology book either "cerebrophage" or "encephalophage"
>would be correct.

When coining words from Latin or Greek roots, it's considered
classier to stick to one language per word. Thus, 'encephalophage',
consisting of two Greek roots, would be preferred. If you wanted
to use two Latin roots, the form would be 'cerebrovore.'


Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@kithrup.com

Dorothy J Heydt

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Dec 1, 2003, 7:54:05 PM12/1/03
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In article <bqgkg3$s15$1...@panix3.panix.com>,

James Nicoll <jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
>In article <hkknsvgjn378d42e9...@4ax.com>,
>Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>>On 1 Dec 2003 15:14:58 -0800, peterw...@hotmail.com (peter wezeman)
>>wrote:
>>
>>>I was wondering what would be the proper scientific term for the
>>>common "brain eater" with which we are so familiar. According to my
>>>medical terminology book either "cerebrophage" or "encephalophage"
>>>would be correct. The results of my survey so far indicate that
>>>people consider "encephalophage" to be the "scarier" of the two
>>>(if that is a consideration). Do you at rasfw prefer one or the
>>>other, or perhaps something else completely? I would like to hear
>>>what it would be called using French, Germanic (yes, I read Anderson's
>>>_Uncleftish Beholding_, it's great), Slavic, or other roots. I liked
>>>Harrison's term from Serbo-Croation for "time machine": "Vremeatron".
>>
>>Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
>>whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out who
>>that was.
>
> That would be me, I think.

Well, I like the idea of credit where it's due. We'd need, however,
a sizable educational campaign to let people know that 'Nicoll's
Syndrome' consisted of having had one's brain eaten, rather than
having undergone a couple orders of magnitude more life-threatening
incidents than anyone else and lived to tell the tale.

BPRAL22169

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Dec 1, 2003, 8:20:02 PM12/1/03
to
Dorothy J. Heydt/Peter Wezeman

I believe "o kephalos" means the head rather than the specific organ, the
brain.
Bill

Mike Van Pelt

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Dec 1, 2003, 8:31:28 PM12/1/03
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>I was wondering what would be the proper scientific term for the
>common "brain eater" with which we are so familiar. According to my
>medical terminology book either "cerebrophage" or "encephalophage"
>would be correct.

How about "Psychophage"? "Mind eater" rather than "brain eater",
and keeps both parts in the same language.

--
To truly appreciate Dilbert, one must read | Mike Van Pelt
it in the orignal Ferengi. What is lost | mvp at calweb.com
in the translation is that the boss is | KE6BVH
always right. -- plopez on slashdot.org

Dorothy J Heydt

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Dec 1, 2003, 8:42:06 PM12/1/03
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In article <20031201202002...@mb-m07.aol.com>,

Yes. _kephalos_ is head; _enkephalos_ is "in the head", or
brain.

Hence electroencephalograph (EEG), etc.

Mark Atwood

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Dec 1, 2003, 8:45:19 PM12/1/03
to
djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) writes:
>
> When coining words from Latin or Greek roots, it's considered
> classier to stick to one language per word. Thus, 'encephalophage',
> consisting of two Greek roots, would be preferred. If you wanted
> to use two Latin roots, the form would be 'cerebrovore.'

One feels like it would be a microscopic organism, while the other
would be macroscopic.

--
Mark Atwood | When you do things right,
m...@pobox.com | people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
http://www.pobox.com/~mra

Dreamer

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Dec 1, 2003, 8:56:11 PM12/1/03
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On 12/1/03 6:51 PM, in article Hp8t1...@kithrup.com, "Dorothy J Heydt"
<djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:

Oooh! Oooh! I like cerebrovore!

D

Dorothy J Heydt

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Dec 1, 2003, 9:18:49 PM12/1/03
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In article <m3vfp0v...@khem.blackfedora.com>,

Mark Atwood <m...@pobox.com> wrote:
>djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) writes:
>>
>> When coining words from Latin or Greek roots, it's considered
>> classier to stick to one language per word. Thus, 'encephalophage',
>> consisting of two Greek roots, would be preferred. If you wanted
>> to use two Latin roots, the form would be 'cerebrovore.'
>
>One feels like it would be a microscopic organism, while the other
>would be macroscopic.

It does sound rather like that, doesn't it? That's because the
related terms "herbivore" and "carnivore" and "omnivore" and so
forth are used for macroscopic creatures such as cows, cats, and
humans. But all the word actually *says* is "brain eater."

John F. Carr

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Dec 1, 2003, 9:54:38 PM12/1/03
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In article <Hp8t6...@kithrup.com>,

Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>In article <bqgkg3$s15$1...@panix3.panix.com>,
>James Nicoll <jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>>I was wondering what would be the proper scientific term for the
>>>>common "brain eater" with which we are so familiar. [...]

>>>
>>>Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
>>>whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out who
>>>that was.
>>
>> That would be me, I think.
>
>Well, I like the idea of credit where it's due. We'd need, however,
>a sizable educational campaign to let people know that 'Nicoll's
>Syndrome' consisted of having had one's brain eaten, rather than
>having undergone a couple orders of magnitude more life-threatening
>incidents than anyone else and lived to tell the tale.

Just as Gauss only gets his name prominently attached to one of his
mathematical inventions or discoveries, though he deserves credit
for many more, so Nicoll would be exceeding his station to have more
than one disaster named after him.

We were told in math class, Gauss' other laws were named after the
second person to discover them.

--
John Carr (j...@mit.edu)

William December Starr

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Dec 1, 2003, 10:18:59 PM12/1/03
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In article <3fcbeb70$0$7563$d36...@news.calweb.com>,

m...@web1.calweb.com (Mike Van Pelt) said:

> How about "Psychophage"? "Mind eater" rather than "brain eater",
> and keeps both parts in the same language.

Sounds too much like it should be the title of one of Brian Lumley's
bricks.

-- William December Starr <wds...@panix.com>

Bill Snyder

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Dec 1, 2003, 10:36:01 PM12/1/03
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On 1 Dec 2003 18:56:51 -0500, jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:

>In article <hkknsvgjn378d42e9...@4ax.com>,
>Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>>On 1 Dec 2003 15:14:58 -0800, peterw...@hotmail.com (peter wezeman)
>>wrote:
>>
>>>I was wondering what would be the proper scientific term for the
>>>common "brain eater" with which we are so familiar. According to my
>>>medical terminology book either "cerebrophage" or "encephalophage"
>>>would be correct. The results of my survey so far indicate that
>>>people consider "encephalophage" to be the "scarier" of the two
>>>(if that is a consideration). Do you at rasfw prefer one or the
>>>other, or perhaps something else completely? I would like to hear
>>>what it would be called using French, Germanic (yes, I read Anderson's
>>>_Uncleftish Beholding_, it's great), Slavic, or other roots. I liked
>>>Harrison's term from Serbo-Croation for "time machine": "Vremeatron".
>>
>>Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
>>whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out who
>>that was.
>
> That would be me, I think.

Ah. Probably I should deduced that. But I fear Dorothy has the right
of it, James; we'd never convince people that something called
"Nicoll's Syndrome" related to mental deterioration rather than
gangrenous razor cuts, exploding chickens, and radioactive paving
stones.

Tweek

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Dec 2, 2003, 4:53:27 AM12/2/03
to
I didn't read the thread, but I suggest "tetrivore"

peter wezeman <peterw...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:7c5510c.03120...@posting.google.com...
: I was wondering what would be the proper scientific term for the

Niall McAuley

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Dec 2, 2003, 5:03:40 AM12/2/03
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"Mark Atwood" <m...@pobox.com> wrote in message news:m3vfp0v...@khem.blackfedora.com...

> djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) writes:
> > When coining words from Latin or Greek roots, it's considered
> > classier to stick to one language per word. Thus, 'encephalophage',
> > consisting of two Greek roots, would be preferred. If you wanted
> > to use two Latin roots, the form would be 'cerebrovore.'

> One feels like it would be a microscopic organism, while the other
> would be macroscopic.

"Braaains!"
--
Niall [real address ends in com, not moc.invalid]


Mark Blunden

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Dec 2, 2003, 8:14:05 AM12/2/03
to

Maybe not good linguistics, but I rather like the sound of 'intellivore'. Or
for more common use, or as an indication of dietary preference,
'cerbebrotarian'.

--
Mark.

* No force in the 'verse can stop me!


David Silberstein

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Dec 2, 2003, 9:42:04 AM12/2/03
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In article <u42osv8nda8n21rgo...@4ax.com>,

Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>On 1 Dec 2003 18:56:51 -0500, jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:
>
>>In article <hkknsvgjn378d42e9...@4ax.com>,
>>Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>>>On 1 Dec 2003 15:14:58 -0800, peterw...@hotmail.com (peter wezeman)
>>>wrote:
>>>
>>>>I was wondering what would be the proper scientific term for the
>>>>common "brain eater" with which we are so familiar. According to my
>>>>medical terminology book either "cerebrophage" or "encephalophage"
>>>>would be correct. The results of my survey so far indicate that
>>>>people consider "encephalophage" to be the "scarier" of the two
>>>>(if that is a consideration). Do you at rasfw prefer one or the
>>>>other, or perhaps something else completely? I would like to hear
>>>>what it would be called using French, Germanic (yes, I read Anderson's
>>>>_Uncleftish Beholding_, it's great), Slavic, or other roots.

Both "brain" and "eat" are fine examples of words that derive from
Old English, with cognates and such in the Low German, Frisian and
Teutonic; the OED has quotes going back to c1000.

>>>Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
>>>whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out who
>>>that was.
>>
>> That would be me, I think.
>
>Ah. Probably I should deduced that. But I fear Dorothy has the right
>of it, James; we'd never convince people that something called
>"Nicoll's Syndrome" related to mental deterioration rather than
>gangrenous razor cuts, exploding chickens, and radioactive paving
>stones.
>

Yet consider the precedent of Wolfgang Pauli: There is the physical
principle that Pauli *described* (Pauli exclusion principle), and
there is the effect caused by Pauli's physical *presence* (Pauli effect)

http://www.geocities.com/ilian73/pauli.html

Obviously, Nicoll's Syndrome (describing encephalophage victims)
can and must be distinguished from Nicoll Events (typically
nonfatal pain and damage synchronistic incidents).

Buck Dharma

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Dec 2, 2003, 10:00:38 AM12/2/03
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jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote in message news:<bqgkg3$s15$1...@panix3.panix.com>...

>
> That would be me, I think.

Google thinks so too, on 12th September 1997.

--
Buck 'Idle Hands' Dharma

James Nicoll

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Dec 2, 2003, 10:12:59 AM12/2/03
to
In article <Hp9v...@kithrup.com>,
Presumably fatal events by their nature can only happen to
a given person a handful of times in their lives?

My grandfather for example only died twice, once during the
war and once in the 1980s.

James Shields

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Dec 2, 2003, 11:33:06 AM12/2/03
to

And additionally Nicoll Threads, to denote on-topic posting with the
intent of increasing on-topic posting. Although, this term seems to
have fallen out of favor.

Peace.

--James

Dwight Thieme

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Dec 2, 2003, 12:56:13 PM12/2/03
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djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) wrote in message news:<Hp8x3...@kithrup.com>...

Considering the nature of the beast, I'd always thought it should
follow Looneytune naming conventions ala the Coyote and Roadrunner:
Cerebrus Eaticus or somesuch. There is a touch of comedy in there as
well as tragedy, doncha think?

anxious triffid

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Dec 2, 2003, 1:06:28 PM12/2/03
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m...@web1.calweb.com (Mike Van Pelt) wrote in
news:3fcbeb70$0$7563$d36...@news.calweb.com:

> In article <7c5510c.03120...@posting.google.com>,
> peter wezeman <peterw...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>I was wondering what would be the proper scientific term for the
>>common "brain eater" with which we are so familiar. According to my
>>medical terminology book either "cerebrophage" or "encephalophage"
>>would be correct.
>
> How about "Psychophage"? "Mind eater" rather than "brain eater",
> and keeps both parts in the same language.
>

I agree that the scientific term should stress that it is the mind (even if
it just an emergent process) which is being eaten, rather than the brain
itself. However, it seems that even post brain-eater sf writers are still
able to carry out most other functions relatively unimpaired - it is only
when it comes to writing sf works that the symptoms become apparent. Maybe
the term should address the fact that it is creatviity, inventiveness or
humility that is being eaten?

Lee Fyock

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Dec 2, 2003, 1:32:21 PM12/2/03
to
In article <bqgkg3$s15$1...@panix3.panix.com>, James Nicoll
<jdni...@panix.com> wrote:

> In article <hkknsvgjn378d42e9...@4ax.com>,
> Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
> >Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
> >whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out who
> >that was.
>
> That would be me, I think.

No, no, no. With all due credit to James, things like this aren't
named after the person who identified the problem; this isn't like
discovering a new continent or something.

This...disease...should be named after the first person identified to
_have_ the disease. Would that be Heinlein? "Heinlein's Disease" has
a certain ring to it.


Lee

Andrew Gray

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Dec 2, 2003, 1:59:05 PM12/2/03
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In article <021220031331169186%lee-u...@notpalmdigitalmedia.com>, Lee

Fyock wrote:
>
> No, no, no. With all due credit to James, things like this aren't
> named after the person who identified the problem; this isn't like
> discovering a new continent or something.

They are, quite often. Alzheimer was a German neurologist, to pick
another cereberal affliction. A lot of "[foo] syndrome" or "[foo]
disease" are named for the first person to describe or study them.

(And, well, continents. Hmm. When did you last see something named for
de Triana? Exactly...)

> This...disease...should be named after the first person identified to
> _have_ the disease. Would that be Heinlein? "Heinlein's Disease" has
> a certain ring to it.

I expected it to be RAH, too - he always did seem the most clear
case-study - but it seems the first person fingered as having been
afflicted by it was Poul Anderson (of whose writing I have read little).

| Some of Poul Anderson's stuff from the 1950s and 1960s (before
| the brain-eater got him) stands up fairly well. _Tau Zero_ is a
| classic, although it has at least two deliberate physics errors.

http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=EGEGux.EK3%40novice.uwaterloo.ca

"Heinlein Syndrome" does have a certain je ne sais quoi, mind you, but
I'm not quite sure what it is.

--
-Andrew Gray (returning to lurkage now)
shim...@bigfoot.com

Dorothy J Heydt

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Dec 2, 2003, 2:10:27 PM12/2/03
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In article <slrnbspo3s.jd...@compsoc.dur.ac.uk>,

Andrew Gray <andre...@dunelm.org.uk> wrote:
>
>"Heinlein Syndrome" does have a certain je ne sais quoi, mind you, but
>I'm not quite sure what it is.

Compare "LeGuin's Disease," which is however a different ailment.

Doom & Gloom Dave

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Dec 2, 2003, 2:25:19 PM12/2/03
to
Lee Fyock wrote:
> In article <bqgkg3$s15$1...@panix3.panix.com>, James Nicoll
> <jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
>
>> In article <hkknsvgjn378d42e9...@4ax.com>,
>> Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>>> Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
>>> whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out
>>> who that was.
>>
>> That would be me, I think.
>
> No, no, no. With all due credit to James, things like this aren't
> named after the person who identified the problem; this isn't like
> discovering a new continent or something.

Generally they do seem to be. I have a book of medical syndromes and
eponyms on my desk. It appears virtually all the names of signs,
syndromes are either descriptive of the problem eg.Gray Baby Syndrome
or named after the doctor or researcher who discovered or did a lot of
work on it eg.Marfan Syndrome. There are also multiple entries. Marfan
has a sign, and a syndrome. So with these precedents it would be ok to
have Nicoll Effect-The causing of seemingly absurd life-threatening
accidents as well as Nicoll Syndrome - The Brain Eater.

James Nicoll

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Dec 2, 2003, 1:54:38 PM12/2/03
to
In article <021220031331169186%lee-u...@notpalmdigitalmedia.com>,

Not Laumer? Or Van Vogt? Or someone I forget but whose name will
make me smack my forehead for forgetting even though I have a cup of coffee
in that hand?

Bill Snyder

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Dec 2, 2003, 4:26:48 PM12/2/03
to

Now understand, I may be masochistic, but I'm not stupid. I *KNOW* I
shouldn't ask, but . . .

Craig Richardson

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Dec 2, 2003, 4:55:20 PM12/2/03
to
On 2 Dec 2003 13:54:38 -0500, jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:

>In article <021220031331169186%lee-u...@notpalmdigitalmedia.com>,
>Lee Fyock <lee-u...@notpalmdigitalmedia.com> wrote:
>>In article <bqgkg3$s15$1...@panix3.panix.com>, James Nicoll
>><jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
>>
>>> In article <hkknsvgjn378d42e9...@4ax.com>,
>>> Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>>> >Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
>>> >whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out who
>>> >that was.
>>>
>>> That would be me, I think.
>>
>>No, no, no. With all due credit to James, things like this aren't
>>named after the person who identified the problem; this isn't like
>>discovering a new continent or something.
>>
>>This...disease...should be named after the first person identified to
>>_have_ the disease. Would that be Heinlein? "Heinlein's Disease" has
>>a certain ring to it.
>
> Not Laumer? Or Van Vogt? Or someone I forget but whose name will
>make me smack my forehead for forgetting even though I have a cup of coffee
>in that hand?

IMO, not Laumer (or Barry Sadler, for that matter). Literal brain
damage is a grey area, and probably disqualifies one from being the
exemplar.

--Craig


--
I start to wish Bob Melvin would walk out to the mound, ask Freddy if he
was injured, and then kick him in the balls so he can call in an
emergency replacement from the bullpen --Derek Zumsteg in BP, 5/13/2003

Stewart Robert Hinsley

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Dec 2, 2003, 5:24:06 PM12/2/03
to
Fyock <lee-u...@notpalmdigitalmedia.com> writes

>
>No, no, no. With all due credit to James, things like this aren't
>named after the person who identified the problem; this isn't like
>discovering a new continent or something.
>
>This...disease...should be named after the first person identified to
>_have_ the disease. Would that be Heinlein? "Heinlein's Disease" has
>a certain ring to it.
>
Howzabout "post-literary dementia"?
--
Stewart Robert Hinsley

Bill Snyder

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Dec 2, 2003, 5:43:49 PM12/2/03
to
On 2 Dec 2003 18:59:05 GMT, Andrew Gray <andre...@dunelm.org.uk>
wrote:


>
>"Heinlein Syndrome" does have a certain je ne sais quoi, mind you, but
>I'm not quite sure what it is.

ObR. A. Lafferty (note that per RAL the Choctaw were not big on
punctuation in writing or the corresponding intonations in speech):

"God thought of it," said Barua, "and the ways of God are
incomprehensible."

"What is incomprehensible is not a Choctaw word."

"Is French people word used by the priest," Papa Barua said. "I do
not know what it means I believe the priest did not know what it means
I believe the word itself means not know what it means."

Christopher J. Henrich

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Dec 2, 2003, 5:48:35 PM12/2/03
to
In article <Xns9445B860CBC20an...@195.92.193.157>,
anxious triffid <anxiousINFEAROFSPAM@anxioustriffid@fserve.co.uk>
wrote:

Another possibility is "nöophage." The Greek word "nous" signifies the
higher mental functions; Britons sometimes use it (rhyming, I think,
with "house") to denote intelligence.

--
Chris Henrich
Haiku are easy
If you can hyphenate when-
ever you want to. -- Donald Ying

Frank Winans

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Dec 2, 2003, 6:25:55 PM12/2/03
to
"Stewart Robert Hinsley" wrote
> Lee Fyock writes

> >
> >No, no, no. With all due credit to James, things like this aren't
> >named after the person who identified the problem; this isn't like
> >discovering a new continent or something.
> >
> >This...disease...should be named after the first person identified to
> >_have_ the disease. Would that be Heinlein? "Heinlein's Disease" has
> >a certain ring to it.
> >
> Howzabout "post-literary dementia"?
Dementia Laudis


Tim McDaniel

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Dec 2, 2003, 5:15:13 PM12/2/03
to
>but it seems the first person fingered as having been
>afflicted by it was Poul Anderson (of whose writing I have read little).
>
>| Some of Poul Anderson's stuff from the 1950s and 1960s (before
>| the brain-eater got him) stands up fairly well. _Tau Zero_ is a
>| classic, although it has at least two deliberate physics errors.
>
>http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=EGEGux.EK3%40novice.uwaterloo.ca

I think Mr. Nicoll was somewhat incorrect: I read a late (literally)
Anderson, one of his saga retreads, and it read OK to me.

>"Heinlein Syndrome" does have a certain je ne sais quoi, mind you,
>but I'm not quite sure what it is.

Well, duh.

--
Tim McDaniel, tm...@panix.com; tm...@us.ibm.com is my work address

James Nicoll

unread,
Dec 2, 2003, 6:21:14 PM12/2/03
to
In article <bqj2th$6cc$1...@reader2.panix.com>,

Tim McDaniel <tm...@panix.com> wrote:
>In article <slrnbspo3s.jd...@compsoc.dur.ac.uk>,
>Andrew Gray <andre...@dunelm.org.uk> wrote:
>>but it seems the first person fingered as having been
>>afflicted by it was Poul Anderson (of whose writing I have read little).
>>
>>| Some of Poul Anderson's stuff from the 1950s and 1960s (before
>>| the brain-eater got him) stands up fairly well. _Tau Zero_ is a
>>| classic, although it has at least two deliberate physics errors.
>>
>>http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=EGEGux.EK3%40novice.uwaterloo.ca
>
>I think Mr. Nicoll was somewhat incorrect: I read a late (literally)
>Anderson, one of his saga retreads, and it read OK to me.
>
I have a strong, irrational, preference for SF so I missed
the Ys material, for example.

What drove me away from Anderson was _The Avatar_ (although
it had some images I really liked). What kept me away was the

I am sorry, I know I mention this again and again

pause in the middle of a book set a couple centuries from
now to rant about the evils of liberals.

David Silberstein

unread,
Dec 2, 2003, 7:58:10 PM12/2/03
to
In article <bqia5r$49o$1...@panix1.panix.com>,

James Nicoll <jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
>In article <Hp9v...@kithrup.com>,
>David Silberstein <davids_aat_k...@foilspam.invalid> wrote:
>>
>>Obviously, Nicoll's Syndrome (describing encephalophage victims)
>>can and must be distinguished from Nicoll Events (typically
>>nonfatal pain and damage synchronistic incidents).
>>
> Presumably fatal events by their nature can only happen to
>a given person a handful of times in their lives?

Presumably I ought have written "typically near-fatal synchronistic
incidents, with attendant pain and damage". That seems more correct.

> My grandfather for example only died twice, once during the
>war and once in the 1980s.

One of the things I learned in my college class on death and dying
was that the definition of death has changed, as the understanding
of physiology has changed. Breath and heart failure can be fixed
with CPR or electroshock, so simply not breathing or having a
non-beating heart doesn't really count as death anymore. Hence
the current working definition is brain activity cessation.

A friend who worked in a mortuary told me that to the best of his
knowledge, the last test performed on a putative corpse before it
is autopsied or enbalmed is the skin contraction test. Stick a
honking big needle into the corpse. If no bleeding occurs and the
skin does not close up, the mortician/forensic investigator may
begin cutting. If yelling and screaming occur, presumably something
has gone horribly wrong.

Or was he declared dead through clerical error? That happened to
Captain Button, recently haunting this very newsgroup. Although
I note there have been no posts from him in recent days. Hm.

Things will become more interesting when we have complete backups
of mind and memory.

ObSF: /The Barbie Murders/. Or am I thinking of /The Phantom of
Kansas/?

Richard Horton

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 12:08:15 AM12/3/03
to
On 2 Dec 2003 13:54:38 -0500, jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:

>
> Not Laumer? Or Van Vogt? Or someone I forget but whose name will
>make me smack my forehead for forgetting even though I have a cup of coffee
>in that hand?

Hubbard? (Except he seems to have chosen to have his brain eaten.)

I don't think it would be fair to say it happened to E. E. Smith.


--
Rich Horton | Stable Email: mailto://richard...@sff.net
Home Page: http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton
Also visit SF Site (http://www.sfsite.com) and Tangent Online (http://www.tangentonline.com)

anxious triffid

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 12:48:45 AM12/3/03
to
"Doom & Gloom Dave" <dwh...@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:bqirdr$amf$1...@news1.usf.edu:

> Lee Fyock wrote:
>> In article <bqgkg3$s15$1...@panix3.panix.com>, James Nicoll
>> <jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
>>
>>> In article <hkknsvgjn378d42e9...@4ax.com>,
>>> Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>>>> Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
>>>> whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out
>>>> who that was.
>>>
>>> That would be me, I think.
>>
>> No, no, no. With all due credit to James, things like this aren't
>> named after the person who identified the problem; this isn't like
>> discovering a new continent or something.
>
> Generally they do seem to be. I have a book of medical syndromes and
> eponyms on my desk. It appears virtually all the names of signs,
> syndromes are either descriptive of the problem eg.Gray Baby Syndrome
> or named after the doctor or researcher who discovered or did a lot of
> work on it eg.Marfan Syndrome.
>

There is an interesting discussion on this subject in Stephen Jay Gould's
"The Panda's Thumb": the term 'Mongoloid' as a description of a medical
condition came into being after a scientist's attempt at creating a social-
Darwinist ladder of the human races. The white folks are at the top, and
other less evolved races are below them. However, certain incidents of
atavism still occur, and an example of this is the 'Mongoloid' - one who
displays the characteristics of the Mongol race, as described in the work
'Observations on an Ethnic Classification of Idiots'.

Of course, all of this proto-fascism is unacceptable in more modern times,
and so the term 'Mongoloid' is relegated and instead the term 'Down's
Syndrome' is used... ...named instead after the very man that drew up the
Ethnic Classification of Idiots: Dr John Langdon Haydon Down.

(Footnote: the other term used for describing the condition is 'Trisomy-
21')

Dave Goldman

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 1:31:11 AM12/3/03
to
In article <Xns94463B504BAA7an...@195.92.193.157>, anxious
triffid <anxiousINFEAROFSPAM@anxioustriffid@fserve.co.uk> wrote:

> Of course, all of this proto-fascism is unacceptable in more modern times,
> and so the term 'Mongoloid' is relegated and instead the term 'Down's
> Syndrome' is used... ...named instead after the very man that drew up the
> Ethnic Classification of Idiots: Dr John Langdon Haydon Down.
>
> (Footnote: the other term used for describing the condition is 'Trisomy-
> 21')

I once knew a pediatric chief resident who, for exactly this reason,
insisted on refering to the condition as Trisomy-21.

Didn't seem to catch on, though...

- Dave Goldman
Portland, OR

Robert A. Woodward

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 1:53:26 AM12/3/03
to
In article <bqin5e$2d3$1...@panix1.panix.com>,
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) wrote:

> In article <021220031331169186%lee-u...@notpalmdigitalmedia.com>,
> Lee Fyock <lee-u...@notpalmdigitalmedia.com> wrote:
> >In article <bqgkg3$s15$1...@panix3.panix.com>, James Nicoll
> ><jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
> >
> >> In article <hkknsvgjn378d42e9...@4ax.com>,
> >> Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
> >> >Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
> >> >whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out who
> >> >that was.
> >>
> >> That would be me, I think.
> >
> >No, no, no. With all due credit to James, things like this aren't
> >named after the person who identified the problem; this isn't like
> >discovering a new continent or something.
> >
> >This...disease...should be named after the first person identified to
> >_have_ the disease. Would that be Heinlein? "Heinlein's Disease" has
> >a certain ring to it.
>
> Not Laumer? Or Van Vogt? Or someone I forget but whose name will
> make me smack my forehead for forgetting even though I have a cup of coffee
> in that hand?

John W. Campbell? (see dianetics, etc.)

--
Robert Woodward <robe...@drizzle.com>
<http://www.drizzle.com/~robertaw

Ruchira Datta

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 2:08:47 AM12/3/03
to
In article <Xns94463B504BAA7an...@195.92.193.157>,
anxious triffid <anxiousINFEAROFSPAM@anxioustriffid@fserve.co.uk> wrote:

The above summary is a little confusing. Was Dr. Down the first person
to characterize "Down's syndrome" or not? I always thought the term
"Mongoloid" came from the presence of the epicanthal fold. Or was this
a rationalization after the fact? And what is the etymology of
"Trisomy"?

Ruchira Datta
http://math.berkeley.edu/~datta

Kenneth DeMonn

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 3:17:22 AM12/3/03
to
On Wed, 3 Dec 2003 07:08:47 +0000 (UTC), da...@math.berkeley.edu
(Ruchira Datta) wrote:

>And what is the etymology of "Trisomy"?

The cells of the individuals afflicted possess three copies of
chromosome 21, rather than the standard two. There are other
trisomies, but most are fatal before birth.


--
Working email address: <my first name> at <my surname> dot com.

David Allsopp

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 4:48:56 AM12/3/03
to
In article <021220031749012997%chen...@monmouth.com>, Christopher J.
Henrich <chen...@monmouth.com> writes

>In article <Xns9445B860CBC20an...@195.92.193.157>,
>anxious triffid <anxiousINFEAROFSPAM@anxioustriffid@fserve.co.uk>
>wrote:
>> I agree that the scientific term should stress that it is the mind (even if
>> it just an emergent process) which is being eaten, rather than the brain
>> itself. However, it seems that even post brain-eater sf writers are still
>> able to carry out most other functions relatively unimpaired - it is only
>> when it comes to writing sf works that the symptoms become apparent. Maybe
>> the term should address the fact that it is creatviity, inventiveness or
>> humility that is being eaten?
>Another possibility is "nöophage." The Greek word "nous" signifies the
>higher mental functions; Britons sometimes use it (rhyming, I think,
>with "house") to denote intelligence.

Pronunciation: tick. Meaning: err...not quite. It's sort of an
indicator of general mental competence at dealing with the world. An
extreme example would be "He had the nous to turn off the bath taps as
well as take the plug out".
--
David Allsopp Houston, this is Tranquillity Base.
Remove SPAM to email me The Eagle has landed.

anxious triffid

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 7:02:48 AM12/3/03
to
da...@math.berkeley.edu (Ruchira Datta) wrote in
news:bqk25v$1upq$1...@agate.berkeley.edu:

Apologies for lack of clarity.

He appears to have been the first person to categorise "Down's syndrome"
individuals as a group.

The term 'Mongoloid' appears to be based on the non-guaranteed presence of
an epicanthic fold and the also non-guaranteed presence of 'slightly
yellowish skin' - ie. superficial resemblences to Mongol features. So, yes,
it is based on facial resemblances, however it was only one among many
kinds of feeble-minded individual described by Dr. Down: "he managed to
describe Caucasian 'idiots' that reminded him of African, Malay, American
Indian and oriental peoples. Of these fanciful comparisons, only the
'idiots who arrange themselves around the Mongolian type' survived in the
literatuyre as a technical designation." - SJG, The Panda's Thumb

Trisomy-21 refers to the presence of an extra twenty-first chromosone.


Louann Miller

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 9:34:01 AM12/3/03
to
On Wed, 3 Dec 2003 00:58:10 GMT, David Silberstein
<davids_aat_k...@foilspam.invalid> wrote:

>
>A friend who worked in a mortuary told me that to the best of his
>knowledge, the last test performed on a putative corpse before it
>is autopsied or enbalmed is the skin contraction test. Stick a
>honking big needle into the corpse. If no bleeding occurs and the
>skin does not close up, the mortician/forensic investigator may
>begin cutting. If yelling and screaming occur, presumably something
>has gone horribly wrong.

Anybody else having "Master and Commander" flashbacks here?

Louann

Joe Bernstein

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 10:50:53 AM12/3/03
to
In article <Xns94463B504BAA7an...@195.92.193.157>,
anxious triffid <anxiousINFEAROFSPAM@anxioustriffid@fserve.co.uk> wrote:

> There is an interesting discussion on this subject in Stephen Jay
> Gould's "The Panda's Thumb": the term 'Mongoloid' as a description of
> a medical condition came into being after a scientist's attempt at
> creating a social-Darwinist ladder of the human races. The white folks
> are at the top, and other less evolved races are below them. However,
> certain incidents of atavism still occur, and an example of this is
> the 'Mongoloid' - one who displays the characteristics of the Mongol
> race, as described in the work 'Observations on an Ethnic Classification
> of Idiots'.
>
> Of course, all of this proto-fascism is unacceptable in more modern
> times,

Um, isn't it also kind of a contradiction in terms in more modern
times?

I mean, I could be wrong, but I *thought* Down's Syndrom could occur
in any race. But if it occurs in someone of a "lower" race than the
Asiatic, then it isn't going to be an "atavism" but an evolutionary
step up, right? And yet it will be fairly obvious, to pretty much
any observer, that it *isn't* a step up. So obviously the whole
racial interpretation of what it is has to fail.

The only reason I can think of for Dr. Down to have missed this is
that he only looked at white patients.

Joe Bernstein

--
Joe Bernstein, writer j...@sfbooks.com
<http://www.panix.com/~josephb/>

James Nicoll

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 11:54:59 AM12/3/03
to
In article <vm0qsvglc7vbi3g5g...@4ax.com>,

If you are RC and in an unhappy marriage (in which, nevertheless,
the two partners still seem to have some regard for each other) it can
be easier to fake your own death than to cause the sort of social pressures
a civil divorce would have caused. So when WWII ended, that grandfather
was listed as dead.

What gave it away was that my grandmother and grandfather
kept corresponding so when she died in the 1970s, all these letters
from a dead man turned up, leading us back to him (In Connecticut,
where as I recall I bought _The Multiple Man_ and _The Chaos Weapon_).

I know someone else who inadvertently pulled a similar trick:
infantry, dropped his dogtags while walking though a shell hole with
casualties draped around. A later soldier found the tags and had him
declared dead. Wife in Canada gets the notice, dies before finding
out he is actually alive. I knew his kid from his second marriage.

Stewart Robert Hinsley

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 2:04:03 PM12/3/03
to
In article <bql0ot$obe$1...@reader2.panix.com>, Joe Bernstein
<j...@sfbooks.com> writes

>
>I mean, I could be wrong, but I *thought* Down's Syndrom could occur
>in any race. But if it occurs in someone of a "lower" race than the
>Asiatic, then it isn't going to be an "atavism" but an evolutionary
>step up, right? And yet it will be fairly obvious, to pretty much
>any observer, that it *isn't* a step up. So obviously the whole
>racial interpretation of what it is has to fail.
>
IIRC, I've seen mention of it occurring in chimpanzees.
--
Stewart Robert Hinsley

John Schilling

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 6:30:42 PM12/3/03
to
Louann Miller <loua...@yahoo.net> writes:


Exactly so.

For those who don't get the reference, M&C invokes an alleged
(and I'll take either O'Brien's or Weir's word on it) nautical
tradition that, when sewing a deceased sailor into his hammock
for burial at sea, the last stitch goes through the nose. For
approximately the same reason.


--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
*schi...@spock.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-951-9107 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *


Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 8:56:46 PM12/3/03
to
James Nicoll <jdni...@panix.com>

wrote on 2 Dec 2003 13:54:38 -0500:
> In article <021220031331169186%lee-u...@notpalmdigitalmedia.com>,
> Lee Fyock <lee-u...@notpalmdigitalmedia.com> wrote:
>>In article <bqgkg3$s15$1...@panix3.panix.com>, James Nicoll
>><jdni...@panix.com> wrote:
>>> In article <hkknsvgjn378d42e9...@4ax.com>,
>>> Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>>> >Arguably we ought to be calling it ______'s Syndrome in honor of
>>> >whoever originated the term -- if there's any hope of finding out who
>>> >that was.
>>> That would be me, I think.
>>No, no, no. With all due credit to James, things like this aren't
>>named after the person who identified the problem; this isn't like
>>discovering a new continent or something.
>>This...disease...should be named after the first person identified to
>>_have_ the disease. Would that be Heinlein? "Heinlein's Disease" has
>>a certain ring to it.
> Not Laumer? Or Van Vogt? Or someone I forget but whose name will
> make me smack my forehead for forgetting even though I have a cup of coffee
> in that hand?

I think of Laumer as the real archetype of the Brain Eater, even if he
was a later case. Heinlein was still semi-functional after 1970ish. I
don't like the content of his post-BE fiction at all, but it was
coherently written. Laumer went from one of the sharpest comic wits in
SF to unreadable.

--
<a href="http://kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu/~kamikaze/"> Mark Hughes </a>
"I believe in communication. If I communicate with you every so often,
you'll be bothered by what I say enough that you won't ask me to, which
means more sleep for me." -Something Positive, 2003Sep22

raymond larsson

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 10:24:14 PM12/3/03
to
In article <62trsv83vespkacnv...@4ax.com>, Louann Miller
says...

Probably, but I just watched the relevant _Firefly_ episode so ...

(fairly predictable, and one does wonder about stupidity (does he
*expect* to receive the offal in good condition), but better than most
episodes I saw on fox)

Justin Bacon

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 11:02:46 PM12/3/03
to
Mark Hughes wrote:
> I think of Laumer as the real archetype of the Brain Eater, even if he
>was a later case. Heinlein was still semi-functional after 1970ish. I
>don't like the content of his post-BE fiction at all, but it was
>coherently written. Laumer went from one of the sharpest comic wits in
>SF to unreadable.

I have to confess to a little discomfort using the term "brain eater" when it
comes to Laumer. Its one thing to use a term like that to humorously refer to
an author falling off the horse, but using it to refer to an author who has
suffered a stroke and actually sustained brain damage just seems... wrong.

Justin Bacon
tria...@aol.com

Mike Schilling

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 11:30:08 PM12/3/03
to

"Justin Bacon" <tria...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20031203230246...@mb-m11.aol.com...

AOL.


Dorothy J Heydt

unread,
Dec 3, 2003, 11:41:03 PM12/3/03
to
In article <kLyzb.65354$_K6.4...@newssvr25.news.prodigy.com>,

Me three; and I think someone upthread already included in the
definition that true braineatenhood should *not* result from
actual brain damage or other genuine neurological disability.

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@kithrup.com

Mike Schilling

unread,
Dec 4, 2003, 12:21:07 AM12/4/03
to

"Dorothy J Heydt" <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote in message
news:HpCt0...@kithrup.com...


Strictly speaking, I suppose we should except IWFNE from discussions of RAH
and the brain-eater.


Dwight Thieme

unread,
Dec 4, 2003, 10:06:01 AM12/4/03
to
da...@remove-this-bit-ResearchSoftwareDesign.com (Dave Goldman) wrote in message news:<dave-02120...@ip45.126-173-207.eli-du.nwlink.com>...

ObSF: 'Tetrasomy II'

Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes

unread,
Dec 4, 2003, 5:54:56 PM12/4/03
to
Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com>

I can't see why not, if you want to include anyone in the term.
Heinlein's the other big poster child of it, and his health problems
were visibly responsible for a sudden change downwards. Some other
"brain eater" victims are probably the fault of senility.

What I think may be the problem is that some people think "brain
eater" is funny. It's not. Treating it as a laughing matter when an
author deteriorates for any reason is vile.

Tim McDaniel

unread,
Dec 4, 2003, 6:51:52 PM12/4/03
to
In article <slrnbsveq0.1...@kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu>,

Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes <kami...@kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu> wrote:
>Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com>
>wrote on Thu, 4 Dec 2003 04:41:03 GMT:
>> In article <kLyzb.65354$_K6.4...@newssvr25.news.prodigy.com>,
>> Mike Schilling <mscotts...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>>"Justin Bacon" <tria...@aol.com> wrote in message
>>>news:20031203230246...@mb-m11.aol.com...
>>>> I have to confess to a little discomfort using the term "brain
>>>> eater" when it comes to Laumer. Its one thing to use a term like
>>>> that to humorously refer to an author falling off the horse, but
>>>> using it to refer to an author who has suffered a stroke and
>>>> actually sustained brain damage just seems... wrong.
>>>
>>>AOL.
>>
>> Me three; and I think someone upthread already included in the
>> definition that true braineatenhood should *not* result from
>> actual brain damage or other genuine neurological disability.
>
> I can't see why not, if you want to include anyone in the term.

Manifestly, the three of them aren't including just *anyone* in the
term. The etymology I have for "brain eater" is "a sharp decline in
quality that could only be explained by an attack of alien brain
eaters". But clearly humorous and exaggerated; what it essentially
means to me is "it looks like the author just got too full of himself
or something". But if you have a serious explanation, like stroke or
Alzheimer's, you can't call it "brain eater", in my opinion.

I recall reading a report that Zelazny churned out the later Amber
books to make quick bucks for his childrens' college funds. I'm not
sure that I would classify deliberate hackwork as "brain eater".

>What I think may be the problem is that some people think "brain
>eater" is funny. It's not.

Because you're using the term in a way that the four of us are not.
All of us say that real disability is not funny. But folly can be a
subject of mockery, be it a Big-Name Writer who decides to Send
Important Messages Via His Art (Spider Robinson's *defence* of
Heinlein, would you believe it) or a mid-level writer who travels to
the Valley Of The Telepathic Tree Ponies (Mercedes Lackey to the white
courtesy telephone with big blue eyes).

Dorothy J Heydt

unread,
Dec 4, 2003, 7:56:07 PM12/4/03
to
In article <bqohao$3m9$1...@reader2.panix.com>,

Tim McDaniel <tm...@panix.com> wrote:
>
>Because you're using the term in a way that the four of us are not.
>All of us say that real disability is not funny. But folly can be a
>subject of mockery, be it a Big-Name Writer who decides to Send
>Important Messages Via His Art

See LeGuin's Disease.

Robert Carnegie

unread,
Dec 4, 2003, 7:44:01 PM12/4/03
to
In article <HpCt0...@kithrup.com>, Dorothy J Heydt
<djh...@kithrup.com> writes
>In article <kLyzb.65354$_K6....@newssvr25.news.prodigy.c

om>,
>Mike Schilling <mscotts...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>"Justin Bacon" <tria...@aol.com> wrote in message
>>news:20031203230246...@mb-m11.aol.com...
>>> Mark Hughes wrote:
>>> > I think of Laumer as the real archetype of the Brain Eater,
>>> > even if he was a later case. Heinlein was still semi-
>>> > functional after 1970ish. I don't like the content of his post-
>>> > BE fiction at all, but it was coherently written. Laumer went
>>> > from one of the sharpest comic wits in SF to unreadable.
>>>
>>> I have to confess to a little discomfort using the term "brain
>>> eater" when it comes to Laumer. Its one thing to use a term
>>> like that to humorously refer to an author falling off the horse,
>>> but using it to refer to an author who has suffered a stroke
>>> and actually sustained brain damage just seems...wrong.
>>
>>AOL.
>
>Me three; and I think someone upthread already included in the
>definition that true braineatenhood should *not* result from
>actual brain damage or other genuine neurological disability.

I see problems, though. What do we think we are describing,
exactly, when we say "The Brain Eater got him/her", if it isn't an
unfortunate and irreversible change in an author's writing -
therefore presumably in their thinking - that renders their work
unsatisfying; if it isn't a fatal collapse of the mind, of the brain, in
one particular dimension? And isn't it /still/ making fun of the way
that people really suffer when their brain is damaged?

Well, to go at it another way: where can an author go wrong, in the
opinion of critics, which is to say, of anybody - if we want to
exclude actual mental breakdown?

Setting aside that some critics are just wrong, anyway, I suppose
there are various ways for an author to go bad - they run out of
good new ideas and either have bad new ones or re-use old ones
rather conspicuously; they start putting too much of their pet
theories in science, politics, sex, etc., into the work; they figure if
they're really that good, they don't need to work hard; they fire their
editor. All of these, I think, describe an author who has got so big
- or who thinks that they have - that their stuff will sell no matter
what.

Possibly you could call that "turning pro", with, I feel, the additional
sense of betrayal of the people who supported their amateur
career - as with athletes.

I have another suggestion which may not go down well. A
perennial joke hereabouts amongst wits is to declare that
someone is, metonymically, a Cult; the word is stressed,
repeated, and irresistibly there is suggested that a slightly
different word with a very different, anatomical, meaning is meant.
Applied to an entire person, it is a criticism. That a person is not
formed or equipped to make friends, let us say. So, "He's a well-
known Cult; one of the biggest Cults around", is how it is put.

And, of course, "Cult" can also do duty for the principle that many
readers somewhere are still buying this stuff, or it wouldn't be
printed.

But I'm concerned that it might be too subtle, even with rigorously
observed capitalisation, for new members of rasfw to appreciate
that when we would say that a past favourite author has turned
into a real Cult, that this is not a compliment to them.

I may use it myself anyway. It appeals to my basic puerile nature.

Robert Carnegie at home, rja.ca...@excite.com at large
--
Surely no-one has read down to here. (from author Warren Ellis)

Bill Woods

unread,
Dec 4, 2003, 8:43:52 PM12/4/03
to
Andrew Gray wrote:

> Fyock wrote:
> >
> > No, no, no. With all due credit to James, things like this aren't
> > named after the person who identified the problem; this isn't like
> > discovering a new continent or something.
>

> They are, quite often. Alzheimer was a German neurologist, to pick
> another cereberal affliction. A lot of "[foo] syndrome" or "[foo]
> disease" are named for the first person to describe or study them.
>
> (And, well, continents. Hmm. When did you last see something named for
> de Triana? Exactly...)

About four years ago.

Within SAT, the Earth Science program, formerly known as
the Mission to Planet Earth, would receive only $1.2 billion,
a reduction of $240 million or 17.0 percent from FY 1999.
The House bill would cancel several programs, including the
Triana mission which has attracted Republican opposition
because of its close association to Vice President Gore.
http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/nasa00h.htm


Although apparently it's still pinin' in for the fjords:

Current Status

Triana has been put into a storage container and will reside
in GSFC's large clean room until a viable flight opportunity
has been identified. Thanks to all of the Triana team.

Flight Status
...
Efforts associated with preparing for both the launch and
operation of the mission are rapidly being suspended. System
hardware qualification is anticipated to be completed by the
end of September, 2001.

No Fiscal year 2002 (FY 02) funding has been set aside for
the project. ...
http://triana.gsfc.nasa.gov/home/index.html

--
Bill Woods

"[Life] could be worse. Imagine being born before, oh, 1960
and being saddled with a hopelessly obsolete worldview
or after, oh, 1962 and not having had enough time to have
fully matured. The horror, the horror." -- James Nicoll

John F. Carr

unread,
Dec 4, 2003, 9:33:33 PM12/4/03
to
In article <20031203230246...@mb-m11.aol.com>,

Justin Bacon <tria...@aol.com> wrote:
>
>I have to confess to a little discomfort using the term "brain eater" when it
>comes to Laumer. Its one thing to use a term like that to humorously refer to
>an author falling off the horse, but using it to refer to an author who has
>suffered a stroke and actually sustained brain damage just seems... wrong.

Laumer's brain was damaged but he was affected differently than
the metaphorically brain-eaten. I don't think he gained new
obsessions and a tendency to preach about them, for example.
He kept on trying to do the same old things, but badly.


--
John Carr (j...@mit.edu)

Justin Bacon

unread,
Dec 5, 2003, 1:50:58 AM12/5/03