Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nuclear: The Word

Discussion with my 8-year-old daughter yesterday.  She, in the dining room; me, around a corner in the kitchen. 

She:  How do you spell "through?"
Me:  Like, "He walked through the wall?" (Me, thinking of superpowers apparently.)
She:  Yeah.
Me:  T-h-r-o-u-g-h
She:  You know, like "He threw the ball."
Me (exasperated, busy with many things):  That's a different word.  If it's throwing a ball, it's t-h-r-e-w.  If it's through a wall, it's t-h-r-o-u-g-h.
She (exasperated, in her own way):  Never mind!

More definitions:

1.  of, concerned with, or involving the nucleus of an atom:  nuclear fission
2.  biology   of, relating to, or contained within the nucleus of a cell:  a nuclear membrane
3.  of, relating to, forming, or resembling any other kind of nucleus
4.  of, concerned with, or operated by energy from fission or fusion of atomic nuclei:  a nuclear weapon
5.  involving, concerned with, or possessing nuclear weapons:  a nuclear war, a nuclear strike

And just to clarify...nucleus...which becomes even broader in scope:

--n, pl -clei, -cleuses

1.  a central or fundamental part or thing around which others are grouped; core
2.  a centre of growth or development; basis; kernel:  the nucleus of an idea
3.  biology (in the cells of eukaryotes) a large compartment, bounded by a double membrane, that contains the chromosomes and associated molecules and controls the characteristics and growth of the cell
4.  anatomy any of various groups of nerve cells in the central nervous system
5.  astronomy the central portion in the head of a comet, consisting of small solid particles of ice and frozen gases, which vaporize on approaching the sun to form the coma and tail
6.  physics the positively charged dense region at the centre of an atom, composed of protons and neutrons, about which electrons orbit
7.  chem a fundamental group of atoms in a molecule serving as the base structure for related compounds and remaining unchanged during most chemical reactions:  the benzene nucleus
8.  botany
     a.  the central point of a  starch granule
     b.  a rare name for nucellus
9.  phonetics the most sonorous part of a syllable, usually consisting of a vowel or frictionless continuant
10. logic the largest individual that is a mereological part of every member of a given class

from Latin:  kernel, from nux nut

So many meanings but today, it's hard to imagine a positive one.


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"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka