Saturday, March 10, 2012

18. Lost for Words, Spoilt for Choice


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A blog’s stats seem to be as important as its very existence. Needless to say, it is conclusive for the author whether a blog’s followers feel like commenting on the various posts, and how thoroughly they imply themselves in the issue at hand every time.

So, it’s not without consequences that the haves and the have-nots have received lesser support than the topic on, say, physical beauty; it may mean – why not? – that being is by far more important than having. What with those contrasts between a luxurious mansion and a shabby cottage, or between a relaxed, confident look to the future and a demanding inner-city job making you want to emigrate – the farther the better!

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The next logical step would have been to ask you to imagine the Spellings’ home, what the rooms, furniture and furnishings look like. Likewise, I should have asked you to try to imagine what the Grangers’ cottage looks like inside, and how it might differ from the Spellings’ mansion. And then, of course, finish by enquiring about your preferences: which of the two places would you prefer to live in? Why? The questions are still open, as – in fact – all the questions put forward thus far. I welcome any comment on the ideas that this workshop submits to scrutiny.

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Yet by the time I set to devising a sequel to the previous post, and about to plunge into a get-rich-quick case which might stir opinions, an unexpected array of possible topics crowded the screen. But why should I waver? The ideas are here, in your comments, and I am actually spoilt for choice! Scrolling down and re-reading your comments I was lost for words: among them, there is one that had been thought of as a topic to be tackled further on, namely genes.

Now, that’s a special case, for it is difficult to say whether we are what we are because we have them, or, conversely, we have what we have because we came into being thanks to our DNA.

One thing at a time. First, let’s have a look at some basic facts:

Dictionary work

Read this short passage and underline any words and phrases which you feel need explanation or definition. Some of these have already been underlined. Look up the words in a dictionary (some of them appear in the article to be posted in the next entry) and then rewrite the passage where necessary. It is a good idea not to copy the dictionary definitions but to use suitable methods of explaining or defining, such as relative clauses or appositions. The first sentence contains such an example of defining.
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DNA AND ITS USES

DNA is the basic genetic material present in most animate organisms. Molecules of DNA are found in a cell’s chromosomes. Chromosomes occur in pairs: one from the mother and one from the father. The number of chromosomes differs from species to species: a normal human cell has 46.

DNA is made up of genes, linear sections of a DNA molecule which contain the instructions for the development of particular characteristics that living things inherit from their forbears, such as eye colour. DNA molecules contain the genetic instructions needed for cells to organise and function. DNA is a large molecule made up of two separate strands wrapped around each other to form a double-helix.

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 In 1985 Professor Alec Jeffreys discovered that the DNA of every living thing has its own unique genetic pattern. This ‘fingerprint’ can be determined and used to identify criminals from biological materials left at the scene of a crime or to settle paternity disputes conclusively.

DNA and its uses
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the basic genetic material present in most animate or living organisms...
So, don't delay! Work out your own variant before you