Discussion:
It's in our DNA
(too old to reply)
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-05-17 08:20:05 UTC
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The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.

Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
--
athel
Mark Brader
2017-05-17 08:56:02 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
It's a metaphor, son.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists?
Yes, as you can see from a Google News search for

"in his|her|their DNA"

The first four relevant hits among the ones I just got are:

[1] http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/anykey-1.3378983

This is an AP story and does not use the expression in its body,
but CTV's headline currently reads: "Le Pen's passion for politics,
far-right values in her DNA".

[2] https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/05/10/deficits-in-their-dna-liberals-are-now-the-party-of-big-government/

This is from an Australian source that I have not seen before, and
which I am not paying for, but I was allowed to see the headline,
which also appears in the URL: "Deficits in their DNA -- Liberals
are now the party of big government"

[3] https://www.therebel.media/trudeau_uses_government_agencies_to_punish_alberta_reward_liberals

This ends with the paragraph: "The anti-western sentiment of the
eastern Liberals never changes. It's in their DNA. They just find
new and creative ways to put it into action."

[4] http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article150798452.html

Here "a long-time friend" of an American politician is quoted as saying:
will do well at whatever he decides to do. (To) do something half-way is not in his DNA."
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Is it used bigly?
Definitely no comment.
--
Mark Brader, Toronto | "Anyone who can handle a needle convincingly can make
***@vex.net | us see a thread which is not there." --E.H. Gombrich

My text in this article is in the public domain.
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2017-05-17 09:43:20 UTC
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Post by Mark Brader
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
It's a metaphor, son.
And is in a dictionary:
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dna

DNA
noun
mass noun
Biochemistry

1 Deoxyribonucleic acid,...

1.1 The fundamental and distinctive characteristics or qualities of
someone or something, especially when regarded as unchangeable.

‘diversity is part of the company's DNA’
‘men just don't get shopping—it's not in our DNA’
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-05-17 11:22:04 UTC
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Post by Mark Brader
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
It's a metaphor, son.
Thanks, but after long and careful thought I had figured that out.
Post by Mark Brader
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists?
Yes, as you can see from a Google News search for
"in his|her|their DNA"
[1] http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/anykey-1.3378983
This is an AP story and does not use the expression in its body,
but CTV's headline currently reads: "Le Pen's passion for politics,
far-right values in her DNA".
Not a good example, as it is probably derived from something she said
in French.
Post by Mark Brader
[ ... ]
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Is it used bigly?
Definitely no comment.
--
athel
Mark Brader
2017-05-17 15:20:24 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Mark Brader
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
It's a metaphor, son.
Thanks, but after long and careful thought I had figured that out.
So what's this nonsense about "misused"?
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Mark Brader
[1] http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/anykey-1.3378983
This is an AP story and does not use the expression in its body,
but CTV's headline currently reads: "Le Pen's passion for politics,
far-right values in her DNA".
Not a good example, as it is probably derived from something she said
in French.
Actually, it seems to be a reference the article being about her in
relation to her parents and in particular her father.
--
Mark Brader | "... you're a detective, you like mysteries."
Toronto | "I hate mysteries. What I like are *solutions*."
***@vex.net | --Barbara Paul, "The Apostrophe Thief"

My text in this article is in the public domain.
occam
2017-05-25 07:17:17 UTC
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Post by Mark Brader
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Mark Brader
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
It's a metaphor, son.
Thanks, but after long and careful thought I had figured that out.
So what's this nonsense about "misused"?
It is a well known fact that most metaphors (and similes), if pushed far
enough, fail in their role as clarifiers.

So, when Karl Marx said "religion is the opium of the people" he did not
mean to imply that religion is illegal, hallucinogenic or the result of
the extract of flowers.

I am convinced that if you knew enough about the functioning of DNA, you
would see exactly where the metaphor fails when it comes to French
politics, son.
Mark Brader
2017-05-25 08:26:53 UTC
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Post by occam
Post by Mark Brader
Post by Mark Brader
It's a metaphor, son.
So what's this nonsense about "misused"?
It is a well known fact that most metaphors (and similes), if pushed far
enough, fail in their role as clarifiers.
Most metaphors are used for the purpose of dramatization, not clarity.
--
Mark Brader "A clarification is not to make oneself clear.
Toronto It is to PUT oneself IN the clear."
***@vex.net -- Lynn & Jay, "Yes, Prime Minister"
RH Draney
2017-05-25 09:48:19 UTC
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Post by Mark Brader
Post by occam
It is a well known fact that most metaphors (and similes), if pushed far
enough, fail in their role as clarifiers.
Most metaphors are used for the purpose of dramatization, not clarity.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Hot? Sweaty? Fly-infested?"

....r
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-05-25 11:00:44 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by Mark Brader
Post by occam
It is a well known fact that most metaphors (and similes), if pushed far
enough, fail in their role as clarifiers.
Most metaphors are used for the purpose of dramatization, not clarity.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Hot? Sweaty? Fly-infested?"
....r
In my youth English summer's days were characterized more by wasps than
by flies.
--
athel
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2017-05-25 13:08:17 UTC
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On Thu, 25 May 2017 13:00:44 +0200, Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by RH Draney
Post by Mark Brader
Post by occam
It is a well known fact that most metaphors (and similes), if pushed far
enough, fail in their role as clarifiers.
Most metaphors are used for the purpose of dramatization, not clarity.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Hot? Sweaty? Fly-infested?"
....r
In my youth English summer's days were characterized more by wasps than
by flies.
Then there were the other English summer's days characterized by clouds
and rain.
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-05-25 15:05:25 UTC
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Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Thu, 25 May 2017 13:00:44 +0200, Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by RH Draney
Post by Mark Brader
Post by occam
It is a well known fact that most metaphors (and similes), if pushed far
enough, fail in their role as clarifiers.
Most metaphors are used for the purpose of dramatization, not clarity.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Hot? Sweaty? Fly-infested?"
....r
In my youth English summer's days were characterized more by wasps than
by flies.
Then there were the other English summer's days characterized by clouds
and rain.
Yes indeed, but we tended not to have picnics on the beach on those days.
--
athel
David Kleinecke
2017-05-25 17:33:57 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by Mark Brader
Post by occam
It is a well known fact that most metaphors (and similes), if pushed far
enough, fail in their role as clarifiers.
Most metaphors are used for the purpose of dramatization, not clarity.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Hot? Sweaty? Fly-infested?"
Over 70 (local joke).

occam
2017-05-25 09:50:13 UTC
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Post by Mark Brader
Post by occam
Post by Mark Brader
Post by Mark Brader
It's a metaphor, son.
So what's this nonsense about "misused"?
It is a well known fact that most metaphors (and similes), if pushed far
enough, fail in their role as clarifiers.
Most metaphors are used for the purpose of dramatization, not clarity.
A metaphor is a vehicle, and it that sense the DNA vehicle is a no-goer
for politics (and a lot more besides).
Harrison Hill
2017-05-17 09:29:06 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Very common in BrE at all levels; and I don't see why it is
a misuse? It stands as a convenient shorthand for "it is in
their very make-up; it is what they were born to do".
J. J. Lodder
2017-05-17 18:14:40 UTC
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Post by Harrison Hill
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Very common in BrE at all levels; and I don't see why it is
a misuse? It stands as a convenient shorthand for "it is in
their very make-up; it is what they were born to do".
It's not a misuse, it's downright silly,

Jan
Peter Moylan
2017-05-18 07:55:34 UTC
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Post by J. J. Lodder
Post by Harrison Hill
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Very common in BrE at all levels; and I don't see why it is
a misuse? It stands as a convenient shorthand for "it is in
their very make-up; it is what they were born to do".
It's not a misuse, it's downright silly,
You can't stop it. It's in the epicentre of our DNA.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Richard Tobin
2017-05-17 10:24:01 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Enough that Private Eye has an occasional column of particularly bad
examples.

-- Richard
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-05-17 11:23:01 UTC
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Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Enough that Private Eye has an occasional column of particularly bad
examples.
So presumably Private Eye thinks it's as horrible as I do.
Post by Richard Tobin
--
athel
Sam Plusnet
2017-05-17 14:16:48 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Enough that Private Eye has an occasional column of particularly bad
examples.
So presumably Private Eye thinks it's as horrible as I do.
Perhaps Private Eye will award extra points to the first politician to
include "DNA" and "quantum leap" in the same sentence.
--
Sam Plusnet
occam
2017-05-25 07:24:39 UTC
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Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Enough that Private Eye has an occasional column of particularly bad
examples.
In days past, this column used to feature the use, misuse and overuse
of the word "situation". It was a time when the "situation" situation
was chronic.
Snidely
2017-05-25 07:29:08 UTC
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Post by occam
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Enough that Private Eye has an occasional column of particularly bad
examples.
In days past, this column used to feature the use, misuse and overuse
of the word "situation". It was a time when the "situation" situation
was chronic.
And in Jersey City, the Situation "situation" situation was Reality TV.

/dps
--
But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason
to 'be happy.'"
Viktor Frankl
Peter T. Daniels
2017-05-25 12:00:22 UTC
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Post by Snidely
Post by occam
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Enough that Private Eye has an occasional column of particularly bad
examples.
In days past, this column used to feature the use, misuse and overuse
of the word "situation". It was a time when the "situation" situation
was chronic.
And in Jersey City, the Situation "situation" situation was Reality TV.
Your grasp of geopgraphic Reality fails you -- JC isn't on or even near the Jersey Shore.
Garrett Wollman
2017-05-17 15:51:38 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Slogan for an industrial gas supplier:

Nitrogen. It's in our DNA.

Well, it should be.

-GAWollman
--
Garrett A. Wollman | "Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can,
***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
Opinions not shared by| a thing you can do, are able to do, to do together."
my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)
RH Draney
2017-05-17 19:52:32 UTC
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Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Nitrogen. It's in our DNA.
Well, it should be.
The idiom faces some recent push-back in that "DNA evidence" is now a
common euphemism for semen....r
J. J. Lodder
2017-05-18 11:14:43 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Nitrogen. It's in our DNA.
Well, it should be.
The idiom faces some recent push-back in that "DNA evidence" is now a
common euphemism for semen....r
That's a mistake.
Any source of DNA will do, a hair for example.
That's why all your crime series will now show you
forensics experts in anti-contamination suits
going all over the crime scene
with all kinds of special equipment.
Conversely, criminals will torch their getaway cars,

Jan
RH Draney
2017-05-18 13:30:03 UTC
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Post by J. J. Lodder
Post by RH Draney
The idiom faces some recent push-back in that "DNA evidence" is now a
common euphemism for semen....r
That's a mistake.
Any source of DNA will do, a hair for example.
That's why all your crime series will now show you
forensics experts in anti-contamination suits
going all over the crime scene
with all kinds of special equipment.
Conversely, criminals will torch their getaway cars,
In a technical context, I'm sure you're correct...but around the
coffee-maker if I say "there was DNA evidence all over the room" anyone
listening will come to but one interpretation....r
Cheryl
2017-05-18 13:53:45 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by J. J. Lodder
Post by RH Draney
The idiom faces some recent push-back in that "DNA evidence" is now a
common euphemism for semen....r
That's a mistake.
Any source of DNA will do, a hair for example.
That's why all your crime series will now show you
forensics experts in anti-contamination suits
going all over the crime scene
with all kinds of special equipment.
Conversely, criminals will torch their getaway cars,
In a technical context, I'm sure you're correct...but around the
coffee-maker if I say "there was DNA evidence all over the room" anyone
listening will come to but one interpretation....r
Not for me. Blood would come to mind first, unless the discussion was
about a rape or paternity case.
--
Cheryl
Harrison Hill
2017-05-18 14:32:33 UTC
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Post by Cheryl
Post by RH Draney
Post by J. J. Lodder
Post by RH Draney
The idiom faces some recent push-back in that "DNA evidence" is now a
common euphemism for semen....r
That's a mistake.
Any source of DNA will do, a hair for example.
That's why all your crime series will now show you
forensics experts in anti-contamination suits
going all over the crime scene
with all kinds of special equipment.
Conversely, criminals will torch their getaway cars,
In a technical context, I'm sure you're correct...but around the
coffee-maker if I say "there was DNA evidence all over the room" anyone
listening will come to but one interpretation....r
Not for me. Blood would come to mind first, unless the discussion was
about a rape or paternity case.
I'd think "sweat", and be wrong when I did so, apparently.
Sam Plusnet
2017-05-18 18:39:41 UTC
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Post by J. J. Lodder
Conversely, criminals will torch their getaway cars,
Is a torch actually used?

Not, presumably, in the modern BrE sense of the word.
--
Sam Plusnet
Tony Cooper
2017-05-18 18:55:35 UTC
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Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by J. J. Lodder
Conversely, criminals will torch their getaway cars,
Is a torch actually used?
Not, presumably, in the modern BrE sense of the word.
Are you trying to shine a light on a difference?
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Bart Dinnissen
2017-05-18 19:47:04 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by J. J. Lodder
Conversely, criminals will torch their getaway cars,
Is a torch actually used?
Not, presumably, in the modern BrE sense of the word.
Are you trying to shine a light on a difference?
If there' s no difference we must have a match.
--
Bart Dinnissen
J. J. Lodder
2017-05-19 08:05:53 UTC
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On Thu, 18 May 2017 14:55:35 -0400, in alt.usage.english Tony Cooper <tonycoop
Post by Tony Cooper
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by J. J. Lodder
Conversely, criminals will torch their getaway cars,
Is a torch actually used?
Not, presumably, in the modern BrE sense of the word.
Are you trying to shine a light on a difference?
If there' s no difference we must have a match.
And a can do,

Jan
Charles Bishop
2017-05-19 20:48:31 UTC
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Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Nitrogen. It's in our DNA.
Well, it should be.
-GAWollman
Ammonia, it's there too.

charles, deuterium?
s***@gmail.com
2017-05-22 20:44:37 UTC
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Post by Charles Bishop
Post by Garrett Wollman
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Nitrogen. It's in our DNA.
Well, it should be.
Ammonia, it's there too.
charles, deuterium?
Deuterium is sufficiently likely to be in our DNA that would be surprised
if it wasn't found (somewhere 1 in 7000 hydrogen atoms have the extra particle,
and it's a stable isotope).

Some people consume it for medical measurements (doubly labeled water test,
which among other uses can be used to assay how many calories you've burned).

By the time you've gotten to 25% deuterium in your body, you can expect
it to be involved in your death (partly because it effects enzyme reactions).
But it is a major effort to reach that level.


/dps
J. J. Lodder
2017-05-17 18:14:39 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television.
Not in the Netherlands.
Four party coalition talks are hard enough
without talking about all that conflicting political DNA.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
It has become very common to hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN"
to mean that it is in their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to
repeal the law on single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Biological determinism is silly.
Having fossilised attitude and ascribing these
as biologically determined is even sillier.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Well, the English race is superior to all other races, isn't it?

Shields up,

Jan
David Kleinecke
2017-05-17 19:07:01 UTC
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Post by J. J. Lodder
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television.
Not in the Netherlands.
Four party coalition talks are hard enough
without talking about all that conflicting political DNA.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
It has become very common to hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN"
to mean that it is in their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to
repeal the law on single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Biological determinism is silly.
Having fossilised attitude and ascribing these
as biologically determined is even sillier.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Well, the English race is superior to all other races, isn't it?
No. Not since Trump became Great Leader here in the US.
Sam Plusnet
2017-05-17 19:08:16 UTC
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Post by J. J. Lodder
Well, the English race is superior to all other races, isn't it?
Shields up,
Were you thinking of one of the works of Flanders and Swann?


--
Sam Plusnet
a***@gmail.com
2017-05-17 21:31:14 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
--
athel
I am not sure at all, but I am under the impression that that metaphor came
into being in English before French. I think the first time I heard it, it
was in English.

It is a metaphor, alright, and should not be taken literally, but I, like
Athel, find it annoying. The reason is that one 'explanation' which SEEMS
valid is masquerading as another one. If I say my mind took a quantum leap
nobody would imagine that my mind changed its energy level. The quantum leap metaphor doesn't look like an explanation. On the other hand, there really
are things that are in one's DNA. When you use the DNA metaphor for something
that is not in the DNA, you might create confusion.

Doesn't that metaphor reinforce the 'genetic deterministic' viewpoint, which can be very dangerous?

Then again, one might say that I am taking the whole thing too seriously...


Respectfully,
Navi.
s***@gmail.com
2017-05-17 21:59:08 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
--
athel
I am not sure at all, but I am under the impression that that metaphor came
into being in English before French. I think the first time I heard it, it
was in English.
It is a metaphor, alright, and should not be taken literally, but I, like
Athel, find it annoying. The reason is that one 'explanation' which SEEMS
valid is masquerading as another one. If I say my mind took a quantum leap
nobody would imagine that my mind changed its energy level.
The quantum leap metaphor doesn't look like an explanation.
On the other hand, there really
are things that are in one's DNA. When you use the DNA metaphor for something
that is not in the DNA, you might create confusion.
You might, but I'd be surprised to encounter that confusion.
Post by a***@gmail.com
Doesn't that metaphor reinforce the 'genetic deterministic' viewpoint,
which can be very dangerous?
Probably, but only for those who don't understand that genes describe
possibilities, not absolutes, and that for many characteristics
a whole bucketload of genes, and that environmental factors
can turn genes on or off.

Of course, "but only for those" translates to "for the vast majority of people
with at least a vague awareness of genes or DNA".
Post by a***@gmail.com
Then again, one might say that I am taking the whole thing too seriously...
The words we don't pay attention have a lot of influence,
so taking this seriously might be a good thing.

/dps
a***@gmail.com
2017-05-17 22:04:52 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
--
athel
I am not sure at all, but I am under the impression that that metaphor came
into being in English before French. I think the first time I heard it, it
was in English.
It is a metaphor, alright, and should not be taken literally, but I, like
Athel, find it annoying. The reason is that one 'explanation' which SEEMS
valid is masquerading as another one. If I say my mind took a quantum leap
nobody would imagine that my mind changed its energy level.
The quantum leap metaphor doesn't look like an explanation.
On the other hand, there really
are things that are in one's DNA. When you use the DNA metaphor for something
that is not in the DNA, you might create confusion.
You might, but I'd be surprised to encounter that confusion.
Post by a***@gmail.com
Doesn't that metaphor reinforce the 'genetic deterministic' viewpoint,
which can be very dangerous?
Probably, but only for those who don't understand that genes describe
possibilities, not absolutes, and that for many characteristics
a whole bucketload of genes, and that environmental factors
can turn genes on or off.
Of course, "but only for those" translates to "for the vast majority of people
with at least a vague awareness of genes or DNA".
Post by a***@gmail.com
Then again, one might say that I am taking the whole thing too seriously...
The words we don't pay attention have a lot of influence,
so taking this seriously might be a good thing.
/dps
Cheers!
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2017-05-18 09:50:23 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
--
athel
I am not sure at all, but I am under the impression that that metaphor came
into being in English before French. I think the first time I heard it, it
was in English.
It is a metaphor, alright, and should not be taken literally, but I, like
Athel, find it annoying. The reason is that one 'explanation' which SEEMS
valid is masquerading as another one. If I say my mind took a quantum leap
nobody would imagine that my mind changed its energy level.
The quantum leap metaphor doesn't look like an explanation.
On the other hand, there really
are things that are in one's DNA. When you use the DNA metaphor for something
that is not in the DNA, you might create confusion.
You might, but I'd be surprised to encounter that confusion.
Post by a***@gmail.com
Doesn't that metaphor reinforce the 'genetic deterministic' viewpoint,
which can be very dangerous?
Probably, but only for those who don't understand that genes describe
possibilities, not absolutes, and that for many characteristics
a whole bucketload of genes, and that environmental factors
can turn genes on or off.
That may be true, but the general picture is that when humans reproduce
they produce offspring who are humans. Occasionally something goes wrong
and a person is born with deformities, even so they are still a human as
determined by their genes/DNA. It is the genes that "control" the
development of a single cell into a human or animal of the same type as
the parents. Human females don't give birth to non-human animals. That
is because it is the genetic material inherited from the parents is that
for "growing" a human.
Post by s***@gmail.com
Of course, "but only for those" translates to "for the vast majority of people
with at least a vague awareness of genes or DNA".
The phrase "in one's DNA" is being used figuratively not scientifically.
Before "DNA" was used in that way, the phrase was "in one's genes".

As the OED says of "gene":

2. In fig. and extended use, esp. with reference to qualities
regarded as deeply ingrained or (often humorously) as inherited.
Often in pl.

....
1977 L. T. Milic in D. H. Bond & W. R. McLeod Newslett. to
Newspapers i. 44 The newspapers of the early Eighteenth Century
bore in their genes the flaws that Jefferson execrated a hundred
years later.
1988 J. Hersey Fling (1990) 129 Probity was in his genes; he
came from a line of citizens who had served..as preacher and
teacher,..sheep-mark recorder, trainband ensign.
1989 M. Piesman Unorthodox Practices ii. 19 She certainly showed
signs of inheriting the loudmouth gene.
1991 R. R. McCammon Boy's Life ii. vi. 162 My grandfather didn't
really start going crazy until after I was born, and I guess there
were sensible genes on my grandmother's side of the family.
2001 Chicago Tribune 2 Nov. iii. 4/6 If you talk to people in
their 40s it's like they have an investment gene and they still
see the down market as an opportunity.
2004 K. Long Bad Mother's Handbk. (2005) ii. 43 Maybe they
thought babies with northern genes needed weaning on cow heel and
parkin.
Post by s***@gmail.com
Post by a***@gmail.com
Then again, one might say that I am taking the whole thing too seriously...
The words we don't pay attention have a lot of influence,
so taking this seriously might be a good thing.
/dps
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
J. J. Lodder
2017-05-18 11:14:45 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
--
athel
I am not sure at all, but I am under the impression that that metaphor
came into being in English before French. I think the first time I heard
it, it was in English.
It is a metaphor, alright, and should not be taken literally, but I, like
Athel, find it annoying. The reason is that one 'explanation' which SEEMS
valid is masquerading as another one. If I say my mind took a quantum leap
nobody would imagine that my mind changed its energy level. The quantum
leap metaphor doesn't look like an explanation. On the other hand, there
really are things that are in one's DNA. When you use the DNA metaphor for
something that is not in the DNA, you might create confusion.
Doesn't that metaphor reinforce the 'genetic deterministic' viewpoint,
which can be very dangerous?
Then again, one might say that I am taking the whole thing too
seriously...
You can always get a blank stare if you explain
that a quantum leap is -the smallest leap- that is possible,

Jan
s***@gmail.com
2017-05-18 19:48:11 UTC
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Post by a***@gmail.com
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
I am not sure at all, but I am under the impression that that metaphor
came into being in English before French. I think the first time I heard
it, it was in English.
It is a metaphor, alright, and should not be taken literally, but I, like
Athel, find it annoying. The reason is that one 'explanation' which SEEMS
valid is masquerading as another one. If I say my mind took a quantum leap
nobody would imagine that my mind changed its energy level. The quantum
leap metaphor doesn't look like an explanation. On the other hand, there
really are things that are in one's DNA. When you use the DNA metaphor for
something that is not in the DNA, you might create confusion.
Doesn't that metaphor reinforce the 'genetic deterministic' viewpoint,
which can be very dangerous?
Then again, one might say that I am taking the whole thing too seriously...
You can always get a blank stare if you explain
that a quantum leap is -the smallest leap- that is possible,
I don't think that's correct, either.
A quantum leap is a leap (ok, transition) between 2 defined states
(usually energy levels) where states don't have a continuous definition.
The usual example of an electron changing energy levels
doesn't even require that it be the smallest that is possible,
merely that both the start state and end state exist
and fit the quantization rules ("solutions of the Schroedinger equation").

(A tunnel diode uses a positional state transition, doesn't it?
Although the probability of making the transition depends on energy levels.)

/dps
Steve Hayes
2017-05-23 02:03:30 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Yes, it is commonly misused in that way to refer to a habit ot propensity
to behave in a certain way that is clearly not caused by genetic
inheritance. But perhaps "it's in their genes" was similarly misused
earlier.
--
Steve Hayes http://khanya.wordpress.com
Snidely
2017-05-25 06:32:11 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Yes, it is commonly misused in that way to refer to a habit ot propensity
to behave in a certain way that is clearly not caused by genetic
inheritance. But perhaps "it's in their genes" was similarly misused
earlier.
And I think "It's in our blood" came before that.

/dps
--
"This is all very fine, but let us not be carried away be excitement,
but ask calmly, how does this person feel about in in his cooler
moments next day, with six or seven thousand feet of snow and stuff on
top of him?"
_Roughing It_, Mark Twain.
J. J. Lodder
2017-05-25 09:23:42 UTC
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Post by Steve Hayes
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
The "So" thread prompts me to ask whether "DNA" is as widely misused
elsewhere as it is on French television. It has become very common to
hear a politician say "Il est dans notre ADN" to mean that it is in
their party's DNA to leave the European Union, or to repeal the law on
single-sex marriage, or whatever.
Do you get this in English among politicians or journalists? Is it used bigly?
Yes, it is commonly misused in that way to refer to a habit ot propensity
to behave in a certain way that is clearly not caused by genetic
inheritance. But perhaps "it's in their genes" was similarly misused
earlier.
And I think "It's in our blood" came before that.
In the end it all comes from the boden,

Jan
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