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Friday, February 12, 2010

Busy Day

Today is the 201st anniversary of Darwin's birthday, the Winter Olympics are starting, and I've got a whole mess of brains to co-register into a common space (a task which is proving far more difficult than it ought to be, considering how often published neuroimaging results are based on co-registered brains). I had planned to offer some commentary on the Olympics, but I wasn't able to find some of the links I wanted and now I don't think I will have the time to properly formulate my thoughts (perhaps that will come in a few days). I will, however, offer a brief tidbit of information that recently came to my attention concerning the city of Darwin, Australia.

Darwin is a lovely city, albeit suffering from an overabundance of humidity and, occasionally, the dreadful propensity common to many coastal tropical cities for inclement weather. When I visited Darwin as a child, however, I never even questioned how Darwin got its name. As I believe I have mentioned before, I was wildly into dinosaurs as a child and as such had quite a bit of exposure to de-facto acceptance of evolutionary theory. I was vaguely aware of some controversy when the idea was first introduced, but the fact that evolution was obstinately resisted by people living in the modern world had never even crossed my mind. Darwin, therefore, was a name I recognized for eminent scientific achievement and world-wide influence, and thus as fitting a name as any for a city. Apparently, however, Darwin was not actually named after Charles Darwin for his scientific achievements, but rather received its name because one of Darwin's former ship-mates was simply going down a list of old sailing buddies and naming places after each in turn. I guess it is just convenient that one of the most important cities in the Australian north ended up catching the most notable name on the list.