Monday, April 28, 2008

I Should be Correcting Quizzes

My friend PJ (Blogger of Reverberate Hills) sent me a meme, thus teaching me a new fascinating term, along with giving me something to do instead of what I should be doing. A meme is any piece of information that passes through social networks, and is likened to a gene or a virus. I'm all over this, because memes have parallels in microbiology.

For example, many viruses are passed by vectors, such as a mosquito, which can pass viruses and other human pathogens from human to human without becoming infected itself. The internet is an amazing meme vector, which can allow memes to pass around the world in hours. Another interesting thing about viruses is how many of them can mutate quite easily. People wonder why you generally don't catch chicken pox twice, while you can catch the cold over and over. This is because the cold mutates so quickly that, by the time it makes it around the world once, it is mutated enough to infect you again the next year without your antibodies recognizing it. The interesting thing about the internet is that, due to cut and paste, forward and "include message in reply," memes do not mutate anywhere near as quickly as they do when passed verbally.

So, here is the meme in the original form:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

Here's mine, from Earth Science by Tarbuck and Lutgens.

The end moraine marking the farthest advance of the glacier is called the terminal moraine, and those moraines formed as the ice front periodically became stationary during retreat are termed recessional moraines. As the glacier recedes, a layer of till is laid down, forming a gently undulating surface of ground moraine. Ground moraine has a leveling effect, filiing in low spots and clogging old stream channels, often leading to a disruption of drainage.

I am very disappointed in mine, especially after reading PJ's beautiful passages, so like a mad scientist, I'm going to mutate the meme:

Pick up a book that you and many other people have enjoyed:
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Invite readers to guess the book (or at least the author).

So, readers, I invite you to guess the book:

Sabina could not understand why the dead would want to have imitation palaces built over them. The cemetery was vanity transmogrified into stone. Instead of growing more sensible in death, the inhabitants of the cemetery were sillier than they had been in life.

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