|Our motivating example: A scribbled, partly unintelligible note to myself. Can you help me figure it out?|
THIS has been a bit of a tough couple of weeks. Yes, I went to Fiji and saw the fabulous world of fish (Titan triggerfish) and fantastic corals, but on the return flight home, I picked up some evil variation cold/flu. The past two weeks have been pretty unpleasant.
The good news is that I'm slowly--very slowly--coming back to normal.
This is somewhat unusual, as I generally bounce back from an illness very quickly. I'm not sure why this particular illness is taking so long. But as you might imagine, even this causes me to wonder... and when I find myself wondering something, I generally turn to my favorite search engine to figure out what's going on.
And this leads to today's linguistic Search Challenge.
It's actually just three little questions I found myself researching this week. Can you solve these questions too?
1. As I mentioned, I'm getting better from my illness rather slowly. Little by little, I'm getting back to my normal self. Now, as I write to you, I realize that there doesn't seem to be an English word to describe this... or is there? Can you find a single English word that describe the process of a long, slow, restoration to normal health? What's that word?
2. Can you help me figure out what the name of this fish really is? While lying in bed, I was looking over my scribbled notes from the Fiji trip. One of my notes captured something one of my dive buddies said. (See image above.) My handwritten memo says, "Check out the NeoclXXXX YYYYYYY when you get home. Cool fish." It doesn't actually say XXXX YYYYY, but those are the characters I can't read in my scrawl. It's clearly the Latin name of the fish, it's just that the second half of the first word and the entire second word is illegible. My dive buddy said it has a truly memorable common name, if only I could figure it out. What is it?
3. As I was thinking about these things, I started to worry about the future of the corals all around the planet. As you know, they're under some environmental stresses that are causing worldwide declines. I wanted to read something about them, and thought that what I should do is to search for an article that talks about coral in the "future perfect" tense. (That is, a sentence that describes an action that will be completed in the future.) Can you find a sentence that is in the "future perfect" tense that's all about the state of coral? (HINT: Don't just search for coral and then start scanning. Remember what I've told you about problems like this--when it seems crazy hard, look for WHAT first?)
Be sure to tell us how you approached these three little problems. FWIW, these aren't that hard... IF you know how to tackle these problems. (This was about 2 minutes of searching on my part.) How long will it take you?