Sunday, May 23, 2010

Opposites Attract

The fellow above is one Carl Linneaus born this day 1707 in Rashult, Sweden. He and I are polar opposites, he loved nature and plants, whilst I have spent the larger part of this weekend killing plants, and waging war on nature. Clearly, he never had one of the plants that he loved so much try to kill him. Attempted murder has a chilling effect on friendships. Linneaus' claim to fame, and his claim to the hero podium is based mostly upon him being the fellow that laid the foundation for binomial nomenclature. He gained most of his higher education at Uppsala University, where he eventually became a professor of botany. He did some serious traveling throughout Sweden, collecting plants, and classifying them. He decided that the old way of naming plants was a bit too confusing, and came up with a system for naming things with just a species and genus name. Thus, making life a whole lot simpler for plant freaks all around the world. He helped to found the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, and published a couple of master works in which he classified over 7,300 species. For all of his good work, the King of Sweden ennobled him, and he took the name Carl von Linne. Part of the irony of his life was that a man known for naming things changed his name, and that name was actually taken by his father from a linden tree in the family's front yard. Though the way that he grouped plants and animals has been changed a bit over the years, and advances in science have changed a lot of the way things he did things, the foundational principles of his naming system remain in place. He was acclaimed world wide by some pretty impressive fellows, like Rousseau, von Goethe, and Strindberg. Like I said before, I doubt me and Carl would have been fast friends, considering my life goal is to obliterate all the lovely little plants that he wanted to name. Maybe a five hour regime of weed eating, lawn mowing, and stump removal would change his views on the joys of plants, but I can still appreciate his efforts. So, for helping to name all the plants that I am intent on destroying, Carl Linnaeus (May 23rd, 1707-January 10th, 1778 from a stroke at the age of 70) you are my (270th) hero of the day.

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