The misuse of the word sentient is one of those things which annoys me, not enough to be that annoying prick who corrects people mid-sentence but enough for it to grate on me when I hear it misused.
Sentience is merely the ability to perceive your environment, got eyes? You’re sentient. Ears? Sentient. A nose? Sentient. Tastebuds? Sentient. Sentience is nothing special, all animals are sentient, even plants can be considered sentient.
Sapience is the word you’re looking for; it’s the ability to think, to reason, to judge. It’s kind of hard to define and/or measure. It’s where the name for our species comes from, Homo Sapiens: thinking man.
Self-awareness is the ability to recognise yourself as a separate entity, knowing that you exist. It’s much easier to test for than sapience, the most well known test being to put a mirror in front of the animal, if it reacts as it would to the presence of another animal, then it is not self-aware.
For example, put a mirror in front of a cat and it will react as it would to seeing another cat it is not familiar with, it does not recognise itself. On the other hand, if you put a mirror in front of an elephant, not only will they recognise their own reflection, they’ll often start admiring their own tusks.
I don’t know if many other people are like me, but I’m usually not hungry in the morning, in fact eating at all in the first three or so hours after waking up just makes me feel nauseous. But I eat breakfast anyway because that’s how I was raised; whenever I said I didn’t feel hungry and only wanted something to drink I was subjected to a lecture about how “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, a point which would be reiterated until I gave in and ate something.
In more recent years I’ve been seeing an interesting little factoid thrown around; that skipping breakfast makes you fat, the logic being that not having breakfast makes you more likely to eat more in later meals. I recently found out where this came from; a study into the habits of people who have maintained significant weight loss found that eight out of ten of them eat breakfast every day.
After a further ten seconds on google I found that one in five adults regularly skip breakfast, i.e. there is no significant difference in the rate of breakfast consumption between those who have maintained significant weight loss and the general population, the majority of which, according to the statistics, are overweight.
This is just bad science and laziness; not only did they not investigate the effects of skipping breakfast before making the claim, they didn’t even check if this behaviour deviated from the average. So I’m not going to worry about breakfast anymore, I’ll eat it if I wake up hungry, but most of the time that’s not the case. At least until I see any real evidence on the matter.
The word biscuit derives from the Old French term bescuit, which itself derives from the Latin for “twice cooked”.
The word cookie derives from from the Dutch term koekje, which is the diminutive form of koek, meaning “cake”.
Whilst the debate on the use of these terms has more to do with cultural differences than language, I believe that anything referred to as a biscuit should be brittle & dry and anything referred to as a cookie should be soft & moist.
Therefore; these are biscuits…
…and these are cookies.
Having read the books, it just seemed like the house which would fit me best, though I’d never given it a lot of thought. More out of curiosity than anything, I signed up for Pottermore, having heard good things about it.
Then this happened.