lucy24 - 11:40 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)
I rest my case.
I meant 'per-fekt' as in bring to completion
Do you think anyone in this thread thought otherwise? That wasn't my impression.
Incidentally, "bring to completion" is the original meaning of the word. The "flawless" sense is later.
:: detour to OED and business with magnifying glass ::
I'll be darned. That's way earlier than I thought. (Not one of those semantic shifts like "discover" that only happened the week before last.)
the math and engineering needed in Egypt obviously took thousands of years to evolve
Obviously? Really? Sometimes it's a long slow progression. Sometimes it's a single light bulb. As it were.
the archeologists are finally finding things that proved what was obvious to a 10 year old
In the mid-20th century, quite a few adults were able to say something similar about continental drift :)
a basic skill that has obviously been a cornerstone of human civilization
Mmnn, yes and no. There have been VERY few times and places where most of the population was expected to be literate. What we've got here is something different: a disjunction between use and production. You can read a book-- or read words on a screen-- but you have no idea that you yourself can physically produce material that someone else can read.
Urk. Got a nasty feeling there's a story by Isaac Asimov or someone like him playing with this very premise. There usually is.