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FleshFactor: Gee...I wonder what that means

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

If a tree falls in cyber space and there's nobody........

Perhaps we should try a more literal approach.  We all know what flesh
is/means, but it never hurts to review and the MS BookShelf is never
far away:

flesh (flesh) noun

1. a. The soft tissue of the body of a vertebrate, covering the bones 
and consisting mainly of skeletal muscle and fat. b. The surface or 
skin of the human body.

{More or less what we thought, though the vertebrate part comes as
something of a surprise. Anybody care to speculate on what the "bones"
within our discussion might be?  Outside of the political "press the
flesh" "b" seems unfamiliar.}

2.  The meat of animals as distinguished from the edible tissue of
fish or fowl.

{News to me, but then like most of us I seem to have a remarkably
limited learning spectrum.}

3.  Botany. The pulpy, usually edible part of a fruit or vegetable.

{Fruit but not foul?}

4.  Excess fatty tissue; plumpness.

{In polite circles.}

5.  a. The body as opposed to the mind or soul. b. The physical or
carnal nature of humankind. c. Sensual appetites.

{See submission one.}

6.  Humankind in general; humanity.
7.  One's family; kin.

{Both seem obviously applicable.}

8.  Substance; reality: "The maritime strategy has an all but
unstoppable institutional momentum behind it . . . that has given
force and flesh to the theory" (Jack Beatty).

{Sooo_.If flesh = reality then_.}

fleshed, flesh.ing, flesh.es verb, transitive

1.  To give substance or detail to; fill out: fleshed out the novel
with a subplot.

{Would that we could.}

2.  To clean (a hide) of adhering flesh.


3.  To encourage (a falcon, for example) to participate in the chase 
by feeding it flesh from a kill.

4.  To inure to battle or bloodshed.

5.  To plunge or thrust (a weapon) into flesh.

verb, intransitive
To become plump or fleshy; gain weight.

_ idiom.
in the flesh
1.  Alive.
2.  In person; present.
[Middle English, from Old English fleesc.]
_ fleshless adjective

fac.tor (fak1ter) noun

1.  One that actively contributes to an accomplishment, a result, or a
process: "Surprise is the greatest factor in war" (Tom Clancy). See
synonyms at ELEMENT.

{Interesting choice of example.}

2.  a. One who acts for someone else; an agent. b. A person or firm
that accepts accounts receivable as security for short-term loans.

{Things change, but this is the one that interests me. It's the first
entry in the 1970-1980 edition of the Webster's college edition New World
Dictionary, which has an even stronger spin: "a person who carries on
business transactions for another; commission merchant, etc."  The
first entry in the Oxford English Dictionary is: One who makes or does
(anything); a doer, maker performer, perpetrator; an author of a
literary work.}

3.  Mathematics. One of two or more quantities that divides a given
quantity without a remainder: 2 and 3 are factors of 6; a and b are
factors of ab.

4.  A quantity by which a stated quantity is multiplied or divided, so
as to indicate an increase or decrease in a measurement: The rate
increased by a factor of ten.

5.  A gene. No longer in technical usage.

{This was the connection (found in the evidently out-dated print
dictionary) that came as news and made me wonder what it was that 
Gerfried Stocker had in mind.}

6.  Physiology. A substance that functions in a specific biochemical
reaction or bodily process, such as blood coagulation.

verb, transitive
fac.tored, fac.tor.ing, fac.tors

To determine or indicate explicitly the factors of.

_ phrasal verb.
factor in

To figure in: We factored sick days and vacations in when we prepared
the work schedule.

[Middle English factour, perpetrator, agent, from Old French facteur,
from Latin factor, maker, from facere, to make.] _ fac1tor.a.ble
adjective _ fac1tor.ship' noun


Which is to say:

Gee folks, I really don't care whether I'm a machine, wet or dry.  I
don't care, except in a faintly bemused way, whether Bill Gates is a
machine, or whether Sybase is alive.  I do care about what it means
to factor flesh and what wild bird we may be training (to do what)
with TV Art and The Net which captures us.

Donal Little

Syracuse University

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