Posted in History & Literature

Zodiac: Capricorn

Capricorn is the Zodiac sign for those born between December 22 and January 19. The symbol for Capricorn is a goat with a fish tail instead of hind legs.

The model for Capricorn is the god of shepherds, Pan. Pan had the upper body of a man but a lower body of a goat and was famous for his sexual behaviour (he is often portrayed in art with a massive penis). He is also famous for his music, especially his hauntingly beautiful pan flute performance. But how did a god with the top half of a man and the bottom half of a goat come to represent a constellation where the top half is a goat and the bottom half is a fish? The back-story of Capricorn is related to that of Pisces; that is the story of how the monster Typhon gatecrashed a feast of the gods. While Aphrodite and Eros transformed into a pair of fish to escape Typhon, Pan turned himself into a goat to run away. However, when he reached the Nile River, he hurriedly tried to change into a fish but messed up the spell, with only his lower half turning into a fish. Just before he crossed the river, he saw that Typhon was attacking Zeus, so he let out a horrible screech to scare Typhon, allowing Zeus to escape. Zeus returned the favour by drawing Pan’s image at the time in the form of a constellation.

(Part of the Zodiac series:

Posted in Science & Nature


The sound of fingernails scratching a chalkboard is one of the most difficult sounds to listen to. This “screech” sound gives the sensation of your soul being ripped to shreds and invokes great discomfort. Why is this?

Professor Randolph Blake of Vanderbilt Center, USA, observed that this sound is very similar to the scream chimpanzees and macaque monkeys make when they see a predator. According to other researches on this phenomenon, many species of monkeys also hate this sound greatly. Blake used these facts to hypothesise that as our primitive ancestors used this sound to alert an enemy approaching, it has been programmed into our primitive brain to trigger a negative response. Also, physically this sound amplifies in our ears at a certain frequency to cause intense pain. The pain and our basic instincts combine to generate such an unpleasant feeling.