Page 176. " he was familiar with scurvy "
Symptoms of Scurvy
Public DomainSymptoms of Scurvy

Scurvy is a disease caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C.   It was particularly common amongst sailors until Scottish surgeon James Lind proved that citrus fruit could combat it in 1753.   Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan both lost more than two thirds of their crews to the disease.   Scurvy causes blackened skin, ulcers, rictus, loss of teeth, respiratory problems, and abnormal gum growths that quickly rot.   Oddly, only primates and guinea pigs are susceptible, as other animals can synthesize Vitamin C.   The introduction of limes to sailors’ diets in the Royal Navy is believed to be the derivation of “limey”, the American pejorative name for a British person. 

Page 178. " Paradice, was what they'd named the place "

The Garden of Eden
Public DomainThe Garden of Eden - Credit: Thomas Cole
The word Paradise originally signified a walled garden or orchard.  Throughout history the word has been used to describe a heavenly garden.

Crake's play on the word suggests he may have been trying to create a new Garden of Eden.

Page 179. " can of imitation Spam "

Spam is a canned cooked meat product sold in 41 countries worldwide. 

Spam with cans
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSpam with cans - Credit: Matthew W Jackson

 

 

Page 181. " like a leper's bell "

In the Middle Ages, those afflicted with leprosy would ring a bell to warn of their approach.

Page 184. " worked for years on the purring "

The Science of Purring

Page 195. " already at the Watson-Crick Institute "

James Watson and Francis Crick, along with Maurice Wilkins, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1962 for their work revealing the structure of DNA.

Maclyn McCarty with Francis Crick and James Watson
Creative Commons AttributionMaclyn McCarty with Francis Crick and James Watson - Credit: Marjorie McCarty