The odds of living through tomorrow: 100% (from past experience)

Having already revealed myself to be a grumpus about language, let's do one on the quantitative side of the aisle so that no one thinks that I'm not broad-minded in my grumpiness. This one comes to me via BoingBoing. It's a Wired article purporting to show you that the dangers of terrorism are way overblown,… Continue reading The odds of living through tomorrow: 100% (from past experience)

Defuse/diffuse, rein/reign

I usually try to suppress my persnickety Mr. Language Person tendencies, but here I go.... "Defuse" and "diffuse" are different words. They've got a lot in common, because they each have precise physical/real-world meanings, though they're both more often used metaphorically. "Defuse" originally referred to removing the fuse from a bomb, rendering it harmless. Metaphorically,… Continue reading Defuse/diffuse, rein/reign

Capital punishment and organ transplantation

Way back in the 70's, science fiction writer Larry Niven made the following prediction (and built some plots around it as well): there's a technological race between artificial human organs and organ transplantation, and if transplantation wins, then a connection with capital punishment is inevitable. In fact, transplantation needs will become a force for more… Continue reading Capital punishment and organ transplantation