Monday, April 23, 2007

say what?

Some amazing new time-lapse photography of our home star, the Sun, has been recently released, amazing because it is the first 3D film of the Sun. Two satellites at a distance of about 160 million miles from each other took photos of the Sun daily for several months in multiple wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, with one satellite's photo providing the left-eye perspective, and the other the right. Particular attention was paid to the more dramatic events on the Sun's surface, the events known as solar flares and prominences, which can have serious effects on electronic equipment and on climate on Earth. Watching one of the 24-hour news networks offer a segment on this today provided a clearer understanding of why science is suffering so badly in this country.

A news reader was interviewing the network's "Science Correspondent" about these new images, and during the conversation about the solar flares and prominences the "Science Correspondent" remarked that "solar flares, which are called Coronal Mass Ejections by astronomers, an unpleasant term, are..." and then moved on to make his point.

I'm afraid I am unable to tell you what the point was.

I was so dumbfounded at the idea that a so-called "Science Correspondent" found the technical phrase "Coronal Mass Ejections" to be "an unpleasant term" that I didn't even hear the rest of the sentence.



Is it the "Coronal?"

The "Mass?"

The "Ejections?"

The combination of the three?

Is this term part of some sort of cussing lexicon that I am unaware of? Is it some kind of peculiar sexual practice? Does it just sound dirty? Am I missing something here?

I really don't have much of a point to this post other than my own dismay that a completely neutral term of astronomy and physics can in the sweaty-palmed mind of some pinhead who gets labeled as a "Science Correspondent" on major cable television, be excused as somehow being "icky" for no apparent or explained reason. This presupposes that science is icky. Polite people have to excuse themselves for discussing science.

Just remember, John Galt is the collective scientists of the world, and the motors of the world are going to be shut down soon, not by the scientists, but by the idiots like this who are shutting science down.

You've been warned.


Blogger Mary K. Goddard said...

lowest common denominator...

9:23 PM  
Blogger Ronni said...

I agree with you , and it scares me to death. We will be functionally illiterate within two generations, should we last so long.

I, personally, am becoming less literate. My grammar is deteriorating, and I was informed recently that I made three errors in grammar in a single blog comment, but could be forgiven for one of them because I was probably an American.

I'm sure we are going downhill.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Ronni said...

Did I mention that one of the PE Coaches at Jim's school (back in the day--he's not still there) once took exception to Jim's use of the word "epemeral" in a presentation?

The guy thought his manhood was being called into question.

A college graduate.


7:59 AM  
Blogger Mary K. Goddard said...


Yes, it is scary. I know I've slipped since I left college, and even more so since moving to the land of the red pickup truck. As a consolation, my mother in law was a grammar school teach in England, so my husband keeps me on my toes.

College graduate does not mean much these days. Nor does MBA. When I was in corporate America I was amazed at the garbage that people spewed via e-mail and the "deer in the headlights" responses that I got (often from MBAs) to very clearly written, detailed and informative e-mails that I sent out. There were a group of us in the same area who could be heard cackling from our cubicles when an e-mail went out to the group with gaffes like "pacific" for "specific". No, it was not spell check--it was all their own work. These were people writing documentation for procedures that dealt with government regulations. Oy, indeed!

The Spain....

11:12 AM  

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