HD: 1936 Words
Posted: 06 October 2011 04:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Who would have guessed that C. S. Lewis invented the porno?

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Posted: 06 October 2011 06:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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chi-square, n. ... It basically supplies an answer to how good your hypothesis fits the data.

I believe you want “how well” there (and I suspect you rewrote that sentence enough to lose track of the details, which happens to all of us).

perfect storm, n. Made famous by Sebastian Junger’s 1997 book of this title ... The figurative use of the term in other fields dates from Junger’s book.

I’m not sure what you mean by “the figurative use of the term in other fields”; if you mean “the use of the term specifically playing off the title of Junger’s book,” then it’s a tautology to say it “dates from Junger’s book,” but otherwise it’s simply wrong.  I’ve heard and read the phrase “a perfect storm [of X]” all my life, and it goes back well before that: “A perfect storm of discontent had arisen” (1888), “a perfect storm of applause” (1859), “a perfect storm of uterine contractions” (1848), “a perfect storm of musketry” (1846), etc.  And of course, the literal sense is attested way back as well: “the wind having increased to a perfect storm” (1812).

The Richter scale has largely been superseded by the moment magnitude scale, but that scale, which was devised in the 1970s, is often incorrectly dubbed the Richter scale by the popular media.

Not to be tiresome, but if people in general call it the Richter scale (as I believe they do—I’ve certainly never heard anyone talk about “the moment magnitude scale"), then that is its name, whatever specialists may prefer.  I’ve beaten this drum on the topic of tidal waves as well.

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Posted: 06 October 2011 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks. You’re dead right about the Richter scale. I deleted “incorrectly.”

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Posted: 06 October 2011 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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For the Events of February 1936, the famous economist is John Maynard Keynes.

Also, what is regional about “back forty”?  I hear it a lot in the form of “you look like you’ve been out plowin’ the back forty”, etc.

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Posted: 06 October 2011 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The scientists appear to have won the battle with the media over the Richter scale, at least in Australia and Singapore. Earthquakes are referred to in the media as being magnitude 9.0, magnitude 6.5 etc. I didn’t hear the R-word in the coverage of the major earthquake in Japan this year.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1500317/japan-quake-upgraded-to-9.0-magnitude
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-03-12/man-and-boy-look-out-over-devastation/2619664

EDIT: ditto for tsunami. No one says tidal wave any more, at least not in my earshot.

EDIT2: on the other hand, ordinary folk do say Richter scale still.

[ Edited: 06 October 2011 03:43 PM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 06 October 2011 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Doh! Pure brain fart on that one. (J. M. Keynes)

Also, what is regional about “back forty”?  I hear it a lot in the form of “you look like you’ve been out plowin’ the back forty”, etc.

I’m going off of DARE on that one.

Regionalisms, especially folksy ones, can be tricky. Often they’ll be inserted into national television shows by writers from that area. I’ve heard the Wisconsin “ishy” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, set in southern California, and the California “looky lou” on Smallville, set in Kansas. I’ve also heard “back forty” on Smallville.

[ Edited: 06 October 2011 03:32 PM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 06 October 2011 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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cook-off
When and what was the first use of -off to indicate a contest? Was it cook-off? Play-off?

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Posted: 06 October 2011 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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"Perfect storm” may be even earlier:

The Turkish history: comprehending the origin of that nation, and ..., Volume 2, by Richard Knolles, page 125, 1699, printed 1701

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books?id=h4o2AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA125&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U1-uyBkXmguno_JZaRqe1bITg6tSQ&ci=82,450,790,266&edge=0

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Posted: 06 October 2011 11:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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this meteorological term referring to a gale created by a combination particularly adverse conditions dates to 1936. There are older collocations of perfect and storm, but they do not denote the specific meteorological meaning.

Does this mean that sobiest’s antedate of a gale that appears to precede adverse conditions doesn’t meet those specific criteria?

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Posted: 07 October 2011 02:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Yes, at least according to the OED3, which classifies these as, “earlier examples of the collocation [...] but represent uses of perfect adj. 5c [’unmitigated, utter; sheer; absolute; veritable’] without specific or fixed meaning.” It includes the following two citations as examples of the earlier collocation:

1718 H. Stogdon Let. 26 Nov. in Poems & Lett. (1729) 54 There was a rushing mighty wind, a perfect storm, and tempest before the descent of the Holy Ghost.

1858 Chicago Tribune 13 Nov. 1/3 We all remember the perfect storm of applause which greeted the Mayor’s announcement.

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