HD: 1902 Words
Posted: 10 January 2012 06:15 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Another day, another year

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Posted: 10 January 2012 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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auto-correct, v. No, they were not envisioning word processing software in 1902. The original sense of auto-correct refers to the healing of maladies or injuries without medical treatment.
---

Ah. Remember back when auto- meant self?

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Posted: 10 January 2012 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Which gave me the opportunity to check out the auto- prefix and find this delightfully odd entry:

auto-burglar n. Obs. nonce-wd. a person who burgles his or her own house.

1884 C. Reade Singleheart v. 114 A revolver was levelled at the auto-burglar by the wife’s friend.
1884 C. Reade Singleheart v. 120 No drunkard and auto-burglar to drain the wife’s purse.

The best ones sneak in when the owner is asleep.

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Posted: 11 January 2012 03:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Seems like it was a good year for French imports.

I suppose at that stage, France was still quite a technological leader and French was more commonly a language of science than is now the case.

EDIT: add the word French to second sentence.

[ Edited: 11 January 2012 04:49 AM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 11 January 2012 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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It certainly was, which is the reason French gave so many words to the vocabulary of aviation - e.g. aileron, nacelle, pitot, fuselage, empennage.

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Posted: 11 January 2012 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Only one quibble this time:

aerodrome, n.2 The word aerodrome has a number of meanings related aviation, all pretty much obsolete today.

Should read “related to aviation.”

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Posted: 11 January 2012 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Corrected. Thanks.

I’m noticing more errors of mine where I’ve omitted words like this. I catch most of them, but there are a lot more than I recall in the past. I think I may be slipping into flow-state writing more easily.

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Posted: 12 January 2012 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I enjoyed this batch as always, Dave. With words like pacifism, garage, and windshield, modern times are already with us.  As for “Number one” and “number two”—they awoke a surge of nostalgia for my earliest childhood.

Rosetta Stone

History of the British Expedition to Egypt, by Lieut.-Col. R.T. Wilson, (2nd. ed., London, 1803), has on page 268:
An Account of Pieces of Ancient Sculpture, taken by the British Forces, under the Command of Lieutenant General Lord Hutchinson, in Egypt, from the French Army in Alexandria, and sent to England in the Charge of Colonel Turner, Sept.1802.
17 items are listed, of which no. 8 is: “A stone of black granite, with three inscriptions, hieroglyphic, Coptic, and Greek, found near Rosetta.”

I may have mentioned before that I translate technical and scientific documents into English. The translation software I use is called Wordfast, and is the work of a young French genius called Yves Champollion (he gives it away for free - if you need it, Google Wordfast). He tells me that he is a great-great-etc.-grandson of that Champollion. All I can say is: here is evidence that genius is hereditary.

I suppose at that stage, France was still quite a technological leader

That may be so. Culturally, however, French scientists appear to have been just as hidebound as many of their counterparts in other countries. In 1911 the French Academy of Sciences failed to elect Marie Curie to membership, preferring Edouard Branly, a male scientist. Curie never became a member.

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Posted: 12 January 2012 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Well, the Germans were also making tremendous advancements in chemistry and physics in the first part of the 20th century, and look what they did.  Obviously, technological prowess and social enlightenment don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

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Posted: 12 January 2012 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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technological prowess and social enlightenment don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

how very true.

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Posted: 21 January 2012 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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We’ve gone off topic, and I feel the need to comment here.

The use of the word “Germans” here reminds of the topic “word”. What do we mean by “Germans”. E.g., does this include the current Pope? All Germans?

I taught Holocaust studies for years, and I found it important to emphasize to my students that the National Socialists effectively toppled the Weimar Republic in a coup. Even once Hitler seized German broadcasting, after the Reichstag fire, after he suspended civil liberties and began a takeover in Jan - Feb 1933, the National Socialist German Worker’s Party obtained only 43% of the vote in March 1933. When one reads the history of the Enabling Act (which ended the Weimar Republic), it is hard to say that this was the democratic will of German citizens. “Germans” did not put German technology to evil purpose; National Socialists did.

Certainly, some large number of Germans were evil (as were Soviet Union citizens under Stalin, etc.).  The National Socialist and Communist regimes were fascist and ruled by terror. I don’t hold Germans, or Russians, or Chinese (under Mao), or Japanese (under Tojo, et al.), as collectively responsible for what those fascist regimes did. Those peoples were denied a free press and the right to vote.

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Posted: 22 January 2012 04:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Well, I think we’re speaking of pre-Nazi Germany here. Specifically of scientists and engineers working in Germany, with its network of research universities, and not ethnic Germans living anywhere. It’s really the research universities (which were copied and replicated by the United States) which were the reasons behind German technical prowess in the period.

Obviously, technological prowess and social enlightenment don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

Fritz Haber is perhaps the classic case. A brilliant chemist. It is no exaggeration to say that his nitrogen process has saved billions of lives through the ability to create artificial fertilizers. But he is also the guy who invented the use of poison gas in WWI. In 1915, his wife committed suicide over his military work. Within hours of her death, he left for the eastern front so he could supervise the first gas attacks against the Russians. His teams also invented Zyklon A (which the Nazis varied by removing the artificial odor, creating Zyklon B, which was used in the gas chambers of the next world war). He won the Nobel Prize in 1918 in a highly controversial decision. Haber was also Jewish. While because of his Nobel Prize he was exempt from the early Nazi actions against Jews, he resigned his positions in protest of the antisemitic policies and left Germany in 1933. He tried to live in England, but was ostracized by the scientific community there because of his war work. He died in Switzerland in 1934.

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Posted: 22 January 2012 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I ‘m not sure what Haber is a classic case of. He got cold-shouldered by citizens of the same country which knighted Hiram Maxim, for providing it with the means to decimate entire nations (Matabele, Zulu and others) quite cheaply, before bringing civilization to their territory *. As a rule, the inventors of deadly weapons are richly rewarded and honoured, by the countries which use those inventions to kill their enemies more effectively. And lots of these inventions are just as nasty as, if not nastier than, poison gas (which was used by all major participants in WW1, as soon as they thought poison gas could be an effective weapon. The Germans just thought so sooner).

The ethics of warfare is a moral minefield which I, for one, propose to stay right out of. But for the record, I think Haber got a rough deal. When he said “death is death” I think he was saying that weapons are for killing, and only for killing; and nobody’s yet invented a harmless way of doing that.

* ... “whatever happens, we have got
the Maxim gun, and they have not”
.  Hilaire Belloc

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Posted: 22 January 2012 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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He’s a case of of a man with no innate moral sense. What kind of person leaves his family to kill people when his wife has just committed suicide because he has been killing people? If at that point you don’t stop to question what you are doing, there is something seriously wrong. He never once stopped to think if what he was doing was wrong. He only objected to Hitler when Hitler’s policies prevented him from hiring the people he wanted to, in other words he resigned in protest because his work was being interfered with, not for any moral objection. Compare that to Oppenheimer who questioned whether what he was doing was right, or Sakharov who renounced what he had done.

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