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#11059 - 11/25/00 04:33 PM Omens of the End
Father Steve Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/06/00
Posts: 2788
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
Something in Britain called the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has crawled out from under a stone and declared that the UK spelling of scientific terms must give way to the American.

Examples given by the QCA include the use of 'sulfate' instead of 'sulphate' and 'fetus' instead of 'foetus'.

Andrew Thomas, head of science at Emmanuel College in Gateshead said: "It's nonsense. It's more to do with cultural imperialism by America than wanting to standardise. If America cared about consistency it wouldn't use feet and inches and gallons. Next thing they'll be telling us to drop the 'i' in aluminium because Americans can't pronounce it."

One wonders if this is another of Mr. Blair's attempts to take all things English out of England ... including the English language.




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#11060 - 11/25/00 05:03 PM Re: Omens of the End
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
I don't really see the problem with two slightly different spellings, as long as they're understandable, and I don't see why they aren't. It's just a couple of letters here and there.

But actually all American scientists, as far as I know, do use the metric system. And it's being taught in science classes. I wish suck it up and switch because the "English system" is too complicated. I think we will eventually switch because the younger generations are more accepting to change. It's obviously a problem with politicians worried about not getting the votes of people who are afraid to wake up and standardize with the rest of the world.


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#11061 - 11/26/00 09:17 AM sulfur "traded" for aluminium
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I've not been able to access the site for the last few days - its keep giving a "server not available 404(?)" message but judging from all your postings it looks like I'm the only one - I suspect a gremlin at my ISP is blocking my access, moan, moan ...

In the meatime, I spotted this BBC article which claims that scientists have taken a tit-for-tat approach in deciding that British scientists will write "sulfur" not "sulphur" if American scientists write "aluminium" not "aluminum". I assume that this is the origin of your orignal posting.http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/education/newsid_1039000/1039050.stm

Are there some secret talks going on where people are trading in spellings - if so, I'd love to be a fly on the wall. If they were unable to reach a decision (like the recently abandoned talks on global warming http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1041000/1041030.stm), they could play poker or even e-bay style on line trading.




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#11062 - 11/26/00 03:27 PM Re: Omens of the End
xara Offline
member

Registered: 10/09/00
Posts: 197
Loc: cary, nc, usa
>>>American scientists... do use the metric system. <<<

I certainly use metric for anything scientific or mathematical. I was reading something recently that was measuring feet per minute or some other completely useless unit. I had to stop and convert to m/s. But tell me that a city is 200km away and I'll stare at you blankly for a second before I manage to convert it to miles.


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#11063 - 11/26/00 04:00 PM Miles and kilometers
lukaszd Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/14/00
Posts: 29
Loc: Poland
A question just appeared in my mind: Is a mile to walk a long distance for you?

What I mean is: when I'm going on foot somewhere I've not been before (a mountain trek, e.g.), if I ask a passer-by how far it is to my destination a response of '1 km or so' is good news. However, '2km' is not! It is not that far but I subconsciously receive '2' as 'wengi-wengi' - not 1, thus many. When told that you are a mile from your destination, is it much or not worth to speak of? If the latter is true then we should probably invent a new, huge distance unit. We would all be healthier if we took longer walks !



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#11064 - 11/26/00 04:40 PM Re: Miles and kilometers
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
A question just appeared in my mind: Is a mile to walk a long distance for you?

Well, that's relative. If you've been trekking in the mountains for a few weeks and look at your map and realize that you've only got one mile to go, it's good news.

On the other hand, if your car breaks down on the road, you're bleeding profusely and you really need to relieve yourself, and you're told that it's a mile to the next gas station, it's bad news.


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#11065 - 11/26/00 04:53 PM Re: Miles and kilometers
lukaszd Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/14/00
Posts: 29
Loc: Poland
if your car breaks down on the road, you're bleeding profusely and you really need to relieve yourself...

Believe me, if you're bleeding and have still a km to go it is bloody far, too!



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#11066 - 11/26/00 05:43 PM Unununium
Marty Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 347
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Speaking of names of elements - this is hardly worth a new thread but I wanted to share it... My chemistry-teaching wife was correcting some students' assignments at home recently, and I was astounded to see that one of the papers was entitled "The Element Unununium Uuu". "Unununium?", I said, "Is this some kind of joke?" For those of you who, like me, have lost touch with the discovery (read "synthetic production" of one atom for several milliseconds in some cases) of new elements since your school days way back when Lawrencium was a boy, here are the latest imaginatively named elements of the 1990s (yet-to-be made elements in parentheses):

110 Ununnilium Uun
111 Unununium Uuu
112 Ununbium Uub
(113 Ununtrium Uut)
114 Ununquadium Uuq
(115 Ununpentium Uup)
116 Ununhexium Uuh
(117 Ununseptium Uus)
118 Ununoctium Uuo

Seems the pragmatists have taken over from the poets in the naming of elements.

Read all the interesting(?) facts on these exciting new elements at:
http://www.webelements.com/webelements/index.html


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#11067 - 11/26/00 09:03 PM Re: Omens of the End
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
Allo Father Steve,

You should check out the <English as a global language> thread at http://wordsmith.org/board/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=theme&Number=171&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&part=all&vc=1 It is a little long, but there are loads of opinions on this topic alone.

As I mentioned in that thread, Canada has implemented new rules concerning the listing of ingredients on product labels. INCI, an “international language” composed mostly of English and Latin must be used.

The reason ingredients are listed on labels is so that people can know what the product is composed of. This reason is negated if the ingredients are not in a language the people understand. This is why the province of Québec refuses to acknowledge this law since the majority of Québecois speak and understand only French.

Apparently, the European community has also adopted this INCI label language. I would be interested to know if anyone in this forum is involved with packaging of retail consumer products like shampoos and foam baths, and if they are following these rules.



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#11068 - 11/26/00 09:56 PM Re: Omens of the End
Marty Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 347
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Apparently, the European community has also adopted this INCI label language

INCI... What a great acronym! Regardless of whether you talk about "eensie" labels (as the Québecois would, bel?) or "inky" labels (as traditional [non-Church] Latin scholars would - see Latin pronunciation thread), it sounds as if you're poking fun at the whole idea!


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