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#11059 - 11/25/00 09:33 PM Omens of the End  
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Father Steve Offline
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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.




#11060 - 11/25/00 10:03 PM Re: Omens of the End  
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Jazzoctopus Offline
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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.


#11061 - 11/26/00 02:17 PM sulfur "traded" for aluminium  
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jmh Offline
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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.




#11062 - 11/26/00 08:27 PM Re: Omens of the End  
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xara Offline
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>>>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.


#11063 - 11/26/00 09:00 PM Miles and kilometers  
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lukaszd Offline
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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 !



#11064 - 11/26/00 09:40 PM Re: Miles and kilometers  
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Jazzoctopus Offline
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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.


#11065 - 11/26/00 09:53 PM Re: Miles and kilometers  
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lukaszd Offline
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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!



#11066 - 11/26/00 10:43 PM Unununium  
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Marty Offline
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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


#11067 - 11/27/00 02:03 AM Re: Omens of the End  
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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.



#11068 - 11/27/00 02:56 AM Re: Omens of the End  
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Marty Offline
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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!


#11069 - 11/27/00 08:19 AM Re: Omens of the End  
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>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

There was quite a discussion about this here on one of those endless consumer programmes. The word aqua has appeared on labels for products like shampoo, foam baths etc. As the items that form the largest constituent of the product are shown first, inevitably many products have aqua as the first listed constituent. Several people commented that the change to "aqua" sounded much better than acknowledging that the rather expensive product you had just bought was little more than water. In the end it was revealed as a new EU ruling to continue the standardisation of the United States of Europe.


#11070 - 11/27/00 08:21 AM Re: Unununium  
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I assume that most of these are too radioactive for normal use. If not, I was thinking of ordering a Unununium Uuu necklace and a pair of matching Ununbium Uub earings - or do you think that the colours would clash!


#11071 - 11/27/00 09:10 AM Re: Unununium  
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wsieber Offline
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lost touch with the discovery
If this is a consolation for you: even as a chemist, I have not yet heard of this latest outgrowth of political correctness (Recent namings, like Seaborgium, having given rise to endless squabbles).


#11072 - 11/27/00 09:14 AM Re: Unununium  
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shanks Offline
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or do you think that the colours would clash!

Explode, more likely. These artificially created elements have half-lives measured in milli-, micro- or pico- seconds. I believe they are expecting a 'region of stability' to emerge once they get to and past element 118 - but that simply means that they half-life might be as great as one-hundredth of a second. Scientists have weird ways when using relative terms like stable, large, accurate and so on. Remember the big hoo-ha about 'high temperature' ceramic superconducting materials. If you ever ploughed through the articles you discovered that these incredible high temperatures were usually lower than -50 Celsius (no higher than 223 Kelvin, or lower than -58 Farenheit, for those either science-obsessed, or unaware that there is such a thing as the metric system).

Similarly, they consider the universe to be balanced uncannily between contraction and expansion. How close is this 'uncanny' balance - oh, within a factor of a few magnitudes. (This means it could be a thousand times heavier or lighter than they think - this is the uncanny accuracy that is leading many of them to religion - there had to be a god if the universe was fine tuned to this degree!)


#11073 - 11/27/00 09:19 PM Re: Unununium  
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Jazzoctopus Offline
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110 Ununnilium Uun
. . .
118 Ununoctium Uuo


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain that these are merely temporary names until more suitable ones are created. Until quite recently Rutherfordium (104), Dubnium (105), Seaborgium (106), Bohrium (107), Hassium (108), and Meitnerium (109) had similarly flavorless names.


#11074 - 11/29/00 09:20 AM Re: Unununium  
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Memo to Tom Lehrer: Time for an update!


#11075 - 11/29/00 02:20 PM Re: Unununium  
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Tom Lehrer: The Element Song? That's great!
I can hear it now: u-nun-UN-ee-yum!


#11076 - 12/07/00 10:29 AM Re: Unununium  
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This thread does seem to indicate how prophetic Lehrer was, when he commented at hte end that, "... these are all the elements that are known at Harvard/ Though there may be many more that have yet been discarvered."

(or something like that - I don't have the song sheet with me and don't have time to LIU)



#11077 - 12/07/00 09:42 PM Re: The Purest Omen of the End  
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