Category Archives: Words

Words, Episode 7: Spitten Image, Spitting Image, Spit and Image; Which Is Correct??

Some years ago I went on some sort of rant to the members of my household about “spitting image” and how it’s incorrect usage. The phrase is commonly used regarding a child that looks very much like one of its … Continue reading

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Words, Episode 6: “… 2000 times as small …”

I’ve been reading the very fine book Superconductivity: A Very Short Introduction, by Stephen Blundell, about which I’ll have more to say in a subsequent post. The book is very well written, with only a very few editorial infelicities in … Continue reading

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Does Nature “Obey” The Laws of Physics?

Today I’d like to discuss a pet peeve of mine. In many physics textbooks, one reads phrases such as: a certain physical system obeys a certain law of physics Here’s an example taken from page 147 of Chemical Principles, by … Continue reading

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Words, Episode 5: World Record Super-Alliteration?

Many years ago I took a course on writing led by a wonderful man (whose name I now forget) who was a veteran of the newspaper business. He remarked one day on how difficult it is to write newspaper headlines, … Continue reading

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Words, Episode 4: Niagara Flare

I haven’t been to this St. Catharines restaurant (which shall remain nameless) out of fear. I hear they have good fare, but it’s the thought of incendiary devices going off during a meal that puts me off. The sign has … Continue reading

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Words, Episode 3: Linear

One of the obstacles to learning in mathematics and physics is the fact that there are many closely related concepts, although logically distinct. Additionally, the same structures (logical or mathematical) occur over and over again in our mathematical models of … Continue reading

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Words, Episode 2: compassion

Jian Ghomeshi interviewed Karen Armstrong (her recent book is 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life; for reviews see here, here, and here, for example) yesterday on Q, and she made the point that the major religions have largely failed at … Continue reading

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