August 2009 Archives

attosecond

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I know what an attosecond is. (It's 10-18 seconds.)

What surprised me was seeing the word used metaphorically and in passing in a general-interest news article:

Stress may be most readily associated with the attosecond pace of postindustrial society, but the body's stress response is one of our oldest possessions.

I'm used to seeing words like "millisecond" or "microsecond" in that kind of context. These days, maybe "nanosecond." But this New York Times article's author has skipped all the way from nanoseconds past picoseconds and femtoseconds to attoseconds.

Side note: That article also has a headline I particularly like: "Brain Is a Co-Conspirator in a Vicious Stress Loop." And I like the phrase "chronically stressed rats lost their elastic rat cunning."

monkey misreading

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Just saw a spam subject line that said:

MONEY OR LOVE? WHY NOT BOTH?

Only at first glance I misread the first word, so I thought it said:

MONKEY OR LOVE? WHY NOT BOTH?

Ambiguous headline

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AP headline this morning:

Obama ventures back to hurting region _ with money

I think that underscore was intended to be a dash, but either way, I initially read the headline as saying that, having stopped his hurting of a region at some previous time, Obama had now started hurting that region again, and this time he was hurting it using money.

I suppose the word "ventures" should've prevented my misinterpretation; maybe it's just that I'm not entirely awake yet.

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