This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Unprecendented deja vu: a rant.

So who can you trust?

Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt

That's a headline from the NASA website.

Well, you must be able to trust NASA, surely. They're scientists, after all. They're the ones who do clever things like putting traffic on Mars.

Here's more from NASA:

As a whole, they [that's the satellite pictures] provide a picture of an extreme melt event about which scientists are very confident.

Hmmm...very confident. That's one of those uses of very which just raise awful doubts.

Here's some more:

"Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time," says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

Once every 150 years...but hey, what was that headline?

Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt

Hm. Clearly a use of the word unprecedented with which I was not previously familiar.

We'll just have to hope that NASA is better with sums than headlines, won't we.

Word To Use Today: unprecedented. This word means has never happened before. The word comes from the Latin words prae, before, and ced─ôre, to move, with an un at the beginning which means (pretty much) not.



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