May 25, 2008


Filed under: pedantry, pointlessness — Brian @ 4:07 pm

I had my first Snickers in a while today, and on the wrapper it said, “Substantialiscious.” Hmm. Inside was this definition: “(noun). The weight of something when you weigh it with your tongue.”

Via Google, I find that Ryan G also noticed the mis-classification-iscious-ness of it: clearly this would be an adjective and not a noun. By the way, Mr. G is #2 at Google for this term, a position he should value for its addition of the objective weight of algorithm-driven authority to his opinion, which opinion I am proud to share.

But I must go further. If “substantialiscious” is truly “the weight of something when you weigh it with your tongue,” then it isn’t even a relative term. I propose this to be implicit in declaring it to be a noun. Nouns are not relative. They just are. Any given “substantialiscious” shares core traits with any other such person, place, thing, or idea.

We are further left to assume that anything one weighs with one’s tongue becomes forevermore a “substantialiscious,” merely by the act itself. Unanswered is the question of whether it retains whatever character it brought with it to the tongue-based determination of mass-times-the-force-of-gravity or whether “substantialiscious” also effaces any previous reality. “That was a bite of pizza, but no longer. It is now and forevermore a substantialiscious.” If this were true, then one’s stomach is, at all times, filled to varying degrees with substantialiscious and nothing else, save perhaps stomach acid and bile. This strikes me as unlikely.

Or – is “when you weigh it with your tongue” meant to indicate a single, passing point in time, after which things return to their previous state? Does, “when,” equate to “while,” here? That is, while one weighs a thing with one’s tongue, that thing transforms into a thing called a “substantialiscious” and, upon its removal from the tongue, or tongue-based weighing instrument, returns to being “a beet” or what have you?

In my opinion, the confusion implicit in this new word far outweighs (whether weighed by the tongue or any other means) the word’s potential utility. It will not find a home in my vocabulary.

The Snickers, though? There’s room for more of those.

May 23, 2008

Not Even Wrong

Filed under: pedantry — Brian @ 7:30 pm

An apparently scientific argument is said to be not even wrong if it is based on assumptions that are known to be incorrect, or alternatively theories which cannot possibly be falsified or used to predict anything.

Very nice.

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