Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with a passion. Learn More

Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with a passion. Learn More


D. A. Wood

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November 7, 2011

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“Much More Ready”

  • December 18, 2012, 2:14pm

Oh, we love SPECTRE. We watch James Bond OO7 movies on TV and at the movie houses all the time. These are my favorites:
"The Spy Who Loved Me",
"Moonraker", "Octopussy", and
"Never Say Never Again" !
Of course, a movie with a chartacter named "Pussy Galore" has to be a fine one, too/

“Much More Ready”

  • December 18, 2012, 2:09pm

In the United States, we went straight from the word "airfield" to "airport" w/o even considering the wacky word "aerodrome".

The original meaning of "airfield" was an open piece of land covered by grass or dirt that airplanes used for taking off from and landing on. Then later on, gravel, ground up coral, and pieces of pierced sheet metal were used to cover airfields. The sheet metal, called "Marston matting" was especially useful on rainy and muddy islands in the Pacific where mud was the continual enemy of the U.S.A.A.F., the U.S. Marine Corps aviators, and the Royal Australian Air Force.

When eventually during the 1940s (and maybe the '30s) they started paving runways with concrete and building nice terminal buildings, that was when the airport was born. Then when military aircraft such as the B - 29 Superfortress and the B - 36 Peacekeeper bomber grew to be so large and heavy, concrete runways became necessities for the Air Force, and the advent of fast jet-propelled bombers, fighters, and cargo planes made paving even more necesary.

By the way, we have always used the word "airplane" as far as I know, and never used "aeroplane", which looks like something from the Roman Empire - LOL!
Also, "aircraft" seems to be some kind of an invention of the Royal Navy that got picked up by the Royal Canadian Navy, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Marine Corps, and then spread from there. I don't think that most people know that "aircraft" is closely related to "watercraft". And then there came "spacecraft".

“Much More Ready”

  • December 18, 2012, 1:26pm

"Many hammer all over the wall and believe that with each blow they hit the nail on the head."
(Translated from German.)
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749 - 1832), German poet, dramatist, and scientist.
"Art and Antiquity", III, 1 (1821).

Note: I added the part about "and scientist" myself.
Among the phenomena that Goethe studied was the perception of color by human beings. There are several viable theories in this field, and one of them is "Goethe's theory" - still viable after all these years.
Goethe could also be listed as a philosopher. In many ways, he was actually a polymath, just as were Galileo, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Priestly, Lavosier, Pascal, Fermat, Descartes, and Thomas Jefferson.
I have attempted to name men from several different countries, and as it turned out, two different continents.

“Much More Ready”

  • December 18, 2012, 1:24pm

I know that Asimov used the words "psychohistorian" and "encyclopedian", and he probably invented them, and he definitely used "robotics" before anyone else did. Asimov said that he thought that this was a word that was already in use, but it wasn't. So Asimov created "robotics" by analogy with the words like { dynamics, graphics, mechanics, optics, physics, and statistics }
Asimov also created the word "gravitics" in the same way.In his novels, that is the science.of controlling gravity for such things as the propulsion of spacecraft.
To be careful, we do not have even the slightest hint that his could be scientically possible. It was a complete piece of fiction.

An earlier S.F, writer named E.E. "Doc" Smith wrote of spaceships that used "inertialess space drives", but in our knowledge, that is completely impossible. It would turn the science of physics completely upside down.

“Much More Ready”

  • December 18, 2012, 1:11pm

From www.dictionary,
Contrarian - a person who takes an opposing view, especially one who rejects the majority opinion.
Year of origin - as in "first seen in print" - 1963.

I could be mistaken, however, but I thought that I had seen it in S.F. novels and short stories that were written during the 1940s and '50s. It could be that those were not observed by writers in the field, such. as Douglas Harper, the author of the Online Etymology Dictionary.
Contrarian just seems like a word that Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, or Ray Bradbury would have used.

“Much More Ready”

  • December 18, 2012, 12:40pm

"Contraian" is a word that I have seen in novels, and especially in science-fiction novels, so I did not invent it. Now I need to look it up in a good dictionary and find out if it is listed there, and what its source is.

“Much More Ready”

  • December 18, 2012, 12:38pm

The original vacuum tube amplifiers used triodes, tubes with three electrical terminals, invented by the American Lee De Forest in 1906. Three terminals (or more) are necessary to make an amplifier.
Sir Ambrose Fleming of England invented his vacuum diode in 1902, and it had/has two terminals. It is impossible to make an amplifier out of one of these, though you can make a rectifier with one, as Sir Ambose did. The invention of the diode is beside the point because I carefully wrote "vacuum tube amplifiers", since I am an E.E.
Hence, Fleming's work was important, but De Forest's work was 100 times more important because triodes quickly became essential in radio transmitters, receivers, and long-distance telephone networks.
As for diodes, it was soon found (around 1910 or so) that solid-state diodes could be made using crystals of galena (an perhaps other minerals). This was the source of the terms the "crystal radio" or "crystal receiver" in the field of radio. Once again, these crystal diodes were units with two electrical terminals, and they could not be used to make amplifiers.

When Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley invented the solid-state transistor at Bell Labs in 1947, that was an electronic device that had two terminals and it could be used as an amplifier. Another engineer at Bell Labs, J.R. Pierce, was asked to suggest some possible named for it, and one of these was "transistor". That was the name that the others liked, and that was the one that stuck.
To this day all transistors have three electrical terminals, except for some special-purpose ones that have four. Those are not seen very much.

Thomas Edison was experimenting with an electric like bulb with an extra terminal in it, during the 1870s or '80s, not connected with anythng but vacuum, and he noticed that an odd elecric current would flow. However, Edison neither understood what has going on at all, nor did he do anything with it. The fact that he didn't understand it was reasonable, especially since the electron was not even discovered until J.J. Thomsen of Scotland did it in 1897. Edison's current did get the name the "Edison Effect", but let me emphasize that he didn't understand it at all. Also, Edison was an inventor, and not a educated physicist or engineer at all. He just had a lot of intuitive insight into how to make things work in electricity, mechanics, optics, and acoustics. He also hired a lot of well-educated and experienced assistants.

Marconi was somewhat better educated, but lot of times he did things out of intuition or sheer frustration. One time he was experimenting with an antenna that consisted of two metal plates with an electrical terminal welded to each of them. Nothing was working right at all, and then out of frustration, Marconi told his assistants to BURY one of the plates in the ground. Everything started working a lot better then.
Marconi had accidentally invented the kind of antenna that has one terminal grounded and the rest of the antenna extending upwards, but insulated from the ground.

This type is used all the time in AM radio broadcasting and in other uses in nearby frequency bands. In AM broadcasting, the tower that you see IS the antenna, rather than being a support for an antenna.
In FM radio and TV broadcasting, things are done quite differently.

“Much More Ready”

  • December 15, 2012, 2:56pm

It is true that:
1. Americans speak an older version of English than British people do.
2. French Canadians speak an older version of French than people in France do.
3. Hispanics in South American speak an older version of Spanish people in Spain do.
4. Icelanders speak an older version of Norse that the people in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden do.
This has all been documented by linguists, I also imagine that there are places in the world that people speak an old version of Portuguese. Maybe even in Brazil.

Sometimes we Americans feel like yelling HOLD YOUR HORSES at the British and the Irish about all their unnecesary changes in the language. Sometimes, it is "You are all riding wild horses!"
There are people in isolated parts of the United States who speak English that is positively Elizabethan, and we mean Elizabeth I, not Elizabeth II.

Also, we have a way of inventing things like vacuum tube amplifiers and airports, but in the British Isles, you decide to call them "valves" and "aerodromes". There is the specter of contrarism there.

“Much More Ready”

  • December 15, 2012, 8:26am

"A few mashed potatoes" means that Mrs. Jones looked into her pantry and her root cellar and she found only two, three, or four potatoes, so she boiled them, mashed them, and fed them to her family and herself.

Mrs. Smith had already cooked and mashed her two potatoes, so she had less mashed potatoes.

Poor Mrs. Brown could find only one large potato, so she cooked it and mashed it, and she had the least mashed potatoes.

There was a twist in the language in that "mashed potatoes" was viewed as both a discrete and a continuous quantity. I admit that there was something odd here.

"few, fewer, fewest" and "little, less, least" are a lot more common.

Mrs. Adams had only a few cans of soup left in her pantry.
Mrs. Cook had less soup left, two cans.
Mrs. Evans had the least soup left, only one can, and she could not feed her family properly.
I admit that this is being tricky. You might be able to think of a better example.

“Much More Ready”

  • December 15, 2012, 4:49am

Sorry for my misspellings: I have trouble getting "Chomsky" spelled right all the time. I do a lot better with Marvin Minsky, another retired professor from M.I.T. who made remarkable processes in the areas of computers, thought, artificial intelligence, and language. I also made the glaring mistake of typing "of" instead of "to" (or vice-versa). I apologize.
Oh, well, my ONLY excuse is that I am not typing for a technical journal, or for a handout or a test for my students...
I was really pleased when some of my students told me that my handouts were "better than the textbook" in being easier to understand.


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