(Or whatever it was I used to call it.)
Some abuses of the language -- of plain sense -- are so egregious that, like the old firehorse responding one more time to the bell, I just gotta pull on the hip-boots, fire up the flambéthrower, get out the killing tweezers and go after them.
Such would be the case with a month-old, breathless bit of self-panicking from NDJworld: Fukishima Leaking Again.
It starts in a way that makes me itchy, "A new radioactive leak has been discovered..." Umm, how's that? The leak itself is radioactive, or is there radioactive material that is leaking? And just what is it? Steam? Water? Harsh looks? Molten lead?
Damifino and the next para. is no help; we're told Tepco "announced the radiation leak" and that it is "another radiation leak." Alpha, beta, gamma, hard X-rays, a big, glow-y dinosaur, what?
Who knows; the troubled site's previous history of "radioactive clouds" and "radioactive water" leaks is mentioned (and it's no joking matter, a massive mess), but nary a clue as to the nature of the February leak; for all the reader can tell, it could be strawberry jam.
"Reportedly, enough radiation leaked into the air to cause radiation sickness," avers the article. No! Wrong! It might be enough radioactive something, or even something radioactive enough, but radiation itself would just...radiate. Like light from a shaded lamp, or X-rays from the machine in a dentist's office, it travels in a straight line. It would hurt you only if you got in the path of the radiation, or if it was so terribly strong it was amping up the air as it passed by. (Hint: highly unlikely.) It would not be "leaking" as most of us understand leaks.
But wait! There's more! You can relax, because "...no one was exposed to the deadly toxin." Aaaaargh! No, no, nooooooooo! It's bad stuff, but not a "toxin." Toxin is a very well-defined word. Toxins are produced within living organisms. While you could argue that the Fukishima reactors have behaved with a degree of perversity somewhat akin to a living organism, they are not alive; they're lumps of metal and concrete, huge tanks and pools and, yes, leaks of water, and some of what comes out are poisons.
Is getting it right really too much to ask?
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
6 months ago