In today’s Guardian, on page 43, in the puzzle section (there doesn’t seem to be a webpage with this content) it claims he said on Newsnight that the Stafford hospital scandal was caused by “a serious failure on behalf of the trust board.”
He’s supposed to have been educated – expensively educated – at one of the best schools in the country. It would claim to be the best, I’m sure.
Yet it has unaccountably failed to teach him to speak English.
I caught Lorraine Pascale in passing on the TV a week or so ago and was pleased to hear her say “100 mill” (or whatever the volume was) when she was referring to adding in some liquid to a recipe.
Quite often when reading out or quoting a measurement others – particularly medics – will say instead, “mills” – which really grates on me.
I would have no argument if they spoke out the unit in full and said millilitres but mills is just innumerate (and illiterate.)
A unit’s abbreviation subsumes the plural – it is singular or plural depending on the measurement’s value and is always written as singular.
For instance 0C stands for degrees Celsius whether or not the temperature is 10C (1 degree Celsius,) 250C (25 degrees Celsius,) 4500C (450 degrees Celsius,) or even 00C (0 degrees Celsius.) Note the plural in that last one. Only values of 1 or -1 have the unit pronounced in the singular when read out or written in full.
Hence 1ml (one millilitre) but 20 ml (20 millilitres) etc.
100 ml ought to be pronounced 100 mill as Pascale did; not 100 mills.
Mills are where wheat is ground into flour, or else factories of one sort or another (but checkout the Wiki page for a full list!).
He was a prominent SF writer from my youth when I devoured the SF shelves on my local library. As a result of reading them then I do not have any of his books on my shelves though I particularly remember The Death of Grass (which was always a title I thought cried out for parody) – a catastrophe novel which was much grittier than most.
He had a swathe of pseudonyms but, as John Christopher, is most well-known for his series of books featuring the Tripods (a full list, along with his other John Christopher novels, is on Fantastic Fiction) which were made into a BBC TV series.
John Christopher (Christopher Samuel Youd):- 16/4/1922- 3/2/2012. So it goes.
In today’s world, oil products – whether they be the petrol, diesel or fuel oil most directly obtained from refining crude or the plastics, chemicals, medicines etc derived by further processing – are the most sought after substances; excepting (possibly) illegal drugs.
So with markets like that, how the hell can an oil refinery go bankrupt?
To be fair, the headline on the news was a little misleading. It is the parent company which owns the refinery which has gone bust.
But the point still applies.
There has been a lot of scaremongering about the possible effects as the refinery supplies 20% of south-east England’s fuel needs; scaremongering no doubt put about to raise fuel prices. I would expect that some other company will take it over sooner rather than later.
Why are these idiots repeating the mistakes of the 1930s?
*That amount being illustrated on the BBC news last night as £1,000,000,000,000 is, to my old fashioned eyes, actually a million million or what we used to call a billion. Well, it was before we took up US descriptions of such things.
Twice within one day recently I heard/read this verb being used as if it means “warns of” or “signals.”
Once was by a member of Snow Patrol talking about vinyl records – which are apparently making a comeback. He said about their appeal, “It’s that pre-emptive crackle.”
The other was in a piece of fiction where this sentence appeared, “The sky has taken on that bright translucent quality that pre-empts a thunderstorm.” (The thunderstorm later arrived, thereby making the sentence obtuse.)
One more word in danger of losing its meaning because people don’t actually know what it means?
To pre-empt is of course to forestall, to stave off: as in a pre-emptive military strike which seeks to prevent an enemy performing an action or to destroy part of their forces before they can be used. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was an attempt at a pre-emptive strike. I say attempt because, crucially, it failed to destroy the US aircraft carriers.
The Israeli air force has carried out successful pre-emptive strikes (at the start of the Six Day War and when they attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.)
Due to the ongoing problems with the missing contents this is just a short one. Plus I haven’t done one of these for a while.
Why should something be a shoe-in? What on Earth can the phrase have to do with footwear?
OK; I agree shoe is spelled the way shoo sounds. But why would you use one to usher in a dead cert? Unless you’re confusing it with to shoehorn. But that means the opposite of certain. You only use a shoehorn when you’re having difficulty getting a shoe on your foot. If it slips on there’s no need for a horn.
I’ve always thought of this as a shoo-in, as in shooing something away.
It seems it’s actually derived form horse-racing, from a “fixed” race where you only had to “shoo” the intended race winner over the line.