Tag Archives: pedantry

The man whose salary was O(log log X)

From “Freaky Fortnight,” Slate’s series on a man and wife trading jobs for a week:

My job doesn’t pay as well as those of my doctor, lawyer, or banking friends.  At 36, I’ve seen my income rise slowly like an overloaded C-2 cargo plane while their salaries take these nice, logarithmic leaps.

I thought this was an isolated occurrence, but the practice seems to be spreading factorially.

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Astonishing, logarithmic

Sometimes I wish people would stop saying “exponential” when they just mean “fast” or “a lot.”  Be careful what you wish for.  From Benjamin F. Carlson in the Atlantic:

A Quantum Leap, marvels Simon Rogers at The Guardian in a post that graphs Bolt’s astonishing, logarithmic rise in speed.

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Obama’s embarrassing friends, enormity, nauseous

I hope Tom’s new blog category, “Embarrassing things white people say about Obama,” is going to be a recurring feature. You won’t regret checking out the first two entries, courtesy of Leon Wieseltier and Judith Warner. Regarding the latter: I, too, was going to bellyache about BO’s use of “enormity” in his victory speech, but decided it would make me look like the kind of guy who notices grammar glitches while I’m supposed to be watching history go by. Thank God for Tom, who just doesn’t care if he looks like that kind of guy, which is to say the kind of guy that he, like me, is.

That reminds me of this reminiscence of David Foster Wallace and his advocacy for rigid adherence to the usage rules of his childhood — a stance only a great writer could make charming.

At the end of the hour, he told us that if we were going to remember one thing, just one thing, from his workshop, it would be that we (as a society of grammatically impaired citizens) always used the word “nauseous” wrong. When we said “nauseous” we really meant “nauseated.” And that was it.

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In which I am pedantic about people’s Christmas cards

Isn’t XOXO a strange salutation? Under what circumstances would you kiss someone, then hug them, then kiss them, then hug them again? Just not feasible. My suggestion: OXX.

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