Re: Actionable

Subject: Re: Actionable
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Fred Ridder <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2008 17:16:55 -0700

Fred Ridder wrote:
> Nancy Allison wrote:
>> When did this word go from meaning "subject to or affording ground for an
>> action or suit at law" to "something that can be acted on"?
>> My 1981 Webster's Collegiate Dictionary provides only the first definition.

> Mathematicians cannot figure the general public's theft of their parameter;
> musicians tootle that their crescendo does not mean ''climax''; chemists react
> to the rip-off of their carbon-based organic. Now lawyers, like Hamlet, have
> lost the name of actionable. Sue me.


You and Safire forgot to mention the #1 ripoff of the century: the
learning curve. May I?

Psychologists tear their hair and shred their clothes over the
arrogation of their learning curve. In science, the graph of a learning
curve has time as the x axis, and a quantification of learning as the y
axis. Try it.

| /
Learning | /
| /

A steep learning curve means that as time passes, the amount of learning
grows quickly.

A graphic expression meaning "It is hard to learn" would be a flatter or
more shallow learning curve.

So Why o Why does every fool in the world use the epithet "steep
learning curve" to mean "It is hard to learn?" It means "Easy to learn".
Every time someone says steep to mean shallow, I feel like hollering
"Sit down and shut up, fool."

I worry that some invisible policy maker will take all the misspoken
complaints about things being too hard, and judge us to be a society
that likes work to be really really really hard, and make it so.
Frankly, I worry that this has already happened, and will continue
happening until people stop misspeaking about the learning curve.


Ned Bedinger "Oops, took the wrong pill."
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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Auto-formatting elements in Structured FrameMaker: From: Aisha Alam
Actionable: From: Nancy Allison
RE: Actionable: From: Fred Ridder

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