or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pay Attention

As linked to by Boingboing, here's a piece about a car-navigation system which isn't a little squarish box, but a teddy bear that points the direction the car has to turn and so forth. It's from Japan, naturally.

Here's an unfortunate paragraph:

The robot bear is also equipped with functions to improve auto safety, such as an alcohol detection sensor embedded in its neck. If it smells booze, the robot confronts the driver, saying, “You haven’t been drinking, have you?” Other sensors detect wreckless driving, so if the driver suddenly accelerates or slams on the brakes, the robot says, “Watch out!

Wouldn't wreckless driving be a good thing?

But I don't rag on bloggers who aren't professional authors (although I feel free to use their errors for blog fodder). They don't have editors; they can't be expected to get every letter and syllable correct.

Still, though. "Wreckless". It does make you wonder where "reckless" came from. WIthout knowing, I would guess that, pretty obviously, there must be or have been a word, "reck", which must mean something like "heed" or "caution", which perhaps is even related to "reckon", although that would be a stretch, because "reckon" means "calculate", but still, it's possible.

"Reck" does in fact exist, though it's not a word you hear every day, and if you know that it showed up in Old English as "reccan", then you can probably guess that it is related to an Old Norse word, "roekja", "to have care". And "reccan" looks as if it should sound exactly like "reckon", and even though it isn't related to it in meaning, both "reck" and "reckon" do come from the same place: the Indo-European root which gave us, among other things, the words containing "-rect-" (all of which carry a sense of a straight line, even metaphorical moral uprightness), including "rectify", "direct", and "correct". Tomorrow, okay?


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