or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Straight Shooter

I don't read io9, a science-fiction blog, very much, but when I do, I am as likely to find a big fat typo there as anywhere else. From a recent article on how to destroy satellites once they've outlived their usefulness:

The basic idea of satellites is that they don't push away from the ground, they outrace it. Throw a ball and gravity pulls it down to the ground. Launch the ball out of a canon, and gravity still pulls with the same force.

Someone should ask the canon how he feels about being used as artillery.

"Cannon", the intended word, is related to "cane", or tube, from Latin "canna"; it's also therefore a relative of Italian "cannoli", a filled tubular dessert, and therefore "cannelloni", a filled tubular pasta. not to mention "channel" and "canal".

"Canon" may also ultimately derive from "canna", but it hasn't been near that word and its relations in a long, long time. Starting from Greek "kanon", referring to a straight rod (hence the association with "kanna" or "canna"), the word came to mean "church law", the straight line you have to follow (or else), and from there, eventually, to mean a clergyman.


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