Word Wrong

Warning: this blot is going to be somewhere between a rant and a lecture. Very Parental.

One of my personal problems is people who use words improperly. Usually this is grammatical in nature but sometimes it is people who use a specific word improperly. 

The word misused, in this instance is POWER. 

Power is the time rate of change of energy. It’s the amount of energy per time that something emits or absorbs. 

There are two particular misuses that generate my ire. The first is the common practiced to say that something is “powered” by another something which has NOTHING to do with energy.

The second is, e.g., microwave ovens. 

All microwave ovens I have ever used had a “power level” It ISN’T. What it is is the fraction of time that the Klystron in the Microwave Oven emits power. 

A power level of “5” means that the Klystron is “hot” – emitting – half of the time. Usually this mans that during any 10 second interval, the Klystron is emitting for 5 second and not emitting for 5 seconds. 

The way most microwave ovens are designed, if you tell the over to cook for 6 seconds at a power level of 5, it heats for 5 seconds and is calm for 1 second. So unless the time interval is a multiple of 10 seconds the power level is specious.

In the first case, I especially detest statements like ‘item X is powered by brand Y’. Blatant mercantilism. And stupid bogs fall for it.

It’s OK to be a bog (if you don’t use a public latrine in some states of the Old Confederacy,) but don’t be a stupid bog. It ruins your credit rating and love life.

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