When a SpaceX rocket explodes, they call it an “anomaly”

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SpaceX tested its crew capsule’s abort system on Saturday and it exploded. They described it as an “anomaly.” Is that accurate or misleading? SpaceX designed the crew capsule so it could send astronauts into space (so far it has only carried cargo). The system it tested on Saturday was for the “inflight abort” — a … Continued

Lessons from the plain, damning grand jury report on priests in Pennsylvania

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A grand jury in Pennsylvania accused more than 300 priests of sexually abusing more than 1000 children, over a period of decades. The grand jury’s 1356 page report is an amazing document, a model for clarity of description in an emotionally charged environment. I don’t clearly understand who writes documents like this or how. I’m … Continued

Ford, where euphemisms are Job 1

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PR people, if you have something unpleasant to say, just say it. Hiding it behind euphemisms doesn’t fool anyone. Today’s case study: Ford’s plan to lay off 10% of its staff, which it calls a “people efficiency action.” According to a Wall Street Journal article, Ford will cut 10% of its global workforce to boost profits, with … Continued

Deathly euphemisms: “rest in peace” and “thoughts and prayers”

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Death is a fact of life. Sayings like “rest in peace” and “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims” are euphemisms: they enable us to go on without thinking about death. Not thinking about death can help us cope, but let’s not imagine that we’re actually saying anything when we say these things. I’ve been thinking … Continued