2016-03-24

HULK SMASH

Cartoons from intentionally dumbed-down geek experiment to end up somehow in actual "science" textbooks.
[redacted links removed, because fuck the author], creator of popular webcomic XKCD, recently published a new book called Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, in which he uses only the thousand most common words in the English language to explain how a variety of things work, from locks to nuclear bombs.
This is why the word science above is in scare quotes.  Explaining things using only the one thousand most common words is not some noble undertaking designed to foster greater understanding; it is simply an exercise in geek masturbation.  It is an experiment the sole purpose of which is to answer the question: is it possible to do such a thing?

Now I fucking hate XKCD, and for very good reasons, which I won't focus on here.  The problem here is this is the antithesis of what education is about.

Back in middle school, we had to take classes in etymology.  We analyzed the greek and latin origins of words, or more specifically, the roots of words.  That's important to how one might figure out what new, unfamiliar words may mean from context.

Etymology, or 6th-grade reading skills are reinforced by science text books that don't dumb down their content.  The words learned in actual science books reinforce the understandings derived by studying etymology.  Science requires precision, language is the mechanism by which scientific precision is communicated.  You can't have one without the other.  Calling an elevator a lifting room undermines this process. 

I'm not eloquent, or erudite, but I am fucking literate, and all I can say is this: ungoodthinkwise speakteach doubleplusungood.

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