February 21, 2015

Suddenly: A Roving Pedant Appears

Reading this article on Russian bomber incursions into UK airspace, this bit at the end jumped out at me. 

The warnings came after military chiefs said Britain "could not cope” if Russia attacked because our defence forces have been "decimated”.
Sir Michael Graydon, former head of the RAF, said: "I very much doubt whether the UK could sustain a shooting war against Russia. We are at half the capabilities we had previously.”

To decimate something means to reduce it by a tenth. Yet in the next paragraph it is clearly stated that the UK military is at half their previous capability. What's more, the number of carriers has gone from 3 to zero in recent years and three is greater than one half of three so even that assessment is off by 50%.

Thus the objective truth is is that the UK Military isn't even close to being decimated. 

See? That doesn't sound so bad now, does it?

"That's a relief! Everybody dance!"

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:00 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
Post contains 168 words, total size 2 kb.

1 A roving pendant?
Have you been reading The Daily WTF forums?

Posted by: RickC at Sat Feb 21 18:18:10 2015 (0a7VZ)

2 No, but I played Pokemon once. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sat Feb 21 20:22:17 2015 (ohzj1)


"Decimate" is one of those terms whose meaning has drifted in practical use. Originally it was a punishment used by the Romans for military units which didn't perform well in battle. The men would be lined up, and every tenth man would be taken out and executed. So it meant that one tenth of the unit was gone.

Now, though, in common usage it means "reduced to one tenth the previous size" or in other words "subjected to 90% reduction".

I guess all you can do is agree with Humpty Dumpty: words mean what we use them to mean.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Sat Feb 21 21:27:11 2015 (+rSRq)

4 I was just wondering because the use of "pendant" to mean "pedant" is an in-joke there, and it seemed odd to see it somewhere else.

Posted by: RickC at Sat Feb 21 22:56:24 2015 (0a7VZ)

5 The use of "pendant" for "pedant" dates back at least to newsgroups like alt.folklore.urban (along with terms like "voracity").

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sat Feb 21 23:11:31 2015 (2yngH)

6 Yes, I'm aware of the joke but I didn't....(looks at title..squints)

Anyway, for those of you who came late NOTHING HAS CHANGED WHATSOEVER. That is my story.  And I am sticking to it. 

I'm gonna just have to change the blog's name to P.E.B.K.A.C.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sat Feb 21 23:27:00 2015 (ohzj1)

7 That's how it started there, too.

Posted by: Rick C at Sun Feb 22 04:42:29 2015 (7FLlo)

8 Oh noes, he changed it! It was perfet before!

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Sun Feb 22 12:21:42 2015 (RqRa5)


That GIF file is driving me nuts because I can't remember the show it's from. I remember when it ran a few years ago, but I didn't watch it. It's about a group of women who entertain their audience by telling stories, right?

What's the show's name, please?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Wed Feb 25 21:43:55 2015 (+rSRq)

10 Joshiraku.

Posted by: Don at Wed Feb 25 23:26:03 2015 (Rr4UF)

11 Thank you!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thu Feb 26 00:22:45 2015 (+rSRq)

Don wrote:



Posted by: Siergen at Thu Feb 26 10:50:02 2015 (ohSuC)

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