Epicentric Rant

Within the past few days a New York Times headline shouts: "Aftershocks of a Collapse, With a Bank at the Epicenter". The Chinese Xinhua news service complains: "Dharamsala became the epicenter of lies." A Washington Post interviewee describes the Bay Area as: "the epicenter of emerging technology". All major, authoritative sources ... and the week is young.

No, no, no! "Epicenter" doesn't mean "center". An epicenter is the point on the Earth's surface above the focus of an earthquake. Technical or quantitative words shouldn't be abused for pseudo-scientific effect or emphasis. (And while I'm complaining, "decimate" means destroy 10%, not 90%.)

Mr. Picky will now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast ...

(cf. PickyAboutFacts (2003-03-11), MaracthonicMetaphors (2004-03-03), ...) - ^z - 2008-03-19

(correlates: GoogleTrends, Infelicitous Prose, ZimmermannEnvironmental, ...)