Word of the week

The word of the week is: ameliorate.

a-mel-io-rate. To make or become better; improve.

No, it didn’t come up in the spelling bee on Spellbound (at least not that I noticed). I’ve spotted it in two separate news articles I’ve read today. Okay so one was a few weeks old, but oh well:

  • A Melbourne car sharing scheme hopes to ameliorate city traffic.
  • Limited-use Windows Media Format files on a copy-protected CD to ameliorate concerns that people cannot use the CD on their computer. (And never mind the stupidity of copy protection that is circumvented by holding down the Shift key…)

So there you go. I’ve learnt a new word today. I’ll try and use it myself soon, so I don’t forget it again. In this way, I can ameliorate my vocabulary.

Speaking of copy-protection and copyright issues (he said, attempting to clumsily step sideways) a few weeks ago the Copyright Agency rang me up to say they owed me some money, and would I like to join. I figured there might be a fiver in it for me, so dutifully sent off the forms and joined. Last week they got back to me with a some information, including details of what they owe me.

Apparently in 1999 an unnamed university distributed copies of one of my jokey Guide To Australia pages. And someone decided this was worth about $1.50 a pop. Ooh, cool. How many copies? A thousand. 1,000. Whoa. ‘Cos obviously the best way to distribute information published on the web to the masses is to make a thousand photocopies of it. Yes, a thousand. So they owe me about $1,500. I did a double-take when I read that.

That’s the most I’ve ever been paid for something I wrote – and as far as I remember it’s only happened once before. Obviously 1999 was a lucky year for me, even if it took me four years to find out. Of course, I’ll lose a bunch of it in tax, but I’m not complaining.

Cool, huh!

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.