News and events

The language of disasters: active shooter, WMDs, robocalls

Tragic events in Boston last week. Being quite interested in language, a couple of things about the use of words caught my eye as events unfolded. Active shooter This is something I’ve noticed before, during all-too-often incidents in the US: the term they now use is “active shooter”. In this case it was at MIT,  ... [More]

Politics and activism

This makes no sense

From ABC’s AM on Monday, on the rise of anti-government rhetoric in the USA: BILL CLINTON: A lot of the things that have been said, they create a climate in which people who are vulnerable to violence because they’re disoriented, like Timothy McVeigh was, are more likely to act. We ought to have a lot  ... [More]


Phoenix changing

When I visited Phoenix, Arizona in 1996, it appeared to be the archetypal car-dominated city. I was told pretty much the only PT was buses once an hour. The freeways were packed at rush hour. Nobody walked anywhere. The downtown area was (especially on weekends) so deserted that they had to have signs saying “Welcome  ... [More]