Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Faulty Airlock

Faulty Airlock

Faulty Airlock (1999)

From Tenser, Said the Tensor:

Sometimes being a long-time science fiction fan has unexpected side-effects. For example, I was just now scanning the current headlines and I came across the following:

EXPERTS SUGGEST SPACING PREGNANCIES

If you haven't been soaking in SF for a few decades, you probably understand immediately what the headline-writer means: experts are suggesting that women should wait some amount of time between pregnancies—perfectly reasonable advice. But due to lexical interference from SF vocabulary, I misunderstood it to mean: experts are suggesting that women shove newborn babies out of an airlock. Don't worry, though, after a brief whiskey-tango-foxtrot moment, I deduced they weren't recommending infacticide by explosive decompression. Whew!

I had another encounter—or rather, a notable non-encounter—with the transitive verb to space recently. After the big surprise in the recent season finale of Battlestar Galactica, I was poking around the 'net reading various recaps and discussions, and I noticed that some BSG fans seem to be using the verb to airlock (see here, here, and here for examples) where I would use the verb to space. This seems like a needless redundancy in the lexicon. Can't we all agree what to call it when you shove someone out an airlock? Sooner or later somebody's going to actually do it, and it would be a shame to have to spend time afterwards arguing about the proper term.

Where's Jonathan Swift when you need him?

2 comments:

Neil Shakespeare said...

"Well, I WAS pregnant, but I spaced it out.

"Is that kinda like 'outsourcing'?

"Kinda like it, yeah. I think somebody in India had it for me.

cruelanimal said...

But wait. There's more. Beyond surrogates. Beyond super nannies. It's the NEW IMPROVED outsourced motherhood...

I hope the tech support is really good.

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