Watch Those Ultimate Words

The Globe and Mail likes to think of itself as the intellectual national newspaper of Canada. I could get on board with that. Too bad it’s simply not true.

Here is an article where I am quite sure their science reporter screwed up. About the Canadian-led discovery of a dwarf planet a ways past Pluto, the reporter felt he should go with the use of a ultimate word like ever. He calls the discovery “the largest celestial object ever discovered by a Canadian-led team”.

I have some aptitude in astronomy and have been to the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill, north of Toronto. Their largest telescope is 74 inches in diameter and when it was built it was the second largest telescope in the world. How does this relate?

Wherever this Canadian telescope looked that the largest telescope didn’t look it was seeing dimmer stars and galaxies and even supernovae in other galaxies, that couldn’t be seen before.

Now I hate to burst Ivan Semeniuk’s bubble but stars, galaxies and supernovae are all much bigger than a mere dwarf planet. The only way I see for Canadian-led teams in the thirties and onward not having discovered something bigger than this new dwarf planet, was if David Dunlap observatory were always run by a non Canadian national.

The problem with ultimate words is that you have to think of everything to make sure you are using them correctly. Think before using ultimate words or you too could become a casualty of a debate.

About Larry Russwurm

Just another ranter on the Internet. Now in the Fediverse as
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4 Responses to Watch Those Ultimate Words

  1. Bob Jonkman says:

    “Penultimate” means one less than Ultimate. I think perhaps you mean “Superlative”, as in the “Best” in “Good, Better, Best”.

  2. Larry says:

    Uh oh. You mean it didn’t fix for you? I posted it, then thought I better look up penultimate, found out I was wrong then fixed it for myself at least. You can check my tweet at that time – I thought it was funnier that I made the mistake than the actual post was. I’m hoping that it just wasn’t fixed for you and not everyone else.

  3. Bob Jonkman says:

    Hm. Looks like it ultimately got fixed.

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