Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Nitpicking metaphors with modern engineering

"Jesus had said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven, but rocketry had thirty years of practice working with astonishingly small tolerances and rose to meet the challenge." - Scott Alexander's Unsong, chapter 39

The swoop from cultural highbrow to literal engineering terminology tickles my sense of humor. Is there a name for this genre? "Nerdbait"?

This post's theme word is ultracrepidarian (n/adj), "(one) giving opinions beyond one's area of expertise." Which is truly the ultracrepidarian, the literary scholar with opinions about engineering  details or the engineer who obliterates a metaphor with a cleverly-designed tool?

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