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  #51  
Old November 16th, 2007, 03:44 PM
JSQ JSQ is offline
Jack Quinlan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
The punt gun was designed for the commercial waterfowler, sort of like the way the .577 and 600 Superheavies were designed for the commercial ivory hunter.

I still find punt guns abhorrent.

To me they are distinctly different from the superheavies.

The .577 and .600 were used to effect more devastating wounds to dangerous game then their smaller caliber counterparts. Even for market hunters the intended target did not change. A single round for a single animal.

The punt gun in contrast represents not merely an evolution in size but a drastic change in the lethality of the weapon to multiple targets. This weapon isn't stopping a single animal in its tracks, it's killing scores with a single discharge.

Market hunting decimated the waterfowl populations of North America. It was unscrupulous and ignorant. It not only depleted the resources but it destroyed the viability of the profession and caused it to be banned. The punt gun played a large role in this.
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  #52  
Old November 16th, 2007, 04:43 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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I'm going to disagree.

From my perspective, the Superheavies are very close to the punt gun. Sure, they don't tag several jumbo with a single discharge, but that's only because of the sheer size of the elephant and its relative invulnerability to smallarms fire.

But have no doubt: the superheavies were made for killing as many elephants as possible. Their purpose was not to let a sporting hunter deliver a terminal blow to a single elephant. Their purpose was to enable the commerical ivory hunter to kill as many elephants as he possibly could.

It's easy to admire and respect famous elephant hunters like Bell and Sutherland (and I do), but don't kid yourself that they didn't kill every elephant with ivory that they saw. Cows. Bulls. Whatever. They killed them.

The commercial ivory hunter hunted very differently from the sporting hunter. The sporting hunter is after a single bull. He's after the finest trophy he can find--a mature bull with big/even ivory. This bull is past his prime mating days. Killing this bull has very little effect on the elephant population.

In contrast, the commercial ivory hunter was concerned with numbers. The more ivory he shot, the more money he would take home. He would find a herd of cows and calves and then work from there. Elephants are a martriarchal society, and the commercial ivory hunter would typically tag the head cow, which would leave the other elephant standing around and wondering what to do. Then he would tag as many cows as he could. If he feared the calves would spook other herds and make his job harder, he tagged the calves as well. Again, it was all about the money.

The superheavies greatly facilitated this method of hunting. The superheavies were known for their ability to knock out an elephant with a solid head shot, even if the bullet streaked passed the brain. On retreating elephant, the superheavies enabled the commercial hunter to anchor a retreating elephant by busting its pelvis. This let the commercial hunter move onto other elephants and kill more. Then, when it was safe, he could walk around and deliver finishers if he so chose.

This tremendous amount of power may be desirable in sport hunting, but it's not really necessary and has many disadvantages. Most sporting hunters cannot handle the tremendous power of the superheavies. I think it was Sutherland who said the superheavies were suited for "men of quite extraordinary physique". I have little doubt he was correct. These weapons are very heavy to lug around (the average .600 weighs 18 lbs.) and they generate tremendous amounts of recoil. Check out these rookies trying to shoot a .577:



But this level of power is a tremendous advantage for the commercial hunter, who is looking for the largest possible bag. This power lets the commercial hunter work very close to a herd of several elephants and kill as many of them as possible. Even if he doesn't rag doll them with a brain shot, he can knock them out and then walk around and deliver finishers with a light rifle after it's safe to do so. This is very similar to what the commercial duck hunters did with a punt gun. They would blast many ducks and deliver finishers with a 12 or 20 or whatever on the wounded ducks.

The commercial ivory hunter also had gunbearers who humped the very heavy weapons around. The commercial hunter also usually used the superheavies in matched pairs, with a gunbearer/loader right behind him to load the off rifle while the hunter tagged elephants with the on rifle. This was very efficient. Sporting hunters don't do this.

Now, Bell did not use a superheavy and favored the Rigby .275. He was more of a finesse killer. But he definitely killed in high numbers. I think his tag total is over 1,000 jumbo. It wouldn't surprise me if the vast majority of them were cows. But most of the commercial ivory hunters used the superheavies, with the .577 far outnumbering the .600. (In fact, I believe all of the London houses together made only 85 or so .600s.)
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  #53  
Old November 16th, 2007, 06:01 PM
JSQ JSQ is offline
Jack Quinlan
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I don't idolize Bell or other commercial ivory hunters.

Frankly I don't think that highly of any commercial hunters. I don't necessarily view all of them under all circumstances as immoral, but I'm not fond of the practice at large because of the consequences it has wrought on animal resources.

I hate the punt gun because it made a difference.
A big difference.
It decimated bird populations at an exponential rate.
The introduction of the superheavies did not have nearly the same effect. The ivory trade was devastating, but it would have been about the same without the .577
The punt gun made things far worse.
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  #54  
Old November 16th, 2007, 06:06 PM
JSQ JSQ is offline
Jack Quinlan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
This is very similar to what the commercial duck hunters did with a punt gun. They would blast many ducks and deliver finishers with a 12 or 20 or whatever on the wounded ducks.

I find this highly unlikely.
Can you tell me where you read this?

Why would anyone shoot a wounded duck?
Once it's wounded you can just pick it up and kill it with your bare hands. Why would you risk damaging the meat by shooting it again with a shotgun if you could possibly avoid it? It's not dangerous and it's not going anywhere.

Or maybe the punt gun was effective at peppering a large number of ducks but many were not sufficiently debilitated?
Did the punt gun leave many diving cripples?
If so, it makes it all the worse.
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  #55  
Old November 16th, 2007, 07:01 PM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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I tend to agree with Jack on the difference between the punt gun and the superheavies.

The scale of the punt gun is so large that it cannot be carried or even fired while held by the hunter. It seems to me to more akin to hunting by firing into a herd of deer with an artillery piece and grapeshot or shrapnel. Or perhaps dropping a daisy cutter on a herd of elephant.

However, what is abhorrent about commerical hunting does not necessarily have to do with the size of the round or weapon used. Commercial hunting is all about profit and the tactics of effective mass killing and nothing about sport.

The American Passenger Pigeon was driven to extinction by standard muskets and shotguns and unchecked tactics like baiting etc. as well as habitat destruction.

The American Bison was hunted almost to extinction with what? The .45-70 govt. was the most common, but just about every large caliber rifle and musket was used and was effective against the slow and docile Bison.

Yes, W.D.M. Bell used the 7x57 Mauser (.275 Rigby) but he spent time studying elephant skulls for that choice to be as effective as larger caliber rifles. The benefit for him was accuracy with lower recoil and less noise when hunting elephant and thus more kills and profit.
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  #56  
Old November 17th, 2007, 10:12 AM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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We can agree to disagree.

The punt gun is not a a smallarm, but I'm on the side of seeing little difference between the punt gun and a superheavy. Both were designed for the commercial hunter and to maximize his profit rather than for the amateur/sporting hunter.

The reason there is no punt gun for elephant is only because no such thing is possible. One cannot kill or even anchor many elephants with a single discharge. I daresay not even a 16" artillery piece fired into the middle of a herd could do it unless the herd was very tightly spaced. And even then the ivory would get damaged, which defeats the entire purpose of the exercise.

I tried to think of the most effective commercial elephant hunting weapon and I was thinking perhaps the M2 mounted on a vehicle and fired singly might be quite effective if the shooter were skilled and the weapon were fed with the correct ammunition type. But even then the M2 would have to be fired multiple times--at least one shot per animal and probably well more than that. Bell shot with surgical precision, and even he averaged two shots per elephant.

And I'm not so sure about the M2. Elephant hunting is not like duck hunting with a punt gun. Sure, a vehicle-mounted M2 on elephants in the wide open might work well, but many elephants are shot in heavy cover. A static weapon like a vehicle-mounted M2 would be handicapped in heavy cover because many shot lines would be blocked by trees and brush. Unless you have some harmony between the driver and the shooter, the results might be inferior to wait a skilled rifleman and loader could produce on the same herd in similar cover.

I very much respect Bell. He was perhaps the greatest field shot of all time. He was perhaps the greatest authority of his day on elephants and elephant behavior. I also admire his hunting style of placing bullets very precisely on his targets, and his ability to brain-shoot even moving elephants from almost any angle. I can only imagine what a Bell safari would have looked like:

"The return of a Karamojo Bell safari, among the last of their kind, was a spectacle even in the ivory centres of east Africa. Sparkling in brightly beaded robes, a hundred men paraded to the ivory market, proudly bearing the teeth of 180 elephant. Escorted by Bell's six armed askaris, the donkey men kept 180 donkeys in order. Each of the great 100 lb tusks, so hot that it blistered the shoulders, its empty nerve hole filled with the bearer's belongings, was carried by one of the thirty-one picked Karamojan porters. Blood-red ostrich feathers and the manes of giraffes, lions and baboons bedecked each man's head. Averaging one elephant per day over the six months of hunting on a fourteen-month safari to Uganda and the Lado Enclave, Bell returned with a hoard of treasure. The magnificent Karamojo tusks averaged 53 lb each, the Lado tusks 23 lb. The total cost of one safari was 3,000 (about 90,600 today), of which the wages were 600. The ivory sold for 9,000. In today's money, the safari realized a profit of 181,000."

That's bad ass to me. Imagine this long train walking into town. It must have been quite an impressive sight.

I think it's a mistake to judge men like Bell by today's standards and morals. It would be similar to saying George Washington was immoral because he owned slaves, or Abraham Lincoln was immoral because he wanted to deport all blacks back to Africa. In Bell's day, ivory hunting was a legitimate profession, sort of like the way oil drilling today is a legitimate profession.

On the bit about the punt gun and finishers, I read that in a Ross Seyfried article about punt guns. I think it's credible. No weapon, no matter how powerful, is going to rag doll everything in sight. And punt guns aren't that powerful. That punt gun in the video fires only a one-pound shot charge. That's definitely a shitload, but it's only four times more powerful than a handheld 4-Bore shotgun and the punt gun by its very nature cannot be aimed as precisely as a handheld 4-Bore. I think wounded or fringed ducks were inevitable with the punt gun. If I were a commercial duck hunter, I would gladly expend a 12 or 20 shell to get more one duck. A shell is cheaper than what a duck is worth on the market. Any wounded ducks that might otherwise escape or be lost I would finish off and add to my total take for that session.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
Market hunting decimated the waterfowl populations of North America. It was unscrupulous and ignorant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
I hate the punt gun because it made a difference. A big difference. It decimated bird populations at an exponential rate.


I think the word you're looking for is "devastate" and not "decimate". "Decimate" means to kill one tenth of. Decimation was a remedy used by the Romans to punish unsatisfactory military units. Every tenth man was killed to encourage the remaining to shape up. Like "decimal", the etymology of "decimate" clearly originates from "deci".
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  #57  
Old November 17th, 2007, 11:23 AM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee

I think it's a mistake to judge men like Bell by today's standards and morals. It would be similar to saying George Washington was immoral because he owned slaves, or Abraham Lincoln was immoral because he wanted to deport all blacks back to Africa. In Bell's day, ivory hunting was a legitimate profession, sort of like the way oil drilling today is a legitimate profession.

That's an interesting statement. I totally agree with it.

However, I believe most people of today do not agree with you. They would argue that regardless of the legality of an issue, morality never changes.
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  #58  
Old November 17th, 2007, 03:25 PM
JSQ JSQ is offline
Jack Quinlan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
I think the word you're looking for is "devastate" and not "decimate". "Decimate" means to kill one tenth of. Decimation was a remedy used by the Romans to punish unsatisfactory military units. Every tenth man was killed to encourage the remaining to shape up. Like "decimal", the etymology of "decimate" clearly originates from "deci".

I'm aware of the etymology of the word and its root.

Since 1663 it's been used to describe "a large portion of" rather than exclusively 1/10th.

Every major institution and record that defines the proper use of the English language including the Oxford English Dicitionary and American Heritage Dictionary defines it as such.
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  #59  
Old November 17th, 2007, 03:28 PM
Brett Gottdener Brett Gottdener is offline
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Morals

"However, I believe most people of today do not agree with you. They would argue that regardless of the legality of an issue, morality never changes." -greghirst

Another good point Greg. I believe I have a different perspective however. I have come to understand that one's morals are based upon their knowledge. With a limited knowledge, will come simplistic morals. If we were to look at the 20th century as having advanced it's knowledge and understanding of the natural world, then we must also see where morality can in fact change.

-Brett
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  #60  
Old November 17th, 2007, 04:52 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
I'm aware of the etymology of the word and its root.

Since 1663 it's been used to describe "a large portion of" rather than exclusively 1/10th.

Every major institution and record that defines the proper use of the English language including the Oxford English Dicitionary and American Heritage Dictionary defines it as such.


Yeah, and the improper definition is always listed after the correct definition.

Dictionaries don't exist in a vacuum. They have to reflect common usage, however inaccurate, at least to some extent or they become obsolete over time. So they cave in and include the common--but incorrect--definition if a word is misused to a great extent. But the dictionaries try to maintain their authority by placing the incorrect definition after the correct one. Look up "amateur". You'll get the exact same thing.

Anyone remember this elephant that went Armageddon at the circus?:


I wonder how many shots that elephant absorbed before it finally succumbed?
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  #61  
Old November 17th, 2007, 06:01 PM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett Gottdener
"However, I believe most people of today do not agree with you. They would argue that regardless of the legality of an issue, morality never changes." -greghirst

Another good point Greg. I believe I have a different perspective however. I have come to understand that one's morals are based upon their knowledge. With a limited knowledge, will come simplistic morals. If we were to look at the 20th century as having advanced it's knowledge and understanding of the natural world, then we must also see where morality can in fact change.

-Brett

I agree that beliefs, convictions and values are formed by one's exposure to ideas, knowledge and life experiences. Thus, one's beliefs are not a matter of choice. If they were, then I could freely decide to change from a devout Muslim one day to a devout Christian and the next day, to a devout Buddhist.

If you are saying that societal morals "change" based upon changes in knowledge, I agree.

Are you are saying that 20th century society is any more "moral" than say, 500 years ago?
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  #62  
Old November 17th, 2007, 07:21 PM
Brett Gottdener Brett Gottdener is offline
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"Are you are saying that 20th century society is any more "moral" than say, 500 years ago?" -greghirst

No. My apologies if that was somehow implied.

-Brett
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  #63  
Old November 17th, 2007, 09:37 PM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett Gottdener
"Are you are saying that 20th century society is any more "moral" than say, 500 years ago?" -greghirst

No. My apologies if that was somehow implied.

-Brett

No apology needed. I simply curious.
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  #64  
Old November 17th, 2007, 09:44 PM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
Yeah, and the improper definition is always listed after the correct definition.

Dictionaries don't exist in a vacuum. They have to reflect common usage, however inaccurate, at least to some extent or they become obsolete over time. So they cave in and include the common--but incorrect--definition if a word is misused to a great extent. But the dictionaries try to maintain their authority by placing the incorrect definition after the correct one. Look up "amateur". You'll get the exact same thing.

So when referring to Rob Davison's love of miniatures as "gay" are you meaning the original and thus "correct" definition of the word?
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  #65  
Old November 19th, 2007, 07:20 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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No, I'm not.

I don't doubt that the meaning of words can change with time. We don't speak the same way as people even 100 years ago. Remember, I'm the one who thinks it's a mistake to judge men like W.D.M. Bell by today's standards. Words, like morals or standards, can change with time.

But there's a clear difference between my "decimate" example and your "gay" example.

When I refer to Rob's fondness for miniatures as "gay", am I literally accusing Rob of being a homosexual? When I refer to someone has "lame", am I literally saying he cannot walk? No, of course not. I'm not speaking literally.

These examples are very different from Jack's using "decimate" to mean "devastate" or something similar to "devastate". When Jack said use of the punt gun "decimated" duck populations, he was speaking literally. Jack meant to say that use of the punt gun, without exaggeration and factually, severely decreased wild duck populations--a "literal description" of what happened. No, he didn't mean that use of the punt gun reduced duck populations by one-tenth. But he was speaking literally; he just used "decimated" incorrectly.

Using "decimate" to mean "devastate" is like referring to any polygon with many sides a "decagon", or referring to any old person as an "octogenarian". It's using a very specific word with a very specific meaning to refer to something else.

If you see a polygon with five sides and refer to it as a "decagon", that's just wrong, no matter how common such usage may become.

If you see an old person and refer to him as an "octogenarian" when he's 75 years old, that's just wrong, no matter how common "octogenarian" may become.

It's not unlike the "their" syndrome. "Will everyone their take their seats?" "Find me someone who has their shit together." This "their" business is even more common than "decimate". Almost everyone uses it. Yet it can never be correct. It doesn't make sense. How can a singular pronoun take a plural possessive?
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  #66  
Old November 19th, 2007, 08:02 PM
JSQ JSQ is offline
Jack Quinlan
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Don't buy it.
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  #67  
Old November 19th, 2007, 08:28 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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Of course you don't.

It's not an absolute rule.

It requires judgment.
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  #68  
Old November 19th, 2007, 08:46 PM
traveltoad traveltoad is offline
Aaron Shrier
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At what point is the "original" meaning of a word surpassed, or replaced, by it's "modern" meaning?
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  #69  
Old November 19th, 2007, 08:47 PM
nosivad_bor nosivad_bor is offline
Rob Davison
 
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I think Jacks use of decimate is like calling a square a rectangle, leave my miniatures out of this, gay or not I can't get enough.
____________________
-Rob
1999 Discovery 1

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  #70  
Old November 19th, 2007, 08:49 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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You have another miniature coming your way, Rob.
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  #71  
Old November 20th, 2007, 06:21 AM
JMH JMH is offline
Jonathan Hanson
 
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God I love this forum.

I'm with John on this one, at least in the broad sense. I loathe the way the English language is degrading to the lowest common denominator. It's just laziness, and an insult to what is arguably the most precise and versatile tongue on the planet, if perhaps not the most mellifluous.

Sociologist acquaintances tell me the language is "growing." Nonsense. Growing would mean adding new words while retaining old ones. What we're experiencing is the long slide toward Ebonics, where the present tense of verbs will suffice for all uses. Not that Jack's use of decimate was anywhere near as egregious.

The "their" example is perfect. It's become so bad that people don't even know what I'm talking about when I point it out. And there's the silly feminist refusal to use the masculine pronoun to refer to people of both sexes, as in "Will everyone take his seat," rather than "Will everyone take their seat." I guess "Will y'all take your seats" would work . . .

And don't get me started on apostrophes. Or "very unique." Or . . .
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  #72  
Old November 20th, 2007, 07:32 AM
traveltoad traveltoad is offline
Aaron Shrier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMH
Or . . .

Or... good and well.
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  #73  
Old November 20th, 2007, 07:48 AM
Brett Gottdener Brett Gottdener is offline
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tey

I had a professor who proposed the use of the word "tey" to represent both/either sex in a singular form. I found the word to be a bit awkward, but I suppose any new word would be. I never forgot that word.

There's this one: "Thank you SOO much..."

Since the videos of Lions appeared, has anybody seen "Lion eats man". It's got a SIII 88" in it... (I don't recommend watching this video if you haven't seen it, you'll never forget about it.)

-Brett
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  #74  
Old November 20th, 2007, 09:34 AM
Bruno Bruno is offline
Bruno Tome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMH
I loathe the way the English language is degrading to the lowest common denominator. It's just laziness,

I don't think it's just laziness. I'm sure i use words incorrectly from time to time, and when i do, it's because of ignorance. I wouldn't use a word incorrectly if i knew the difference.

What's amazing to me is that people in prominent positions, heads of companies, write as bad as some do. I wonder if it's just not a big deal - no one cares.

Writing was a big deal when i went to school, proper use of words was a big deal. Calligraphy was serious business.

I could be wrong, but i don't think these things are as important in today's curriculum.

Speaking of using words correctly, what is the correct plural of 'antenna' ? - not the appendages attached to the head of some insects - the ones we use to rx/tx.

Is it 'antennae' , or 'antennas' ?
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  #75  
Old November 20th, 2007, 09:53 AM
traveltoad traveltoad is offline
Aaron Shrier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno
What's amazing to me is that people in prominent positions, heads of companies, write as bad as some do. I wonder if it's just not a big deal - no one cares.

Writing was a big deal when i went to school, proper use of words was a big deal. Calligraphy was serious business.

I could be wrong, but i don't think these things are as important in today's curriculum.

I believe that email and instant messaging are major influences in the modern writing style, or lack of writing style.
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