Sometimes it is apparent that the definition in my electronic dictionary is very different from what we are being taught in school. Whilst this is to be expected to a certain degree, given the myriad ways in which language can be interpreted, it is nevertheless rather frustrating; non-concrete definitions of words floating abstractly around the inside of my head are of no use to anyone. Whilst most of the time this is just an annoyance, there are occasions where misunderstanding the meaning of a word, and its usage, could cause genuine offence. Take the word ‘jinshu’ (人種) for example, my dictionary has it defined as a race of people, but our Sensei told us that there are only three types of jinshu: white, black, and Asian. Now either our Sensei is an incredibly narrow minded person, or something has been lost in translation. At any rate, I now have an excuse to abstain from all conversations involving one’s genealogical disposition for the considerable future.
Yesterday I read an article that claimed smoking a Shisha pipe for an hour was the equivalent of 200-300 cigarettes. After reading such a piece of extremist propaganda, I decided that the most sensible thing would be to go and support my Shisha smoking community. I can happily report that after doing so I did not feel like I had just worked my through 10 packs of Rothmans, with my usual high pitched shrieks acting as proof that the claims that were being made were nothing but bad science. Although I did leave after 45 minutes, so my own scientific technique probably leaves a lot to be desired, but then what else would you expect from an Atmospheric Physicist?