An acquaintance of mine asked with some worry if an email she had received
was legitimate. It read something like this:
The mailer daemon rejected your email to email@example.com.
Reason: Message size too large.
What spooked her was the reference to a “daemon”.
Like most people, she had never heard of
the term from computer science,
and worried that it might have been some sort of malware organization.
I have to admit, “Mailware Dæmons” would be
a clever name for a phishing outfit.
Anyway, I was happy to put her mind at ease.
It got me to thinking, though.✢“Not often, though. Which is a good thing.
For the Lord aimed for him to do and not to spend too much time thinking,
because his brain it's like a piece of machinery:
it wont stand a whole lot of racking.” —
Name that quote!
Recently I had some trouble updating a GitHub repository because
some of its submodules had deleted their “master” repositories.
A colleague remarked that this was one of “the unintended consequences
of political correctness.”
You see, “master”
has an association with “slave” in some contexts,
and in our logically illiterate age,✝I know, I know;
every age is logically illiterate, each in its own special way.
∃ (“some” contexts) is conflated with ∀
People jump to the conclusion that every instance of “master”
relates to slavery, and thus causes harm,
never mind that the word actually traces back
to the Latin word magister,
“teacher”, whence “Master’s Degree”,
which at the rate we’re going is almost certainly headed
for the bowdlerization bin, as well.
Now, imagine if, half a century ago, some superstitious folk
had gotten wind of a newfangled computer term
that sounded like the word for an evil spirit.✠It’s not actually
the same word, and has a different spelling, but we’re talking about
superstitious people here.
Would they have demanded its expunging from the vocabulary?
Would anyone have paid them heed?