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Showing posts from August, 2014

Where does the word robot come from?

A rare example of a Czech word ('robota') entering English:
robot was introduced to the public by the Czech interwar writer Karel ńĆapek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), published in 1920. The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people called robots, though they are closer to the modern ideas of androids, creatures who can be mistaken for humans. They can plainly think for themselves, though they seem happy to serve. At issue is whether the robots are being exploited and the consequences of their treatment. source Kathleen Richardson points out in this BBC broadcast that our notions about robots are fanciful - they are generally clumsy, ineffective machines.

Audio: Where does the word robot come from?’ 

So robots are not going to rule the world any time soon. But are they going to challenging for the Marathon Gold Medal at the next Olympics? On this evidence, perhaps not:

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What is mission creep? Where does the phrase come from?

Mission creep is when an original plan or objective is progressively widened by events on the ground.

Significantly the phrase has military origin
Originating in Somalia in 1993, the modern term “mission creep” became part of official U.S. Army vocabulary a decade later. Field Manual 3-07, Stability Operations and Support Operations (February 2003) acknowledges two types of mission creep. The first occurs when “the unit receives shifting guidance or a change in mission for which the unit is not properly configured or resourced.” Lewis and Clark
In other words limited objective you start with expands to the point where it is no longer clear. 

Mission creep has also been used to describe non-military matters - financial regulation for example.

The Dictionary of Military Terms

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