Oh brother, hold the raw eggs and rum, I’d rather have the ...

Ideas

A WORD IN THE HAND: REALITY

Oh brother, hold the raw eggs and rum, I’d rather have the ignorami

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

Deputy features editor: Sunday Times

Albert Einstein did not “invent” relativity. Nor did he ever say: “Everything is relative.” 

Einstein’s theory of relativity posited that there are no absolute positions on the space-time continuum. The sloppy way we now use “relative” to compare everything from heat to hedgehogs was an unintended consequence of Einstein’s clever way with words and stuff.

The phrase, “the law of unintended consequences” was sort-of coined by American sociologist Robert K Merton, who in 1936 published an article titled “The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action”...

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