1. You will have noticed that the link to box.net no longer works. UMass has transitioned to a different service, about which I have received endless incomprehensible messages. I just called the OIT Help Desk and they said they would help so if you are patient, my hope is that I will have a new link that will function. Otherwise, my life’s work will float around in cyberspace forever, present but inaccessible. Fingers crossed.
2. Here comes another crotchet from the old guy. Everybody, it seems, uses the word “decimate” to mean roughly “totally destroy,” or something of that sort. Actually, it does not mean that at all (I know, I know, if everybody uses a word in a certain way that is what it means, but still.) The commanders of the legions of the old Roman Empire had a particularly brutal way of punishing substandard performance in battle. They would line the troops up and put to death every 10th man (hence decimate.) This was not supposed to destroy the Legion but rather to improve performance, and I rather imagine it did. So please do not use “decimate” when what you mean is “wipe out.”
If I must be a reluctant witness of the untergang des Abendlandes, at least I will insist on a proper choice of words to describe the disasters around me.