Monday, August 20, 2007

Cones, Repurposed

Hurricane Dean has brought in a new phrase along with its class-4 destruction: the weather forecasters keep talking about the cone of concern. This "cone" is a modeled projection of the anticipated sixty-five mile radius (I use that term very loosely) of a hurricane's striking distance, the cone shape being produced by, one assumes, force vectors. The term has been used at a specialized level for years, but forecasters across the nation must have had a seminar, as a quick google 'round the block will reveal that Hurricane Season 2007 is the moment that the "cone of concern" has emerged among the hoi polloi. I think it is a marvelous term, and will have immediate application to venues outside of meteorology, e.g. I'm sorry, but that's not within my cone of concern. Or , if that strays too far from analogy, I suspect it will make itself a presence in political/military strategyspeak, where the phrase can still invoke its reference to an approaching threat e.g. The increased presence of insurgents has created a cone of concern reaching from Fallujah to Baghdad.

The word "repurposed" is here for John B, who lives in a place that has apparently been blessedly free of corporate edu-lingo.


John B. said...

Thanks, Cordelia. I'm pleased to learn that my humble blog lies within your cone of concern.

Re "corporate edu-lingo": I count myself very fortunate to have the job I do--it's a wonderful place to work--and yet, one bone I have to pick is the neo-TQM stuff we've been exposed to in meetings each new semester. Much of it, we have little choice in, because our accrediting agencies and the state legislature are all about Assessment and making Quantifiable those things we think our students should be capable of when they leave. Perhaps we've not been as exposed (yet) to this sort of thing because Kansas, being in the geographic center of the country, is at the center of the Toilet Bowl Effect: "stuff" first appears on the coasts and, over time, gradually works its way "down" to us.


Cordelia said...

Kansas ? Au contraire, mon ami: in the "bowl" of Kansas originated the IDEA form (Google the monster), one of the most pernicious instruments of evaluation ever foisted upon higher education. If your administration becomes enamoured of it, drastic action is called for. As far as I can tell, Kansas is pretty much the epicenter of quantifiable accountability, a term administrators do not consider redundant.

John B. said...

I have much to learn about this stuff--still. Just call me "Grasshopper."

Riikka said...

I'm glad my cheese salad was OK. I'm back from my holidays and yes, you are absolutely right, last two weeks I have been working over time almost every day.