For all who need to navigate English. Recently I found myself hearing the term social distancing and thinking, ‘shouldn’t we be saying physical distancing?’ Not being an epidemiologist, but being an occasional technical writer, social distancing seemed to be an example of a trendy term for a well-established idea. I even went so far as to use ‘physical distancing’ in conversations.
Social Distancing vs. Social Distance
Social Distancing is an established term for the actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of contagious diseases. It is most effective when the infection can be transmitted via droplet contact, direct physical contact, indirect physical contact, etc.
So, keeping a good physical distance from others is recommended. However, I find no use of the term physical distancing. Not sure why.
How about social distance? Since social distancing is well established, one might be forgiven for thinking that social distance is what we want to achieve. Not so fast!
Social distance describes the ‘distance’ between different groups in society, such as social class, race/ethnicity, etc, particularly when groups mix less than members of the same group . In other words, it is the extent to which individuals or groups are removed from or excluded from participating in one another’s lives .
OK, that cleared that up for me. Let’s try to assure that social distancing does not lead to increased social distance between us.
The Decibel (dB) is a logarithmic way to describe a ratio with respect to a reference level. That part is easy. Now when it comes to expressing Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR), and particularly imaging SNR in dB, a couple of areas of confusion arise.
Next month Don Williams and I will be presenting a short course, Introduction to Color Management for Cultural Image Capture. This is part of a full short-course programme of the IS&T Archiving Conference in Lisbon.
Below is a (5 min) video about things we will be discussing. For those who do not have that much time a shorter (1.5 min) version is available here
On this day in 1822, Charles Babbage proposed a ‘Difference Machine’ in a lecture to the Royal Astronomical Society of London, ‘Note on the Application of Machinery to the Computation of Astronomical and Mathematical Tables’*
His difference engine is a mechanical calculator that evaluates polynomial functions. The name comes from the method of divided differences, a way to interpolate functions by using a small set of polynomial coefficients. Most mathematical functions commonly used by engineers, scientists and navigators, can be approximated by polynomials. A difference engine can, therefore, compute many useful tables of numbers. Babbage is credited with the concept of a digital, programmable computer.
The errors which arise from the absence of facts are far more numerous and more durable than those which result from unsound reasoning respecting true data**.
*This is the title from the Memoirs, or as we would say today Proceeding, of the Royal Astronomical Society. Later Babbage published the abstract of his talk in a book and used the title, ‘A Note Respecting the Application of Machinery to the Calculation of Astronomical Tables’.
**C. Babbage, ‘Of Price as Measured by Money’, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures (1st ed., 1832), chap. 17, 112.