Okay so early scholars of infectious disease who realized disease could be spread by contaminated objects like clothes or utensils described this phenomenon as "fomes", the Latin word for "tinder" (the disease is like starting a fire)

(Epidemiologists know where this is going)
Scholars then adopted the Latin plural of "fomes", "fomites" (foe-mee-tays) to mean "different kinds of tinder" (i.e. different vectors of infection)

After a few hundred years, English-speaking epidemiologists started saying this as two syllables, "foe-mights"
And from this they got the completely incorrect singular back-formation "fomite", meaning "a surface that carries germs"

A word we all learned in 2020
So if you heard that the possibility of getting COVID-19 from doorknobs or grocery bags was called "fomite transmission", but you didn't know what a "fomite" actually is, the answer is it isn't anything and British doctors back in the day were just uneducated yahoos

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More from @arthur_affect

20 Nov
Simple Writing Tips: A Thread
1) Writing while naked is absolutely morally impermissible. Don't even joke about doing it

Nobody consented to having to imagine your exposed genitals when thinking about your writing process. Cover up - at a bare minimum a long-sleeved shirt and full-length skirt/pants
2) Writing at night with the lights on wastes electricity and increases your carbon footprint, hastening climate change. Please write only during daylight hours, with your monitor turned to its lowest possible brightness
Read 45 tweets
19 Nov
I met someone from Occidental who said it was a great point of pride among Oxy grads to be the campus that Obama's autobiography says he "wasted his time" at before transferring to Columbia in order to "get serious" and "turn things around"
The best thing about this sketch is the research, it's clearly the result of K&P being fans of Dreams From My Father

The "apartheid is a gnarly institution" quote references Obama's first public speaking engagement being an anti-apartheid rally at Oxy

The "intercepted!" thing is something Obama brags about doing as the leader of his high school "choom gang"

If you didn't keep the joint moving around the circle at a brisk enough pace young Obama would intercept it to teach you a lesson

"Don't ever sleep on Barry O"
Read 4 tweets
19 Nov
Whatever you think about IP law and capitalism in our modern world, Disney's abuse of said law is a monstrously evil distortion of any good-faith read on how it's supposed to work and absolutely needs to be stopped
Nothing about Disney's argument makes any sense, and it's really transparently just king-of-the-hill "I have the money and I have the lawyers, so how bout you try and fucking MAKE me pay my debts" Trump logic

Shameless
And the worst thing about it is that your first impulse in these situations is to call on people to boycott the company in question

But the whole reason Disney is doing this is they know that's damn near impossible
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
What's really striking about the COVID-19 crisis is that 9/11 gave tons of unearned, undeserved popularity to a bunch of dickheads they used as a free pass to do awful things

And COVID-19 *could* have done that for Trump & co. but they completely fucked the whole thing up
Trump didn't even implement a *bad* response to COVID, which he likely could have done, like W did with the PATRIOT Act and the Global War on Terror

He just did *nothing*, and made it *really obvious to everyone* he was doing nothing
Disasters tend to lower the bar tremendously for leaders and let them get away with all kinds of shit, traumatized people lose their judgment and become desperate for leadership and reassurance

You just have to actually pretend you fucking care
Read 5 tweets
5 Nov
Sitting here thinking about Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, and how the initial fantasy conceit of that book was a perfect example of taking an obvious joke and running with it until it's something dark and serious

That the abandoned Post Office is haunted by "dead letters"
Every letter sent but not delivered, you see, is like a tiny death

A little piece of "unfinished business"

An open loop in the emotional fabric of the universe

A broken promise, a missed opportunity, a lost glimpse of a world that might have been
In the grand scheme of things, one message undelivered is no big deal, something that can be cleared up a week later

But what about ten letters, a hundred, a thousand

What about when the central hub everyone was counting on to send their mail catastrophically shuts down
Read 18 tweets
4 Nov
The idea that the Republican candidate winning the White House in 2016 was some kind of struck-by-lightning impossibility is exactly the kind of infuriating hubris that got us here and that has me so pissed off today
It actually makes me very, very angry in hindsight that that's how people felt going into 2016

"How were we supposed to know the Republicans might win the election?"

Well there's two fucking parties so usually start with a 50/50 chance as your baseline
Maybe you could look at, you know, all of history and see that the White House flipping to the other party every eight years is how it normally works and the times it didn't do that are big notable exceptions
Read 4 tweets

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