[Proj] Re: Linear projections reply

strebe at aol.com strebe at aol.com
Tue Jul 1 18:14:53 EDT 2008

 Mr. Ossipoff:

You seem to think a word's meaning and worth derive from fidelity to its etymological derivation rather than from its usage within a learned community. That philosophy fits within my notion of "uselessly pedantic", particularly since few words are etymologically "pure" — if any at all, depending on definitions.

In the interest of useful "pedantism", I advocate using words as precisely as the word allows through appeal to learned usage. Sometimes learned usage is strongly informed by etymological derivation. Sometimes it is not.

"Pseudocylindric" was never a "good" word etymologically. Pseudocylindric projections are not "false" cylindric projections, and the prefix is particularly ironic given that cylindric projections are a mathematical subset of pseudocylindric. Still, it's the extant word, and it carries a usefully precise meaning as measured by learned usage.

There isn't enough usage out there to conclude whether "pseudocylindric" is inclusive or exclusive of "cylindric", especially given the mathematical realities of the situation. But if and when the matter gets decided, that decision should not have been based on dead etymology. Indeed, it is no great burden if it never gets decided, since it's easy enough to make the distinction if needed. Nor is the community going to adopt a new word just for the purpose of achieving some useless etymological purity.

I doubt the majority of this list, including me, is interested in debates over the uselessly pedantic, so I won't comment further on the matter.

-- daan Strebe


-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Ossipoff <mikeo2106 at msn.com>
To: proj at lists.maptools.org
Sent: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 10:32 am
Subject: [Proj] Re: Linear projections reply

(Line-format faults prevent me from using the ">" marks)

Dan Strebe:

You'd said:

Cylindric projections are a specialization of pseudocylindric.  Whether it is 
incorrect to call a cylindric projection  "pseudocylindric" is something best 
left to  those of uselessly  pedantic temperment.

I'd replied:

 Oh come on now, you're saying that no one should ever say anything about the 
merits of a term.

You replied:

I fail to see how my comment could be interpreted anywhere nearly so generally. 

I reply: 

Well, specifically, if ever there was a map projection term that needed a new 
name, it's "pseudocylindrical", when interpreted to encompass "cylindrical".

If there's some specific reason why it would be uselessly pedantic to suggest a 
better word for that particular term, you failed to tell it. We're talking about 
a prefix used in a way contrary to its otherwise universally-accepted meaning, 
making a self-contradictory usage.

You said:

This does not seem to be going anywhere. Good luck. 

I reply:

Well, it was a nonstarter when you posted your unexplained remark quoted at the 
beginning of this post. Good luck with what? You made a statement and I answered 
it. It isn't clear why you expected it to go somewhere after that.

Mike Ossipoff

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Proj at lists.maptools.org


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