The power of Misused Words
Yesterday there was a deflagration of ether vapour at the chemical institute in Innsbruck (Austria). Such a deflagration is a fast combustion at the boundary surface between the heavy ether vapour and the lighter air above it after ignition. If the ether vapour had been swirled with the air beforehand, there would have been a huge explosion after ignition. But not a detonation. This is because in a detonation, the initial ignition creates a pressure wave that spreads through the explosive at supersonic speed and triggers further explosions at the wave front. In this way, an explosive such as TNT detonates even without containment. So much for my expertise as a chemist.

Detonation of 500 metric tons of TNT on Kaho'olawe Island during Operation Sailor Hat

Laymen may say: Jesus, what a way to split hairs. But the same laymen get terribly upset when a sports reporter uses a football term incorrectly.

I don't get upset when TV reporters mix up the terms explosion and detonation, as it causes no disadvantages for anyone. What I do get upset about is the incorrect use of the terms insecure and unencrypted by a global corporation like Google, which could easily afford to employ a semanticist.

If information is transmitted unencrypted, there is a possibility that it will be read by third parties on its way from the sender to the recipient. Which is no problem at all with data that is public anyway, such as all search results on Google. Can anyone explain to me why they should be transmitted in encrypted form? To protect them from manipulation? I researched all the images in this article via Google, but I downloaded the originals from Wikimedia. It makes no sense whatsoever for Google to encrypt its results. As pointless as it would be to buy an armoured Hummer to transport waste to landfill.

HMMWV in difficult terrain in Afghanistan

For two years, however, Google has been riding an attack against all websites still existing on the web that are not encrypted. They should all buy an armoured Humer, regardless of whether they need it or not. In this way, Google is abusing its market power just like WhatsApp, which is currently scrapping many millions of smartphones, including the iPhone 6s sold until 2016. Many users in rich countries have long had newer models. But the old devices usually have a second life in poorer countries. Who does it affect? Exactly! Has the Covid-19 crisis changed anything? Certainly not the greed of the big IT corporations.

Actually, our association could live a pretty good niche existence with our website. Even without an armoured Humer. 99.99% of our traffic is public anyway and not at risk of manipulation. The sensitive rest is totally encrypted. Everything is good, everything is correct. But by deliberately using the wrong word 'insecure' instead of the correct term 'unencrypted', Google is stoking the fears of laypeople and making life difficult for us. From my personal point of view, this is a clear case of abuse of a dominant market position.

Words are always stronger than facts in our world. But we cannot change this world. We can only keep diligently saving towards having our website reprogrammed one day.

September 18, 2021
Bernhard (Bergfex)

See also my Comment in the Club-News from September 17, 2021


raingirl said:

This speaks to a lot more than just our website's situation. Thank you for articulating this.
2 years ago

Ruesterstaude said:

Hoffen wir, dass die Krake Google uns noch leben lässt!
2 years ago ( translate )

Keith Burton said:

Wise words Bernhard :-)
2 years ago

Peggy C said:

Thank you, Bernhard.

Words and their use are extremely important .. we certainly found out here over the past 4 yrs - and it continues ...

Have a wonderful day and stay safe and well.

2 years ago

* ઇઉ * said:

Thank you for this fact-based post, Bernhard.

Google probably has no interest at all in employing a semanticist, and yet we are not helpless against demagogic rhetoric as an expression of verbal and psychological violence, as your example here as in the Team blog shows.
And even if it seems futile at first ("Words are always stronger than facts in our world" / your words), I would encourage everyone to take up the challenge of dealing constructively with demagogic rhetoric. It is worth it.

In relation to your last sentence, however, one should not exclude the other, of course.
2 years ago

Eric Desjours said:

Manipulated semantics has become a commercial, if not societal, weapon. Sadly, few watchdogs have been able to expose its misuse. But in any case, they no longer have any visibility or audience in a media space that is definitely dedicated to 'communication' in the poorest sense of the term.
Thank you for this salutary clarification, Bernhard.
2 years ago