Tuesday, June 3, 2008

DIagnosis of the day

I encountered this one in my studies today:

Balanitis xerotica obliterans

If I was only guessing at this diagnosis, I would think: "Hmm. Some kind of inflammation causes balance problems, duplicates itself, and then totally destroys the afflicted." But I'd be wrong.

For the sake of nicety, I am not including the meaning of this bit of nastiness. If you're truly curious, click here.

I'm not posting this because it's naughty, but because of the words. Xerotica is a beautiful word, no? At first, when I found out its meaning, I thought "Why did xerox use that?" But after a moment, I realized why: the Xerox machine replaced the mimeograph machine, which is a "wet" copy process. Xerotic means dry, not a copy of anything, as this modern person assumed it did.

Image note: This is a pantograph, a very old copying device.

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