One of the internet news outlets I include in my Feedly subs is io9. Today there was an article covering Stephen Hawking’s latest insights into ways humanity seems increasingly likely to be responsible for its own die-off.

I don’t think Hawking’s in error on much of the main thrust, really, and the slightly desperate tone of the closing comment – basically, “Come on, brainiac, enough telling it like is already! Tell us how it SHOULD be!” – seems to misinterpret Hawking’s intent (in my view) and remit.

‘Existential risk’ seems a fascinating area of speculation for further exploration. But – and it’s a big but! – I nearly didn’t get to the rest of the article at all. I was staring agog at the headline.

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Clickety click, what what WHAT?

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No, it definitely calls Stephen Hawking a bummer.

In the UK*, ‘bummer’ applied to a thing has the same sense of being a bit of a drag. However, bummer applied to a person means something else completely… Let’s just call it juvenile casual homophobic slang and leave it there.

I think the most appropriate equivalent to bummer in the sense of the headline would be ‘a misery’. Downer, maybe? But – and it’s a big but!! – not bummer.

Filing this with that other great meaning-lost-in-the-mid-Atlantic phrase ‘double-fisting’.

“The end is near” …HOOT! HOOT!

*Update! In discussion, a student claims that the word bummer, in Wales, has the American usage. So, not the whole of the UK.

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