18 January 2008

Learning Something Somedays

Have you seen the word "viral" used in situations that, when you think about it, doesn't seem to make sense? Maybe because of my medical background the word seems to be popping up more often recently than back in the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

Of course I turned to Wikipedia and I haven't been disappointed yet. As you might guess it is derived from scientific jargon having to do with how some microbes spread within a susceptible population. It is used in politics and advertising or am I being redundant?

As a bonus, when you look up "viral" and read the short and pithy entry you come across the verb "astroturf" which means to generate interest in something artificially as opposed to the real or "grassroots" phenomena. As in almost all of our politics these days. Who would have thought in 1960 about the unintended consequences of putting important parts of that presidential race on TV.

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