Revisiting an earlier version of our language

The Hindu
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LIVE – Gulbarg Society massacre: quantum of sentence to be pronounced today
The Hindu – ‎48 minutes ago‎
A special SIT court, which convicted 24 accused in the 2002 post-Godhra Gulbarg society massacre case, is expected to pronounce the quantum of sentence on Monday.
Gulberg Society massacre: Quantum of punishment likely to be pronounced todayIndia Today
Gulberg Society massacre: Court likely to pronounce quantum of sentence todayDaily News & Analysis
Highly Cited:Gulberg Society massacre case: Court to pronounce quantum of sentence todayHindustan Times
Local Source:Gulbarg society massacre: Quantum of sentence to be pronounced todayZee News

They’re all using it so “quantum” really is a local word for “quantity”. As it used to be here.

21 thoughts on “Revisiting an earlier version of our language”

  1. Bloke in Germany

    Nah, they just think it makes them sound like James Bond.

    Mind you, 14 years from event to sentence – the lawyers must be absolutely delighted!

  2. Very much off topic but sort of related to old fashioned styles of communication.
    Has anyone else had this problem?
    E-mail arrived, couple weeks ago. Subject line “no subject”. Sender: Some asian sounding name, I’d never heard of. String of attachments.
    Did what I usually do with things like this. Marked it as “spam” So the next two mails from the same source went straight to spam.
    Except I’ve now had a phone call from my conveyancing solicitor. This was the sale of house questionaire/proof of ID/assent to terms of business etc. To be completed, scanned & e-mailed back. Hard copy to follow via mail. So it’s delayed my completion by couple of weeks.
    Back when I did business correspondence, on behalf of an employer, I always wrote as “the company”. I signed as a representative. How the f**k am I supposed to know, some gopher I’ve never heard of is genuine business correspondence? But looking back over incoming mail, I’ve several other’s with similar “from” lines. I’ve picked them up because the subject line looked familiar.
    Just wondered. How do you set up your mail “from” lines?
    Mine just have my e-mail address – which as they’re coming out of my own domain name’s e-mail service, make it pretty obvious who’s sending.

  3. It’s also CorporateSpeak covering both “what’s the damage”, and “what’s the bunse?”

    Not to be confused with “delta”.

  4. The defendant’s guilt exhibits quantum behaviour – neither innocent nor guilty – until the jury reaches its verdict. But that’s not what they mean here either.

  5. in litigation it’s common to talk about a “quantum of damages”, which would have made for a slightly duller Bond movie

  6. Until quite recently in Oxford “The Quantum” was the amount of money that the University gave to the relevant College for educating each undergraduate student.

  7. A quantum has always been a specific chunk of quantity. In physics energy terms, a quantum is a specific chunk of quantity of energy change, and all energy changes are in certain fixed quantums.

  8. anon,

    Energy quanta turned out to not be terribly fixed or specific. The thing which is *really* quantized is angular momentum, which can only change in hbar-sized steps.

  9. @bloke in spain

    If a response is required, the subject line should read “RESPONSE REQUIRED”. Of course, that’s probably a red rag to a bull as far as spam filters are concerned.

  10. “angular momentum, which can only change in hbar-sized steps”: heh. My favourite comment from an external examiner decades ago: “Why do people put a bar through h nowadays?”

  11. Comes from cake-making, I’m sure:

    The first two were found to violate Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principal so they settled for quantum.

  12. @ bis
    Why didn’t your conveyancing solicitor tell you that he was delegating the form-filling to this guy? Simple commonsense and common courtesy.
    A couple of years ago a client of my principal client thought they would like me to do a job for them so I get a “Hello, may I introduce myself?” email from a young lady (who, when I look her up, turns out to be a brilliant high-flyer who might be expected to delegate that to a secretary/PA) *preceded* by an email an hour earlier from the CEO of my principal client saying “this young lady may contact you; these are good guys”.

  13. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Quanta are increments of variables that are quantised i.e. the quantity can only take on discrete, rather than continuous values . Angular momentum is quantised. So are, inter alia electric charge, lepton number and strangeness. The smallest amount (other than zero) by which the charge on two particles can differ is 1/3 of the electron’s charge. Energy can be quantised, but it doesn’t have to be. An electron in a potential will usually have a quantised energy level*, but in free space its energy can take on a continuous range of values.

    * cos of Pauli it can be smeared out to be essentially continuous, like in a metal, but pendantry

  14. @bis
    This isn’t a problem with “old-fashioned communication”, it’s a problem with communication.

    Both you and your solicitor appear to have been happy not having heard from one another for 2 weeks. Presumably you were expecting to be sent some forms to fill in, and he was expecting you to send them back quickly. If you were both expecting to wait 2 weeks, then he seems to have acted entirely appropriately by calling you when he did.

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