Wednesday, September 06, 2006

No Mozart effect here

"Does it feel like light-years since your old family chariot was music to your ears?" So begins an ad on my local classical radio station encouraging listeners to donate their old cars to the Midsummer Mozart Festival.

A light-year is a unit of distance, not a unit of time. Far too many people don't seem to grasp this, using "light-year" as a synonym for "a very long period of time." If one insists on using an astronomical term, the correct one is aeon (or eon). Incidentally, a light-year is about 5.8 trillion miles, and an aeon is one billion years. I personally think it's somewhat ridiculous to use these words even as hyperbole; they represent quantities so incredibly large that they defy human comprehension. But that's a secondary concern.

1 comment:

Marve said...

This one peeves me too. :)