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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Scary Words That Are Not Scary

Author: Reilly Capps/Monday, September 16, 2013/Categories: humor

By Reilly Capps 

It is hard to write about something that is not happening.

This is why the news that one of America's largest and most reputable scientific organizations – the American Association for the Advancement of Science – effectively endorsed genetically modified organisms – GMOs – didn't get much attention in the media.

It is much easier to talk about threats, to repeat over and over again that Fukushima or genetically modified foods could give you cancer, even though there is no evidence that either of those things ever have or will. 

It's important to pay attention to the things that could actually kill us – global warming? Famine? Drought? Nuclear proliferation? – rather than things that only sound scary because they contain science fiction words: genetics, radiation. It takes a bit of reading to understand that genetics have always been manipulated one way or another, and that radiation pours down on us from stars at all times, and low levels of radiation won't hurt you. 

Perhaps we can clear up the air a little bit by offering a list of things that sound scary but are not actually scary.

Spontaneous involution –

What it sounds like: a bit like spontaneous combustion, spontaneous involution must be when your house or your heart collapses for no good reason, leaving you shriveled hunk of withered and desiccated flesh, like a mummy but fatter.

What it actually is: it is when a medical problem clears up on its own.

Negative test results –

What it sounds like: immediate painful death.

What it actually is: you're fine.

Dihydrogen monoxide –

What it sounds like: highly poisonous gas that, upon being inhaled, instantly fries your brain to the crispness and thickness of highway asphalt, turning you into a vegetable more useless and stupid than any member of Congress.

What it actually is: this one actually is scary. It actually is a highly deadly and dangerous substance that kills thousands each year when it is inhaled, when too much of it ends up in the brain, when it becomes a conduit for electricity and those who hang around it are electrocuted, when it freezes and prevents automobiles from braking effectively, when it heats and causes massive burns, when it evaporates into the atmosphere it contributes massively to the greenhouse gas effect and global warming. Due to the highly lethal properties of the substance many reputable scientists have called for the substance to be banned. So far, due to its ubiquity, they have been unsuccessful.

Another name for this deadly substance is water.

Hellenologophobia - 

What it sounds like: an irrational and uncontrollable fear of going to Hades and being beaten with a piece of wood.

What it actually is: A fear of Greek terms or complex scientific terminology. Such as radiation or genetics.

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