24 Apr 2006
I cannot apologize enough for the dearth of recent posts.
Today I came across an interesting word in an editorial by Cory Doctorow at the New York Times. Cory’s editorial draws our attention to cheap programmable microchips that allow nearly anybody with an idea for a simple electronic device, say a whimsical watch or a feral robot dog, to produce one cheaply and in their own home.
The word is trefoil. Trefoil is a noun. A trefoil is any three leafed symbol. The best known trefoil is the international symbol for radiation. This is the trefoil Cory mentions in his editorial. He describes a watch he picked up in Japan that
Appears to be warning of imminent nuclear catastrophe, with a radiation trefoil that lights up to tell me that I need to add six to the number of hours in the throbbing bar on the right side.
Trefoil or “tree-foil,” it can prounced either way, comes from the latin Tre meaning three and folium meaning leaf. Which reminds me an alternate meaning of trefoil is any plant from the genera Trifolium. Obviously these plants are named for their trifoliate leafs.
NYTimes article via BoingBoing