Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Phrase That Bombs

You may be hearing this phrase in the near future:

Divine Strake: The word is out - and it doesn't mean a thing

By Judy Fahys
The Salt Lake Tribune
Michael Berry wrote to a Pentagon official last week for the answer to a question that's had many Utahns scratching their heads since they first heard about "Divine Strake," the massive test explosion the federal government wants to detonate in the Nevada desert.

What does the name mean, exactly? And what's holy about using 700 tons of non-nuclear explosives to blow up an old tunnel in the middle of nowhere? After his e-mail dialogue Friday with the public affairs department of the Defense Threat Agency, the government office behind the blast, the Salt Lake City man divined the answer.

The name is nonsense.

Sure, "divine" means "godlike." And the word "strake" refers to an architectural feature of boats and aircraft. But the term is just two words tacked together to meet the criteria of a military regulation, and they have no deeper meaning.

At first, it made him chuckle. Later, he thought about the government dreaming up nonsense names.

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