Tuesday, April 29, 2014


"Calculus" --- from Webster's --- 1. an abnormal concretion, as a kidney stone  2. Math a. analysis or calculation using a special symbolic notation. b.  The combined mathematics of differential and integral calculus.

Yesterday, in comments as reported in an article by the New York Times, President Obama said, "The goal is not to go after Mr. Putin personally, the goal is to change his calculus."  Then in the article the reporter noted that "measures to date have not noticeably changed Mr. Putin's calculus".  Later in the article a Russia analyst at Eurasia group said that "To have a shot at changing Putin's calculus we've got to get serious on economic measures".

Of course we know what President Obama means, and how sophisticated we are.  There is no calculus involved here. This is an example of what often happens in business when a word is used incorrectly and then gains a cachet, or should I say traction, that leads to follow up by others.  One could wonder how this translates into other languages in our globalized world.  


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