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Post by Speculum »

Every week day, I receive an email message from with that day’s word of the day. If you like words, as I do, it is an interesting and fun (not to mention free) service. Their URL is

Anyway, today’s word struck me as offering a particularly interesting peek into the human psyche.

The word is skeuomorph (pronounced SKYOO-uh-morf). It is defined as “noun: A design feature copied from a similar artifact in another material, even when not functionally necessary. For example, the click sound of a shutter in an analog camera that is now reproduced in a digital camera by playing a sound clip. Since people are used to the click sound of a camera as feedback that the picture has been taken, it is now artificially-produced in digital cameras.”

Other examples were offered, such as copper cladding on a zinc penny (for familiarity), and painted ventilation holes on some electronic equipment that used to need real ventilation holes for vacuum tubes, but no longer needs them.

Evidently, we are so thoroughly creatures of habit that if things do not look and sound and, I suppose, taste and feel, the way we expect them to, we get spooked! Little wonder that we sometimes struggle against the unknown and unexpected changes along the spiritual path. “Better the devil we know”, I guess.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust