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Oh, the fracking you'll see

One of my spies forwards an article in which a member of a public relations firm looking at attitudes about hydraulic fracturing of shale to produce natural gas observes, "Fracking has become almost a dirty word."

Well—recent concerns about the volume of groundwater consumed by hydraulic fracturing and the potential for contamination of the rest aside—fracking was already almost a dirty word. As followers of Battlestar Galactica ought to be able to attest, fracking and the more common freaking and the fugging Norman Mailer adopted for The Naked and the Dead are all substitutes for a more vigorous verb that needs no introduction.*

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Hydraulic fracturing is a cumbersome term, unlikely to capture the popular imagination, so the advocates of this form of extraction are going to have to learn to live with less than savory overtones of the word in common use.

*To that list should be added frigging, which a current generation—it appeared once in a comic strip in The Baltimore Sun—is apparently unaware of its history as a term for manual stimulation.

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