It has been said that most scientists would rather use another scientist's toothbrush than his terminology. In this issue's Matters of the Record, John Alroy suggests certain conceptual and methodological changes for the study of mechanisms, or dynamics, of large-scale trends, and also a revision of current trend-mechanism terminology. On the conceptual and methodological matters, Alroy's suggestions are good ones (with one important exception), and here I applaud them and explain further why they ought to be taken seriously. Predictably, however, I do not endorse (some of) his terminological revisions.

The conceptual matters are more interesting, and I turn to...

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