Black goo: Never mind.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Wed, 03 Sep 1997 01:15:49 -0500

I have now received strong suggestions, from two separate and distinct
individuals, that the term "black goo" is prejudicial to persons reflecting
certain spectra of light. At least one of these persons did reflect those spectra
and was personally offended.

I therefore withdraw the term.

I suggest the terms "war goo" or "death goo", depending on context. "Khaki
goo" and "red goo" are too confusing or ambiguous. Also, since "black goo" no
longer exists, "silver goo" goes too. It is now "defense goo" or "'mune goo",
again depending on context.


I defiantly retain my position that this is all bloody ridiculous. I am still
not convinced that this was the right thing to do. I am not a fan of
political correctness, which states that the use of certain terms may be
forced. Although I respect any person's right to reject a given term as
prejudicial, I did not use the term "black goo" to refer to Human Reflectors
Of The Certain Spectra. The term was withdrawn on PR, rather than ethical,
grounds. I still feel that this would have been the best term to use for
malevolent goo. I only hope that my caving in has not condemned my entire
generation to an agonizing death.

I therefore ask:

1. Did it occur to *anyone* else that "black goo" was a racist term?

2. Why isn't "black ice" a racist term?

3. Is "red goo" offensive to Native Americans?

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.