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It’s Concrete, Not Cement


I get tired of having to make this correction, but it sticks in my craw. It’s concrete, not cement.

I had to bring the hammer down again recently, and I don’t mean to come off like a zealot, but truth to tell, I am a zealot about this.

MSHA apparently doesn’t know the difference between concrete and cement. The agency issued a preliminary fatality report that states, “On August 20, 2019, at approximately 8:00 a.m., a miner was fatally injured when he sustained traumatic injuries from a 40-ft. fall down a shaft to the cement floor below. The victim was working with another miner unloading a refuse kettle attached to an electric hoist when he went over the unguarded edge of the shaft.”

I brought the error to their attention. They responded with a terse acknowledgement. They didn’t bother to fix it. How can you expect the people you regulate to pay attention to detail if you don’t do it yourself?

Recently there have been articles from a number of different sources concerning experiments aboard the International Space Station, during which different formulations of cement are being mixed to test the possibilities of making concrete in space.

Several publications confused cement and concrete, noting that they were making cement in space. Unfortunately, that is incorrect.

If you are a fan of Paul McCartney, you probably know that on his post-Beatles album Ram is a song called “Junior’s Farm,” which contains the suddenly very current lines, “At the Houses of Parliament/Everybody’s talking about the President/We all chip in for a bag of cement.”

Did he really mean cement? Or was he thinking of a bag of Quikrete? Why were they all chipping in for this bag, whether it was actually cement or really concrete? I have been tempted to contact him concerning this. This is the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night.

Happy Rocktober. It’s concrete, not cement.

Mark S. Kuhar, editor

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Twitter: @editormarkkuhar