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The following experience may be familiar to many of us at some time in our professional careers: upon trying to enter an interdisciplinary area, one is immediately confronted with a terminology barrier. Some of these barriers are just facts of life, whereas others can be traced back to confusions caused simply by loose usage of terminology by our colleagues. Unfortunately, a confusion of the latter kind is developing in one area that is a basis for many geophysical disciplines: the rotation of the earth.