Silly Tuesday Questions, Jorge Luis Borges Edition

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Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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35 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    Sorry, I was in the middle of reading this and the dongle to the monitor came loose.

    Some years back, we were implementing some new internal-facing systems at my work. The acronyms for these systems were RATS and LOCOS.

    Anyway, some in management felt these names were inappropriate or offensive somehow, and raised a stink about it. They succeeded in getting RATS renamed, but we fought to keep LOCOS and won.Report

    • Avatar morat20 says:

      I recall a rather eager intern who came running into the room and said “They’re letting me name the new [in-house] software! It’s JEDI!”. (I forget what the acronym actually stood for, but rest assured — people flew into space supported by software named JEDI).

      The other was the fact that we did, for quite some time, utilize the MCP to control a whole bunch of other software. Surprisingly few people got the Tron reference.

      Then again, the aerospace world is really acronym heavy. You just start to think they’re real words, not acronyms.Report

  2. Avatar Anne says:

    I have one but it really needs to be submitted in picture form. How do I attach a picture?Report

    • Avatar Patrick says:

      You’d have to link to it, we don’t have an upload feature.

      Which reminds me, we’re running out of space again…Report

  3. Avatar Chris says:

    Dude, I came out of philosophy and psychology. Enough said.

    (In cognitive science, even the acronyms have acronyms.)Report

  4. Avatar zic says:

    Well, I’ve noticed (at least in public schools) a trend to call the school’s campus a ‘complex.’ It’s enough to give me a school-complex complex.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Many years ago, I was involved in a lunchtime conversation in the Bell Labs cafeteria, where we were discussing the right and wrong ways to correct problems with the UNIX process table, ie, the list of processes that held various system resources. In the interests of brevity, we all dropped the word “process” from what we were saying, so the conversation went something like this.

    A: But what do we do about zombies?
    B: Well, you can’t just kill one, it’s already dead. We’ll have to bring it back to life, as a child.
    C: Whose child?
    B: It doesn’t matter, it can be anyone’s child.
    A: No it can’t, it can’t be a parent who’s waiting for its own children to die.
    B: So it has to become the child of a parent who’s not waiting for any children to die.
    C: Right! Turn the zombie into the child of a parent without children, then that child can die properly.

    At that point the little gray-haired lady at the next table got up and announced “You people are sick!” before she stomped off.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

      But did you say “dongle” or “fork”?Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Or you could have added a “Don’t wait for the child” argument to fork() to avoid creating the zombie in the first place.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        This was in the days when early UNIX was being adapted to different hardware so it could be embedded in some high-reliability high-availability systems, and sometimes zombies just happened. More fundamentally, this was a specific case within the general problem “What do you do when you find that the kernel data structures aren’t consistent and reboot isn’t an option?”Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Excellent!Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Overheard Two Guys Talking on the street:
      “But you can’t even get a man out of it!”
      At which point said man discovered exactly how gay that sounded, and amended
      “I mean man page.”Report

  6. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    So, I don’t want to torpedo this question, but is it possible that you’re confusing Texas v. Johnson with Lawrence v. Texas?Report

  7. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    In education, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is often referred to as Nickleby. Nicholas Nickleby is a Dickens book that prominently features a nightmarish boarding school.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan McLeod says:

      Similarly, in the Ontario wine industry*, the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) is sometimes referred to as the Lick-Bo…which could be taken the wrong way.

      (*probably the booze industry in general, but I wouldn’t know for sure.)Report

  8. Avatar Damon says:

    See the problem I have is remembering them all. A lot of them are company / program specific. And a lot of them are acronyms. So if I said NERC that wouldn’t mean anything to you and “my NERC” is not on Google….so…..Report

  9. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    It’s not necessarily weird but in immigration, I find myself speaking in terms of the forms rather than the type of relief, so I’d refer to a form I-589 rather than asylum or a Special J.Report

  10. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    These were deliberate, but I used to work on a system that had an Application Runtime Facility and a Portable Application Windowing System.Report

  11. Avatar Pinky says:

    We use “ad hoc” as a noun and a verb. We ad hoc data when we find mistakes, and those corrections are referred to as ad hocs. The thing that kills me is when we find a correction that has to be made every year, it gets labeled as a “standard ad hoc”.Report

  12. Avatar j r says:

    I am tempted to throw out some of the lingo from my Army days, but I fear that I would end up violating the commenting policy.

    One odd linguistic tic that happens in the Army is that people can develop a tendency to refer to things using the taxonomy of military nomenclature, which is optimized for making long lists and proceeds from the larger category to the more specific. So, on an inventory sheet an M35 two-and-a-half ton cargo truck becomes: truck, utility, cargo/troop, 2-1/2 ton, 6×6, M36. Or a duffel bag is: bag, duffel, A10 cylindrical, duck nylon, camouflage G…

    You get people talking like this about all sort of things. Instead of saying, “that black supply sergeant in Alpha company,” they’ll say something like “the NCO, E-5 type, supply, African American, Alpha Co.”Report

  13. Avatar gingergene says:

    In one of the places I worked at, everyone referred to a collection of related drawings as a “drawing package”, which was shortened to “package”. When changes were necessary, you’d call a meeting and have a few spare sets of eyes look over the changes you’d made to your package and make comments.

    The first few times someone asked me to review his package, it took every ounce of mental strength I had not to look down and say, “Not bad, I’d give it a 7”.Report

  14. Avatar zic says:

    I was hoping someone would throw up an OTC about for this, Quiz: North Korean Slogan or TED Talk Sound Bite?

    (And this seemed like an appropriate thread to disrupt with the request.)Report

  15. I won’t steal someone’s joke, so I’ll just offer this link:
    https://twitter.com/DarthKripple/status/575847123821813760Report