Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Perils of automation


By Jacqueline Damian

I’m indebted to my former boss, Greg Lupion, for finding this one:

It seems a Christian news site outsmarted itself by programming its software to automatically change the word “gay” in any copy to “homosexual.” Thus, as reported by a Washington Post blogger, Olympic hopeful Tyson Gay became Tyson Homosexual on the site. Oops.

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” by Marvin Who?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Gobbledygook


Gobbledygook means language characterized by circumlocution or jargon. The word seems to originated, according to Webster's, between 1940-45, which makes sense because World War II was in full swing, and the military is famous for gobbledygook.
David Meerman Scott writes this morning that authorities in England and Wales are trying to end its life span here and now. Across the pond, the Local Government Association is urging governmental officials to junk jargon.
Said LGA Chairman Sir Simon Milton:
"The public sector can not, must not and should not hide behind impenetrable jargon and phrases. Why do we have to have 'coterminous, stakeholder engagement' when we could just 'talk to people' instead?"

(Would you expect anything else from a Milton? Paradise may yet be regained!)
The list includes: coterminous, empowerment, stakeholder, slippage, synergies and best practice. If these were outlawed in the United States, business communications might come to a crashing halt.
Onward....
My ex-EE Times colleague Alex Wolfe suggests actor William Shatner is changing careers...radically.
His new autobiography is titled "Up Till Now," which suggests Shatner is telegraphing a move into farming. It's discouraging to see a book--presumably reviewed by editors--titled in thus, when it should be "Up 'Til Now."

 

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