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A Brief Retrospective on the Nature of Truth and Why It Confuses Us So

Diogenes Searching For TRUTH in Ancient Greece

 Recently, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) announced that Truth is the Word of the Year for 2017.

Austin, Texas, December 2017.  If you kept abreast of the daily press reports, you would think an outbreak of mass hysteria or at least amnesia had swept over the nations of the West. The world’s leading print and electronic media acted as if the concept of truth had been circumvented, or even, contravened, and sounded alarm after alarm that what we all knew as facts were no longer discernible. The source of this disruption in the news cycle, of course, was what came to be known as fake news and post-truth.

For historical comparisons of a number of the terms used in this analysis, GLM used the Google Ngram Viewer.   You can use the Ngram Viewer to chart frequencies of comma-delimited search strings.  The Google Ngram Viewer uses yearly counts from sources printed between 1500 and 2008, though in some cases later dates of publications are included.

In the first example, frequencies of citations between and among a number of words used to describe the Top Words of the Year for 2016 are plotted between 1940 and the present.

Figure 1. Relative Frequency of citations among words used to describe the Top Words of the Year for 2016

Figure 2. Close-up on Relative Frequency Among Some Top Words of the Year for 2016

Figure 3.  Comparisons of the Words Truth Vs. Lie Since 1740

This is why early in the century, the Global Language Monitor put into place a methodology that clearly states that each considered word or phrase must adhere to the published criteria (see below). The methodology calls for words and phrases from the entire global English linguasphere to be considered, as well as each fulfilling geographic and demographic requirements. This automatically excludes the lists created by those organizations that rely on polls and other such non-scientific tools

A Methodology Optimized for the Wired World -- GLM’s Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage 
throughout the English-speaking world, which now approaches some 2.38 billion people, who use the language 
as a first, second, business language. To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must meet 
three criteria: 1) found globally, 2) have a minimum of 25,000 citations, and 3) have the requisite ‘depth’ 
and ‘breadth’ of usage. Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must 
appear world-over, not limited to a particular profession or social group or geography. The goal is to find 
the word usage that will endure the test of time.

Global Language Monitor began to use newly available technologies to document the Words of the Year for Global English at the turn of the 21st century, with the idea to encapsulate and capture the essence of the preceding twelve months in a sort of linguistic amber.

Consider for a moment that fact that in 2009 GLM named ‘twitter’ as the Global English Word of the Year, not only as a social media phenomenon but as a potential Weapon of Mass Disruption (or even destruction). Witness: 1) the Arab Spring and 2) the actions of one Donald J. Trump.

Political Correctness

In a time so debilitated by the specter of political correctness (both from the left and the right), it seems rather demeaning to advance the concept of ‘fake news’, once you study its etymology, tracing back the origins of the word ‘fake’.

Cambridge Dictionaries’ definition of fakir: A Muslim (or, loosely, a Hindu) religious ascetic who lives solely on alms. Origin: Early 17th century: via French from Arabic faqīr. Fakir, Arabic Faqīr (“poor”), originally, a mendicant dervish. In mystical usage, the word fakir refers to man’s spiritual need for God, who alone is self-sufficient. Although of Muslim origin, the term has come to be applied in India to Hindus as well.

Fakirs are generally regarded as holy men who are possessed of miraculous powers, such as the ability to walk on fire or to subsist by looking only at the face of God.

In a Languagelog posting by Mark Liberman, How Fakirs Became Fakers, Edmund Wilson comments (from the grave) that Fakirs began to become entwined with fakers with a common usage that arose out of the American spiritualism craze of the 19th century.  This is where one can witness the shift in meaning for the word fakir, from an Islamic religious ascetic to the Hindu “Yogi,” to a sort of street corner or carnival barker or “producer of illusions”.

In other words ‘fake news” joins a long list of ethnic slurs that have imbued American English since before the founding of the republic. They are too many to repeat. However the most common of these might be ‘ethnic-group’ giver’ or ‘ethnic-group rich’. Specifically, using the term fake news could be said to humiliate and/or cast aspersions upon Muslim and/or Hindu holy men. Recent searches of the New York Times found 869 instances of ‘fake news,’ while searches of The Washington Post found 1,352. None mentioned the historical dubiousness of the practice.

You can see this linguistic shift peaking around 1940 and continuing to this day.

Figure 4. Shift in Meaning Between Fakir and Faker During the 1940s

In retrospective, even the whole idea of fake news and post-truth is a bit of an over-reaction. The organizations that were disrupted the most by the appearance of unchecked, non-verifiable and inadequately sourced stories, were those upon which the world came to rely and depend upon to safeguard the information delivered to their audiences as verifiably true. To continue in these roles as stewards of truth, it was incumbent upon them to put into place new methods of testing information.

The unvarnished truth is that the dominant news gathering and distribution organizations fell behind the curve as sources of information multiplied by orders of magnitude. Neither did they comprehend the astonishingly rapid advances in computing power. Finally, the evolution of communication and social media tools advanced far more quickly than the old line media’s ability to adapt to and absorb them.

Decades of reporting on the decline of the US manufacturing base never seemed to register to old media as applicable lessons for themselves. In the mid-’80s, an HBS case study inquired as to which fared better — companies with strategic plans in place or those that had none. The answer: a dead heat. Apparently, companies without strategic plans were able to adjust more quickly to changing market conditions while companies with strategic plans all too often, steadfastly rode these plans straight into oblivion.  (For more information on this phenomenon, check out the first two editions of In Search of Excellence.  Prepare to be shocked.)

What is Truth?

The debate over what is truth has been ongoing since the search for an ‘honest man’ by Diogenes the Cynic, the dialogues of Socrates as recorded by Plato, the rhetorical question Pontius Pilate asked of the Christ, the Confessions of Augustine, the Summa of Aquinas, and the monastic scriptoria of Medieval Europe.

In the scriptoria of the Middle Ages, an elaborate system was constructed to ensure that no discrepancies were introduced into Scripture or highly-prized scholarly works — before the coming of movable type and the printing press. Can you imagine the decibel level of a discussion that played out over the misrepresentation of a single iota when dealing with the work of a Church Father, the Apostle Peter (or Paul), or the words of the Lord himself? This, of course, was complicated by the fact that there were few grammatical rules, little or no punctuation, no spaces between and among words, nor between sentences or paragraphs, and the like.

Even in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Harvard and Yale engaged in the same sort of tussle about the owner of Truth as the Right and Left are engaged in today.  Harvard chose the Latin word Veritas (Truth) on its official seal, while Yale considered the matter closed by adding Lux et Veritas.  (Light and Truth) to its own shield.  Three hundred years later, in an academic world perhaps overly concerned with political correctness, Harvard won top honors for the Top Politically (in)Correct Word of 2016.

Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.

We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the tsunami washing over the planet at an ever-quicker pace. Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t changed at all. It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality: News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.

Can you imagine the uproar in the monastic world when documents would be produced with little or no vetting against the time-honored standards?

In 2008 GLM published an article, “Is Merriam-Webster its own Best Frenemy,” where we noted that its newest additions to its Collegiate Dictionary, were older than most entering college students at the time (28 years vs 18!)  Indeed, for the most part, technology could solve most of the Post-truth and Fake News phenomena.

Since the turn of the 21st century, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) has named the Top Words of Global English. A decade earlier, the American Dialect Society began to name the Word of The Year for mostly American (and a bit of British) English with little or no use of the then emerging computer power. By the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, the BBC chose the Global Language Monitor to determine the Top English Words of the Decade worldwide while they chose an UK-based Linguist to highlight those of the UK.

One of the most surprising trends in the evolution of the Words of the Year over the last two decades is that they have become decidedly more parochial, and more trivial, as the century has progressed. Now there are about a dozen players, all competing for the same space, so the race has been one of dumbing down the various nominees and ultimate winner in an apparently desperate attempt to seek the lowest common denominator, or even worse, to optimize entertainment value.

Perhaps most surprising of all is the apparent lack of preparation by the venerable incumbent organizations responsible for gathering, sifting through, and certifying information that then qualifies as verifiably newsworthy.

Apocalyptic language has been widely cited as word of the year worthy for the last several years — and rightly so. In fact, Apocalypse and Armageddon took Global Language Monitors’ honors as Top Global English Words of 2012. And though GLM’s proprietary algorithms have displayed a predictive element, it’s entirely possible that Apocalyptic language did indeed peak some five years too soon.

 

About the Global Language Monitor

In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known.

Today, from its home in Austin, Texas GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities. Products include ‘brand audits’ to assess the current status, establish baselines, and competitive benchmarks for current intellectual assets and brands, and to defend products against ambush marketing.

These services are currently provided to the Fortune 500, the Higher Education market, high technology firms, the worldwide print, and electronic media, as well as the global fashion industry, among others.

For more information, call 1.512.801-6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.


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The Eclipse Predictor (American Journal of Physics)

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Battle Over Climate Change Explained in Three Charts

 

Climate Change is like an asteroid heading in for a direct hit on Earth.

Obama’s Climate Change Warning (& National Climate Assessment) Doesn’t Touch on the Magnitude of the Threat.

 

June 18-19, 2014, AUSTIN, Texas — The recent report on human-enhanced climate change points to the problem. The US National Climate Assessment, released May 6, 2014, represents the most comprehensive attempt yet to assess the current effects of human-enhanced climate change on America’s (and the Earth’s) future. Why does confusion persist about the subject? After all, Global Warming /Climate Change have ranked near the top of our Top Word lists for more than a decade.

Perhaps the major difficulty is overcoming the fact that:

  1. Few news reporters are well-versed in technical and scientific communication.
  2. Few scientists are well-versed in communicating effectively to a large public audience in non-scientific terms.
  3. The public is not trained in deciphering the reams of information that presents the case that is being argued.

Therefore, lack of technical communications skills inhibit true understanding of climate change news. As a former university lecturer on Scientific and Technical Communications, I’ve created a few rules to keep close to heart.

Rule No. 1 When Communicating a Scientific Truth Be Sure to Communicate the Whole Truth — The audience instinctively knows when you are leaving out some of the story that you think might confuse the issue.

Well known Fact: The temperatures are now the highest in 1,000 years.

Larger Reality: The global surface temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 2100 years. Scientific and Technical writing professionals would, one hopes, clarify the discussion by writing from the audience’s point-of-view. An educated audience would expect a phrase, such as ‘not in a thousand years’ to mean ‘not ever’. They would likely be concerned if they knew an author to be shading the truth that actually obscures the larger truth.

Suffice to say the global temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 1200 years as shown in the graphic using four different sources. Also note there was the well-known historical fact of the Little Ice Age, with many early New England documents noting various ‘Year(s) Without Summer(s)”.

 

 Temperature Fluctuation Over Preceding 1200 Years

 

Rule No. 2 Just because any particular analysis might be short-sighted, there is no need for you to be short-sighted also.

Well known Fact: PaleoIndians crossed the Bering Land Bridge to first settle the Americas.

Larger Reality: For the Bering Land Bridge to exist, the sea level had to be about 100 meters (290 feet) LOWER than its current level.

 The Bering Land Bridge About 15,000 BCE

 

The US National Climate Assessment is estimating a one-to-two meter rise by the turn of the 22nd century. Add in the human-enhancement factor and climate change will be even more dramatic (and possibly happen more quickly) than anticipated.

Rule No. 3 In 10,000 BCE, (8,000 BC), New York City was also under a mile (1.6 km) of ice. Jericho was a thriving (albeit small) city at this time. Most people who are aware of this fact, place it in the distant past, say, 1,000,000 years BCE.

Well known Fact (though not true): Climate Change began in the late 20th century OR with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.

Larger Truth: Climate Change began with the advent of the atmosphere as we know it about 600 million years ago. This atmosphere enabled the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ as millions of life forms suddenly appeared on land.

The climate created by this atmosphere began to change at that time and continues to do so some some 600,000,000 years later though we only have specific details of the last half million years or so, as shown below.

 

 

These are a broad outline of temperature changes over the last 400,000 years as recorded by three different methods. Perhaps the most familiar is the Vostok Ice Core (Antarctica), drilled to a depth of 11,887 feet (3623 m) in 1998.

Conclusion: There are well-known facts that pale before a larger reality. Do not trim your arguments (whatever they be) to exclude the larger reality.

Well Known Fact: Climate Change is happening and its profound effect upon humankind is real. Human-influenced climate change is a new scientific reality

Larger Reality: Climate Change has a detailed in the scientific record for about 4oo,ooo years — and it has been ongoing for about 600,000,000 years.

What was the ongoing debate of our paleoindian ancestors as they watched the megafauna (wooly mammoths, sabre tooth tigers, etc.) disappear as the 5,000 ft (1.6 km) ice cap atop Manhattan melted away beneath their feet?

The paleoindians had it within their power to preserve the megafauna if they had known the consequences of their overhunting.  However, the retreating glacier, a consequence of global cooling, was beyond their control.

Today humankind faces the same two problems. And this time we have a bigger stake in the game. If the will is there, we can stop or at least alter the course of the Fourth Great Extinction. And if the will is there, we can curb at least the human-enhancement portion of climate change, whether or not the planet is subject to the larger, longer-term climatic cycles.



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Misc.III

The Various Global Language Monitor Word of the Year Schedules

GLM Words of the Year Schedules

No. 1, Words, Names and Phrases of 2014 will be announced during the US Thanksgiving Week, Tuesday November 25

No. 2, Top Business Buzzwords (50) will be announced in early December.

No.3, Top Words of the Quindecennial of the 21st century will be announced in mid-December.

No. 4, Top Words, One Hundred Years Hence & Map of the Re-federalized United States for 2114 A.D. later in December.

Words of the Year Already Announced:

 

Current Number of Words in the English Language is 1,027,770.5 (July 1, 2014 estimate)

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Top Tech Buzzwords Everyone Uses but Don’t Quite Understand (2013): ‘Big Data’ and ”Dark Data’

New top trending terms include: Dark Data, Yottabytes, Heisenbug, 3-D printer, phablet, and presentism.

Austin, Texas, Weekend Release March 29-31, 2013 — ‘Big Data’ and ‘Dark Data’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far) according to the The Global Language Monitor. ‘The Cloud’ slips to No. 3, followed by Yottabytes, and ‘The Next Big Thing”. Rounding out the Top Ten are Heisenbug, 3-D Printer, Phablet, the acronym REST, and Web x.0 (replacing Web 2.0).

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Continuing as the most confusing acronym of the year, decade and now of the century: SOA.

 

Gartner Big Data Analysis

 

“High Tech buzzwords are now coming at us full speed from all corners as the ‘adorkable’ nerd is exiting the periphery — and is now is viewed as a societal asset,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “New terms are bubbling forth at an ever increasing pace, driven in part, by the tremendous growth and accessibility of data. Nowhere on the planet is this more evident than at SXSWi where the digital world intersects with those of music, film and pop culture.”

The Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, proprietary databases, as well as new social media as they emerge. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.

The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the of the Second Decade of the 21st century, thus far (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013) with commentary follow:

2013 Rank, Buzzword, Last Year’s rank

Big Data (1) — Soon Human Knowledge will be doubling every second. ‘Big’ does not begin to describe what’s coming at us.

  1. ‘Dark Data’ begins to emerge, though you might not have noticed it because … it is ‘Dark Data’ (New) — ‘Big’ has begun to spin off its own superlatives.
  2. The Cloud (2) — All that data has got to go somewhere. Hint: it’s neither your phone nor your tablet.
  3. Yottabytes (New) — Showing up on lots of technologists’ radar lately: a quadrillion gigabytes.
  4. The Next Big Thing (3) — A cliche rendered ever more meaningless but still on everyone’s tongue.
  5. Heisenbug (New) — A bug that disappears when you try to detect it , finally making the list after a steady ascent over the last decade.
  6. 3-D Printer (New) — Watch this space. They’ve been used in CAD design for years and science fiction for decades — but now they are impinging upon everyday life.
  7. Phablet (New) — The Next Big Thing? The odds are against it since consumer goods tend to evolve into single-purpose appliances.
  8. REST (New) — Representational State transfer is slowly climbing its way up the list.
  9. Web X.0 (5) — Formerly Web 2.0, 3.0, etc.
  10. Higgs Boson (3, Decade) — The Higgs Boson is a hypothetical massive scalar elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. OK, let’s just call it the God Particle.
  11. CERN (7) — On a two-year hiatus (sabbatical in academic parlance) after only one year of operation. At least the Earth is on a short reprieve from being swallowed the black hole it might accidentally create.
  12. Presentism (New) — The ‘presentism of constant pings’ is how its put..
  13. Solar Max (8) — 2013 is the Solar Max. In the 1850s telegraph wires melted. Best not to shuck off the hype here.

The Most Confusing Tech Acronym of THE CENTURY: SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), continuing its acrnym of the year, decade and now century reign.

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For reference, here is the first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century.

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The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century with Commentary follow:

  1. HTTP — HyperText Transfer Protocol is used for HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files. Not to be confused with text on too much Starbucks.
  2. Flash — As in Flash Memory. “Flash’ is easier to say than “I brought the report on my EEPROM chip with a thin oxide layer separating a floating gate and control gate utilizing Fowler-Nordheim electron tunneling”.
  3. God Particle – The Higgs boson, thought to account for mass. The God Particle has eluded discovery since its existence was first postulated some thirty years ago.
  4. Cloud Computing – Distributing or accessing programs and services across the Internet. (The Internet is represented as a cloud.)
  5. Plasma (as in plasma TV) — Refers less often to blood products than to a kind of television screen technology that uses matrix of gas plasma cells, which are charged by differing electrical voltages to create an image.
  6. IPOD – What the Alpha Whale calls his personal pod. Actually, Apple maintains that the idea of the iPod was from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The origin of the word IPAD is a completely different story.
  7. Megapixel – Either a really large picture element (pixel) or a whole mess of pixels. Actually, one million pixels (that’s a lotta pixels) OK, what’s a pixel? Computer-ese for picture element.
  8. Nano – Widely used to describe anything small as in nanotechnology. Like the word ‘mini’ which originally referred to the red hues in Italian miniature paintings, the word nano- is ultimately derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘dwarf’.
  9. Resonate – Not the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude, but the ability to relate to (or resonate with) a customer’s desires.
  10. Virtualization – Around since dinosaurs walked the planet (the late ‘70s) virtualization now applies to everything from infrastructures to I/O.
  11. Solution — Ever popular yet still an amorphous description of high tech packages of hardware, software and service
  12. Cookie — Without cookies with their ‘persistent state’ management mechanism the web as we know it, would cease to exist.
  13. Robust — No one quite knows what it means, but it’s good for your product to demonstrate robustness
  14. Emoticon A smiley with an emotional component (from emotional icon). Now, what’s a smiley? :’)
  15. De-duping – Shorthand for de-duplication, that is, removing redundant data from a system.
  16. Green washing – Repositioning your product so that its shortfalls are now positioned as environmental benefits: Not enough power? Just re-position as energy-saving.
  17. Buzzword Compliant — To include the latest buzzwords in literature about a product or service in order to make it ‘resonate’ with the customer.
  18. Petaflop — A thousand trillion (or quadrillion) floating point operations per second Often mistaken as a comment on a failed program by an animal rights’ group.
  19. Hadron – A particle made of quarks bound together by the strong force; they are either mesons (made of one quark and one anti-quark) or baryons (made of three quarks).
  20. Large Hadron Collider – The ‘atom smasher’ located underground outside Geneva. Primarily built to re-create the conditions of creation, 1 trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

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Top Tech Buzzwords Everyone Uses but Don’t Quite Understand (2012)

‘Big Data’ and ‘The Cloud’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far)

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SOA continues its reign as most confusing acronym

 

For the 2013 Update, go here!

Austin, Texas, March 15, 2012 — ‘Big Data’ and ‘The Cloud’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far) according to the The Global Language Monitor. Topping the list for 2012 are: Big Data, the Cloud, The Next Big Thing, Social Discovery, Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on). Solid State, CERN, Solar Max, De-dupe, 3G/4G/5G, and SoLoMo.

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Continuing as the most confusing acronym now of the century: SOA.

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GLM releases its Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords list annually in conjunction with Austin’s SXSW Interactive conference, which ends March 20th.

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“High tech terms have long spilled into popular culture and this is nowhere more evident that at SXSW where the digital world intersects with those of music and the movies,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor. “To a large and growing extent, high tech buzzwords are fueling the growth of English, which now serves as the Earth’s means of global communication.”

SXSW can best be described as a weird mash-up of Cannes, COMDEX, and Woodstock. If creative ideas don’t mix here, it’s just not going to happen.

The Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.

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The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the of the Second Decade of the 21st century, thus far (2010, 2011 & 2012) with commentary follow:

  1. Big Data — Big Data is the biggest buzzword. It has been called the key to new waves of productivity growth, essential to the US place in global economics, and more. Now if only we could agree on exactly what this means and how we get there. (By the way, consider yottabytes: a quadrillion gigabytes. Hint: Just think a lotta bytes.)
  2. ‘The Cloud — The Cloud, in various manifestations has been ranked No. 1 for 2008, No, 4 overall for the decade, and now as No. 2 for 2012. Still all very nebulous.
  3. The Next Big Thing — A cliche rendered nearly meaningless by the innumerable daily claims made by VCs, entrepreneurs, college drop-outs, etc. Actually, you can count the history of next big things on your fingers, and possibly toes.
  4. Social Discovery — Webster’s 1910 definition. “Consisting in union of mutual converse,” might be an excellent corporate strategy.
  5. Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on) — Ranked as the 1,000,000th English-language word in 2009, it just keeps morphing along.
  6. Solid State — As in Solid State Disks (SSDs). Remember ‘solid-state’ televisions switched from vacuum tubes (Paleozoic)? How about LED watches from the ’80s (Mesozoic)? Today, it’s all-about Solid State Disks.
  7. CERN — You might want to understand the acronym before the Earth is swallowed up the ‘mini’ black hole it just might create . (The European Organization for Nuclear Research)
  8. Solar Max — In the 1850s telegraph wires melted. Best not to shuck off the hype here.
  9. De-dupe — First we dupe, then we de-dupe; Flash forward to 2014: Re-duping! Ah, the next big thing!
  10. 3G/4G/5G — One of the benefits of having an open, open standard (AKA, no standard). Anybody can claim to lead as the (Generation) ‘standard’ expands into meaningless.
  11. SoLoMo — This is not an oh-so-trendy neighborhood like Soho or Dumbo, at least not in the sense of brick-and-mortar. This is the convergence of Social, Local, and Mobile. The Talk of the Town at SXSWi this week in Austin.

The Most Confusing Tech Acronym of 2012: SOA (Solutions Oriented Architecture), continuing its Most Confusing Tech Acronym of the Decade reign. Not only is there an highly popular SOA for Dummies edition but Google Books list 47,300 editions that explicate upon the subject.

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For reference, here is the first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century.

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The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century with Commentary follow:

  1. HTTP — HyperText Transfer Protocol is used for HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files. Not to be confused with text on too much Starbucks.
  2. Flash — As in Flash Memory. “Flash’ is easier to say than “ I brought the report on my EEPROM chip with a thin oxide layer separating a floating gate and control gate utilizing Fowler-Nordheim electron tunneling”.
  3. God Particle – The Higgs boson, thought to account for mass. The God Particle has eluded discovery since its existence was first postulated some thirty years ago.
  4. Cloud Computing – Distributing or accessing programs and services across the Internet. (The Internet is represented as a cloud.)
  5. Plasma (as in plasma TV) — Refers less often to blood products than to a kind of television screen technology that uses matrix of gas plasma cells, which are charged by differing electrical voltages to create an image.
  6. IPOD – What the Alpha Whale calls his personal pod. Actually, Apple maintains that the idea of the iPod was from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The origin of the word IPAD is a completely different story.
  7. Megapixel – Either a really large picture element (pixel) or a whole mess of pixels. Actually, one million pixels (that’s a lotta pixels) OK, what’s a pixel? Computer-ese for picture element.
  8. Nano – Widely used to describe anything small as in nanotechnology. Like the word ‘mini’ which originally referred to the red hues in Italian miniature paintings, the word nano- is ultimately derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘dwarf’.
  9. Resonate – Not the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude, but the ability to relate to (or resonate with) a customer’s desires.
  10. Virtualization – Around since dinosaurs walked the planet (the late ‘70s) virtualization now applies to everything from infrastructures to I/O.
  11. Solution — Ever popular yet still an amorphous description of high tech packages of hardware, software and service
  12. Cookie — Without cookies with their ‘persistent state’ management mechanism the web as we know it, would cease to exist.
  13. Robust — No one quite knows what it means, but it’s good for your product to demonstrate robustness
  14. Emoticon A smiley with an emotional component (from emotional icon). Now, what’s a smiley? :’)
  15. De-duping – Shorthand for de-duplication, that is, removing redundant data from a system.
  16. Green washing – Repositioning your product so that its shortfalls are now positioned as environmental benefits: Not enough power? Just re-position as energy-saving.
  17. Buzzword Compliant — To include the latest buzzwords in literature about a product or service in order to make it ‘resonate’ with the customer.
  18. Petaflop — A thousand trillion (or quadrillion) floating point operations per second Often mistaken as a comment on a failed program by an animal rights’ group.
  19. Hadron – A particle made of quarks bound together by the strong force; they are either mesons (made of one quark and one anti-quark) or baryons (made of three quarks).
  20. Large Hadron Collider – The ‘atom smasher’ located underground outside Geneva. Primarily built to re-create the conditions of creation, 1 trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

 

Social Media Have Become Warrior Media

Social Media as a Strategic Weapon

By Edward ML Peters and Paul JJ Payack

Austin, Texas. March 1, 2011 — An analysis by the Global Language Monitor has found that a new weapon has recently been detected in the world’s strategic arsenal.

According to Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “To the uninitiated, it might appear to be part neutron bomb, which destroys only living things with little collateral damage, part some as yet unidentified weapon, which has the ability topple dictators, regimes and unsuspecting governments while rendering both living things and physical structures unharmed.

“We are speaking, of course, about Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), which have the apparent ability to re-align the social order in real time, with little or no advanced warning.”

In June 2009, we named Web 2.0 the 1,000,000th word in Global English. Many in the media were confused by our definition:

the next generation of products and services from the web, currently beyond imagination. Later in 2009, we named Twitter the word of the year. Some were surprised when we defined Twitter as ‘the ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters’. They were thinking of Twitter as a means for BFFs to gratuitously unfriend each other. We were thinking of it as a radical new form of communication.

Social Media is adhering to its etymological roots more tightly than one might expect. The word ‘social’ ultimately derives from ‘secg,’ an Old English word for ‘warrior’. The social media ‘warrior’ now understands that the role of social media is not a fad but a mechanism to better understand socio-economic trends and issues – in real time.

So it is even more surprising that the events of the last six weeks in the Middle East appear to have come as a shock to the Western Powers and Global Media.

Again.

Three years ago the media was shocked when an unexpected series of financial events set the global financial markets spinning out-of-control. In retrospect, we now see that only the strongest intervention of the Western Central Banks prevented what was horrific into becoming something downright catastrophic. The Western economies still suffer from the consequences.

A few month later, the media was shocked by the unprecedented run of a relatively unknown and untested Black man to the presidency to the United States. (Undoubtedly, it would have been shocked if his primary nemesis, the current US Secretary of State, had successfully navigated her campaign to become the first female president of the United States.)

Then a year ago, the media was shocked by 1) the rise of the Tea Party, 2) the ‘shellacking’ the President took in the Mid-term elections, and 3) now the upheavals in the Middle Eastern world that appear to have come as a shock to both the Western Powers and Global Media.

At least we are consistent in our on-going sense of shock.

The question becomes why do we continue to be shocked whenever we witness this new reality foisted upon us by means of communications never before imagined? Obviously, even to the casual observer, there is an on-going global transformation of industries, wealth and influence as evidenced by the evolving role of nation-states, the rise of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the proliferation of trans-national causes and corporations – that is apparently out of the span of command of many contemporary institutions.

Read More From These Authors on The Hill

The question remains: why the surprise? Why the sense of shock? We’ve seen this all before, but have apparently lacked the vision to put it all together. A common thread among recent strategic advances is that all are new forms of communications. We should keep this in mind and not dismiss social media as a passing fad for the young and foolish, but rather as new tools, new social instruments, or even strategic weapons that can, will and are having societal and strategic influences around the globe today.

So once again we have a list of surprises to confront:

  • People voting with their thumbs
  • Simultaneous uprisings in the Middle East
  • Long-ingrained totalitarian dictatorships falling
  • Christian and Muslim groups celebrating together

And our astonishment only continues to grow as the future unfolds.

After all, we’ve never seen anything like this before.

Again.

 

Wikileaks declared English-language Word

Another New Media Company that Passes into the Language

AUSTIN, Texas December 21, 2010 – WikiLeaks.ch, which that has increasingly upped the ante of the kind of information that it leaks into the public sphere from anonymous sources, has been deemed an English language word by the Global language Monitor. GLM recognizes a word as being part of the English language once it meets the requisite criteria of geographic reach as well as ‘depth and breadth’ of recorded usage.

In the case of wikileaks, the word appeared sporadically in the global media in 2006 until it has now been cited more than 300 million times, even with a quick Google search. This, of course, correlates with WikiLeaks’ most recent release of diplomatic correspondence and other classified government information. GLM standards include a minimum of 25,000 citations of a new term in the global media that encompass the English-speaking world, which now encompasses some 1.58 billion people. (In 1960, there were about 250 million English speakers, mostly in former British colonies.)

“Wikileaks joins a number of new media and high technology companies whose names and functions are being incorporated into the language,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of Austin-based Global Language Monitor. “These include Google, Twitter and the ‘friending’ function of Facebook. The most recent language spin-off from Google appears to be Xoogler, referring to ex-Google employees who bring their talents to other start-ups.”

The word ‘wiki’ is Hawaiian in origin and is usually defined as ‘quick’ or ‘fast’ especially when used in rapid succession: “wiki, wiki, wiki!”. In computing, a wiki describes software that lets any user create or edit Web-server content. The WikiLeaks organization was originally set-up as a ‘wiki’.

There is no official English language institution charged with maintaining the ‘purity’ of the English language and to maintain vigilance of the ‘corrupting influence’ of other languages. English accepts any and all contenders as long as they meet the requisite criteria of geographic reach as well as depth and breadth of usage. The L’Académie française is the official arbiter of the French language; it has famously declared the word ‘email’ (as well as ‘hamburger’) verboten from official French correspondence. The Royal Spanish Academy serves the same function for the Spanish language; it has recently eliminated two letters from the Spanish alphabet to the howl of Spanish speakers outside Spain.

The most recent words acknowledged by the Global Language Monitor include ‘refudiate’ a malapropism coined by Sarah Palin, ‘vuvuzela’ the brightly colored plastic horns made (in)famous at the South African World Cup, and ‘snowmageddon’ that President Obama used to describe the winter storms that nearly shut down Washington, DC during the recent winter.

 

Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of 2000-2009

Austin, Texas, March 17, 2010 — In conjunction with the SXSW Interactive conference held in its hometown, The Global Language Monitor has released the most confusing high tech buzzwords of the decade (2000-2009). Topping the list are HTTP, Flash, God Particle, Cloud Computing, and Plasma (as in plasma TV). Rounding out the Top Ten were IPOD/IPAD, Megapixel, Nano, Resonate and Virtualization.

The most confusing Acronym for the decade was SOA (Service Oriented Architecture).

SXSW has long been a harbinger for future directions in popular culture and now the gathering has taken on the added dimension of technological innovation,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor, “The words we use in high technology continue to become even more obtuse even as they move out of the realm of jargon and into the language at large.”

The Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.

The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the decade (2000-2009) with Commentary follow:

  1. HTTP — HyperText Transfer Protocol is used for HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files. Not to be confused with text on too much Starbucks.
  2. Flash — As in Flash Memory. “Flash’ is easier to say than “ I brought the report on my EEPROM chip with a thin oxide layer separating a floating gate and control gate utilizing Fowler-Nordheim electron tunneling”.
  3. God Particle – The Higgs boson, thought to account for mass. The God Particle has eluded discovery since its existence was first postulated some thirty years ago.
  4. Cloud Computing – Distributing or accessing programs and services across the Internet. (The Internet is represented as a cloud.)
  5. Plasma (as in plasma TV) — Refers less often to blood products than to a kind of television screen technology that uses matrix of gas plasma cells, which are charged by differing electrical voltages to create an image.
  6. IPOD – What the Alpha Whale calls his personal pod. Actually, Apple maintains that the idea of the iPod was from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The origin of the word IPAD is a completely different story.
  7. Megapixel – Either a really large picture element (pixel) or a whole mess of pixels. Actually, one million pixels (that’s a lotta pixels) OK, what’s a pixel? Computer-ese for picture element.
  8. Nano – Widely used to describe anything small as in nanotechnology. Like the word ‘mini’ which originally referred to the red hues in Italian miniature paintings, the word nano- is ultimately derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘dwarf’.
  9. Resonate – Not the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude, but the ability to relate to (or resonate with) a customer’s desires.
  10. Virtualization – Around since dinosaurs walked the planet (the late ‘70s) virtualization now applies to everything from infrastructures to I/O.
  11. Solution — Ever popular yet still an amorphous description of high tech packages of hardware, software and service
  12. Cookie — Without cookies with their ‘persistent state’ management mechanism the web as we know it, would cease to exist.
  13. Robust — No one quite knows what it means, but it’s good for your product to demonstrate robustness
  14. Emoticon A smiley with an emotional component (from emotional icon). Now, what’s a smiley? :’)
  15. De-duping – Shorthand for de-duplication, that is, removing redundant data from a system.
  16. Green washing – Repositioning your product so that its shortfalls are now positioned as environmental benefits: Not enough power? Just re-position as energy-saving.
  17. Buzzword Compliant — To include the latest buzzwords in literature about a product or service in order to make it ‘resonate’ with the customer.
  18. Petaflop — A thousand trillion (or quadrillion) floating point operations per second Often mistaken as a comment on a failed program by an animal rights’ group.
  19. Hadron – A particle made of quarks bound together by the strong force; they are either mesons (made of one quark and one anti-quark) or baryons (made of three quarks).
  20. Large Hadron Collider – The ‘atom smasher’ located underground outside Geneva. Primarily built to re-create the conditions of creation, 1 trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.
  21. Versioning – Creating new revisions (or versions) with fewer bugs and more features.
  22. VoIP – Voice Over IP, itself shorthand for Voice over Internet Protocol, which in plain English means the ability to talk on the phone over the Internet.
  23. Web 2.0 – Now there’s talk of Web 3.0, just when we were finally getting used to the advances web services called Web 2.0.
  24. Word Clouds – Graphic representations of the words used in a text, the more frequently used, the larger the representation.
  25. WORM — Not only not a computer virus anymore, let alone a slithery creature of the soil, but “a Write Once, Read Many file system used for optical disk technology

Most Confusing High Tech Acronym of the Decade

SOA – Service Oriented Architecture. Far-and-away No. 1. If it’s so easy to understand, why are hundreds of books written trying to explain exactly what it is.

Early Candidate for Most Confusing High Tech Buzzword of the 2nd Decade of the Century (Possibly a very short decade, Indeed.)

B’ak’tuns – According to the Long-Count Mayan Calendar (high tech for the late A.D.600’s) the end of a ‘Great Cycle’ of thirteen b’ak’tuns (periods of 144,000 days each) since the Mayan creation date of August 11, 3114 BC. According to popular belief, December 21st, 2012 will be the End of the World

 

Top Word of 2009: Twitter

Followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire

“King of Pop” is Top Phrase; “Obama” is top name

Austin, TX November 29, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has announced that Twitter is the Top Word of 2009 in its annual global survey of the English language. Twittered was followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire. The near-ubiquitous suffix, 2.0, was No. 6, with Deficit, Hadron the object of study of CERN’s new atom smasher, Healthcare, and Transparency rounded out the Top 10.

“In a year dominated by world-shaking political events, a pandemic, the after effects of a financial tsunami and the death of a revered pop icon, the word Twitter stands above all the other words. Twitter represents a new form of social interaction, where all communication is reduced to 140 characters,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor. “Being limited to strict formats did wonders for the sonnet and haiku. One wonders where this highly impractical word-limit will lead as the future unfolds.”

Read about it in the Guardian: Twitter declared top word of 2009

WHY twitter is the most popular word of 2009 at the Huffington Post

CNET’s Don Reisinger on twitter

Mashable’s take: what else does social media have to conquer?

What it means that twitter is the 2009 Word of the Year (WeberShandwick)

The Poetry of Social Networks

The Top Words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers.

The Top Words of 2009

Rank/Word/Comments

  1. Twitter — The ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters
  2. Obama — The word stem transforms into scores of new words like ObamaCare
  3. H1N1 — The formal (and politically correct) name for Swine Flu
  4. Stimulus — The $800 billion aid package meant to help mend the US economy
  5. Vampire — Vampires are very much en vogue, now the symbol of unrequited love
  6. 2.0 — The 2.0 suffix is attached to the next generation of everything
  7. Deficit — Lessons from history are dire warnings here
  8. Hadron — Ephemeral particles subject to collision in the Large Hadron Collider
  9. Healthcare — The direction of which is the subject of intense debate in the US
  10. Transparency — Elusive goal for which many 21stc. governments are striving
  11. Outrage — In response to large bonuses handed out to ‘bailed-out’ companies
  12. Bonus — The incentive pay packages that came to symbolize greed and excess
  13. Unemployed — And underemployed amount to close to 20% of US workforce
  14. Foreclosure — Forced eviction for not keeping up with the mortgage payments
  15. Cartel — In Mexico, at the center of the battle over drug trafficking

The Top Phrases of 2009

Rank/Phrase/Comments

  1. King of Pop –Elvis was ‘The King;’ MJ had to settle for ‘King of Pop’
  2. Obama-mania — One of the scores of words from the Obama-word stem
  3. Climate Change — Considered politically neutral compared to global warming
  4. Swine Flu — Popular name for the illness caused by the H1N1 virus
  5. Too Large to Fail — Institutions that are deemed necessary for financial stability
  6. Cloud Computing — Using the Internet for a variety of computer services
  7. Public Option — The ability to buy health insurance from a government entity
  8. Jai Ho! — A Hindi shout of joy or accomplishment
  9. Mayan Calendar — Consists of various ‘cycles,’ one of which ends on 12/21/2012
  10. God Particle — The hadron, believed to hold the secrets of the Big Bang

The Top Names of 2009

Rank/Name/Comments

  1. Barack Obama — It was Obama’s year, though MJ nearly eclipsed in the end
  2. Michael Jackson — Eclipses Obama on internet though lags in traditional media
  3. Mobama — Mrs. Obama, sometimes as a fashion Icon
  4. Large Hadron Collider — The Trillion dollar ‘aton smasher’ buried outside Geneva
  5. Neda Agha Sultan — Iranian woman killed in the post-election demonstrations
  6. Nancy Pelosi –The Democratic Speaker of the US House
  7. M. Ahmadinejad — The president of Iran, once again
  8. Hamid Karzai — The winner of Afghanistan’s disputed election
  9. Rahm Emmanuel — Bringing ‘Chicago-style politics’ to the Administration
  10. Sonia Sotomayor — The first Hispanic woman on the US Supreme Court

The analysis was completed in late November using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

The Top Words of the Decade were Global Warming, 9/11, and Obama outdistance Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed. “Climate Change” was top phrase; “Heroes” was top name.

 

 

Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords (2008)

 

Cloud Computing, Green Washing & Buzzword Compliant

 

Austin Texas November 21, 2008 — In its third annual Internet and media analysis, The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com) has found the most confusing yet frequently cited high tech buzzwords of 2008 to be cloud computing, green washing, and buzzword compliant followed by resonate, de-duping, and virtualization. Rounding out the Top Ten were Web 2.0, versioning, word clouds, and petaflop. The most confusing Acronym for 2008 was SaaS (software as a service).

 

Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor, said “The words we use in high technology continue to become even more obtuse even as they move out of the realm of jargon and into the language at large.”

 

The Most Confusing Yet Frequently Cited High Tech Words of 2008 with Commentary follow:

 

  • Cloud Computing – Distributing or accessing programs and services across the Internet. (The Internet is represented as a cloud.)
  • Green washing – Repositioning your product so that its shortfalls are now positioned as environmental benefits: Not enough power? Just re-position as energy-saving.
  • Buzzword Compliant — Including the latest buzzwords in literature about a product or service in order to make it ‘resonate’ with the customer.
  • Resonate – Not the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude, but the ability to relate to (or resonate with) a customer’s desires.
  • De-duping – shorthand for de-duplication, that is, removing redundant data from a system.
  • Virtualization – Around since dinosaurs walked the planet (the late ‘70s) virtualization now applies to everything from infrastructures to I/O.
  • Web 2.0 – Now there’s talk of Web 3.0, just when we were finally getting used to Web 2.0.
  • Versioning – Creating new revisions (or versions) with fewer bugs and more features.
  • Word Clouds – Graphic representations of the words used in a text, the more frequently used, the larger the representation.
  • Petaflop – A thousand trillion (or quadrillion) floating point operations per second Often mistaken as a comment on the environmental group.

The Most Confusing Yet Frequently Cited Acronym for 2008: SaaS — software-as-as-service to be differentiated, of course, from PaaS (platforms as a service) and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-service).

 

Others words under consideration include the ever popular yet amorphous ‘solution’, 3G and SEO.

 

In 2007 IPOD, Flash, Cookie, Nano and Cookie lead the list with SOA as the most confusing acronym

 

In 2005, HTTP, VoIP, Megapixel, Plasma, & WORM were the leading buzzwords.

 

The analysis was completed using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets. This analysis was performed earlier this month.

 

About The Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.

 

For more information, call 1.512801.6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

 

30-30-30

 

Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the Decade

‘Global Study: Top 10 Most Confusing (yet widely used) High Tech Buzzwords for 2008

Cloud Computing, Green Washing and Buzzword Compliant

Austin Texas November 20, 2008 — In its third annual Internet and media analysis, The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com) has found the most confusing yet frequently cited high tech buzzwords of 2008 to be cloud computing, green washing, and buzzword compliant followed by resonate, de-duping, and virtualization. Rounding out the Top Ten were Web 2.0, versioning, word clouds, and petaflop. The most confusing Acronym for 2008 was SaaS (software as a service).

Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor, said “The words we use in high technology continue to become even more obtuse even as they move out of the realm of jargon and into the language at large.”

The Most Confusing Yet Frequently Cited High Tech Words of 2008 with Commentary follow:

  • Cloud Computing – Distributing or accessing programs and services across the Internet.(The Internet is represented as a cloud.)
  • Green washing – Repositioning your product so that its shortfalls are now positioned as environmental benefits:Not enough power? Just re-position as energy-saving.
  • Buzzword Compliant — Including the latest buzzwords in literature about a product or service in order to make it ‘resonate’ with the customer.
  • Resonate – Not the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude, but the ability to relate to (or resonate with) a customer’s desires.
  • De-duping – shorthand for de-duplication, that is, removing redundant data from a system.
  • Virtualization – Around since dinosaurs walked the planet (the late ‘70s) virtualization now applies to everything from infrastructures to I/O.
  • Web 2.0 – Now there’s talk of Web 3.0, just when we were finally getting used to Web 2.0.
  • Versioning – Creating new revisions (or versions) with fewer bugs and more features.
  • Word Clouds – Graphic representations of the words used in a text, the more frequently used, the larger the representation.
  • Petaflop –A thousand trillion (or quadrillion) floating point operations per second Often mistaken as a comment on the environmental group.

The Most Confusing Yet Frequently Cited Acronym for 2008: SaaS — software-as-as-service to be differentiated, of course, from PaaS (platforms as a service) and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-service).

Others words under consideration include the ever popular yet amorphous ‘solution’, 3G and SEO.

In 2007 IPOD, Flash, Cookie, Nano and Cookie lead the list with SOA as the most confusing acronym

In 2005, HTTP, VoIP, Megapixel, Plasma, & WORM were the leading buzzwords.

The analysis was completed using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets. This analysis was performed earlier this month.

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Top 10 Most Confusing (yet widely used) High Tech Buzzwords for 2007

iPod, Flash, Cookie, Nano and Kernel lead list; SOA most confusing acronym

 

San Diego, Calif. and Henderson, NV October 16, 2007. In a worldwide internet and media analysis, The Global Language Monitor has found the most confusing yet frequently cited high tech buzzwords in 2007 to be iPOD, Flash, Cookie, Nano and Kernel followed by Megahertz, Cell (cell as in cell phone), Plasma, De-duplication, and Blu-Ray.

To see the Video Announcement, Click on Herr (mega)Hertz.

The study was released earlier today, on the 13th anniversary of the ‘cookie,’ the invention that made the World Wide Web practical for widespread surfing, communication, and e-commerce.

Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor, said “Educational metrics such as the Flesch Test would place a typical paragraph using these words at the Third-grade reading-level. At the same time, most college graduates, even from the most prestigious engineering schools such as MIT, Stanford, and CalTech would be challenged to precisely define all ten. Once again, the High Tech industry has failed its basic language proficiency test.”

The analysis was completed using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets. This analysis was performed in earlier this month.

The Most Confusing Yet Frequently Cited High Tech Words of 2007 with Commentary follow:

  1. iPOD: We all know the brand, but what exactly is a ‘pod’? A gathering of marine mammals? The encasement for peas? The evacuation module from 2001: A Space Odyssey?
  2. Flash: As in Flash Memory. Given it is easier to say than “ I brought the report on my EEPROM chip with a thin oxide layer separating a floating gate and control gate utilizing Fowler-Nordheim electron tunneling”.
  3. Nano: Widely used to describe any small as in nanotechnology. Like the word ‘mini’ which originally referred to the red hues in Italian miniature paintings, the word nano- is ultimately derived from the ancient Greek word for dwarf.
  4. Cookie: Without cookies with their ‘persistent state’ management mechanism the web as we know it, would cease to exist.
  5. Kernel: The core layer of a computer operating system serving as a connection to the underlying hardware. Ultimately derives from the Old English cyrnel, for corn.
  6. Megahertz MHz): Named after German physicist Heinrich Hertz, signifying a million cycles per second in computer processor (and not clock) speed. Next up: GigaHertz (GHz) and TeraHertz (THz), one billion and one trillion cycles.
  7. Cell (as in Cell Phone): Operating on the principle of cells, where communicate through low-power transceiver to cellular ‘towers’ up to 6 miles away (which is why you can connect to ground stations from airplanes at 35,000 feet). The phone connects to the strongest signal which are then passed from tower to tower.
  8. Plasma (as in Plasma Television): A top word in the last survey still confusing large-screen TV buyers.
  9. De-duplication: One of the newer buzzwords meaning removing duplicated data from a storage device, as in ‘we’re in the process of de-duping the silo’. Ouch!
  10. Blu-Ray (vs. HD DVD). New technology for high capacity DVDs reminiscent of the VHS/Beta wars of the 1980s.

Most

Confusing Acronym: SOA (Service-oriented Architecture); IBM had to write a book to explain it!?

See Bamboozled By Buzzwords Japan Times

.

Network World on the 10 Most Confusing High Tech Buzzworlds

Other terms being tracked included terabyte, memory, core, and head crash.

Now you can watch Global Language Monitor on YouTube.

.

Global Study: Top 10 Most Confusing (yet widely used) High Tech Buzzwords:

HTTP, Megapixel, Plasma, WORM and Emoticon Among Leaders

Danville, Calif. March 24, 2005. In a worldwide internet and media analysis, The Global Language Monitor found the most confusing yet frequently cited high tech buzzwords to be HTTP, Voice Over IP (VoIP), and Megapixel. Closely following were Plasma, Robust, WORM and Emoticon. The study was released earlier today. “The high tech realm remains an incubator of great ideas and, at the same time, mass confusion. The industry, with rare exception, has never mastered the basics of translating new products and services into everyday language: It is obvious that the High Tech industry has failed in its basic language proficiency test.”

The Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) is a proprietary algorithm that trackswords and phrases in the media and on the Internet. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets. This analysis was performed in early March of 2005.

The Most Confusing Yet Frequently Cited High Tech Words with Commentary follow:

  1. HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol is used for HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files. Not to be confused with text on too much Starbucks. More than 1 billion references to HTTP on the web alone.
  2. Voice Over IP VoIP, (pronounced voip rhyming with Detroit). Voice over Internet Protocol. Simply put: web telephony.
  3. Megapixel A really big pixel. No, one million pixels (thats a lotta pixels) OK, whats a pixel? Computer-ese for picture element.
  4. Plasma As in Plasma TV. Are we talking Red Cross Drives here? Rather, a flat, lightweight surface covered with millions of tiny glass bubbles with a digitally controlled electric current flowing through it that causes the plasma inside the tiny bubbles to glow.
  5. Robust No one quite knows what this means, but its good for your product to demonstrate robustness.
  6. WORM A virus, right? No, a Write Once, Read Many file system used for optical disk technology.
  7. Emoticon A smiley with an emotional component (from emotional icon). Now, whats a smiley?
  8. Best of breed Not to be confused with the Westminster Dog Show. A personalized solution made of components from various manufacturers; a sort of high tech mix-and-match.
  9. Viral marketing Marketing that Freezes your computer? Actually, a high tech marketing fad that theoretically results in a geometric progression of ones marketing message. Sometimes stealth. Always irritating.
  10. Data migration Nothing to do with pre-historic mastodons or, even, global warming. Its where the data in your present software programs can move to newer (or older) versions of the programs or, better yet, into competitive solutions without causing much of a fuss. A highly unlikely result.

Other terms being tracked included client/server, solution, Paradigm, hypertext, backward compatible, best of breed, and the STUN protocol.

Read: Buzzwords alienate a low-tech public (Knight-Ridder)

Read: Top 10 Confusing Tech Buzzwords (Network World)

Read: Nerdspeak Mostly Bafflegab (Toronto Globe and Mail)

The Infinity Symbol (the lemniscate)

Mathematical Symbols and Notation: Earliest Use

Mathematics as a Language

Computational Linguistics

Computer Language List

Read The WordMan on “How the Zero Was Discovered”

The Great Math Problems of the 20th Century

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The Dustbin of History, or How the Infinity Symbol Came into Existence

By Paul JJ Payack

John Wallis (1616-1703) possessed no knowledge of the mathematical arts at the age of fifteen, yet he later went on to become the Savilian professor of Geometry at Oxford, the friend and teacher of Isaac Newton (he was the first to charge that Leibnitz had stolen his ideas for the calculus), and a charter member of the Royal Society. Yet his place in the history of mathematical thought is, perhaps not unjustly, obscure (and oftentimes, simply, ignored). A list of his major formulations would serve, merely, as an esoteric series of footnotes to the said compilation, which would interest, it should be stated, rather few.

For example, Wallis discovered that, in all such operations, it was mass times velocity (mv) that was conserved and not, as it was widely held, merely velocity (v). However, he fell short of unsecreting the laws of motion (which Newton would later publish). He also, at one time, theorized “that for the purposes of calculation, the earth and moon can be treated as a single body, concentrated at their center of gravity …” but stopped short far short of formulating the basis for the Laws of Universal Gravitation.

It can also be noted that Newton borrowed his system of fluxional notation (in which the fluent of was represented by , and the fluent by and so on) yet this, too, was swept into the dustbin of history when it was later replaced by that system developed by Leibnitz. His significant work still owed a heavy debt to the Greeks and the most notable of these was Arithmatica Infinitorum sive Nova Methodus Inquirendi in Curvilineorum Quadraturam aliague difficilora Matheseosos Problemata (1673), which is more often recalled for its title rather than for the fact that it introduced to mathematics the idea of ‘limit’.

It is often opined that a man might fulfill the secret purpose of his existence in the doing of a seemingly trivial deed such as a word said in passing or, perhaps, an action not acted upon (the significance of which, more often than not, is forever hidden from the doer). In the case of John Wallis it can be said that he, quite possibly, achieved his destiny with the few simple strokes of his quill with which he, in 1656, modified a Roman variation for 1000. This was to serve him simply as the notation for a very small quantity, but, in centuries to come, was to serve the world as the symbol (and signature) of INFINITY.

 

 

Final Hollywood Awards of the 2015 Season — Top HollyWords

Revenant Takes Top Honors

Thirteenth Annual Survey

The Year in Film as Reflected in the English Language

 

Austin, Texas, March 21, 2016. ‘Revenant’ from The Revenant has been named the Top HollyWord of the Year by the Global Language Monitor in its thirteenth annual global survey Internet MediaBuzz Survey.

These were followed by ‘ ’ from Selma, and ‘’ from Alice, “ ” from Boyhood, and ‘best and whitest’ from the awards ceremony itself rounded out the top five.

Each year, GLM announces the words after the Oscars at the conclusion of the motion picture awards season. The 87th Annual Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA, Sunday, February 22, 2014. Neil Patrick Harris was the host for the first time, to generally mixed reviews.

“Words from American Sniper and Selma took top honors in a year of taunt scripts and memorable quips” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for the Global Language Monitor. “The films this year spanned an exceptionally wide range of topics from the inner workings of the mind to the farthest reaches of outer space.

The Top Hollywords of the 2015 season with commentary follow.

Rank / Word or Phrase / Commentary

  1. Revenant (The Revenant) — the word itself is a ‘revenant’ — returning from the dead.
  2. Brooklyn (Brooklyn) — Brooklyn, itself , is enjoying an unprecedented renaissance … since the Dodgers abandoned the Borough for SoCal.
  3. Schiaparelli — (The Martian) — A name not mentioned in the film, but the Italian Astronomer who first caused the first Mars s hypothesis about Martian ‘Canals’.
  4. The World (Room) — You are going to love it? Love what? The World.
  5. Blacklist (Trombo) — The Hollywood blacklist was but a window into a country-wide hysteria.
  6. Oscars (#OscarsSoWhite) — Perhaps the longest lasting legacy from this year’s Oscars.
  7. Post-Apocalyptic (Mad Max) — It’s a relief to talk about the coming Apocalypse in past tense.
  8. Quant (Big Short) — Quants are people, too.
  9. Reality Distortion Zone (Steve Jobs) — Apparently, the Zone was more effective outside Apple, Inc. than within the Executive Ranks.
  10. Mean Streets (Straight Outta Compton) — There are over 50,000 citations with the words ‘mean streets’ linked to Compton on Google.

Previous Top Hollyword Winners include:

  • 2014 ‘Your call.” (American Sniper) — Chris Kyle’s ultimate dilemma that he faced hundreds of times
  • 2013 The F-Word , prevalent in scores of films.
  • 2012 ‘Emancipation — (Lincoln, Django, Argo) — Webster says ‘to free from restraint, control, or the power of another’.
  • 2011 ‘Silence’ – Silent movies, (the Artist), a wife’s silence (Descendants), a father’s silence (Extremely Loud), silence among the trenches of WWI (Warhorse).
  • 2010 ‘Grit’ — firmness, pluck, gritty, stubborn, indomitable spirit, courageous, and brave perseverance.
  • 2009 ‘Pandora’ — from Avatar
  • 2008 ‘Jai Ho!” — Literally ‘Let there be Victory’ in Hindi from Slumdog Millionaire
  • 2007 “Call it, Friendo” — from No Country for Old Men
  • 2006 “High Five!!! It’s sexy time!” — from Borat!
  • 2005 ‘Brokeback’ — from Brokeback Mountain
  • 2004 ‘Pinot’ — from Sideways
  • 2003 ‘Wardrobe malfunction’ — Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson from Super Bowl XXXVII

Methodology. Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogs the latest trends in word usage and word choices and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. This exclusive ranking is based on GLM’s Narrative Tracking technology. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 250,000 print, and electronic news media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter) as they emerge. The words, phrases, and concepts are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

Final Hollywood Award of the Season — Top words from Hollywood (HollyWords)

American Sniper and Selma Take Top Prizes

Twelfth Annual Survey

The Year in Film as Reflected in the English Language

Austin, Texas, March 9, 2015. ‘Your call’ from American Sniper has been named the Top HollyWords of the Year by the Global Language Monitor in its twelfth annual Internet MediaBuzz Survey. These were followed by ‘Edmund Pettus’ from Selma, and ‘disappearing yesterdays’ from Alice, “Life doesn’t give you bumpers.” from Boyhood, and ‘best and whitest’ from the awards ceremony itself rounded out the top five.

American Sniper 1

Each year, GLM announces the words after the Oscars at the conclusion of the motion picture awards season. The 87th Annual Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA, Sunday, February 22, 2014. Neil Patrick Harris was the host for the first time, to generally mixed reviews.

“Words from American Sniper and Selma took top honors in a year of taunt scripts and memorable quips” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for the Global Language Monitor. “The films this year spanned an exceptionally wide span of topics from the inner workings of the mind to the farthest reaches of outer space.

Selma

The Top Hollywords of the 2014 season with commentary follow.

Rank / Word or Phrase / Commentary

  1. ‘Your call.” (American Sniper) — Chris Kyle’s ultimate dilemma that he faced hundreds of times ..
  2. Edmund Pettus (Selma) — Bridge named after a Confederate General and Klan leader, now an iconic symbol of hope and redemption.
  3. Disappearing Yesterdays (Still Alice) — Alice’s great fear of not knowing which yesterdays would be deleted and which preserved.
  4. “Life doesn’t give you bumpers.” (Boyhood) — Mason Sr’s advice to son during a teachable moment at the bowling alley.
  5. ‘Hollywood’s best and whitest’ (87th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony) — Neil Patrick Harris in a faux slip of the tongue at the Awards Ceremony.
  6. That little spark of madness (Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning, VietNam, etc.) — Robin Williams’ work all demonstrated that little spark.
  7. ‘It Depends’ — (Grand Budapest Hotel) — H. Gustave opines that “you can say that about most anything, ‘it depends’. Of course it depends” in a telling moment of obfuscation.
  8. String Theory (The Theory of Everything) — Hawkings never did complete his theory of everything. String theory is his closest attempt, thus far..
  9. Turing Machine (The Imitation Game) — Alan Turing’s theoretical computing machine serves as an idealized model for mathematical calculation.
  10. “You’re no actor, you’re a celebrity.” (Birdman) — This can be said of any number of one-time stars of the Hollywood firmament, any number of whom were present the Oscars ceremony..
  11. ‘Good Job’ (Whiplash) — Evidently, there are no two words in the English language more harmful to those pursuing excellence.
  12. Plan B (Interstellar) — The secret plan to implement after the supposed demise of the entire human race.

Previous Top Hollyword Winners include:

  • 2013 The F-Word , prevalent in scores of films.
  • 2012 ‘Emancipation — (Lincoln, Django, Argo) — Webster says ‘to free from restraint, control, or the power of another’.
  • 2011 ‘Silence’ – Silent movies, (the Artist), a wife’s silence (Descendants), a father’s silence (Extremely Loud), silence among the trenches of WWI (Warhorse).
  • 2010 ‘Grit’ — firmness, pluck, gritty, stubborn, indomitable spirit, courageous, and brave perseverance.
  • 2009 ‘Pandora’ — from Avatar
  • 2008 ‘Jai Ho!” — Literally ‘Let there be Victory’ in Hindi from Slumdog Millionaire
  • 2007 “Call it, Friendo” — from No Country for Old Men
  • 2006 “High Five!!! It’s sexy time!” — from Borat!
  • 2005 ‘Brokeback’ — from Brokeback Mountain
  • 2004 ‘Pinot’ — from Sideways
  • 2003 ‘Wardrobe malfunction’ — Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson from Super Bowl XXXVIII

Methodology. Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. This exclusive ranking is based upon GLM’s Narrative Tracking technology. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 250,000 print and electronic news media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter) as they emerge. The words, phrases and concepts are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media

 

Twerk Top Television Word of the Year 10th Annual Analysis

 

Tenth Annual Analysis by the Global Language Monitor

Austin, Texas, USA. September 27, 2013 (Updated). The Global Language Monitor (GLM) today announced that “Twerk” is the Top Teleword of the Year followed by “Tread lightly,” “Facial profiling,” “Posh Soap,” and “Valar Morghulis”. Rounding out the top ten were “Jersey Shore,” “Honey Boo Boo,” “Royal Baby,” “Space jump,” and “@Pontifex”.

The awards are announced in conjunction with the Primetime Emmy awards at the beginning of the Fall television season in the US. This is the tenth annual analysis by Austin-based GLM.

“This is the first time we are recognizing words and phrases from all four screens of contemporary communications: the television, the computer, the tablet and the smart phone. Accordingly, this year’s words have originated (and spread) from any of the devices to the others ” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “This year’s list reflects the massive, never ceasing, continuing flow of information bombarding people the world over.”

The Top Telewords of the 2012-2013 season with commentary follow:

Read more

Emancipate is the Top HollyWord for 2012

The Year in Film as Reflected in the English Language

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10th Annual Global Survey by the Global Language Monitor
Austin, Texas, February 27, 2012. ‘Emancipate’ is the Top HollyWord of the 2012 season, according to the tenth annual global analysis by the Global Language Monitor. At no. 2 is the numeric constant π, followed by barricade, upside down, and interrogation enhancement. Rounding out the top ten were czar, Argos, borderline, Franken-, and Elvish.
HollyWords
HollyWords of the Year Announced every Oscar Week

“In 2012, emancipate was a pervasive global theme represented in Lincoln, Django, and Argo but also in smaller, documentary and Indy efforts the world over. As Webster defines it, emancipate means ‘ to free from restraint, control, or the power of another”. This certainly resonated with both the filmmakers–and the audiences, who turned out in record numbers this season”, said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for the Global Language Monitor. Each year, GLM announces the Top HollyWords after the Oscars at the conclusion of the awards season. The 85th Annual Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California with Seth MacFarlane as host.

The Top Hollywords of the 2012 season with commentary follow.
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Rank / Word or Phrase / Commentary
  1. Emancipate (Lincoln, Django, Argo) — Webster says ‘to free from restraint, control, or the power of another’.
  2. Pi (Life of Pi) — As the title character would later explain: 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510, et cetera
  3. Barricade (Les Miserables) — In the original French barricade referred to a barrel. In actual history, the were swept away in days, or even hours.
  4. Upside Down (Flight) — Mortgages are ‘upside down’, houses are ‘upside down’, investments are ‘upside down’, but some times airplanes are actually ‘upside down’.
  5. Interrogation Enhancement (Zero Dark Thirty) — As defined by international treaty: any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted.
  6. Czar (Anna Karenina) — The word Czar is derived from the ancient Roman title, Caesar, as is Kaiser
  7. Argos (Argo) — An actual movie named after an actual script named after the mythical Jason, the Argonauts, and his ship.
  8. Borderline (Silver Linings Playbook) — Personality, sanity, polarity, and that’s just the first scene.
  9. Franken- (as a prefix) (Frankenweenie) — In the 21st century, the prefix Franken- has become a shorthand for human-generated catastrophes.
  10. Elvish (The Hobbit) — Their original language lost to history, Hobbits were first encountered speaking a Mannish tongue learned from humans
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GLM used NarrativeTracker 2.0 for this analysis. NT2.0 is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new media sources, as they emerge.
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Previous Top HollyWord Winners include:
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2011 Silence – Silent movies, (the Artist), a wife’s silence (Descendants), a father’s silence (Extremely Loud), the silence among the trenches of WWI (Warhorse).
2010 Grit: firmness, pluck, gritty, stubborn, indomitable spirit, courageous, and brave perseverance.
2009 ‘Pandora’ from Avatar
2008 “Jai Ho!” Literally ‘Let there be Victory’ in Hindi from Slumdog Millionaire
2007 “Call it, Friendo,” from No Country for Old Men
2006 “High Five!!! It’s sexy time!” from Borat!
2005 ‘Brokeback’ from Brokeback Mountain
2004 “Pinot” from Sideways
2003 ‘Wardrobe malfunction’ from Super Bowl XXXVIII

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Katrina Rewind: September 7, 2005

— Originally Published September 7, 2005 —

In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the city of New Orleans and environs, we are republishing our original report about the impact of the disaster on the English Language.

Media Abounds With Apocalyptic-type References in Coverage of Katrina

Disaster, Biblical, Global Warming, Hiroshima Top List

‘Refugee’ vs. ‘Evacuee’

San Diego, Calif. September 7, 2005. In an exclusive analysis by The Global Language Monitor, the worldwide media was found to abound in Apocalyptic-type terminology in its coverage of the unfolding disaster of Hurricane Katrina in the American Gulf States. Using its proprietary PQI (Predictive Quantities Indicator) algorithm, GLM found the ominous references to include: Disaster, Biblical, Global Warming, Hiroshima/Nuclear bomb, Catastrophe, Holocaust, Apocalypse, and End-of-the-World.

“These alarmist references are coming across the spectrum of print and electronic media, and the internet,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM. “The world appears stunned that the only remaining super power has apparently been humbled, on its own soil, by the forces of nature.”

The global media are mesmerized by the constant bombardment of television images of apparently rampaging, out-of-control elements, apparently in control of a good part of New Orleans, as well as the inability of the authorities to keep their own people fed, sheltered, evacuated, and, even, from dying on the street.

‘Refugee vs. ‘Evacuee’

GLM’s analysis found, for example, that the term for the displaced, refugees, that is usually associated with places like the Sudan and Afghanistan, appeared 5 times more frequently in the global media than the more neutral ‘evacuees,’ which was cited as racially motivated by some of the Black leadership. Accordingly, most of the major media outlets in the U.S. eliminated the usage of the word ‘refugees’ with a few exceptions, most notably, the New York Times.

The September 3 edition of The Times (London) has a story to illustrate the current state of affairs. The head: “Devastation that could send an area the size of England back to the Stone Age.”

The first 100 words sum up the pervasive mood found in the GLMs analysis of the Global Media.

AMERICA comes to an end in Montgomery, Alabama.For the next 265 miles to the Gulf Coast, it has been replaced by a dangerous and paranoid post-apocalyptic landscape, short of all the things fuel, phones, water and electricity needed to keep the 21st century switched on. By the time you reach Waveland, Mississippi, the coastal town of 6,800 where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation, any semblance of modern society has gone. “

According to GLM’s analysis, the most frequently used terms associated with Hurricane Katrina in the global media with examples follow. The terms are listed in order of relative frequency.

  • Disaster — The most common, and perhaps neutral, description. Literally ‘against the stars’ in Latin. Example: ” Disaster bares divisions of race and class across the Gulf states”. Toronto Globe and Mail.
  • Biblical — Used as an adjective. Referring to the scenes of death, destruction and mayhem chronicled in the Bible. ” …a town of 6,800 where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation”. (The Times, London)
  • Global Warming — The idea that the hand of man was directly responsible for the catastrophe, as opposed to the more neutral climate change. “…German Environmental Minister Jrgen Trittin remains stolid in his assertion that Hurricane Katrina is linked to global warming and America’s refusal to reduce emissions.” (Der Spiegel)
  • Hiroshima/Nuclear Destruction — Fresh in the mind of the media, following the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. “Struggling with what he calls Hurricane Katrina’s nuclear destruction, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour shows the emotional strain of leading a state through a disaster of biblical proportions”. (Associated Press).
  • Catastrophe — Sudden, often disastrous overturning, ruin, or undoing of a system. “In the Face of Catastrophe, Sites Offer Helping Hands”. (Washington Post)
  • Holocaust — Because of historical association, the word is seldom used to refer to death brought about by natural causes. ” December’s Asian catastrophe should have elevated “tsunami” practically to the level of “holocaust” in the world vocabulary, implying a loss of life beyond compare and as callous as this might make us seem, Katrina was many things, but “our tsunami” she wasn’t. (Henderson [NC] Dispatch)
  • Apocalypse — Referring to the prophetic visions of the imminent destruction of the world, as found in the Book of Revelations. ” Call it apocalyptic. Whatever you want to call it, take your pick. There were bodies floating past my front door. ” said Robert Lewis, who was rescued as floodwaters invaded his home. (Reuters)
  • End of the World — End-time scenarios which presage the Apocalypse. ” “This is like time has stopped Its like the end of the world.” (Columbus Dispatch)

Then there are those in the media linking Katrina with the direct intervention of the hand of an angry or vengeful God, though not necessarily aligned with Americas enemies. “The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah, But Not an Adherent of Al-Qaeda,” was written by a high-ranking Kuwaiti official, Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment’s research center. It was published in Al-Siyassa. (Kuwait).

List of Top Ten Hurricanes

Etymology of the Name Katrina > Catriona > Katherine

Top Ten Disasters in US History

The Climate Change Question

Retired Hurricane Names

Future Hurricane Names (Global)

Note: Hurricane Alpha has now been named marking the busiest Atlantic Hurricane season on record … therefore the tropical ‘events’ were named beta, then gamma, delta … and it seemed they would go on through the Greek Alphabet. Here’s the entire Greek Alphabet:

Katrina Disaster Buzzword Explainer

San Diego, Calif. September 2, 2005. MetaNewswire. The Global Language Monitorin response to worldwide demand, has created this Hurricane Disaster Buzzword Explainer to help readers understand the many buzzwords, acronyms, and odd turns of phrase that are being employed in relation to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans as it unfolds.

GLM’s List is an ongoing compilation, updated daily; we welcome contributions from around the globe.

The current list with associated commentary follows:

Acadians — French-speaking people who were expelled from Nova Scotia exactly 250 years ago and settled in the bayou. Subject of the epic poem, Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. See Cajun.

Army Corps of Engineers — The USACE is responsible for investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources.

Astrodome — The first enclosed stadium in the US; refugees from the SuperDome will be transported 350 miles to the Astrodome.

Bayou — A slow moving stream or river that runs through the marshlands surrounding New Orleans; home of Cajun Culture.
Big Easy — The nickname for the city of New Orleans, from the laidback lifestyle one finds there.

Breach — Sudden overpowering of a levee, or a floodwall, that allows water to seep or rush in.

Cajun — Literally, Louisianan who descends from French-speaking Acadians, who in 1755 were expelled from Nova Scotia.

Category — The intensity of a hurricane using various measurements including velocity of sustained wind. Categoies range from 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest). Katrina peaked at Category 5.

Climate Change — The warming of the Earths atmosphere due to natural cycles (politically sensitive; believed to be primarily outside the control of man.) See Global Warming.

Creole — Derives from the Latin creare, meaning “to create.” By the nineteenth century, black, white, and mixed-race Louisianans used the term to distinguish themselves from foreign-born and Anglo-American settlers.

Cyclone — A developing tropical storm, rotating counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Often confused with but NOT a tornado.

Eye — The center of the hurricane where the skies are clear and the wind is nearly calm.

FEMA — Federal Emergency Management Agency, branch of the US Homeland Security Department. FEMA coordinates the US Federal government’s response to national disasters.

Floating Casinos — Casinos located along the Mississippi coast bringing an annual average revenue of $2.7 billion a year to that state.

Flood Control — The building of levees, pumping stations, sea walls, etc. to keep a city safe from flooding.

Flood Stage — Flood stage is reached when the water in a stream or river over-tops the banks or levees along the banks.

Flood Wall — Narrow, steel and concrete barrier erected to keep the Mississippi River out of New Orleans.

French Quarter — The original living area of the city, now known for Jazz, Cajun cuisine, and Carnival. Located at the highest point of the city.

Global Warming — In theory, the warming of the Earths atmosphere caused primarily by human use of fossil fuels (Politically sensitive; believed to be primarily in the control of man.) See Climate Change.

Hurricane Names — Hurricanes have been named since 1953. Currently, the World Meteorological Organization maintains the alphabetically sorted list of alternating men’s and women’s names. The list was exclusively female until 1979. Names are recycled every 6 years. Influential hurricanes have their names retired.

Hurricane — A tropical cyclone with a sustained surface wind is 74 mph (118 kmh) or more. A hurricane is called a typhoon in the Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane Scale — See Categories.

Hurricane Season — The hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30; in the Eastern Pacific, the season begins on May 15 and ends on November 30.

Hurricane Watch/Warning — An official warning that a hurricane is expected to hit a specific area of the coast with 36 hours (watch) or within 24 hours (warning).

Isobar — Isobars around a cyclone are lines on a map that signify the same barometric pressure.

Katrina — The 11th tropical storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

Knot — Wind speed equal to 1.15 Miles Per Hour (MPH) or 1.9 Kilometers Per Hour (KM/HR).

Lake Pontchatrain — Actually, an arm of the sea that borders on New Orleans. Lake Pontchatrain is half the size of the state of Rhode Island.

Levee — Colossal earthen barriers erected to keep water out of the city. Once breeched, levees hinder relief efforts by holding the water inside the city. New Orleans has 350 miles of hurricane levees; they were built to withstand a fast-moving Category 3 storm. Katrina was a Category 4+ storm.

National Guard — Military units organized at the state level to protect the citizens of an individual state.

Norlins — Local pronunciation of the name of the city of New Orleans.

Public Health Emergency — Cholera and typhoid are among the concerns caused by contaminated water.

Pumping Stations — Massive, yet old and inefficient pump houses that would keep any seepage out of New Orleans.

Recovery — To recover the dead after search and rescue operations are complete.

Relief and Response Effort — To provide food, medical supplies and shelter to refuges of a disaster.

Sandbag — Three- to twenty-thousand pound burlap-type containers dropped from Chinook helicopters to plug breaches in levee.

Saffir-Simpson Scale — Used to give an estimate of potential damage and flooding along the coast. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale. See Category.

Search and Rescue — To search for survivors.

Storm Surge — Sudden rising of the sea over its usual level, preceding the arrival of a hurricane. The Thirty-foot surge on the Mississippi coastline was the highest ever recorded for North America.

Superdome — Home to the New Orleans Saints football team, the Sugar Bowl and numerous professional football championships (Super Bowls).

Tropical Depression — An area of intense thunderstorms becomes organized into a cyclone. Maximun sustained winds reach 34 knots. There is at least one ‘closed’ isobar with a decrease in barometric pressure in the center of the storm.

Tropical Storm — Sustained winds increase to up to 64 knots and the storm begins to look like a hurricane.

Vertical Evac — Vertical evacuation, taking refuge in the top floors of a high-rise building. In this case, this sort of evacuation often proved fatal.

For more information, call 1.512.801.6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

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Anger & Outrage on Rise Since Obama’s inauguration

Trend: Disillusionment, Anger & Outrage

on the Rise Since Obama’s inauguration

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‘Deficit of Trust’ and ‘Numbing weight of our political process’ appear to be keepers

Obama State of the Union at 8th Grade Level; Deft use of Passive Constructions

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Austin, TX February 1, 2010. According to an exclusive analysis by the Global Language Monitor, the disillusionment, anger, and outrage acknowledged by President Obama in his State of the Union address has been on the rise since Obama’s election in November 2008.

“Much has been written about what the President in his State of the Union message called the ‘numbing weight of our political process’ and the ‘deficit of trust’ it thus engenders,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst. “The disillusionment, anger and outrage should not be a surprise, especially to students of political language, who have been analyzing what is being said in the political realm over the last 18 months. (That this comes as a revelation to our political elites, however, should serve, once again, as a sobering lesson or, even, cautionary tale.)”

Though little noticed by the media, GLM found that in early February, just weeks after the Obama inauguration, the ‘words of despair and fear relating to the global economic meltdown were drowning out those of hope in the global media in the ninety days since the US presidential election on November 4, 2008’.

The representative fear-related words chosen: Fear, Despair, Abandoned, Desperate and/or Desperation. In its analysis of the global print and electronic media since the US presidential election, GLM found that those words were used with 18-23% more frequency than compared to their use in the ninety days following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 of 2001 and 90-days following the beginning of the Iraq War in March 2003. (Even the word fear, itself, was at some 85% of the level it was used in the aftermath of both the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the onset of the Iraq War.)

In a separate but related study released in late March, Global Language Monitor found that the word ‘outrage’ had been used more in the global media that month than anytime this century, with the previous benchmark being the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In particular, the word was used in association with the AIG bonuses, which had recently been distributed.

GLM examined the global print and electronic media for the seven days after the following events: the 9/11 terrorist attacks in, the start of the Iraq War, and the week after the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

The ranking of ‘outrage’ usage in the media:

  1. AIG Bonuses, 2009
  2. 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
  3. Hurricane Katrina, 2005,
  4. Iraq War, 2005

State of the Union Linguistic Analysis

In an evaluation of the State of the Union message, GLM found that the President used the passive voice to deflect responsibility (a time-honored SOTU tradition), and according to the White House transcript there was an overabundance of semi-colons (two dozen plus), some used correctly others in a baffling manner. And then there was the grammatical lapse in disagreement in number: “Each of these institutions are (sic) full of honorable men and women ….” For the record, the President’s address came in at the 8.6 grade level, use of the passive was about 5%, the Grade Level was 8.6 (a bit higher than his Grant Park speech), and reading ease at 62 on a scale of 100 (not as easy to read as to hear).

For more details, send email to editor@globallanguagemonitor.com or call 1.512.801.6823.

 

‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms

‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms

 

Compendium of Fifteen of the President’s ‘Greatest Hits’

 

Austin, TX January 7, 2009 – The Top All-Time Bushisms were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com). Topping the List were:

 

  • Misunderestimate,
  • Mission Accomplished,
  • Brownie, you’ve done a heck of a job!
  • I’m the decider, and
  • I use the Google.

 

“The era of Bushisms is now coming to an end, and word watchers worldwide will have a hard time substituting Barack Obama’s precise intonations and eloquence for W’s unique linguistic constructions,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “The biggest linguistic faux pas of the Obama era thus far involves the use of the reflexive pronoun myself. This is a refreshing shift from the Bush years.”

The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s PQI (Predictive-quantities Indicator). The PQI is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere.

The Top All-time Bushisms with commentary, follow.

 

  1. Misunderestimate. Stated in the immediate aftermath of the disputed 2000 election:One of the first and perhaps most iconic Bushisms (Nov. 6, 2000).
  2. Mission Accomplished: Never actually stated by the President but nevertheless the banner behind him was all that was needed to cement this phrase into the public imagination (May 1, 2003).
  3. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to soon-to-be-discharged FEMA director Michael Brown.Stated in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; it came to symbolize the entire debacle (Sept. 2, 2005).
  4. “I’m the decider” came to symbolize the ‘imperial’ aspects of the Bush presidency. Said in response to his decision to keep Don Rumsfeld on as the Secretary of Defense (April 18, 2006).
  5. “I use The Google” said in reference to the popular search engine (October 24, 2006).
  6. Iraq Shoe Throwing Incident.In Iraq, throwing a shoe is a symbol of immense disrespect. Some have suggested this to be the visual equivalent of a spoken Bushism — Inappropriate, surprising, embarrassing yet compelling to repeat (December 14, 2008).
  7. “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully” came to symbolize the President’s environmental policy (Sept. 29, 2000).
  8. “You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.” Critics used this to symbolize Bush’s detachment to the plight of the working class, said to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska (Feb. 4, 2005)
  9. “Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” was uttered before the first primaries back in 2000 (Jan. 11, 2000).
  10. “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” was cited by his critics as revealing his true thoughts (Aug. 5, 2004)
  11. It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship.” The President was speaking of the Anglo-American relationship (June 29, 2006).
  12. “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Explaining his Communications strategy (May 24, 2005).
  13. “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting in 2005.
  14. “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma” (September 24, 2006).
  15. “Stay the course” was stated on numerous occasions during the course of the Iraq War.Bush’s change of course with the Surge, actually made a dramatic difference in the conflict..

Other Presidents of the United States created their own words, some of which have entered the standard English vocabulary. These include:

 

  • ADMINISTRATION (George Washington)
  • BELITTLE (Thomas Jefferson)
  • BULLY PULPIT (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • CAUCUS (John Adams)
  • COUNTERVAILING (Thomas Jefferson)
  • HOSPITALIZATION (Warren G. Harding)
  • MUCKRAKER (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • NORMALCY (Woodrow Wilson)
  • O.K.(Martin Van Buren)
  • SANCTION (Thomas Jefferson)

 

 

About The Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. For more information, call 1.512.801.6823, email info@GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

For more information, call +1.512.801.6823 or email info@languagemonitor.com

 

Katrina Buzzword Explainer

Katrina Disaster Buzzword Explainer

San Diego, Calif. September 2, 2005. MetaNewswire. The Global Language Monitorin response to worldwide demand, has created this Hurricane Disaster Buzzword Explainer to help readers understand the many buzzwords, acronyms, and odd turns of phrase that are being employed in relation to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans as it unfolds.

GLM’s List is an ongoing compilation, updated daily; we welcome contributions from around the globe.

The current list with associated commentary follows:

Acadians — French-speaking people who were expelled from Nova Scotia exactly 250 years ago and settled in the bayou. Subject of the epic poem, Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. See Cajun.

Army Corps of Engineers — The USACE is responsible for investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources.

Astrodome — The first enclosed stadium in the US; refugees from the SuperDome will be transported 350 miles to the Astrodome.

Bayou — A slow moving stream or river that runs through the marshlands surrounding New Orleans; home of Cajun Culture.

Big Easy — The nickname for the city of New Orleans, from the laidback lifestyle one finds there.

Breach — Sudden overpowering of a levee, or a floodwall, that allows water to seep or rush in.

Cajun — Literally, Louisianan who descends from French-speaking Acadians, who in 1755 were expelled from Nova Scotia.

Category — The intensity of a hurricane using various measurements including velocity of sustained wind. Categoies range from 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest). Katrina peaked at Category 5.

Climate Change — The warming of the Earths atmosphere due to natural cycles (politically sensitive; believed to be primarily outside the control of man.) See Global Warming.

Creole — Derives from the Latin creare, meaning “to create.” By the nineteenth century, black, white, and mixed-race Louisianans used the term to distinguish themselves from foreign-born and Anglo-American settlers.

Cyclone — A developing tropical storm, rotating counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Often confused with but NOT a tornado.

Eye — The center of the hurricane where the skies are clear and the wind is nearly calm.

FEMA — Federal Emergency Management Agency, branch of the US Homeland Security Department. FEMA coordinates the US Federal government’s response to national disasters.

Floating Casinos — Casinos located along the Mississippi coast bringing an annual average revenue of $2.7 billion a year to that state.

Flood Control — The building of levees, pumping stations, sea walls, etc. to keep a city safe from flooding.

Flood Stage — Flood stage is reached when the water in a stream or river over-tops the banks or levees along the banks.

Flood Wall — Narrow, steel and concrete barrier erected to keep the Mississippi River out of New Orleans.

French Quarter — The original living area of the city, now known for Jazz, Cajun cuisine, and Carnival. Located at the highest point of the city.

Global Warming — In theory, the warming of the Earths atmosphere caused primarily by human use of fossil fuels (Politically sensitive; believed to be primarily in the control of man.) See Climate Change.

Hurricane Names — Hurricanes have been named since 1953. Currently, the World Meteorological Organization maintains the alphabetically sorted list of alternating men’s and women’s names. The list was exclusively female until 1979. Names are recycled every 6 years. Influential hurricanes have their names retired.

Hurricane — A tropical cyclone with a sustained surface wind is 74 mph (118 kmh) or more. A hurricane is called a typhoon in the Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane Scale — See Categories.

Hurricane Season — The hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30; in the Eastern Pacific, the season begins on May 15 and ends on November 30.

Hurricane Watch/Warning — An official warning that a hurricane is expected to hit a specific area of the coast with 36 hours (watch) or within 24 hours (warning).

Isobar — Isobars around a cyclone are lines on a map that signify the same barometric pressure.

Katrina — The 11th tropical storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

Knot — Wind speed equal to 1.15 Miles Per Hour (MPH) or 1.9 Kilometers Per Hour (KM/HR).

Lake Pontchatrain — Actually, an arm of the sea that borders on New Orleans. Lake Pontchatrain is half the size of the state of Rhode Island.

Levee — Colossal earthen barriers erected to keep water out of the city. Once breeched, levees hinder relief efforts by holding the water inside the city. New Orleans has 350 miles of hurricane levees; they were built to withstand a fast-moving Category 3 storm. Katrina was a Category 4+ storm.

National Guard — Military units organized at the state level to protect the citizens of an individual state.

Norlins — Local pronunciation of the name of the city of New Orleans.

Public Health Emergency — Cholera and typhoid are among the concerns caused by contaminated water.

Pumping Stations — Massive, yet old and inefficient pump houses that would keep any seepage out of New Orleans.

Recovery — To recover the dead after search and rescue operations are complete.

Relief and Response Effort — To provide food, medical supplies and shelter to refuges of a disaster.

Sandbag — Three- to twenty-thousand pound burlap-type containers dropped from Chinook helicopters to plug breaches in levee.

Saffir-Simpson Scale — Used to give an estimate of potential damage and flooding along the coast. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale. See Category.

Search and Rescue — To search for survivors.

Storm Surge — Sudden rising of the sea over its usual level, preceding the arrival of a hurricane. The Thirty-foot surge on the Mississippi coastline was the highest ever recorded for North America.

Superdome — Home to the New Orleans Saints football team, the Sugar Bowl and numerous professional football championships (Super Bowls).

Tropical Depression — An area of intense thunderstorms becomes organized into a cyclone. Maximun sustained winds reach 34 knots. There is at least one ‘closed’ isobar with a decrease in barometric pressure in the center of the storm.

Tropical Storm — Sustained winds increase to up to 64 knots and the storm begins to look like a hurricane.

Vertical Evac — Vertical evacuation, taking refuge in the topfloors of a high-rise building. In this case, this sort of evacuation often proved fatal.

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Katrina Rewind: September 7, 2005

— Originally Published September 7, 2005 —

In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the city of New Orleans and environs, we are republishing our original report about the impact of the disaster on the English Language.

Media Abounds With Apocalyptic-type References in Coverage of Katrina

Disaster, Biblical, Global Warming, Hiroshima Top List

‘Refugee’ vs. ‘Evacuee’

San Diego, Calif. September 7, 2005. In an exclusive analysis by The Global Language Monitor, the worldwide media was found to abound in Apocalyptic-type terminology in its coverage of the unfolding disaster of Hurricane Katrina in the American Gulf States. Using its proprietary PQI (Predictive Quantities Indicator) algorithm, GLM found the ominous references to include: Disaster, Biblical, Global Warming, Hiroshima/Nuclear bomb, Catastrophe, Holocaust, Apocalypse, and End-of-the-World.

“These alarmist references are coming across the spectrum of print and electronic media, and the internet,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM. “The world appears stunned that the only remaining super power has apparently been humbled, on its own soil, by the forces of nature.”

The global media are mesmerized by the constant bombardment of television images of apparently rampaging, out-of-control elements, apparently in control of a good part of New Orleans, as well as the inability of the authorities to keep their own people fed, sheltered, evacuated, and, even, from dying on the street.

‘Refugee vs. ‘Evacuee’

GLM’s analysis found, for example, that the term for the displaced, refugees, that is usually associated with places like the Sudan and Afghanistan, appeared 5 times more frequently in the global media than the more neutral ‘evacuees,’ which was cited as racially motivated by some of the Black leadership. Accordingly, most of the major media outlets in the U.S. eliminated the usage of the word ‘refugees’ with a few exceptions, most notably, the New York Times.

The September 3 edition of The Times (London) has a story to illustrate the current state of affairs. The head: “Devastation that could send an area the size of England back to the Stone Age.”

The first 100 words sum up the pervasive mood found in the GLMs analysis of the Global Media.

AMERICA comes to an end in Montgomery, Alabama.For the next 265 miles to the Gulf Coast, it has been replaced by a dangerous and paranoid post-apocalyptic landscape, short of all the things fuel, phones, water and electricity needed to keep the 21st century switched on. By the time you reach Waveland, Mississippi, the coastal town of 6,800 where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation, any semblance of modern society has gone. “

According to GLM’s analysis, the most frequently used terms associated with Hurricane Katrina in the global media with examples follow. The terms are listed in order of relative frequency.

  • Disaster — The most common, and perhaps neutral, description. Literally ‘against the stars’ in Latin. Example: ” Disaster bares divisions of race and class across the Gulf states”. Toronto Globe and Mail.
  • Biblical — Used as an adjective. Referring to the scenes of death, destruction and mayhem chronicled in the Bible. ” …a town of 6,800 where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation”. (The Times, London)
  • Global Warming — The idea that the hand of man was directly responsible for the catastrophe, as opposed to the more neutral climate change. “…German Environmental Minister Jrgen Trittin remains stolid in his assertion that Hurricane Katrina is linked to global warming and America’s refusal to reduce emissions.” (Der Spiegel)
  • Hiroshima/Nuclear Destruction — Fresh in the mind of the media, following the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. “Struggling with what he calls Hurricane Katrina’s nuclear destruction, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour shows the emotional strain of leading a state through a disaster of biblical proportions”. (Associated Press).
  • Catastrophe — Sudden, often disastrous overturning, ruin, or undoing of a system. “In the Face of Catastrophe, Sites Offer Helping Hands”. (Washington Post)
  • Holocaust — Because of historical association, the word is seldom used to refer to death brought about by natural causes. ” December’s Asian catastrophe should have elevated “tsunami” practically to the level of “holocaust” in the world vocabulary, implying a loss of life beyond compare and as callous as this might make us seem, Katrina was many things, but “our tsunami” she wasn’t. (Henderson [NC] Dispatch)
  • Apocalypse — Referring to the prophetic visions of the imminent destruction of the world, as found in the Book of Revelations. ” Call it apocalyptic. Whatever you want to call it, take your pick. There were bodies floating past my front door. ” said Robert Lewis, who was rescued as floodwaters invaded his home. (Reuters)
  • End of the World — End-time scenarios which presage the Apocalypse. ” “This is like time has stopped Its like the end of the world.” (Columbus Dispatch)

Then there are those in the media linking Katrina with the direct intervention of the hand of an angry or vengeful God, though not necessarily aligned with Americas enemies. “The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah, But Not an Adherent of Al-Qaeda,” was written by a high-ranking Kuwaiti official, Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment’s research center. It was published in Al-Siyassa. (Kuwait).

List of Top Ten Hurricanes

Etymology of the Name Katrina > Catriona > Katherine

Top Ten Disasters in US History

The Climate Change Question

Retired Hurricane Names

Future Hurricane Names (Global)

Note: Hurricane Alpha has now been named marking the busiest Atlantic Hurricane season on record … therefore the tropical ‘events’ were named beta, then gamma, delta … and it seemed they would go on through the Greek Alphabet. Here’s the entire Greek Alphabet:

Katrina Disaster Buzzword Explainer

San Diego, Calif. September 2, 2005. MetaNewswire. The Global Language Monitorin response to worldwide demand, has created this Hurricane Disaster Buzzword Explainer to help readers understand the many buzzwords, acronyms, and odd turns of phrase that are being employed in relation to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans as it unfolds.

GLM’s List is an ongoing compilation, updated daily; we welcome contributions from around the globe.

The current list with associated commentary follows:

Acadians — French-speaking people who were expelled from Nova Scotia exactly 250 years ago and settled in the bayou. Subject of the epic poem, Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. See Cajun.

Army Corps of Engineers — The USACE is responsible for investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources.

Astrodome — The first enclosed stadium in the US; refugees from the SuperDome will be transported 350 miles to the Astrodome.

Bayou — A slow moving stream or river that runs through the marshlands surrounding New Orleans; home of Cajun Culture.
Big Easy — The nickname for the city of New Orleans, from the laidback lifestyle one finds there.

Breach — Sudden overpowering of a levee, or a floodwall, that allows water to seep or rush in.

Cajun — Literally, Louisianan who descends from French-speaking Acadians, who in 1755 were expelled from Nova Scotia.

Category — The intensity of a hurricane using various measurements including velocity of sustained wind. Categoies range from 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest). Katrina peaked at Category 5.

Climate Change — The warming of the Earths atmosphere due to natural cycles (politically sensitive; believed to be primarily outside the control of man.) See Global Warming.

Creole — Derives from the Latin creare, meaning “to create.” By the nineteenth century, black, white, and mixed-race Louisianans used the term to distinguish themselves from foreign-born and Anglo-American settlers.

Cyclone — A developing tropical storm, rotating counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Often confused with but NOT a tornado.

Eye — The center of the hurricane where the skies are clear and the wind is nearly calm.

FEMA — Federal Emergency Management Agency, branch of the US Homeland Security Department. FEMA coordinates the US Federal government’s response to national disasters.

Floating Casinos — Casinos located along the Mississippi coast bringing an annual average revenue of $2.7 billion a year to that state.

Flood Control — The building of levees, pumping stations, sea walls, etc. to keep a city safe from flooding.

Flood Stage — Flood stage is reached when the water in a stream or river over-tops the banks or levees along the banks.

Flood Wall — Narrow, steel and concrete barrier erected to keep the Mississippi River out of New Orleans.

French Quarter — The original living area of the city, now known for Jazz, Cajun cuisine, and Carnival. Located at the highest point of the city.

Global Warming — In theory, the warming of the Earths atmosphere caused primarily by human use of fossil fuels (Politically sensitive; believed to be primarily in the control of man.) See Climate Change.

Hurricane Names — Hurricanes have been named since 1953. Currently, the World Meteorological Organization maintains the alphabetically sorted list of alternating men’s and women’s names. The list was exclusively female until 1979. Names are recycled every 6 years. Influential hurricanes have their names retired.

Hurricane — A tropical cyclone with a sustained surface wind is 74 mph (118 kmh) or more. A hurricane is called a typhoon in the Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane Scale — See Categories.

Hurricane Season — The hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30; in the Eastern Pacific, the season begins on May 15 and ends on November 30.

Hurricane Watch/Warning — An official warning that a hurricane is expected to hit a specific area of the coast with 36 hours (watch) or within 24 hours (warning).

Isobar — Isobars around a cyclone are lines on a map that signify the same barometric pressure.

Katrina — The 11th tropical storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

Knot — Wind speed equal to 1.15 Miles Per Hour (MPH) or 1.9 Kilometers Per Hour (KM/HR).

Lake Pontchatrain — Actually, an arm of the sea that borders on New Orleans. Lake Pontchatrain is half the size of the state of Rhode Island.

Levee — Colossal earthen barriers erected to keep water out of the city. Once breeched, levees hinder relief efforts by holding the water inside the city. New Orleans has 350 miles of hurricane levees; they were built to withstand a fast-moving Category 3 storm. Katrina was a Category 4+ storm.

National Guard — Military units organized at the state level to protect the citizens of an individual state.

Norlins — Local pronunciation of the name of the city of New Orleans.

Public Health Emergency — Cholera and typhoid are among the concerns caused by contaminated water.

Pumping Stations — Massive, yet old and inefficient pump houses that would keep any seepage out of New Orleans.

Recovery — To recover the dead after search and rescue operations are complete.

Relief and Response Effort — To provide food, medical supplies and shelter to refuges of a disaster.

Sandbag — Three- to twenty-thousand pound burlap-type containers dropped from Chinook helicopters to plug breaches in levee.

Saffir-Simpson Scale — Used to give an estimate of potential damage and flooding along the coast. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale. See Category.

Search and Rescue — To search for survivors.

Storm Surge — Sudden rising of the sea over its usual level, preceding the arrival of a hurricane. The Thirty-foot surge on the Mississippi coastline was the highest ever recorded for North America.

Superdome — Home to the New Orleans Saints football team, the Sugar Bowl and numerous professional football championships (Super Bowls).

Tropical Depression — An area of intense thunderstorms becomes organized into a cyclone. Maximun sustained winds reach 34 knots. There is at least one ‘closed’ isobar with a decrease in barometric pressure in the center of the storm.

Tropical Storm — Sustained winds increase to up to 64 knots and the storm begins to look like a hurricane.

Vertical Evac — Vertical evacuation, taking refuge in the top floors of a high-rise building. In this case, this sort of evacuation often proved fatal.

For more information, call 1.512.801.6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

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Anger & Outrage on Rise Since Obama’s inauguration

Trend: Disillusionment, Anger & Outrage

on the Rise Since Obama’s inauguration

.

‘Deficit of Trust’ and ‘Numbing weight of our political process’ appear to be keepers

Obama State of the Union at 8th Grade Level; Deft use of Passive Constructions

.

Austin, TX February 1, 2010. According to an exclusive analysis by the Global Language Monitor, the disillusionment, anger, and outrage acknowledged by President Obama in his State of the Union address has been on the rise since Obama’s election in November 2008.

“Much has been written about what the President in his State of the Union message called the ‘numbing weight of our political process’ and the ‘deficit of trust’ it thus engenders,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst. “The disillusionment, anger and outrage should not be a surprise, especially to students of political language, who have been analyzing what is being said in the political realm over the last 18 months. (That this comes as a revelation to our political elites, however, should serve, once again, as a sobering lesson or, even, cautionary tale.)”

Though little noticed by the media, GLM found that in early February, just weeks after the Obama inauguration, the ‘words of despair and fear relating to the global economic meltdown were drowning out those of hope in the global media in the ninety days since the US presidential election on November 4, 2008’.

The representative fear-related words chosen: Fear, Despair, Abandoned, Desperate and/or Desperation. In its analysis of the global print and electronic media since the US presidential election, GLM found that those words were used with 18-23% more frequency than compared to their use in the ninety days following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 of 2001 and 90-days following the beginning of the Iraq War in March 2003. (Even the word fear, itself, was at some 85% of the level it was used in the aftermath of both the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the onset of the Iraq War.)

In a separate but related study released in late March, Global Language Monitor found that the word ‘outrage’ had been used more in the global media that month than anytime this century, with the previous benchmark being the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In particular, the word was used in association with the AIG bonuses, which had recently been distributed.

GLM examined the global print and electronic media for the seven days after the following events: the 9/11 terrorist attacks in, the start of the Iraq War, and the week after the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

The ranking of ‘outrage’ usage in the media:

  1. AIG Bonuses, 2009
  2. 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
  3. Hurricane Katrina, 2005,
  4. Iraq War, 2005

State of the Union Linguistic Analysis

In an evaluation of the State of the Union message, GLM found that the President used the passive voice to deflect responsibility (a time-honored SOTU tradition), and according to the White House transcript there was an overabundance of semi-colons (two dozen plus), some used correctly others in a baffling manner. And then there was the grammatical lapse in disagreement in number: “Each of these institutions are (sic) full of honorable men and women ….” For the record, the President’s address came in at the 8.6 grade level, use of the passive was about 5%, the Grade Level was 8.6 (a bit higher than his Grant Park speech), and reading ease at 62 on a scale of 100 (not as easy to read as to hear).

For more details, send email to editor@globallanguagemonitor.com or call 1.512.801.6823.

 

‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms

‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms

 

Compendium of Fifteen of the President’s ‘Greatest Hits’

 

Austin, TX January 7, 2009 – The Top All-Time Bushisms were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com). Topping the List were:

 

  • Misunderestimate,
  • Mission Accomplished,
  • Brownie, you’ve done a heck of a job!
  • I’m the decider, and
  • I use the Google.

 

“The era of Bushisms is now coming to an end, and word watchers worldwide will have a hard time substituting Barack Obama’s precise intonations and eloquence for W’s unique linguistic constructions,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “The biggest linguistic faux pas of the Obama era thus far involves the use of the reflexive pronoun myself. This is a refreshing shift from the Bush years.”

The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s PQI (Predictive-quantities Indicator). The PQI is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere.

The Top All-time Bushisms with commentary, follow.

 

  1. Misunderestimate. Stated in the immediate aftermath of the disputed 2000 election:One of the first and perhaps most iconic Bushisms (Nov. 6, 2000).
  2. Mission Accomplished: Never actually stated by the President but nevertheless the banner behind him was all that was needed to cement this phrase into the public imagination (May 1, 2003).
  3. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to soon-to-be-discharged FEMA director Michael Brown.Stated in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; it came to symbolize the entire debacle (Sept. 2, 2005).
  4. “I’m the decider” came to symbolize the ‘imperial’ aspects of the Bush presidency. Said in response to his decision to keep Don Rumsfeld on as the Secretary of Defense (April 18, 2006).
  5. “I use The Google” said in reference to the popular search engine (October 24, 2006).
  6. Iraq Shoe Throwing Incident.In Iraq, throwing a shoe is a symbol of immense disrespect. Some have suggested this to be the visual equivalent of a spoken Bushism — Inappropriate, surprising, embarrassing yet compelling to repeat (December 14, 2008).
  7. “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully” came to symbolize the President’s environmental policy (Sept. 29, 2000).
  8. “You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.” Critics used this to symbolize Bush’s detachment to the plight of the working class, said to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska (Feb. 4, 2005)
  9. “Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” was uttered before the first primaries back in 2000 (Jan. 11, 2000).
  10. “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” was cited by his critics as revealing his true thoughts (Aug. 5, 2004)
  11. It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship.” The President was speaking of the Anglo-American relationship (June 29, 2006).
  12. “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Explaining his Communications strategy (May 24, 2005).
  13. “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting in 2005.
  14. “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma” (September 24, 2006).
  15. “Stay the course” was stated on numerous occasions during the course of the Iraq War.Bush’s change of course with the Surge, actually made a dramatic difference in the conflict..

Other Presidents of the United States created their own words, some of which have entered the standard English vocabulary. These include:

 

  • ADMINISTRATION (George Washington)
  • BELITTLE (Thomas Jefferson)
  • BULLY PULPIT (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • CAUCUS (John Adams)
  • COUNTERVAILING (Thomas Jefferson)
  • HOSPITALIZATION (Warren G. Harding)
  • MUCKRAKER (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • NORMALCY (Woodrow Wilson)
  • O.K.(Martin Van Buren)
  • SANCTION (Thomas Jefferson)

 

 

About The Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. For more information, call 1.512.801.6823, email info@GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

For more information, call +1.512.801.6823 or email info@languagemonitor.com

 

Katrina Buzzword Explainer

Katrina Disaster Buzzword Explainer

San Diego, Calif. September 2, 2005. MetaNewswire. The Global Language Monitorin response to worldwide demand, has created this Hurricane Disaster Buzzword Explainer to help readers understand the many buzzwords, acronyms, and odd turns of phrase that are being employed in relation to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans as it unfolds.

GLM’s List is an ongoing compilation, updated daily; we welcome contributions from around the globe.

The current list with associated commentary follows:

Acadians — French-speaking people who were expelled from Nova Scotia exactly 250 years ago and settled in the bayou. Subject of the epic poem, Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. See Cajun.

Army Corps of Engineers — The USACE is responsible for investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources.

Astrodome — The first enclosed stadium in the US; refugees from the SuperDome will be transported 350 miles to the Astrodome.

Bayou — A slow moving stream or river that runs through the marshlands surrounding New Orleans; home of Cajun Culture.

Big Easy — The nickname for the city of New Orleans, from the laidback lifestyle one finds there.

Breach — Sudden overpowering of a levee, or a floodwall, that allows water to seep or rush in.

Cajun — Literally, Louisianan who descends from French-speaking Acadians, who in 1755 were expelled from Nova Scotia.

Category — The intensity of a hurricane using various measurements including velocity of sustained wind. Categoies range from 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest). Katrina peaked at Category 5.

Climate Change — The warming of the Earths atmosphere due to natural cycles (politically sensitive; believed to be primarily outside the control of man.) See Global Warming.

Creole — Derives from the Latin creare, meaning “to create.” By the nineteenth century, black, white, and mixed-race Louisianans used the term to distinguish themselves from foreign-born and Anglo-American settlers.

Cyclone — A developing tropical storm, rotating counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Often confused with but NOT a tornado.

Eye — The center of the hurricane where the skies are clear and the wind is nearly calm.

FEMA — Federal Emergency Management Agency, branch of the US Homeland Security Department. FEMA coordinates the US Federal government’s response to national disasters.

Floating Casinos — Casinos located along the Mississippi coast bringing an annual average revenue of $2.7 billion a year to that state.

Flood Control — The building of levees, pumping stations, sea walls, etc. to keep a city safe from flooding.

Flood Stage — Flood stage is reached when the water in a stream or river over-tops the banks or levees along the banks.

Flood Wall — Narrow, steel and concrete barrier erected to keep the Mississippi River out of New Orleans.

French Quarter — The original living area of the city, now known for Jazz, Cajun cuisine, and Carnival. Located at the highest point of the city.

Global Warming — In theory, the warming of the Earths atmosphere caused primarily by human use of fossil fuels (Politically sensitive; believed to be primarily in the control of man.) See Climate Change.

Hurricane Names — Hurricanes have been named since 1953. Currently, the World Meteorological Organization maintains the alphabetically sorted list of alternating men’s and women’s names. The list was exclusively female until 1979. Names are recycled every 6 years. Influential hurricanes have their names retired.

Hurricane — A tropical cyclone with a sustained surface wind is 74 mph (118 kmh) or more. A hurricane is called a typhoon in the Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane Scale — See Categories.

Hurricane Season — The hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30; in the Eastern Pacific, the season begins on May 15 and ends on November 30.

Hurricane Watch/Warning — An official warning that a hurricane is expected to hit a specific area of the coast with 36 hours (watch) or within 24 hours (warning).

Isobar — Isobars around a cyclone are lines on a map that signify the same barometric pressure.

Katrina — The 11th tropical storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

Knot — Wind speed equal to 1.15 Miles Per Hour (MPH) or 1.9 Kilometers Per Hour (KM/HR).

Lake Pontchatrain — Actually, an arm of the sea that borders on New Orleans. Lake Pontchatrain is half the size of the state of Rhode Island.

Levee — Colossal earthen barriers erected to keep water out of the city. Once breeched, levees hinder relief efforts by holding the water inside the city. New Orleans has 350 miles of hurricane levees; they were built to withstand a fast-moving Category 3 storm. Katrina was a Category 4+ storm.

National Guard — Military units organized at the state level to protect the citizens of an individual state.

Norlins — Local pronunciation of the name of the city of New Orleans.

Public Health Emergency — Cholera and typhoid are among the concerns caused by contaminated water.

Pumping Stations — Massive, yet old and inefficient pump houses that would keep any seepage out of New Orleans.

Recovery — To recover the dead after search and rescue operations are complete.

Relief and Response Effort — To provide food, medical supplies and shelter to refuges of a disaster.

Sandbag — Three- to twenty-thousand pound burlap-type containers dropped from Chinook helicopters to plug breaches in levee.

Saffir-Simpson Scale — Used to give an estimate of potential damage and flooding along the coast. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale. See Category.

Search and Rescue — To search for survivors.

Storm Surge — Sudden rising of the sea over its usual level, preceding the arrival of a hurricane. The Thirty-foot surge on the Mississippi coastline was the highest ever recorded for North America.

Superdome — Home to the New Orleans Saints football team, the Sugar Bowl and numerous professional football championships (Super Bowls).

Tropical Depression — An area of intense thunderstorms becomes organized into a cyclone. Maximun sustained winds reach 34 knots. There is at least one ‘closed’ isobar with a decrease in barometric pressure in the center of the storm.

Tropical Storm — Sustained winds increase to up to 64 knots and the storm begins to look like a hurricane.

Vertical Evac — Vertical evacuation, taking refuge in the topfloors of a high-rise building. In this case, this sort of evacuation often proved fatal.

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A New Model for the Near-mythical Rise of Donald Trump; this one from the Ancient Greeks

Greek Gods

A New Model for the Near-mythical rise of Rise of Donald Trump; this one from the Ancient Greeks

Donald Trump’s Source of Power is the People, The Only Thing Separating Him From the People Will Cause His Downfall

 

Austin, Texas, May 24, 2016 — After reading yet another in an apparently unending number of ‘Dump Trump’ plans, we noticed that the latest differed from all the others, only in increasing its level of desperation.

It is now ever more evident that the party establishments are destined like Sisyphus to push their particular rocks up hills (in the current rendering) of their own making.

We’ve witnessed the attempts at explication of the origins of the Trump phenomenon to become more and more, dare we say it, detached or even unhinged from the current reality. After all, it is now a given that the ‘establishment’ had completely missed (or were oblivious to) the rising anger, frustration and contempt that was seething beneath the surface of the body politic over the preceding seven years. (See Nate Cohn’s of the New York Times Apologia here.)

We at the Global Language Monitor have been documenting this undercurrent since 2007 And, indeed, it has and has been recorded in the pages of The Hill, the news organization most frequently accessed by the White House, Congress and key influencers, as well as here in the Global Language Monitor. However, those disruptive forces appear to have been masked, for good or for ill, by the triumphal arrival of the Obama Administration and its immediate aftermath. Of course, we also tracked the highs over the preceding time frame, but were prescient enough to pay attention to the lows, thinking there might be an interesting story that would unfold in the fullness of time.

At this point, it begs the question as to why would we expect these very same thought and opinion leaders, to suddenly, as if by epiphany or the unseen hand of the electorate, understand the enormity of the disruptive forces now sweeping the nation?

Nevertheless, how to explain this miss of near mythical proportions? How would the ancient Greeks have

They might have called to mind the story of Antaeus. (Antaeus here standing in for Donald J. Trump.)

Antaeus, the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea, and Gaia, the goddess of the land, the earth. Antaeus was a giant who lived in North Africa. He would challenge other giants striding across his land to a wrestling match to the death. So skilled was he as a wrestler that he built a tower of skulls of the giants he had conquered in a tribute to father. This went on for ages until he encountered Hercules who was in the midst of the eleventh of his famed twelve labors. The struggle was long, brutal and bitter; Antaeus and Hercules appeared evenly matched.

Then Hercules noticed a rather curious occurrence: Antaeus appeared to gain a bit of strength every time Hercules (or Clinton in this case) threw him to the ground. So Hercules began to hold him in the air, for longer and longer periods, until he was weakened enough for Hercules to crush him until death.

Antaeus was finally beaten, because Hercules came to understand that he gained strength from his mother Gaia (in Trump’s case, the people), whenever he was thrown to the ground.

In the same manner, many have noted that the more his opponents attempt to take Trump down, the more they thrust him to the ground, the stronger he becomes. In the same manner for Trump, the ground, the earth, his strength are the disenfranchised, the belittled, body politic.

And the only way to beat Trump in this scenario is to separate the candidate from those who love him.

The question then becomes — is there a Hercules or Herculean team who can separate one Donald J Trump from his ultimate source of power — the people?

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This MetaThought Commentary was written by Paul JJ Payack, commentator, author, speaker and Big Data Analyst, and president of both the ThoughtTopper Institute and the Global Language Monitor.

You have permission to publish this work as long as proper attribution accompanies the copy since it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

MetaThought Commentary is a service of the ThoughtTopper Institute.

For more information call 1.512.801.6823.

Are Superdelegates Just Another Form of Voter Suppression?

Over the last several election cycles charges of ‘voter suppression’ are often hurled against what used to be termed the ‘Loyal Opposition’.Most recently, the idea of using a photo ID for identification is flash point, with one side suggesting that those living on the margins of society frequently do not have the wherewithal to afford picture IDs, while the opposing argument is that most states require photoIDs to access the basic services provided to the poor.

Super delegates have seldom been mentioned in this regard, as yet another clever way to suppress the will of the people. However, the question is certainly a valid one, especially in view of the Democratic primaries where we have Bernie Sanders winning state-after-state. After each victory, we are assured that these victories are all for naught, given Hillary Clinton’s overwhelming grasp on the superdelegates, chosen by the Democratic Party establishment. Bernie, the once-obscure, small-state senator, an avowed socialist, is now making a significant dent into the received wisdom of who can be (or should) be allowed to carry the Democratic flag into the 2016 President Election.

The cry heard from the Left is that Hillary is safe because the bulk of the
super delegates currently back her, and thus the will of the people can rather readily be thwarted.

On the Republican side, we have the opposite problem, where the party leadership is said to be in disarray precisly because there is no mechanism to rather easily overrule the apparent will of the people.

Can you imagine the anger and cries of foul play if the situation were
reversed and, say Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, were denied the Republican Party nomination because the majority of the unelected, non-representative, Uber-delegates were dedicated to reversing the vote of the people?

It has not yet reached this point, but if the Sanders campaign reaches parity with that of Clinton in terms of the elected delegates, what happens
when the electorate realizes that the nomination will actually fall into the hands of those non-elected, non-representative, electors answerable to
none.

This MetaCommentary was written by Paul JJ Payack

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You have permission to publish this work as long as proper attribution accompanies the copy since it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

MetaThought Commentary is a service of the ThoughtTopper Institute.

For more information call 1.512.801.6823.

 

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ThoughtTopper Institute: The Scientific Method and Settled Science

The Scientific Method and Settled Science

 

As thoughtful readers have learned since the launch of the Global Language Monitor in the fall of 2003, all objectivity in media is suspect, and for good reason.  The non-bias claimed on all sides of the political equation is itself, biased, since all media have come to see their particular viewpoint as objective and true, right and just, supported by the facts, scientific or otherwise, and agreed to by all learned people (who happen to agree with their particular beliefs).The fact that their audiences steadfastly agree with their positions only serves to re-enforce their particular biases. We all think so, so it must be true!  ( and it is logically consistent, is a frequent addition.)

One of the most dangerous of these biases is the concept of settled science.
Science, by definition, can never be settled.

The Scientific Method has been adhered to since the Enlightenment.   It is composed of five or six steps

  1. Observation
  2. Hypothesis
  3. Experiment
  4. Record and analyze data
  5. Compare the results to the hypothesis.
  6. If necessary, either modify the hypothesis or the experiment

There is always more complete data to be found and always room for another test of the hypothesis, to ensure completeness.

Another time-honored tradition is the custom of employing Occam’s Razor in the decision-making process.   Occam’s Razor is stated in Latin as  Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem (Do not multiply things without necessity).  The principle is essential for model building because, for a given set of data, there is always an infinite number of models explaining the data.

The principle is essential for model building because, for a given set of data, there is always an infinite number of models explaining the data.

In other words, if you have two choices 1) a snowball moves because invisible, alien drones take it and deliver it to its target, or 2) angular momentum you must choose No. 2 because that is the simplest.

If there is any fact in science that cannot be debated, its Einsteins Theory of Relativity.  Yet nonetheless, every year there are numerous well-publicized challenges to differing aspects of the Theory. How can this be if the Theory of Relativity is settled?

The answer is because this is part of the scientific method!

Lest this be seen as an argument against human-enhanced Global Warming, please allow me to point out that this is not the case.  We consider Global Warming as close to settled science you can get but not for the reasons you might think.

Settled Science is not a new term, in fact, its use stretches back some 150 years, although the settled science that it described would seem a Hall of Infamy in the early 21st century.

Settled Science in the late 1800s:

  • The division of Humankind into races differentiated by alleged Intellectual Potential (or limitations), Color of Skin, Shape of the head, and Geographic Location.
  • Segregation of women and girls from higher education.  Alleged reasons:  women’s brains could not deal with rigorous thinking and men would become physically and psychologically unhinged in their presence.  
  • Excluding women from voting for much the same issues.

Settled Science in the early 1900s:

  • Space flight is not possible because there is nothing in space for an engine to push against.
  • Since space cannot be empty, there needs to be a substance and name it ether.
  • The Universe cannot be infinite, so we live in an island universe that we call the Milky Way.  

Settled Science later in the 20th century

  • There are so many safeguards built into nuclear power plants that the odds of an accident are 50,000,000,000 to 1.
  • A population bomb would wipe out millions or billion of humans before the end of the century.
  • An impending Ice Age would settle upon Northern climes before the end of the century with great death and destruction in its wake.
  • Being gay or lesbian was classified as abnormal and a psychiatric condition by the experts in the field.

Settled Science early in the 21st century

  • That nothing can exceed the speed of light was a given until it was recently proven that the Inflationary Stage of the first moments of the Big Bang expanded thousands or millions of light-years in less than a millionth of a second.

With Occams Razor in mind we must come to the conclusion that settled science is a term that often contradicts the Scientific Method, itself and,therefore, must be used with great caution.

 



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