2006-04-29

Enthusiastic Brights?

I was looking at the web site for the Brights, and found it amusing that there is a sub-section there for "enthusiastic Brights", given the definition of "a Bright" (in part: "A bright's worldview is free of supernatural and mystical elements"), and the etymology of "enthusiasm" (in part: "inspired by a god").

Captious comments aside, the site is interesting, and the list of enthusiastic Brights includes authors I enjoy reading.

OK, back to poking fun...

There has been some negative reaction to this nounification of the adjective "bright" due to the very strong positive meanings of "bright" as an adjective, especially with respect to intelligence. However, the use of "Brights" as a collective noun for people with a naturalistic world view is not supposed to imply people with other world views are dim or dumb any more than using the collective noun form "gays" for homosexuals (also derived from an adjective with positive meanings) is supposed to imply that others are dull, drab, dreary, glum or gloomy.

However, I just finished reading The New Hacker's Dictionary (3rd Edition):

(I've been reading it on and off for a few years now, but finally made the push to finish it a few weeks back).

While Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell (the pair who in 2003 proposed this noun form of "Bright") haven't referenced it, this entry from the Jargon File points to an earlier (and harsher) use of "Bright" as a noun.

2006-04-24

hyperthymestic

Having the characteristic of better than normal memory.

Coined recently by researchers studying a 40-year-old woman who has very detailed and accurate memory without use of special mnemonic devices.

You can read more here.

2006-04-17

grook

"Grooks," invented by the Danish philosopher (and mathematician, and scientist, and author) Piet Hein, are short poems often with illustrations. For example (there is a picture for this one, not reproduced here):

TIMING TOAST
Grook on how to char for yourself
There's an art of knowing when. Never try to guess. Toast until it smokes and then twenty seconds less.

It is pretty easy to find grooks floating around the Internet (try this Google query, for starters. Or, try this Amazon.com search.

Piet Hein also invented one of my favorite puzzles from my childhood. My Grandma Purdy had a cube puzzle called SOMA and I enjoyed playing with it, making the cube and other shapes. She let me have it some years back and I pull it out from time to time to play again.

He also invented the game of Hex.

2006-04-10

tranche

This week's word is brought to you by Ralph, who pronounces this "traunch".

A portion of something; one of a series of allotments.

Scrum example: "We pulled the next tranche of backlog items into the sprint."

2006-04-09

Internet Patent News Service

I used to be in the software and Internet patent prior art searching business. At one point, I met Greg Aharonian through one of the lawyers I was working with. I recently discovered that he runs the Internet Patent News Service. Cool.

2006-04-03

Chronic déjà vu

Spotted in Jargon Watch (on page 34) in the April 2006 issue of Wired:

n. A mental disorder in which victims respond to experiences with a false sense of famliarity, from films they've never seen to places they've never been. A mental disorder in which victims respond to experiences with a false sense of famliarity, from films they've never seen to places they've never been.