29 ottobre 2010


Terremoti stellari, un nuovo fenomeno osservato dalla sonda Kepler della Nasa che promette di svelare uno degli enigmi del cielo. Così come i terremoti che avvengono sulla Terra forniscono ai geologi informazioni sulla struttura interna del pianeta, le “starquakes” apporteranno ulteriori metodi per la determinazione di età, grandezza e grado di evoluzione di una stella.

tratto da: Blitzquotidiano


Government Organized Non-Governmental Organization.

Many NGOs are not actually NGOs. They are what observers are now calling GONGOsgovernment organized non-governmental organizations. They are funded, staffed, and otherwise supported by governments. The idea is not to instigate or inspire change, but rather to control and manage it.

read more on: Schott's Vocab

Facebook stalk

meaning: “excessively or surreptitiously peruse another’s Facebook profile.

see also: Facebook narcissism

read more: Ben Zimmer on NYTimes

Blackberry diplomacy

Diplomatic messages sent electronically using a Blackberry or similar device.

"Mr. Erdogan's warm embrace of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Istanbul as "a dear friend" and his opposition to further sanctions against Iran (voted June 9 by the U.N. Security Council) mark Turkey's new "BlackBerry diplomacy," a break with conventional diplomacy - when major shifts take place in real time above the heads of foreign-policy officials and the diplomats with whom they normally deal."

read more:

25 ottobre 2010

Double Dip Recession

A double-dip recession refers to a recession followed by a short-lived recovery, followed by another recession.

The causes for a double-dip recession vary but often include a slowdown in the demand for goods and services because of layoffs and spending cutbacks from the previous downturn.

A double-dip (or even triple-dip) is a worst-case scenario. Fear that the economy will move back into a deeper and longer recession makes recovery even more difficult.

Source: Investipedia

22 ottobre 2010

What's the point of niceness?

published on: BBC News

The governor of the Bank of England says it's been a nice decade, but is niceness really something to strive for, asks Julian Joyce, in the first of a series of articles about changing times.
The last 10 years have been a "nice" decade, according to Bank of England governor Mervyn King.
He was of course using the word in an acronymous and strictly economic sense, a shortening of Non-Inflationary Consistent Expansion. But the choice of this acronym was deliberate, carrying an undertone related to something more than inflation.


Acronym to describe the financial characteristics of Britain’s next decade: Savings, Orderly Budgets, Equitable Rebalancing.

The Governor of the Bank of England has warned that Britons face a decade of saving more and spending less, Philip Aldrick reported in The Telegraph:
"Alluding to the “Non-Inflationary Consistently Expansionary” [NICE] decade just passed and coining a new acronym to describe the years ahead, he warned: “The next decade will not be nice. History suggests that after a financial crisis the hangover lasts for a while. So the next decade is likely to be a ‘SOBER’ decade – a decade of savings, orderly budgets, and equitable rebalancing… A sober decade may not be fun but it is necessary for our economic health.”

Source: Schott's Vocab

19 ottobre 2010

Why do we google?

Why we make verbs of some brand names like "Google" and "Facebook", but not of others like "Powerpoint" or "Excel" or "iPod"?

published on: Johnson

According to G.L.'s First Rule of Brand-Verbing, which is that people will verb a brand name if it refers to a clearly-defined, frequent action for which there isn't a perfectly adequate pre-existing verb. So to google became to search on the web, to facebook meant to look up or contact someone on Facebook, and to skype covers calling someone by VoIP telephony.

Facebook narcissism

Presenting a more positive view of yourself than in reality, on social networking site Facebook

The neologism "Facebook narcissism" has even emerged to label the phenomenon. Many users present such a lopsided version of themselves that the "beautiful life" presented online bears little resemblance to the real thing.

Published on: macmillandictionary

Disease Branding

October 18, 2010, 1:30 pm

Published on: Schott's Vocab

Hyping the profile of a medical condition in order to sell its treatment.

Writing for CNN, Carl Elliott compared the modern marketing of certain medicines with Edward Bernays’s idea, in the 1920s, of selling pianos by popularizing the idea that sophisticates had music rooms:

Just as Bernays sold pianos by selling the music room, pharmaceutical marketers now sell drugs by selling the diseases that they treat. The buzzword is “disease branding.”

To brand a disease is to shape its public perception in order to make it more palatable to potential patients. Panic disorder, reflux disease, erectile dysfunction, restless legs syndrome, bipolar disorder, overactive bladder, ADHD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, even clinical depression: All these conditions were once regarded as rare until a marketing campaign transformed the brand.

Once a branded disease has achieved a degree of cultural legitimacy, there is no need to convince anyone that a drug to treat it is necessary. It will come to him as his own idea.

According to Elliott, “disease branding” works best when a condition can be de-stigmatized, or when one can imply that a condition is under-diagnosed

18 ottobre 2010

Lycra lout

A cyclist who flouts the laws of the road, jumping red lights etc.

Prosecutions of cyclists who run through red traffic lights has plummeted dramatically - with fewer than half as many 'lycra louts' facing a ticket.

published on: macmillandictionary/open-dictionary

See also: MAMIL.

The acronym hype

Some say it’s annoying, but some find it useful and makes people’s lives less complicated. Yet others say it’s a form of language abuse. Many believe it is another form of creativity. Observing the widespread use of acronyms in urban society will help us understand social trends.

The "Acronym inflation" is a condition where everybody can invent new acronyms and neglect the normal rules of thumb in the official language.

It used to be the government and authority that liked to use acronyms, but now everybody seems to be trying to make their own phrases. The acronym hype prevalent in this society, is being attributable to language economy where people are encouraged to be as efficient as possible in everything, including using words. The technology has played its part in supporting this trend with people sending messages via mobile phones and the Internet

16 ottobre 2010

"Buzz", "chat", "tuning": la fine degli anglicismi in Europa?

Crociata anti-anglicismi in Francia. Buzz, chat, newsletter, tuning e talk dal 30 marzo 2010 hanno ceduto il posto a espressioni francesi, create durante un concorso per studenti. Quest’iniziativa del segretario di Stato alla francofonia avrà seguito in altri paesi europei?
Tour d’Europa per conoscere meglio questi anglicismi unificatori.

I francesi sono fieri della lingua di Molière? Un vecchio cliché che continua a resistere. Lo dimostra il concorso Francomot (“parole franche”) lanciato nel gennaio 2010 dal segretario di Stato alla francofonia Alain Jouyandet: dal 30 marzo, cinque anglicismi lessicali sono stati sostituiti da altrettanti termini francesi ideati da alcuni studenti, sotto lo sguardo attento di una giuria presieduta dallo scrittore Jean-Christophe Rufin e composta da musicisti rap come Mc Solaar o Sapho. I video su Youtube non faranno più “buzz” nella rete francese ma faranno “ramdam”, parola estrapolata direttamente dall’arabo. Niente più “chat” ma piuttosto “éblabla” o ancora “tchache”. Quelli che amano truccare le macchine non faranno più “tuning” ma “bolidage”. Per quanto riguarda gli intellettuali abituati a ricevere la “newsletter” del quotidiano Le Monde e che ascoltavano i “talk” in podcast, dovranno d’ora in poi abituarsi alle “infolettres” (contrazione tra informazione e lettere) e parlare di “débates” (dibattiti). Ci si abituerà facilmente?

Versante tedesco, non ci si pone questo tipo di problema con gli anglicismi: i vicini dei francesi continueranno a “chatten” fino a nuovo ordine. Per farvi capire meglio l’importanza di questa tendenza teutonica va detto che i tedeschi sono addirittura capaci di creare i loro anglicismi, come “handy” (telefono cellulare), termine anglofono che nemmeno gli inglesi utilizzano.

I blogger italiani “chattano” durante il “talk show” Annozero, ma ogni nuovo proclama di Berlusconi è l’occasione per un grande passaparola o rumore e non un “buzz”. Ma l’orgoglio italiano per la lingua di Dante va anche oltre. Beppe Severgnini, giornalista del Corriere della Sera, adora prendere in giro quegli italiani che anglicizzano tutto, soprattutto nell’informatica e in economia. Nel suo libro “Riscopriamo l’italiano: lezioni semi serie” (Rizzoli) Severgnini si chiede, con falsa innocenza: «Perché dire “brand” se possiamo dire marchio? Perché “meeting” e non riunione?».

Gli spagnoli non lasciano niente al caso: non c’è “buzz” che tenga, ma un “ruido” o uno “zumbido”, e in rete i giornali iberici inviano i loro “boletìn” e non le “newsletter”.

Gli inglesi hanno di che ridere con i nostri pseudo-anglicismi. I “buzz” vengono chiamati “hype” e un buon video su Youtube “make viral history”. Visto d’oltre manica, niente di così importante per farne un “ramdam”.

da: Cafebabel

Leggi anche: itanglese

15 ottobre 2010

Five words shaping our future

The modern technological blur we’re all living through produces new ideas and products constantly, and language trots along trying to keep up. In “Virtual Words: Language on the Edge of Science and Technology,” published this month by Oxford University Press, Jonathon Keats looks at the new words churned out on the road to the future and assesses their place in society. Will they succeed like the word "blog"? Or fail like the word "flog" (a fake blog for promotional purposes)? Here, Keats, who writes Wired Magazine’s Jargon Watch column, picks five words that not only have staying power but help us peer toward the horizon.

By Jonathon Keats WashingtonPost

We tend to think of prophecy as the stuff of superstition. Yet just as people can influence the future with their predictions, words occasionally anticipate the reality they come to reflect. Here are five that are helping to define our technological society.

resistor with electrical memory.

For three decades, the memristor existed only on paper. Proposed by the engineer Leon Chua in 1971 to fill a gap in the theory of electronics, the hypothetical component was nearly forgotten by the time researchers accidentally made one. They might easily have dismissed the discovery as an error in their data had one of them not dimly recollected Chua's strangely named idea. The memristor is now deemed the future of computer memory because of its odd behavior: The more electricity you run through it, the more its electrical resistance increases. In other words, the memristor remembers its own history.

Protection against copyright protection.

Like most '60s countercultural ideals, the free circulation of intellectual property was hopelessly unrealistic. Anybody could easily steal a collective project by taking out a copyright. For this reason, collaboratively designed open-source software didn't stand a chance until master hacker Richard Stallman counteracted copyright with copyleft. A copyleft license blocks profiteers from copyrighting collaborative software by preemptively copyright-protecting it, and contractually allowing people to freely use and modify it only if they agree to pass on the freedoms given to them. Copyleft does not only describe an ideal, but has made it real.

Outsourcing to the masses.

Several years ago a stock photography company called iStockphoto began letting amateurs post their pictures, getting paid a nominal fee whenever an image was used commercially. Around the same time, a VH1 show started broadcasting viewers' homemade videos. Both of these are examples of crowdsourcing, a term coined by Wired magazine writer Jeff Howe in an article about iStockphoto, VH1, and a couple other companies that derive their content from anyone with an internet connection. Since the article was published in 2006, crowdsourcing has become a media catchphrase used to describe everything from Wikipedia to online political polling. On the surface, these seem to have nothing in common. Evolving with the internet, crowdsourcing encourages us to search for hidden connections, and to discover how the structure of the web influences the workings of the world.

The current geological epoch.

The naming of geological epochs is typically descriptive. Eocene uses the Greek root for dawn, heralding the birth of modern mammals, and the root of holocene means wholly recent, referring to the epoch we've been in for the past 10,000 years. But what will future scientists make of the abrupt geological changes of the past several centuries, observing the strata of concrete and plastic? Many geologists argue that our permanent mark on the environment merits a new name, shaming the perpetrators. A scientific term with a political intent, anthropocene describes our catastrophic effect on the planet in order to mitigate it.

simplified future world English.

An estimated 1.5 billion people speak English, fewer than a quarter of whom speak it as a first language. Most get by with simplified grammar and a vocabulary of a couple thousand words. Coined to identify this streamlined English, panglish has transformed the phenomenon into a topic of debate. Panglish has been vilified by English nativists afraid that their language is being gutted, and by lexical nationalists abroad terrified that panglish will sully local tongues. Yet few panglish speakers even know the word panglish. They have no need for it. Those who would decree the future of language might as well speak gibberish.


Acronym used to describe the U.S., Europe, the U.K. and Japan: “Heavily Indebted Industrialized Countries.”

published on: Schott's Vocab

In The Wall Street Journal, Kelly Evans revealed a new acronym indicative of changing “global economic fortunes” – HIICs:

That is shorthand for the U.S., Europe, the U.K. and Japan, or, as HSBC currency strategists are calling them, “heavily indebted industrialized countries,” or HIICs. They are displaying the kinds of investment risks traditionally associated with global backwaters. “Developed markets are basically behaving like emerging ones,” says HSBC’s Richard Yetsenga. And emerging markets are quickly becoming more developed.
Sensing and perhaps fueling the shift, investors have this year yanked some $36 billion from stock-market funds investing in HIICs, according to research firm EPFR Global, and stuffed $45 billion into emerging-market funds. Who can blame them? The “BRICs” of Brazil, Russia, India and China are “where the population growth is, where the raw materials are, and where the economic growth is,” says Michael Penn, global equity strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Brussels urges universities to offer translation courses

Updated: 14 October 2010

The European Commission launched a new drive to encourage more universities to offer courses for aspiring translators amid fears of a succession crisis in the EU institutions' languages department..

more on EurActiv

Brave New Words

This quirky, small-format gift book provides an introduction to more than 200 of the latest additions to the ever-expanding English lexicon. Featuring one word per page together with a brief explanation and an example of usage, listings include such gems as 'denture venturer' (the older adventure traveller), 'textual harassment' (persistently insulting someone by text message) and 'blamestorming' (using a meeting to discuss who is responsible when something has gone wrong). This simple concept book provides both a fun gift and an interesting talking point sure to please word enthusiasts everywhere.

more on: MacMillan

11 ottobre 2010

Twhatever next? - the lexicon of Twitter

by Kerry Maxwell

Why bother twalking in person? Why not spend your twime tweeting? – twit’s twonnes more fun! Sorry, I’ll stop, before this gets irritating, but anyone who, like me, spends time observing new additions to our vocabulary, can’t fail to have noticed the fun people are currently having with that consonant cluster ‘tw’. Excluding the word two and its derivatives, words beginning ‘tw’ only occupy a couple of pages out of more than 1700 in the current edition of the Macmillan English Dictionary, but contemporary usage is beginning to suggest that the run of ‘tw’ entries may begin to grow a little... I’m talking of course about word formation in the world of Twitter.

Enjoy reading this article!

7 ottobre 2010

707 Penn Gallery exhibit gives artistic, visual life to digital exchanges

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Currently on display at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's 707 Penn Gallery, Downtown, the exhibit "TXT" presents the multifaceted nature of our use of text.
For example, both Glenn Wonsettler and Dan Waber employ acronyms and other shorthand uses of language common in computer and cell phone-based exchanges to challenge the viewer's notion of our ever-changing contemporary language.

Buzzword Watch: "Acq-hire"

Buzzword Watch: "Acq-hire"
September 28, 2010

By Ben Zimmer

Earlier this month, a post by Dan Frommer on Business Insider had this to say about Google, Facebook and Apple: "Recently, all three companies have been making a lot of 'acq-hires,' where they buy a company to acquire its human resources." You read that right: acq-hire.

published on: visualthesaurus

3 ottobre 2010

Are You Fluent in Recession?

After you lost your "job-job," you've been "decruited" more than once—maybe that "job stopper" on your neck had something to do with it—and because your financial outlook is somewhere between "blark" and "Full Walton" lately, you've been alternating between "Wonderbreading" and the "Peanut Butter Challenge" and need to get "approval from corporate" before you buy even one lousy coffee. Does that sentence make any sense to you?
If so, there's no need to read Coupon Sherpa's 25 Recessionista Slang Terms, which would tell you that, for instance, "decruited" means:

To be fired from a position you haven't even started.
Usage: "Man, they decruited me before I finished the orientation."

Here, some other recession-era words and phrases:

Recession porn: With an apparently resurgent economy, the media genre known as recession porn may be gone for good. What, exactly, is recession porn? You know it when you see it. Basically, it's the fascination with all the weird ways the recession has affected different groups of people—the rich and privileged especially, because everyone knows the financial crisis has been tough on the working classes. In this look back, you'll see that recession porn stories include the economic downturn's impact on celebrities, the Queen of England, and workers in the actual porn industry.

Read more: http://money.blogs.time.com/2009/12/22/the-top-recession-porn-stories-of-2009/#ixzz11KDop9WC

Trashure: Referring to an item—perhaps a kitschy lamp, perhaps some reasonably fresh bread—that someone tossed in the trash, and that you take home and prize as a treasure.
Mentioned in the comments of a BoingBoing post on dumpster diving.

Read more: http://money.blogs.time.com/2010/04/14/word-of-the-day-trashure/#ixzz11KE4jPtS

Expensive urine: The phrase is used in a WSJ story about parents giving kids vitamins unnecessarily. Sometimes, the effects are harmless. But mostly, overdoing vitamins is just a waste:
Absorbing a bit too much of some nutrients, like the B vitamins, just results in "expensive urine," because the excess is excreted, says Kathi Kemper, a pediatrician at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
By taking vitamins that you or your children don't need, you are literally—excuse the phrase—pissing money away.

Read more: http://money.blogs.time.com/2010/05/05/amusing-phrase-of-the-day-expensive-urine/#ixzz11KEKO8eS

Unbanked: The Washington Post explains:
In the financial world, those without access to traditional financial services have been dubbed the "unbanked." With spotty bank records and thin or nonexistent credit reports -- documents often required to rent an apartment, buy a cellphone or even get a job -- they rely on storefront businesses that may charge a 4 percent fee to cash a check or a 995 percent annual interest rate for a short-term loan.

Read more: http://money.blogs.time.com/2009/10/13/word-of-the-day-unbanked/#ixzz11KEafxee

Mancession: The male ego is crushed. Men have reportedly accounted for 80 percent of job losses in the last two years. The disproportionate impact has brought about the coining of the word "mancession."

Read more: http://money.blogs.time.com/2009/07/17/deep-impact-10-ways-the-recession-is-hitting-home-in-lots-of-homes/#ixzz11KFGOKFB

posted by BRAD TUTTLE

2 ottobre 2010

Recessions-Era Words and Phrases

Are You a 'Nevertiree'? Or Are You Among the 'Accidentally Retired'?

The economic crisis has brought about a "new normal," in which Americans are adjusting their expectations concerning work, investing, spending, and one's "lifestyle." The recession has also brought with it new words and phrases, like "new normal."

Here are some others:

"Reluctant Breadwinner"

As defined recently by BusinessWeek, these are:
Women who wanted to stay home until their income suddenly became critical to the well-being of their families.


As defined by Barclay's Wealth (via CR), this is:
a person who intends never to retire but instead enjoy a life of "nevertirement."
Hmmm… we may need a new definition of "enjoy," because the way the word is used here, it doesn't sound fun or "enjoyable."

"Accidentally Retired"

The NY Times describes this phenomenon as one that occurs when an individual over the age of 50 is laid off and faces the real prospects of never working again:
Because it will take years to absorb the giant pool of unemployed at the economy's recent pace, many of these older people may simply age out of the labor force before their luck changes.


The long-term unemployed who have exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, and who, according to the LA Times, are trying to organize as together into a powerful political force.

"Mindful Spending"

The novel post-recession mindset, in which consumers actually think and consider value before they buy something. The phrase is used in a new book titled Consumed: Rethinking Business in the Era of Mindful Spending.

"Burrito Factor"

A means for analyzing an item's value, in which the cost of the item is measured by how many burritos you could buy with the same money. The system is used by Debt Ninja (thanks Consumerist), who uses the burrito factor to help him decide whether to buy everything from a salad to a sports car. Here's the Ninja's explanation:
Whenever I go out to eat and look at the menu, I run the burrito factor through my mental calculator. It looks a little something like this… "Okay, this salad is gonna cost me $12.50, which is the same price as 2.5 California burritos. Plus the salad is probably only going to fill me up 50%. So that means this salad is gonna cost the equivalent of 5 California burritos to get full. Death to salad!"

"Money Parker"

An investor who is not in the mood to take on risk in the stock market or real estate, and who for the time being, is content to park his money in CDs or bank savings accounts that pay off a measly 1% or so interest. The Boston Globe reported that bank deposits have increased 19% over the last four years, even though customers are getting pathetic returns on their money:
The rates are so low that many depositors are actually losing money after factoring in taxes and inflation, which is currently running at about 1 percent a year.

"Courtesy Pay"

Along with "buffer zone" and "debit card advance," "courtesy pay" is a phrase cooked up by banks to make overdraft fees sound palatable to customers, in the hopes of getting them to opt into coverage.

"Mortgage Worthy"

The roughly two-thirds of American consumers who currently have a prayer of qualifying for a mortgage. A report just came out revealing that 30% of Americans would not be able to get a mortgage today due to poor credit scores.

"Free Rent"

Closely related to the terms "strategic default" and the more folksy
"walking away," the "free rent" approach involves a strategic mortgage default but no walking away from the home until forced to do so after foreclosure proceedings. Until that occurs, the owner/defaulter enjoys "free rent."

"The Great Divergence"

Phrase describing the 30-year rise in income inequality in the U.S., resulting in the current state of affairs in which the richest 1% of Americans account for 24% of national income.

"Disposable Worker"

Also known as a "perma-temp," and known to exist in a "gig economy," the disposable worker is one who can be hired and fired quickly based on the whims of company needs, and who can expect no benefits, substandard hourly wages, and (obviously) no hint of job security.

"Hiring Workers"

An interesting "new" concept companies are considering to increase productivity and revenues, after productivity finally leveled off after businesses laid off employees and maxed out efficiency by pushing the (full-time and disposable) workers still on the payroll to the brink of exhaustion.

New! Neologisms of the week

TWITTERING: The fanciful language creations associated with the online Twitter system

Busted: has modified oil rig, or just plain rig. A database search of coverage of the BP spill finds the first recorded use of busted came nine days into the crisis on April 29, when the MSNBC host Ed Schultz said, “The busted rig is leaking — get this — 200,000 gallons of oil a day.”

Chunking: In recent decades, the study of language acquisition and instruction has increasingly focused on “chunking”: how children learn language not so much on a word-by-word basis but in larger “lexical chunks” or meaningful strings of words that are committed to memory

Cracking the jargon: how to interpret five sentences commonly used by stock market experts

MAMIL: Middle-Aged Men In Lycra, taking up cycling with enthusiasm, in the process spending freely on high-end cycles and all the accoutrements, especially the clothing.

Inclusive GIT branch naming

“main” branch is used to avoid naming like “master” and  “slaves” branches “feature branch” for new feature or bug fix   The shift fr...