29 novembre 2010



Gli “embassy cables” o “diplomatic cables” sono rapporti ufficiali scritti da funzionari e ambasciatori facenti capo al dipartimento di Stato americano, aventi come oggetto le interazioni tra funzionari americani o tra questi e ambasciatori o funzionari di governi stranieri.

Ogni rapporto contiene un riassunto iniziale e poi i dettagli su determinati eventi o incontri. Fanno il giro delle agenzie governative, delle ambasciate e dei ministeri, ciascun documento secondo il suo livello di riservatezza, e servono a informare l’apparato diplomatico americano a Washington e in giro per il mondo sull’evoluzione degli scenari politici globali. Ogni rapporto è contrassegnato da una sigla che indica il grado di riservatezza. Sul sito di Wikileaks è possibile scorrere i file secondo il loro grado di riservatezza, il loro paese d’origine, il loro argomento, eccetera. 15 mila sono “segreti”, 101 mila “confidenziali” e 133 mila “non riservati”. Il paese più trattato – con oltre 15 mila documenti – è l’Iraq. Un altro database – ordinato per persone e paesi – è disponibile sul sito del Guardian.

fonte: Il Post

In the mid-1860s, the first durable transatlantic submarine telegraph cable was completed, and by the end of the decade, the portmanteau (i.e. blended word) cablegram had been born, combining the nouns cable and telegram. The Oxford English Dictionary's first citation, from 1868, specifically notes its novelty: "The new word cablegram is used by a New York contemporary to characterise a telegraphic dispatch." The Corpus of Historical American English pushes the date back a couple of years to 1866, in Jane G. Austin's novel Outpost: "'Hello, a cablegram!' exclaimed the young inventor. 'It must be from Mr. Illingway, in Africa."

In any case, whether by clipping from cablegram or by metaphorical extension from cable, the noun cable with the meaning of a message sent by submarine telegraph cables was in place by 1883, the date of its first OED citation.

When did cablegram/cable get restricted semantically to diplomatic realm? It's hard to say, since the word cable has the non-telegraphy meanings that get in the way of Internet searches. It seems to have begun sometime around the World War II years. A search of the Google News Archive shows that mentions of personal cablegrams tend to be from prior to the 1920s. The phrase business cablegram(s) gets about a dozen hits between 1900 and in 1940, and none thereafter. Diplomatic cablegram gets its start in the 1930s and notches several hits per decade from the 1950s to the 1980s, before disappearing by the end of the 90s. Diplomatic cable(s) shows up throughout the 20th century, but really starts to pick up in the 1940s, and continues to be used steadily up to the present.

Source: Visual Thesaurus

Read also:


Scandal suffix switchover

On the use of suffix -gate to flag up controversial stories

Wikileaks: cablo(grammi), telegrammi, documenti?

25 novembre 2010

Happiness Index

The British government is set to measure the country's "happiness" in an effort to give a fuller picture of how the nation is performing.

David Cameron, the prime minister, who had previously called for "general well-being" to be assessed alongside traditional economic indicators, outlined some of the plans on Thursday, sparking criticism from some quarters.

Source: Aljazeera

Il Pil, il prodotto interno lordo, è l’unico indicatore che gli stati utilizzano per la contabilità nazionale. La ricchezza delle nazioni si misura calcolando solo tutte le attività dove c’è scambio di danaro. Tutto il resto non esiste...

Puntata di Report


iPod zombies, a digital undead army lurching through the streets. We may call it the iPod zombie trance, but it's a device-agnostic state, since this living dead horde also consists of iPhone zombies, BlackBerry zombies, and the generic MP3 zombies and cellphone zombies.
The iPod zombie pedestrian isn't alone in needing earbuds and a tiny screen these days. Others in a state of iPod oblivion include iPod zombie joggers, iPod zombie dog walkers, iPod zombie cyclists, and iPod zombie rollerbladers.

iPod pedestrians (or, iPodes­trians) people regularly—you might even say compulsively—read and compose e-mail while walking down the street. But that's not all people do while power walking to their next appointments. They also text, read Facebook and Twitter status updates, scan RSS feeds, and more than anything else, they bliss out to their favorite tunes at unhealthily loud volume levels.

Similarly, in your local Starbucks, you've probably seen your share of laptop zombies who are oblivious to everyone and everything except the screen in front of them.
If walking while texting and other forms of pedestrian inattention were merely comical, no one would worry about them too much. But attention is a zero-sum game, so concentrating on your iPod results in a technological autism or unintentional blindness that can lead to near collisions with fellow pedestrians and actual collisions with street lamps. One study found digital music players to blame for up to 17 accidents every day in the UK.

The preferred term for this among cognitive scientists is inattentional blindness, which they define as "the failure to detect the appearance of an unexpected, task-irrelevant object in the visual field." So if you're zoned out listening to Arcade Fire at top volume (the task) and you fail to see an oncoming vehicle (the unexpected, task-irrelevant object), that's IB, and that's probably trouble, perhaps even death by iPod.

The risks increase if the driver of the car bearing down on you is preoccupied reading or sending text messages, a form of digital drunkenness known as being intexticated. An incredibly dangerous habit, intextication is also called DWT, or driving while texting. If the driver is preoccupied with a cellphone call instead, call it DWY, or driving while yakking—abbreviations that play on the legal term DWI, or driving while intoxicated.

Trickle Down Economy

An economic theory which states that investing money in companies and giving them tax breaks is the best way to stimulate the economy.

Proponents of this theory believe that when government helps companies, they will produce more and thereby hire more people and raise salaries. The people, in turn, will have more money to spend in the economy.

Source: Investopedia

trickle down theory: teoria della distribuzione capillare, espressione aggettivale, usata per indicare un qualcosa relativo o basato sulla teoria economica che sostiene che la moneta che si diffonde entro il sistema economico, in particolare la moneta proveniente dalle casse dello stato, avrà l\'effetto di stimolare lo sviluppo più se la distribuzione avviene attraverso le grandi imprese industriali che se essa avviene tramite benefici diretti, quali servizi sociali o opere pubbliche.

fonte: Proz

Generation XD

The expression is used to define the generation of digitally-aware children born between 1995 and 2001 who have never known a world without Internet.[Generation X + D(igital)]

Tale espressione si utilizza per definire quella generazione di bambini definiti “digitalmente consapevoli”, nati tra il 1995 e il 2001, che non ha mai conosciuto un mondo senza internet.

Source: www.marketingweek.co.uk, 11 January 2010, “Disney research unearths Generation XD”, The youngest generation that has never known life without the Internet.

published on: Englishfor

23 novembre 2010

Twitter Diplomacy

Using the microblogging service as a diplomatic tool to publicize the inner workings of governments.

Source: Businessweek

See also:

Sweet to tweet

Not a medium for compromise


Activists having pages disabled or deleted with no explanation by Governments.

Source: RConversation

Azioni che hanno escluso Facebook, soprattutto in Medio Oriente.

La chiusura estrema è stato raggiunta dalla Turchia: ha oscurato Google, YouTube e Facebook. Un vero e proprio lucchetto a internet.

Fonte: Sole 24 Ore


The attempt, usually frantic and futile, to reverse the deselfing process.

Douglas Coupland on NYTimes


il tentativo, di solito frenetico e inutile, di invertire il processo di deselfizzazione.

Tradotto da Internazionale, del 29 ottobre 2010, "Dizionario del futuro prossimo"

Full article:

A Dictionary of the Near Future

Omniscience fatigue

The burnout that comes with being able to know the answer to almost anything online.

Douglas Coupland on NYTimes

Stress da onniscienza:

Il sovraffaticamento che colpisce chi sa già quasi tutto quel che legge in rete

Tradotto da Internazionale, del 29 ottobre 2010, "Dizionario del futuro prossimo"


Willingly diluting one’s sense of self and ego by plastering the Internet with as much information as possible.

(See also Omniscience Fatigue; Undeselfing)


Diluire intenzionalmente il proprio io inondando internet del maggior numero di informazioni possibili.

(vedi anche stress da onniscienza, dedeselfizzazione)

Tradotto da Internazionale, del 29 ottobre 2010, "Dizionario del futuro prossimo"

Blackberry prayer

The head-down, slightly hunched position that is characteristic of a person using a BlackBerry or similar device.

Example Citations:

Without a doubt, the biggest workplace changes involve computers and communication. Employees are linked to their jobs practically around the clock. There's been a revolution in smart phones like the Treo and BlackBerry that allow people to communicate by E-mail and IM (which your kids will soon explain, if you don't understand) and access the Web from soccer fields and doctors' waiting rooms. If you haven't used them yet, you've almost certainly been to a dinner party or school event where someone's hunched over in the "BlackBerry prayer," thumbing an E-mail response.

—Kerry Hannon, "What's Changed at Work While You Were Out," U.S. News & World Report, February 1, 2008

Source: WordSpy

22 novembre 2010


The increasing role played by women throughout the world of labour.

E’ un blend composto da women + economics che indica il crescente ruolo delle donne in ambito economico come forza lavoro che assume un sempre maggior peso nell’economia mondiale.

Source: EnglishFor


Sole 24 Ore: Le donne manager conquistano la finanza italiana

Economist: Womenomics

Qwerty Tummy

Stomach upsets caused by bacteria from dirty computer keyboards.

The phrase “qwerty tummy” is in the news once more, following revelations from the Royal Society of Chemistry that mouse droppings are being found on office keyboards. Paul Sims wrote in The Daily Mail:

A spokesman for the RSC said: “There is evidence that mice run along a computer keyboard, pressing down on the keys to get at food crumbs left by people snacking while working.

“That is why it is important to wash your hands before eating food.”

Computer keyboards have long been blamed for causing health problems. Research conducted by Which? in 2008 found they can harbour more harmful bacteria than a lavatory seat.

Many users, they said, are at risk of becoming ill with stomach bugs dubbed “qwerty tummy” after the first six letters on a keyboard.

source: Schott's Vocab


Inflated, jargon-cluttered prose that fails to communicate clearly.

Coined in 1944 by Maury Maverick, a Texas lawyer, in a memorandum expressing disdain for the "gobbledygook language" of his colleagues. The word was inspired, he said, by the turkey, "always gobbledy gobbling and strutting with ludicrous pomposity."

See also: MPs told to mind their language


Nonce word

A word coined or used for a special occasion.

A nonce word is one coined 'for the nonce'--made up for one occasion and not likely to be encountered again. When Lewis Carroll coined it, frabjous was a nonce word. Neologisms are much the same thing, brand-new words or brand-new meanings for existing words, coined for a specific purpose. Analogy, especially with familiar words or parts of speech, often guides the coiner, and occasionally these words will enter the standard vocabulary."

(Kenneth G. Wilson, The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. Columbia Univ. Press, 1993)


Stunt word

Defined by Tom McArthur in The Oxford Companion to the English Language (1992) as an informal, late-20th-century term for "a word created and used to produce a special effect or attract attention, as if it were part of the performance of a stunt man or a conjuror."


"Rudyard Kipling coined the word curtiosity, which means the asking of ever so many questions. It may perish with the book in which it appeared, or it may reach a venerable age like fudge--who knows?"
(Leon Mead, Word-Coinage, 1902)



Verb used loosely to mean "reject": she called on them to refudiate the proposal to build a mosque. [Origin--blend of refute and repudiate].

According to the OUP Blog, "the word refudiate instantly evokes the name of Sarah Palin, who tweeted her way into a flurry of media activity when she used the word in certain statements posted on Twitter. . . . [W]e have concluded that neither refute nor repudiate seems consistently precise, and that refudiate more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of 'reject.'"

source: GrammarAbout

19 novembre 2010


A new movement of people who are proud to be ignorant.

When ignorance becomes a movement: The rise of Snookiism

Snooki la supercafona del reality Jersey Shore, è la nuova star della tv americana

To geek

A new way to use geek as a transitive verb to mean "be geekily enthusiastic about."

geek, verb
1. To love, to enjoy, to celebrate, to have an intense passion for.
2. To express interest in.
3. To possess a large amount of knowledge in.
4. To promote.

source Visual Thesaurus


Blend di cheat (tradire) e text, pratica del tradimento via sms.

Secondo uno studio pubblicato dall'Associazione avvocati matrimonialisti, oggi l'80% dei tradimenti sarebbe scoperto proprio tramite gli ultimi canali della comunicazione, cioè chat, social network e sms.

Il tradimento ai tempi dell'sms. Segreti e app per non far scoprire il "cheaxting"

il Sole 24 Ore


Sta per «Big ignorant fellow from Offaly», la zona rurale dalla quale il premier irlandese Brian Cowen proviene. Lui risponde sempre con un'alzata di spalle. Per quanto lo riguarda - dice - Biffo è l'acronimo di «Beautiful intelligent fellow from Offaly». Le molte critiche alle sue origini, alle sue decisioni e anche al suo aspetto non scalfiscono la corazza del Taoiseach. «La politica non è un concorso di bellezza», taglia corto.

Per gli irlandesi il premier Brian Cowen è un «biffo». Trichet: urgente salto di qualità nel patto di stabilità

18 novembre 2010


La parola Skimming deriva dal verbo inglese to skim, che significa sfiorare, strisciare. Da questa parola deriva a sua volta la parola skimmer che è il dispositivo utilizzato per memorizzare i contenuti delle bande magnetiche delle carte di pagamento.

fonte: italiansinlux

16 novembre 2010

Bunga bunga

The Telegraph thinks that bunga bunga is either the punchline of a bawdy joke beloved of Berlusconi, or an 'erotic ritual' that the Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi told the Italian PM about. The Irish Examiner says that a bunga-bunga is 'an after-dinner game for one naked man and a bevy of naked young women'.

There are only five words beginning 'bunga-' in the OED, but bunga bunga, nor indeed, bunga, isn't one of them. Perhaps there is something about the combination of letters 'bung' that makes this a good start for slang words. There are 52 entries in the OED that begin 'bung' but there are 72 entries in Jonathon Green's Dictionary of Slang that begin with these four letters. Several of the slang entries relate to the sense of bung as a slang word for 'anus' (not mentioned in the OED), several others to things to do with drinking, since a bung is a brewer or publican (the OED has 'bung-ho', a drinking toast) and yet others relate to the sense of bung meaning a bribe or a pickpocket (these senses are in the OED).

published on: The virtual linguist

Use it: Bunga-bunga for party. As in, "I went to Silvio Berlusconi's bunga-bunga in Milan last weekend. It was wild!"

Why: Because "party" is just so bland.

Source: Star Tribune

read also:

The Top 10 Everything of 2010

Top words of 2010

At this time last year, you might not have known what a spillcam or a vuvuzela was. But you probably do now. The two phrases are among the Top Words of 2010, according to the Global Language Monitor, which analyzes trends in word usage with an emphasis on global English.

"Our top words this year come from an environmental disaster, the World Cup, political malapropisms, new senses to ancient words, a booming economic colossus and a heroic rescue that captivated the world for days on end," said Paul JJ Payack, president of The Global Language Monitor. "This is fitting for a relentlessly growing global language that is being taken up by thousands of new speakers each and every day.The Monitor tracks the frequency of words and phrases in social media, on the Internet and in global print and electronic media and accesses proprietary databases, according to its website.

"Spillcam": rose to prominence after an underwater camera captured images of oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico after a well ruptured. 

"Vuvuzelas": gained fame -- or infamy -- after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, during which fans blared the loud, brightly colored horns.

Other top words include:

"Refudiate": a conflation of "refute" and "repudiate" used by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin; "guido" and "guidette," terms heard on the TV show Jersey Shore; 

"Snowmagedon," a hybrid of "snow" and "Armageddon" that was used to describe record snowfalls in the United States' east coast and northern Europe last winter, according to the Monitor.

"Tea Party," the grassroots conservative movement that gained momentum leading up to 2010's midterm elections, made the list of Top Phrases of 2010.

Bimbo eruptions

Term describing rumors alleging extramarital affairs.

The term was coined by Betsey Ross Wright, an American lobbyist, activist, and political consultant who worked more than a decade for Bill Clinton in Arkansas. During the 1992 campaign, Wright coined the term "bimbo eruptions" to describe rumors alleging extramarital affairs by Clinton.

Published today in Financial Times, “Walkout by the ‘ four cats’ puts more pressure on Berlusconi”, pag.33

Source: Wikipedia

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...