Posts tagged ‘Neologism’

February 21, 2017

Vatnik

vatnik

Vatnik (Russian: ‘cotton-padded jacket’), a derivative of and often shortened to ‘vata’ (Russian: ‘batting’), is a derogatory social slang neologisms in Russian and Ukrainian languages, and an internet meme used in reference to individuals with pro-Russian jingoist and chauvinist views. In the original meaning, ‘vatnik’ (also ‘telogreika’) is a cheap cotton-padded jacket.

The meme was created by Anton Chadskiy under the pseudonym ‘Jedem das Seine.’ His associated picture of an anthropomorphic square-shaped quilted jacket similar to the cartoon character ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ was first posted on Russian social network ‘VK’ September 9, 2011. The meme went viral in 2012, but became much more widespread in society after the Russian military intervention in Ukraine started in 2014. Chadskiy, claiming he feared political persecution, left Russia in late 2014.

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June 14, 2016

Audism

audism

Audism [aw-diz-uhm] is the notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or to behave in the manner of one who hears, or that life without hearing is futile and miserable, or an attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear. Tom L. Humphries coined the term in his doctoral dissertation in 1977, but it did not start to catch on until Harlan Lane used it in his own writings. Humphries originally applied audism to individual attitudes and practices; whereas Lane broadened the term to include oppression of deaf people.

Audism has been called a form of ‘ableism,’ discrimination on the basis of disability. Like racism or sexism, audism assigns labels, judges and limits individuals based on whether they can hear or speak. People who practice audism are called ‘audists.’ Although it stems predominantly from hearing people, audism can manifest itself in anyone, intentionally or unintentionally.

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February 25, 2016

Swatting

disconnected by Joe Morse

Swatting is the act of deceiving an emergency service into dispatching a police response based on the false report of an ongoing critical incident. The term derives from SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics), a heavily armored police unit. Swatting has been associated with online harassment campaigns, and episodes range from the deployment of bomb squads and evacuations of schools and businesses, to a single fabricated police report meant to discredit an individual as a prank or personal vendetta.

The action of swatting – linked to the action of ‘doxxing’ (obtaining the address and details of an individual) – has been described as terrorism due to its potential to cause disruption, waste the time of emergency services, divert attention from real emergencies and possibly cause injuries and psychological harm to persons targeted. The act of making false reports to emergency services is punishable by prison sentences in the US and is a crime in many other countries.

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February 10, 2016

Aquafaba

bean cuisine by Meredith Blumenstock

Aquafaba [ah-kwuh-fah-buh], or chickpea brine, is the liquid from canned chickpeas, used as an egg substitute because of its function as an emulsifier, leavening agent, and foaming agent. Vegan baker Goose Wohlt coined the term aquafaba (‘bean liquid’) to describe the substance, which French chef Joël Roessel discovered could be used as substitute for egg whites in recipes. Aquafaba has been used to create meringues, macarons, nougat, and other products that normally require the use of eggs, making them suitable for people with egg allergies, vegans, and lacto-vegetarians.

There is currently no scientific consensus on the chemical properties of aquafaba and why it mimics egg whites so effectively. Seed proteins, including albumins and globulins, as well as soluble fibers, sugars, and glycosides have been proposed as contributing to the similarity. Roessel purports that the most likely agent that causes the liquid to foam are saponins, plant molecules containing a combination of hydrophobic (fat-soluble) and a hydrophilic (water-soluble) components.

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February 2, 2016

Catvertising

st john

Catvertising is the use of cats in advertising. The tongue-in-cheek portmanteau was coined in the late 1990s, and enjoyed a spike in popularity beginning 2011 as a result of a parody of commercialization of cat viral videos by the advertising agency st. john in Toronto.

The video was part of a series of spoofs beginning with ‘Pink Ponies: A Case Study,’ then ‘Catvertising,’ and finally ‘Buyral’ (a blend of ‘buy’ and ‘viral’). A University of Arizona marketing team competes under the name ‘Catvertising.’

January 27, 2016

Infomania

Daniel Levitin

The term infomania is used to describe a sometimes debilitating feeling of ‘information overload,’ caused by the combination of a backlog of information to process (usually in e-mail), and continuous interruptions from technologies like phones and instant messaging. It is also understood as distraction caused by the urge to constantly check on incoming information, which causes the person to neglect other, often more important things—duties, family, etc. (For instance, a typical symptom of infomania is that of checking email frequently during vacation.)

The term was coined by Elizabeth M. Ferrarini, the author of ‘Confessions of an Infomaniac ‘(1984) and ‘Infomania: The Guide to Essential Electronic Services’ (1985). Confessions was an early book about life online. In 2005, British psychologist Glenn Wilson conducted an experimental study which documented the detrimental effects of information overload on problem solving ability. This was described in a press release accompanying a self-report survey of the extent of misuse of modern technology sponsored by Hewlett-Packard (However, in 2010, Wilson published a clarifying note about the study in which he documented its limited size and stated the results were ‘widely misrepresented in the media.’)

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December 15, 2015

Phreaking

Capn Crunch

2600

Phreaking is a slang term coined to describe the activity of hobbyists who study, experiment with, or explore, telecommunication systems, such as equipment and systems connected to public telephone networks. ‘Phreak,’ ‘phreaker,’ or ‘phone phreak’ are names used for and by individuals who participate in phreaking. The term first referred to groups who had reverse engineered the system of tones used to route long-distance calls. By re-creating these tones, phreaks could switch calls from the phone handset, allowing free calls to be made around the world.

Electronic tone generators known as ‘blue boxes’ became a staple of the phreaker community, including future Apple Inc. cofounders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The blue box era came to an end with the ever increasing use of computerized phone systems, which sent dialling information on a separate, inaccessible channel. By the 1980s, much of the system in the US and Western Europe had been converted. Phreaking has since become closely linked with computer hacking.

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September 30, 2015

Edisonade

Steam Man of the Prairies

Edisonade is a modern term, coined in 1993 by John Clute in his and Peter Nicholls’ ‘The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction,’ for fictional stories about a brilliant young inventor and his inventions. This subgenre started in the Victorian and Edwardian eras and had its apex of popularity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was common in ‘scientific romance,’ an archaic term for the genre of fiction now known as ‘science fiction.’

The term ‘Edisonade’ originated in the 1850s to describe both fiction and elements of scientific writing, but has since come to refer to the science fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, primarily that of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Arthur Conan Doyle. In recent years, the term has come to be applied to science fiction written in a deliberately anachronistic style, as a homage to or pastiche of the original scientific romances.

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April 27, 2015

Satyagraha

Charkha

gandhi

Satyagraha [suht-yuh-gruh-huh] is a term coined by Mahatma Gandhi to describe his particular philosophy and practice within the broader overall category generally known as nonviolent resistance or civil resistance. It loosely translates as ‘insistence on truth’ (Sanskrit: ‘satya’ ‘truth’; ‘agraha’ ‘polite insistence,’ or ‘holding firmly to’) or ‘truth force.’

He deployed satyagraha in the Indian independence movement and also during his earlier struggles in South Africa for Indian rights. Satyagraha theory influenced Nelson Mandela’s struggle in South Africa under apartheid, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaigns during the Civil Rights Movement in the US, and many other social justice and similar movements. Someone who practices satyagraha is a ‘satyagrahi.’

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February 17, 2015

Cyberspace

true names

Cyberspace is ‘the notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs.’ The word became popular in the 1990s when the uses of the internet, networking, and digital communication were all growing dramatically. The parent term is ‘cybernetics,’ derived from an Ancient Greek word meaning ‘steersman,’ ‘governor,’ ‘pilot,’ or ‘rudder’ (coined by American mathematician Norbert Wiener for his pioneering work in electronic communication and control science).

According to programmer Chip Morningstar and game developer F. Randall Farmer, cyberspace is defined more by the social interactions involved rather than its technical implementation. In their view, the computational medium in cyberspace is an augmentation of the communication channel between real people; the core characteristic of cyberspace is that it offers an environment that consists of many participants with the ability to affect and influence each other. They derive this concept from the observation that people seek richness, complexity, and depth within a virtual world.

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December 11, 2014

Biomimicry

airfoil

George de Mestral

Biomimicry [bahy-oh-mim-ik-ree] is the imitation of biological systems in human technology. Living organisms have evolved well-adapted structures and materials over geological time through natural selection. Nature has solved engineering problems such as self-healing, environmental exposure tolerance, hydrophobicity (waterproofing), self-assembly, and harnessing solar energy.

One of the early examples of biomimicry was the study of birds to enable human flight. Although never successful in creating a ‘flying machine,’ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was a keen observer of the anatomy and flight of birds, and made numerous notes and sketches on his observations as well as designs of rudimentary ornithopters based on bats. The Wright Brothers, who succeeded in flying the first heavier-than-air aircraft in 1903, derived inspiration from observations of pigeons in flight. Their airfoil was based on a design by German ‘Glider King’ Otto Lilienthal who published ‘Birdflight as the Basis of Aviation.’ Velcro, another famous example, was inspired by the tiny hooks found on the surface of burs.

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November 6, 2014

McMansion

mcmansion

In American suburban communities, McMansion is a pejorative for a type of large, new luxury house which is judged to be oversized for the parcel or incongruous and out-of-place for its neighborhood. Alternatively, a McMansion can be a large, new house in a subdivision of similarly large houses, which all seem mass-produced and lacking in distinguishing characteristics, as well as appearing at odds with the traditional local architecture.

The neologism seems to have been coined sometime in the early 1980s. It first appeared in print the ‘Los Angeles Times’ in 1990. Related terms include ‘Persian palace,’ ‘garage Mahal,’ ‘starter castle,’ and ‘Hummer house.’ Marketing parlance often uses the term ‘tract mansion’ or ‘executive home.’ An example of a McWord, ‘McMansion’ associates the generic quality of these luxury homes with that of mass-produced fast food by evoking the McDonald’s restaurant chain.

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