Six foot plea / Gamers’ lives / Glaring proof / Baffling sci jargon

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them: Under footage — The green-and-white sign you see here is plastered on the floor of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. It says: “MAINTAIN 6 FEET THANK YOU”.Upon inquiry, Feedback was told that no, the sign is […]

Foster’s six defenses for legal obscurity

“There are many bad reasons for legal writing that is impenetrable to the layman (e.g., where writing is made impenetrable in order to necessitate recourse to lawyers which would otherwise be unnecessary, or where impenetrability is a consequence of antiquated language perpetuated purely out of sentimental conservatism).” – writes Charles Foster (co-recipient of the 2016 […]

A song for the peoples of Britain, in their hour of dismay

This song, called “Harmonious Misunderstanding”, is the thrilling conclusion to “The Jargon Opera“. The mini-opera premiered as part of the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, at Harvard University. That first performance starred singers Margot Button, Jane Tankersley, and Michelle French, and pianist Greg Neil — accompanied gamely by Nobel Laureates Richard Roberts, William Lipscomb, and Dudley Herschbach, and David […]

Jaunty Jargon Recitation: Construal Level

This week’s pick for a chunk of jaunty jargonian text — fun to recite aloud at posh parties and in swanky restaurants — is the abstract of a study just published in the Journal of Consumer Research: “When Does a Higher Construal Level Increase or Decrease Indulgence? Resolving the Myopia versus Hyperopia Puzzle,” Ravi Mehta [pictured here], Rui […]

Where that (scientifical/business) jargon, much of it, came from

“They did develop distinctive, pseudo-scientific language to pitch themselves to clients…”, explains Emma Green as she rough-sketches a history of modern business jargon, in The Atlantic. (Thanks to Mariette DiChristina for bringing this to our attention.) BONUS: The Jargon Opera premiered as part of the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. The opera concludes with the song “Harmonious […]

Trendy Jargon All Into One Pot: Consciousness and Bose-Einstein Condensates

Gather some trendy jargon, throw it all into one pot, and you might have something like this: “Consciousness and Bose-Einstein Condensates,” I.N. Marshall, New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 7, Issue 1, 1989, Pages 73–83. The author, at Bowden House Clinic, London Road, Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex U.K., writes: “What kind of physical structure could most plausibly be […]

Vapid Load of Jargon: Thought Leadership

Today’s Vapid Load of Jargon is the sentence: “Too many so-called thought leaders are just parroting what they’ve read or heard, whereas a true thought leader espouses.” We found this Vapid Load of Jargon on a web page called “Thought Leadership.” The sentence is said to be written by Gary Bertwistle, who is described as a “multiple […]