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HD: 1954 Words
Posted: 28 February 2012 04:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The latest and greatest.

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Posted: 28 February 2012 06:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Nice batch.

lurgy, n
I had always assumed this started with the Goons, and was some kind of corruption of allergy.

bonobo, n The OED gives the unhelpful etymology as from “an African language.”
Is much more known now about the origin?

EDIT:On hotline: there was actually a dedicated physical line from the Kremlin to the White House at one time.
In this day and age, where every message is broken into a hundred packages and sent its various ways to be reassembled at the target server, it seems odd that they thought having a single line would be more reliable: I mean, some mischief maker just had to break one (albeit, well protected) line to kill this hotline.

[ Edited: 28 February 2012 06:34 AM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 28 February 2012 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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ABD, n. All But Dissertation. By this time next year I hope to have this status.

Ha, I’ve had this status since 1976!

bonobo, n. In 1953, primatologists were debating whether or not bonobos and chimpanzees constituted separate species. The OED gives the unhelpful etymology as from “an African language.”

The only available etymology (given, for example, in the latest edition of the AHD) derives from Frans De Waal, Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, p. 7: “The name ‘bonobo’ ... probably derives from a misspelling on a shipping crate of Bolobo, a town in Zaire.” Not especially convincing, but there don’t seem to be any similar words for the animal in local languages.

cha-cha, n. The dance hits ballroom floors in 1953.

I thought I had found a 1951 antedate, since that’s the date Google Books gives for Recommended children’s books: As professionally evaluated by librarians for librarians in the Junior libraries section of the Library journal, arranged by grade and subject with author-title index (p. 162): “Instruction for all the popular dances are included in this revised edition, even the newest, the cha cha.” But Wikipedia tells me both music and dance were invented in 1953, so obviously it’s another metadata fail from Google.  Never mind.  Forget I said anything.

hexadecimal, adj. and n. Hexidecimal is a base sixteen numerical notation system. It’s widely used in computing.

Hexidecimal” has an -i- in place of the correct -a-.  And let me take this opportunity to inveigh against the barbarous nature of this word, wantonly mingling Greek hex ‘six’ with Latin decem ‘ten.’ If the proper “sedecimal” was too opaque, why not use “sexadecimal,” at least keeping to Latin roots?  For shame, I say!

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Posted: 28 February 2012 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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For shame, I say!

Perhaps it was for shame, because they couldn’t bring themselves to say “sex-” all day…
What would be the proper Greek-derived English, I wonder? Δεκαεξαδικό -> dekaexadical?

And you appear to have answered my bonobo question, thank you, lh.

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Posted: 28 February 2012 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Another great batch!  For one thing, the historical summary underscores the absurdity of the tendency to reflect on the 1950s as a simpler, more innocent, and purer time.  In one year we have a failed celebrity marriage, a divisive single-issue political movement, a rather shocking act of violence which (ahem) targeted a central institution of the US government, and a divisive Supreme Court opinion which was lauded by some as a triumph of justice and deplored by others as judicial activism run amok.

Re ASAP: the interesting thing about this one, at least to me, is that, when spoken, it is sometimes pronounced as a single word (ay-sap) and other times each letter is pronounced separately a-s-a-p.  At least in my experience, it is much more commonly spelled out than it is pronounced like a single word (perhaps because making a point of spelling out each letter highlights the urgency of the request for speed.)

There are other acronyms with this characteristic, but not many (I think), and I am skeptical of at least one of the ones that Wikipedia claims are commonly pronounced both ways: SAT (an aptitude test given in the US).  It is certainly easy enough to pronounce SAT as a single word (the “sat” or the “sate"), but I can’t recall hearing a human being saying anything either of those things when talking about the SAT. And if I heard somebody talk about taking “the sat” this would probably induce an Abbott and Costello style comedic moment (and I would probably think that” taking the sate” was some sort of drug lingo, unless the meaning was clear in context.)

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Posted: 28 February 2012 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I agree about SAT, and AHD gives only the spelled-out pronunciation.  If I had the time/energy I’d correct Wikipedia, giving AHD as a reference.

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Posted: 28 February 2012 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Svinyard118 - 28 February 2012 10:56 AM

… There are other acronyms with this characteristic, but not many (I think), and I am skeptical of at least one of the ones that Wikipedia claims are commonly pronounced both ways: SAT (an aptitude test given in the US).  It is certainly easy enough to pronounce SAT as a single word (the “sat” or the “sate"), but I can’t recall hearing a human being saying anything either of those things when talking about the SAT. And if I heard somebody talk about taking “the sat” this would probably induce an Abbott and Costello style comedic moment (and I would probably think that” taking the sate” was some sort of drug lingo, unless the meaning was clear in context.)

In Britain the National Curriculum assessments given to school pupils up to the age of 14 are colloquially knows as “the SATs”, apparently because they were talked about before their introduction as “Standard Assessment Tests”, and to quote Wikipedia, “‘SATs’ is pronounced as one word, rather than the American SATs (where the letters ‘SAT’ are pronounced individually).” I have never heard them called anything but “SATs”, one word, and I’m not sure any Briton would know what you were talking about if you asked what the local school’s ESS-AI-TEE results were like.

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Posted: 28 February 2012 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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So, by interesting coincidence, the US and Britain each have a (presumably different) test with the same acronym, but one pronounces it like one word and the other doesn’t.  I guess it isn’t that huge of a coincidence since S (standard/standardized, or perhaps structured) A (achievement/assessment/aptitude/academic, etc.) and T (test) are fairly natural candidates for inclusion in a standardized-test acronym, but it still at least a little surprising that the identical combination of letters was chosen on both sides of the pond, especially since I would guess (but don’t know) that the coinage occurred independently (I.e., neither copied the other).

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Posted: 28 February 2012 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The S in the American SAT originally stood for “Scholastic”, but now apparently stands for nothing; according to Wikipedia, the SAT has gone the KFC route and the initialism now IS the name instead of standing for the name.  (Perhaps I should say the Harry S Truman route.)

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Posted: 28 February 2012 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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And how I dislike that trend (I hate seeing, for instance, the proud old name Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank boiled down to the random-looking HSBC).

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Posted: 28 February 2012 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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On hotline: there was actually a dedicated physical line from the Kremlin to the White House at one time.

Yes, but that hotline wasn’t until the 60s, established in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. And contrary to popular/Hollywood imagination, the White House-Kremlin hotline was not a voice line. It was a teletype system. And I’m pretty sure it’s still in place. While the Cold War is over, both the US and Russia still have an awful lot of nuclear weapons sitting on top of missiles. A dedicated communication line still serves a purpose.

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Posted: 28 February 2012 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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there was actually a dedicated physical line from the Kremlin to the White House at one time.

Sounds like an urban myth to me. The “hotline” has always been a dedicated circuit on existing lines, but I have never heard that it was a dedicated physical line by itself. It really wouldn’t make any sense to do it that way, especially the transatlantic cable portion of it.

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Posted: 28 February 2012 06:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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According to Wikipedia, the original Teletype-only link was replaced by a system that included a telephone voice link (carried in part by satellite) in 1971.

[ Edited: 28 February 2012 06:37 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 28 February 2012 09:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Sorry to go slightly OT but ... how do your SATs work? In the movie The Departed, Dignam says that Billy got 1400 on his SATs, and that hence he is an astronaut not a statie. This suggested to me that 1400 would be considered a very high SAT.

But WP tells me “Possible scores range from 600 to 2400, combining test results from three 800-point sections (Mathematics, Critical Reading, and Writing)”. This would suggest 1400 is about 58% of the maximum mark…

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Posted: 28 February 2012 11:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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That’s got to be a goof. 1400 is below average. You’d need something like 1700 as a bare minimum to get into one of the California State schools and you’d have to be in the 2100 range for the top schools.

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Posted: 29 February 2012 04:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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The writing section was only added in 2005, so when Billy took the test (it was a 2006 movie), the max score was 1600 (two tests, verbal and math). Billy’s score of 1400 would have placed him somewhere around the 95th percentile.

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