Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Deja vu all over again

Iraq Parliament in Uproar Over Stalemate

BAGHDAD - Two months after more than 8 million Iraqis braved suicide bombers and death threats to vote for their new government, elected officials in Iraq are still unable to agree on who will lead the new government. Asked for comment on the situation, President Bush stated, "I don't know what's so hard about it. Just tell them to have their brother recount the votes until they get the result they want."

In related news, former presidential candidate Al Gore emerged from the cave in which he has been hiding to offer himself as a viable compromise candidate for Iraqi president.

File under: ,

Friday, March 25, 2005

Stop the madness!

I can't take it anymore! The English language is suffering such abuse in the business world that we can barely understand each other anymore. Words that used to mean something completely different have now been shanghaied by otherwise intelligent businesspeople, forced to do tasks for which they were never intended, and then so overworked that they have become utterly useless.

Here are some more victims of jargon enslavement:

Leverage
This should not be used as a verb. I know that we do, and that it started with financial terminology, but come on: it has become a synonym for "use." ere's an actual excerpt from a recent email I received:

Given the other large implementation, overall resource issues, and combined with other items, the "usual" process has not been leveraged.

You know what? You don't sound any smarter when you use three syllables in place of one. In fact, you just make it harder for anyone else to "parse" what you're saying. Which brings me to...

Technical Terms in Non-Technical Conversations
First, congratulations to all nerds. I'm very happy that -- outside of Harvard, of course -- computer engineers and other super-smart science folks have risen to such prominence in society. It's chic to be a geek. However, this has led to a disturbing trend in my conversations, and I would like the rest of society to knock it off. Namely, the usage of highly technical programming terms by people who can't even figure out Excel.

To these people, I say: just because you heard the poorly dressed guy with bad hair in the cubicle next to you use a word doesn't mean that you know what it means, and it certainly doesn't mean you should try to apply it in everyday business conversation, OK?

Some shocking examples:

"I'm not sure I can parse what you want from me."

"Let's take this conversation offline. Let's take that offline too. I don't want to talk about that now: offline it for later."

"I couldn't get her to compile the memo for me, so I told her to fork it and I'd get back to her later."

OK, I made that last one up. Still, it hurts to hear these otherwise useful words being mangled so. Please, people, stop abusing the language! Use simple words whose meanings you understand, and if you find yourself wanting to "leverage the synergies in your vocabulary," don't. The more you do it, the closer you come to sounding like a blithering idiot.

Trust me: I've worked with enough of them to know.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Now you can pick your liver

Australian Scientists Grow Stem Cells from Nose

SYDNEY (Reuters) - With the help of the Catholic Church, Australian researchers have successfully grown adult stem cells harvested from the human nose, avoiding the ethical and legal problems associated with embryonic stem cells. The scientists cautioned that there are some kinks in the process, however, since organs grown from the stem cells "could tend to be a bit boogery and might unexpectedly sprout tufts of hair as patients get older."

You Want Fingers with That?

Diner Finds Finger in Wendy's Chili

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A diner at a Wendy's fast food restaurant in San Jose, California, found a human finger in a bowl of chili prepared by the chain, local officials said on Wednesday. When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Wendy's insisted that this was not an accident but part of the chain's new marketing campaign honoring their late founder: "There's a little bit of Dave in everything we make."

Thursday, March 10, 2005

But seriously, folks

Just a tip: if you ever read something I wrote and wonder, "Is he serious?" Chances are, I'm not.

Irony is dead

Bomber Hits Shi'ite Mosque in Iraq, 46 Dead

A suicide bomber attacked a funeral in the northern city of Mosul on Thursday, killing at least 46 people and wounding dozens more. Among the casualties were a high-ranking cleric, several security troops, and the Iraqi sense of irony.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Live Life to the Fullest

Deep Thought for the Day:

If you want to live life to the fullest, your experience should outpace your understanding.