Publishers of reference material sometimes add false or trap information as a way to catch others who steal their material. Mailing lists often include trap addresses to catch people who rent mailing lists and use them more than once without paying for multiple uses. Maps sometimes add fake streets. Old books of logarithmic tables included intentionally wrong numbers (crazy!). Online trivia contests ask fake questions with searchable fake answers on shill websites to catch cheaters who use the web to look up answers. And dictionaries include made-up words. Here's an example of the latter from Greg Ross' Futility Closet
. The 2001 edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary
contains a fake word, esquivalience, defined as “the willful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities; the shirking of duties.”
Sure enough, the word turned up at Dictionary.com (it’s since been taken down), which cited Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary, and it currently has three definitions on Google Dictionary.
At what point does a fake word become real? NOAD editor Christine Lindberg, who invented this one, told theChicago Tribune that she finds herself using it regularly. “I especially like the critical, judgmental tone I can get out of it: ‘Those esquivalient little wretches.’ Sounds literate and nasty all in one breath. I like that.”
Esquivalience: At what point does a fake word become real?
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]