The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
There are words in the English language that I like and
others I try to use sparingly. Jargon is one of those words I don't really like
and try to never use. Unfortunately, sometimes it's just appropriate and must
be used. Oh sure, I could use terminology or lingo as a suitable replacement,
but terminology sounds too scientific and lingo ranks up there with slang. So
jargon it is.
Jargon, as it's defined by Dictionary.com translates to
1. The language, especially the vocabulary, peculiar to a
particular trade, profession, or group.
2. Unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; gibberish.
Am I the only one who finds it a little funny that it can be
the language associated with a trade, profession, or group OR be unintelligible
or meaningless talk? Maybe. But I suppose if you overheard a bunch of doctors
talking about their latest surgical procedure amongst themselves, there would
be a lot of terms that sound like gibberish to you, but clearly intelligible to
them. The same can probably be said of the military, scientists...and even gamers.
Today was my first real day back at work since the holidays,
and as I went about my business playing catch up, I was surprised how many
times a colleague would say something that made me think about video games.
Perhaps it was all the gaming I got in during the holidays or maybe it always
happens and I just happened to dwell on it today, but sometimes the simplest
word can have this affect, and it got me thinking about how often this really
For example, I work in communications and we often talk
about satellite links and channels, but every time I heard the word link, I wasn't really thinking of the
connection between terminals and end users. No, I kept thinking of the land of
Hyrule and Princess Zelda. Don't even get me started on pipes, stars and
flowers. These words probably mean something different to plumbers, astronomers,
botanists...and gamers. When I was a kid one of my favorite past times (besides video
games) was camping. Do kids camp anymore? Well, if you're playing Call of Duty
they sure do.
Now let's take it one step further and consider the titles
to a few of our favorite video games, just off the top of my head.
Halo has all sorts of definitions. At some point in my life
if you had asked me what a Halo was I would've told you it's the circular metal
ring that angels wear, because that's what the angel on top of our Christmas
tree had. Later in life, I might've said it was what Rip Cord did. Rip Cord
was a character from G.I. Joe, a HALO jumper - High Altitude Low Opening. I was
a big fan of the G.I. Joe cartoons and toys. Obviously I don't need to tell you
what I think of now when I hear the word Halo, pretty much in any context.
Half Life released in 1998, and about 10 years prior to that
I was a young man in high school, not really paying attention to my science
teacher explaining the concept of a half-life, or the time required for one half the atoms of a given amount of a radioactive
substance to disintegrate. I assure you if someone asked me if I knew what
a half-life was, I might not be able to give them a text book definition, but I
could certainly provide a basic plot overview and all the characters involved
in the story, starting with one Gordon Freeman.
I had the equivalent of a board room meeting earlier today
where the boss went around the table asking each of his representatives to
brief their subject matter. When he got to the guy who handles our Knowledge
Management (KM), the guy started talking about the monthly figures for
customers who visited our portal. Did somebody say Portal? Because I noticed
there were a couple hundred people on Steam playing Portal 2 last night and
that doesn't really check with the numbers you're briefing. Oh, you meant web
portal...my apologies...different Portal. My bad. I'll just shut up now.
Did you know there is a medical term for an actual or
potential cavity remaining after the closure of an incision and not obliterated
by operative technique, and it just so happens to be the same term used to
describe a breathing apparatus and the excess space which the flow of air or
breathing gas must pass through and back again as the user breathes in and out,
increasing the necessary respiratory effort to get the same amount of usable
air or breathing gas, and risking accumulation of carbon dioxide from shallow
breaths. Well, that certainly isn't what I think of when I think about Dead
Space. I think of a Sci-Fi thriller in the horror genre of video games that
will likely scare the pee water out of you if you play it late and night in the
dark with headphones on, but hey...that's me.
I guess since we're talking medical jargon, it seems
appropriate albeit gross to mention a mass effect is the effect of a growing
mass which results in secondary pathological effects. In oncology, the mass
typically refers to a tumor but in neurology, mass effect is a general term
applied to the effects exerted by any mass, including, for example, an evolving
intracerebral hemorrhage (a bleeding within the skull) presenting with a
clinically significant hematoma. The hematoma can exert a mass effect on the
brain, increasing intracranial pressure and potentially causing midline shift
or deadly brain herniation. Sounds like gibberish to me, what about you? Come
on, everybody knows what Mass Effect really means.
What's really bad is when you see a word, you think is
spelled wrong and means something else, because you've seen it in the realm of
video games so often, and when you see it spelled correctly it almost draws you
back into reality...like when I was reading this message on the Syrian crisis...and
paused, "Wow, crisis, not Crysis. Yeah, I suppose that is the right way to
spell it." Sheesh, what if it had been a Crysis with the North Koreans...we'd
really be concerned then.
I probably shouldn't even share this next one with you...you're
going to think I'm just making it up. This happened on Friday, when my office
co-worker was slightly disgruntled over an issue where a subordinate from
another unit essentially tasked him with figuring out how to acquire two
emergency radios for a submarine getting underway for sea trials. So he says to
me, "Hey do you remember the PRC-96s?" And I respond, "Yeah, those little
portable radios with all the D batteries that come in the orange box."
I kid you not. I said the orange box in a non-video game
related sentence, but of course as soon as I said it, I chuckled to myself - "Hah,
he said orange box."
Now, the only reason I decided to share this little story
with you is because after an exhaustive search on the Internet, lo and behold
but what did I find...somebody actually selling a PRC-96, and if you look close
enough, you can see it is indeed in an orange box. See for yourself.
You can also read up on the old PRC-96 and confirm that it was indeed a
portable radio used on lifeboats and on submarines. I couldn't make this stuff
up if I tried.
Well, I should wrap this up...I could've sworn the weatherman
just said to expect thunderstorms and a heavy rain tonight, and I want to get
this posted in case I lose power.
Did you know?
id - the unorganized part of the personality structure that
contains a human's basic, instinctual drives.
Have a great night, and sleep tight.