Dictionary inclusion of unworthy words
James A. Landau
JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Sep 23 16:50:09 UTC 2002
In a message dated 9/23/02 11:31:09 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
buchmann at BELLSOUTH.NET writes:
> I have noticed that technical usages entered the mainstream and left
> in a shortened cycle over the twentieth century. Does anyone know
> of any statistical studies ? These usages are not slang, but they are
> seemingly similar in behavior to topical slang.
That's because there is a shortened cycle of obsolescence---the things
described by those technical usages are getting obsolete and vanishing after
only a few years, so of course their names vanish with them.
>From the computer field: sorter, collator, gang punch, interpreting punch,
sight check, disk pack, reel-to-reel, vacuum column, read-write ring,
foreground process, core, core storage, core dump, daisy wheel, sense switch,
delay line, Williams tube, 3-branched IF, screen-door card, golf ball---all
dead and most forgotten. I doubt if any new programmer in the last 20 years
learned why a paperclip is called a "mechanical sight checker".
- Jim Landau
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