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I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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The truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or their desire for more.

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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 9/13/2021

Totals
Posts - 2638
Comments - 2643
Hits - 2,418,014

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Entries/day - 0.39
Comments/entry - 1.00
Hits/day - 361

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 1:19 PM Pacific


  03:40 PM

Here it is, October nearly gone already, so it's time for another selection of new-to-me words. I've considered completely flushing my buffer, which currently has about two dozen entries. But that might reduce the opportunity to savor the smaller list that I offer you below. :-)


kindergarchy. A good definition comes from Pamela Drucker in her article "Curling Parents and Little Emperors" in Harper's: "[A]n anxious, labor-intensive, child-centric style of parenting—sometimes called hyperparenting or the kindergarchy—that has taken hold in the past twenty years." In an article in The Weekly Standard titled simply "The Kindergarchy," Joseph Epstein refers to it as being "under rule by children." You can tell by the definitions, the sources, and the references to this as a recent change (Epstein gives the figure as "for the past 30 years at least") that this is a hand-wringing term, one that critiques the way Other People raise their children. In these circles, at least, one wouldn't want to proudly proclaim oneself as being in a kindergarchy. PS I also like Drucker's term hyperparenting.


monopsony. A market in which there is only one buyer—contrast monopoly, in which there is only one seller. I ran across monopsony in an article about Amazon, but the author did not provide any details about ways in which that company represents a monopsony.


uncanny valley. Our negative reaction to things that are close to being human, but are not quite right. This comes up in robotics, for example, when very nearly human-like robots end up being kind of creepy. The "valley" part pertains to a graph of our reaction to things—if something is clearly not human, we don't have a negative reaction, and if something is fully human, we likewise react neutrally or positively. But when something is almost human, there's a big dip in its likability score. You can read more in Wikipedia, in the article "10 Creepy Examples of the Uncanny Valley," and (Update!) on Nancy Friedman's blog.


Pinterest perfect. I got this term from one of my cousins, who explains that it means "an object must be photographically perfect in order to catch attention and generate interest. Therefore, projects will be altered so that they photograph at the best possible angle/color/texture even if that means changing what the normal completed project (or item) looks like." The term seems to have been extended to mean any arrangement that reflects tremendous effort on details and an attempt at perfection:Whether the term is considered negative or positive seems to depend on how you feel about this level of effort. For example:

pareidolia Finding patterns in random data, such as the man in the moon, shapes in the clouds, and so on. This came up in an article about things that people think they see in photographs from Mars, like faces, coffins, and a squirrel (!). If you want to take a crack at pronouncing this word, have a look at the entry in Dictionary.com.

And finally, ...


foamer A disparaging term for someone who gets so excited at something that they (figuratively or otherwise) foam at the mouth about it. I saw this term in a Facebook comment about an article on the singer Rod Stewart, who's a big model railway enthusiast. (FB comment: "Young Turks is a foamer? I barely believe it...") Per the dubiously reliable Urban Dictionary, the term was originally applied to railway enthusiasts, but now applies to anyone with an unseemly (in the speaker's mind) enthusiasm for anything.

Update Nancy Friedman goes into a little more depth about foamer in an old "Word of the Week" entry on her blog. Spoiler alert: "foamer" might not derive from "foaming at the mouth."


Previous entries:

A new list of new terms
Another batch of new terms
More word discoveries
Random terms I've learned lately

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