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Humorous Technical Jargon

One of my passions is the English language. I enjoy the flexibility and mutability of its structure and meaning, and in day to day conversations this inherent fuzziness makes up a large part of what I consider humorous. The normally flexibility of English is in stark contrast to the rigid definitions and strict interpretations that are found within technical jargon. This makes technical jargon ripe for manipulation and humorous interpretation when you relax the rigidness with which the words and phrases are interpreted. Some of my personal favorites come from physics:

  • Retarded fields – strictly speaking, fields that are time lagged due to distance from the source and the finite speed of light
  • Degenerate states – quantum states that have the same energy
  • Rigid bodies – objects that can be treated as inflexible, thus reducing the amount of math required to describe their motion

As you can plainly see, the technical meaning of these terms are drab and boring, and not open to interpretation when used in the context of physics. But using more colloquial meanings, these phrases are really quite funny.

Because of my interest in language, I am curious about technical terms from other fields that people consider funny, whether the interpretation is puerile, perverse, or just plain odd. So, I would like to invite everyone to share whatever technical terms that make you chuckle, or just downright laugh out loud, whenever you hear them.

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Ok, this is pretty lame, but I have to write it. Here are my new definitions for these terms:

  • Retarded fields – the special olympics
  • Degenerate states – most of the Northeast
  • Rigid bodies – uhh, I don’t even need to write it, but she’s usually involved in their formation.
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a couple more by wyldeling

My friend (and a fellow nerd who I am trying to get onto this site) pointed out two others that need to be shared:

  • Spontaneous emission – the emission of particles through internal processes only. Think: radioactive decay
  • Stimulated emission – the emission of particles caused by an external action. Think: LASER stands for Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

I’ll let everyone figure out their more risque meanings …

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Automated by gnifyus

Other people have been so taken by this same facination that they went and created the bullshit generator
There seems to be several different flavors of this if you search around.

I personally like taking the technical meanings of words and expecting people to use them in conversation. One that always cracks me up is "or." For example:

You say, "Mark, do you want cake or pie?" I say, "yes."

Or, even better:

I say, "Bob, do you want cake xor pie?" Bob says, "huh?"

Granted, I’m usually the only one laughing, but that’s good enough for me nand you. (bwaahahaha!)

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Slashdot by markmcb

Slashdot name is quite humorous. It was originally chosen because it is a confusing URL to say: "H T T P colon slash slash slashdot dot org". Very nice.

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Medicine by Liz_Miracle

cremaster reflex : stimulation of the skin on the front and inner thigh retracts the testis on the same side.
anal wink : reflexive contraction of the external anal sphincter upon stroking of the skin around the anus.

From a lawyer friend:
Penal Law – which I’ll leave as is.

From contour integration:
Residues on poles – a pole is a point where the function is undefined in the complex plane (1/z has a pole at z = 0), and a residue is the result of the intregral along the contour around a pole. (This was originally discussed in terms of opening a strip club known as Contour Integral, and … well, the rest can be gleaned from above.)

I just ran across this one on stackoverflow :

In all forms of inheritance:

Nobody can see anyone else’s privates, unless they’re friends.

The post, in general, discusses the various ways inheritance in c++ effects the way one object may access another’s methods. Definitely more effective with the double entendre.

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