As I retired and cleaned out an office of some 26 years' use, I uncovered a number of antique nuggets. I wished they had been gold and convertible into cash, but alas, they were only wisdom encapsulated. Some are more than 25 years in my possession--and may have been old when I received them. Their ultimate origins are wholly unknown, since my sources are burred photocopies of nearly as blurry photocopies. While my sight remains good enough to decipher them, I shall place them here. Read at your own peril.
What he/she said What he/she meant 1. It has long been known that. . . I haven't bothered to look up the original reference but. . . 2. Of great theoretical and Interesting to me practical importance. . . 3. While it has not been possible The experiment did not work out, to provide definite answers to but I figure I could at least get these questions. . . a publication out of it. . . 4. The W-PO system was chosen as The fellow in the next lab had some especially suitable to show already made up. . . the predicted behavior. . . 5. Three of the samples were chosen The results on the others didn't for detailed study. . . make sense. . . 6. Accidentally strained during Dropped on the floor. . . mounting. . . 7. Handled with extreme care Not dropped on the floor. . . throughout the experiment. . . 8. Typical results are shown. . . The best results are shown. . . 9. Agreement with the predicted curve is. . . excellent fair good poor satisfactory doubtful fair imaginary 10. It is suggested that. . . It is believed that. . . It may be that. . . I think. . . 11. It is generally believed A couple of other guys think so that. . . too. . . 12. It is clear that much additional a. I don't understand it. . . work will be required before a b. My grant is up for renewal. . . complete understanding. . . 13. Unfortunately, a quantitative a. Nobody else understands it either. theory to account for these b. Guess the subject of my grant results has not been formulated. proposal. 14. Correct within an order of Wrong. . . magnitude. . . 15. Thanks are due to Joe Glotz for Glotz did the work, and Doe assistance with the experiments explained what it meant. and to John Doe for valuable discussion.
However, if necessity is the mother of invention, then play is surely the father. So let's review the original item and then see what electronic damage we may do to it.
After years of hacking through etymological thickets at the U.S. Public Health Service, a 63-year-old official named Philip Broughton hit upon a sure-fire method for converting frustration into fulfillment (jargonwise). Euphemistically called the Systematic Buzz Phrase Projector, Broughton's system employs a lexicon of 30 carefully chosen "buzzwords":
Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 0. integrated 0. management 0. options 1. total 1. organizational 1. flexibility 2. systematized 2. monitored 2. capability 3. parallel 3. reciprocal 3. mobility 4. functional 4. digital 4. programming 5. responsive 5. logistical 5. concept 6. optional 6. transitional 6. time-phase 7. synchronized 7. incremental 7. projection 8. compatible 8. third-generation 8. hardware 9. balanced 9. policy 9. contingency
The procedure is simple. Think of any three digit number, then select the corresponding buzzword from each column. For instance, number 257 produces "systematized logistical projection," a phrase that can be dropped into virtually any report with that ring of decisive, knowledgeable authority. "No one will have the remotest idea of what you are talking about," says Broughton, "but the important thing is that they're not about to admit it."
Two facts struck me. First, every ham wishes he or she could come up with the key electronic invention that would solve the world's problems, make one rich beyond belief, and write one's name large in all future history books. Second, all that is needed is inspiration.
Since the first premise is set, all we need is a source of inspiration. That's where Broughton's word-play device comes into play. By judiciously selecting words for 3 columns, we can inspire ourselves to create the electronics of tomorrow. So I made up my list of inspirational concepts.
Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 0. integrated 0. encoded 0. optimizer 1. asynchonous 1. programmable 1. converter 2. analog 2. monitored 2. reactor 3. parallel 3. reciprocal 3. transducer 4. functional 4. demodulated 4. interface 5. transferrable 5. logic-based 5. buffer 6. digital 6. transformational 6. filter 7. synchronized 7. incremental 7. instrument 8. compatible 8. fifth-generation 8. regenerator 9. balanced 9. time-phase 9. generator
Be careful: some 3-digit inventions may already exist, such as 654. However, I have never seen a 770 or a 334. You may revise the list to suit your special interests. But there is fertile inventive ground, even in this preliminary cut. So while you rewrite the list, I am off to the shop. I do not know today if I shall try to make an 898 or a 542.
The third (and final?) entry is a set of general guidelines sufficient to lead anyone through the grammatical morass of technical writing. Specialists try to make the task seem more difficult than it is, but the following rules cover almost all of the cases you will encounter in a lifetime of writing and editing. Again, the exact origin is unknown, although the list has been plaguarized many times. One more time will likely not hurt.
Enough is enough. Or is it. . .?
Updated 7-28-99. © L. B. Cebik, W4RNL. Data may be used for personal purposes, but may not be reproduced for publication in print or any other medium without permission of the author.
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