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Armchair Ponderings
A world of acronyms

Guy Geller

Donuts on Cake

With so much stuff on the news ranging from the splash down of Artemis, the next Lunar mission vehicle that was so ho-hum to the press that it took a back seat to the prisoner swap of a barely known female basketball player, Brittney Griner; that is until she made the news by being arrested in Russia for reputedly having a miniscule amount of drugs, for an equally unknown to the public, Russian terrorist and arms dealer who was convicted of engaging in a plot to kill Americans and government officials. The blowback for allowing such an uneven prisoner swap, in my mind is justified. It should have been at least two for one. The 52-year-old Paul Whelan, arrested for espionage and sentenced to 16 years was once again given up for political expediency. There were more examples that I will by-pass to delve into a less controversial topic.

Everywhere you look you see abbreviations CIA, FBI, PD, BC. AD, the last two have been replaced from BC to BCE and CE. Old folks like me get confused. Water used to freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit named after Daniel Fahrenheit who spent most of his life in Amsterdam. Now we push that aside and water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius and boils at 100 degrees Celsius. When I was growing up, we used Centigrade based on the 100-degree Scale. That was changed to Celsius in 1948 based on the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius who invented the Celsius scale. I won’t even go into the Kelvin scale and absolute Zero. That’s stuff I used to do in the 60s when working in the Apollo program with Boeing.

Now let’s try to make some sense from these changes. We went from before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini (AD)or after death if you prefer, to Before the Common Era (BCE) then to Common Era (CE). The calendar changed from the Roman Calendar to the Julian Calendar proposed by Julius Caesar. Then in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII changed it to what is now called the Gregorian calendar. The Roman Catholic Church under Pope Gregory XIII transitioned calendars so some of the dates had to disappear. The chosen month was October and the dates went from, 1,2,3,4, and skipped all the way to the 15th. That was done by decree of the Pope. Then there was something about the number of Lunar Eclipses in a year. Don’t forget AM, Ante Meridian and PM Post Meridian, with Meridian being at noon.

There are acronyms, described as a group of letters that can be turned into and pronounced as a word in itself. Those who were in the military are familiar with the term AWOL, Absent Without Official Leave. Law enforcement show devotees won’t see an episode go by without sending out a BOLO, Be On Look Out. Along with them is the TASER, Thomas A Swift’s Electric Rifle. I found 64 such examples that I won’t bore you with. (I know, never end a sentence with a preposition. But I’m old enough that if it fits, I will use it!)

Computers have brought us a language of their own. SIM cards, Subscriber Identification Module. One of my favorites is IDK, I don’t know. Some of us won’t do without an ATM, Automated Teller Machine. If you watch the daily stock reports you may be familiar with NASDAQ but do you know that it stands for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations?

Perhaps, next week will bring up the 1998 award winning Armchair Ponderings Christmas tale for those who may be too young to remember the original.

Donuts on Cake
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