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Friday, February 13, 2009

Jargon Watch

Taken from WIRED Magazine's ever expanding series of new words and phrases to watch out for.


n. A natural-resource shortage caused by overconsumption. With humans now devouring a third more than the planet can replenish, environmentalists say the coming ecological recession will make our current economic crisis look like a golden age.


n. An epithet for ReadiStep, the College Board's new standardized test for eighth graders. Touted as a diagnostic aid for teachers and parents, the two-hour exam will begin demoralizing pre-pre-pre-adults this fall.


n. pl. A nickname given to the transposons responsible for injecting reptilian and amphibian DNA into mammalian genomes 15 to 46 million years ago. We have good reason to dread the return of the virus-borne gene reprogrammers—their first appearance coincided with mass extinctions.


n. Natural diesel fumes secreted by a fungus living in the Patagonian ulmo tree. Similar to diesel fuel, the substance is produced as the fungus digests cellulose, making mycodiesel a potential biofuel that won't eat into the human larder.

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