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A fake word from The Simpsons made it into a String paper

  1. Jul 31, 2007 #1

    ZapperZ

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    I don't know how they hope to get away with it, but I guess in string theory, anything and everything goes, especially with unrefereed "papers".

    These string theorists actually used a non-existent word "embiggens" from an episode of The Simpsons (BTW, the movie is hilarious!) in a "paper". I use the word "paper" in quotes because so far, as is a common practice in the field, they tend to simply upload the manuscript onto the e-print ArXiv site and then call it a day. So there's no refereeing, and no journal editors for quality control not only of the content, but also the presentation. That they could get away with silly things like this.

    From my perspective, it's another blemish in the way the field is being practiced. D'oh!!

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
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  3. Jul 31, 2007 #2

    Kurdt

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    Things like this cause me such pericombobulation.
     
  4. Jul 31, 2007 #3

    cristo

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    Is this a paper that was actually put forward for publishing, or was it just put on the arxiv? I reckon the word was put in for some sort of bet!

    And, Zz, I agree-- the movie is very funny!
     
  5. Jul 31, 2007 #4

    BobG

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    Is "embiggen" a sillier word than "quark"? (Follow the first link for subatomic particle to see the origin of the word.)

    Of course, the reason an indirect link was preferable was that it uses another "silly" word invented about the same time as "quark" - "disambiguation". "Disambiguation" is an even more ingenious invention since it's used so often in explaining the origin and history of other words that the "noise" makes it almost impossible to find the history and origin of "disambiguation".
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  6. Jul 31, 2007 #5
    What! Embiggens is not a word! :surprised

    A Nobel prize embiggens even the smallest theorist.
     
  7. Jul 31, 2007 #6

    russ_watters

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    Yes, "embiggen" is certainly sillier than quark. Quark is a name and was made up on purpose. "Embiggen" is an error.
     
  8. Jul 31, 2007 #7

    J77

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    They knew it came from the Simpsons -- it's quite funny :smile:
     
  9. Jul 31, 2007 #8
    It's a perfectly cromulent word.
     
  10. Jul 31, 2007 #9

    ZapperZ

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  11. Jul 31, 2007 #10

    Kurdt

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    I'd love professor Frink to be my PhD supervisor.
     
  12. Jul 31, 2007 #11
    Pretupitively congenient, I agree.

    Zz, before you, like I, spray your snuff all over your 18th century French Camphorwood tea chest. I think these people might want to consider that it was a joke, put in to see if anyone was paying attention, congratulations they were :biggrin:

    That'd be my guess anyway. Still even my monocle fell out :smile:
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  13. Jul 31, 2007 #12

    Chi Meson

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    "And this perpetual motion machine she made is a joke! It keeps going faster and faster!

    "Lisa, get in here! In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  14. Jul 31, 2007 #13

    Math Is Hard

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    I think Nelson Muntz said it best when he said,

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Jul 31, 2007 #14

    BobG

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    Nonsense. I agree wholeheartedly with the letter written by C.A. Ward in 1884.
    However, I would note that Shamit Kachru misused the word in his paper. The proper interpretation of Jebediah Springfield's statement is, "A noble spirit [makes great] the smallest man." If Kachru's usage were correct, I'm sure the word would have been used in a Extenze (edit:corrected product name) commercial by now (or whatever that product is they sell on late night TV).
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  16. Jul 31, 2007 #15

    Evo

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    I can't get over the word in a skin care commercial the other day "your face will become "redefinated". :uhh:
     
  17. Jul 31, 2007 #16

    BobG

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    That sounds like a commercial that dduardo would have written.

    Is there such a surplus of Linux programmers that they're having to moonlight in the creative department of advertising companies?
     
  18. Jul 31, 2007 #17

    jim mcnamara

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    Since I'm a Biology type I really like Horner's use of 'thagomizer' (stegosaurus' tail dagger deployment) based on a Gary Larson cartoon.

    IMO we don't get to define what is is is not a valid "word".
    Languages evolve rapidly. russ can hate "embiggen" or not - it won't affect it's utimate fate in English usage.

    I personally think 'google' or 'googol' in the math sense is a poor word. But my dislike will not stop embiggen, google, or thagomizer from appearing in refereed journals if the paper is written by someone respected in the field. They get to choose to name something new with a term derived from children's imagination or cartoons. If they see fit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  19. Jul 31, 2007 #18
    Do you mean googol?
     
  20. Jul 31, 2007 #19

    jim mcnamara

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    Take your pick - spelling duzzent count.
     
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