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back to article DAMN you El Reg, CALL ME A BOFFIN, demands enraged boffin

It is with the deepest and most heartfelt concern that we here on the Register's standards and conduct committee wish to reach out today to our readers and apologise for a very serious violation of our editorial code. The error in question occurred with respect to this article, since amended: Hackers fondle boob tubes in Red …

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Is it just "boffin" or Dr. boffin in this particular case of Dr Oren, the boffin?

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@stanimir

"Boffin" is the title. No "just". No need for "Dr".

Nothing official, but it kinda feels nice when a peer refers to you as one.

The Press? Unimportant when it comes to this kind of thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @stanimir

I'm a Dr. but not a boffin... Clearly 'boffin' outranks 'Dr.', as does 'Prof.' People writing 'Prof Dr.' e.g. are clearly just either sucking up or following institutional policy.

And don't get me started on the Germans with titles like 'Dr. Dr.' ...

tl;dr / executive summary: Dr. > Prof. > boffin

(and sociologist > C. elegans)

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Re: @stanimir

And don't get me started on the Germans with titles like 'Dr. Dr.' ...

"The Germans", as you like to put it, don't have a class-based society -- this was abolished by law in the Weimar Republic, if I remember correctly.

Instead, degrees like "Dr", "Prof", etc. are highly respected, *because they're earned, rather than inherited*. Holding the title of Ingenieur (engineer, or "Dipl.-Ing.") is something to be proud of, and commands respect. In Germany, there aren't any "maintenance engineers"; they're called what they are: mechanics. And there's nothing wrong with that either, as the vast majority have served an apprenticeship of three years, and really know what they're doing.

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Re: @stanimir

tl;dr / executive summary: Dr. > Prof. > boffin

(and sociologist > C. elegans)

Dr AC, I think you've got your less-than and greater-than symbols mixed up.

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Re: @stanimir

"And don't get me started on the Germans with titles like 'Dr. Dr.' ..."

Although it's fine when Robert Palmer is looking for the news about a bad case of loving you.

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Re: maintenance engineers

lol

Sooooo not the british way.

We have a firm of subbies that work for us and they are all senior this and principle that (it's the higher hourly rates! see)

even their tea-boy is a senior beverage engineer.

wankers.

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Re: @stanimir

""And don't get me started on the Germans with titles like 'Dr. Dr.' ..."

Although it's fine when Robert Palmer is looking for the news about a bad case of loving you."

Or when the Thompson Twins want you to observe that they are burning, burning, and then tell them that this is indeed love they're feeling.

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Re: @stanimir

My sometime correspondant in Germany was Dr. Ing. Dipl. Ing. Reibling. Very resptectable name and titles, and very melodious.

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Re: @stanimir

I prefer Dr Hertz van Rental myself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: maintenance engineers

"We have a firm of subbies that work for us and they are all senior this and principle that"

The best (or worst, depending on your point of view) job title that I've seen has to be 'Group Operations Director'... calling yourself GOD is maybe taking things just a little bit too far!

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Re: @stanimir

Nein 'Dr. Dr'; Herr Doctor Doctor Professor....!

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Re: @stanimir

On the other hand, my wife is from one of the countries that is anal about titles, and was delighted to move to the UK where she could lose the "Dr Mgr Mgr", and not even have to use the Dr if she didn't want to - something that is akin to fraud in the minds of her countryfolk. Personally, I tend towards the attitude of "If you are not a medical doctor, it is confusing to use the title. Just use your name and PhD after it if it is relevant (which in most cases outside work, it isn't)".

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A halber nar...

Say, a khokhem boffin (back-of-the-throat Hebrew "kh" ). Under Yiddish sayings, see "A halber nar iz a gantser khokhem." http://kehillatisrael.net/docs/yiddish/yiddish_pr.htm

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Re: @stanimir

Elegance counts!

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Re: @stanimir

If you are not a medical doctor, it is confusing to use the title

Only because that confusion was sown by fradulent sawbones in the early modern era. "Doctor" etymologically means "scholar"; medical practitioners who don't do research shouldn't be using it in the first place. While many clinicians are fine people and I'm glad to see them when I need my body-plumbing inspected, they're no more "doctors" than the typical lawyer or engineer is.

If I'm going to refer to my dentist and veterinarian as "doctor", you can be damn sure I'll show the same courtesy to people who actually conduct research and contribute original work to their field.

(By the same token, I don't share the Reg's disparaging attitude toward psychologists, many of whom conduct extensive, methodologically-sound, useful studies on difficult subjects which have helped debunk any number of dangerous myths about human behavior. But I also recognize the Reg lives to annoy and earns some credit for it by entertaining, and occasionally informing, me. Which is more than I can say for most people I've met who think "doctor" has something to do with medicine.)

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Re: @stanimir

Did you just say a sociologist is greater than a Corydoras Elegans? Because I, and my passle of cute catfish, heartily disagree.

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Re: @stanimir @ Michael Wojcik

Yes, Doctor is an ancient pre-medical title, and at Oxford and Cambridge, the highest form of Doctor is Doctor of Divinity. The Doctor of Medicine is a johnny-come-lately and these have to trail behind Doctors of Philosophy, Humanities etc etc.

Most people's interactions with a doctor are with the medical breed, so to them that is the 'real' kind, just as one's own currency is 'real' money.

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El Reg boffed by a boffin!

Can the said boffin issue the sarcastic comment anyway as I would like to see what a boffin defines as sarcastic.

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No!

Boffin sarcasm is a highly dangerous weapon, and should only ever be used in anger.

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Happy

It was the threat of a sarcastic comment...

It's obvious that it was the threat of a sarcastic comment that got you to issue this apology and correction..

Them be fightin' words!

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Re: It was the threat of a sarcastic comment...

Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It was the threat of a sarcastic comment...

Now go away or I shall fart in your general direction!

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Happy

Shock!

A boffin with a sense of humour.

There's hope for the human race yet!

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Happy

Re: Shock!

Boffins really, really need a sense of humour. If you cannot poke fun at life, the universe, and everything, you might end up starting to take yourself and (worse) your ideas way to seriously. You might even end up believing in them, which totally scuppers your critical attitude. A good capacity for self-deprecation or even self mockery is important in science.

This is why I like writing the odd paper for Annals of Improbable Research. Must get that paper on pasta-antipasta collision experiments finished.

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Re: Ouch!

Downvoted, I wonder why? Presumably for daring to suggest scientists shouldn't believe in their ideas...

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Boffin

Before acquiescing to his demand...

...I hope you verified that he wore a white coat.

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Re: Before acquiescing to his demand...

But not a pristine white coat. Any old idiot can where a pristine white coat. It has to be stained with unidentifiable stains, and the odd patch of oil or grease won't go amiss either.

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@monkeyfish (was: Re: Before acquiescing to his demand...)

But where? Location matters. As does written English.

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Re: Before acquiescing to his demand...

"But not a pristine white coat"

Yup, they are mainly reserved for the 'I'm not a dentist but I intend on making you think I am one to flog you a product that will have you runniing scared to your real dentist to fork out real money after you've used it"

Then there are the 'Forget about just using conditioner and a fine comb - you need to pour this completely unnecessary bottle of insecticide on your kids head" white coats, too.

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White coats (was Re: Before acquiescing to his demand...)

The lab block in the large UK teaching hospital where I work has a complex hierarchy of white coats. like so:

University employees: don't wear coats, just latex gloves (which they proceed to use to grasp doorhandles etc)

NHS employees have a sub hierarchy.

Blood sciences (a largely automated discipline) : Pristine white coats, single breasted, but buttoned for safety reasons.

Microbiology : Double breasted Howie coats (mad scientist specials) usually spattered with Gram stain and peppered with holes where acid is spilled. (it is a point of pride NOT to have "biological" material on your coat!)

Histopathology : as Micro, but with much more staining, especially towards the rear (the most convenient place to wipe stain off your hands...) and added paraffin wax and plaster and various toxic substances (usually with benzene rings in them).

Medics of various ilks tend to wear unbuttoned standard coats when they leave their room, but not down to the wards (Infection control issue)

Hope this helps....

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Re: Before acquiescing to his demand...

...I hope you verified that he wore a white coat.

and uses a straight stemmed pipe to point to his diagrams...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: White coats (was Before acquiescing to his demand...)

The lab block in the large UK teaching hospital where I work has a complex hierarchy of white coats

Love it, thanks. I'll probably email this one to a friend of mine who works in hospital :)

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Pint

Re: Before acquiescing to his demand...

@Elmer Phud

Ha! That reminds of a particularly inane advertisement for toothpaste down in this part of the world (much as I would like to, the brand shall remain nameless) in which a woman in a white lab coat was perched on a stool in front of a white (or black) board and announced that, "I'm a scientist, so I know about equations." and then proceeded to tell us why we should buy the toothpaste she was promoting with know further mention of any equations or proof as to why it was better.

Maybe it also killed 99% of all household germs!!!

I would use the joke icon because that is what it was, but they appeared to be serious about it.

Have a beer instead. It's much better for your teeth.

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Boffin

Acquired a negative connotation?

Never, and if I ever come across such a person I'll punch them right in the Tilly orifice.

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Re: Acquired a negative connotation?

I have 2 daughters, one who is highly academic, and one who is definitely not. The thick one has been known to call the clever one a 'boffin' (or 'boff'), in the pejorative sense. I mention this because she almost certainly picked it up from the local 'comprehensive camp' they both attend. Therefore, the shameful use of 'boffin' as an insult is probably more widespread that many el reg readers might realise particularly for the young and ignorant.

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Re: Acquired a negative connotation?

Ah, but those of us referred to as such wore it with pride anyway. It went something like:

Idiot: "You're such a boffin"

Boffin: "Yes, I am cleverer than you, thank-you."

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Re: Acquired a negative connotation?

usually then followed by

Idiot: "Smart-ass" *punch*

Boffin: "Oww!"

(at least at my 'Comprehensive' anyway)

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Happy

My naughty Aunt M

My very naughty Aunt M was shagging the science master at the posh school they both worked at when I was a mere sprog. Said master wore a white coat in the lab so Auntie M could have been said to have been boffing the boffin, the bad girl.

Still better than muffin the mule though!

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Full marks...

Having now peer reviewed Dr. Oren's complaint I believe he has presented a convincing case, and I applaud El Reg for responding with a correction in a timely fashion! Go boffins!

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Headmaster

A lovely story, somewhat marred by the use of the phrase "reach out". Please stop this forthwith.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Reaching out

I was trying to sound like someone on a standards and conduct committee

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Re: Reaching out

Going forward I'd like to have this action ameliorated into the bigger picture.

Also, words. Meaningless, pointless words.

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Re: Reaching out

Today's vomit-inducing neologism was the introduction of 'onboarding', used as a noun. I can just about guess what it means. I can also guess that my communications with that user will be kept to an absolute minimum.

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Re: Reaching out

Onboarding; waterboarding for the soul. And waterboarding is exactly what should happen to anybody using 'onboarding'.

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Re: Reaching out

I always thought that was misspelt and the 'a' should have been a 't'....

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Speaking as a...

Speaking as a natural born Boffin, i'd like to welcome him to the family..

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Coat

Weren't the Boffins related to the Bagginses?

Or was that the Bulgers?

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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Re: Weren't the Boffins related to the Bagginses?

Sure it wasn't the posher ones?

The B'Ophines

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Re: Weren't the Boffins related to the Bagginses?

B'Uckets?

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