Re: Very Impressive
I wrote a semi-lengthy post on the similar topic of what is a hacker years back. I think the idea applies, so I dug it out and it follows bellow. The short version is that whatever you think a word or expression should mean is rather irrelevant. What matters is what most people think it means, and that is all that actually defines a word. When universities all over the world, the media and whatever part of the public that has any interest of the topic use an expression one way, you are more than welcome to fight for any other use of it, but I fail to see what benefit you will gain from that fight.
My older post was this:
Words are tricky, they are just a bunch of sounds put together, and they have no natural/god/God given meaning. Some sound alike, some doesn't. Some change and mean the same, some doesn't change, but change meaning. Their meaning is given by what we think they mean. That presents a problem of course, because you and me are not alike. Sometimes we don't even think alike, this might be shocking for you to hear, but just change what you think the words I just wrote meant, and you will be all right. You may also ask an adult for advice, or you may give them some. Back to the words we use. When you say a word and think it means something, and I think it means something else, I will hear something else than you say. So how does this work out, we could as well skip the talking all together then. Well, a long time ago somebody managed to agree on what some words meant. I don't know who those people were, but it isn't important. Lets say they were children so you can say that in a conversation at a party sometime. Say it like you have thought about it a lot. It sounds very deep, even though it isn't, but you might get lucky because of it. If you don't understand what I mean by "getting lucky", don't ask an adult about it, ask your older brother instead. Anyway, these people managed to agree on a few solid good words and what they meant. One word perhaps was "banana". "Banana" one said and pointed at the fruit we mean by the word "banana", and everybody nodded because they knew it was so. Soon we agreed on a whole bunch of words, and we could communicate. As time passed some words turned out to be too long, too complicated or too “uncool” for the youngsters, so they changed them to shorter and better words. The elder people didn't agree on this, but since they die first they tend to loose. So some words were thus changed and shortened, and had added coolness. Sometimes old unused words changed meaning because the youngsters didn’t like that the elder people knew what they were talking about. When the elder people once again died the old meaning was forgotten. I will try to end this now, so I'll get to the point. Once in a while some people try to invent something, often a whole new field of things, and they invent words to go with them. They said “This is the ultra portable cellular cordless telephone!", and the public didn't nod because they knew it wasn't so, it was too long. So they said, it is a cell phone then? The clever inventors then said: "Yes, a cell phone is what it is, will you buy it?" The not so clever ones insisted that it wasn't a cell phone or a cell, and were never heard from again.
Some time ago somebody broke into computer. When I say break, they didn't actually crack it open or throw it to the ground or something like that. They accessed it without the owner’s permission, and managed to get pass the security measures that the owner had placed to prevent that access. Somebody else referred to this person as a hacker to the general population, who didn't really know what a computer was or what a hacker was, but they nodded and we all knew it was so. Except for a few geeks that thought being a hacker sounded much more cool than being called a geek. So the geeks forfeit the quest for a life, and the quest to someday get laid (again ask your older brother about this not an adult), and they picked up this new futile quest to be called hackers and nobody cared.
A word only carries the meaning that most of us think it does. You are of course free to think something else, but don’t expect to be understood (or get laid).
I’ll get my coat.