Category Archives: Uncategorized

Today’s Podcast – an Epiphany


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Today I had an epiphany- let’s do another request. Your suggestions make podcasting a lot easier.

Today’s request is from Eric Jean of Dead White Males, his second. The word is epiphany.
It is a noun that is usually used to describe a sudden realization or understanding of something deep and fundamental. An enlightening discovery.

It also has another less common definition- the appearance of a diving being. Alternatively, when capitalized it refers to a January 6th Christian feast celebrating the first revelation of Christ.

Diction can make Today’s Podcast


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Let’s start the week with a listener suggestion. This one is from an anonymous listener. The word is diction. It is noun with two similar definitions. One is the choice of words. The second definition is, clarity or distinctness of pronunciation and speech.

The word comes from the latin dictus meaning to say. As I am sure you can guess, dictus is the root of several dict words like dictionary, dictate and jurisdiction.

Clear Channel Probably Views Podcasting With an Inimical Eye

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Today’s word can be found in a post on BoingBoing.net. The post is about Wikipedia.organd the recent discussions about it’s future. The word is inimical. It is an adjective that describes something harmful or hostile. It comes from the latin inimcus which is also the root of the word enemy.

Clay Shirky used the word when describing the difference between Wikipedia’s structure and the traditional academic distribution of knowledge. He wrote, “of course librarians, teachers, and academics don’t like the Wikipedia. It works without privilege, which is inimical to the way those professions operate.” What I think Clay is saying is Wikipedia, to borrow yesterdays word, disintermediates the traditional vetting and storage of knowledge and the academic establishment doesn’t like it.

Twenty years ago knowledge went from an author through an editor, a publisher and then into a library where a librarian then made it available to a researcher. And if it was really special information like a journal article or encyclopedia a user probably couldn’t take it out of the library. Today, with the Internet and specifically Wikipedia, any author can contribute and any user can get the content with out the editor, publisher or librarian.

You can find a link to Cory’s Complete post at Corante.com.

Podcasting disintermediates traditional radio content


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Today’s word provides an interesting study in the differences in various dictionaries. The word is disintermediation. I was reminded of the word by IPaction.org. “IPac[tion] is a nonpartisan group dedicated to preserving individual freedom through balanced intellectual property policy.” If you think intellectual property laws favor large organizations at the expense of individuals and independent you should check out and hopefully donate to IPaction.org.

I thought disintermediation would be a good word because podcasting is disintermediating audio content. And that is the first definition of disintermediation. A noun that describes the removal of intermediaries or distributors from the supply chain. It is a word that was thrown around a lot back during the Internet boom. When everyone thought manufacturers were going to sell everything direct to consumers and all the retailers would be put out of business.

The other definition was new to me. Also a noun, it refers to the diversion of money from a saving account to a higher yield investment like stock.

As I mentioned earlier the differences in the reference sources is interesting. Only one listed both definitions (Encarta). Five listed the diversion of money and only two listed the the definition I was familiar with, the removal of intermediaries.


Both definitions:

Removal of intermediaries:

Diverting savings:

Einstein, Aether & Ethernet – a podcast

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Sorry for the late post. Time is no man’s friend.

Today’s word, aether, comes from a great article about Albert Einstein in the Economist. It is a short, 2500 word, article summarizing the Einstein’s theories of relativity and quantum physics as well their impact on modern physics and cosmology. I strongly recommend reading it.

The word aether appears towards the end of the article. It is a noun that is ancient Greece referred to the air breathed by the gods, “the upper air,” as well as the personification of the sky. Over the centuries it evolved to mean the unknown substance that filled all the empty space in the world. Aristotle included it as a fifth element to make his “nature abhorred a vacuum” theory work.

By the end of the 19th century scientists used the term luminiferous aether to describe the invisible substance that carries light and magnetism. This last meaning inspired Robert Metcalfe to name his new networking technology Ethernet. Odds are pretty good this podcast got to you via Ethernet.

Finally there is the ether from Curious George. A flammable compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It is no longer used as an anesthetic.

The Abracadabra Podcast

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Another request. Abracadabra was suggested by Will Simpson of WillSimpson.org. Will is a fellow podcaster and claims not to be a professional photographer but he is clearly talented. Check out his website for some beautiful photos of the western United Sates along with commentary via podcast. Hopefully one day we will be able to have the photos and the commentary podcast right to our photo iPods

At first I wasn’t expecting a very interesting definition for
abracadabra. I always thought it was a made-up nonsense word from some fiction story, but in fact it has a rich etymology.

First the definition. It is a word spoken to summon magical powers or to ward off evil. The magician says abracadabra and then pulls the rabbit out of the hat.


The etymology, although unclear, is the is interesting part. Various reference sources listed its origins as Aramaic, from the words Avrah KaDabra meaning ‘I will create as I speak,’ or from other Aramaic words, abhadda kedhabhra meaning ‘disappear like this word.’ Wikipedia also listed possible derivations from the Arabic Abra Kadabra, meaning ‘let the things be destroyed’ or from a Gnostic word for god, abraxas.

I am not an expert but I would be surprised if all of these etymologies weren’t true. The word abracadabra definitely has a rich history.

The Gnostics used the word abracadabra to ward off disease and sickness. The prescribed treatment was to write the word on eleven lines. One the first line the complete spelling, then on subsequent lines you drop the last letter for eleven lines until you are out of letters. This forms a triangle or cone. As seen below.

A B R A C A D A B R A
A B R A C A D A B R
A B R A C A D A B
A B R A C A D A
A B R A C A D
A B R A C A
A B R A C
A B R A
A B R
A B
A

Then the paper was to be folded in a the shape of a cross and worn around the neck of the sick person.

The Steve Miller Band had a top ten hit with Abracadabra in 1983.



Double Feature Movie Words Podcast


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Today we have a double feature- two words suggested by Steve Holden of the Tech Rag Tear Out. He suggested two words from Michael Geoghegan’s Reel Reviews. The words are minutia and bravado. Michael used both of these words when he reviewed “To Kill a Mockingbird” on December 17th.


“One of those bravado statements he [Orson Welles] makes.”

In this case Michael used the word bravado to describe Orson Welles’ tendency to make big bold statements. Bravado is a noun that means a showy disposition to defiance or swaggering expressions of courage. Orson was a singular giant in the world of film so I hope we can forgive him a little bravado.

The bonus word, minutia.

“My goal here is not really to go thoughthe minutia of the story just to point out some of the highlights.”

Minutia is a noun and it means a small or petty detail. It comes from the latin minutia meaning smallness. Minutia is also the root of the word minute, as in hours, minutes and seconds.

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