The Devil’s dictionary returns!

more entries in the Devil’s Dictionary: today including biped, bioprospecting, Brownian commotion, colon, and permeable

See the complete Devil’s Dictionary of Scientific Words and Phrases here.

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all entries in the Devil’s Dictionary copyright 2018 by Russ Hodge

biped  the past tense of bipe, a technical term for biting in species are unable to pronounce it properly because they have no teeth, or in elderly humans who have forgotten to insert their dentures before appearing at the table.

bioprospecting  a process by which blood is passed through a filter in search of nuggets of gold or other precious metals. Prospecting for oil in the body is called a lube job. Natural gas can be detected without any special device, by anyone with a normal sense of smell, after it is emitted through the typical orifice.

Browning commotion  jiggly-leg syndrome at the scale of molecules.

colon  a type of punctuation found within the digestive tract, somewhere between the mouth and the exit, signifying that an efflux which has begun is not yet finished: more is yet to come. Contrast with semicolon; this refers to a region which divides the contents of the large and small intestines into functionally equivalent parts, which may be found in different physical locations depending on the load being transported at the time.

permeable  describes a type of hair that can be remolded into the shapes of clouds or classical sculptures through an application of chemical stiffeners by stylists. Compare to semipermeable and nonpermeable, which resist these efforts to varying degrees. The latter two types probably originated as mutations which have increasingly spread through the population over time, due to the difficulty of people with perms finding mates.

If you liked the Devil’s Dictionary, you’ll probably also enjoy:

Searching for Oslo: a non-hypothesis-driven approach

On the publication of “Remote sensing” by the magazine Occulto

 

Published by

russhodge

I am a science writer at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, author of fiction and popular science books, an artist, and a professional musician who performs on the viola da gamba and Medieval and Renaissance stringed instruments. I edit manuscripts of all types and teach the full range of scientific communication skills. I am doing theoretical work in this subject - see for example https://goodsciencewriting.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/ghosts-models-and-meaning-in-science/

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