Monday, March 26, 2012

PWA--problems with acronyms

My, my, my, how important context is. While I was walking on the treadmill this morning--avoiding a bike ride in the rain--there was a shot on the television of people, many of them male, in comfortable chairs and a sign hanging over their head. The sign said "ED Waiting Room". Just prior to this shot had been a Cialis commercial. Okay, so is the sign related to...
     OR         ?

I was recently helping with a Six Sigma class with many people who have most of their work experience in sales, logistics and project management. When we got to talking about DOE and sample data of gas mileage, some looked a little stumped. Were we talking about the Department of Education (this was a class after all), the Department of Energy (gas usage) or something else? Quickly, we saw this explained that we were talking about Design of Experiments and how you set up the experimental trials to study the effect of different variables on the results. Whew! We didn't lose the class.

Garrison Keillor on the Prairie Home Companion show recently had a joke about someone who was a member of the AAAAAA--American Association Against Acronym Abuse Anonymous. There's a problem with too many acronyms.

Of course, some of our best-loved acronyms have turned into actual words, such as snafu. (Not even the spell-checking software underlines the word or wants to auto-correct it. My, how times have changed.)

Be cae-ful, be vewy cae-ful--in the immortal words of Elmer Fudd--on when and how you use acronyms.

Even though the hospital area isn't a "room" perhaps the administrators should go back to use ER instead of ED.

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