Call a Spade a Spade

A cautionary tale of language from Ted Nelson:

We might call a common or garden spade–

  • A personalized earth-moving equipment module
  • A mineralogical mini-transport
  • A personalized strategic tellurian command and control module
  • An air-to-ground interface contour adjustment probe
  • A leveraged tactile-feedback geomass delivery system
  • A man-machine energy-to-structure converter
  • A one-to-one individualized geophysical restructurizer
  • A portable unitized earth-work synthesis system
  • An entrenching tool
  • A zero-sum dirt level adjuster
  • A feedback-oriented contour management probe and digging system
  • A gradient disequilibrator
  • A mass distribution negentroprizer
  • (hey!) a dig-it-all system
  • An extra terrestrial transport mechanism

Spades, not words, should be used for shoveling. But words should help us unearth the truth.

–Computer Lib (1974), Theodor Nelson, p44

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