Abbreviation confusion


in Daily updates, The environment, Writing

Signal that you spend too much time thinking about climate change: you see a teenager wearing a shirt that says ‘THC’ and assume he is expressing concern about the integrity of the thermohaline circulation.

Incidentally, it is worth remembering the difference between acronyms (which use the first letters in a phrase to produce a word you can speak) and abbreviations, which are spoken letter by letter. As such, ‘self contained underwater breathing apparatus’ becomes the acronym SCUBA while ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’ becomes the abbreviation UNFCCC.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon August 15, 2008 at 7:17 pm

There are some interesting contrasts.

In the Netherlands, for instance, both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and
the thermohaline circulation (THC) add to the happiness of the
population. The former helps the place stay warmer than Winnipeg,
while the latter contributes to the mellowness of the residents.

In the United States, the adminstration has spent billions trying to
eradicate the scourge of tetrahydrocannabinol. At the same time, it
has actively tried to undermine efforts to protect the thermohaline
circulation from the threat of climate change.

Emily August 16, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Unrelated, but hilariously telling about Gov’t security measures:

Milan August 16, 2008 at 4:33 pm

These kinds of incidents do seem to happen every once in a while:

“For instance, several years ago I broke a story that CSIS’s “crown jewels” – which included the spy service’s detailed battle plan for combating terrorism and foreign spies – went missing from an intelligence officer’s van while she watched a hockey game. CSIS publicly acknowledged that the missing document constituted the most serious breach in its history.”

Doing security properly is difficult and inconvenient for those involved. It clashes with efficiency. As such, unless it is made a very high priority, lapses will occur.

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