FYI: Acronyms and Initialisms

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Listen Carefully

Abbreviating makes sense in today’s world. When we speak, sometimes it’s best to be sharp and direct. Using abbreviations is helpful, saving us precious time in conversations. Sometimes, abbreviations are understood better than their expansion. For example, light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Say that in a sentence and laser makes a lot more sense. Same with répondez s’il vous plaît. It’s much easier to RSVP to a party than to learn French!

Quick rundown on the different kinds of abbreviations thanks to Wikipedia: Acronyms are pronounced, like in scuba, laser, and NATO. Initialisms are spoken using letters, like USA, FAQ, and IRA.

Though convenient and oft-used, acronyms and initialisms are abused, causing a strange, unpleasant tweak in my neck. ISWC, many people would be arrested for incorrect abbreviation use. This happens for a couple of reasons:

  1. People don’t know what the abbreviation means – There is nothing more terrible than when someone writes LOL on a friend’s Facebook wall after a family death. Lots of Love? Laugh out Loud? Who knows what the intention was, but IMO, this spells disaster. Know what it means or could mean before using it!
  2. The abbreviation sounds like something else – Case-in-point: FU. We know FU means Follow Up, but just say the whole thing! “FU Jimmy” said out loud isn’t pleasant. Another example: WTF. The Wisconsin Tourism Federation just couldn’t figure out WTF was wrong with their abbreviation on advertisements. What a shame.
  3. Ridiculous abbreviations – IMNSHO, idiots people just can’t speak a full sentence these days. They communicate with friends using insane initialisms and acronyms. Though I have spoken “YOLO,” I think it’s riduculous. It became way too popular and is now overused. Case-in-point #2: ROFLMMFAO2POHAIPM. Don’t ask me, look it up on Yahoo answers.
  4. Wrong abbreviation – As they say, IIIO (Intel inside, idiot outside). Abbreviations are less letters and can’t always be fixed by spell check. Be aware!
  5. The abbreviation suffers from redundancy – This is the worst, most unforgivable crime of them all. See below.

LORE (learn once, repeat everywhere) – Do you suffer from RAS syndrome? That speaks “redundant acronym syndrome syndome.” For the sake of my (and others’) sanity, take care when using these acronyms and initials:

  • ATM Machine: If you say ATM machine, I’ll break your neck.
  • SAT Test: Yes, it’s a test, you told us twice. You wonder why you failed it.
  • LCD Display: A Best Buy favorite.
  • GOP Party: An amateur news station favorite.
  • ABS Brake System: A mechanic’s favorite.
  • PIN Number: Not getting any better here….
  • ISBN Number: Made me laugh when I heard a professor say this.
  • Please RSVP: (Shakes head)
  • HIV Virus: Yeah…
  • UPC Code: Saw this on Amazon once.
  • KFC Chicken: Tricky, but still redundant people.
  • RBS Bank
Believe it or not, I’ve heard all above phrases at least once. Don’t be a DA, learn your abbreviations!

A profound victory in English

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If you didn’t already know, I have a strong dislike for languages. It’s not as if I dislike the culture or can’t appreciate them. Heck, I’m writing a blog in English here! Maybe it’s better to say that I don’t like language classes. I’ve always considered myself a fair writer, and definitely a great editor and critic, though I’d rather not write!

I took Spanish in high school and learned more about real life than the actual language. There were two pregnant teens in Spanish I. The teacher had no control over the class and spoke more English and French than actual Spanish. We also watched many videos. Spanish II was much better, though I still didn’t like the language. I came to college in an engineering program that didn’t require a foreign language (thank goodness!) but still required an introductory English composition course. What a nightmare that was.

My English professor

Teacher: evil cat-woman. Subject: English 101. Status: hasn’t given out an A in 4 semesters.

This class was a recipe for disaster. My teacher announced on the first day that she believed the grade ‘A’ constituted perfection. Therefore, she only gave out an A for someone who exhibited perfection. I thought to myself, “What is she thinking? Maybe a 100 is perfect, but I’ll take a 99!” My dislike for language only grew, as I put forth extreme effort to get a B+ in the class, neglecting other ones and getting a terrible first semester GPA (which has since corrected itself). Side note story – I went to her office one day to discuss a paper. To this day, I’ve never seen so many pictures of cats in one room. Yes, she was a single middle-aged college professor. Creepy.

After that disaster semester in engineering, I decided to switch to accounting, which turned out to be the perfect swap. The only problems: I now had to pass an intermediate level foreign language and take another English class. Since I remembered disliking Spanish, I thought, “Surely I would like French much better!” Wrong. I disliked it just as much, though I have retained much more after three painstaking semesters of more language. It only took eleven months though because I sped through the intermediate level in five weeks.

I’m currently taking a five-week professional English class. I couldn’t bear taking another language class for 15 weeks. I thought the class was going to be an extreme drag, and to my surprise, it’s only been a minor drag. Though I don’t like the writing, I’m doing rather well (A+) for now.

I just completed a partner project with my friend Nick. We created a video from scratch with no experience or idea what topic to choose. It took 20+ hours to complete, but it was worth the 100! It’s a great victory in my language history.

Just thought I’d share our accomplishment:

 

Thoughts?

Big business

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Maybe this is an unconventional rant.  It’s about the economy. Maybe you care about it, maybe you don’t. Here’s food for thought anyway, based off of research I did in an ethics class:

As a college student earning a couple penny rolls a week and studying accounting/finance, I have an inkling about how businesses run the economy. It seems like this “economic crisis” has been blown out of proportion. Yes, I know the housing market was a disaster a couple of years ago. Yes, I know that big banks and investment firms are terrible and are the reason for the whole debacle. The government used taxpayer money to bail the big boys out and avoid an even bigger problem, even recently lifting the markets to pre-2008 heights. But after 4 years, why is the media telling us that the economy is bad?

Many things are under debate because of certainty. A common phrase I’ve heard about life states that not everything is certain, but one certain thing is uncertainty. Common sense applied to business processes unearths uncertainty due to unknown variables and daily deals that cannot be predicted.  Uncertainty in financial markets is immeasurable because  business transactions in the economy are unique.  Though some processes and transactions are repeated every day, the daily results look different than the previous day.  If information about how the future markets would change day to day was common knowledge, there would be no risk and therefore no reason to invest, spend, or save.  Additionally, with a finite amount of money to spread to the population, it is impossible for everyone to predict the future correctly and consequently be profitable.  As business grows, some companies win and others lose or disappear

Measuring financial markets considers human choice, so predictions are polluted with bias, skewing any possible reasoning for a financial choice. Everyone wants to hear what “the experts” have to say. However, even when an expert makes a prediction about the economy they have limited knowledge, including areas of study and personal experiences, and can only make a decision based on facts they know. This leaves them susceptible to bias.  Decisions that are made by following the majority would statistically reduce bias, but is no better a method of prediction because of general human overconfidence and optimism. It’s  impossible to know what everyone is thinking or doing or will think/do at a given moment.

Activity in financial markets is also based on human activity, which as a whole is unpredictable.  Market activity varies daily due to the sum of thousands to millions of individual decisions.  It is unfeasible to accurately predict what each individual will decide to do with their financial assets.  Certain information may be disclosed in financial records and statements, but a considerable amount of information is not known to the public, including human thought.  Not only is it impossible to record every individual thought about finances, it would violate basic rights of privacy to extract financial information from human thoughts if it was possible.  Without full disclosure of financial information, it is impossible to measure what is known, let alone what is unknown.  Individual decisions that run financial markets is uncertain and immeasurable, therefore the financial markets are also uncertain and immeasurable.

On the subject about “banks being too big to fail.” I do not believe that big banks should be allowed to go bankrupt. Some experts suggest that the large financial institutions that made bad decisions should not be bailed out and should be left to die, allowing more innovative and financially sound companies to take over in evolutionary process of business.

Though I don’t think that big banks should be allowed to continue unhealthy financial practices, they must be kept afloat to stabilize the total economy.  Companies and countries around the world are invested in and receive financial support from big banks.  If these banks were allowed to fail, the global economy would collapse, leaving business processes and countries (particularly small to medium in economic size) in shambles.  These banks will eventually settle their finances and learn from past mistakes, but I don’t think the companies should be allowed to be too big to fail again.  The financial crisis has exposed the big banks’ corrupt business processes (ex. trading securities of unknown values). I think the banks should be allowed to eliminate bad practices in hopes that the economy is better off in the long run. In short, the big banks should be bailed out to save the global economy from a complete collapse, but should not be allowed to be “too big to fail.”

Pretty much, I believe that uncertainty in financial markets is immeasurable due to bias flaws and unpredictable human activity. Since it’s unpredictable, we shouldn’t worry about whether or not we’re in a crisis! Don’t listen to the experts, they aren’t fortune tellers. Do research and invest wisely!