cultural reference

n. A new word or term created by analogy or relation to an item of popular media.

Blogger Gulch


  1. The SoMa (south of Market St) neighborhood of San Francisco.

Luckily, Rojo was located in blogger gulch (AKA SOMA) in San Francisco which is also the home of Technorati and Feedster. The employees literally only have two extra blocks to commute to their new offices. —Kevin Burton, “Six Apart Acquires Rojo”

JFDI knight

n. (from JFDI and Jedi knight)

  1. Someone who gets things done; a task list ninja.

At the point when I spend all my time talking about programming, and very little of my time programming, my worst fear has been realized: I’ve become a pundit. The last thing the world needs is more pundits. … They don’t materially participate in the construction of any lasting artifacts; instead, they passively observe other people’s work and offer a neverending babbling brook of opinions, criticism, and witty turns of phrase. —Jeff Atwood, “Yes, But What Have You Done?

Streisand Effect

n. (from Barbara Streisand)

  1. The increase in popularity of an item due to interest driven by the publicized outrage over its existence.

A couple years ago, I jokingly coined the phrase “The Streisand Effect,” to describe an increasingly common phenomenon. … The name came from a story from a few years earlier, where Barbara Streisand got upset over a project that involved photos of the entire California shoreline, taken from a helicopter. Her complaint was that her seaside mansion was included among the photos. Of course, before she filed the lawsuit, almost no one knew that. —Mike Masnick, “Is Leveraging The Streisand Effect Illegal?”

ass antlers

n. (from German Arschgeweih)

  1. A tattoo on the lower back.

In the above poster for the movie John Tucker Must Die, you can see a lower back tattoo, often referred to by its colloquial name, the tramp stamp. According to Wikipedia, there’s a German slang term for lower back tattoos — Arschgeweih — which means “ass antlers”, which is probably derived from the fact that these tattoos have a barbed style and look like anters when they stick out from underneath low-rise jeans, which the young ladies seem to favour these days. —Joey deVilla, “The ‘First Corinthians’ Tramp Stamp”



  1. Dance video games such as Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution and Andamiro’s Pump It Up.

Thanks to the [85 decibel] sound limit, music-related video games were able to be fully appreciated. Good thing that, since there were more music-related video games than ever, due no doubt to the popularity of the portable sound art of Electroplankton, the virtual hero worship of Guitar Hero and the calisthenics-karaoke of Dance Dance Revolution, not to mention of standard karaoke. —Marc Weidenbaum, “field notes: Synaesthesia at E3”



  1. Human-friendly behavior on the part of a government or corporation.

44. Compliance [コンプライアンス]: “Compliance” used to simply mean compliance with the law, but it has recently come to mean compliance with ethical standards and rules that industry groups and companies impose on themselves. The word has grown in popularity as companies feel ever-increasing pressure to maintain a clean image. —“Top 60 Japanese buzzwords of 2007,” Pink Tentacle

Of people, a better word might be unmutual, as used in an episode of The Prisoner.



  1. A measure of data approximately equivalent to 10,224 bytes; that is, the data content of 72-column 0.007-inch thick punch cards that fit in a one-inch wide container.

How will we measure data in yards, you ask? Simple - we will return to the ancient days of computing and revive the first portable standard for data transport - the punch card! —Andrew Ducker, “A modest technological proposal in praise of imperialism”



  1. Arouse interest in.

With the Wii coming up, and only one game shown that uses the controller’s tilt-sensing functions, “innovate” is a big word to be throwing around. I think Sony knows that while they had a competent show, very few people left actually jazzed about the product, and that’s a bad thing. —Ben Kuchera, “Sony’s Phil Harrison defends their E3 showing”

katamari meeting

n. (from Katamari Damacy, an object collection game)

  1. A meeting, usually an ad hoc or hallway meeting, that exhibits a positive network effect in its growth; that is, more people join as more people are in the meeting, because people milling around means it must be interesting.


n. (from Sylvia Wright’s 1954 essay “The Death of Lady Mondegreen”)

  1. A new word or phrase created by mishearing a phrase, usually of poetry or song lyrics.

After pop diva Yumi Matsutoya started mixing bilingual lyrics in the 1970s, bands perfected the art of seamlessly fusing Japanese verses with English choruses. You can mondegreen their songs in the shower for weeks without even realizing it. —Paul Collins, “jTunes: The insanely great songs Apple won’t let you hear”


n. (from iPod and schadenfreude; by Joey deVilla)

  1. The malicious satisfaction of emotionally invested iPod owners when their pro-iPod bias is confirmed.


vt. (from Pokémon and monetize)

  1. “To make money by appealing to the stupid human instinct to collect dumb things.” —Simon Willison

remember wholesale

vt. (from the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”)

  1. To remind oneself of something using machine-assisted memory. For example, to recall a particular IM discussion by reading or searching the log.

Remembering something wholesale is similar to but distinct from googleknowing (just-in-time learning using a search engine). You have to have already known and forgotten something to remember it wholesale.


v. (created by Ze Frank, probably from the general idea of propulsion, or the classic exponential graph; definitely not the internet video program of the same name)

  1. To exaggerate measurements.

screen saver

n. (from mycophile usage)

  1. The phenomenon of visual phantoms resulting from a high-focus activity.

And then there was the “screen saver”—the fact that after several hours interrogating the ground for little brown dunce caps, ther images will be burned on your retinas. “You’ll see. When you get into bed tonight,” Ben said, “you’ll shut your eyes and there they’ll be again—wall-to-wall morels.” —Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma

As mushroom hunting is such a focused task, this may be related to the dreaming Tetris phenomenon and more learning the task than simply the repetition.


n. (from fandom)

  1. One who is interested in personal dramas, especially in media.

You remember how the X-Files fans, they were divided into the shippers and the non-shippers? … There were the people who were into the relationship between Scully and Mulder…. I feel like I am squarely a shipper. In any story, I’m a shipper. —Ira Glass, “Ira Glass of This American Life,” The Sound of Young America


n. (from Amazon’s Statistically Improbable Phrases feature)

  1. A unique combination of words.

does the sip “post declarative” lead anywhere interesting? (does anyone really stilll care?)

the cats were a nice touch. —progosk, comment to What Is This Creepy Site Advertising?


n. (resemblance of the symbol used to represent them)

  1. Microsoft Points, the micropayment currency used in the Xbox Live Marketplace service.



  1. To employ the Takahashi Method of using a little text enlarged to fill the screen in a presentation.

Takahashi that one. —Larry Wall at YAPC::Asia 2006

“Ah, what’s happening here is that there’s a taste segmentation in the sugar cola market.”

“‘A taste segmentation?’ Pardon me, but I speak English.” —samples, Negativland, “All She Called About,” Dispepsi


n. (from deck and teledildonics; thanks, Broken)

  1. The technology required to punch someone who sorely needs it in the face over the internet.

i’m going to become rich and famous after i invent a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet —HatfulOfHollow, quote #4281


v. (verbing of the noun toon)

  1. To play in an MMORPG or virtual world.


n. (short form of cartoon; from MMORPGs)

  1. The conduit of a player’s will inside a game, typically an MMORPG. syn. avatar.

While game and virtual world theorists freely use the term avatar, it’s reasonable MMORPG players would adopt toon instead. Not only is it much less serious a word, being taken from popular culture instead of religion, but the relationship to the player is more appropriate for game playing: a toon would be a separate entity created by the player, a character portrayed temporarily if at all, while an avatar would be an extension of the player, suitable for roleplaying. Playing a toon instead of an avatar implies detachment.

Just look at the number of people who reveal their identity in The Sims Online through the site. Even there, though, a screenshot and a claim that Toon X is Person Y is pretty slim evidence to go on. For many inhabitants of the virtual world, total anonymity is not enough. —Mark Wallace, The Escapist #34 p12, “Anonymity is Not Enough”

total lol

n. (from total war)

  1. The event after which all Internet traffic exclusively comprises spam, lolcats, and links to YouTube videos.

Future historians will have decided total lol was inevitable once the US Congress mandated IPv6 on the behalf of News Corporation’s newly merged Dow Jones/IANA division, and every electronic device was given not only its own IP address but its own Myspace.


n. (from weblog and sphere)

  1. The “place” on the web composed of blogs. Syn. blogosphere.

Weblosphere, usually pronounced as web low sphere, has the added advantage over blogosphere that it can be alternately pronounced as we blow sphere.


n. (from Wii and Xbox 360; apparently coined by Microsoft’s Peter Moore)

  1. The console cocktail of both the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox 360, as opposed to the other new generation console, the Sony Playstation 3.

Only a Nintendo’s Wii. - I have reserved my console with my company. - Wii is less expensive, has more interesting games, offers new game play, and i already have an xbox 360, so i already have a ‘powerful HD’ console. —Anonymous, “Question of the Week: Are Games Industry Professionals Buying PlayStation 3 or Wii?” 17 Nov 2006