The Jargon Awards: Edition 1

In the present tranformation of synapse activity into lengthy strings of visually acceptable binary, I offer you two examples of ridiculous jargon I’ve encountered in my second term’s studies so far. The first is from the humanities; the second, the sciences. I’ll let you decide which is more obtuse.

“I hope that it has been shown that a focus upon the ideological fabrication of the subject-object opposition and its entailments is a useful and potentially powerful and productive place to start. Subjects, of course, are simultaneously conscious and unconscious, and any theory of agency or of social construction that omits that fullness is in danger of becoming an idealist and reductivist fiction. Objects are only such in relationship to a projected and coconstructed field of agent positions, of subjectivities.” – Donald Preziosi, Brain of the Earth’s Body

Wow. That’s the conclusion. Clear as mud. Surely, though, we can rely on science to outdo the humanities in this?

“Gas phase complexes of the sensor with the carbohydrate anomers were created by laser ablation from a thin film of a powdered carbohydrate-peptide-graphite mixture, into an expanding argon jet which passed through a skimmer to create a collimated beam of cold molecular complexes. Their ionization through resonant two-photon ultraviolet excitation followed by time-of-flight mass spectrometry provided mass-resolved electronic excitation spectra.” – Cocinero et al. 2011, Nature.

Hmmm. I think I’m going to give this one to Preziosi; he wasn’t talking about a complex chemical process which required the use of jargon! Either way, they’re both spectacular passages of academic writing. Science communication: stuck between the really pretentious and the relentlessly practical!

A stunning sunrise on Yorke Peninsula, to revitalise your eyes after the jargon.
Categories: Problems, Science | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “The Jargon Awards: Edition 1

  1. M@

    So Cocinero could just be talking about some new mass spectrometry procedure used on carbohydrates (am I close? I haven’t seen the article), while Preziosi sounds like he is describing his experiences with crystal meth.

    • Yes indeed! It’s not a new mass spec procedure; it’s actually a new technique which… actually nah, I’m going to post my Core Prac article about it this Sunday for Sunday Science, ha! So you can get my take on it then!

  2. Chris

    To be honest, as a non-scientist, Cocinero’s paragraph made way more sense to me. It described a procedure, which though it contained substances that I don’t know, was easy to follow. I’m with M@ on the crystal meth theory of why Prezioso might sound like a wanker!

  3. brunOliveira

    lol In my first year of college (humanities) we had a class just about communication in the scientific world… I still can’t believe how I’ve passed…. Just took me two years…lol


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