The 21 Best New Words Of 2016
New notions involve new words. So if you want to know where change is pas, got my eye on the language. Thats what author and artist Jonathon Keats has been doing in WIREDs Jargon Watch column for more than a decade. Each month, like a literary lepidopterist, he takes his butterfly net out to the wild verges of science, culture, technology–anywhere new frontiers are opening–to collect the coolest new lexical specimens.
The global-warming effect of a red algae that blooms in melting snow. The resulting pink hue reduces the albedo( reflectivity) of ice caps and glaciers, causing them to absorb more of the sunshine lights and melt even faster.
A route of preserving digital data in perpetuity. By writing every biteach 0 or 1as tiny dots on metal tape, it eliminates all reliance on obsolescent devices or file formats. A future apocalypse survivor would need only a microscope and knowledge of binary code to piece your Instagram feed back together.
Stoplights in the pavement, introduced in Germany for pedestrians who text while walking. A contraction of boden ( ground) and ampeln ( traffic light ), bompeln are said to help keep smombies( smartphone zombies) undead.
Administering medical marijuana with an e-cigarette. Its healthier than a joint and offers better dosage control than a brownie. Its also way less fun, necessitating more than 80 hittings to get stoned.
The dark-matter equivalent of sunlight. The idea is, if dark particles in the sun collide, that may create darknes photons. We wouldnt insure them, but theres a good chance theyd deterioration into detectable positrons and electronsconfirmation that dark matter really exists.
Caused by blasts from supermassive black holes, which are found in the center of most galaxies, galactic warming induces things so hot that gases cant coalesce to form new starrings. That could be how our own Milky way burns out someday.
People who remain healthy despite having genetic mutations associated with serious ailments. Uncovering the secret to their resilience may suggest new ways of preventing and treating illness.
Virtual teleporting. By blending 3-D videocams and mixed-reality headsets, the system can shoot a full-body image of you and your every move to a boardroom( or bedroom) somewhere else.
A new mistake code indicating a web page is blocked by censorship or a takedown notification. A including references to Ray Bradburys classic novel Fahrenheit 451 , it can be used by sites to make a machine-readable political statement.
Ancient bugs that seemed and acted like modern butterflies. The weird thing is they went extinct, and nature evolved the same various kinds of beasts all over again 50 million years later. Its like butterflies were just meant to be.
A proposed name for a new chemical element, honoring the late, legendary Lemmy Kilmister of Motrhead. Fittingly, element 115 is a volatile, superheavy metal. However, the word was short-lived; Russian scientists insisted on the name muscovium , which has since been approved by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry( IUPAC ). It joins an insipid litany at the bottom of the periodic table along with americium, berkelium, californium, europium, francium, livermorium, and tennessine.
A gasoline additive that they are able avoid explosions in a plane or auto crashsomething researchers have sought for 40 years. These ultralongpolymers break apart to pass through ga pumps and filters but then reassemble. In an impact, the long chains maintain fuel fells from fragmenting into a combustible mist.
A flashing rendered when electrons move faster than light, akin to the boom of supersonic jets. Transgressing the light hurdle sounds like sci-fi, but physicists say it can happen in graphene sheets. The discovery could spark development of optical circuits a million times faster than silicon chip.
Mineral layers that form around pebbles over thousands of years. Like tree rings, they hold a chronicle of climate conditions. From the Greek word for soil ( pedon ), pedothems are a dirt-cheap source of priceless data.
A snippet of synthetic, mirror-image DNA dropped into a genetic sample before sequencing. Genetic tests are error-prone, and sequins( short for sequencing spike-ins) offer a benchmark that labs can use to verify the accuracy of resultsa vital step for personalized medicine.
Hurling your mouth forward to eat something. Its not attractive, but the goblin shark, a flabby denizen of the deep sea, relies on this trick to make up for its pathetic swimming. Thanks to extra-long jaw ligaments, a 12 -foot adult can shoot its teeth ahead by more than a foot.
A personal trustworthiness rating mandated by the Chinese government for implementation by 2020. A numerical rating will be assigned to every Chinese citizen based on spending habits, social activities, and criminal record, ascertaining employment opportunities and access to housing.
An electrode array that can be slipped into a cranial blood vessel through a catheter. By transmitting brain signals, it could allow quadriplegics to operate an exoskeletonor eventually let you change TV channels with your thoughts.
A surgically implanted tube and belly valve that lets you pump food out of your body after a meal. The FDA has approved it for weight loss, but not all physicians approve. One critic calls it mechanized bulimia.
A technique of using a Tesla coil, ray-gun style, to manipulate matter from a distance. By projecting a high-voltage electric field, researchers have induced carbon nanotubes to self-assemble into tiny circuits.
Jonathan Keats ( @jonathonkeats) writes the monthly Jargon Watch column in WIRED magazine. He is the author of five volumes, including Virtual Terms: Speech on the Edge of Science and Technology .