Don's Home Reference 21st Century Glossary of Terms
last updated 1 Nov 2021

Under Construction
In 2016-17 I noticed a lot of new terminology from things like the 2016 election campaign and advances in computing show up in the news and conversation as if everyone knows what they are.
Some are not new, but many old terms which are coming into more common use.

It is not a complete list and definitions need to be tweaked, but it's a start.

Just click on some entries without a description to do a google search.

  • 3GPP - 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) unites [Seven] telecommunications standard development organizations to develop standards for 3G, 4G and 5G mobile networks.
  • 4G - Fourth generation of broadband cellular phone network technology. Commonly used the LTE protocol. Allows transmission speeds of up to 100 megabits per second. Standardized in 2009.
  • 5G - Fifth generation of broadband cellular network technology. Will support more devices but requires more density of cell towers. Network speeds should have a peak data rate of 20 Gb/s for the downlink and 10 Gb/s for the uplink.
  • AI - Artificial intelligence
    The idea that a computer could think like a human Timeline:
    1950's- AI (Artificial Intelligence) - Expert Systems 
            Decision trees, rule-based systems
    1980's- Machine Learning - Neural Networks
    2010's- Cognitive Computing - Deep Learning
    See AI for more.
  • Alphabet (Holding company for google and a bunch of smaller companies working on leading edge technology.
  • Alt-Right - A loose group of people with far right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in the United States.
    Made popular during the 2016 election campaign.
  • Antifa - Anti-Fascist - Gained notoriety after the White Nationalist clash in Charlottesville in 2017.
  • AR - Augmented Reality - Like Virtual Reality, but where the objects that reside in the real-world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities. e.g visual, auditory, haptic (sensing motion, shape, temperature, ... by feel). Can be used to make a person appear to be saying something they really didn't say.
    See VR/AR/MR, what's the difference? | Virtual reality | Foundry
  • Autonomous Car
  • ARM - Advanced RISC Machine. A family of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architectures for computer processors. 98% of all mobile phones sold used at least one ARM processor. In 2020 Apple developed an ARM processor to replace INTEL chips in their laptop and desktop computers.
    Arm is also a company which deals in ARM processors and other technology.
  • Benghazi - A 2012 coordinated attack against two United States government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, by members of the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia.
    Despite persistent accusations against President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice, ten investigations—six by Republican-controlled Congressional Committees—did not find that they or any other high-ranking Obama administration officials had acted improperly.
  • Bitcoin - A digital Currency.
  • BI - Business Intelligence - The strategies and technologies used by enterprises for the data analysis of business information.
    Related Terms: Data Mining, Big Data, infographics.
  • Big Data - Data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing application software is inadequate to deal with them.
    Lately, the term "big data" tends to refer to the use of predictive analytics, user behavior analytics.
    Related terms: machine intelligence and deep computing.
    The term has been in use since the 1990s, with some giving credit to John Mashey for coining it.
  • Biome - Biomes are distinct biological communities that have formed in response to a shared physical climate. "Biome" is a broader term than "habitat"; any biome can comprise a variety of habitats
  • BLM - Black Lives Matter. A social movement against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people following a series police killings of unarmed Black Men. In July 2013, the movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a civilian neighborhood watch coordinator, in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin 17 months earlier in February 2012.
  • Blockchain - A list of digital records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data.
    Originally developed for digigal currencies (e.g. bitcoin), it is now being adapter for other uses such as medical records, complex financial transaction tracking, supply chain tracking, ...
  • Cancel Culture - A modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles - either online on social media, in the real world, or both. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be "canceled."
    The term was used frequently in the 2020 Republican National Convention. e.g. "Cancel a culture that loves its heroes" referring obliquely to the nationwide trend of toppling Confederate statues in protests against racism.
    It also referes to prominent people who's careers were damaged because of racist comments or sexual misconduct.
  • Coronavirus - A general class of viruses studied in the 1960s that gets its name from a distinctive corona or 'crown' of sugary-proteins that projects from the envelope surrounding the particle.
    SARS-CoV-2 is a type of single stranded enveloped positive-sense RNA (Ribonucleic acid) (ssRNA(+) retrovirus like SARS, MERS and HIV -- One of 7 classes of viruses.
  • Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
  • COVID-19 - A disease which attacks the resparitory system caused by the The SARS-CoV-2 virus.
    See more at Corona Virus Facts here
  • Cas9 - CRISPR-associated (Cas) endonuclease, or enzyme, that acts as "molecular scissors" to cut DNA at a location specified by a guide RNA. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
  • CRISPR - Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat.
    CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. Its many potential applications include correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops.
    See What Is CRISPR? |
  • Cloud - A metaphor for the Internet. Cloud computing, Cloud storage.
  • CSA - Community Supported Agrilculture
  • Critical Race Theory (CRT) It's been around for 40 years, but events in 2021 increased public awareness about things like housing segregation, the impacts of criminal justice policy, and the legacy of enslavement on Black Americans.
    It's been taught at the college level for a while, but the topic exploded in the public arena in the spring of 2021 when people started to discuss its inclusion in K-12 history.
    Numerous state legislatures are debating bills seeking to ban its use in the classroom.
  • Culture Wars - The term is commonly used to describe aspects of contemporary politics in the United States. This includes wedge issues such as abortion, homosexuality, transgender rights, pornography, multiculturalism, racism and other cultural conflicts based on values, morality, and lifestyle The term is commonly used to describe aspects of contemporary politics in the United States.

    Coined by James Davison Hunter's 1991 book of the same title. He talks about how how Christian fundamentalist, Orthodox Jews, and conservative Catholics have joined forces in a fierce battle against their progressive counterparts–secularist, reformed Jews, liberal Catholics and most main-line Protestants.

  • Deepfakes - is a technique for human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos using a machine learning technique called a "generative adversarial network" (GAN). It can create a video that can depict a person or persons saying things or performing actions that never occurred in reality.
    Deepfake Queen: 2020 Alternative Christmas Message went viral.
  • Deep Learning - The latest improvement of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Deep-learning software is an attempt to mimic the activity in layers of neurons in the neocortex, the wrinkly 80 percent of the brain where thinking occurs. It analyzes large data sets to teach itself. Something like neuro networks but more complex.
    AI and Neural Networks never lived up to their promise, but better algorithms and more powerful computers are allowing a jump in AI functionality. Things like language processing, object recognition are some of the applications.
    See Deep Learning - MIT Technology Review
    and The Difference Between AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning? | NVIDIA Blog
  • Doxxing - Publicly exposing someone's real name or address on the Internet who has taken pains to keep them secret.
  • Emolument Clause - A provision of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 8) that generally prohibits federal officeholders from receiving any gift, payment, or other thing of value from a foreign state or its rulers, officers, or representatives.
  • Endemic - An infection which is constantly maintained at a baseline level in a geographic area without external inputs. For example, chickenpox is endemic (steady state) in the UK, but malaria is not.
  • Existential - Existence or the experience of existence. The meaning of being.
    Climate Change can be an existential threat to life on earth.
    Existentialism is part of various philosophies that have in common an interpretation of human existence in the world that stresses its concreteness and its problematic character.
    Child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim believed that fairy tales help children cope with their existential anxieties and dilemmas.
    Jonathan Webber argues that "as originally defined by Simone de Beavoir and Jean-Paul Sarte, extentialism is the ethical theory that we ought to great the freedom at the core of human existence as intrinsically valuable and the foundation of all other values".
  • FAANG - Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet's Google; The five most popular and best performing tech stocks in the stock market.
    Jim Cramer coined the term FANG in 2015 (without Apple) for mega-cap tech stocks. Others used FAMGA - Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon.
    Now Alphabet (Holding company for google and a bunch of smaller companies working on leading edge technology.
  • Fake News - Made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word.
    The US intelligence community has said that Russia interfered in the 2016 election by using things like fake social media accounts and adds to create fake news favoring Trump.
    Since the election President Trump has been using it refer to any traditional news he doesn't agree with.
    How Fake News Goes Viral - The New York Times A 2018 Ohio State study suggests fake news might have won Donald Trump the 2016 election - The Washington Post
  • GAN, or Generative Adversarial Network; a specific type of machine learning that uses dueling neural networks to create realistic photos and videos.
  • Genetic Engineering -
  • Genome - A genome is an organism's complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. See Molecular Biology
  • Geoengineering - A blanket term for a number of proposed methods for contracting climate change. Spraying particles such as sulfur dioxide, alumina, or calcium carbonate into the scatter sunlight, or making coastal clouds more reflective.
  • Gig Economy - Short term jobs - Contractors. From a musician's "Gig"
    A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.
  • HDR - High Dynamic Range - Pictures/photos with a greater range of luminosity.
  • Jim Crow The system of Segregation in the South whichincluded: Separate drinking fountains. Seating at the back of the bus, train and movie theater. Intimidation and violence at the voting booth. From the period of post-Civil War Reconstruction until well into the 1960s, African-Americans were denied many of the rights they were entitled to as citizens of the United States.
    It still comes up in relation the the BLM struggle.
  • Lincoln Project - American political action committee (PAC) formed in late 2019 by former and present Republicans. During the 2020 presidential election, it aimed to prevent the re-election of Donald Trump and defeat all Republicans in close races running for re-election in the United States Senate.
  • LTE - Long Term Evolution - A standard for 4G mobile phone networks.
  • Machine Learning
  • me too - A social movement against sexual abuse and sexual harassment.
  • MBS - Mohammed bin Salman - The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He has been described as the power behind the throne of his father, King Salman. He is currently serving as the country's deputy prime minister (the title of prime minister being held by the king).
    He has led several successful reforms, which include regulations restricting the powers of the religious police, the removal of the ban on female drivers.
    Human rights groups have been openly critical of bin Salman's leadership and the shortfalls of his reform program, citing a rising number of detentions and alleged torture of human rights activists.
  • Meme - An idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture". The word meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene.
    Derogatory, sometimes funny, images and ideas were rampant and spread via twitter and political discussion boards and other Internet means during the 2016 election. The spread of memes was referred to as internet trolling (above).
  • MR - Mixed Reality - The merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualisations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.
    See VR/AR/MR, what's the difference? | Virtual reality | Foundry
  • mRNA - messenger RNA - basically half of a DNA molecule that leaves the cell nucleus to generate a protein.
  • Nationalism - Identification with one's own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.
  • Neural Networks - a computer system modeled on the human brain and nervous system.
  • Nomophobia - The irrational fear of being without your mobile phone or being unable to use your phone for some reason, such as the absence of a signal or running out of minutes or battery power.
  • Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP) - The original name given to COVID-19
  • PAC - Political Action Committee - A 527 organization that pools campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaigns for or against candidates, ballot initiatives, or legislation.
    The term 527 is usually applied only to such organizations that are not regulated under state or federal campaign finance laws because they do not "expressly advocate" for the election or defeat of a candidate or party.
  • Pandemic - A disease that has spread across many countries and affects a large number of people.<>BR> the term is usually applied only to such organizations that are not regulated under state or federal campaign finance laws because they do not "expressly advocate" for the election or defeat of a candidate or party.
  • Pharmacogenetics - The branch of pharmacology concerned with the effect of genetic factors on reactions to drugs.
  • OANN - One America News Network - Its prime-time political talk shows have a conservative perspective, and the channel has described itself as one of the "greatest supporters" of Trump. Founded 2013
  • Populism - A political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.
    Populists range from Donald Trump a conservative U.S. president to Hugo Chavez a revolutionary socialist in Venezuela.
  • Pizzagate - A debunked conspiracy theory that went viral during the 2016 United States presidential election cycle. It claimed that coded messages from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta's hacked email connected several high-ranking Democratic Party officials and U.S. restaurants with an alleged human trafficking and child sex ring.
  • Psychographics - The study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria, especially in market research.
  • QAnon - A far right-wing loosely organized conspiracy group. QAnon purports that America is run by a cabal of pedophiles and Satan-worshippers who run a global child sex-trafficking operation and that President Trump, who was recruited by the defense department, is the only person who can stop them.
  • RICO - Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 1970
    - Allows Mob bosses to be tried for crimes they ordered others to do or assisted them in doing. Some have suggested recently that former political leaders could be charged under RICO.
  • RINO - Republican in name only - Moderate Republicans
  • RISC - Reduced Instruction Set Computer - A computer processor with fewer instructions which require a low number of clock cycles per instruction (CPI). It may take more instructions to complete a task, but they run faster.
    Examples are Sun's SPARC, IBM's PowerPC (also used by Apple), Stanford's MIPS, Apple's AMC and others.
  • Semantic Bleaching - The semantic content of a word becomes reduced as the grammatical content increases. e.g. in the late 1800's the word love was applied to inanimate objects like food.
  • Spacial Computing - Spatial computing is the use of digital technology to interact with computers that understand their own use in space. As opposed to traditional computing, which is carried out behind a 2D screen, spatial computing leverages AR, VR, and MR to make a computer user interface a seamless part of our world.
  • STEM - Science, Technology, Enginering & Medicine
  • Troll - A troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response.
  • UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - Drone
  • VR - Virtual Reality - In it's simplest form you put on a headset which shows a a three-dimensional, computer generated environment. As you move and look around it's as if you were somewhere else. More sophisticated systems use things like omni-directional treadmills and special gloves.
    See VR/AR/MR, what's the difference? | Virtual reality | Foundry

Words made popular in the 2016 election campaign
Analytics and Big Data Glossary for the Enterprise
BBC - Culture - A glossary for the 21st Century
Oxford English Dictionary (OED) updates: June 2017 | March 2017 | December 2016 | September 2016 | Previous updates

Return to Don's Home.