Christmas 2012


Every year at this time, some of the major medical journals publish special Christmas issues. The BMJ and the CMAJ offer some open access articles for our holiday reading. From this year’s December issues of the British Medical Journal: – Christmas 2012

The CMAJ’s Holiday Reading [open access]

The Medical Journal of Australia‘s Christmas Crackers [scroll down the page; full text by subscription]

See older Christmas issue entries   especially Christmas Songs for Christmas Eve
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Brand names make it to the OED!

I first created this post in 2007, and apart from the home page, it has been the most viewed page on my blog (over 6,000 views). So here it is again, with a link to the latest OED update.

It’s fascinating to peruse the new words added to the OED. (Here is the latest update, December 2010.) Brand names often enter the language as generic terms, and I’ve listed a few of them below. (I wonder who they have in mind with the word “flip-flopper”. And what on earth is a cotylosaur? I thought “chicklet” meant a little piece of gum, but I was disappointed to discover that it means a small chick or girl.)

Goo·gle – verb: to use the Google search engine to find information on the Internet.

botox.jpg Botox
bo·tox – noun or verb – A proprietary name for: a preparation of botulinum toxin which is injected into specific muscles to create temporary paralysis, as part of the treatment of various medical conditions and in the cosmetic treatment of wrinkles of the face (esp. frown lines and crow’s feet). Also: treatment by this means; a course of such treatment.

popsicle.jpg Popsicle
pop·sicle – noun – A proprietary name for: an ice lolly.

hoover2.jpg Hoover

hoo·ver – verb: to clean with a vacuum cleaner (Chiefly British)

kleenex.jpg kleenex2.jpg Kleenex [see more ads]
klee·nex – noun: the proprietary name of an absorbent disposable cleansing paper tissue.

xe·rox – noun or verb: a name for a copying machine or the act of reproducing printed, written, or pictorial matter by xerography.

thermos_jug.jpg Thermos
ther·mos –noun: a vacuum bottle or similar container lined with an insulating material, such as polystyrene, to keep liquid hot or cold

pro·zac -noun: a brand of fluoxetine hydrochloride
spandex.jpg Spandex
span·dex –noun: a synthetic fiber composed of a long-chain polymer, used chiefly in the manufacture of garments to add elasticity

jello.jpg JELL-O
jell·o -noun: brand of dessert made from a mixture of gelatin, sugar, and fruit flavoring, dissolved in hot water and chilled until firm

band-aid_small.jpg Band-Aid
band·aid -noun: adhesive bandage with a gauze pad in the center, used to cover minor abrasions and cuts

viagra_hockey.jpg Viagra
vi·ag·ra -noun: sildenafil citrate, used to treat impotence

frigidaire.jpg Frigidaire
frig·i·daire – noun: the proprietary name of a brand of refrigerator.

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Christmas Songs for Christmas Eve

Here is a selection of Christmas songs, ranging from the sublime (the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s Hallelujah Chorus – A  Random Act of Culture) to the ridiculous (Adam Sandler’s Santa Song). Turn up your sound, and have a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2010: BMJ Christmas issue

It’s that time of year again, the publication of the annual BMJ Christmas issue. Here are some highlights:

See also  CMAJ 14 December 2010, Volume 182, Issue 18 Holiday Reading ; previous posts about Christmas.

Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year

Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes has won the 2009 Diagram Prize, awarded annually since 1978 by The Bookseller, a British trade magazine for the publishing industry.    Read about the history of the prize in Wikipedia.

Horace Bent, The Bookseller magazine’s legendary diarist and custodian of the prize, said: Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes proved to be the initial front runner. It defended its poll-topping position despite strong support for the spoon-carrying Third Reich, once again attempting to muscle in on someone else’s territory. [See below for more about the spoon book.]
Read more about the current winner here.     And read part of the book – great photos!

This year’s finalists:


Product description: Collectible Spoons of the 3rd Reich is a detailed, heavily illustrated reference book containing relevant historical exposition on many of the personal, organizational and commemorative spoons of the 3rd Reich period from 1933 to 1945. These spoons, unlike most other collectibles from this period, were actually owned and used daily by the people and organizations of those times. The book includes many spoon types, for example: Hitler’s personal silverware, Red Cross, SS, the U-47 etc. With over 200 photos / graphics and over 19,000 words of text, the book extensively explores the relevant historical highlights which in turn illuminate this unique period in history as reflected by the spoons. These spoons are history that you can hold in your hand and were once in the hands of the German history makers of the 3rd Reich era. As the years pass, the 3rd Reich era will move from the monster of history to just plain history as did the Napoleonic era and like Napoleon collectibles, there is increasing interest in acquiring 3rd Reich collectibles, although understandably relatively modest in our lifetime. Thus, this book should be of interest to the collector and educational for the casual reader of history.

Lake Superior State University 2009 List of Banished Words

Here is the 2009 list of banished words from Lake Superior State University. From the site:
Lake Superior State University “maverick” word-watchers, fresh from the holiday “staycation” but without an economic “bailout” even after a “desperate search,” have issued their 34th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. This year’s list may be more “green” than any of the previous lists and includes words and phrases that people from “Wall Street to Main Street” say they love “not so much” and wish to have erased from their “carbon footprint.”

CMAJ Holiday Review 2009

It’s that time of year again, when the major medical journals publish their Christmas (AKA holiday) reading. Below are some of my favourites from the CMAJ Holiday Review, from the December 2009 issue of CMAJ. For past Christmas issues, see Christmas Journal Issues.

 Faux Review: A report on the zombie outbreak of 2009: how mathematics can save us (no, really)
An outbreak of zombification wreaked havoc recently in Canada and the rest of the world. Mathematical models were created to establish the speed of zombie infection and evaluate potential scenarios for intervention, mainly because mathematicians don’t have anything better to do with their time. We review the development of these models and their effect on the undead.

Research: Snappy answers to stupid questions: an evidence-based framework for responding to peer-review feedback
We developed a Scale of Silliness (SOS) and a Scale of Belligerence (SOB) to facilitate the assessment of inadequate peer-review feedback and guide users in preparing suitable responses to it. The SOB score is tempered by users’ current mood, as captured by the Mood Reflective Index (MRI), and dictates the Appropriate Degree of Response (ADR) for the particular situation.

Satire: Compendium of rejected CMAJ manuscripts: 2009