It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Friday, August 10, 2007

What's In A Name?

Good news for a change:
President George W. Bush signed a major science and technology bill this morning at a White House ceremony.

Just before it recessed last week, Congress passed the bill calling for multi-billion-dollar increases in federal support for science, math and technology funding over the next three years.

Among provisions, the bill authorizes (but does not appropriate funding for) doubling the budgets for National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the Department of Commerce National Institutes of Standards and Technology laboratories.
Additionally, the bill significantly expands NSF scholarships and math and science partnerships, as well as many other educational and research programs. It establishes an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy at DOE.

In a press conference this morning, Bush said the law includes many of the provisions he has requested, but added, "I will continue to focus my budget requests on key funding priorities."

The actual funds are provided via appropriation bills to the individual departments and agencies.

The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science Act (COMPETES), is widely regarded as a landmark measure.
It must be the clever quasi-corporate acronym that closed the deal.

2 comments:

inel said...

"To meaningfully promote"
"To boldly go"
and other split infinitives ;-)

I always wonder what these things would be named if we didn't speak English or hadn't invented acronyms! For example, 'Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001' is the full name of the USAPATRIOT Act.

Michael Tobis said...

Hmm. I will pedantically disagree. I like to pedantically disagree.

I think the split infinitve thing is a sort of a back formation. There is (to pick the first thing google popped up with that I could use) no direct phonemic path from "monere" to "to monitor". Calling "to monitor" the infinitive is something grammarians patched in after the fact. It serves a similar function, but it has the advantage that it can embrace an adjective. This is a feature, not a bug.

Consequently, there really is nothing wrong with "to assiduously monitor" except for an arbitrary rule. "To monitor" arose as two words and should be treated as such.

As for the acronyms, I am thinking of changing my initials to UNSUNG GENIUS. If it works with congress, perhaps it will work with NSF. Let's see, Ulrich Norbert Simon...