Reality Conditions

Friday, April 13, 2007


I had a long post on the discussion session chaired by Carlo Rovelli almost completely written and saved in Blogger's dashboard, or so I thought. But when I tried to sign in today to finish it and post it, Blogger forced me to upgrade to the new version using a Google account -and after going through that, I found my post was almost completely gone from the memory, with only the first paragraph remaining. I don't know if it is somehow Blogger's fault and related to the account switching, or if I was really absent-minded enough to not save everything I had written and still be completely convinced that I had saved it. But anyway. This means that you won't be seeing the post on the discussion session today, as I feel too pissed off and tired to rewrite it now; I promise to do it in the weekend. My apologies.

Meanwhile, to keep the "reports from the QG school" series alive, I write a short post informing you of an addition to the English language we came up with during the school. The neologism we coined is upstuff. It has a very simple and beautiful definition:

Upstuff is what you are making when you make up stuff.

So it has a similar field of meaning that "bullshit" or "crap" (applied to talk). But these are completely negative words, while "upstuff" is neutral or even positive in evaluation. Sometimes it is fun to make up stuff and to listen to people who make up stuff. If you have friends who are slightly geeky (and share a taste in hunour with some of my own slightly geeky friends), you might be familiar with a situation in which an informal question or demand for information is answered with an inspired, lenghty explanation randomly made up in the moment. This is a perfect example of good upstuff. A concrete case in point is this wonderful post at the Volokh Conspiracy. (For my Argentinian readers, "fruta" as in "mandar fruta" is a good translation for "upstuff", although perhaps less positive in connotation.)

I think this is a word and concept that the English language sorely needs, as was proved by our very frequent use of it in the days after coining the word. I rely on you Dear Readers to use it and propagate it widely.

The serious reports on the physics will resume, as promised, after I find time for rewriting the report on the discussion session, which you can expect to see it posted on Sunday or Monday. I promise it will not be upstuff.


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