First, a little background. I mentioned to my wife why I love *nix so much.
Me: “Dear, Unix slash Linux systems just rock!”
Wife: “Why’s that?”
Me: “Because in Unix slash Linux, I can install software and not be an administrator. All I need is my home folder or parition.”
Wife: “Well, do you know why I think it is the best? Because ‘uni-’ is latin for ‘one’, and ‘fix’. So, it’s a one-time fix for any problem you have.”
Me: “Dear, it’s U-N-I-X, not UniFix, although that isn’t bad. So, now that you know, do you know where ‘Unix’ came from, and what it stands for?”
Then, I got into the history behind Unix with AT&T Bell Labs, GE and MIT, including Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson. Of course, the logical step was Multics and Unics, how they are related, and why the change to Unix. Then, of course, the next logical step was recursive algorithms.
Me: “You know GNU? It’s a recurisve acronym.”
>>> I get out some paper.
Me: “See? G-N-U. GNU is Not Unix. Cool, eh? P-I-N-E. Pine is Not Elm. W-I-N-E. Wine Is Not an Emulator. It’s keeps going.”
Wife: “Yeah dear, interesting.” Rolls her eyes. “Is there any reason why all the recursive acronyms are computer software related? Is it nerds that just come up with recursive acronyms?”
We then tried coming up of examples that we could think of that weren’t computer or technology related. We couldn’t come up with any examples. After doing a Google search, we found VISA. Visa International Service Association.
I then told her that there is a double-recursive acronym. H-U-R-D: Hird of Unix Replacing Daemons, and H-I-R-D: Hurd of Interfaces Representing Depth. (Find a self-proclaimed geek who can come up with that off the top of his head). So, GNU HURD is the King of recursive acronym examples.
Then, my wife thought she came up with an example.
Wife: “Dear, I have a non-computer softare related example of a recursive acronym. ATM. ATM Machine.”
Me: “Nope. Now you are talking about RAS Syndrome.”
Wife: “What is RAS Syndrome?”
Me: “RAS stands for Redundant Acronym Syndrome. So RAS Syndrome is Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome. So…, ATM Machine is and Automated Teller Machine Machine.”
Wife: “Hahaha. That’s pretty good. Have other examples?”
Do I have other examples? Of course I do. PIN Number. CSS style sheets (an example of a double RAS). RAID array. DVD Disc. LCD Display. AIDS Syndrome. It goes on and on. We came up with tons and tons of both tech-related and non-tech-related examples.
Now, here’s the brain twister. Come up with an example that is both recurisve in nature and redundant. We thought and thought, and had to turn to the intarweb for an example. Stumbling on Wikipedia, we found The TTP Project, or The The TTP Project Project. I guess it appeared in a Dilbert cartoon, although I have never seen it, and I am a huge Dilbert fan.
So there you have it. Recursive and redundant acronyms. Pretty cool.