Humorous Take on the Language of Engineers

Posted on December 9, 2005  Comments (1)

A humorous take on the language of engineers from Xooglers (former Googlers):

Orthogonal – Engineers are always talking about things being orthogonal to each other. The first time I heard the term, I thought it meant something like “11-sided.” It doesn’t. I’ve read the definition many times. I still don’t really get it, which didn’t stop me from casually dropping it into conversations with engineers. “Oh, yeah, that press release is totally orthogonal to the ads we’re running on Yahoo.”

Non-trivial – It means impossible. Since no engineer is going to admit something is impossible, they use this word instead. When an engineer says something is “non-trivial,” it’s the equivalent of an airline pilot calmly telling you that you might encounter “just a bit of turbulence” as he flies you into a cat 5 hurricane.

Have a nice weekend.

One Response to “Humorous Take on the Language of Engineers”

  1. Greg Kochanski
    January 10th, 2009 @ 10:06 am

    Cats are orthogonal to jet engines.
    Cats are not orthogonal to dogs.
    Cats are not orthogonal to lions.
    Cats are orthogonal to socialism (I think).
    Cats are absolutely not orthogonal to cat food.
    Cats are completely focussed on tuna, so they are not orthogonal.
    Cats are not orthogonal to tea cups, because if you have a lot of cats, they will break some tea cups.
    Cats are orthogonal to carrots.
    Rabbits are not orthogonal to carrots.
    Rabbits are orthogonal to computer games.
    Rabbits are (just about) orthogonal to engineers.
    Defining orthogonal is not non-trivial, but it isn’t trivial either.

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