Warning: This is a little heavy, a little morbid and definitely not the healthy tech fare that you might be accustomed to on this blog.

Found this excellent article on prison rape when following one of Jason’s links to an article about condemned prisoners last meals. The latter is interesting, particularly some insight on how your last meal on earth can be budgeted into something resembling a badly done McDonalds burger. The former is downright disturbing and makes a number of salient points, particularly about how society doesn’t seem to regard prison rape as anything out of the ordinary and nowhere near as taboo as “normal” rape.

I started to think about how death penalties and prison rape really are connected these days. With the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, particularly amongst those with lower education levels (statistically more likely to end up in jail, however bad that is), there are many sentences which these days amount to death sentences. My cousin got done for drunk driving in South Africa a few months ago — he managed to escape a custodial sentence, but afterwards his lawyer basically said to him “I hope that knocked some sense into you — if you’d been sent to prison you’d have been raped within 5 minutes and you’d have HIV now … for what, a few beers?”

Good point. Downright horrifying thought, but a good point. There was a similar storyline on ER a couple of weeks ago, when a young Hispanic man had been sent to prison for breaking into his stepfather’s house when he locked him out. He’d been repeatedly gang raped and his HIV had already developed into AIDS.

It amazes me that this is not a political issue. That more people have not realised that sending someone to jail on a minor charge, to somewhere with overcrowding and sexual abuse, basically amounts to the death penalty. In fact, with the length of time so many seem to spend on death row in those places it is still legal, many of those condemned to death probably live _longer_ than those send in on a misdemeanour and infected.

Perhaps this isn’t a political issue because prisoners don’t vote. But I think it should be. If we’re sending people to their deaths for minor crimes, how much respect for human rights can we be showing?

I have finally given in and installed Jay Allen’s MT-Blacklist. The installation was painless and I have to agree with Elly and KC that it’s a great tool. I know that apparently it will be superseded by MT 3.0, but the spamming was annoying me enough that I thought I should install it anyway. I’m not sold on this new-fangled typekey idea anyway.

Hopefully this will now mean that I get more time to blog. But I wouldn’t count on it. Incidentally, a side effect of Google seeing all and never forgetting is that not only your own life is immortalized, but also references to others in your life. Which, presumably, is why despite finding the site using my name, a certain old “acquaintance” spent a while searching for her own name or possible references to her last week. Looking through the logs it amused me greatly. I’d serve up the search queries, except that it would return results next time she stops by 😉

So for now I’ll leave you with some random search strings that have brought people to this site in the last month:

* importance of training
* bootable distros
* outsourcing and effect on programmers
* design by committee
* firefox icon
* linux cd-bootable
* meaning of gay persecution
* software usability cartoon
* apple case mods
* bootable distros
* cd bootable linux
* cthulhu chick track
* dorkspotter
* effect of outsourcing programmers
* for someone who did research on gay rights
* interesting things
* language barrier and outsourcing
* meri fanfic
* microsoft employ

I love how random this is. And, for the record, Micro$oft don’t employ me and probably never will

Right off I’ll just admit that I know nothing about what I’m about to talk about. I’m sure there are loads of books on the subject of naming products, using acronyms, etc and I haven’t read any of them. On the way home on my motorbike last night, though, I was thinking about model numbers and tyre descriptions and my mind sort of meandered down this path. So there, disclaimer completed.

Lots of products, software, techniques and various other things are named precisely for the purpose of having a good acronym. An easy to pronounce and remember, catchy acronym. Sometimes though if the acronym is too easy to pronounce and remember, then all that is remembered is the acronym. I find this at work a lot … people refer to things knowledgeably via the acronym, but if pressed actually can’t tell you what it stands for. Not to say that they don’t know what they’re talking about, just they can’t remember what the letters actually mean.

On the other hand, really great acronyms are easier to write, but never lose their meaning or the knowledge of the lengthened version. The particular example I was thinking of last night were related to the movies recently made of Tolkien’s classics …. if I write LOTR or ROTK, do you read that as “lot-R” or “Lord of the Rings”? “rot-k” or “Return of the King”?

I suppose the other side of this story is that sometimes people don’t actually care about the lengthened meaning — I’ve seen a number of acronyms that were blatantly invented to fit a cool sounding name. Of course now I can’t remember any of them but I know they’re out there.

So what do people think? Can you remember some examples of acronyms where you always read the acronym as the full name? Or the reverse? And where are all the examples of the made up acronyms to fit cool names that I could remember yesterday but not now?!?