27 September 2023

Letters forget!

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To the wonderful world of acronyms and abbreviations this week where one could be excused for thinking the age-old practice of Mr Oxford’s ‘Initial Letters of Words Pronounced as Another Word’ had left the building to be replaced by the chaos of common creativity.

Leading the new trend is the national Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), where a ‘Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government’ is in the news this week, reporting on a very worthwhile project measuring how charitable the Australian public sector is and how generous it could be.

In reporting its findings the ‘Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government’ relished in the pseudo-acronymic abbreviation BETA, surprisingly short of the letter ‘G’ for Government’ that would have made it the true acronym BETAG.

But then again, what’s a mere ‘Government’ between friends when a 4-letter mini-acronym is more meaningful than a 5-letter one?

Putting the Plat in the Puss

On a similar but different agony of abbreviation, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment has taken the art of abridgement a step the other way, choosing to add an orphan letter to its name.

Announcing the environmentally excellent program of using DNA tracks to track elusive platypuses in the State’s Blue Mountains, the Department announced it had detected 29 sites in the 67 National Parks it had sampled so far.

“More sampling will take place in Autumn, when breeding females emerge from their burrows with their puggles and take to the water,” the State’s Minister for Environment assured readers of.

As with all exciting stories like this one, an address for readers to receive more information is available online, courtesy of the Department of Planning and Environment.

Only slight slip up was in the email address DPE gave as its direct contact: www.dpie.nsw.gov.au.

“DPIE” for Department of Planning and Environment?

Looking on the bright side, at least the Department could have added an ‘O’ for the word ‘of’’ between ‘Department’ and ‘Planning’ which would have sent us all addressing our request to www.dopie….etc.

I can jump puggles

And just in case we think the shrewd and skilful snippet above served little in the great testimony of tidings for our contribution to cleverness, at least we now have the ideal question to excel at our next trivia night: What is a baby platypus called?

Words that turned

Just as we all thought we’d had enough acronymonia, two more raise their excited heads to show just how adjustable words can be in the new world of abbreviation anarchy.

First off is the learned University of South Australia which reported the research findings of a study into high-egg diets and their possible impact on cholesterol.

Declaring that the research may have excused the eggs from accusation, the researchers pointed out that foods rich in cholesterol were also high in saturated fat “and we now think it’s the saturated fat rather than the cholesterol that’s associated with increasing blood levels”.

“Eggs are high in cholesterol but low in saturated fat,” the egg gurus said, “so we believe that their consumption does not increase bad cholesterol.”

And the organisation that hosted the university’s eggs-sample of surveying went by the name Alliance in Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity, agonisingly acronymed ARENA for short.

Awkward but accurate, SA’s ARENA is closer to tradition than its big federal brother the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, whose claim to the moniker ARENA has it adopting a 5-letter nick-name when it only has 4-letters to bring to the party.

Visiting the ACT now where the health of Canberra’s water catchment areas have been tested regularly following bushfires in recent years.

Cunningly keeping the test reports in touch with the burnt forests, the ACT has titled its exercise the ‘Catchment Health Indicator Program’, a perfect acronym when reduced to CHIP!

Such a relief to know that at least one acronym manages to be a fully qualified CHIP off the old block!

Hear hear!

Book time at the PS-ssssst! library

In the meantime, while the world is wiping out the art of acronymism, the ever reliable Rama Gaind is putting it back together again with her highly honoured weekly hand-outs.

This week Rama has the inspirational book A Fraction Stronger by Mark Berridge in her handout handbag, free to the first two readers who could tell her when Mr Berridge had his life-changing bicycle accident.

The answer was March 2019 and the first correct entries to greet the judges came from David H of the Western Australian Department of Transport and Jessica S from Services Australia.

Congratulations David and Jesssica and a big bike-riding thanks to everyone who took part. The books will be on to their way to their new owners very soon.

For another chance to relieve Rama of another freebie and become famous into the bargain simply visit her review of the Book The Gilded Years at this PS News link and/or her equally excellent review of the Book Sister Secrets at this link.

Just answer Rama’s question(s) and luckiness will do the rest.

Good luck to all who do.


And finally, the final word once again goes to Victoria’s PS superstir Philomena S of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, whose sharp reflection of the English language leaves most of diving for mirrors.

This week Philomena has been considering our fingers and toes.

“How is it,” the wise woman wonders, “that our fingers have fingertips but our toes don’t have toetips?”

“But then again,” she says” we can tiptoe, but we can’t tipfinger”

‘Till next week…..

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