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Monday, March 9, 2009

those who can't teach design software

After I graduated from college I got a job at a non-profit educational software company. The design team for each activity was composed of a designer (a former teacher), a tech writer (me, in this case), an artist, and a computer programmer.

For this activity we were teaching the states of matter, i.e., gas, liquid, solid. (We didn't think we should start covering plasma yet.) The designer, whose name I forget, had recently been hired as a math and science specialist. One day in our design meeting we were discussing the animations to illustrate each state of matter, and Carl Wayne and I suggested honey as the liquid. So Designer Whats-her-face says, "No, because honey isn't a liquid. It's a viscous."

What?

I was flummoxed, because I had never before heard of "viscous" as one of the states of matter. I may not be a math or science specialist, but I was pretty sure that viscous was an adjective, not a noun. So Carl Wayne and I, as well as the rest of our departments, got tremendous enjoyment out of nouning adjectives. Brick is a hard, milk is a runny. And honey is a thick.

So be sure to use your new science terminology (courtesy of me, you're welcome) at your next catered affair, and you will win friends and influence people.

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