A Brief Retrospective on the Nature of Truth and Why It Confuses Us So

FLASHBACK — A Brief Retrospective on the Nature of Truth and Why It Confuses Us So

Diogenes Searching For TRUTH in Ancient Greece

 Recently, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) announced that Truth is the Word of the Year for 2017.

Austin, Texas, December 2017.  If you kept abreast of the daily press reports, you would think an outbreak of mass hysteria or at least amnesia had swept over the nations of the West. The world’s leading print and electronic media acted as if the concept of truth had been circumvented, or even, contravened, and sounded alarm after alarm that what we all knew as facts were no longer discernible. The source of this disruption in the news cycle, of course, was what came to be known as fake news and post-truth.

For historical comparisons of a number of the terms used in this analysis, GLM used the Google Ngram Viewer.   You can use the Ngram Viewer to chart frequencies of comma-delimited search strings.  The Google Ngram Viewer uses yearly counts from sources printed between 1500 and 2008, though in some cases later dates of publications are included.

In the first example, frequencies of citations between and among a number of words used to describe the Top Words of the Year for 2016 are plotted between 1940 and the present.

Figure 1. Relative Frequency of citations among words used to describe the Top Words of the Year for 2016

Figure 2. Close-up on Relative Frequency Among Some Top Words of the Year for 2016

Figure 3.  Comparisons of the Words Truth Vs. Lie Since 1740

This is why early in the century, the Global Language Monitor put into place a methodology that clearly states that each considered word or phrase must adhere to the published criteria (see below). The methodology calls for words and phrases from the entire global English linguasphere to be considered, as well as each fulfilling geographic and demographic requirements. This automatically excludes the lists created by those organizations that rely on polls and other such non-scientific tools

A Methodology Optimized for the Wired World -- GLM’s Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage 
throughout the English-speaking world, which now approaches some 2.38 billion people, who use the language 
as a first, second, business language. To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must meet 
three criteria: 1) found globally, 2) have a minimum of 25,000 citations, and 3) have the requisite ‘depth’ 
and ‘breadth’ of usage. Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must 
appear world-over, not limited to a particular profession or social group or geography. The goal is to find 
the word usage that will endure the test of time.

Global Language Monitor began to use newly available technologies to document the Words of the Year for Global English at the turn of the 21st century, with the idea to encapsulate and capture the essence of the preceding twelve months in a sort of linguistic amber.

Consider for a moment that fact that in 2009 GLM named ‘twitter’ as the Global English Word of the Year, not only as a social media phenomenon but as a potential Weapon of Mass Disruption (or even destruction). Witness: 1) the Arab Spring and 2) the actions of one Donald J. Trump.

Political Correctness

In a time so debilitated by the specter of political correctness (both from the left and the right), it seems rather demeaning to advance the concept of ‘fake news’, once you study its etymology, tracing back the origins of the word ‘fake’.

Cambridge Dictionaries’ definition of fakir: A Muslim (or, loosely, a Hindu) religious ascetic who lives solely on alms. Origin: Early 17th century: via French from Arabic faqīr. Fakir, Arabic Faqīr (“poor”), originally, a mendicant dervish. In mystical usage, the word fakir refers to man’s spiritual need for God, who alone is self-sufficient. Although of Muslim origin, the term has come to be applied in India to Hindus as well.

Fakirs are generally regarded as holy men who are possessed of miraculous powers, such as the ability to walk on fire or to subsist by looking only at the face of God.

In a Languagelog posting by Mark Liberman, How Fakirs Became Fakers, Edmund Wilson comments (from the grave) that Fakirs began to become entwined with fakers with a common usage that arose out of the American spiritualism craze of the 19th century.  This is where one can witness the shift in meaning for the word fakir, from an Islamic religious ascetic to the Hindu “Yogi,” to a sort of street corner or carnival barker or “producer of illusions”.

In other words ‘fake news” joins a long list of ethnic slurs that have imbued American English since before the founding of the republic. They are too many to repeat. However the most common of these might be ‘ethnic-group’ giver’ or ‘ethnic-group rich’. Specifically, using the term fake news could be said to humiliate and/or cast aspersions upon Muslim and/or Hindu holy men. Recent searches of the New York Times found 869 instances of ‘fake news,’ while searches of The Washington Post found 1,352. None mentioned the historical dubiousness of the practice.

You can see this linguistic shift peaking around 1940 and continuing to this day.

Figure 4. Shift in Meaning Between Fakir and Faker During the 1940s

In retrospective, even the whole idea of fake news and post-truth is a bit of an over-reaction. The organizations that were disrupted the most by the appearance of unchecked, non-verifiable and inadequately sourced stories, were those upon which the world came to rely and depend upon to safeguard the information delivered to their audiences as verifiably true. To continue in these roles as stewards of truth, it was incumbent upon them to put into place new methods of testing information.

The unvarnished truth is that the dominant news gathering and distribution organizations fell behind the curve as sources of information multiplied by orders of magnitude. Neither did they comprehend the astonishingly rapid advances in computing power. Finally, the evolution of communication and social media tools advanced far more quickly than the old line media’s ability to adapt to and absorb them.

Decades of reporting on the decline of the US manufacturing base never seemed to register to old media as applicable lessons for themselves. In the mid-’80s, an HBS case study inquired as to which fared better — companies with strategic plans in place or those that had none. The answer: a dead heat. Apparently, companies without strategic plans were able to adjust more quickly to changing market conditions while companies with strategic plans all too often, steadfastly rode these plans straight into oblivion.  (For more information on this phenomenon, check out the first two editions of In Search of Excellence.  Prepare to be shocked.)

What is Truth?

The debate over what is truth has been ongoing since the search for an ‘honest man’ by Diogenes the Cynic, the dialogues of Socrates as recorded by Plato, the rhetorical question Pontius Pilate asked of the Christ, the Confessions of Augustine, the Summa of Aquinas, and the monastic scriptoria of Medieval Europe.

In the scriptoria of the Middle Ages, an elaborate system was constructed to ensure that no discrepancies were introduced into Scripture or highly-prized scholarly works — before the coming of movable type and the printing press. Can you imagine the decibel level of a discussion that played out over the misrepresentation of a single iota when dealing with the work of a Church Father, the Apostle Peter (or Paul), or the words of the Lord himself? This, of course, was complicated by the fact that there were few grammatical rules, little or no punctuation, no spaces between and among words, nor between sentences or paragraphs, and the like.

Even in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Harvard and Yale engaged in the same sort of tussle about the owner of Truth as the Right and Left are engaged in today.  Harvard chose the Latin word Veritas (Truth) on its official seal, while Yale considered the matter closed by adding Lux et Veritas.  (Light and Truth) to its own shield.  Three hundred years later, in an academic world perhaps overly concerned with political correctness, Harvard won top honors for the Top Politically (in)Correct Word of 2016.

Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.

We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the tsunami washing over the planet at an ever-quicker pace. Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t changed at all. It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality: News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.

Can you imagine the uproar in the monastic world when documents would be produced with little or no vetting against the time-honored standards?

In 2008 GLM published an article, “Is Merriam-Webster its own Best Frenemy,” where we noted that its newest additions to its Collegiate Dictionary, were older than most entering college students at the time (28 years vs 18!)  Indeed, for the most part, technology could solve most of the Post-truth and Fake News phenomena.

Since the turn of the 21st century, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) has named the Top Words of Global English. A decade earlier, the American Dialect Society began to name the Word of The Year for mostly American (and a bit of British) English with little or no use of the then emerging computer power. By the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, the BBC chose the Global Language Monitor to determine the Top English Words of the Decade worldwide while they chose an UK-based Linguist to highlight those of the UK.

One of the most surprising trends in the evolution of the Words of the Year over the last two decades is that they have become decidedly more parochial, and more trivial, as the century has progressed. Now there are about a dozen players, all competing for the same space, so the race has been one of dumbing down the various nominees and ultimate winner in an apparently desperate attempt to seek the lowest common denominator, or even worse, to optimize entertainment value.

Perhaps most surprising of all is the apparent lack of preparation by the venerable incumbent organizations responsible for gathering, sifting through, and certifying information that then qualifies as verifiably newsworthy.

Apocalyptic language has been widely cited as word of the year worthy for the last several years — and rightly so. In fact, Apocalypse and Armageddon took Global Language Monitors’ honors as Top Global English Words of 2012. And though GLM’s proprietary algorithms have displayed a predictive element, it’s entirely possible that Apocalyptic language did indeed peak some five years too soon.


About the Global Language Monitor

In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known.

Today, from its home in Austin, Texas GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities. Products include ‘brand audits’ to assess the current status, establish baselines, and competitive benchmarks for current intellectual assets and brands, and to defend products against ambush marketing.

These services are currently provided to the Fortune 500, the Higher Education market, high technology firms, the worldwide print, and electronic media, as well as the global fashion industry, among others.

For more information, call 1.512.801-6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

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The Tangles of Time: A Brief History of Chess

A Brief History of Chess

Author’s Note: I wrote this aimost fifty years ago, during the Bobbie Fisher- Boris Spassky World Chess Championship held in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1972.

This was the beginning of the chess boom that continues to this day. You can’t call it a revival, because previous to this, chess was a fringe activity, at best, played by old men on park benches arguing in Yiddish, nerds before they were known as such, and pipe-smoking, well-to-do elder gentlemen player one other on seculded leafy estates.

I was captivated by the match and who wouldn’t be: the ‘Free World’ vs. the Soviet Communists, a brash, ill-mannered young American vs. the gentlemanly Grandmaster of old-school ways and traditional chess thinking. I went out bought every chess book I could find in Harvard Square and at the Chess Shop on Newberry Street (including the infamous Blue Book of Chess. At that time, the Blue Book recorded every move in evey championship match from the days of Lasker onward.. I also picked up a championship-scaled chessboard with the requisite ivory-styled pieces, a chess clock, and the like. But the one thing I could not find was a definitive History of Chess.

So I decided to write one myself. After countless hours of research (no internet, nor on-line journals, no Wikipedia, just Harvard’s Widener Library’s dusty stacks, I drafted The Tangles of Timee: A Short History of Chess over that summer and now present it to you here.

 — Paul JJ Payack


Chess yields us, when we need them most

Companions in our loneliness.

—Mu’ Tazz

As masterful a player as Emmanuel Lasker regarded chess as neither an art nor a science but rather a war in which the pieces served as troops and the players the generals. This stemmed from the notion that chess was invented as a war game and so, that is the manner in which it should executed. Undoubtedly reality is reflected in the idea that chess originated either as an aid or substitute for warfare.

Lasker maintained that to understand its creation all that is needed is an understanding of the method of classical warfare. Lasker explained that opposing armies would take their positions in nearly straight lines separated by a nearly level plain. The generals, in order to make their plans comprehensible to their commanders, would sketch the original position and later movements of their pawns and men. Lasker was fond of using the Battle of Cannae, 216 BC, as an illustration. At Cannae, the Carthaginians under the command of Hannibal defeated a Roman force nearly twice their number with superior strategy.

Lasker thought that it was entirely possible that Hannibal not only drew lines and placed stones on a board to explain his stratagems, but did so on what would one day be called a chequer-board. This was given the now familiar shape of a square divided into sixty-four smaller squares, colored black and white alternately. Though Lasker’s contention that chess was invented as a game of war is undoubtedly true, he seems to have postdated its conception by some eight centuries and misplaced it by several worlds.

After a millennium passed in the Buddhist era, various references occur to a game that seems the direct forbear of present-day chess. According to Sanskrit literature, apart from the central king and counselor, the pieces represented the quadrants of the ancient Indian army: war chariots, cavalry, elephants, and foot soldiers. The Upper Basin of the Ganges, or thereabouts, was the locale where

this game first appeared. Since the area was a Buddhist stronghold, it is not unreasonable to assume that their monks had a hand in its inception. Since Buddhists oppose the killing of any form of life, it can be hypothesized that the game was invented as a bloodless substitute for war (by allowing men to engage in a combat of a higher sort).

In this version the infantrymen moved as pawns of all times and places, excepting the modern two-square debut. The cavalrymen were placed and manipulated in the same manner as the knight. The elephants’ movements were diagonal and limited to two squares, therefore they were inherently weaker than the bishops into which they were later transformed. The chariots were equal in every respect to the castles which through some ripple in history came to be called rooks. And the counselor, beside the king, moved diagonally also and only one square per move; as time passed its powers were increased to that of the bishop, thereby considerably enhancing the complexity of the game.

Chess spread rapidly (in historical terms) from the Subcontinent to the curiously diverse cultures further west, each leaving ineradicable traces of their time and culture. Persia bestowed the name to the game. Words, unlike mathematical formulae, both lose and gain in their sojourn through time and place. Aside from the usual etymological eddies, the development of the name flowed as follows. The Persian shah “king” came through the Arabic and the tangles of time to Europe as, among other variations, the Old French (e)sches, plural of (e)schek “check” derived from “shah.” From there it was but a minor simplification to the Saxon and Modern English word “chess.”

The culmination of this bloodless substitute for bloodletting is the murder of the enemy king, although the modern game ends euphemistically with the checkmate. This term, too, can be traced through a millennium to Persia. Shah mat “checkmate” means ‘the king (shah) is dead,’ where “mat” is related to the Latin stem mort- “death” found in “mortuary.”

Within a generation of the Hegira, the Arabs conquered Persia in the sacred name of Mohammed. As is usually the case, the two cultures became inextricably entwined and from that time forward it was the Islamic culture that became the primary vehicle of chess. As the game was carried from land to land it underwent a series of transmutations, some surprising and some not so surprising at all.

The Elephant was reduced to its ears. That is it was simplified (for reasons of convenience and religion) to a lump of wood, with a cut extracted from its center. An item of far more interest concerns the Arab rukh which predates the English rook for crow. It is still a matter of some controversy whether the rook was actually a chariot, a bird, or even a ship. It is highly probable that in differing cultures in differing centuries it was each.

In Arabia there seems little doubt that the chariot was replaced by a moderately prominent member the then-current mythology. In Arabian Nights the rukh was an enormous bird of gigantic girth which was inordinately wide of wing; a vast magnification of the eagle or condor. In most variations, the bird had the ability to carry an elephant, and sometimes several, in its talons. The thread of interest that lies about and through all variations of the rukh myth is that it was, whatever else, a deadly enemy of the elephant. (Later, with the aristocratization of chess, the elephant would be transformed into an ecclesiastic.)

Soon chess was a commonplace throughout the world of Islam, from Andalus in the West to the Indus in the East. The Moors carried chess to the Iberian Peninsula during the eighth century of the Christian era, and the Eastern Empire in Byzantium also learned of the game before the century had waned. From Iberia it spread to the north of Europe, while Russia seems to have acquired the game directly from India. (In Russian chess bears its original name, shakh-maty.)

During the High Middle Ages chess became a leisure time activity of the feudal lords, and the pieces began to resemble the aristocracy. (The rukh became, curiously enough, a castle.) A knowledge of ‘Nights and Days’ was considered a social grace for every genteel and parfait knight. Obviously, one reason for this was the connection between chess and war. Soon the powers of certain pieces were increased,making the game much more lively or, if you prefer, deadly.

That lump of wood with the split was not recognized in Europe as an elephant. This was understandably so, since to the folks of medieval Europe an elephant was just as much a mythological creature as the rukh, and possibly more so. To those who were unaware of its esoteric meaning, the elephant, also suggested a bishop’s mitre, an old man, a count or a fool. To this day in French the man is called Le Fou “the fool” and it is diagramed as a cap and bells.

The English, however, were the first to introduce chess diagrams to printing and since the piece remained a bishop there (and in Iceland) the bishop’s mitre would soon become the worldwide standard. However, Germans use this now universal symbol for their laufer “runner” while Russians use the mitre for their slon “the elephant.”

The evolution of the king’s counselor into the queen has been attributed to the similarity of the Arabic word fere “advisor,” to the French vierge “maiden” but probably can be more simply attributed to the make-up of the feudal court. A parallel between the historical liberation of women and the glorification of Mary by the Church could also have been factors in the metamorphosis.

And finally, a mention should be made of pawns; those so adequately named pieces which are even denied the status of chess ‘men’. They are, without exception in all cultures, represented by conveniently small and humble objects. For these there seems a universal need. History: read it and weep.

There are some 1.7 x 10 to the 29th methods of playing the first ten moves of this ancient and storied game. (The Greeks, clever as they were, didn’t even possess a symbol or number for any number larger than ten to the fourth, a myriad.) This being so, it becomes comprehensible why, while chess has ebbed and flowed through history, it has never been successful as a method of channeling the human mind to that combat of a higher sort.

To be sure, there have been wars of every possible description since its inception some thirteen hundred years ago, and when the number of possible permutations is envisioned even in this relatively simple game, it becomes obvious why there is more than adequate room for that phenomenon, war, in the universal scheme of things. This nightmare, even when contained by a square of sixty-four smaller squares, has the potential to continue in a million billion varying guises for eons on end (and still there would remain variations untried).

When one of the first Caliphs, Omar b. Al-Khattab, was asked if chess were lawful he replied, “There is nothing wrong in it; it has to do with war.”

REWIND from the ThoughtTopper Institute: The Battle Over Climate Climate Change Change Explained in Three Charts

Climate Change is an asteroid heading for a direct hit on Earth.

Updated: March 22, 2020

June 18-19, 2014, AUSTIN, Texas — The recent report on human-enhanced climate change points to the problem. The US National Climate Assessment, released May 6, 2014, represents the most comprehensive attempt yet to assess the current effects of human-enhanced climate change on America’s (and the Earth’s) future. Why does confusion persist about the subject? After all, Global Warming /Climate Change have ranked near the top of our Top Word lists for more than a decade.

Perhaps the major difficulty is overcoming the fact that:

  1. Few news reporters are well-versed in technical and scientific communication.
  2. Few scientists are well-versed in communicating effectively to a large public audience in non-scientific terms.
  3. The public is not trained in deciphering the reams of information that presents the case that is being argued.

Therefore, lack of technical communication skills inhibit true understanding of climate change news. As a former university lecturer on Scientific and Technical Communications, I’ve created a few rules to keep close to heart.

Rule No. 1 When Communicating a Scientific Truth Be Sure to Communicate the Whole Truth — The audience instinctively knows when you are leaving out some of the story that you think might confuse the issue.

Well known Fact: The temperatures are now the highest in 1,000 years.

Larger Reality: The global surface temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 2100 years. Scientific and Technical writing professionals would, one hopes, clarify the discussion by writing from the audience’s point-of-view. An educated audience would expect a phrase, such as ‘not in a thousand years’ to mean ‘not ever’. They would likely be concerned if they knew an author to be shading the truth that actually obscures the larger truth.

Suffice to say the global temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 1200 years as shown in the graphic using four different sources. Also note there was the well-known historical fact of the Little Ice Age, with many early New England documents noting various ‘Year(s) Without Summer(s)”.

 Temperature Fluctuation Over Preceding 1200 Years

Rule No. 2 Just because any particular analysis might be short-sighted, there is no need for you to be short-sighted also.

Well known Fact: Paleo-Indians crossed the Bering Land Bridge to first settle the Americas.

Larger Reality: For the Bering Land Bridge to exist, the sea level had to be about 100 meters (290 feet) LOWER than its current level.

 The Bering Land Bridge About 15,000 BCE

The US National Climate Assessment is estimating a one-to-two meter rise by the turn of the 22nd century. Add in the human-enhancement factor and climate change will be even more dramatic (and possibly happen more quickly) than anticipated.

Rule No. 3 In 10,000 BCE, (8,000 BC), New York City was also under a mile (1.6 km) of ice. Jericho was a thriving (albeit small) city at this time. Most people who are aware of this fact, place it in the distant past, say, 1,000,000 years BCE.

Well known Fact (though not true): Climate Change began in the late 20th century OR with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.

Larger Truth: Climate Change began with the advent of the atmosphere as we know it about 600 million years ago. This atmosphere enabled the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ as millions of life forms suddenly appeared on land.

The climate created by this atmosphere began to change at that time and continues to do so some 600,000,000 years later though we only have specific details of the last half-million years or so, as shown below.

These are a broad outline of temperature changes over the last 400,000 years as recorded by three different methods. Perhaps the most familiar is the Vostok Ice Core (Antarctica), drilled to a depth of 11,887 feet (3623 m) in 1998.

Conclusion: There are well-known facts that pale before a larger reality. Do not trim your arguments (whatever they be) to exclude the larger reality.

Well Known Fact: Climate Change is happening and its profound effect upon humankind is real. Human-influenced climate change is a new scientific reality

Larger Reality: Climate Change has a detailed in the scientific record for about 4oo,ooo years — and it has been ongoing for about 600,000,000 years.

What was the ongoing debate of our Paleoindian ancestors as they watched the megafauna (wooly mammoths, saber tooth tigers, etc.) disappear as the 5,000 ft (1.6 km) ice cap atop Manhattan melted away beneath their feet?

The Paleoindians had it within their power to preserve the megafauna if they had known the consequences of their overhunting.  However, the retreating glacier, a consequence of global cooling, was beyond their control.

Today humankind faces the same two problems. And this time we have a bigger stake in the game. If the will is there, we can stop or at least alter the course of the Fourth Great Extinction. And if the will is there, we can curb at least the human-enhancement portion of climate change, whether or not the planet is subject to the larger, longer-term climatic cycles.

The COVID-19 (Corona Virus) Calendar

The ThoughtTopper Institute

Projections from Published Numbers

The COVID-19 Virus
The COVID-19 Virus

March 29, 2020 Update

Beijing excluded 43,000 Positive Tests from the Published Numbers

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Calendar

New: What You Need to Know & How to Protect Yourself

(South China Morning Post 2/21/2020)

This is being posted only to those who follow me; Please be discreet when distributing.

We are publishing this article only to show the extent of the spread of the virus IF LEFT UNCHECKED. All recent potential pandemics (including Ebola, SARS, and MERS) were stopped due to deliberate action taken by the worldwide medical community (especially the WHO, the CDC, NHC, etc.,) and the proper precautions directed by the relevant government bodies and heroic NGOs.


ThoughtTopper Institute: The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Calendar

Overview: The news from China is not good. Most recently The South China Morning Post detailed,

Measures unveiled by the authorities in Beijing and Shanghai on Monday include stricter controls on the movement of residents and vehicles, compulsory mask-wearing and shutting down leisure and other non-essential community services … Beijing Daily reported on Monday that the capital, with a population of over 20 million, would step up efforts to further restrict access to residential communities and compounds and introduce a citywide registration system for entries into Beijing. 

In addition, “Officials at the epidemic control and prevention centre in Shanghai said on Monday that “the vast majority” of the city’s 13,000 residential communities and compounds had instituted “lockdown management”, including entry restrictions and mandatory temperature checks.”

Confusion Abounds

According to the New York Times, “on Thursday, officials added more than 14,840 new cases to the tally of the infected in Hubei Province alone, bringing the total number to 48,206, the largest one-day increase so far recorded. The death toll in the province rose to 1,310, including 242 new deaths.

The sharp rise in reported cases illustrates how hard it has been for scientists to grasp the extent and severity of the coronavirus outbreak in China, particularly inside the epicenter, where thousands of sick people remain untested for the illness.”

Furthermore, some investigators have suggested that the number of new cases was leveling off and will, in fact, peak and level off in the next few weeks. One study actually picked a date (February 23); mark your calendar.

Projections from Published Numbers

The COVID-19 Calendar is based on the data provided by the British medical journal The Lancet working with data supplied to them by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and the National Health Commission (NHC) of China, among others. The Global Language Monitor is not responsible for any of the data — only with the extrapolation of the data.

Obviously, COVID-19 cannot expand indefinitely as in the extrapolation above. Typically, these pandemics either burn themselves out or a halted through Human intervention. The gravest predictions now top out at a 60% infection rate for the entire Human population. Rest assured, that that has never happened in all recorded history.

Note: Tip of the Ice Berg? These extrapolations in themselves are hypothetical and should be taken as such. These numbers assume that the number of infections has been substantially under-reported, due to a number of factors, as outlined in the Lancet article.

This data was gathered with an abundance of caution after studying the various numbers coming out of Wuhan. The projected numbers are published herein because these results have been assiduously avoided in the media in all forms.

Origin of Graphics, The Lancet

No alt text provided for this image

This ThoughtTopper Institute publication was compiled by Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

About Global Language Monitor

Based in Austin, Texas, the Global Language Monitor is a data research organization. For more information, call +1.737.215.7750 or email Info@languageMonitor.com

“Truth” is Top Word of the Year 2017 by The Global Language Monitor


The Only Analysis for Global English Worldwide

18th annual analysis by the Global Language Monitor

Weinstein Effect” (and #MeToo) is the Top Phrase and Xi Jinping is the Top Name of 2017

 Recently, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) announced that Truth is the Word of the Year for 2017.


For Immediate Release,

For More Information, call 001.512.801.6823 or email info@LanguageMonitor.com.

December 2017,  Austin, Texas (Updated) – Truth has been named the 2017 Word of the Year for Global English (#WOTY2017) by the Global Language Monitor, in its eighteenth annual global analysis. In addition, the Weinstein Effect has been named the Top Phrase and Chinese leader Xi Jingping the Top Name of 2017.  Following ‘Truth’ were the words Narrative, Opioids, Awoke, and Nuclear Option.  Rounding out the Top Ten were Deep State, Robot Apocalypse, Higher Level of Fake News, Blessee, and Lean Into. 

Since the turn of the century, the Global Language Monitor has been naming the words of global English that have had the most profound influence upon the language, the culture, and/or the world of the 21st century,” said Paul JJ Payack, President, and Chief Word Analyst.  GLM ‘s methodology, true to its Silicon Valley heritage, is to examine the totality of Global English with the tools now available to better understand the underlying trends that shape our words and, hence, our world.”

GLM tracks the top trending words three times during the year before the final assessment is released at year end.  Below are the Global Language Monitor’s 2017 Words of the Year for Global English.


Global Language Monitor’s 2017 Top Words of the Year for Global English

Rank, Word, Previous Rank, Definition 

  1. Truth (1) — Let’s face it.  The conversation is all about truth, or lack thereof.
  2. Narrative (2) — As GLM noted in ’08, Narratives began replacing facts in politics; a harbinger to ‘fake news’.
  3. Opioids (10) — More deaths than gun violence and automobiles crashed combined.
  4. Post-Truth (16) — Objective facts are less influential than appeals to emotion or the prevailing narrative.
  5. Woke (New) — Awakening to issues of social and racial justice.
  6. Brexit (4) — [United Kingdom] Definition according to Theresa May:  “Brexit means Brexit”.
  7. Blessee (New) — [RSA, South Africa] Those who are shown financial favor through a ‘Sugar Daddy’ (New)
  8. Non-binary (13) — Gender identity defined as neither male nor female.
  9. Anthropocene (15) — The current geological time period where human activities have had a major environmental impact on the Earth.
  10. Latinx (11) — Neologism for the Hispanic heritage of any stripe.
  11. Ransomware (New) — A type of malware where targeted sites are ‘captured’ and rendered useless until a ransom is paid to the hackers.
  12. Tradie (New) — [Australia] Short for any worker in the trades:  tradesmen, e.g., electricians (sparkies), truckers (truckies), chippies (carpenter) and the like.
  13. Flip (New) — Any quick financial transact5on meant to turn a quick profit, particularly involving real estate.
  14. Covfefe — The Trumpian Typo Heard ‘Round the world.
  15. #Resist — From Latin resistere, from re- + sistere to take a stand
  16. Appropriation (Cultural) — Now refers to the exploitation of an ‘ethnic’ culture by those of white European heritage.

Missed the Cut and former rank: Antifa (18), Alt-right (17), Bigly (5), and Populism (19)


Global Language Monitor’s 2017 Top Phrases of the Year for Global English

Rank, Word, Previous Rank, Definition Weinstein Effect (New) — (#MeToo) Emboldened women across the globe confront those who have been abused them in their past.

  1. Weinstein Effect (and #MeToo) (New) — Emboldened women across the globe confront those who have been abused them in their past.
  2. Nuclear Option (7) — The use of nuclear weapons by either side in the on-going and decades-long North Korean standoff.
  3. Deep State (New) — The idea that entrenched bureaucracies, beholden to no one, controlling the ship of state with little concern for elected officials.  In effect, a ‘Shadow’ government
  4. For Real (FR) (New) — [Indian] It took a half a century for the hip lingo of Venice Beach to proliferate to the call centers of India as FR.
  5. Robot Apocalypse (New) — The oncoming usurpation of Humankind by robots and other advanced forms of Artificial Intelligence.
  6. Fake News (New) — A higher level (and far more dangerous method controlling the news) through special relationships, the tight control of events, planting sources, and keeping the actual facts to a tight inner circle.
  7. Lean Into (New) — Being totally committed (or lean into) a cause, an initiative, or career choice.
  8. Non-binary (13) — Gender identity defined as neither male nor female.
  9. Memory Care (14) — Euphemism for treating Alzheimer and other forms of dementia
  10. Cultural Appropriation — Now refers to the exploitation of an ‘ethnic’ culture by those of white European heritage.

Missed the Cut and former rank: Alt-right (17), Dumpster Fire (9), Nuclear Option for US Senate (6), and Safe Place (20).


Global Language Monitor’s 2017 Top Names of the Year

Rank, Name

  1. Xi Jinping — General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
  2. Donald J. Trump — President of the United States of America; Trump took the Top Honors in 2016 and 2015.
  3. Pope Francis — Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, the Bishop of Rome, and sovereign of Vatican City.
  4. Angela Merkel — Angela Dorothea Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
  5. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin — President of Russia
  6. Theresa May — P)rime Minister of the United Kingdom
  7. Kim Jung Un — North Korean Strongman
  8. Narendra Modi — Prime Minister of India
  9. Donald Tusk — President of the European Commission
  10. Shinzō Abe — Prime Minister of Japan
  11. Justin Trudeau — Prime Minister of Canada
  12. Hurricane Harvey and Maria — Hurricanes that devastated Houston and Puerto Rico, respectively

Methodology:  The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 2.35 billion speakers (January 2018 estimate) GLM employs its NarrativeTracker technologies for global Internet and social media analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 375,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.


About the Global Language Monitor

In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known.

Today, from its home in Austin, Texas GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities. Products include ‘brand audits’ to assess the current status, establish baselines, and competitive benchmarks for current intellectual assets and brands, and to defend products against ambush marketing.

These services are currently provided to the Fortune 500, the Higher Education market, high technology firms, the worldwide print, and electronic media, as well as the global fashion industry, among others.

For more information, call 1.512.801-6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.


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A Historical Inflection Point, 2008 and the Genesis of Fake News




Paul JJ Payack Lecturing on Big Data at the Shanghai Masters Series


A decade ago the preconditions were coalescing as an entirely new paradigm for truth, information, and news was bursting forth.

This essay is reprinted to perhaps offer a bit of insight into the roots of the phenomenon…


Seemingly chaotic events reflect normalcy of new reality


A Historical Inflection Point


Austin, Texas, USA. October 13, 2008. The worldwide financial tsunami that has captured the attention of the worldwide media (as well as governments, corporations and ordinary citizens), has come to dominate one of the great quadrennial media events of the post-Modern era. No, we are not referring to the Olympics, most recently held in Beijing, or even football’s World Cup but, rather, the US Presidential elections.

The immediate effect of this unprecedented upheaval of global markets is the obfuscation of the clear lines of division offered by the opposing parties in the US Presidential Elections.

There is the sense that we are witnessing an unprecedented historical event; historical in the sense that we now appear to be standing astride (or atop) a cusp in history, a delta, a decision point, what is now called a point of inflexion or inflexion point.

Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us.

We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the Tsunami washing over the planet at a steady speed and ever-quicker pace. Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t changed at all. It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality: News now emanates at the speed of thought, from tens of thousands or, even, millions of sources.

The nature of a Tsunami is little understood other than the tremendous damage it unleashes when it washes ashore. What we do know, however, is that a tsunami travels in exceedingly long waves (tens of kilometres in length) racing through the oceanic depths at hundreds of kilometres per hour. Only upon reaching the shore is its true destructive power unleashed for all to see (if they survive to witness it at all).

In the same manner, the traditional media become transfixed with the roiling surface seas but fail to acknowledge the more sustained and significant, movements occurring just beneath the surface.

The surface swirls about in fascinating eddies, but the true transformation is occurring as the nearly undetectable waves rush through the open sea only occasionally, though dramatically, making their way onto shore.

In the same manner, the traditional media focuses on the Twenty-four-hour News Cycle but seem to miss the strong and prevalent currents immediately beneath the surface. They vainly attempt to tie global, transformative, and unprecedented events to relatively parochial events and forces (the Reagan Years, the Clinton administration, Bush 41 and 43, the de-regulation initiatives of Alan Greenspan of ‘99) that are being all but over-shadowed (and –whelmed) by unyielding and all-but irresistible forces.

There is an almost palpable sense and correct sense that things are 1) changing forever, 2) out of our control (or even influence), and 3) will have a direct impact upon the planet for generations to follow.

What we can control, and make sense of, however, is a candidate’s wink, smirk or disdainful reference. We can emphatically pin down our opponents into convenient sound bites, hopefully contradicting earlier sound bites. Do you personally take responsibility for Climate Change? (Does the fact that New York City was beneath 5,000 feet of Ice a few dozen centuries ago influence your vote today? A yes or no will suffice!) Is your personal philosophy, whatever it might be, grounded in a belief system that I can systematically debunk and demean. (Yes or no.) Are you for or against atom smashers creating minuscule black holes that may or may not swallow up the Earth?(Answer yes and you are a barbarian; answer no and you have absolutely no respects of the future prospects of the human race.) Did you ever consider yourself a loser (at any point in your life)? Did you ever make the acquaintance of fellow losers?

Nevertheless, the US Presidential Election will proceed to its own conclusion on the first Tuesday of November in the year two thousand and eight.

For the preceding five years, The Global Language Monitor has attempted to clarify the course (and future course) of human events as documented in the English language.

The tools at our disposal have sometimes allowed us to peer into events and trends that become, otherwise, obscured, by the ‘noise’ of the Twenty-four Hour News Cycle.

Our goal was and continues to be, to extricate (and explicate upon) the true currents underpinning the events we call news, and to better understand what they mean and how they are perceived with the new media reality in mind.

For example, back in the days preceding the 2004 Presidential election cycle, GLM discovered the fact that once ideas, words and phrases were launched into the vast, uncharted, oceanic Internet, they do not, indeed, die out after twenty-four hours but, rather, travel in deep, powerful currents and waves (not unlike those of a tsunami) that only grow stronger as they make their ways to distant shores.

In this new reality, tsunami-like ideas pass through vast seas of information of the Internet, nearly undetected and often unmeasured, until they crash upon our shorelines, where their full power (and possibly fury) is unleashed.

The fact that we only entertain them for 24 hours before they are dispatched into the archives of what is considered ‘past’ or ‘passed’ and readily discarded, is beyond the point.

We often hear that ‘we’ve never seen anything like this’ before. Of course not. Think back a few hundred years to other information revolutions, such as that introduced along with mechanical type. What do you think the fortunate few thought when they first laid their eyes upon the works of Aristotle, the Bible, or the Arabic translations of Euclid? No one had ever seen anything like that before! Indeed.

And astonishment will only become more so as the future unfolds.

— Paul JJ Payack, President & Chief Word Analyst, The Global Language Monitor