Sunday, June 7, 2015

On Humility and Being Humbel

From plitter to drabbletail: the words we love is list of lexical lostlings, of forgotten or underused words such as clarty, slipe, eschew and splunder that have special appeal to a selection of leading authors. In his piece, Robert MacFarlane offers the term apophenia, attributed to Klaus Conrad, and defined as:
the unmotivated perception of connections between entities or data ... abnormal meaningfulness.
MacFarlane counters apophenic tendencies by approaching his work in a way he describes using another uncommon locution, humbel, from James Stout Angus, the Shetland poet:
to reduce protruberant parts ... as the beard of corn is knocked off by ... thrashing with a flail.
I've long thought that it's a useful heuristic for testers to be humble (1, 2)  and to that I can now add that we should also be humbel.
Image: https://flic.kr/p/8qYFUo

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