New Mexico's Very Large Array, a giant radio telescope observatory which took a PopSci largeness prize recently, is named in a fine tradition of utilitarian monikers like the European Extremely Large Telescope and the ultimately impractical Overwhelmingly Large Telescope.
But, following a massive rebuilding of the 1970s electronics from the ground up, the VLA feels it needs a new name, and it's open to suggestions!
The periodic table of the elements now officially has two new members, its heaviest ever. The new elements, 114 and 116 weigh 289 and 292 atomic mass units, respectively. By comparison, lead’s atomic weight is 207.2.
What do you call an armor-penetrating munition? MAHEM. A smokescreen that instantly closes around a tank? DRAPES. A robot that scavenges and feeds itself? EATR, of course.
At the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the military's mad-science research wing, program managers must do the seemingly impossible. Not just slow down the speed of light and make fake blood. They also have to describe these pie-in-the-sky ideas to journalists, the public and Congress.
That's how you get some of the most amusing acronyms ever.