Missing references

I’ve been thinking about a post I made on Knowledge Pool a couple of weeks ago, regarding frames of reference. It had to do with the Beloit College Mindset list, which gives some relevant pointers to the cultural references an incoming freshman might or might not have. For instance, the class of 2005 was born in the same year as the Macintosh. They’ve never known a world without personal computers.

There are plenty of words and phrases we use all the time which derive from technologies and customs no longer in existence. I wonder if other — younger — people wonder about the origin of terms like:

  • flip-side — deals with phonograph records (I believe) and refers to the often-ignored second side of a single
  • winding down — when was the last time you saw a wind-up watch?
  • carbon copy — this one lives on in the “cc” block of our email programs, but, how many people still use carbon paper, and where do they buy it?
  • ditto — anyone who went to school in the 60s & 70s remembers sniffing the newly-printed test papers, made on the Ditto machine, hoping the methanol fumes would get you high

Any others come to mind?