*Be Careful What You Acronym For

When George Mason University recently named its law school Antonin Scalia School of Law in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice, the school’s acronym ASSoL became the butt of much low humor and raised such a stink that the name had to be changed:


Expecting that institutional acronyms are fertile ground for further frivolity, I undertook to find more examples (guilt by association?) — but alas and AAALAC (American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care), most of them are about as funny as ARISTOTLE (Annual Review and Information Symposium on the Technology of Training, Learning, and Education); e.g., my trusty old Abbreviations & Acronyms Dictionary contains many more “dogs” (ARF — Advertising Research Foundation or American Rationalist Federation) than LAFS (Los Angeles Funeral Society).

Nonetheless, by sheer dint of dogged research, I managed to dig up the following:

ACNE: Alaskans Concerned for Neglected Environments
BLIMP: Big Look Improvement Motivation Program
BRA: Bee Research Association or Boston Redevelopment Authority
CHAOS: Committee for Halting Acronymic Obliteration of Sense — not to be confused with KAOS:

COSA NOSTRA: Computer-Oriented System And Newly Organized Storage–To-Retrieval Apparatus
FAGS: Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical Services
GASP: Group Against Smog and Pollution
HELL: Higher Education Learning Laboratory
HOTLIPS: Honorary Order of Trumpeters Living in Possible Sin
MEDLARS: Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System
OOPS: Offshore Oil-Pollution Site
PLATO: Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations
SIXPAC: System for Inertial Experiment Pointing to Attitude Control
SOCRATES: System for Organizing Content to Review and Teach Educational Subjects
SPASM: Society for the Prevention of Asinine Student Movements (Why not? Students have been protesting asinine society long enough! Fair is fair!)

Speaking of (almost) long enough, I would be remiss to close short of completing your acronym education:

But no such education would be complete without the world’s longest acronym, the honor of which goes to Russia for this space-eater:

And now, at long last, my WORK (Washington Operations Research Council) here is done.
ADIOS (Automatic Digital Input-Output System).