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Octal. A prefix: e.g., 0400 = 256. That's right: a leading zero in some contexts implies base eight. It just might cause confusion, someday, between Christmas (12/031) and Halloween (012/31).

Zero. The palindromic number with the smallest value. I suppose I might write more, but it might be appropriate to write nothing. Too late now. There's a positive integer that's sort of like 0 with grammatical aspect: 86.

Different Semitic alphabets have, to a great extent, the same letters in the same order. (Yes, we're still in the 0 entry. Keep reading.) The first letter of every Semitic alphabet is (AFAIK) the same, typically transliterated aleph for Hebrew and Aramaic, alif for Arabic, alep for Phoenician, etc. The earliest forms of the letter resembled an ox head, and the name of the letter meant ox. As the glyph became less of a picture and more of an abstraction, it came to look like a Roman (avant la lettre, if you will pardon the expression) capital letter A, or a numeral 4, knocked over on its side (usually knocked over to point left).

One of the most common changes that befell the glyphs of alphabetic characters was rotation. For example, the Roman letter L is essentially a capital lambda rotated a third of a turn counterclockwise. (In Etruscan and Oscan, it was rotated in the other direction, so it mirrored the Roman L, but Etruscan and Oscan were written right-to-left.) By the time the Greeks adapted some Semitic alphabet (probably the Phoenician), the early aleph was rotated into what we would recognize as an A. (And its name became alpha. That name, as pronounced by the ancient Greeks, would be transcribed by English-speakers as ``alpa.'')

The letter aleph is a sort of nothing consonant. In transliteration to Western languages, it usually disappears. The articulation that aleph represents is an unvoiced glottal stop consonant. At the beginning of a word, what aleph indicates to the usual European way of thinking is just that the word begins with a vowel. In the middle of a word, aleph may indicate the presence of a diphthong or hiatus, or it may be inserted as a hint (matres lectionis) to indicate a vowel ah.

Semitic languages do not generally indicate vowels, although many ``pointing'' systems (small marks surrounding the letters) were developed to indicate vocalization (vowels), cantillation, and punctuation. One system (or three), the Tiberian, became dominant in Hebrew starting around 1200 CE, and is used today for children's primers, poetry, and prayer books. Semitic languages don't have very many consonant clusters, so when you see the consonants of a word you have a pretty good idea where the vowels go. Various hints, and the simple fact that there are only so many words, make it possible to fill in the missing vowels. In Greek, on the other hand, not indicating vowels is not an option, but indicating the glottal stop was evidently not a priority. When the alphabet was adapted to Greek, characters were developed for six vowels, and aleph was retasked for the ah sound (and renamed alpha, as you know if you have any short-term memory).

In Hebrew, the name of the letter aleph is written aleph-lamed-phe. One other letter has a name that is spelled with an initial aleph: aleph-yod-nun, spelling ayin. Ayin is the sixteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and I'll only get in trouble if I try to explain how anyone pronounces it, but it's one of those ``silent'' letters. In Hebrew, the word ayin means `nothing.'

0-ary function
An n-ary function with n equal to zero. A function with no explicit arguments. Not the same as a constant, because it might (in some usage) depend on arguments passed as global variables (including system variables like the time) or it may preserve state between calls (like a random variable seed). Also, its evaluation might have side effects different from a literal constant.

Let's face it, this is a stupid term, used by people who just want to be cute. If you mean a constant or a subroutine call, say that. If you want to be clever, contemplate n-ary functions with n not a natural number (negative integer or imaginary number is too easy; try a fractional argument count, then advance to irrationals).

True, a few negligible "()" (or ()-like) languages -- APL, awk, C, and Perl, possibly one or two others -- don't distinguish between function calls and subroutines. However, this doesn't release you from the commandment to call them by the proper names set down in the original FORTRAN definition as communicated to IBM by God.

Synonyms for 0-ary are nillary and nullary. The silliness of these terms confirms the inappropriateness of using the term function in these cases. If something is explicitly a function of nothing, then it's not a function of anything.

APL uses the -adic suffix to form its set of silly words -- niladic, monadic, dyadic, ... The advantage of this system is that monadic can be mistaken easily for monastic and nomadic. The usage also happens to coincide (from dyadic and triadic on) with a conventional terminology for linear matrix operators. APL is (or was when implemented) very strong on matrix operations.

Zero-Dimensional Electron Gas. A quantum dot.

Hexadecimal. A prefix: e.g., 0x0400 = 1024.

A placeholder for a number expected to be filled in. Old convention popular among reporters. Also used in book editing for cross-reference page numbers. See also TK and XX.

Title II Section 2 of the National Prohibition Act set the standard for intoxicating beverages as ``one-half of one per centum ... of alcohol by volume.''

I just want to say that the people who cast Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006) don't get enough credit for the fact that he bore a certain resemblance to the young Sean Connery. On the other hand, someone deserves blame for the fact that with his malicious pout, Craig looks like a two-bit hoodlum. Quantum of Solace was no consolation in this respect. Vladimir Putin has a similar pout, come to think of it. The Bond girl in Craig's second Bond flick was Ukrainian-born Olga Kurylenko. Her next movie was Tyranny.

A minyan in octal.

137 in octal.

Five in octal. Also a common way of coding o5 (q.v.).

The Rorty Factor. This is explained in ``The Quest for Uncertainty: Richard Rorty's Pragmatic Pilgrimage,'' an article by James Ryerson that appeared in the Dec. 2000/Jan. 2001 issue of Lingua Franca. The following is on page 44:
... My own experience suggests that you can use Rorty as a great source on difficult thinkers like Heidegger or [Wilfred] Sellars,'' says [Daniel] Dennett. ``And if you multiply what he says by the number .673''--which Dennett playfully calls the ``Rorty Factor''--``then you get the truth. Dick always exaggerates everything in the direction of the more radical.''

      Stauncher critics maintain that the Rorty Factor is considerably smaller. As the New York University philosopher Paul Boghossian remarks, Rorty faces the perilous task of rejecting the notion of objective truth while avoiding the charge that his own views are thus untrustworthy. ``I just think he has never really pulled off the trick,'' Boghossian says. ``I don't think that anybody has, but in particular I don't think that he has.''

I haven't seen any numerical estimates of the O'Reilly Factor. I did, however, see the figure of $60,000,000 bruited about.

Approximate value of the unique number equal to its own cosine. (In radians, of course.)

Approximate value of the smallest positive number equal to its own cotangent. Equals 1/1.16233983278487820393010444406928

A minyan in hexadecimal.

137 in hexadecimal.

One. The smallest palindromic positive integer. The multiplicative identity. Holder of many other important distinctions.

Blackballed from the prime numbers fraternity. (Why not admit that the only positive factors of 1 are 1 and itself?)

Huh? Oh -- you don't mean ``one,'' you mean ``one''! According to one's website,
'one' is the new railway franchise for the East of England, providing all services from London Liverpool Street.

To maximize confusion, they don't capitalize the name. Obviously, this name was chosen because it was the one with the greatest comedic possibilities. They plan to take the show on the road.

``It's almost seven twenty-one! Of course you've missed the seven-twenty one train. Please be more prompt.''

Obviously this sort of thing can only be confusing four times an hour (not counting ``seven-thirteen one,'' etc.). But they have other ways of making you late. ``I'm sorry: if you want to buy a ticket for one, then I can only sell you a ticket for one. Tee-hee! One way?''

The one naming began on one April two thousand and four, probably because this was so cute, with the name and day and all. Tra-la! On day one, the new name was a little cute and a lot stupid. The next day, it was no longer cute. It's a miracle if they haven't renamed at least one station ``next.'' (You know sometimes nowadays they give ballplayers peculiar names.)

I say, pronounce it as it's spelled: ``own.''

1B, 1b
Baseball term:
  1. First Base[man].
  2. Hit for a single.

CSMA/CD protocol for communication at rates up to 1 MBps over baseband (i.e., unmultiplexed) medium.

CSMA/CD protocol for communication at rates up to 1 MBps over twisted pair.

One-Dimensional Electron Gas. A quantum wire.

One-Dimensional Hole Gas. A quantum wire.

First Edition.

Collectors tend to go principally for these, except in the case of very early or otherwise very rare or valuable books. To a collector, the first edition is really the first printing of the first edition, or at worst the first edition in the strictest sense (i.e., excluding any print runs in which any minor typographical corrections may have been made).

Book-club editions are generally reprints, more cheaply bound than the original, with very little collector value. They are often marked ``First Edition.'' A strong sign that a volume is a book-club edition is a blind stamp (usually a small square or circle on the back cover).

Umm, we're talkin' hardcovers here, you know. When the paperback was invented early in the twentieth century, it was for cheap reprints of, err, quality books, and for cheap potboilers and such. It was only late in the century (1980's, say) that quality mass-market books began to have paperback first editions. Nevertheless, there appears to be a significant market for 1950's science fiction in paperback.

A good place to find out what a used book is worth is <BookFinder.com>. Although that is not specialized in collectors editions, it can search the inventories of over 30,000 used-book stores. A common reference for collectors is the annual Huxford's Old Book Value Guide. For more on finding books, new and used, see our Books Stores entry.

First-Generation Language. Machine language. The terminology did not come into use until there were three generations. See 3GL entry for more explanation.

1H, 1H
Hydrogen isotope with A=1. Protium: one proton, one electron. Good old hydrogen. Good stuff. Extremely popular with NMRtians.

Good old theoretical hydrogen, anyway. Good old conventional practice also doesn't distinguish carefully between 1H and H. Commercially available hydrogen is a mix of isotopes. ``Ultra-depleted'' protium water is available on the market with deuterium concentration as low as 1 ppm.

In the late eighties IUPAC promulgated some systematic nomenclature for discussing hydrogen species and processes specifically and generically. The terms included hydron as a generic hydrogen nucleus, modeled very reasonably on the pattern of proton, deuteron, and triton. Excuse me while I go and express my opinion of this name to the porcelain throne.

If that link is dead, see

  1. IUPAC-IUB Joint Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature (JCBN), and Nomenclature Commission of IUB (NC-IUB), Newsletter 1989; Arch. Biochem. Biophys., vol. 272, pp. 262-266 (1989); Biochem. Internat., vol. 20, pp. 209-214 (1989); Bioch. J., vol. 265, I-IV (1989); Biol. Chem. Hoppe-Seyler, vol. 370, pp. 1153-1156 (1989); Eur. J. Biochem., vol. 183, 1-4 (1989).
  2. IUPAC Commission on Physical Organic Chemistry (CPOC) Names for hydrogen atoms, ions, and groups, and for reactions involving them, Pure Appl. Chem. vol. 60, 1115-1116 (1988).

Oh, what the hey, here's the lot, with further (SBF) recommendations:

General1H2H3H Oh, it was an eta?
Atom (H)hydrogen protium deuterium tritium William
Cation (H+)hydron proton deuteron triton Neptune's
Anion (H-)hydride protide deuteride tritide neap tide
Group (-H)hydro protio deuterio tritio Trimalchio
Transfer of cation to substratehydronation protonation deuteronationtritonation detonation, pronation, alien nation
Replacement of hydrogen by a specific isotopeprotiation deuteriation
(or deuteration)
tritiation adulteration, titillation, deterioration

First-year Law School student. Cf. L1.

Common diode designation. It does seem that all the low numbers were used up on Germanium diodes.

First Normal Form.

1 photon
It is often said that the human eye has the ability to detect a single photon. This is true in a limited sense not usually understood.

A dark-adapted human eye can detect a light flash at a threshold of about 100 photons at the cornea. Only about half of those make it to the retina; maybe 30 are absorbed by rods in the retina (evolution has left us with the rods pointing backwards, so light has to go not just to but partly through the retina). The usual claim (in a correct formulation) is that a rod can detect a single photon. This only means that in the conscious detection of a single light pulse, the various rods that contribute to the nervous signal each react to the absorption of only one photon each (in most detection events). One rod detecting one photon would not register consciously: the retinal as well as the cerebral circuitry conspire to ignore low-level signals that could as well be noise.

The actual quantum efficiency of rods is hard to measure, but seems to be about 50%. I.e., there's about a 50% chance that if a single photon is absorbed by a rod, it will produce an elementary electrical signal.

Rod response is delayed by about 0.2 seconds; cone response by 0.1 sec or less. Actually, this is peak response. If you imagine that you ``trigger'' on the leading edge when current shift exceeds noise level by a factor of two, the numbers are more like 0.15 and 0.05 sec, resp.

Details can be found in Stevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology, 2/e, Vol. 1, (1988) pp. 125ff. Thresholds for conscious awareness or detection of light are determined in human experiments. For ethical and practical reasons, however, other components of this research are done with vertebrates such as frogs and monkeys. Nocturnal animals presumably have better overall response.

First Quarter. Of the year -- fiscal, academic, calendar, whathaveyou.

First Qumran cave.

1Q Apoc
The Genesis Apocryphon from the first Qumran cave (1Q). Edited by Nahman Avigad and Y. Yadin (1956).

Hodayot or `Thanksgiving Psalms' from the first Qumran cave (1Q). Edited by Eleazar Lipa Sukenik (1889-1953) and Nahman Avigad, Otsar ha-Megillot ha-Genuzot (Jerusalem, 1954).

Scroll of ISaiah from the first Qumran cave (1Q). Edited by Millar Burrows, et al., Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark's Monastery, vol. 1 (New Haven: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1950). (Volume 1 contains the Isaiah manuscript and the Habakkuk commentary [see also 1QSa and 1QSb]; vol. 2, fasc. 2. Plates and transcription of the Manual of Discipline.)

Scroll of ISaiah from the first Qumran cave (1Q). Edited by Eleazar Lipa Sukenik and Nahman Avigad, Otsar ha-Megillot ha-Genuzot (Jerusalem, 1954).

Serekh ha-Milhamah or the War Scroll from the first Qumran cave (1Q). Edited by Eleazar Lipa Sukenik and Nahman Avigad, Otsar ha-Megillot ha-Genuzot (Jerusalem, 1954).

PHYLacteries or Tefillin from the first Qumran cave (1Q). Edited by Y. Yadin, in Eretz Israel, vol. 9 (1969), pp. 60-85. ``Phylacteries'' is not the title of the text, it's what the text was found in. Phylacteries have contained somewhat varying Agghhh!!!!! My connection is excruciatingly slooooowwww!!!! I think I'll insert the rest of this at 4AM someday.

Okay, quickly now, before the system hangs: Phylacteries are boxes and leather straps that one (one Orthodox Jew, actually, in the only instances I'm aware of) wears while saying a prayer to the effect that the prayer shall not be forgotten. It's sort of a self-referential performative statement. (And the Talmud is a paper hypertext, but that's another entry.) The boxes contain a scrap or two of prayer, but which prayer has varied a little. It hasn't always been the prayer that you will use phylacteries.

Tefillin is an Aramaic plural, not Hebrew, which is why it ends in the en nasal consonant (like Arabic male plurals) instead of em (i.e., instead of ending in the Hebrew male plural inflection -im).

Serekh ha-Yahad or `Manual of Discipline' from the first Qumran cave (1Q). Edited by Millar Burrows, et al., Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark's Monastery, vol. 2 (New Haven: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1951). (Volume 1 contains the Isaiah manuscript and the Habakkuk commentary; vol. 2, fasc. 2. Plates and transcription of the Manual of Discipline.)

Cf. 4QSf, 7QaskY.

Serekh ha-Edah or `Rule of the Congregation' from the first Qumran cave (1Q). Edited by Millar Burrows, et al., Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark's Monastery, vol. 1 (New Haven: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1950). (See also 1QIsa and IQS.)

Originally designated 1Q28a, in connection with which, see the next entry.

Divrei Berakhot or `Blessings' from the first Qumran cave (1Q). Edited by Millar Burrows, et al., Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark's Monastery, vol. 1 (New Haven: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1950). (See also 1QIsa and IQS.)

The numbering of these items is pretty addled, as you can see. The ``S'' in 1QSb comes from the fact that this was originally called 1Q28b, and the original 1Q28a became 1QSa.

The Temple Scroll from the first Qumran cave (1Q).

Just look at 1QSa and 1QSb, willya? All those superscripts are tiring my fingers.

One-Repetition Maximum. A measure of strength. The maximum intensity at which a person can perform an exercise once. (For free weights and the simpler constant-resistance machines, intensity is a weight or torque.) Since one rep normally takes less than a few seconds, energy used by a test subject's muscles in a test of 1-RM comes mostly from the breakdown of stored intramuscular high-energy phosphates, ATP and CP.

Original speed of CD-ROM drive data transfer was 150 Kbps.

Check out David Letterman's `` Top Ten Numbers From One To Ten.''

(A rerun of `` Top Ten Numbers From One To Ten.'')

Ten-codes are forms of verbal shorthand that have arisen informally; a number of standardization efforts have been made by various radio organizations. The FCC requires CB-ers to keep a written list of the codes with the CB set if they use CB codes at all. Law enforcement uses a similar but not quite identical set of codes. We serve a list of both major ten-codes.

Ten-Repetition Maximum. A measure of strength. The maximum intensity at which a person can perform an exercise ten times. Generally speaking, 10-RM is less than 1-RM, q.v.

In 1931, a book was published at Leipzig entitled Hundert Autoren gegen Einstein (`A Hundred Writers against Einstein'). Famously, when Einstein heard about it he remarked that if he were wrong, one would have been enough. See also 93.

Ten squared.

When [Jorge Luis] Borges's mother, doña Leonor Acevedo, dies at age 99, she has already lain weak and prostrate on her bed for quite a while. Her moans had filled the house. One unimaginative person, expressing his condolences to Borges, said it was a shame that she was unable to reach the century mark. So Borges replied, ``it seems to me that you exaggerate the charms of the decimal system....'' (According to Alicia Jurado, 1980.)

(Look, don't complain about the translation. A more literally accurate translation would contain and suppress information, and use modes of expression unusual in English, that would seem inappropriately odd in ways that the original is not odd.)

From Borges Verbal, by Pilar Bravo and Mario Paoletti (Buenos Aires: Emecée, 1999), p. 183:

Cuando muere la madre de Borges, doña Leonor Acevedo, a los noventa y nueve años, llevaba ya tiempo tullida y prostrada en la cama. Sus ayes se oían por toda la casa. Una persona sin imaginación, al darle pésame a Borges, le dijo que era una pena que no hubiera podido llegar a los cien años. Y entonces Borges le contestó: ``Me parece que usted exagera los encantos del systema decimal...''
(Contado por Alicia Jurado, 1980).

(Borges Verbal is an alphabetized selection of excerpts from interviews of Borges. There also exist alphabetized selections of his published opinions, and he himself published an alphabetized selection of his opinions. It seems to be catching. Since I first put in this entry, two relevant things have happened. (1) In Chile, my aunt Laura died somewhat shy of her 103rd birthday, and (2) right here in the virtual country inhabited by your faithful glossarist, I discovered that the authors of Borges Verbal sometimes took surprising liberties with Borges's words as originally published. For example, Bravo and Paoletti's entry for Germany includes the following sentence (pp. 38-9):

Lo que también se da en los alemanes es el respeto de la autoridad, una suerte de respeto chino de las jerarquías, (olvidando) que las jerarquías se deben al azar.

This sentence comes from the third of seven interviews Borges granted to Fernando Sorrentino, transcribed from tape and first published in 1974. Borges Verbal gives the source as [Siete conversaciones con Jorge Luis Borges (Buenos Aires: El Ateneo)]. (The 1996 edition is cited; I checked the 1973 and 2001 editions, where the relevant text is at pp. 64 and 124, resp.).

Lo que también se da en los alemanes --y lo que ciertamente no se dio en Schopenhauer-- es el respeto de la autoridad, una suerte de respeto chino de las jerarquías, el hecho de darles una gran importancia a los títulos de las personas. Creo que, en ese sentido, somos mucho más escépticos que los alemanes: comprendemos que las jerarquías se deben a las circunstancias y que las circunstancias se deben al azar.

The top 100 holdings list of US libraries, according to the OCLC, is served here.

A company returning 1000% return on investment (ROI) -- venture-capital jargon.

10BASE-T, 10baseT
Protocol for communication at rates up to 10 MBps over Twisted-pair unshielded (i.e. intrinsically noisy) cable. Part of the IEEE 802.3 standard, which defines the Media Access Control (lower sublayer of Data Link Layer) as well as the physical layer.

10BASE-2, 10base2
Protocol for communication at rates up to 10 MBps over 200-meter segments of thin coax cable (1/4-in. diam. coax). Strictly speaking, it's supposed to be used for distances up to 185 meters; think of it as 200 yards and a little over an inch, if round-up bothers you more than God's righteous units.

Part of the IEEE 802.3 standard. ``ThinNet'' or ``CheaperNet.''

Protocol for communication at rates up to 10 MBps over 3600-meter segments of thick coax cable. Part of the IEEE 802.3 standard.

CSMA/CD protocol for communication at rates up to 10 MBps over 500-meter segments of thick coax cable (0.4-in. diam.). Part of the IEEE 802.3 standard.

Popular ECL family for SSI. For low fan-out (i.e., with low capacitive loading), propagation delays are on the order of 1.5 nsec. The output stage is a pair (for inverted and noninverted output) of emitter followers, so fall time is longer than rise time, and tPHL (propagation time of signal which sends output voltage from high to low) is longer than tPLH.

Ten Kilometers. A common footrace distance, and the name of the race.

Rebus for thank you.

CSMA/CD protocol for communication at rates up to 100 MBps over supported by the Fast Ethernet Alliance.

Protocol for communication at rates up to 100 MBps over Twisted-pair unshielded (i.e. intrinsically noisier than coax) cable. Part of the IEEE 802.3 standard, which defines the Media Access Control (lower sublayer of Data Link Layer) as well as the physical layer.

Successor to 10K, uses advanced fabrication techniques. It has symmetrized (``compensated'') OR and NOR VTC's, and voltage levels less sensitive to supply voltage and temperature. With low fan-out, propagation delays are on the order of 0.5 nsec. The power-delay product is improved over 10K (although still not as small as AS-TTL).

In the majority of American colleges and universities that use a semester system (and that's most I'm familiar with), courses are most compactly referred to by a two-part code: the department name (or its abbreviation) and a three-digit number. (Sometimes ``department'' is some other sort of instructional unit, such as a foobar studies program.) Some schools use a similar system with four-digit numbers. Perhaps the best-known exception to the rule is MIT (it's not a university but an ``institute'' anyway), which uses decimal numbers with an integer part specifying the department and a fractional part the course.

A majority of schools that use the three-digit numbers also use the hundreds digit to indicate level. Introductory courses are usually 100-level, occasionally 200-level, upper-level courses 300, 400, and graduate courses 500 and up. It's not just informative; it also simplifies the formulation of course requirements and course-credit rules. There is also a tendency for the smaller values of the two-digit remainder after the hundreds to be allocated first to the most fundamental or essential courses within a department's discipline, with narrower-interest courses being assigned larger-decade numbers (if only because they were introduced later). So a course numbered 101 is an introductory-level course, typically in a basic or general-interest topic. Courses are also (informally and sometimes officially) called by number with the course subject or short title rather than the department -- e.g., ``Mechanics 101,'' taught by a physics or mechanical engineering department. The preceding ought to pretty much explain the practice of suggesting that something is elementary knowledge by referring it to a fictitious course like ``Turning-on-your-flashlight 101.'' (Cf. Falling on the Floor.)

Don't tell me all this is obvious, or I'll just bleat on explaining more, such as that ``zero-hundred'' numbers (001, 002, ... 099) are widely used for remedial courses. In fact, I'd like to point out that odd numbers are normally used for fall-semester courses and even numbers for Spring, when it is possible to do this (which is usually), and successive semesters of year-long sequences (especially of lower-level courses) typically have consecutive numbers. Most Summer courses are accelerated versions of regular-semester courses, so they can be assigned their usual numbers. I'm explaining the obvious because someone from outside North America actually emailed me asking what that 101 stuff meant. Don't hold me to the prevalence judgments (``most,'' ``usually,'' ``sometimes,'' etc.); I'm just writing this off the top of my head after spending more than half my life in universities. You could say I spent my life preparing for this moment, and now that it's over, I don't know what to do with myself any more. Of course, you could say a lot of things, but this one isn't quite true. My mission continues!

Internetese? Probably LOL (Laughing Out Loud).

What is it about these numbers that they are such popular choices for stock resistor and capacitor values?

Here is a historical hypothesis: given that the manufacturer must service a few orders of magnitude of resistance, there is some advantage in minimizing the number of different values used. One achieves this by selecting a largest allowable ``distance'' between resistor values, so there will always be a standard value that is ``close,'' and making a set of resistors whose values are ``equally spaced.'' The metric that one uses to measure distance in resistance values is fractional deviation. That is, logarithmic difference (the logarithm of the ratio). Concretely, a 5-ohm deviation from a 22-ohm resistor is as significant as a 50-ohm deviation from a 220-ohm resistor. Therefore, stock resistance values should be equally spaced on a logarithmic scale. This is what has been done here, so successive resistance values are in an approximately constant ratio [10(1/12) = 1.2115]. This is shown in the first column below.

10/8.2= 1.220
12/10 = 1.200  (11/10 = 1.100, 15/11 = 1.364) (13/10 = 1.300, 15/13 = 1.154)
15/12 = 1.250  (14/12 = 1.166, 18/14 = 1.286) (16/12 = 1.333, 18/16 = 1.125)
18/15 = 1.200  (17/15 = 1.133, 22/17 = 1.294) (19/15 = 1.267, 22/19 = 1.158)
22/18 = 1.222  (21/18 = 1.166, 27/22 = 1.227) (23/18 = 1.278, 27/23 = 1.174)
27/22 = 1.227  (26/22 = 1.182, 33/26 = 1.269) (28/22 = 1.273, 33/28 = 1.179)
33/27 = 1.222  (32/27 = 1.185, 39/32 = 1.219) (34/27 = 1.259, 39/34 = 1.147)
39/33 = 1.182  (38/33 = 1.152, 47/38 = 1.237) (40/33 = 1.212, 47/40 = 1.175)
47/39 = 1.205  (46/39 = 1.179, 56/46 = 1.217) (48/39 = 1.231, 56/48 = 1.167)
56/47 = 1.191  (55/47 = 1.170, 68/55 = 1.236) (57/47 = 1.212, 68/57 = 1.193)
68/56 = 1.214  (67/56 = 1.196, 82/67 = 1.224) (69/56 = 1.232, 82/69 = 1.188)
82/68 = 1.206  (81/68 = 1.191,100/81 = 1.235) (83/68 = 1.221,100/83 = 1.205)

The question arises whether one could do better. The answer depends on precisely what one takes as a measure of goodness. Part of the answer is that in twelve independent ratios in a decade, equal numbers are above and below the target value. Another way is to consider the effect of making a single change. The columns of parenthesied quantities show what would be the effect, on ratios with adjacent values, of changing any single value by one unit. For example, the fourth row begins with the ratio of the fourth (18) to the third (15) numbers. The next column in that row shows the effect of taking a smaller value (17) for the fourth number, and the last column shows the effect of increasing it.

Typical interpolated sequence for high-precision resistors (e.g. carbon film): 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 43, 47, 51, 56, 62, 68, 75, 82, 91.

Today I saw an AOL promotion: a CD in a glossy sleeve offering 1045 hours of free internet access. I don't know how they came up with that number. I also noticed, in smaller print, that the 1045 hours were for a period of 45 days -- i.e. 23 hours, 13 minutes, and 20 seconds per day for 45 days. I guess they figure you need some down time to brush your teeth.

But thinking about it, I wonder if it really takes all that long to brush one's teeth. I think a reasonably conscientious person spends less than thirty minutes per day brushing her teeth. Why not offer a more generous 1050 hours, or even 1065 for denture-wearers? Heck, they could offer 1080 hours, for people who brush while browsing!

(x*24 = 1000 + x: x = 1000/23 = 43.478260869565217391304347826087)

1.06µm, 1.064µm
Popular Nd:glass laser frequency. Used inter alia to lock CO2 lasers to 10.6µm

Sodium Fluoroacetate. (From an old laboratory serial number.)

The neglected prime. Oh, it had its moment. It was a prime factor, and the biggest, in the number of feet in a mile, and the number of foot-pounds in a horsepower unit.

Designates advanced CMOS logic (``AC'' and ``ACT'') with center ground and power pins (i.e., ``AC11'' and ``ACT11'').

A scroll fragment containing a number of PSAlms, found in the Qumran Cave 11. This was found in 1956 and unrolled in 1961. The surviving fragment is the top of five text columns, about 18 cm high and 71.5 cm across, dated to about 30-50 CE. It is a liturgical collection, and includes various psalms and hymns, including at least part of 41 known biblical psalms, as well as a number of previously unknown psalms. The parchment is the thickest of any of the scrolls, and may be calfskin rather than the more common sheepskin. It wouldn't be hard to do the DNA analysis, but it's not clear how much the information would buy you.

This scroll fragment, also designated 11Q5, was the largest shown at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids (Michigan) during the exhibit February 16 through June 1, 2003.

Another name for 11QPsa, q.v. This scroll fragment was the largest one chosen to be shown at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids during the exhibit February 16 through June 1, 2003. Also in the exhibit: eleven other scroll fragments from Qumran caves 4 and 11, and a variety of artifacts.

If you've never heard of it, and also if you have, it may occur to you that Grand Rapids (GR), in uh, Michigan somewhere, is not exactly a major venue. I imagine that it was selected for the 2003 tour to draw visitors in an area with proven reserves of interest -- a Dead Sea scrolls exhibit at Chicago in 2000 attracted 300,000 visitors. Original plans for 2003 had the exhibit traveling to Salt Lake City and Houston, but the other cities found the security arrangements too expensive (2003 came after 2001, you know) and pulled out, so GR became the only stop. I invited a girl I like to go on a date there, and we're going tomorrow. I understand that normal people take their dates to movies and dinner after. Well, I may be a freak, but I'm not alone. Afterwards she'll attend a town planning council meeting. (Is this romantic? You bet! See the ISO 9000 Certification entry.) I also mentioned GR at the 86 entry.

I, well, I just came back around to pass a feather duster over the entry. I stopped seeing the girl after that Grand Rapids date. Okay, honestly? The girl stopped seeing me. Or returning my calls and emails. I didn't even see the break-up coming! Was it that I didn't bring flowers? Was it the velcro sneakers? Why won't you tell me!?

I'm so depressed. But no hay mal que por bien no venga. (Spanish for `every cloud has a silver lining.') As I was driving out of the Grand Rapids museum parking lot, undistracted by small talk, by mindless chatter, I discovered that the Gerald R. Ford Museum and Presidential Library is visible across the street. So now I can tell people that I saw the Gerald Ford Museum.

See las onces.

El once (11) de Septiembre. A standard Spanish designation of ``September eleven.'' It still evokes the same date, a Tuesday in 2001, and the same events, that 9/11 does in English.

Coincidentally, the same date precisely twenty-eight years earlier, a Tuesday in 1973, was also the occasion of violence: it was the day the Chilean military overthrew the government of Pres. Salvador Allende.

September 11 is an annual holiday in Catalonia, officially Diada de l'Onze de Setembre, Diada Nacional de Catalunya or simply Diada. It commemorates the Tuesday in 1714 when the fourteen-month siege of Barcelona ended in its fall. The city was a stronghold of supporters of Archduke Charles, the Habsburg dynasty's claimant to Spanish throne in The War of the Spanish Succession. (It's easy to argue that this was at least as much a world war as WWI.) The triumph of the forces of the Bourbon claimant, the Castillian King Phillip V, ended Catalonian independence and ended the fighting of the war in Spain.

I dunno. Commemorate defeats, okay. Remember, sure. But making the anniversary of a defeat your main holiday?

The eleventh edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (EB), from 1910, is the great one which established a reputation that editors of subsequent editions have worked hard to destroy.

Hobbits are rather longer lived than humans; the eleventy-first birthday is a popular one for a big celebration. Coming-of-age is at 33. Man, that's a long time to go without a drink. And the Brandywine flows right through that country. (Cf. 77.)

What kind of a crazy name is ``Frodo''???? That's too much to swallow. Nobody could believe something like that!

Approximate value of the smallest positive number equal to its own cosecant.

Approximate value of the smallest nonnegative number equal to the tangent of its own inverse. (For convergence, iterate using the map xn+1 = 1/arctan(xn.)

Equals 1/0.860333589019379762483893424137662

First three digits of six-digit telephone numbers for directory assistance (DA) in the UK. See 192.

You can hotwire news service by simply telneting to your news server at port 119. Of course, it helps if you know the protocol.

Approximate value of the smallest nonnegative number equal to its own hyperbolic cotangent.

Brand name of a terrific Ouzo. (Brief testimonial here.)

[column] Less recent thoughts about the number 12 (in, like, Babylonian, Greek, and Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions) can be found in Annemarie Schimmel: The Mystery of Numbers (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994) pp. 192 - 202. [Originally published in German as Das Mysterium der Zahl (Munich: Eugene Diederichs Verlag, 1984).] (Cite furnished by Antreas P. Hatzipolakis.)

Herodotus II.4:

    But as regarding human affairs, this was the account in which they all agreed: the Egyptians, they said, were the first men who reckoned by years and made the year to consist of twelve divisions of the seasons. They discovered this from the stars (so they said). ----- Further, the Egyptians first used the appellations of twelve gods which the Greeks afterwards borrowed from them.

(Thanks to Bob Bazemore for this posting to the Classics list.)

Off the top of his head [and possibly with some help from Matz: Ancient World Lists and Numbers (McFarland, 1995)], Dr. R. Laval Hunsucker mentioned the following even dozens from classical antiquity

  12 Titans
  12 Herculean labors
  12 cities of the Ionian League
  12   "     "  "  Achaean  "    (originally)
  12 tribes of the Delphic Amphictyonic Council
  12 vultures of Romulus
  12 Tables
  12 Fratres Arvales
  12 lictors
  12 scripta
  12 racing chariots (Circ. Max.)
  12 books of the Aeneid
  12   "    " Martial
  12   "    " Quintilian
  12   "    " Colum. De re rust.
  12 Caesars of Suet.

Duodecimo [<L. (ablative) a twelfth], twelvemo. Size of paper (and books made thereof) obtained by dividing a standard printer sheet into twelve parts to give 5 by 7¾ inch pages.

We're going to get formal on you: vide twelve-string.

A number that is superstitiously associated with bad luck in the West.

The technical term for fear of thirteen is triskaidekaphobia. The technical term for fear of Friday the thirteenth is paraskevatriskaidekaphobia, q.v. Both terms are constructed in Ancient Greek (the second term is paraskevidekatriaphobia in Modern Greek) but the superstition that Friday the thirteenth is ill-favored is foreign to Greece. On the other hand, there is a superstition that Tuesday the 29th is ill-omened, ever since Constantinople fell to the Turks on that day in May 1453.

One obvious reason why the number 13 would be considered unlucky in general does go back to, or through, the Greeks. The Pythagoreans distinguished deficient, abundant, and perfect numbers depending on whether the sum of their distinct factors is less than, more than, or equal to the number itself. (In order to make this definition nontrivial, the number itself is excluded from the sum. the factor of one, however, is counted.) (Even before the precise definitions were set, however, some inchoate notion of abundant numbers must have existed, and perhaps motivated the adoption of base-12 and -60 systems of measurement units and number representation.)

Prime numbers are maximally deficient, of course, in the sense that the sum of their factors, as defined, is 1. The number 13 is unusual in the circumstance of being a most deficient number following a very abundant number (that would be 12). Great deficiency following great abundance sounds like bad luck indeed.

Carbon isotope with A=13. Very popular with NMRtians.

Just now, we had exactly 13013 entries. For those who would find that worrisome, I have corrected the situation with the addition of this entry.

14-pin package
A typical 14-pin package for 54/7400-series chips is a DIP, but for various reasons, including compatibility with existing boards and plugs, the same device may be available in a 16-pin package.

Approximately the square root of two. At around 5pm on Sunday, Jan. 4, 1998 (a date, incidentally, that is for me the 14th anniversary of a major automobile accident), this glossary had 14142 entries, or approximately the square root of 200 million entries (squared; see 43 beans entry). I then added this entry, destroying the effect. Is this a performative statement or a deconstructive one?

A more accurate estimate (of the square root of two) is 1.4142135623730950488016887242097 .

Plan 14.25 ordered the systematic doping of East German athletes during the 1970's and 1980's. Hey, sure it was illegal, but all that glitters is not gold. The people who complain about this are just poor losers, and suckers who trained hard but represented nations that didn't take the games seriously enough to give their athletes the very best chemical advantages. You know, East Germany's athletes made sacrifices too; after all, heavy doping is not without its side effects, and standing up to the (justified) suspicions and contempt of the international opponents you have cheated requires great courage and brazeness.

Anyway, all that stuff is history. Many of the star coaches and pharmacologists of the old East German sports machine found a congenial new home in the People's Republic of China (PRC), which still upholds the values that were contained by the much-lamented Berlin Wall. And there is no question that the sudden great success of PRC women's swimming team has nothing to do with that old East German magic. The proof: East German chemists provided many very sophisticated, hard-to-trace drugs, but the only thing that desultory testing by a reluctant IOC has been able to find in Chinese swimmers has been artificial testosterone. (Hmm. See also the Tootsie entry.)

Janet Evans, a US swimmer who won three golds in 1988, and a silver and gold in 1992, thought after the wall fell that there would be no more organized drug use. Interviewed before the 1996 Olympics (NYT, Thurs. 18 July 1996, p. B9, byline George Vecsey in Atlanta) she said she favors proposals that any nation with four positive tests in swimming in one Games be banned from the next Games.

The sequence of repeating digits in the decimal expansions of 6/7, 5/7, 4/7, 3/7, 2/7, and 1/7. To obtain the corresponding sequence for 0/7, multiply each digit by zero.

The square of 12. The number of square inches in a square foot, or square lines in a square inch, or square troy ounces in a square troy pound. I'm not claiming this is useful information. Here's some more information: according to both the Regionary Catalogue appendices (written in the fourth century) and to Pomponius Leto, Rome had latrinae publicae CXLIIII. That's gross!

Old number in the UK for international directory assistance (DA). See 192.

16 inches
The center-to-center distance between studs. I doubt that this particular measurement is the origin of the biological sense of the word stud.

Sextodecimo [<L. (ablative) a sixteenth], `sixteenmo.' Size of paper (and books made thereof) obtained by dividing a standard printer sheet into sixteen parts (i.e., halved four times) to give 6 by 4½ inch leaves. More loosely, pages 6-7 inches high.

16 Segment Display
For alphanumeric display (Cf. 7 Segment Display.) All segments lit displays
           -- --
          |\ | /|
          | \|/ |
           -- --
          | /|\ |
          |/ | \|
           -- --

1.6021892(46) × 10-19
The quantum of charge, in coulombs.

Approximate value of the golden mean.

Annus Mirabilis (q.v.) in England.

Perhaps the fact that 17 is generally regarded as the most random number led Joan Didion to use it as a location for the opening sentence of her first novel (Run River, publ. 1963):
Lily heard the shot at seventeen minutes to one.

In the US, 17-year patents were the rule from March 1861 to June 8, 1995, but they now run on the Japanese model, 20 years from date of application.

Ellen Sue Stern's Yawn! Bedtime Reading for Insomniacs consists of selected soporific texts, many followed by Sleepercize suggestions. The sleepercizes suggested following the ``Airline Ticket Fine Print'' section include the following:

Close your eyes and count every place you've ever flown on an airplane. ... Now, recall every airport you've ever been in. Count each time, even if you've been in the Detroit airport seventeen times.

More instances of 17 are given at this webpage, proving conclusively that the number occurs.

1701, 1701A, ...

Approximate value (adequate for most purposes) of the square root of 3. When David was in tenth grade (this is a different David), his ``math teacher pointed out that the square root of three (1.732) is the year George Washington was born (divided by 1,000, of course), and I have remembered both ever since even though I knew neither before.''

I think this kind of two-way mnemonic -- which enables one to remember both the key and the datum it is key to -- is common. David was writing in response to a posting in which I mentioned that a cantor friend reacted to my phone number ``oh, Brahms's year of birth'' (1833). I've forgotten most of the phone numbers that I've had since then, but not that one, and I also didn't know Brahms's birth year before he mentioned it as a mnemonic.

Of course, the part of the year GW was born in was designated 1731 then, and 1731/32 for many years afterwards, but it's a good mnemonic. (BTW, GW always celebrated his birthday on February 11, its date O.S. I suppose this made sense enough, and was probably common.)

The year of the great Lisbon Earthquake. You probably remember it on account of Voltaire's Candide. See LE 1755.

Today a heavy two-volume set on a new-book shelf caught my eye: La Iglesia en Castilla-La Mancha: La Diócesis de Toledo en la Edad Contemporánea (1776-1995) [`The Church in Castile-La Mancha: The Diocese of Toledo in the Contemporary Age (1776-1995)']. It struck me as odd that a `contemporary age' or `current era' should begin in 1776. What happened that year in Spain or within the Roman Catholic Church there? So far as I can tell from the book, not much. Part I is ``Del Antiguo al Nuevo Régim (1776-1836)'' [`From the Old to the New Regime (1776-1836)']. The pontificate of Cardinal Lorenzana as archbishop of the diocese ran from 1772 to 1800, and Pius VI was pope 1775-1799. (It almost seems an odd way to phrase it, since the fact is that when Pius VI was not pope, he wasn't Pius VI either.) There were various appointments and acts over the period. King Carlos II was succeeded by Carlos IV in 1788, and the French were revolting from 1789 on, with very important consequences for Spain. Of course, in 1776 some British colonies in North America were rebelling and proclaimed a precedent-setting Declaration of Independence, widely translated and published in Europe, but from the standpoint of Roman Catholic Church history in Spain, 1776 is a strange year to anchor a periodization.

Deionized water. [18 Megaohm-cm is the resistivity of completely deionized, pH 7 water.]

A big year for rules. The US Congress set the date of election day, and an official set of US baseball rules was adopted. The rules contained the innovation that runners would be put out by tagging rather than by being hit with a thrown ball. This made it possible to have a harder ball (which could be hit harder, so the field became larger). This change in the rules led to a surge in the popularity of baseball.

The number of miles light travels in a second, and the number of base pairs in the gene that codes for AHG. The former is the fastest speed in the universe (c), and the latter is one of the largest genes in the human genome. Both numbers are approximate, but in different ways. It's such a big number, I would guess that there aren't many numbers much larger, unless you count the numbers 186,001 through 20,000,000.

The speed of light is known exactly by definition (see c); in the appropriate units mentioned above, its value is


In that year, the first Vatican Council discovered that the Pope is infallible in certain matters. Some Roman Catholics who disagreed then seceded and formed the ``Old Catholic Church.'' Hence, the Old Catholic Church was a new Catholic Church.

None of this had a great effect on the outcome of the Franco-Prussian war.

Fluorine isotope with A=19. Popular with NMRtians.

The year after 1902. Also the year that the Wright Brothers achieved controlled flight in a heavier-than-air vehicle.

This entry is your 1917 information headquarters. From here, you can link to all of the 1917-related events in this Glossary. Currently, we offer entries to do with tourism (AEF), (the) Buffalo Bill(s), garment-worker digs, the Wobblies (IWW), O.E.T.A., some random Hupp information, music of the Sphere, royal housing in the UK and USSR, the US Air Force, and nothing to do with power-delay product (PDP).

This entry is your 1918 information headquarters. From here, you could link to all of the 1918-related entries, if we had any.

Well, since this entry was first written, we've added entries that do mention 1918, so it is no longer the case that you could link to all of the 1918-related entries, if we had any.

This entry is your 1919 information terminal. From all entries that mention 1919, you can reach this entry. Isn't that special?

The year that twelve-year-old George Bailey saved his kid brother from drowning after eight-year-old Harry fell through thin ice (they were sledding on shovels). As a result, George caught a bad cold and ended up losing the hearing in his left ear. If he'd lost the hearing in both ears, it would have made a very different movie.

Notice that this puts the bank panic in 1933 [George marries Mary Hatch after she gets back from college; she was in Harry's year]. The snow that day is not dramatic license: Frank Capra checked weather reports for the New York City area on the day of the bank crash.

For a long time in the UK, 192 was the telephone number for in-country telephone directory inquiries (okay, ``enquiries'' -- we can do it that way too). As of 2002, BT had GBP 300 million revenues from directory enquiries. In 2003, this number was phased out (as was 153 for international directory enquiries) in favor of a number of competing alternative services, each with a six-digit number beginning in 118. As of September 2003, there are at least fifteen 118 numbers, including (or perhaps in addition to; I'm not sure) a small number of 118 services for international directory enquiries.

Cf. 411.

The year that the National Origins Act drastically curtailed immigration to the US.

24 frames per superframe. ``Extended Superframe format (ESF).''

12 frames per superframe. ``Superframe format.''

Atmospheric-pressure sublimation temperature of dry ice.

For my master's thesis, I packed my sample in dry ice to cool it below its Curie temperature. The sample modulated transmission between a tuned pair of microwave cavities. When I opened the system up, I discovered that instead of measuring the ferromagnetic antiresonance (FMAR) of my sample, I had measured transmission through water ice. I became a theorist.

Evacuate your waveguides if you're going to cool them even a little below 0 °C.

John Profumo resigned that year on June 5, brought down by a sex scandal. The following November 4, the Beatles appeared on the Royal Variety Show.

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(Which was rather late for me)
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

-- Philip Larkin, ``Annus Mirabilis''

For more than I propose to write about 1963, see what Derek Brown has to say about it in the Guardian. Brown thinks Larkin was off a bit on the year. I agree, see the SBF Buffalo Bills entry. (Stay with it: we're talkin' sex!)

On December 21, capital punishment was abolished in Britain.

Capital gains tax was introduced in Britain.

The year of rock-music guarantees.

The value of ħc in units of eV-Å. Craig tells students that the mnemonic to remember this is ``the year of the Senate Watergate hearings.'' They give him a look back that says ``Old man, you and your ancient history bore me. Why should I memorize dreary dam-project legislation just so I can recall four digits of a number my calculator can give me?'' If you don't get it, see this entry.

I have a confession to make. When I was in high school (and not watching the Watergate hearings), my classmates used to face off in pi races: competitive rattling-off of the first 100 digits in the decimal expansion of pi. The confession is, I never participated. To this day I can only remember about ten, although the next eight after that look familiar.

[Completely gratuitous Elvis image]

The year Elvis went into occlusion. We await his return as the eleventh Imam.

[column] Elvis has been reissued in Latin on CD's.

I only recently realized that there's a section of Meijer's general market that's permanently dedicated to velvet portraits and other Elvis necessities.

Update, late July 2002:
An Elvis remix is climbing to the top of the charts around the world. His second coming! In a deep voice, the Hidden One calls for ``a little less conversation and a little more action.'' The end times are upon us! ``Grab your coat.'' Believers -- prepare for rapture! The King has come!

Pardon our dust. This entry is under construction. That means that information is missing from the glossary. This is good, because

The table below lists glossary entries that mention 1984 in some connection or other. The asterisks indicate content related to...

Orwell    Election   Olympics  Macintosh   Entry
  _          *          _        _         Alan Keyes
             *                             DLC
  *                                        DoD
  *          *                   *         downtown Holland
	     *                             ECT
	     *                             GI
  *                              *         Joy's Law
  *                                        Minitrue
             *                             SARV
  *                                        TRU
                                 *         USOC

What a mess!

The year of blue triumphs. 3M announced a blue-light laser, and Suntory announced the development by genetic engineering techniques of a blue rose. The Stammtisch acknowledges Prof. T. Yao, of Tohoku Univ., Japan, for this colorful observation.

That was the year in sports. For some details see the following entries:

The year that broadcast deregulation is supposed to occur in Europe. They might meet this deadline, unlike 1996, which turned into 2000.

The capstone year for European monetary integration: on January 1, individual national currencies of those member countries that chose to join, and which met inflation-rate and budget deficit limits (countries whose economies met the ``convergence criteria'') had their mutual exchange rates fixed. Prices now appear in euros, euri, ...., and the euro is the unit of account in business-to-business transactions. As of January 2002, people can actually buy stuff using euro currency. After February, the old national specie of the eurozone countries (now also called Euroland) was no longer legal tender.

It's been a great success, all according to plan, except that the euro has been on a steady slide against the dollar. Oh yeah, oil prices and a couple of other things are set in US dollars, so the oil-price wedgie of 2000 had a little extra oomph in Europe. Given the current accounts imbalance, and the 25% slide of the euro against the dollar in its first 20 months of existence, it's almost bizarre to see European companies buying up American. Many reasons have been adduced -- low debt of European companies, strong US economy, lack of a single government that will credibly support the value of the euro, etc. Financial markets are notoriously hard to predict, but they are easy to explain, nonfalsifiably, in hindsight.

The real reason for the fall of the euro is obvious, though few are willing to admit it: ``euro'' is a bad name. The error was compounded by the choice of EUR as its three-letter code. The only thing that prevented it from sinking even faster was the contemporaneous US introduction of supposedly harder-to-counterfeit paper money that is profoundly ugly.

On September 28, 2000, Danes voted 53.1% to 46.9% against adoption of the euro. Britain and Sweden remain out, Greece (which initially failed to meet the convergence criteria) joined on January 1, 2001. The Danish Krone continues to be pegged to the euro. It used to be pegged to the Deutschmark, and for a while it still was indirectly, since the Deutschmark was fixed against the euro (1 EUR = 1.95583 DEM).

An interesting thing about the euro is that it has a ratchet (or is that ``racket''?) mechanism, like the Eagles' ``Hotel California'' --

I tried to find a passage back to the place I was before.
but you can never leave...

Cf. ECU.

In 2002, the Vatican reassessed its real estate. St. Peter's Basilica and the other properties had been on the books at a nominal value of one lira. A value is needed in order to compute a total value of Vatican assets for the annual budget report (Consolidated Financial Statement). The nominal value skyrocketed -- to one euro (a 193,527% increase). They don't explain why they use such a small nominal value, but the reasons are obvious.

    There are two main reasons:
  1. If the Italian government should ever insist they pay property taxes, they'd be paying on a rather low assessed base. Of course, before that could happen, Italy would have to annex the territory, in violation of the Donatio of Constantine and later international agreements. In fact, this already happened once in the past. The international community was outraged, of course, especially other countries that are small like the Vatican City. Fiji, a number of Caribbean nations that had earlier rescued Grenada, and Eritrea all spontaneously coalesced to form what came to be known as a ``coalition of the grudgingly eager.'' They were also able to persuade the US to provide some assistance (logistics, C4I, and half a million heavily armed advisors, including some veterans of the musical siege of the Papal Nuncio's compound in Panama). The campaign (Operation Holy Smoke) began with an attack by missiles described as ``scary smart.'' As a Pentagon spokesman explained, the goal was to create ``shock and epiphany.'' The elite and once-imposing Swiss Guard was destroyed in the first 6 seconds of the war, leaving behind nothing but colorful scraps of cloth and a couple of brass spearpoints. Very soon, it was ``Mission Accomplished,'' and nothing left to do but the passivation. Uh-ohhh... I think I may have this war confused with another one. The liberation of the Vatican already happened in the future, not in the past.
  2. Another reason for the low valuations is the need to shield assets in case of a ruinous suit. So far, it's been dioceses that have been flirting with bankruptcy (some have gone all the way), but you never know. The Catholic Church has operations in over 200 countries. Any one of those countries -- the US, say -- might have surprising attitudes about liability and an expansive notion of sovereignty. Or what if the International Court of Justice decides that the Vatican owes Crusaders' descendants unpaid veterans benefits with as much as 900 years' accumulated interest? To say nothing of liability for all that collateral damage, with triple indemnity under RICO, etc. The Church needs to protect its assets and subito, so it doesn't, um, go under the way the Hara Krishni did. Sorry -- I meant Hare Krishna. What the Church has to do is form an asset management company -- based in Delaware, say. (I'm sure the Cayman Islands offer competitive alternatives, if US taxes become an issue.)
    A small group of trusted cardinals could buy up all the assets for, say, 300 bucks, and incorporate as VatHoldings, Inc. or something. You can incorporate in Delaware with as few as three company officers, and nobody even has to show up in the state. New incorporation options like LLC and LLLP offer increased liability protection, and Delaware is very aggressive about maintaining jurisdiction under its own separate business-court system. (Sure, cash assets can't be directly underassessed, but VatHoldings would have to purchase the debts as well. They have to take a charge for the care of all those aging brothers and sisters, you know. Cf. TUPE. The Vatican might happily pay to have a management company take personnel off its hands.)

Short title for a song by an artist who said he planned to retire it after playing it on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, 1999. If you don't suspect some confusion here, see this entry.

Rebus for to, as in the search engine a2z, the business buzz-``words'' B2B and B2C, and various conversion codes. Occasionally a rebus for too too.

Among the spelling errors for number homonyms, the most common one that I have observed is the writing of to when too is meant.

The even prime.

2-Alternative Forced Choice. A kind of survey question, specifically targeted against fence-sitters. Normally what it means is that the person surveyed must answer yes or no (or like or dislike, or whatever) or else discontinue taking the survey. It's intended to draw out opinions from those who (maybe only think they) ``lean'' one way or another. It is more effective (I won't say more accurate) if the survey is paying for participation or if the person conducting the test has some other means of persuasion such as a handgun.

2B, 2b
Baseball term:
  1. Second Base[man].
  2. Hit for a double.

2 bits
Twenty-five cents of a dollar (25¢). The expression dates back to Colonial America, when many denominations of currency were in circulation, particularly including Spanish Milled Dollars, or doubloons. These coins were indented into eight sectors, and could be broken into bits or `pieces of eight.' Two bits were a quarter dollar. Four bits of a different sort are a nybble, or half a byte. Because pure gold is an unusually soft metal, one traditional way to check whether a coin wasn't fake was to bite it and see if that left a mark. I imagine that really clever counterfeiters would mint their fakes with a bunch of cast-in indentations.

In Spanish, one of the names of coins of this denomination was dolar, after the Dutch daler, which translated German Thaler. That was short for Joachimsthaler, locative form of Joachimsthal, or `Joachim Valley,' the name of a valley in Bohemia, and subsequently a town in that valley, where a similar coin was first minted. (See Groschen.) That town was destroyed near the end of the 30 Years' War, I think. Rebuilt or not, it is now Jáchymov (in the Czech Republic), a center of uranium mining. There's also a town called Joachimsthal about 30 miles northeast of Berlin. That was named after a man named Joachim. (Incidentally, the German word Thal, now written Tal, is cognate with the English dale.)

The term milled generally means machined or worked in some way -- passed through a mill. (A mill was originally only a grinder for grain. The name was applied to a succession of larger and more sophisticated grinders; as the first piece of fixed, heavy machinery that typically ran on something other than human muscle power, it gave its name to other machines.) Milling has a couple of specialized senses in the case of money. A milled coin has a raised edge, possibly with radial grooves, and milling refers both to the making of the raised edge and to the marking of that raised edge.

In ``milled dollar'' it's hard to hear the final consonant in the first word distinctly from the initial consonant of the second. Hence, ``Spanish Mill Dollar'' is now a more common spelling. A similar thing has happened with the cold treat originally called ``iced cream.'' Not very different is the evolution of ``you've got another think coming'' into ``you've got another thing coming,'' helped along by Judas Priest's ``You've Got Another Thing Coming.'' (Some possible insight into ng vs. nk at this ng entry.)

By controlling Mexico and South America, Imperial Spain had access to the richest supplies of gold of the day. It was literally Spain's golden age. Wasted riches, like the oil wealth of today's Venezuela and Brunei. In those days, private banks in the US would issue notes whose value was guaranteed by the bank's promise to redeem the paper for real money -- specie. The coin of choice in the US was the dollar coin into which Spain minted its gold. Here are some convenient examples, where the ``milled'' spelling can be read clearly.

It was very tempting for banks to issue more paper money than they had specie to back. Indeed, it was more than tempting. A bank makes its money by lending on interest. If you lend money in paper that isn't backed by specie, you increase the money supply and economic activity, and your interest income. So long as you don't issue too many bad loans, and so long as not too many people redeem their bank notes all at once, you can have a lot more money in circulation than you have specie in reserve, and make a bigger profit. The trouble is, your bank notes aren't really backed by specie, they're backed by your debtors' promises to repay. Every so often, people handling the notes of some bank start thinking that there seem to be a lot of the notes around, and begin to wonder if the bank is ``diluting'' the value. Soon there's a run on the bank as people hurriedly redeem their paper before the coin that supposedly backs it runs out. This would cause little economic crashes on a regular basis. I think the last big one of this sort was in 1893.

Eventually, though unsteadily, the US government put private banks out of the business of printing money (though some US banks do print money circulated by some other countries). (For a bit on the parallel process in France, see the BULLION entry.) Federalizing bank notes didn't really solve the problem, though. The whole situation was repeated with specie replaced by government paper and coin, and with bank notes replaced by bank accounts. A run on a bank then simply meant that lots of people suddenly wanted to liquidate their accounts. As George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, explained to panicked customers in ``It's A Wonderful Life,'' the Building & Loan couldn't redeem accounts because the accountholders' money was at work on loan. In the Great Depression, that situation depicted in the movie played out less successfully in the real life of many towns. That's why the FDIC was created. The FDIC does require banks to have some money on reserve, but basically they avoid runs by credibly promising to make accounts (up to $100,000) good. Fundamentally, it works because people believe it will work. After the depression, a few states, like Ohio and Maryland, did not require banks they chartered to be federally insured. (I think both of these had state insurance systems.) Thing were cool all the way through to the 1980's when they experienced bank runs and quickly changed their laws.

The US government -- enh, the Federal Reserve -- does not promise to redeem your money with gold. Instead, the notes are backed, ultimately, ``by the full faith and credit of the US government.'' I think this means that they'll redeem your worn-out dollars for crisp new ones. Sounds kinda wishy-washy, but it seems to work. To be fair, it's a little more magical than that. A dollar is worth a dollar because Congress says it is legal tender: if a debt is denominated in dollars, then federal reserve bank notes have to be accepted in payment of it. It's really beautiful when you think of -- an entire economy held together by an abstract set of mutual obligations to honor a money concept only symbolically and rather incompletely backed by anything of ``value.'' Of course, the value of the dollar in terms of anything other than dollars is variable.

The Spanish Milled Dollar is not currently tracked at this currency conversion resource. (Notice how Andorra uses both French and Spanish money -- especially now that it's the same money.)

Two Binary One Quaternary (modulation).

Two Dimensions or Two-Dimensional.

If you already understand about dimensions, please avert your eyes. The following is for those who bailed out of the math courses before college, and are mystified by the frequent application of terms like ``two-dimensional'' to a variety of radically different things, like the water's surface or a soap bubble, or personalities, or the elastic properties of isotropic, homogeneous materials.

Briefly, two-dimensional things are things described with two independent numbers.

Dimensionality is a crude first indication of how a phenomenon or object will be described quantitatively. A two-dimensional object is an object which, for the purposes of a particular description, needs two independently varying numbers. For example, no wait, I have to catch my breath.

Alright, let's consider some examples. A large class of simple examples is flat things.

Two-Dimensional Electron Gas. [Pron. ``two-degg'' by some, ``two dee ee gee'' by others.] Electrons free to move easily or in a smooth potential along two directions, but confined within one or a few quantum state(s) of the transverse potential. The two most prominent examples are the electrons confined in a MOSFET inversion layer, and in a quantum well.

2DEG FET. Much less common name than MODFET or HEMT, but not completely unknown [ Ftnt. 22 ].

Two-Dimensional Hole Gas. Just like a 2DEG.

Two-Dimensional PolyAcrylamide Gel Electrophoresis.

Second Edition.

Second-Generation Language. Assembler, or Assembly language. The terminology did not come into use until there were three generations. See 3GL entry for more explanation.

2-inch pipe
Pipe with an inner diameter (i.d.) of about 2-1/8 inches, and an outer diameter (o.d.) (for galvanized steel pipe) of about 2-5/8 in. (The links aren't for anything useful; they're just to prove that the abbreviations have been included in the glossary.) It's ``nominal two-inch pipe.'' Two inches is the nominal pipe size (NPS).

Second-year Law School student. Cf. L2.

Second-Level Domain. Like plexoft in <plexoft.com>.

Two-Micron All-Sky Survey.

Common designation for transistors.

Second Normal Form.


2-ouzo question
A question best answered only in a state of clearly compromised sobriety. Jargon at the American School in Athens. Refers to emotionally charged questions about the historicity of national, religious or ethnic myths, that people hope archaeologists will answer (in some particular way). (See classics list archives.)

Second Quarter. Of the year -- fiscal, academic, calendar, etc.

2 secs remaining

Two-Source Hypothesis. The hypothesis that the Gospel of Matthew (GMatthew) and GLuke were written using as sources GMark (possibly an early version of GMark differing slightly from what has come down to us) and another document that has not survived independently, called Q. Comparison of the synoptic gospels (and with GThomas) is the main method used to reconstruct Q, since there is no evidence for Q outside the similarities of GMatthew and GLuke that the 2SH was proposed to explain. Also ``2ST.''

Alternative theories include various versions of the 3ST and the FgH (follow the 3ST link).

The 2SH was developed in the nineteenth century by Protestant Biblical scholars in Germany such as H.J. Holtzmann and Christian Hermann Weisse (1801-1866). In German the hypothesis is called the Zweiquellentheorie.

Two-Source { Thesis | Theory }. The two-source hypothesis, q.v.

Two-stroke engines? You wouldn't think to look there, but we have some discussion of them under OHV.

Double eXtra-large: size XXL. Not size XXS, because there is no XXS. There's no single extra-small available either, but double extra-small would include negative values for certain anatomical dimensions, which I understand is biologically unlikely. Even plain old small is getting hard to find these days. Everybody is supersized; I wonder why.

Hey! 2X costs a dollar more! Discrimination! Sizism! (Prejudice against people of size.)

2X10, 2×10
A length of cut wood of standard size, a bit under 2''×10'' in cross section. Common for flooring in wood-frame houses. Cf. 2X4.

2X4, 2×4
A length of cut wood of standard size, a bit under 2''×4'' in cross section. Traditionally, the size has been about 1/8'' narrower in each dimension, ostensibly because of the wood eaten by the saw (``kerf''). ``4X2'' in British and Australian.

North American wood-frame houses typically have walls with vertical two-by-four studs spaced 16 inches apart. No matter what the insulating material is, it's a good guess there's a little under four inches of it, not counting the sheetrock.

2X6, 2×6
A length of cut wood of standard size, a bit under 2''×6'' in cross section. Common for rafters in wood-frame houses. Cf. 2X4.

2X8, 2×8
A length of cut wood of standard size, a bit under 2''×8'' in cross section. Used for flooring in wood-frame houses. Cf. 2X4.

Successful HTTP response codes (q.v.).

The number of body parts recognized by Procter and Gamble. The Lever Brothers seem to have found a mechanical advantage: they recognized 2000. See also the 99.44 entry.

A heavily hyped year that was going to confuse codes which recognize and order years by only the last two digits. A dud. I'm leaving the rest of this entry the way it was before 2000, as a sort of historical artifact.

Here's the usual logorrheic description from IBM.

My mind is boggling up pretty badly: I just noticed that there's yet another non-joke site that is offering to solve businesses' looming problems with the year 2000. I tremble to think what AltaVista might reveal. It's called by various names, including ``millennium dating problem'' and ``Y2K"

The number of body parts recognized by the Lever Brothers. Some years ago they advertised that their Lever 2000 soap cleaned all of them. They're not very forthcoming about the answer, but the key phrase that seems to appear verbatim in all of the responses is
Obviously, it was our intention that using the number "2000" in connection with body parts would help to reinforce our product name and the fact that Lever 2000 is milder to the skin than any other antibacterial or deodorant soap on the market.
Extrapolating from the two exchanges I found reported on the web (the two links above) it seems that if you write on behalf of yourself and your girlfriend you get two coupons instead of one.

Best guess at how you could come up with 2000 if you tried seems to be to count well over a thousand of the hairs. If you want a more manageable number, try Procter and Gamble for 200.

-20/25 rule
The assumption or rule of thumb that 20% under or 25% over a given dosage is not therapeutically significant. Note how a factorial analysis is implicit in the form of this rule: -20% is decrease by a factor 4/5, while +25% is increase by the inverse factor of 5/4. This is a very precise form of imprecision.

200 to 800
SAT exams are scored on a scale that is described as ranging from 200 to 800, and many wonder why.

There's been some tinkering with the scoring algorithm (see SAT entry for an example) but here's a clue to why one might choose an algorithm with a nonzero minimum: If the score on a multiple-choice question is x for the right answer and 0 for any wrong answer (sometimes these terms should be in quotes), then simple guessing will lead to a higher score, on average, than leaving the answer sheet blank. A better scheme, for questions with n possible answers, awards n for a right answer, scores 1 for a blank, and 0 for a wrong answer. The average score obtained by guessing randomly is 1 (a score of n, a fraction 1/n of the time), the same as for leaving the question blank. (The SAT's use this kind of scoring rule.) The range of scores on 200 questions with n = 4 possible answers is 0 to 800, but anyone turning in a completely blank answer sheet gets a 200, as does the average person who guesses randomly on those questions answered. (Granted, this is an `average' person only in a somewhat restricted statistical sense.)

The standard deviation around this 200, for a person guessing randomly on all questions, is about 24.5 . However, if you can rule out some of the right answers, you can improve your chances of getting a perfect zero.

Our previous year entries, such as 1917, have been entered after allowing the dust of history to settle. This gave us some useful perspective. The downside, however, was that if the world ended, we would not have had an entry for an important year. So far, we've been lucky, but we can't count on our good luck to hold up forever. In fact, our good run has only increased our peril: If the world had gone kablooey (also spelled ``cablooey'') at any time between 1995 and 2002, then there'd have been no chance of the year 2003 ending without an entry, since there wouldn't have been a year 2003. Since the world did not end during those years, however, that possibility -- that safety valve, so to speak -- has been eliminated. Consequently, the danger that the world comes to an end in the current era (from 2003 on) is increased. It's a global version of the syllogism that
  1. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
  2. One day you will die.
  3. Therefore, you could die tomorrow.

In view of the increased danger, I decided to maintain a real-time 2003 entry, like a diary or embedded blog. Of course, I only increment the entry if something noteworthy happens.

Excellent visual acuity. Dennis had 20/10 vision when he entered college. But after all that studying, who knows what it is now. Cf. 20/20.

``Normal'' visual acuity. This notation is traditionally used to describe static visual acuity as measured using Snellen eye charts. Since the number 20 represents a distance of 20 feet, you can probably guess that it's traditional only in places that use that length unit. The notation still seems to be widespread in places like the US and, uh, Western Samoa. For a detailed description of this wonderful system, and of the brilliant adaptation that has made it possible to continue using it in the (temporary, of course) metric era, see if you can read the Snellen entry.

Not very good visual acuity, compared to 20/20 (which see, if you can).


That's French for 210,141. It's the number of possible dramatic situations, according to Étienne Souriau, a well-known professor of aesthetics at the Sorbonne who published many books on philosophy and aesthetics. It was the subject of his book Les Deux Cent Mille Situations Dramatiques, published by Ernest Flammarion in 1950 as part of the series Bibliothèque d'esthétique. The precise number can be factored into 33 × 43 × 181, but that's not quite how it was arrived at. Instead, its combinatorics is founded on the 36 dramatic situations of Georges Polti, although it doesn't use his subcategorizations of those 36. You'll probably need frequent reminding, so let me start immediately by assuring you that at the time, there were people who took this seriously. This is encouraging, because it allows us to look forward to a time when no one will utter the word deconstruction with a sneer anymore, because they'll find it too hard to keep from guffawing.

The high-Tc superconductor Y2BaCuO5, I think.

The traditional area code for Manhattan, discussed at the AG entry. This file (0-9.html) is getting too bloated anyway.

When Joseph Heller completed his manuscript in 1960, it was entitled Catch-18. Leon Uris had recently published a novel called Mila 18, however. Heller's editor at Knopf, Robert Gottleib, suggested changing the title to Catch-22 in order to avoid confusion. Heller liked the change, which played on the motif of repetition in the novel novel itself. For some reason the high teens and low twenties seem to have been popular in American fiction titles in those years. Philip Wylie published Opus 21 in 1949 (full title Opus 21: descriptive music for the Lower Kinsey epoch of the atomic age, a concerto for a one-man band, six arias for soap operas, fugues, anthems & barrelhouse).

There's more about Wylie at the entry for his Generation of Vipers. More information about Catch-22 can be found a few paragraphs into the TV entry.

See WSBT-TV, channel 22 on your TV dial if you're not too far from South Bend, Indiana.

Volume in liters of one mole of ideal gas at standard temperature and pressure.

Just remember that number if you need some good Motown lovin'. Normally sung BEechwood 4-5789. The lyrics can be found here. More Marvelettes details here, but though they may have broken up in 1969, they were at least back together for a performance in 1986. Only one digit away from 634-5789.

DiChloroPhenol with the chlorines substituted at the ortho positions (second and fourth carbons around the ring). It's not like you have to take special pains to produce 2,4-DCP specifically if you synthesize DCP. Functional groups tend to substitute preferentially at specific carbons. Ultimately, it has to do with the quantum mechanics of the benzene bonding. Same deal with TNT: the nitro groups tend to substitute at the ortho (2,6) and para (4) positions on the toluene ring, so TNT is normally 2,4,6-TNT. You probably don't want to mess with that. Some substitutional groups on some rings do prefer the meta positions (3,5).

Size of paper (and books made thereof) obtained by dividing a standard printer sheet into twenty-four parts to give 5 by 3 7/8 inch leaves. More loosely, pages 5-6 inches high.

Twenty-four hours a day, five days a week. This is a term used internally at Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame. It loosely describes the schedule of ours that the building is open. It doesn't mean that there are five weekdays during each of which the library building is open 24 hours, but it does mean that the library is open continuously for a period exceeding 120 hours every week (during the weeks that classes are in session, at least). The library opens on Sunday morning and closes on Friday evening, and is also open Saturday from morning until late at night. The practice of keeping this type of hours, and this (viz. 24/5) name for the schedule, seems to be a specialty of university libraries.

A Boeing propeller plane that competed with the immensely successful DC-3 from Douglas.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Except that databases are not available Saturday night; food service and ATM cash are not available from around midnight early Monday morning. Grumble, grumble.

Myrrh's is open 24/7/365 -- yes, including not only New Years but Christmas. But around 3-4 am on the first Monday of each month, the carpet-cleaners come.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, every week of the year (whether it has 365 or 366 days). Somehow, ``24/7/52'' hasn't caught on.

Between 2D and 3D: multiple 2D bitmaps of 3D objects.

Manhattan-Project shorthand for Uranium-235 (235U or U235). In general, the code combined the ``least-significant digit'' (LSD) of the atomic number Z (Z = 92) with the LSD of the atomic mass number A (A = 235 in this case). The LSD was used in each case because the relevant elements were all actinides (Z > 90) and the few stable or nearly-stable isotopes of any element all have values in a small range.

This is the absolute temperature (in degrees Kelvin) at which pure water melts under one atmosphere of pressure. As such, it is the difference in numerical value between temperatures on the Kelvin and Celsius scales.

Absolute temperature is fundamentally defined as the inverse of the partial derivative of entropy with respect to energy:

                   1   ∂S
                   - = --
                   T   ∂U
where S is entropy, T is absolute temperature, U is energy, and ∂, in case your browser isn't displaying it properly, is the partial-derivative curly-dee. In the derivative, all extensive variables corresponding to generalized displacements (volume V, magnetic field H, etc.) are held fixed. The definition above is really no more than the statement that TdS is an increment of heat. During the nineteenth century, as thermodynamics was being worked out, there was no obvious natural scale for entropy or temperature that could be related to mechanical units. Instead, the ideal gas law allowed an absolute temperature scale to be set, and the units of entropy were derived as erg/°C, or some other ratio of energy to degrees in some temperature scale.

Late in the nineteenth century, statistical mechanicians like J. Willard Gibbs and Ludwig Boltzmann recognized that entropy was proportional to the logarithm of the number of accessible states. Within classical mechanics, however, ``states'' form a continuum and one ``counts'' phase-space volume instead. [I am stating this in a somewhat anachronistic and ahistorical way that reflects current understanding.] If one assumes a uniform density of states per unit volume of phase space, then one can compare ratios of volumes. This allows one to compute the entropy of an ideal (monatomic) gas ab initio from a realistic classical mechanical model (small elastic massive particles), although only up to an arbitrary offset. The arbitrary offset corresponds to the unknown density of states per unit volume of phase space.

At this point, one could begin to see that the natural unit for entropy was simply units: the natural definition of entropy was just the dimensionless logarithm of a state count. In this view, temperature has natural units of energy. Given the uncertain status and limited success of statistical mechanics before the advent of quantum mechanics, and given the entrenched status of various temperature scales and corresponding derived entropy units in extensive chemical measurements, this perspective had no effect on practical measurement practice.

Quantum theory and then quantum mechanics brought discrete states into statistical mechanics, and thus eliminated the offset ambiguity in entropy: the correspondence principle is essentially that the density of quantum states in phase space is h-D, where h is Planck's constant and D is the number of independent coordinates. This principle applies in the classical or semi-classical regime of large quantum numbers, and explains the success of classical statistical mechanics at high temperature and of Wien's black-body spectrum at short wavelengths. Quantum statistical mechanics also dramatically expanded the applicability of statistical mechanics, so that today it is believed to apply to all equilibrium systems. [To be fastidiously honest, one must admit that as a practical matter most nuclear and condensed-matter systems are computationally intractable without some semi-empirical approximations that partly invalidate the computations as tests of the principles of statistical mechanics. To be fair, the fundamental consequences and beautiful theoretical clarity of statistical mechanics, as well as the computational successes it does have, are what make it a fundamentally trusted computational framework.]

This approach to the units of entropy was in fact the best possible within classical physics, because all states must be discrete states for entropy to be finite. Thus, some kind of quantum theory or quantum mechanics is necessary to compute entropy from first principles. (For an unbounded system, a continuum of states can occur in quantum mechanics, and does yield an infinite entropy at nonzero temperature. However, there is no inconsistency since an infinite system can have an infinite magnitudes of extrinsic quantites like entropy. The orthonormality and completeness relations for the continuum of quantum states indicates how they contribute to the thermodynamic potentials, and finite intrinsic quantities like specific entropy and chemical potential are finite.)

This is the absolute temperature (in Kelvin degrees) of the triple point of pure water. This occurs at lower than atmospheric pressure. If water expanded when it froze, instead of contracting, then the triple point temperature would be lower than the freezing point (273.15).

You can use the difference between 273.15 and 273.16 to learn about ice skating: Let's say that the triple-point pressure is much lower than atmospheric. Then the slope of the liquid-solid equilibrium line on the p-T plot averages to

                      1 atm - ~0 atm
                   -------------------  = -100 atm/K .
                   273.15 K - 273.16 K
Hence, if you weigh 70 kilos and your skates compress an area of 2 sq. cm, for a pressure of 35 kp/cm2 or about the same number of atmospheres, for a freezing-point depression of 0.35 °C. That's kind of iffy. Sharpen your blades or put on a heavier coat. If you ever used those children's skates, with the flat bottoms, you may have noticed that if you stood stationary, your skates could actually stick. Now you know why.

Manhattan-Project shorthand for Uranium-238 (238U or U238). Explanation at 25 entry.


A fine investigation of the mystical significance that attached to the number three in ancient times: Gabriel Germain: La mystique des nombres dans l'époque homérique et sa préhistoire, (Presses Universitaires, 1954). This recommendation was posted to the Classics list by Owen Cramer, who wrote ``3 and its powers and multiples get a whole chapter there: the "3 x but on the 4th" trope, the 3 squared but on the 10th; the ``six days they rowed but on the seventh,'' etc. I can't now remember what he says about twelve in particular, but he dissects 550 examples of counting in Homer of which over half are these threesomes.''

For modern mythological uses of threes, see the PNAC entry.

3B, 3b
Baseball term:
  1. Third Base[man].
  2. Hit for a triple.

Three Components, as in seismography that merely records time variations in three components of displacement, rather than using an array.

{Three Dimensions | Three-Dimensional}.

Three-Dimensional Electron Gas. An ordinary, ``bulk'' electron gas. Term is useful to distinguish the ordinary sort from the 2DEG, 1DEG, and 0DEG.

Expand, Explore, and Exterminate. A class of computer games like Civilization I (and II and III).

Third Edition. Abbreviation similar to 1/e and 1/e. I don't know about you, but I think I see a pattern developing here.

Third-Generation Language. Refers to a particular SQL from Unidata, but is used more loosely to include comparable languages.

Also refers to high-level langugages (HLL's) for programming (Algol, APL, BASIC, C/C++, COBOL, FORTRAN, LISP, PASCAL, PROLOG, etc.). To this way of thinking, machine and assembly languages would be 1GL and 2GL, respectively. Languages within an application (like a database or spreadsheet) are 4GL's.


Investors In Industry Group. New name adopted by the UK's Finance For Industry (FFI, q.v.) in July 1983.

By the 1990's, as 3i, it was Europe's largest investor in unquoted companies, with a strong bias toward manufacturing.

Third-year Law School student. Cf. L3. Most US programs take three years.

THREE-Letter Acronym. TLA is a more common 3LA than 3LA, and it means the same thing. Moreover, TLA is a TLA, and 3LA isn't.

Three Levels of Metalization.

A company that was originally the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (fndd. 1902).

3 magic D's
Delay, Divorce, and Death. Doesn't sound all that magic, does it? Perhaps intentionally: it's the complement of the 4 magic M's, q.v. In the formulation of Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, women who are unmarried because of three magic D's are less likely to vote. I can well imagine that dead women are less likely to vote, except of course in Chicago (Daley country) and in Washington State (King County). Also according to this formulation, when they do vote they are more likely to vote Democratic. There, see?

According to polling data reported by columnist Ellen Goodman, in the 2004 US presidential election ``62 percent of unmarried women voters picked Kerry [the Democratic candidate] and 55 percent of married women voters chose Bush [the Republican].''


Third Normal Form.

Third Quarter (of the year). Fiscal, academic, calendar, whatever. Cf. Q3 entry.

tri-state type of electronic logic gate output.

The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962).

Three-Source { Thesis | Theory }. The theory, or hypothesis, or speculation, or wild guess, that either the Gospel of Matthew (GMatthew) or GLuke was written using as sources GMark and another document that has not survived independently, called Q. Then (on this theory) the remaining one of the synoptic gospels was written on the basis of Q and the two synoptic gospels that had already been committed to parchment (i.e., GMatthew on the basis of Q, GMark, and GLuke, or GLuke on the basis of Q, GMark, and GMatthew). With all this cribbing, it's amazing they couldn't agree more closely, but then there are John and Paul -- oh God!

It is easy to explain the great similarity in the non-Markan material in GLuke and GMatt by assuming that one author read the other's work. A major reason for positing Q at all (in the usual context of the two-source hypothesis -- 2SH, q.v.) is to explain those similarities in a way that allows for the inconsistencies that also occur. The weird thing about the 3ST is that cribbing eliminates the necessity for Q, and Q in the presence of cribbing does nothing to explain away the inconsistencies. You can get around the latter problem by supposing that Luke got a look only at, say, early versions of GMatt and of Q (called sQ), or that the inconsistencies were introduced by later redaction, but then you're still left wondering why Q should be introduced at all. (Not that its existence is contradicted, but it is unmotivated.) Why not go with something like the Farrer-Goulder hypothesis (FH), which is essentially the 3ST minus Q (and Matthew before Luke). In summary, the 3ST is a bad idea.

Cf., FH.

An NRTI used in AIDS treatment. Glaxo's registered trademark is Epivir, and lamivudine is the standard generic name. I don't know what the code stands for, but since it's an NRTI, I assume C stands for the DNA base cytosine, and 3T represents tri-foo, where foo is some dysfunctional functional group.

Three-Way Call.

300, 301, 302, ...
HTTP response codes (q.v.) redirecting client to a different URL.

Thirty Years' War. Religious war fought mostly in Germany, 1618-1648.

31 flavors
Apparently the number of fundamental desirable flavors realizable in ice cream, according to research by Baskin Robbins.

Phosphorus isotope with A=31. Popular with NMRtians.

The beginning of the octal expansion of π. Since the octal expansion of 1/7 is 0.1111...8, I was just curious how many 1's would appear in that of π, since π-3 was long known to lie between 10/71 and 1/7. Eh.

3½ digit display
Three digits and a sign.

3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510
Approximate value of π.

Antreas P. Hatzipolakis has compiled PiPhilology, a collection of π mnemonics (for the first digits of π) and π-related poems in several languages. Most π mnemonics represent each digit by a word with a number of letters equal to the value of the digit. (E.g., ``How I wish I could calculate pie'' -- or π, depending on whether you want rounding or truncation.) It is therefore convenient that the first zero does not come until the thirty-second decimal place. [Ten-letter words are used to represent zero.] It appears that no recent version is on the web (it had reached version 9 by 1999), but this site has ``Short Text version 2.0 (March 7, 96),'' and that's enough for my purposes.

Peter Alfeld serves the first 10,000 digits.

The A319 Airbus. A shortened version of the 320.

Not just 25 and thus the square root of a kilobit, but also an important number in thermometry (see °R).

Size of paper (and books made thereof) obtained by dividing a standard printer sheet into thirty-two parts (i.e., folded five times) to give 3 by 4½ inch leaves. More loosely, pages 4-5 inches high.

The A320 Airbus.

[Football icon]

3-4 defense
The base defense in American football, explained at the entry for the 5-2 defense.

Minimum age to be president of the U.S. Chronological age.

3.5 inch
Exactly 88.9 mm; typically refers to memory discs and disks that are an international-standard 86 mm in diameter.

This is the proverbial number of dramatic situations. Gozzi may have been the first to assert that that was the number of them, and Eckermann, somewhere in his Goethe table-talk book (Gespräche mit Goethe), records that Goethe concurred in the number. Georges Polti published a detailed and unconvincing enumeration in 1912. A translation by Lucille Ray, The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations, was published by The Editor Company of Ridgewood, NJ, in 1917. Cf. 210.141.

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.

A standard width for cartridge magnetic tape using DDS-DC (ANSI standard digital computer tape cartridge for information interchange) format and helical scan recording. Why exactly 3.81 mm? Well, 3.81 mm = 0.15 in.

The Eisenhower silver dollar is 38.1 mm in diameter. See how silly and inconvenient metric units are?

Four is considered an unlucky number in Chinese because the words for four and death have the same sound (``tsue'' in Taiwan-standard Romanization). They do have different tones (tsue3 is death and tsue4 is four, ironically enough). (Cf. NESIS.)

Eight is lucky -- ``wealth.'' The International Olympics take place in Beijing in 2008, officially beginning on the eighth day of the eighth month, on the eight minute of the twentieth hour. I guess that's the eighth hour of the second half of the day.

Japanese uses a mix of native Japanese and Chinese number words. The two common words for 4 are shi (which also means `death') and the native yon. Because of the inauspicious second sense of shi, four men must be described as yonin.

Rebus for four's homonym for.

BSD version 4.

Four Color Theorem. Any `map' [consisting of disjoint regular regions that form a covering] in the [two-dimensional Euclidean] plane can be colored using four hues in such a way that no adjacent regions have the same color. It was finally proved around 1982 by Appel and Haken, in a proof that was controversial for its use of a computer to check mechanically a large number of paradigmatic special cases.

Fourth Edition.

Unfit for military service.

4 F's
Fight, Flight, Feeding, and Sexual activity. (I'm sure you can figure it out. Hint: it's not because of the ``long-ess'' of old typography.) The limbic system has been characterized as controlling the 4 F's.

Fourth-Generation Language. Refers to a particular SQL from Unidata, but is used more loosely to include comparable languages. More at 3GL.

Head, Heart, Hands and Health. The 4-H pledge is:

``I pledge
My Head to clearer thinking,
My Heart to greater loyalty,
My Hands to larger service, and
My Health to better living.
For my club, my community, my country and my world.''

Awwww. Founded in 1902. ``4-H is the youth education branch of the Cooperative Extension Service, a program of the United States Department of Agriculture. Each state and each county has access to a County Extension office for both youth and adult programs.'' Really ``each''? Does that mean ``every''? Even Manhattan County?

Fourth-Harmonic Generation.

Fourth-year Law School student. These things happen; by plan even. Cf. L4.

Four-Letter Acronym. This is a lot less ambiguous than the alternative FLA and is less silly than ETLA and XTLA. Therefore, it's not surprising that it's much rarer than any of them.

4 magic M's
Marriage, Munchkins, Mortgages, and Mutual funds. ``Women who have what we call the four magic M's,'' according to Republican pollster and spinmistress Kellyanne Conway, are much more likely to vote, and to vote Republican. (The first M apparently has to be current; see 3 magic D's.)

Four-Pole-Double-Throw. This would make one helluvan olympic event.

4 p's
Prescriptions, Proscriptions, Preferences, and Permissions. These are the four p's in terms of which Harriet Zuckerman describes norms. Zuckerman is senior vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The president of the Mellon is William G. Bowen, and he introduces Zuckerman's 4 p's in his book Inside the Boardroom: Governance by Directors and Trustees (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1994), p. xiii. That's where I read it. It's a very nicely bound book, and I'm putting it back on the shelf now.

Zuckerman and Bowen are famous sociologists. Zuckerman, professor emerita Columbia University, has had a distinguished career in the sociology of science. Generally speaking, this is the species of sociology most despised by scientists, for a number of reasons that I may address later, but the work of Zuckerman that I have read seems reasonably sober.

William G. Bowen has a somewhat longer perp sheet. He got his undergraduate degree from Denison University in 1955, and just three years later had a Ph.D. from Princeton. The same year he joined the faculty at... Princeton! There he specialized in labor economics. Those were the days, huh? It's hard enough to take a sociologist seriously (sorry: a socially concerned economist), but when somebody who got his first grants in the gravy days starts talking about meritocracy, it becomes just a little bit distasteful. In 1967, Bowen became PU Provost, and then from 1972 to 1988 he served as University President. He's been at the Mellon since 1988. Bowen's main current claim to notoriety is a book he coauthored with Derek Bok, another former university president (Harvard), also former Dean of the Harvard Law School. (More at bok.) The book is The Shape of the River, subtitled Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions. The title is not pointlessly bloated. If you use a lot of big words, that means you have a lot of big things to say, see? (Of course, there are compromises. They would naturally have preferred to use the more precise ``Ethnicity-Correlated Phenotype Distribution Tendencies'' in place of ``Race.'' After all, ``race'' does not exist except as a socially-constructed illusion [and also as a useful diagnostic parameter in medicine]. But they had to use the short punchy word ``Race'' to telegraph their intention: they would avoid euphemism and face the issues squarely, as explained below.)

Their book marshals a lot of completely unsurprising data about race-based admissions. An indication of how unsurprising is the main finding mentioned in short summaries of the book: that black students admitted to excellent universities under affirmative action benefit as a result. The value of the book was mainly that it gave supporters of AA a nice, moderately hefty book to shake at the opposition. It pretended to answer objections by answering other objections never raised.

In chapter 10, ``Summing Up,'' (on pp. 282-3 of the 1998 hb), Bowen and Bok write

Would society have been better off if additional numbers of whites and Asian Americans had been substituted for minority students in this fashion? [I.e., by the use of race-blind admissions policies.] That is the central question, and it cannot be answered by data alone.

In point of fact, it cannot be answered at all by the data presented. The authors simply believe that right-thinking people agree that society must have, by hook or crook, and ASAP, an elite that is racially more similar to the population as a whole. Agree or disagree, the statistics are window dressing.

Fourth Quarter (of the year). Fiscal, academic, calendar, whatever. Cf. Q4 entry.

From the 4th Qumran cave (1Q): fragments of a parchment scroll entitled Miqsat Ma`ase ha-Torah in Hebrew (`Some Torah Precepts'). ``MMT'' for brevity, ``4Q396'' for obscurity. Here's an English translation.

A scrap of parchment found in Cave 4 at Qumran, containing a previously unknown PSeudo-EZEkiel composition (copy B). This is the best-preserved of five copies found, but it looks like a Julia set. It fits in a rectangle 10 cm high by 24 cm across, and you can probably place a pack of cigarettes (kings) in that rectangle without covering any of the parchment. The parchment, dating to the second cntury BCE, is also designated 4Q386. I used to say that a lot, programming Motorola microprocessors in the 1990's.

The composition is called pseudo-Ezekiel because it appears to be a reworking of prophecies in the Book of Ezekiel, including (cue the celestial choir music) the Vision of the Chariot and the Vision of the Dry Bones (the latter explains how the righteous dudes have the last laugh at the End of Days, a time that appears still to be a ways off). But the truth is that it's not a rewrite -- it's the real McCoy. The stuff that appears in today's bibles is obviously a version that was corrupted in the intervening two millennia. I know, and I will start a new religion to prove it.

The first thing you want to know about the corrupt version (the now-canonical text) is this: was it modified after the original prophecies failed to come true, or before the modified prophecies did? The answer is: evidently. You have to wonder about people who rework prophecies. If they weren't right in the first place, why is the new version by a non-prophet [501(c)3] going to be much better? The faithful, of course, have an answer for this kind of question: ``Heresy!'' Anyway, the failure of prophecies to come true is never a very hard test for true faith.

This fragment was part of the exhibit February 16 to June 1, 2003 at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids (in the metropolis of Grand Rapids, in Kent County, Michigan).

From the 4th Qumran cave (1Q): fragments of a parchment scroll. This is from a copy of the ``Community Rule'' made late in the first century (BCE) or early in the first century (CE). The ``Community Rule'' was originally known (after its discovery in the twentieth century) as the ``Manual of Discipline.'' I think that's still the more common term in popular usage, but I guess someone decided that it sounded too harsh, whereas ``community'' is warm and fuzzy. But the fact is that the Essenes (most people think it was the Essenes) were a rather rule-bound little community, and the ``community rule'' included community ``punishments.'' I don't know what the ``Sf'' in 4QSf stands for, but in Hebrew sefer means `order' and `book.' I'll try to find out.

See 4QSf entry.

See 4QpsEzb entry.

See 4QMMT entry.

Society for Social Studies of Science. ``[A] nonprofit, professional association. It was founded in 1975 and now has an international membership of about 1000.'' Einstein said that the community of true seekers after knowledge is always small. ``The main purpose is to bring together those interested in understanding science and technology, including the way they develop and interact with their social contexts.'' But probably not including understanding their content. You gotta draw the line somewhere.

4 seasons
NFL players who last less than four full seasons in the league are not vested in the (life-time) pension plan. This fact might induce a team to take a good hard look at non-star players in their fourth years, and contribute to player turnover. Presumably this is a more serious issue for players expected to live a long life? Also some violin concerti by Vivaldi. Also a famous upscale restaurant in New York City, and many nonfamous restaurants elsewhere (for an example, see this LMU entry).


4-T Door Systems
A business in the Granger, Indiana, area that fixed my garage door (actually the remote-controlled system that opens and closes it). Did a good job, too. Anyway, the obvious purpose of its entry in a glossary like this is to answer the question, ``what does 4-T stand for?'' The answer is that many years ago, when the owner of the business started it, he had four sons and they all had first names beginning in T. I'm glad he didn't call it ``Tom-Taylor-Travis-Tim'' or whatever. If he'd had more foresight, he could have named them David, Owen, Oscar, and Robert.

Quarto [<L. (ablative) a fourth]. Page size obtained by folding a standard large sheet into four leaves (12 by nine inches). Also abbreviated q., Q., and qto.,

Four-Wheel Drive. Drive power going to a total of four wheels on two axles of a motor vehicle. Four wheels on one axle doesn't count. Actually, just drive power to all four wheels doesn't count either: the term 4WD is applied in a more restrictive way. For an explanation, see the AWD entry.

4X2, 4×2
British and Australian for ``2X4.''

4X4, 4×4
Four-by-four. Four-wheel drive on a four-wheel pickup or light utility vehicle. off-road.com is a good place to start for information. Cf. 6X6.

A popular count for retail packages of band-aids. The other popular package is ``30, plus 10 free!'' available for the same price as the box of 40. This is made possible by the science of book-keeping. I'm waiting for the economical ``buy 20, get another 20 free!'' package to stock up. Paper cuts, you know -- occupational hazard of the theoretical physicist.

According to the book of Genesis, the great flood was associated with an unprecedented period of precipitation (forty days and forty nights).

According to the book of Exodus, after escaping Egyptian bondage, the Israelites wandered for forty years in the desert. They could really have used GPS. It would have been like manna from heaven.

In ``Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme'' (1671) of Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, 1622-1673), the nouveau riche Monsieur Jourdain takes lessons in a vain attempt to pass for a cultured gentleman. (The word vain here can be taken in both of its common senses.) He allows no substantial new knowledge to penetrate his thick skull, but he is shocked to discover that for over forty years (i.e., all his life), he's been speaking prose without knowing it. (Par ma foi! il y a plus de quarante ans que je dis de la prose sans que j'en susse rien.)

In Act III of Oscar Wilde's ``The Importance of Being Earnest,'' Jack Worthing is about to make the shocking discovery (as he will soon confess to his bride Gwendolyn, seeking forgiveness) that all his life he had been speaking nothing but the truth. The path to his discovery goes through the biography of his long lost father, an army general.

``The Army Lists of the last forty years are here. These delightful records should have been my constant study!''

In Eugène Ionesco's ``La Leçon'' [`The Lesson'] (1954), a professor tutors individual pupils. The present student, eighteen years old, already has her science diploma and her arts diploma too, but she wants to qualify for the total doctorate. With hints, she can remember the names of the four seasons, and she guesses correctly that Paris is the capital of, uh... France! But she has a little trouble with arithmetic. She can add and multiply, but not subtract. Why -- that's absurd! During the lesson, Marie, the maid, interrupts repeatedly to warn against teaching arithmetic. She observes that arithmetic leads to philology, and philology to crime. (L'arithmétique mène à la philologie, et la philologie au crime. It might be the moral of the play.) The professor, with increasing agitation, attempts to teach arithmetic, then ``linguistic and comparative philology of neo-Spanish languages.'' (Neo-Spanish turns out to be indistinguishable from French; the student experiences difficulty translating from her native French into that language.) Finally he demonstrates the use of a knife in homicide. Marie is irritated that she must help dispose of yet another student (this one is the fortieth).

I didn't want to interrupt the arithmetic sequence (40, 40, ...) earlier, but I'd like to mention that Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme is often translated `The Would-be Gentleman,' which would be more accurate if the title were Le Gentilhomme manqué. This may reflect Molière's more confident expectation that the title would be understood as an ironic description of M. Jourdain, or it might slyly suggest a subversive attitude (careful -- the king was in the audience at one of the first performances) to the question of who is truly noble.

Also, in case you're unfamiliar with it,

  1. the thing about which he had been speaking nothing but the truth was that his name was Ernest (except, perhaps, when he was calling himself Jack and his fictitious brother Ernest).
  2. Shame on you for being unfamiliar with it. (Gwendolyn could not possibly love a man who was not ``Ernest.'')
The circumstance of being surprised by one's own accuracy probably calls to mind (my editor's mind, anyway) the movie After the Thin Man (1936). George Zucco plays a stereotypically nutty psychiatrist (Dr. Adolph Kammer) who accuses a reasonable-seeming young man (``David Graham,'' played by Jimmy Stewart) of being crazy. Like Jack Worthing, the doctor is justifiedly surprised when proved right. He says ``Good heavens, I was right! The man is crazy.''

400, 401, ...
HTTP response codes (q.v.) for refused request.

400 years in a convent and 40 in Hollywood
Philippine history.

Quad 2-input NOR gates, 14-pin package.

4-input NOR gates, 14-pin package.

A refused-request HTTP response codes (i.e., one in the 400 series) with the further information that the requested file cannot be found. Probably the most common 400 code, and one which has come to be used in email conversation to mean `I don't know' (IDK).

Here's a really helpful 404 page. We webmasters should all take inspiration from this and follow the example. We content providers should have nothing better to do.

400, 401, ...
Yeah, maybe the entry belonged here, depending on how you parse comma-separated headword lists, but I put it up there instead.

18-stage static shift register (SR), 14-pin package.

Dual complementary pair/inverter, 14-pin package.

4-bit Full Adder, 14-pin package.

Hex Buffer/Converter, inverting, 16-pin package.

Hex Buffer/Converter, noninverting, 16-pin package.

Quad 2-input NAND gates, 14-pin package.

Dual 4-input NAND gates, maybe; not sure; 14-pin package.

Dual D Flip-Flops with set/reset; 14-pin package.

8-stage static shift register; 16-pin package.

Dual 4-stage static shift register; 16-pin package.

Quad bilateral switch; 14-pin package.

Decade Counter/Divider; 16-pin package.

Presettable divide-by-N counter; 16-pin package.

Quad AND/OR select gates; 16-pin package.

14-stage binary/ripple counter; 16-pin package.

8-stage static shift register; 16-pin package.

Divide-by-8 counter; 16-pin package.

Nickname for modern emergency locator transmitters (ELT's, q.v.) that operate at 406 MHz.

In 1958, Chevrolet introduced added an Impala marque to serve as the top of the Bel Air line. It was pretty much the same sheet metal. The most immediately noticeable difference was that the Bel Air had two tail-lights next to each other on each side, while the Impala had three lights in a row. Gradually, more Impala lines were introduced, and the Bel Air became a low-end Impala. It's hard to keep straight what were called ``models'' and what were ``options.'' I won't even try. (Check here if you care.) For 1961, Chevy introduced the ``Impala SS.'' The most powerful engines available on these were 409-cid V8's. ``409'' meant either the engine or an Impala SS 409, a ``muscle car.''

In May 1962, the Beach Boys had a hit single with ``Surfin' Safari.'' Side B was ``409,'' which was also very successful. That hit (409) is remembered by some as the first great muscle-car song. Perhaps that is true in some carefully restricted sense. Among the great songs that must be disqualified to make the claim true is the rockabilly hit (for many different artists) ``Hot-Rod Lincoln.''

For the 1965 model year, Chevy replaced the 409 engine with a 396.

Clorox manufactures a product called ``Formula 409 Cleaner/Degreaser.''

In May 1987, rapper Ice-T released the album Rhyme Pays that included a song entitled ``409.'' That referred to the cleaner.

In 1995, Shania Twain had a hit with ``(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!'' (track 4 of The Woman in Me). One of the lyrics is ``I'll be in number four oh nine / if you should change your mind.'' (It's a ``crossover hit.'' Twain is regarded as a country singer, but many of her songs have a strong rock flavor.)

If you go hunting for lyrics, make sure you're protected against pop-ups.

For a long time, this was the telephone number to reach local (telephone) directory assistance (DA) in most parts of the US and Canada. ``Long-distance information'' was reached at (foo) 555-1212, where foo is the three-digit area code. Cf. 192.

A section of the Nigerian penal code that specifically prohibits the con game known as ``advance-fee fraud,'' ``Nigerian letter scam,'' and now also ``419 fraud.'' This is the scheme I mentioned at the IRC entry in 2001, when I first started getting them. As of early 2003 I was getting up to a dozen a day. I don't know what the rate is now because I no longer spend much time studying the crud that's caught by my spam filtration system.

You can read about the scam in this Wired article from 2002. Get an up-to-date overview of the letter characteristics from IFCC. A lottery species of this genus is described at this page.

A woman I know was the child of missionaries (an MK) in Nigeria from the late 1940's into the 1950's, and she reports that her parents would burn envelopes with US return addresses, to thwart the scams already popular then. In those days, they dealt in smaller quantities, and the advance fees requested started out small -- a Bible, then perhaps money to feed the children/brother/mother, and then money for school fees.... (The money didn't really start to roll in until after independence in 1960.)

You know how UNICEF and other organizations used to advertise outlandish-sounding claims such as that for five cents you could provide a nourishing meal to a hungry child in some country whose map only shows the names of different deserts or mosquito principalities? It was true. Back around 1950 in Nigeria, pay for a full-time cook (6 1/2 days a week) was $20 a month, and supported him and his family well. So if you could cadge or con $5 or $10 out of some good-hearted l.o.l. or Sunday-school class, it was worth some seriously studied dissimulation effort.

The initial request for a Bible already gave away the game: there was no difficulty getting a Bible, as the missionaries were happy to give them away (see, however, the GMark entry). In the eighteenth century, a similar scam was known as ``letters from Jerusalem.''

The 419 assault has triggered a reaction known as scambaiting, in which targeted marks turn the tables on the con artists. Here's a Wired article about that from 2006. ``Metimbers'' runs one of the sites (419eater.com) that serves as a network for scambaiters and their fans. (``Metimbers'' and most other scambaiters use pseudonyms; successful scambaiting frequently results in a death threat by the scambaited.) Read the FAQ of scambaiting ethics at that site. The idea is to string the scammers along and try to exact vengeance, counter-conning them into wasting their own time and money, and ideally into humiliating themselves. See the gallery.

The answer.

Details to follow.


What, you want everything for free?

42 alloy
An alloy with very low thermal expansivity, alternative to more popular kovar in leads frames and lids for ceramic packages. Coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) 7 × 10-6/°C). Not especially well-defined: (Ni, Co, Cu) 40¼ to 41¾%, C <0.05%, Mn <1%, Si 0.1 to 0.4%.

43 beans
Nescafé used to boast that there were 43 coffee beans in every cup of its coffee.

They had a radio advertisement that dramatized this number. Anticipating the Budweiser Lite ``Great Taste - Less Filling'' televised-debate format of the eighties, these brief informational radio announcements featured two voices accompanied by piano and mechanical calculator. An unpleasant tenor represented the cold virtues of responsible accountancy and nasal atonality, and a rich mezzosoprano represented the warm Judeo-Christian Platonic ideal of nurturing, counterpointing in a peppy spondaic dimeter (approximately).

Two beans,
times two beans,
is four beans.
lots more beans.
Ten beans,
times four beans,
and add,
three more beans.
Rich co -
fee beans!

The last stanza, in which the two voices harmonize in a satisfying conclusion, shows the influence of Frank Sinatra's gracefully two-fisted philosophy of jazz phrasing. Enh, possibly not.

Dimensional analysis reveals significant errors in the bean counting:

2 beans × 2 beans = 4 beans².

10 beans × 4 beans + 3 beans = 40 beans² + 3 beans¹.

You can keep the square beans.

G.K. Chesterton had the following possibly relevant comment [in his Orthodoxy (1959), p. 51]:

We have always in our fairy tales kept this sharp distinction between the science of mental relations, in which there really are laws, and the science of physical facts, in which there are no laws, but only weird repetitions. We believe in bodily miracles, but not in mental impossibilities. We believe that a Bean-stalk climbed up to Heaven [we do?]; but that does not at all confuse our convictions on the philosophical question of how many beans make five.

The usual number of members in the US House of Representatives, since 1910. The US Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 2) limits the number to not less than one per state and otherwise not more than one for every 30,000 of population, but leaves the number up to Congress to determine.

The Constitution also requires a decennial census, and after each census the seats are reapportioned. Up until the 1911 reapportionment, based on the 1910 census, the membership of the House was increased with each reapportionment. That should have minimized hard feelings -- more slices in a larger pie and all that. However, the apportionment of seats involves some round-off, and different round-off formulae, all passing constitutional muster, yield different results. After the 1920 census, no agreement on reapportionment could be reached and the 1911 assignments remained in effect. In 1929, just ahead of the next census, a bill was passed to settle the issue permanently. It was called the Permanent Apportionment Act and established the use of ``equal proportions'' formula. It also set a permanent size of 435 on the voting membership of the House.

There is also a small number of nonvoting members who represent disenfranchised parts of the country. The most prominent of these is the District of Columbia. Residents of the nation's capital do get a vote in presidential elections, however: following passage of the 23rd constitutional amendment in 1961, they have three electoral votes. Hence the total number of votes in the electoral college is 538. This improves the chances of a tie if every elector votes.

A ``45'' is a 45-rpm record. Or was, or will have been when the older jukeboxes are gone.

45 rpm
A circular velocity that gave a name to a recorded-music (or recorded-sound) vinyl disc format. Read about it at the LP entry and visit a picture that is part of the Smithsonian's Information Age photo exhibit. (Actually, the ``picture'' is just a thumbtab; the full picture didn't survive the move from the ftp location <file://photo1.si.edu/images/gif89a/tech-history/45RPM.GIF> to what should have been its new address, <http://www.si.edu/siphotos/tech-history/45RPM.GIF>.)

Special seminar for July 28, 1997, in Rm. 184 of Nieuwland Science Hall at Notre Dame:
CHEM 461L: Why Will This Course Be So Important and Fascinating?
presented by Dr. Kestutis Bendinskas, Department of Biochemistry, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

Manhattan-Project shorthand for Plutonium-239 (239Pu or Pu239). Explanation at 25 entry.

Approximate value of the smallest positive number equal to its own secant.

High Five. Chatese.

Fifth Edition.

The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the AUTHENTIC Words of Jesus. A book first published in 1993, primarily comprising a pericope-by-pericope analysis of the canonical four gospels along with the Gospel of Thomas (a gnostic document rediscovered in modern times that reads like a padded version of one of a synoptic gospel). The book provides the color coding voted by Jesus Seminar, along with brief summaries of the relevant JSem discussion. According to <Amazon.com> the book only cites 23 other books.

Fifth-Generation Language. More at 3GL.

FIVE-Letter Acronym. This is a lot less ambiguous than the alternative FLA, so it's rarely used.

500, 501, ...
HTTP response codes (q.v.) for unplanned service refusal -- service failure.

5.1 system
Five channels and a subwoofer. Vide AC-3.

[Football icon]

5-2 defense
The base defense in American football: five down men (from inside out: noseguard, two defensive tackles, and two defensive ends) and two linebackers. Thanks, Jim. As you know, Tom, on accounta how defensive linemen're called outside linebackers today, indicative of their adapted responsibilities in the box, you know, there are now nominalistically four linebackers and three down men, and it's called the 3-4 defense.

Ya gotta step up.

... there are two things about football that anybody can like. They live by numbers, numbers are everything to them and their preparation is like any savage dancing, they do what red Indians do when they are dancing and their movement is angular like the red Indians move. When they lean over and when they are on their hands and feet and when they are squatting they are like an Indian dance. The Russians squat and jump too but it looks different, art is inevitable everybody is as their air and land is everybody is as their food and weather is and the Americans and the red Indians had the same so how could they not be the same how could they not, the country is so large but somehow it is the same if it were not somehow the same it would not remain our country and that would be a shame. I like it as it is.

Gertrude Stein: Everybody's Autobiography, pp. 197-198.

527, 527 group
A special-interest organization created primarily to influence the nomination, election, appointment or defeat of candidates for public office, which, by conforming with certain fundamental restrictions, is tax-exempt under the terms of Section 527 of the US Internal Revenue Code. (It is required to file, however.) A 527 is sort of nominally issue-advocacy or voter-mobilization (rather than candidate-endorsing) PAC (see below). Basically, it's a charade that attempts to help get around the obvious fact that campaign funding limits violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution. They can't campaign directly for a candidate they approve, but they do have the right to tear down candidates they oppose. Gee, do you suppose 527 groups might make election campaigns nastier?

Political Action Committees (PAC's) are also defined in Section 527. PAC's are regulated by the Federal Election Commission and subject to contribution and spending limits, but they are free to endorse, condemn, coordinate with, and otherwise interact with candidates for public office. (Until they run out of money.)

  1. Top Ten Lists from LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN:

    12 June 1995: ``Things Newt & Clinton Said To Each Other Under Their Breath''

    #2. ``The latest poll shows 53% of New Hampshirites think your ass is bigger than mine.''

  2. 19 July 1995: ``Signs Yeltsin's Health is Improving''
    #1. Blood alcohol level back up to a healthy 53%.

  3. Read about how an accident at an industrial cheese-related product plant caused a 53% improvement.

  4. Not really a percentage, but Condom Country's page of conceivable history claims that Benjamin Franklin fathered 53 illegitimate children.

  5. And here's another item on American history: days before Independence Day 2000, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni released the results of a pop quiz taken by 556 seniors randomly selected across the campuses of 55 ``leading colleges and universities,'' including Harvard, Princeton, and Brown (and perhaps some others that lead a little less). The quiz had 34 ``high-school level'' multiple-choice questions about US history, but I would characterize them as middle school level, since that's where I learned the answers. One college senior got 100% on the quiz; the average score was 53%.

    To be fair, there were two popculch gimmes that 98-99% got right (Beavis and Snoop Doggy identification questions). Correcting for those, performance on the remaining 32 legitimate questions was 50%. The full list of questions, and the percentage of students giving right answers on each, was published in the Sunday, July 2, 2000 edition of the New York Times, section 4 (Week in Review), page 7.

  6. Someone left some textbooks behind in the Engineering computer lab at the end of last semester. Hmmm, Sociology: Student Media Version, Seventh Edition, John J. Macionis. Looks like a donation. Inside the front cover there are some time lines. The last event listed before the present is ``53% of U.S. women in labor force'' -- 1997, if it's a linear scale.

I really think that 53 is the ``coming'' random number. It's a prime piece of numerical real estate, near downtown (1, 2, etc.) but with convenient access to the interesting forests (1729, etc.). Most importantly, it has a satisfying muchness to it. Let's face it, seventeen is a bit scrawny; it's time to bulk up. Here's another sign of how aw coo rant this fashionable number has become: In a wearying-of-the-campaign opinion piece in the Chicago Sun-Times for October 24, 2004, Mark Steyn wrote ``Maybe I'm getting old. I've been covering politics for 53 years, and that's just since John Kerry's convention speech'' (the previous August).

Here's something you needed to know: Express Press of Indiana, located about a block north of Mendoza's Guitars in Roseland, proudly announces on its outdoor marquee that it is ``ranked #53 in the nation.'' Wow!

Peter Hernon and Charles McClure published an article entitled ``Unobtrusive Reference Testing: The 55% Rule'' in Library Journal, 37:41 (April 15, 1986). Hernon and McClure posed questions regarding government publications to general reference and government document librarians in large academic and public libraries. Their findings indicated that only 55% of questions were answered accurately, and that a maximum of five minutes was allocated to each question asked.

Later studies (published separately) conducted with a variety of different questions found similar accuracy.

I happen to think that a 55%-accurate reference librarian is an excellent resource. No intelligent person expects to receive accurate answers, especially from a nonspecialist. Competent research requires fact-checking. The great utility of reference librarians is not that they have the answers, but that they can point you in the direction of resources to answer the questions. (No, I am not a librarian.) Of course, now that we have the internet, the accuracy of quickly-available, no-effort answers has increased dramatically. (That's a joke, son.)

A tool that libraries use to assess the service they provide is only slightly obtrusive: the reference librarian keeps a record of what kinds of questions are asked (and typically when). At my current university library building, the guards are also required to keep such a record. The most common questions asked by visitors as they stand facing the big sign that says ``rest rooms on the second floor'' are

  1. Do you have a rest room?
  2. Where are the rest rooms?
(There are also restrooms on the other floors, but there don't happen to be any in the patron area of the ground floor.)

56K modem
The highest nominal-speed modem operating over ordinary phone lines. In practical terms, it transfers about one byte per minute. Vide V.90.

5.65 Å
Value around which the lattice constants of a number of different semiconductors cluster: Ge, GaAs, AlAs, ZnSe...

The number of footnotes in the Chinese translation of Joyce's Ulysses, by Xiao Qian and Wen Jieruo.

The number of flavors in Heinz Ketchup. They probably use 40 different kinds of sweetener.

A unit of height equal to 5' 9''. My attractive, six-foot-tall SB cousin Vickie explained to me that this arcane usage is employed by men in personals ads and in the sincere communications pursuant to those ads.

Not the name of a text editor. Try vi, pronounced `vee-eye.'

Sixth Edition.


Throw the switch, Igor!

Six-by-six. You were supposed to look at 6×6.

Japan is a strange place that I don't pretend to understand.

In the UK, a legal requirement to be issued a license for driving a private car or motorbike (group 1 entitlement) is the ability to read a number plate at 20.5 m. (This doesn't work out to an even number of furlongs or anything, so I don't know what hat they pulled this number out of.) Guidelines from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists make this out to be roughly equivalent to 6/10 Snellen acuity. (As it happens, standard Snellen charts have a row of letters for 6/9 vision and 6/12 vision, but nothing in between. However, if you are very, very clever, and can gain access to a tape measure, you can overcome this problem.)

The 6/10 guideline is based on research by N. Drasdo and C.M. Haggerty: ``A comparison of the British number plate and Snellen vision tests for car drivers,'' Ophthalmol. Physiol. Opt. vol. 1, pp. 39-54 (1981). What they did was study a small group of candidates who failed the vision test and develop a statistical model that correlated binocular Snellen acuity with the distance at which they could read license plates. According to the model, A Snellen acuity of 6/9-2 (ability to read all but two letters of the 6/9 row on the Snellen chart) would produce the same failure rate as the number plate test, and the probability of passing the license-plate test with an acuity of 6/7.5 or 6/18 would be (again according to the model) 99% and 6%, respectively. The 6/10 guideline isn't exactly a wild-ass guess, but the correlation is a bit fuzzy anyway.

  1. A model potential for molecules and atoms interacting via van-der-Waals forces (attractive, the 6) and Pauli repulsion (the 12). More at the LJ entry.
  2. Wasn't there an insect-repellent spray we used to use in the 1960's that was called 6-12? It was later available in cream form. Yeah, from Union Carbide and Reckitt Benckiser. Product registration canceled. My God, it's ``Slightly Toxic''! Great, can I sue somebody? Turns out to have been DEET.
  3. Grades 6 to 12.

Metricious version of 20/40 (vision). See the Snellen entry.

Traditional number of Jewish Laws. A complete catalog was written by Rabbi Moses b. Maimon (Rambam) in Sefer HaMitzvot (`Book of Commandments').

613 = 365 + 248

Again traditionally, there are 365 prohibitions, and 248 positive requirements. 248 is supposed to be the number of bones in a human body. Maimonides was a physician.

In some respects, this isn't as much as it sounds like. Like, negative mitzvah #177 is, not to eat any creeping thing that breeds in decayed matter. I can obey that, noooo problem. On the other hand, many individual items could get quite involved. Positive mitzvah #208 is the law of weights and measures, to cite a familiar instance of a simple idea that can get complicated.

Negative mitzvah #188 is not to eat the flesh of a stoned ox. I don't think this causes any problem with Kobe beef. [This is not quite the academic issue that it might appear -- Kobe is one of the historic centers of the Jewish community in Japan, and still second only to Tokyo in the size of its Jewish community.]

Actually, although Jewish law has been studied intensively for millenia, a truly thorough study was obviously impossible until computers became available. Since that time, the new field of numerical ethics has applied exponentially increasing digital power to age-old questions. Recently, a watershed was reached when a long-conjectured but never-proven no-go theorem was finally demonstrated computationally: By exhaustive enumeration, it was shown that the overlapping restrictions in the 365 specific prohibitions, taken together, completely cover all human activity, so that as a result, everything is forbidden. Needless to say, this is a tremendous simplification.

Y'know, 613.org is a domain name. I didn't know you could do that. It could get confusing, if a top-level domain was ever given a numerical name, you couldn't tell the numerical address from the mnemonic domain name. Fortunately, however, that can't happen. It's forbidden.

In point of fact, the mature human body has 206 bones. At birth the number is closer to 300, but many bones fuse together.

Not a palindromic number, exactly, but one with C2 symmetry, particularly on seven-segment display. 629 depends even more strongly on that sort of display, although if you look at some late-19c. clockfaces, they seem to use an upside-down two for a seven.

See 619.

Just remember that number if you need some good huggin' from Steve Cropper and Eddie Floyd. Lyrics here. Not to be confused with 234-5705.

In a fragment of a third-century copy of the Book of Revelations, part of the Oxyrhynchus hoard, the mark of the beast is given as 636 rather than 666. Maybe that should be the ``Book of Revaluations.''

Hexadecimal FFFF (i.e., 0xFFFF), Octal 177777 (0177777), or 216 - 1. The largest unsigned two-byte integer. (Strictly, ``two-octet integer''; loosely and conventionally, when I was a young boy growing up, a one-word integer.)

Six-by-six. Six-wheel drive on a three-axle motor vehicle. Difficult to distinguish from 6X6. Cf. 4×4.

Metricious version of 20/20 (vision). See the Snellen entry.

Here's proof that Barney's the beast. Here's proof that Bill Gates is the beast.

I guess this means that Barney is Bill Gates. This goes far to explain the PDOS entry.

But wait! Both pages are DEAD! Poof! Obliterated from filespace! How much more proof do you need?

Penn Jillette, of the famous Penn and Teller duo, has a licence plate 6SIX6. This is what you call a ``vanity plate.'' Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. (You know -- dressing tables.)

Default port number for IRC (chat) connection.

Across the street from the Beast.

The Neighbor of the Beast.

68 series
Microprocessor family developed by Motorola, starting with the 6800, then 68000.

Metricious version of 20/30 (vision). See the Snellen entry.

In a sci-fi short story called ``A Rite of Spring,'' Fritz Leiber lists probably close to 100 associations with the number seven, including many references to the ancient world. Among the latter: It is really rather erudite and amusing.

The above is mostly cribbed from a posting to the Classics list by Janice Siegel, when she taught in the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University. She has a cool site too.

For other thoughts on seven, see the reference cited under 12. Also, just in case it didn't occur to you to look there, the ABPT entry (the blind piano-tuners) is where we've placed the seven-bridges-road information. Note also the Butterworths addy at the ISBN entry.

In Old English manuscripts, a symbol that resembles 7, or more a letter L rotated 180 degrees, is used as an ampersand, to represent the word and (or ond). For examples, see the facsimiles of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in From Old English to Standard English: A Course Book in Language Variation across Time, by Dennis Freeborn (Un. of Ottawa Pr., 1992).

This isn't the sort of thing that's hard to remember, but if you need a mnemonic, the ampersand on a typical QWERTY keyboard is shift-7.

Seventh Edition.

Seven bits per word, even parity.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

There, now, I already feel 53% more effective.

Seven bits per word, no parity. 7N1 indicates one stop bit.

Seven bits per word, odd parity.

The rule of life on the IOUDAIOS mailing list. Reminiscent of 1QS.

7-Segment Display
For numeric display only (Cf. 16 Segment Display.) All segments lit displays an eight:
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Usual port for gopher connections.

First commercial computer with floating-point (FP) hardware support (IBM, 1955). Designed by Gene Amdahl. Capable of about 5 kFLOPS.

Perhaps you should be reading about Computer Recycling. When I called around in 1996 to see if some commercial outfit would take a 386 off my hands, I learned the going price for scrap.

The first commercial jet from Boeing.

0.58333, approximately.

Seven inches rise per twelve inches across. A popular slope for deluxe trailer homes with raisable roofs. (The roofs are ``not practical'' only in the sense that they're not accessible for storage.) You know, this definition works with centimeters too!

0.9375, exactly.

A series of coax connectors intended to replace N-type connectors in high-power, low-intermodulation applications. Peak voltage rating 2700 V RMS; 50 ohm impedance up to at least 7.5 GHz.

A shortened version of the 707. SBF sponsors a file with all the sordid detail.

Seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. (If it's a restaurant, it probably closes for a few hours on Sunday night/Monday morning. If they were smart they would close on Monday night/Tuesday morning, which has even lighter traffic, and they'd pick up the traffic turned away from all the 24-hour places that close Sunday night.)

For a long time the most successful commercial jet in history. SBF sponsors a spotter's guide.

Whoa! Where did the entry go?

Simple, we decided that the carefully thought-out lexical ordering we use requires us to place a number like 0.739 among the numbers starting with 0. Otherwise, you wouldn't know where to find it.

Advanced Schottky TTL family. More at the AS entry.

Advanced Low-power Schottky TTL family.

An advanced Schottky family of TTL logic with performance at the level of 74AS and 74ALS, but designed to compromise between them in terms of power vs. speed. See this page from TI.

A High-speed (HTTL) version of the original ``True TTL'' (74xx) family. As a good rule of thumb, a particular technology -- i.e., a particular set of fabrication capabilities with a particular levels of achievable precision -- yields a minimum power-delay product. By adjusting actual dimensions and other device parameters, it is possible to vary power consumption and various time delays, but not independently. Hence, 74H requires more power, while 74L is slower. Similarly, 74AS, 74F, and 74ALS represent different compromises between power and delay.

A Low-power version of the original ``True TTL'' (74xx) family. Cf. 74H.

Quad 2-input NAND gates in a 14-pin package.

Give me a lever and a place to stand, and I will move the world. Of course, I couldn't move it very far...

With enough 7400's, you could pretty much build a computer. It wouldn't be very fast by current standards, but you could do it.

Quad 2-input NAND gates with O/C outputs.

Quad 2-input NOR gates in a 14-pin package.

Quad 2-input NAND gates, with O/C outputs, in a 14-pin package. The corresponding CMOS (54C/74C, 54AC/74AC, 54ACT/74ACT, 54HC/74HC, 54HCT/74HCT) series use open-drain.

Hex Inverters in a 14-pin package.

Hex Inverters with O/C outputs, in a 14-pin package.

Hex Inverting Buffer/Driver in a 14-pin package, with high-voltage O/C outputs.

Hex noninverting Buffer/Driver in a 14-pin package, with high-voltage O/C outputs.

Quad 2-input AND gates in a 14-pin package.

Quad 2-input AND gates, with O/C outputs.

Triple 3-input NAND gates in a 14-pin package.

Dual JK Master-Slave Flip-Flop with CLEAR in a 14-pin package.

Negative-edge-triggered version of 7474. That is: a Dual D-Type negative-edge-triggered Flip-Flop with preset and clear in a 14-pin package.

Dual JK positive-edge-triggered Flip-Flop with preset and clear in a teen sex package. Oh wait -- that's a sixteen-pin package. Sorry.

Triple 3-input AND gates in a 14-pin package.

Dual JK negative-edge-triggered Flip-Flop with preset and clear in a 16-pin package.

Dual JK negative-edge-triggered Flip-Flop with preset.

Dual JK negative-edge-triggered Flip-Flop with common clocks and clears.

Single Retriggerable Monostable Multivibrator in a 14-pin package.

Dual Retriggerable Monostable Multivibrators with Clear in a 16-pin package.

Dual VCO's in a 16-pin package.

Quad 3-state Buffer in a 14-pin package.

Quad 3-state Buffer in a 14-pin package.

Dual 4-input NAND Schmitt Triggers in a 14-pin package.

3-to-8 line Decoder/Latch.

Quad 2-input NAND gates with Schmitt Trigger inputs (`Schmitt NANDs') in a 14-pin package.

Single 13-input NAND in a 16-pin package.

Quad XOR in a 14-pin package.

3-to-8 line inverting Decoder/Latch.

One expandable 3-to-8 line inverting Decoder in a 16-pin package. Is the chip numbering a coincidence? Yes.

Dual expandable 2-to-4 line Decoders in a 16-pin package.

Hex Inverter Schmitt Triggers in a 14-pin package.

Dual 4-input NAND 50 ohm line driver. Cf. 7440, 74240.

BCD-to-Decimal Decoder/Driver in a 16-pin package. Cf. 7445.

One 10-to-4 line priority encoder.

One 8-to-3 line priority encoder in a 16-pin package.

16-input multiplexer in a 24-pin package.

8-input multiplexer in a 16-pin package.

1/8 Data Select/Multiplexer in a 14-pin package.

Dual 4-input Multiplexers in a 16-pin package.

Single 4-16 Decoder in a 16-pin package.

Dual 2-4 Demuxer in a 16-pin package.

A 74155 with open collector (O/C) outputs.

Quad 2-input multiplexers, 16-pin package.

Quad 2-input multiplexers, 16-pin package.

Hex Inverter Buffer/Driver in a 14-pin package.

Presettable Decade Counter in a 16-pin package.

Presettable Binary Counter in a 16-pin package.

Presettable 4-bit Binary Counter in a 16-pin package.

8-bit serial-in parallel-out (``SIPO'') Shift Register with asynchronous Clear, in a 14-pin package.

Parallel Load 8-bit Serial-in (i.e., 8-bit SIPO) a 16-pin package.

8-bit parallel-in serial-out (``PISO'') Shift Register in a 16-pin package.

Synch. Binary Up/Down Counter in a 16-pin package.

Hex Buffer/Driver with high-voltage O/C outputs, in a 14-pin package.

4 x 4 Register File with Open-Collector (O/C) Outputs.

``Quad''(4-bit) D-Register Tri-state in a 16-pin package.

Hex D Flip-Flop with master reset in a 16-pin package.

Quad D Flip-Flop in a 16-pin package.

9-Bit Parity Generator/Checker.

Four-bit Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) in a 24-pin package.

Up/Down Binary Counter in a 16-pin package.

4-bit Up/Down BCD Counter in a 16-pin package.

4-bit Up/Down Binary Counter in a 16-pin package.

4-bit Bidirectional Universal Shift Register in a 16-pin package.

Dual 4-input NAND gates in a 14-pin package.

Dual 4-input AND gates in a 14-pin package.

Dual Monostable Multivibrator in a 16-pin package.

Dual 4-input NOR gates with strobe in a 16-pin package.

Octal tri-state Inverting Bus/Line Driver/Line Receiver in a 20-pin package.

Octal Bus/Line Driver/Line Receiver in a 20-pin package.

Quad Noninverting Transceivers in a 14-pin package.

Quad Tristate Transceivers in a 14-pin package.

Octal Noninverting Tristate Buffer/Drivers in a 20-pin package.

Octal Bus Transceiver 3-State, noninverting in a 20-pin package. (I have to check this one.)

Dual 4-Input NOR gate with strobe.

Dual 4-input Multiplexers with tri-state outputs. Cf. 74153.

Quad 2-Input NAND Buffer with high-voltage O/C outputs.

Triple 3-input NOR gates in a 14-pin package.

Octal D Flip-Flop.

Quad Set-Reset Latch.

8-input NAND gate in a 14-pin package.

Quad 2-input OR gate in a 14-pin package.

Quad 2-Input NAND Buffer.

Octal Transparent Latch in a 20-pin package.

Octal D Flip-Flop with Clock Enable.

Octal D Flip-Flop with Clock Enable.

Quad 2-input NAND buffers, with O/C outputs in a 14-pin package.

Four-bit Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU). Performs three arithmetic and three logic operations on two nybbles. Carry propagate and generate outputs are provided for use with 382 (which only generate carrys, and so should be used only for low-order nybble.)

Four-bit Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU). Performs three arithmetic and three logic operations on two nybbles. An Overflow output is provided for convenience in two's-complement arithmetic. A Carry output is provided for ripple expansion. Cf. 74381.

Quad 2-input NAND buffers, with O/C outputs.

Dual 4-input NAND buffers in a 14-pin package. Cf. 74140, 74240.

BCD-to-Decimal Decoder/Driver in a 16-pin package. Cf. 74145.

Dual Monostable Multivibrators in a 16-pin package.

BCD-to-7 Segment Decoder/Driver in a 16-pin package.

Expandable Dual 2-wide 2-input AOI gates.

Dual 2-wide 2-input AOI gates in a 14-pin package. You know, this is really beginning to bring me down. Why does the number of pins always have to be an even positive integer?

Octal D-Type Flip-Flop tri-state outputs.

Octal D-Type Flip-Flop tri-state outputs.

Octal D-Type Flip-Flop in a 20-pin package.

The first ``jumbo'' jet. SBF sponsors a spotter's guide.

Dual positive-edge-triggered Master-Slave JK Flip-Flop with Clear and Complementary outputs in a 14-pin package.

Dual D-Type positive-edge-triggered Flip-Flops with Preset and Clear in a 14-pin package.

4-bit Bistable Latch (i.e. quad latches) in a 16-pin package.

Dual JK-Type positive-edge-triggered Flip-Flops with Preset, Clear and complemented outputs.

10-bit D Flip-Flop.

9-bit D Flip-Flop.

8-bit D Flip-Flop.

4-bit Full Adder in a 16-pin package.

4-bit Magnitude Comparator in a 16-pin package.

Quad 2-input XOR gates in a 14-pin package.

Decade Counter in a 14-pin package.

4-bit Binary Ripple Counter in a 14-pin package.

4-bit Parallel-Access Shift Register in a 14-pin package.

4-bit Data Selector/Storage Register.

A Boeing commercial jet first introduced in 1983. Nearly 700 were in service as of December 1995, when the first crash involving one occurred in Colombia.

This number seems to be attracted to mercury. As everyone knows, atmospheric pressure at sea level is about equal to the pressure exerted by a column of mercury 76 cm high. Also, the commercial unit for handling mercury is the ``flask,'' which weighs 76 lb.

In Japan, the 77th birthday is special; it's called kijyu, meaning celebration with joy. I guess this is sort of like hobbits' eleventy-first birthday, except that hobbits don't get arthritis. At least I don't remember reading about hobbit arthritis.

The temperature of liquid nitrogen in equilibrium with its vapor at 1 atm. pressure. Thus, a convenient and easy low temperature to reach.

The latest commercial jet from Boeing. This one has an unofficial homepage.

Default port for finger protocol. See /etc/services for others.

A score you apparently cannot get on the SAT (q.v.).

Rebus common in chat, for the word ``ate'' and for its sound, as in c u l8r.

8 days
Everyone but the Beatles has understood, of course, that there are seven days in a week. However, by a mysterious trick of mathematics, if today is the first of the month, then the same day of the week in a week's time is not the seventh but the eighth. Similar wonders occur on other days of the month. Not to get too technical, but this has to do with the fact that the day that comes ``in a week'' (i.e. a week from today) is not part of the same week as this day! When you think about it, you can see that this is a good thing, especially if today is Monday, because it prevents any week from having two Mondays, which would be a real bummer.

In English, when we say ``in two days,'' we mean in two days following but not including this one. Similarly, ``in seven days'' or ``seven days later'' is the day one week from the reference date. This is called ``exclusive counting,'' in which you exclude the starting day from the counting. The Romans used ``inclusive counting,'' combined with a system of dating that was less convenient than Carbon-14 and more embarrassing than ``The Dating Game.'' It's no wonder that the Roman Empire fell.

In ``Old Europe'' (France, Germany, and probably Belgium), a similar system is used. In German, ``in acht Tagen'' (literally `in eight days') is equivalent to ``in eine Woche'' (`in one week'). Similarly in French, ``huit jours'' (`eight days') are a week (semaine), and when you really mean eight days you have to say ``huit jours précisément.''

Eighth Edition. Revise, already!

Eight bits per word, even parity.

Eight-Hour Time-Weighted Average. OSHA PEL's are typically defined in terms of 8h-TWA's.

Eight bits per word, no parity. 8N1 indicates one stop bit.

Eight bits per word, odd parity.

Eight-Pole-Double-Throw. A switch extravaganza. Igor smiles. Maybe you want to consider a different approach.

Octavo [<L. (ablative) an eighth]. Page size obtained by folding a standard large sheet into eight leaves (six by nine inches). ``Royal 8vo.'' is ten inches high.

``The new 40,'' according to Hugh Hefner, in an interview a day or two before his new fortieth birthday. If he's right, this is terrible: I must be closing on the century mark!

This is the default port for the HTTP protocol (yes, that's redundant). The URL <http://dubdubdub.foo.bar/> is implicitly equivalent to <http://dubdubdub.foo.bar:80/>. Occasionally the ``:80'' will show up even though you didn't type it in -- the server you linked to has echoed back its (webmaster's) preferred form of self-reference.

80 series
Microprocessor family developed by Intel, starting with the 8080A.

Traditional ``area code'' for toll-free calls. That's not enough, now they've added 888, 877, .... It's supposed to go down to 822 and then pick up 899; 811 is reserved.

AT&T offers an internet directory of toll-free numbers.

8, 16, 8, 16, 16, 16, 16, 16, 10, 10, 10, 16, 16
Yes, it's a finite series of positive integers. It's also a riddle. Give up?

It's a toughie, I know. Are you sure you don't want to guess, though?

Okay: it's a series of numbers from the Roosevelt Hotel at Hollywood Boulevard and Orange (est'd. 1927). In the elevator lobby on each floor, there's a sign giving the two elevators' Max Occupancy -- the number of Maximilians, Maxwells, etc. in the elevators. The number is 8 on levels B and M, 16 on levels L (that stands for Lower mezzanine; the Lobby is at level B), 3-7, 11, and 12, and 10 on levels 8-10. You can figure it out as easily as I.

According to their website, late September 2003, ``The Roosevelt Hotel is Hollywood's only historic hotel still in operation today - having just celebrated its 75th anniversary with a $15 million renovation. The home of the very first Academy Awards (1929) was built as a glamorous gathering place and hotel for the screen colony, with investors including Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. Through the years, throngs of celebrities and people hoping to sight them have visited and resided at the hotel.'' Also a few clowns like me.

They don't post tipping guidance, so the following may be useful. The valet-only parking costs $18 a day (charge added to your room bill). On the first morning, I handed $2 to the guy who brought my car. On the second morning, the car came out looking like it had been parked under a rookery.

Old-style MS-DOS/PC-DOS filenames, and the names still underlying the longer names allowed under later Windows operating systems, are 8.3 names: filenames no longer than eight characters, followed by the one and only "." allowed in the filename, and then by a three-letter (or shorter, in principle) extension. The extension is optional, and the dot is optional if there is no extension.

A politically highly charged decade.

[All] out. I've seen many alternative etymologies of this usage, some associated with meanings outside the restaurant business. Many of them hark back to Delmonico's Restaurant (eventually restaurants) in mid-nineteenth century New York City. Probably the most common claim is that the famous Delmonico steaks were item #86 on the menu, and were often out. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense, if only because ``86'' ought to have been more useful as short for ``Delmonico steak.''

The other day I was at the place that used to be J&N's. I've given up trying to keep track of the latest name. As I was cashing out, the manager alerted a waitress that they were fresh out of some item; a few seconds later, I asked him ``don't you have an 86 board?'' He replied that when something runs out in the middle of a shift, which is typical, they pass the word orally. (Not his precise words.) He obviously understood what an 86 board is, so I guess this is a common enough usage in the South Bend area.

I'll have to check with some ARRL literature (it's not mentioned at the website) whether 86 was really a standard ham code for ``cancel that.''

It seems more than possible that Maxwell Smart was assigned his code in allusion to the fill factor of his brain. Emptiness is a subject of more symbols than contents, it seems. Cf. MT, 0.

Here's something you may have missed, from Denver-based Modern Drunkard Magazine, pp. 38-41 of the January/February 2004 edition (vol. 4, #4, if that's how you organize your collection). ``Luke Schmaltz reveals tried and true techniques guaranteed to get you ejected from even the most tolerant of taverns.'' The title is ``The Art of Getting 86'd.'' So now you know how to form the past participle.

Here's an instance of 8.6 that appears to allude to 86. During ethics hearings in the US House of Representatives in 2002, Rep. James Traficant (D-OH from 1985 until the week after this comment) had this to say to photographers:

If you don't get those cameras out of my face, I'm gonna go 8.6 on the Richter scale with gastric emissions that'll clear this room!

Okay, maybe the comment was not so intricately contrived, and doesn't really allude to 86. Anyway, for more about Mr. Traficant, see the orbit entry.

Go to Carl's Get Smart Page, look at the picture of agent 86 and tell me if he doesn't look like George W. Bush. Where was Bush during the 1965-1970 television seasons? And why is he known by the code ``W''?

Periodically during the 2000 campaign, W kept admitting to unspecified youthful errors that he wouldn't talk about. It reminds me of a comment John von Neumann made, recorded by Stanislaw Ulam in his autobiography [Adventures of a Mathematician (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976)]. After the Bomb exploded into public knowledge, J. Robert Oppenheimer went around giving interviews expressing his humility and concern, how he felt the burden of the new danger he had (participated in having) unleashed, quoting the Bhagavad Gita and all that rot. Well, Oppy was a physicist alright, but he was in management on the project. (Probably the brass liked hearing from someone without an accent.) Johnny commented to Stan that ``some people accept blame in order to take credit for the crime'' (close paraphrase). Perhaps W admitted crime in order to take credit for accepting blame. He got to eat his cake and have it too, since he admitted crime without admitting any (specific) crime. (If you find this confusing, think of it as a type declaration without an assignment. I don't mean a paradigm either.)

Of course, W's declaration of undefined guilt might simply have been an ounce of prolepsis, a fig so he could claim later, once the political scandal production machinery got in gear, that he had already admitted whatever revelations came out. Smart move either way. W was also in the habit of admitting that he's not, like, a genius or anything, and his parents seemed to struggle to hide their surprise that it was W and not his smart brother Jeb who became a governor first (to say nothing of running for president). Now that -- admitting one is not super-smart (and using the term super-smart, BTW, is a clever off-hand way of asserting one is not clever) -- is unquestionably self-serving. I love a fellow who probably isn't any smarter than me, because (1) I know he can't be putting one over on me, and (2) that's smart enough, dammit -- I mean, I'm smart enough. Don't you feel the same way?

Would you believe... the official line is that Agent 86, the ironically named Maxwell Smart, was played by Don Adams. Is that soooo? More at the entry for Agent 99. Ah, yes -- it's the old hyperlink-anchored-on-the-punctuation-mark trick.

Okay, since you're intrigued by our astute political observations above, here's some more honest-to-motherhood SBF research, some hard facts: During the critical month of January 2000, twenty-three major-newspaper articles reported the important fact that many thoughtful voters think George dubya's smile looks like a smirk. Thank you, Lexis-Nexis. But here's the sleeper story, the decisive unreported fact that turned the GOP nomination race: Steve Forbes has a limp handshake. Roy K_______, of Muscatine, Iowa, says ``Forbes has a really wimpy handshake.'' Did any of the so-called ``major newspapers'' report this story? Not one. Roy's man-at-the-Bush-campaign-rally opinion was reported by intrepid New Republic reporter Michelle Cottle (Feb. 7, 2000; p. 18).

Think about it: the US President has to shake hands in countless receiving lines; he may be called upon to shake hands with other world leaders or with unscouted strongmen from countries that look like a speck of dirt fell on the atlas. Can we afford the risk of a president with a weak handshake? Senator William Proxmire (D-WI, 1957-1988) expatiated on this kind of problem in 1966: ``The biggest danger is for a politician to shake hands with a man who is physically stronger, has been drinking, and is voting for the other guy.'' (It goes without saying, of course, that a weak chin is just as dangerous as a weak handshake.)

Just to compound the error, the news media gave plenty of coverage to a totally insignificant handshake: one between John McCain and George W. Bush at a debate in Grand Rapids, Michigan on January 10, 2000. This handshake sealed a verbal agreement by the two candidates to not run ``negative'' ads against each other.

The usual wisdom about verbal agreements is that they're not worth the paper they're written on, and this holds even if they're made on national television, no matter what the Nielsen rating. Trust me on this one. If you can't trust me, whom can you trust? See? Oh yeah, remember the New Hampshire Handshake.

There was a minor verbal scuffle just nine days later, concerning whether a Bush ad criticizing McCain's tax plan was ``accurate'' or not, and whether such inaccuracy rose to the level of ``negative campaigning.'' (McCain said it didn't.) This is paltry stuff. After McCain's thumping (18% or 19% margin) defeat of Bush in the New Hampshire primary (the day before Groundhog's Day 2000; see Punxsutawney Phil's page), the Bush league had to find better ways to invest its advertising pennies for the next showdown, in South Carolina. Here was their delicious dilemma: McCain's top strategist there was Richard M. Quinn, editor of the Southern Partisan, the leading journal of the neo-Confederacy movement. It's a strong card to play in the game of politics, because the rules say that the candidate is responsible for the people who give him money or any other support (tell it to Napoleon's early allies). The great irony is, in South Carolina, this association doesn't hurt McCain on balance, and once the primary there is over no one outside will care either. So dubya's new aggressive stance had him reminding voters that just being a war hero like McCain doesn't necessarily qualify one to be commander in chief. Fair enough as a general principle, I suppose, but someone is bound to ask how this applies to his dad, who like McCain was a Navy pilot shot down in combat. In the general election, dubya convincingly argued that he, a guy widely supposed to have used his connections to get into the National Guard and stay stateside during the Vietnam War, and later accused of going AWOL for a few months, had a greater respect for military people than his opponent Albert Gore, who enlisted and ended up serving as a government journalist in 'Nam. Dubya didn't claim that this proved he really was smarter than Gore, because ignorance, not being too bright, and effortless competence (laziness) were some of the personal qualifications that his supporters most admired.

Sorry about that. I try not to appear to favor anybody, but I can't resist rich irony. The practical thing I wanted to say about negative campaigning, which I didn't manage to fit into the previous paragraph, was that dirty deeds are done in the dark. You let the soft money hit hard, with attack ads paid for by The Committee That Happens To Be Opposed To The Policies Supported By A Certain Opponent Of The Candidate. Or else you just do your oppo research and become a generous anonymous source to a sympathetic columnist.

Once McCain had lost the South Carolina primary and later the campaign for the GOP nomination, he went back and gave a speech in South Carolina apologizing for being politically astute and cynical (not his precise words) in not coming out earlier against the Confederate battle flag atop the state capitol.

Huh? Oh! You mean 0.860333589019379762483893424137662

An area code for toll-free numbers. See 888.

Jenny's number, according to the lyrics of a megahit from 1981. Almost any of the students I teach next year might have heard it from inside a womb. One way or another, the song was sung by Tommy. Tommy Heath sang lead vocals, performing in a group called Tommy Tutone (turn up the volume -- the song plays through the intro flash). Tommy ``saw her name and number on the wall.'' Which wall is not specified, but we figure we all know.

An area code for toll-free numbers. See 888.

The first of the new ``area codes'' for toll-free calls, added to take the overflow from 800. AT&T offers an internet directory of toll-free numbers. Also 877, 866, ...

(Of course, the calls are rerouted. Often to prisons. Answering phones is one of those things that prisoners can do to earn a little cigarette money on the inside.)

A reference to the dictum of the Welsh socialist Robert Owen (1801-1877): ``Eight hours' labour, eight hours' recreation, eight hours' rest.'' Agitation to reduce the workday length to eight hours, called the ``Eight Hours Movement,'' became the focus of the union movement in Australia starting around 1855. Many old union buildings in Australia have ``888'' engraved on them. An obelisk outside the Trades Hall in Melbourne is inscribed with the number. The Eight Hours anniversary procession was the biggest annual festivity in Australia between the 1880's and the 1910's.

9-BoraBicycloNonane. See BBN.

9V battery
These critters really are batteries, in the sense that they are composed of a number of cells (1.5V ``batteries'' are just single cells). The 9V batteries contain six 1.5V cells in series. There are two kinds: those with six flat cells stacked like PEZ candies, and those that contain six AAAA (``quad-A'') batteries (see AA entry). Breaking open one of the second kind of 9V battery is a way to get quad-A batteries cheap, but they're not guaranteed against spillage, so you take a risk.

A ``zip code'' for Beverly Hills, CA, and a TV show from the Fox TV network.

The emergency number in North America. The idea of a single phone number to a central emergency dispatcher began to implemented at local levels before being mandated at the national level; the first 911 emergency telephone system in the US was inaugurated in Haleyville, Alabama, on February 16, 1968. Many university PBX's still have a separate number for on-campus emergency services.

Fire stations and other providers of emergency services also have direct non-emergency phone numbers. If it's not an emergency, don't use the emergency number. Cf. 999.

9/11, 9-11
September 11, 2001. The day when hijackers commandeered four US commercial jets and succeeded in crashing three of them into populated targets -- the Pentagon and the two World Trade Center towers -- ultimately murdering three thousand people.

In October 1914, an open letter ``To the Civilized World'' (An die Kulturwelt!) was published over the names of 93 prominent Germans. (Regarding the exclamation mark, see below. In German, the letter was known as das Manifest der 93. A more literal translation of Kulturwelt, though one that sounds a bit awkward in English, would be more accurate: `the society of all cultivated people.') The letter's principal aim was to deny various allegations about German military misconduct. (I hesitate to call them ``atrocities,'' because the century was to see much worse than what was alleged then. There was a cry-wolf effect associated with this. It became clear after WWI that Allied reports of German crimes had been exaggerated, so people were overly skeptical when true reports of German war crimes began to filter out of Germany during WWII.)

The 93 included many of the most highly respected scholars of the time, such as Adolf von Baeyer, Emil Fischer, Felix Klein, Max Planck, Wilhelm Roentgen, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, as well as lesser lights. (The signatories also included a number of theologians and artists, about whom I can't offer a useful opinion.) These authority-in-numbers declarations seem to have had a vogue in that era; cf. 100.

Exclamation marks are more common in German than in English, and used to be even more so. In particular, all sentences in the imperative mood (commands) end in an exclamation mark, even if the mood of the commander is calm (in the nongrammatical sense of ``mood''). It also used to be common for letters to begin with an exclamation, so ``Sehr geehrter Herr Schwindler!'' at the beginning of a letter would correspond to ``Most esteemed Mr. Swindler:'' Allowing for the greater formality of German, one would probably translate the German as ``Dear Mr. Schwindler:'' The use of exclamation-mark style in letters was declining at the beginning of the twentieth century, though it persisted longer in formal and official correspondence. Current style resembles English: a comma or colon follows the address clause of the text, and capitalization is required following the colon.

In Russian, the exclamation mark is still used. The failure of some high school students to use it made international news in June 2000.

That Manifesto of 93 is described in John Cornwell's Hitler's Scientists (Viking, 2003), on page 32, where he describes it as ``the Fulda manifesto signed by ninety-three German intellectuals and scientists, who at the outset of the First [World] War had combined to declare that science and knowledge should be entirely at the service of the nation state in arms.'' The 1914 document does not appear to be known by Fulda's name in German. I suppose Cornwell's term is technically a description, but he uses the term a few tiems and gives none of the more common names, which I think is a mistake. The two instances I can google of the relevant English ``Fulda Manifesto'' (so capitalized) can probably be accounted for as propagation of Cornwell's error.

It is true that the 1914 manifesto was drafted by Ludwig Fulda. Fulda had been a cofounder in 1889 of the Berlin Freie Bühne (`Free Theatre'). In 1923-28 he served as the first president of the German PEN-Zentrums, and in 1926 he was the second chairman of the Poetry Arts section of the Prussian Academy of Arts. So he was prominent enough, though not as prominent as some of his 92 cosignatories. However, in German the manifesto was not referred to as the Fulda Manifest or anything else with his name. Probably no explanation is needed for this fact, but it is worth noting that Fulda is a place name (see FD), so that calling it the Fulda Manifesto would have been confusing, suggesting a Manifesto originating in Fulda.

In fact, starting in 1867 and continuing for many years thereafter, the German Bischofskonferenz -- the annual meeting of the Roman Catholic bishops of Germany -- took place in Fulda. [I haven't checked, but I assume the Prussian defeat of Austria in 1866, ending the hopes for a predominantly Catholic Germany and raising Catholic fears of an aggressively Protestant Prussian domination, had something to do with the start of meetings in Fulda in 1867.] A statement of the Fulda Bishops conference is often referred to as a ``Fulda Declaration'' in English. The natural direct translation of that into German would be Fulda Erklärung, which essentially does not occur. I think the usual German description is Protokoll der Fuldaer Bischofskonferenz. The oldest well-known Fulda Declaration from the Bishops' Conference is from 1870, in support of the doctrine of papal infallibility. I suppose that raises the question of what papal infallibility has to do with the Franco-Prussian War.

The other well-known Fulda Declaration dates to March 28, 1933. This one was issued shortly after the Nazis came to power in Germany. The majority of Roman Catholic clerics in Germany, from the bishops on down, had resisted the Nazi movement while it was out of power. For example, in many cities, members of the SA (Brown Shirts) were forbidden to attend Catholic church services. (They were also required by the SA leadership, which fed and clothed them, to attend church services; so they attended Protestant church services.) On March 21, 1933, for the opening of the new Reichstag session, Hitler put on a show and gave a conciliatory speech. This gave the German Catholic hierarchy treacherous hope. The bishops feared another Kulturkampf like the one with Bismarck that had gone badly for the Church in the previous century. They recognized the increased power of the Nazi party, and they had recently learned that they would have little support from the Vatican. The upshot was a Bishops' declaration on March 28 that previous general warnings and prohibitions against the Nazi party were no longer in effect. [A good old source for all this is The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, 1933-45, by J.S. Conway (Liverpool, London, Prescot: C. Tinling & Co., Ltd., 1968).]

Now where was I? Oh yeah, that was a digression on what a ``Fulda Manifesto'' might be, besides a manifesto from Ludwig Fulda, the playwright, poet, translator, etc., and Jew. In 1933 he was expelled from PEN-Zentrum and the Prussian Academy of Arts. Nothing personal, of course -- just part of the general Nazi persecution of the Jews. In Berlin in 1939, at the age of 76, this German patriot and (I believe by then) officially stateless person committed suicide. For greater ironies, study the case of Fritz Haber.

4-Bit positive-edge-triggered parallel- or serial-access Shift Register. (``Universal access'': performs serial-serial, shift-left, shift-right, serial-parallel, parallel-serial, and parallel-parallel data register transfers.)

Dual 4-Bit Latch.

Quad Latch.

Dual 8-Bit Shift Register.

8-Bit Addressable (RAM) Latch.

8-Bit Multiple Port Register.

12-Input Parity Checker/Generator.

7-Segment Decoder/Driver/Latch with Constant Current Source Outputs.

7-Segment Decoder/Driver/Latch with Open-Collector (O/C) Outputs.

7-Segment Decoder/Driver/Latch with Constant Current Sink Outputs.

4-Bit Quad XNOR with Open-Collector (O/C) Outputs.

FIFO buffer memory. 16 words by 4 bits in 24-pin package; universal access (vide 9300).

Retriggerable Monostable Multivibrator (One Shot) with Complementary Outputs. Active-high and active-low inputs allow for leading- or trailing-edge triggering (here as well as in 9602). ``Retriggerable'' means that even during the one-shot cycle, the one-shot can be retriggered; with an input cycle time shorter than the output cycle time, output pulse is a continuous true output.

Dual Retriggerable (vide 9601), Resettable Monostable Multivibrators (One-Shots) with Complementary Outputs. Reset allows output pulse to be terminated early.

Quad 2-Input Positive NAND Buffer with Open-Collector (O/C) Outputs.

The acceleration of gravity at sea level is 9.8 m/s2.

The Barenaked Ladies song ``When I Fall'' (Lyrics Steven Page and Ed Robertson; music Ed Robertson, © 1995) has a line

Nine-point-eight straight down I can't stop my knees.

Traditionally, 98.4°F (degrees Fahrenheit) is regarded as normal human body temperature in Britain, whereas 98.6°F is considered normal in North America. It just goes to show how much warmer or hot-blooded we are over here. Grrr, y'all.

Incidentally, the expression ``cold fish'' arises from the fact that fish are generally cold-blooded. It turns out that there are some exceptions, notably tuna. Considering that amphibians and reptiles are generally cold-blooded, it's interesting that this adaptation arose independently at such a great phylogenetic remove from birds and mammals. (The question of whether some dinosaurs were warm-blooded or not is still hotly debated. Clustering of eggs, morphology of bone marrow, stride as measured in paw-prints, and structure of nares all constitute evidence.)

The larger the animal, the lower its surface-to-volume ratio, generally. Hence, the easier it is for it to maintain a high body temperature. That might be one reason why rats have brown fat and humans don't. Some whales have such an overheating problem that they take water in through a nostril and snort it out just to cool off.

Traditionally, 98.6°F (degrees Fahrenheit) is regarded as normal human body temperature hereabouts, but see the 98.4 . It is not by accident but design that this is very close to 100°F: Fahrenheit intended 100 on his temperature scale to correspond to body temperature. Or maybe 96. We'd be happy to ask him to sort it all out, but he assumed ambient temperature long ago. After his scale was standardized, more accurate measurements determined that body temperature is really about 98.6°F. In fact, body temperature varies over the course of the day, reaching a minimum during sleep, and ``normal'' body temperature at best represents an average. The average is less than 98.6.

There's a sixties rock song called ``98.6'' that it's really hard to get information about on the web. Maybe on an album called Ain't Gonna Lie. According to this page at Lyrics World it was written by G. Fischoff and T. Powers. That page and this other one both give the lyrics, and identify the recording artist or group as ``Keith.'' It doesn't sound like a group. It doesn't sound like a uninominal person. I don't really know what's going on, I just thought I heard the song so much on the radio, it must be well known (by somebody else). Anyway, the song's refrain uses 98.6 as a metonym for good health:

Hey, ninety-eight point six it's good to have you back again, oh Hey, ninety-eight point six her lovin' is the medicine that saved me Oh I love my baby,

A chilling fact: 98.6°F is 66.6°F above freezing, or 37°C.

In the TV series Get Smart (five seasons: 1965-1970, created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry), Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon, was the cautious, competent partner of bumbling, confident Agent 86, q.v. (title character Maxwell Smart, played by Don Adams). Agent 99 appeared in only 130 of the show's 138 episodes. I guess she needed an occasional rest.

Agent 99 had the patience of a saint, and perfect hair.

She also had a sultry voice warm like armagnac. Nowadays she's a voice actress, most heard on the PBS Dinosaurs series.

There was a song ``99,'' and in a Broadway show she sang it. I'm having a hard time tracking down the lyrics.

There's a site dedicated to famous people whose first name is Barbara (including Barbara Feldon), called the Barbara Hall of Fame. Barbara Feldon's maiden name was Barbara Hall. See the ¡bárbaro! entry for possible insight into why there should be a Barbara Hall of Fame. A different Barbara Hall (I'm pretty sure; 99 didn't do mailboxes and other disguises) was mayor of Toronto (1994-1997). She hasn't been inducted into the Barbara Hall of Fame as of January 2004 (could be a namespace collision error), but she has a Wikipedia entry.

Between about 1910 and 1912 (remembered by a Stammtisch member because his father was an upperclassman in college at the time), Procter and Gamble sent a sample of their Ivory soap to the analytical chemistry lab of Hobart Willard, at the University of Michigan. When the assay came back, the components that qualify as soap -- hydrolyzed fatty acids and water, added up to 99.44% of the total (see saponification entry to understand why this is something of an achievement). Other labs have claimed to have been the one that performed the historic assay, but the same 'tischer has this information direct from one of the students working at the lab. Ivory also used to claim that it cleaned ``all 200'' body parts. Is that on a male or a female? The number seems -- pardon the expression -- rounded off. Radio ads are my main source of anatomical information. Yes, my understanding is barely skeletal. In another radio ad, for I don't remember what, the claim was 206. For a related number, see the entry on 613.

Home is heaven and orgies are vile,
But you NEED an orgy, once in a while.

-- Ogden Nash, ``Home, 99-44/100% Sweet Home.''

Hmmm. Possibly at least the date is wrong in the report above. Here's a full-page ad for Ivory Soap that appeared in The Literary Digest, ``sometime apparently in 1908,'' which makes the ``99 44/100 per cent. pure'' claim.

The emergency number in Britain, corresponding to 911 in North America. Mickey Jupp mentions 999 in the song ``Switchboard Susan.'' ( Lyrics here.)

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