The given name, or perhaps rather the taken name, of a buddy of mine in college. At birth he was given a couple of more conventional names, but he came to be called `AB,' much as John Robert's come to be called `JR.' He had his name legally changed to `AB,' the beginning of no end of trouble. Every organization with its Procrustean form wanted to break his name apart and distribute the pieces to `First' and `M.I.' It was inevitable that he would become a philosopher.
His last name begins with C.
Units in some cgs systems used another non-numerical prefix, stat-, contrastively with ab-. This had to do with two parallel systems of units for electromagnetism: the electrostatic cgs units and the electromagnetic cgs units. Interconversions among these systems are rather subtle, because they refer to units in systems with different underlying equations. (Distances, masses, and times are rather directly comparable, and their evaluation does not involve inference from an equation. Similarly acceleration, which has a natural definition not involving any proportionality constant. As soon as one gets into forces and charges, however, one has to use equations, and there are a number of different, equally ``natural'' ways to fit together the Maxwell's equations and the Lorentz force law.
The cgs system allowed two different sets of equations, one more convenient for electrostatics and one more so for electromagnetics. Parallel sets of units, esu and emu, respectively, were devised for the two parallel systems of equations. When a base term like volt or ampere was used in both systems, a prefix (stat- for esu, ab- for emu) was used to disambiguate.
Neither system defined a fundamental unit of charge. That is, the statcoulomb (also called the franklin) and the abcoulomb were expressible in (mostly half-integer) powers of centimeter, gram, and second. (A statcoulomb or abcoulomb was also called an esu or emu. Unfortunately, esu can also stand for statvolt, statampere, stattesla, etc. Likewise emu with abvolt, abampere, weber, etc.) The consequences persist to this day, as many of the cgs units, particularly the cgs emu ones (notice the hidden false pleonasm!), persist in use in various fields.
The MKSA system of units for electromagnetism, which extends the MKS system, is based on a single set of equations. Those equations are rationalized (i.e., they have a lot of explicit factors of 4π), which makes them rather clunky for theoretical work. If I'm not mistaken, the fellow who proposed the MKSA system beat out Enrico Fermi for a faculty position in one of those rather fixed competitions they regularly have in Italian academia. I'll try to look into it, but if you can't wait, you can probably find the guy's name and some other details in Laura Fermi's Atoms in the Family.
Here's a picture of one fabricated at Notre Dame's Microelectronics Lab.
Air bridges are usually not necessary and typically inconvenient. The reason is that integrated circuits are kind of like printed circuit boards with many interconnected layers of printed circuitry, so there are many ways to connect any pair of nodes. (In honest-to-god printed circuits with copper cladding patterned on only one side of a fiberglass board, the restriction of interconnects to a single plane complicates things. To complete the circuits one typically has to take advantage of the space underneath discrete components soldered on top of the board, and in extreme situations one has to create such discrete components in the form of zero-ohm resistors.)
Microelectronic circuits are created by processes of patterning and deposition that leave almost all elements of any circuit in physical contact with neighboring elements. This is true not only of active elements (mostly transistors) and passive elements (capacitors being the most common now that Si MOSFET's dominate, even if you count as resistors the transistors connected up to function as such), but also of interconnects between different components of the same chip.
Okay, here's another interpretation: it's a translation of the American Standard Version into English, with clarifying commentary. It contains so many hints that if you're not careful, you might be led into a tendentious reading. To avoid this danger, just look at the words without actually reading them. (That's what most people do.)
The slugging percentage is the average number of bases reached from home per AB. Excluded in the count are walks (base-on-balls or hit-by-pitch), sacrifices, and interference.
Isaac Asimov wrote a mystery called Murder at the ABA. This ABA.
The ABA and AAP sponsor BookExpo America (BEA) in Chicago, Wednesday through Sunday following Memorial Day. It used to be called the American Booksellers Association Convention & Trade Exhibit.
There's a separate organization called the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). In the bad old days, ABA was for blacks and ACBL was for whites. Both still exist as independent leagues.
In case you're wondering -- and doubtless you are -- the standard noun-before-adjective order of Spanish would allow the name to be interpreted as `Argentine Association of Bridge.' However, gender agreement with asociación (feminine) would require the adjective to be argentina for this interpretation. So the name really implies that the bridge (card game) is Argentine rather than the association. It's a distinction without much difference, however. A construction like ``bridge argentino'' is understood as `bridge in Argentina' if there doesn't happen to be a particular Argentine game of bridge.
In Woody Allen's 1971 movie ``Bananas,'' the new dictator of the banana republic decrees, as power almost visibly goes to his head, that underwear shall be changed frequently, and that in order to facilitate enforcement of the decree, underwear shall be worn on the outside. Mobutu's authenticity campaign began in 1971. If I track down the details, I may be able to say whether life imitated art or vice versa in this case. More on ``Bananas'' at the Abe entry below.
I guess that, just as the abacost was meant to be accessorized by a foulard, the Mao suit or Mao jacket was meant to be accessorized by a Mao cap. In 1980, my friend Fu was going home to Shanghai for some weeks and asked if there was anything I'd like him to bring back, so I asked for a Mao cap. I was already too late. On return he reported that they were already impossible to find in the city, though he figured they might still be available in the countryside.
Well, here it is August 2005, even Sendero Luminoso seems to have gone dark, yet there's still a place that's safe for Maoists. That's right: California. See the MIM entry.
The mental image that most people have of an abacus is of the East Asian abacus: a rectangular frame that can be stood vertically, supporting two parallel ladders of horizontal bars with beads. (In Japanese: soroban; from Mandarin: suàn pán, meaning roughly `calculation board.') The traditional Western (or at least the ancient Greek and Roman) abacus was simply a small sandbox with pebbles. In Latin, a pebble, or small stone, is a calculus. Over time, the word took the sense of `means [or system] of computation,' or just calculation in general. In some cases, the calculation might be somewhat metaphorical -- e.g. ``moral calculus'' referring to the set of competing considerations, and the reasoning about them, used to make an ethical decision.
In the seventeenth century, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz first developed mathematical techniques based on infinitesimals. (They developed these independently and more or less simultaneously, and there was a bitter controversy over priority. As the contents of the Archimedes palimpsest originally discovered by Heiberg are teased out, we may see to what extent this contest is made moot.) Parts of the mathematical field that developed from that 17c. work came to be called the differential and the integral calculus. (Beyond the elementary calculations, it can become difficult to keep the two separate; e.g., integrating a nontrivial differential equation. Indeed, the fundamental theorem of calculus states essentially that the derivative of the indefinite integral of a function is the function itself, so the connection is quite fundamental.) Today the word calculus, not further modified, refers to elementary manipulations of differential and integral calculus. The word also continues to be used to help name some other mathematical subdisciplines, such as ``calculus of finite differences.''
On page 73 of the autobiography mentioned at the 86 entry, Stan Ulam relates a conversation he had with John von Neumann in 1936. Stan was disappointed with the isolationary specialization he found among mathematicians at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS).
Being a malicious young man, I told Johnny that this reminded me of the division of rackets among Chicago gangsters. The ``topology racket'' was probably worth five million dollars; the ``calculus of variations racket,'' another five. Johnny laughed and added, ``No! That is worth only one million.''
(BTW, that was a very sound correction, in relative terms, from a mathematician's perspective.)
In at least one case, the word calculus is used to give a name to a hodge-podge of tools and concepts: a fairly standard third-year college course for math majors is ``Advanced Calculus.'' This typically covers point-set topology on the real line, convergence of series, introduction to measure theory, etc. The graduate-level course that more or less covers a superset of this material is typically ``Analysis'' or ``Real Analysis'' (although the set of real numbers is really only one especially interesting special case). Analysis is another one of those words that could in principle mean so much that it might mean nothing at all if conventional usage were less parsimonious.
B. L. van der Waerden's obituary for Emmy Noether appeared in the German journal Mathematische Annalen [``Nachruf auf Emmy Noether,'' in vol. 111 (1935) pp. 469-476]. He mentions a number of awards that her work won, and a lot of them explicitly mentioned Arithmetik. In this context, of course, `arithmetic' referred to real-number (and general metric space) analysis.
Oh, bummer! I just realized that I have already written an entry for calculus! Well, follow the link -- there isn't too much overlap, and there's more on the abacus.
In 1977, they released the album ``Knowing Me, Knowing You.'' The cover art featured the two couples in a somewhat symmetric order (B, A, A, B) and the group name written with an unprecedented degree of bilateral symmetry: the second letter B was printed backwards (i.e., facing left). ABBA was always very un-metallic and generally too sweet to be truly cool, so it's great to know that bands like NIN are derivative. Just call them ninnies.
Like many Luxembourg websites, that of the ABBL is easiest to read if you are comfortable in at least a couple of languages. (English and French, in this case. To take another example, the Editpress Tageblatt Luxembourg, whose name is a slightly macaronic mix of at least English and German, has webpages in a mix of French and German. No translations are offered, of course. In a truly multilingual country, they're not needed.)
In Portuguese, ABC is expanded `Custeio Baseado em Atividades.' Fascinating, isn't it? It's what makes the lives of glossarists the stuff of legend.
Personally, I prefer Marlboros. Or is that Marlboroes? Marlboroughs? As it happens, I don't smoke, so this fact doesn't much affect any cigarette company's bottom line. You get a lot to like with a Marlboro. Like what?
You know, while we're on the subject: I feel that the cig companies are getting a bad rap on the ``societal costs of smoking'' thing. A bunch of state attorneys general have sued them to recover the state-funded portion of the greater medical expenses incurred by smokers, but this is only looking at one side of the ledger. Actuarial studies have repeatedly demonstrated that existing state cigarette taxes just about pay the total government costs caused by smoking. They don't cover the total increase in (government outlays for) medical treatment, but the difference is about made up by the decrease in social security benefits paid, since smokers don't live as long as nonsmokers. Obviously, the state attorneys general should be suing the federal government to adjust the funding formulas for social security.
I read that the cigarette companies introduced this argument once, but that it was rejected on some technicality. (You know, if you save someone's life it doesn't give you a right to kill them?) Still, why don't they publicize this totally exculpatory argument? It would improve their public image, sure. (I guess they settled the suit, but when the US Congress refused to sign off on their part of the bargain, it left a lot of things unresolved. As of July 2000, I don't know the status anymore.)
Of course, the bird conservancy helpfully points out, ``Keeping Cats Indoors Isn't Just For The Birds'' (it's the title of a free brochure). They say that ``[s]cientists [scientists!] estimate that free-roaming cats kill hundreds of millions of birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians each year.'' To think of all those cute furry rats whose diseased, bird-egg-eating lives are brought to a premature end.
In ``Brilliant Mistake,'' Elvis Costello sings
She said that she was working for the ABC News,but lately (1998-9) he's been writing lyrics for Burt Bacharach music. This is probably good news for the person or persons who enjoy the music of both. Hmm. Enough to fill a concert hall, apparently. One fan who left a paw print at amazon.com likes Elvis Costello's ``cleaver intellegint lyrics.''
It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use.
More on ``Brilliant Mistake'' lyrics at the Cu entry, of course. Complete lyrics of the song here.
The initialism ABC is also used in Brazil in reference to the manufacture of automobiles and possibly other stuff, but I can't seem to track it down. You're eager to know why I care. I care because someday I aspire to write a complete entry about the Brazilian politician called Lula, and Lula got his nickname (and his start in politics, as a labor activist) when he was a worker in the ABC industry.
You do? Okay, then, I guess the ABC is a national organization that keeps track of (``audits'') periodical distribution (``circulation'') rates, and maybe TV and other media, so advertisers can figure out how much they owe the media that carry their ads. It's a different national organization in different countries. (You can sort out the grammatical number agreement yourself; I need to get to sleep.) They're getting into the web advertising business, too.
It seems clever (or cleaver?) to them to offer an
Not to me.
See the international organization that masterminds the conspiracy of all the putatively independent national organizations: IFABC.
See full details of ABC and its implementations, with example programs,
in The ABC Programmer's Handbook by Leo Geurts, Lambert Meertens
and Steven Pemberton, (Prentice-Hall ISBN, 0-13-000027-2).
Also, ``An Alternative Simple Language and Environment for PCs,'' Steven Pemberton, IEEE Software, 4, Nº 1, pp. 56-64 (January 1987).
A major web resource for this language appears to be this one, maintained by Steven Pemberton.
ABC uses nesting by indentation and mixes terse shellish features with loquacious baby-programmer talk.
Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages includes source code for two elementary ABC programs -- and after all, how often do I get to write ``elementary ABC''? Neumann identifies Amos, BASIC, Euphoria, Profan, and REXX as similar languages.
The first three letters of the Greek alphabet are alpha, beta, and gamma (α, β, γ). If you rotate a capital γ (Γ), tipping it 45 degrees on its back, you can see the resemblance: the C is a rounded version of a wedge open to one side. The Romans borrowed the Etruscan alphabet, which the Etruscans borrowed from the Greeks living in southern Italy (hence from a ``Western Greek'' alphabet).
At each adoption, there was usually adaptation, and there were also evolutionary changes and reforms within the histories of individual languages. Rotation and other deformations of the letter glyphs were among the evolutionary changes. Another kind of evolutionary change was forced by phonetic changes in the language. In Latin, the sound represented by the third letter of the alphabet was originally some kind of ``hard-gee'' sound, but became devoiced into a hard cee (a k sound, though this too evolved further). A letter for the hard-gee sound was still needed, because the sound was retained in many words, but was no longer unambigously represented by the third letter. This led to a reform.
The Western Greek alphabets, and the Etruscan, had epsilon, digamma, and zeta as the next three letters. The epsilon essentially became our E, the digamma our F, and the zeta our Z. (The digamma is less known today because it was discarded from the Attic Greek alphabet which became dominant in regions where Greek ultimately continued to be written.) The reform consisted of discarding the Z, which was not needed in Latin at the time, and replacing it with a slightly modified form of C that is G. The Z was eventually added back on at the end of the alphabet when the Romans needed it for the many words that were being borrowed from Greek.
Everyone knows about the Alpher Bethe Gamow paper, which has its own Wikipedia entry. Basically, Ralph Alpher was working towards his Ph.D. under George Gamow at Cornell, and had written a paper on nucleosynthesis. The author line would have read R.A. Alpher and G. Gamow, but ``[i]t seemed unfair to the Greek alphabet to have the article signed by Alpher and Gamow only, and so the name of [his colleague] Dr. Hans A. Bethe (in absentia) was inserted in preparing the manuscript for print. Dr. Bethe, who received a copy of the manuscript, did not object, and, as a matter of fact, was quite helpful in subsequent discussions. There was, however, a rumor that later, when the alpha, beta, gamma theory went temporarily on the rocks, Dr. Bethe seriously considered changing his name to Zacharias.''
Gamow, who wrote the quoted text in his 1952 book, The Creation of the Universe, was of course well aware that the last letter of the Greek alphabet is omega. He was just making another pun, and some leeway is allowed. ``Bethe,'' however, requires very little. The name is pronounced as in German, so the th has a tee sound, and the final e has something of a shwa sound, so overall it sounds like the English pronunciation of ``beta.'' The only surprising thing is that -eta in Greek letter names is pronounced with a long a for the stressed vowel in North American English (just as in German). In Britain, the standard dialects make it a long e, as in Velveeta. (In the nonstandard dialects, I suppose the names of Greek letters may not occur very frequently, except perhaps in ``Catherine Zeta-Jones.'') In compensation, the standard dialects in Britain are nonrhotic, so Alpher sounds more similar to alpha.
The wordplay in the author line goes beyond the coincidence of echoing the beginning of the Greek alphabet. The main types of radiation associated with nuclear decay are alpha, beta, and gamma rays. Also, the hypothesis of the paper was that nuclei are generated in a step-by-step sequence loosely resembling progress through the alphabet. (The individual step in the process was the capture of a neutron to increase the atomic mass number. Different nuclei along these isobars could then be generated by electron or positron emission, or by electron capture.) Retrospectively, we know that Alpher's theory (the one in the alpha beta gamma paper) was superseded by Bethe's theory (he became interested in the topic and correctly hypothesized that nucleosynthesis of elements beyond helium took place in stars).
Less well-known is another close association between Gamow and the Greek alphabet, which I quote here from the recollections of É.L. Andronikashvili of the early 1930's, when he was a physics student in Saint Petersburg (then called Leningrad). (These appear in, and apparently were written for, Khalatnikov's book on Landau, pp. 60-62.) He and his brother used to attend parties at the house of, and organized by, the stepdaughters of the translator Isai Benediktovich Mandel'shtamm, a translator. There he first met Lev Davidovich Landau, called ``Dau,'' newly returned from three years abroad to teach at the Leningrad Physico-Technical Institute. (The older stepdaughter, Genia Kannegiser, was a mathematical physicist.)
Dau was accompanied by his associates, also physicists: Bronstein (nicknamed `the Abbot'), Gamow (`Johnny'), and Ivanenko (`Dimus'), who was later excommunicated' -- that is, denied the friendship of Landau and even the right to be acquainted with him.
... Gamow's wife was also present, a Moscow University student whom he had brought over from there. She too had a nickname, `Rho,' after the Greek letter ρ. Later, she became `Rho-zero' (ρ0). All this seemed quite pretentious.
Nowadays in physics, the letter rho most frequently represents resistivity or density. It doesn't seem especially flattering. Maybe she was a redhead. The ρ0 (``rho-zero'' or ``rho-nought''), of course, is a neutral meson. (The triplet of rho mesons can be regarded as excited states of the pion triplet.)
It seems that Gamow had the effect of making people think alphabetically in one way or another. James D. Watson (yes, co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA) wrote a memoir with the title Genes, Girls, and Gamow.
Another person with a Greek-letter nickname was Eratosthenes (Eratosthenes of Cyrene). His nickname was Beta. Beta, the second letter of the alphabet, represented the number 2 in Greek numerals. The nickname alludes to his reputation as the second-best in all the various fields in which he worked.
A highly successful book I have seen billed as ``first-ever South Asian American coming-of-age story'' is Born Confused (2002) by Tanuja Desai Hidier. It was one of the books plagiarized by Kaavya Viswanathan for her cut-and-paste achievement How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life.
All information subject to change without my noticing. This is a pretty remote corner of the glossary, I may not be back for a while.
In 1989 the ABPP designated the ABCN as the specialty council in clinical neuropsychology, and in 1993 the ABCN implemented a written examination as a requirement for specialty certification in clinical neuropsychology. This must be their secret: do everything in reverse order. Also, keep upping the requirements in order to keep the number of candidates from growing too fast. In 2002, a postdoctoral training program in clinical neuropsychology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was the first postdoc program in the specialty to earn APA accreditation. By 2005, postdoctoral training became a requirement for candidates with doctoral degrees earned after 2004.
There appears to be a support group for these people; I've seen their signs by the clinic:
The TTBOMKAB entry mentions in passing a young woman who, in 1969, has been renting a cabin in upstate New York for ``several years,'' writing her dissertation. The story (nonfiction) is told by Philip Roth, who seems to imply that she was working on it for the four years they lived together starting in 1969. Call me impatient, but I think of this as not getting on with your life. What people with an ABD degree usually do is feel guilty and drive a cab or something.
Perhaps the most famous instance of an ABD that eventually led to a Ph.D. was the case of Frank Bourgin. In 1945, he received a letter stating the ``unanimous opinion'' of his Ph.D. committee that his 617-page manuscript needed the kind of work that could only be done if he quit his job and came back to the University of Chicago to finish it. With a family to support, he could not do this. Crushed and bitter, he put it away for over forty years, only looking at the box that held it on the eight occasions when he moved. Finally he looked at it again after he retired. The dissertation became The Great Challenge: The Myth of Laissez-Faire in the Early Republic (1989) (xxiv+246 pp.). This was not an ordinary ABD situation. Four decades later, it was hard to reconstruct what had happened, but it seems that Prof. Leonard D. White, member of the Ph.D. committee and chair of the department, had -- not to put too fine a point on it -- lied. White apparently reported the ``unanimous opinion'' of Bourgin's committee without in fact consulting the rest of the committee. The surviving member claims he never saw the dissertation. Bourgin's advisor was busy with wartime work in Washington, DC, and retired afterwards. He had proposed Bourgin's topic but gave him less help or supervision than was normal. The full story of how Bourgin was eventually awarded his Ph.D. in Pol. Sci. on June 10, 1988, is told in the preface and in Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s foreword to that book (read the latter first, to avoid confusion).
The Dutch fleet saw action in the Java Sea in late February 1942, where a combined ABDA fleet battled a Japanese fleet covering an invasion force approaching Java (part of the Dutch East Indies). The Allied fleet consisted of a cruiser from each country and some destroyers, and had no air support. The Allies were routed. Of the entire Allied fleet then operating in the Dutch East Indies, only four American destroyers made it back to Australia.
Abraham was considered to have an unattractive face. During the famous debates with Douglas, when Douglas accused him of being two-faced, he replied by asking rhetorically, whether if he had another face, he'd be wearing the one he had on. While he was president a young girl wrote him a letter suggesting that he'd look better with a beard. He took the advice. Why didn't Mary Todd think of that?
Abe also had a lazy eye. Daguerrotypes or early photographs from the time of his presidency were generally ``corrected.''
Press pictures of Franklin Delano Roosevelt never showed his wheelchair or crutches. Television didn't either. (He attended a world's fair where an experimental TV system was being demonstrated, and became the first US president to appear on television.)
I decided to grow a beard a couple of years ago. It looked good when it was starting, but I'd have to trim it to Yassir Arafat length to keep it looking good. The main issue, however, is kissing. In Latin America, the saying is Un beso sin bigote es como un huevo sin sal. [`A kiss without a mustache is like an egg without salt.'] To judge by my experience here in the US, however, American women prefer their eggs without salt. I mean, it can't be me.
The title of Woody Allen's Bananas refers to a Central American banana republic that is the scene of much of the action. Back in Nueva York, the Woody Allen character's love interest Nancy is played by Louise Lasser (Woody Allen's love interest at the time). She leaves him because some indefinable ``something is missing,'' she doesn't know what. Some improbable accidents later, he returns to fund-raise in New York, a leftist guerilla leader in big-beard-and-mustache disguise. Nancy is attracted. In bed she screams ``That's what was missing!'' Still, as I noted (read the previous paragraph if you already forgot) this is the exception rather than the rule among the Anglos.
I suppose that the saying has added significance in Spanish, owing to the fact that huevo (`egg') is slang for testicle. In fact, a form of apparent hermaphroditism that arose from a spontaneous mutation a couple of generations back in the Dominican Republic (.do) was locally known as huevos a doce (`eggs at twelve'). We ain't talkin' midnight breakfast at Denny's here, capisce? Fetal androgen deficiency leads to male babies with apparently female external genital organs; testosterone surge at puberty produces male appearance and reproductive function (pretty much).
Consider the merkin.
I've often wondered if Sp. bigote is etymologically related to Eng. bigot, but I've never bothered to check. Okay, I just checked. Etymology uncertain.
Bananas -- now why would a sex-obsessed comedian and occasional ironist name a movie after a fruit? Is there a deeper reason? What kind of bananas? Give me 400 words; the exam ends promptly at 4:30. (This issue isn't addressed at the electrical banana entry, though Woody Allen is mentioned there.) Woody -- how did he end up with that name? His given name isn't Woodrow.
Precise relationship to ABAA unclear, but in any case, while I'm having trouble reaching its server, the list of ABAA members on ABE is up.
To be fair, I should note that the end of the day for dating purposes has varied historically, and only recently become settled, for most civil purposes, as midnight.
Jewish religious dates are reckoned to begin at sundown. Thus for example, a Jewish holiday that in a particular Gregorian year falls on what is nominally September 1 is celebrated or observed beginning at sundown on August 31. The talmudic reasoning for this is based on the wording of the Genesis creation story, which includes a repeated formula translated ``and there was night, and day -- the first day.'' This is taken to imply that the day begins with nightfall. It makes a certain kind of sense that He created the Sun at night -- what was the alternative?
Back in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a lot of different places were considered as possibilities for a Jewish national homeland. The Soviets even allocated a place in the middle of southeastern nowhere and deported some Jewish volunteer settlers there. Other places seriously considered were in Africa, in Grand Island, New York, and, oh yeah, the bloody Middle East. Grand Island, NY, is very close to Canada. Parts of Canada are north of the Arctic Circle. If a place inside the Arctic Circle had been selected, then for some of the year there would be no sunset, wreaking havoc with Jewish holiday reckoning. I don't claim that this observation is original with me, and neither did Mordecai Richler. (I mean, he didn't claim it was original with him. I don't think he was even aware of me.) In his Solomon Gursky Was Here, Richler recalled the old proof that neither Judaism nor Islam could be universal religions: fasting for an entire day would kill the Arctic/Antarctic dweller. He had some fun with the implications of this for the Inuit.
Also, matzah trees probably don't bloom that far north. Traditionally, however, there's another explanation of how the Jewish homeland came to be where it is. After the Lord of the Universe brought His people out of Egypt (Mitzraim), He asked Moses (Moshe) where he would like to have the Jewish national homeland. You'll recall that Moses was a stutterer. This is probably the real reason why they wandered around in the desert for forty years. Moses wanted a land flowing with milk and honey and all, and he answered the Lord ``Ca... Ca-a... Cana... Cana-a...'' and the omniscient Lord of all creation said ``Oh, Canaan. No problem. So be it.'' Actually, what Moses was trying to say was Canada. Some years later, Britain and France clashed there on the Plains of Abraham.
Incidentally, a better transliteration for Canaan would be Cana'an. See the aa entry for more on that. And also, the Thirty-Second Medieval Workshop was hosted by the U of BC in Vancouver (24-26 October 2002). The theme was ``Promised Lands: The Bible, Christian Missions, and Colonial Histories in Latin Christendom, 400-1700 AD.'' Now back to the subject of the entry -- Abend...
Observational astronomers spend the night hours awake and would prefer to have all the records of a particular night correspond to a single ``day.'' For this reason, Scaliger's useful Julian day scheme was eventually extended by astronomers so that Julian days begin at noon (at the Greenwich meridian). Of course, this isn't very useful if you're observing in Hawaii, or even at the AAO. For more on Julian days, see JD entry.
This page shows where on earth you can get some shut-eye.
plain or downright murder; as distinguished from the less heinous crimes of manslaughter, and chance-medley. It is derived from Saxon æbere, apparent, notorious, and morth, murder; and was declared a capital offence without fine or commutation, by the laws of Canute, and of Henry I.
If you had the word murder already on the board, and five more common tiles on your rack... but no, the word does not occur in any of the three major Scrabble dictionaries. That just kills me.
In fact, ABFFE was founded in 1990 by the American Booksellers Association. They are a co-sponsor of Banned Books Week.
See also FEN.
Etymologically, Abgeordnete corresponds approximately to the English noun delegate, with ab- and de- both having a sense like `off, away,' so the person is one `sent away' (in Romance) or `ordered off' (in German). For a parallel instance, see Abf. [I should make clear that ordnen, of which geordnet is the past participle, is normally used in the sense of `organize, arrange.' It is cognate with English verb order, of course, which can be synonymous with command, but `command' is not a common sense of the German verb.]
An abhesive is a material that resists adhesion. This is the noun use of an adjective, of course, but you can figure out the meaning of the adjective from the meaning of the noun. I resist defining adjectives. Oh, okay: ``that resists adhesion.'' Happy now? ``Like teflon.''
The word Morgenlande is an archaism. At the time this word was used in ordinary speech, it meant what the English term the Orient meant: the exotic regions to the east of Europe, with a strong connotation of backwardness, technological and moral. That Orient included the Middle East (Near East) and the Far East.
Except in the genitive case, only the plural form of the German term was used. Landes is the genitive singular of Land. The form Lande which I used above is an archaic nominative plural; if the term were coined today the nom. pl. would have to be Morgenländer. You know, that ILL request is gonna take a while, so you've got some time. Why not amble over to the Morgenlande entry and read some more about this fascinating word? Oh wait, wait: you get to choose. I just thought of another German word with an interesting semantic history.
For classicists, it would be short for Abhandlungen des Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, Philologisch-historische Klasse. (After the comma: `Philological-Historical section.')
Most prepositions in Latin take objects in the accusative or ablative case. [In the same way, pronouns that are the objects of prepositions in English are in the objective case. Thus ``you and I, or we'' give a gift, but a gift is given ``to you and me, or us.'' Obviously, English has a rather fragmentary case system, in which the subject and object forms of nouns and of the personal pronouns you and it are not distinguished.]
Noun phrases occur in various functions in a sentence, and not just as the objects of prepositions. The various cases in Latin are used to indicate these functions. For some cases, the function is quite straightforward. The vocative is used to address the named person. (Hence Shakespeare's Caesar calls out, ``Et tu, Brute.'' Brute here is the vocative form of Brutus.) There are vocative forms for nouns that you wouldn't normally address directly; Winston S. Churchill found this situation scandalous, but then he was always one to see the moral dimension in things. Similarly, the nominative indicates the subject of a sentence (this is typically the same as the agent), the accusative marks the direct object, etc. The uses of the ablative case are not so straightforward, and resist being summarized. Thus, Latinists like to (or in any case do) define various categories of ablative corresponding to various instances in which a noun phrase ought to be declined in the ablative case. These can get amusing. Okay, usually just mildly amusing. Come on, grin a little bit. We don't have a very extensive list yet. You can watch as it is built.
Or else you can go and watch paint dry. It's up to you.
Charles E. Bennett's article, ``The Ablative of Association,'' on pp. 64-81 of the 1905 issue of TAPA, has the following initial footnote: ``This investigation has had regard to the [Latin] literature down to the time of Apuleius. While the lists of examples are quite full, it is not claimed that they are absolutely complete for all authors.'' Bennett agreed with those Indo-Europeanists who regarded the IE instrumental ``as having primarily a sociative force'' and sought to ``show that the range and frequency of the instrumental are much more extensive in Latin than is at present recognized. According to my observations it appears with verbs of joining, entangling, mixing, sharing, being attended, keeping company with, being accustomed, wedding, mating, piling, playing, changing and interchanging, agreeing, wrestling; also with adjectives of equality.'' I dunno -- it looks like he might have overplayed his hand.
To be in greater sympathy with this view, one may observe that the German preposition mit serves more of an instrumental function than the corresponding English preposition with. (They are almost certainly not cognates, but each overlaps more closely in meaning with the other than either does with any other preposition in the other language.) Specifically, I have in mind constructs like ``mit Bus,'' meaning `by bus.'
Hmmm. It just occurred to me that in Europe (in Germany and Italy, anyway), ordinarius professors are regular faculty, and extraordinarius professors are just adjuncts (like ``extras'' in a show). So maybe the ablecti weren't the best of the best, but at best only the best of the rest. I'll have to check back.
These confusions seem to happen a lot. A medieval epithet expressing great respect, and bestowed on very few, was stupor mundi. This means `wonder of the world,' but that's not exactly what it sounds like to the average English-speaker (you have to think ``stupefier, stunner' for stupor).
The horsecollar-style emergency life-jackets used to be called by a more evocative name. If I were singing ``Hey Nineteen,'' at this point I would insert a lyric about Mae West.
There is an ABM treaty between the US and something called the USSR, that limited the deployment of ABM systems to two areas (subsequently one).
(That's right, 1938. Modern English was already spoken in that epoch.)
Loosely speaking, this also has something to do with the plural of ABM.
Fascinating glossary entry so far, eh?
After plowing through that paragraph, you're probably desperate for substantive information about just what the ABN (or ABN notice) is about. Medicare requires that a doctor or other health care provider have the beneficiary sign an ABN to indicate that notification has been given that certain services to be rendered will probably not be paid for by Medicare (whether because it considers the service medically unnecessary or because it simply doesn't cover it).
The notification must be given in advance of the services. I suppose that under Medicare rules, in the absence of a signed ABN the patient cannot be held responsible for charges not reimbursed by Medicare. The ABN requirement applies only to patients in the Original Medicare Plan. It does not apply to those in a Medicare Managed Care Plan. It also does not apply to those not in any Medicare plan. I mean--what are you, crazy or something? You're dreamin'!
Some of you who are blissfully ignorant may be wondering about the word ``probably,'' but I've got stuff to do. I'll be back here soon.
a military garment, worn by the Greek and Roman soldiers: it was lined, or doubled, for warmth. There seem to have been different kinds of abollas, fitted to different occasions. Even kings appear to have used them: Caligula was affronted at king Ptolemy for appearing at the shows in a purple abolla, and by the eclat thereof turning the eyes of the spectators from the emperor upon himself.
It seems that even then, dressing in inappropriate military garb was a major fashion statement. Today, the abolla is mentioned in the Fashion Glossary of the ICCF&D. (``Roman military cloak, worn short in length, over one shoulder and fastened at the throat with a fibula.'')
And yet the Forthrights Phrontistery -- International House of Logorrhea includes it in a list of obscure words, even though it's defined in at least three on-line reference works!
The ABoR document at the SAF is mostly preamble, but when it gets to the nitty gritty, it encounters the same problems that we are all familiar with from older affirmative-action programs intended to try to produce some semblance of racial balance, or equality of opportunity or...
The first ``principle'' reads: ``All faculty shall be hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in the field of their expertise and, in the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts, with a view toward fostering a plurality of methodologies and perspectives. No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of his or her political or religious beliefs.'' Making use of the distributive property and simplifying, we can summarize thus: hiring, firing, promotion and tenure decisions shall be made ``with a view toward fostering a plurality of methodologies and perspectives,'' yet without being affected by employee's ``political or religious beliefs.''
There are other principles. They are idealistic.
A survey by the Pew Research Center found a sharp drop in the number of people ``who support legalized abortion,'' from 54% in August 2008 to 46% in a survey conducted from March 31 to April 21, 2009. Views on abortion are not entirely straightforward; most ``pro-choice'' people oppose infanticide and most ``pro-life'' people approve some form of birth control, and a majority of people favor legal abortion in some cases and not in others. So you'll want to look at the detailed survey results as reported by Pew and by Gallup. See also NARAL.
(This paragraph just states what everyone knows, to set context for the slightly interesting stuff in the next.) Packaged foods that are required by US law to bear a ``Nutrition Facts'' summary list a ``Serving Size'' and ``Servings Per Container.'' Often, the food product in the package comes in countable parts -- individual crackers, say, or a chocolate bar molded into rectangles so as to break into a composite number of pieces. For small packages, the serving size is sometimes the entire package, but in all other cases that I can recall, the serving size is chosen so that it does not divide evenly into the number of pieces, and thus yields a ``Servings Per Container'' value like ``about 7.'' The evident intent of this choice is to defeat the law's purpose: the need to do further arithmetic in order to obtain more meaningful numbers than something like calories-per-seven-twenty-fifths-of-the-package discourages consumers from taking advantage of the data provided. It seems at least plausible that the serving size is selected merely to yield reasonable-seeming numbers to the inattentive shopper. I guess it's even conceivable that the serving size is chosen so that rounding makes the inferred total numbers look better, to those who do the math.
Anyway, the ``About'' following ``Servings Per Container'' has become something of a reflex. Today I found something approximating proof of that: according to the label, Murray / Sugar Free Cookies / Vanilla Wafers reports ``nutrition'' facts for a serving size of 4 cookies, and there are ``About 9'' such servings in the package. The package didn't look like it contained wafers stacked even as few as 5 high, let alone 7 or 11. Sure enough, the package contained 12 stacks of 3 wafers each. ``Foiled,'' as they say, by non-prime factorization.
I think that someone who studies abnormal psychology is called a normal psychologist, but I haven't had a chance to check that.
It's not widely known, and it probably isn't even true, that piano is very popular in the mountain kingdom of Bhutan (.bt). In fact, piano is probably the national sport. Once, the King of Bhutan heard of a man with perfect pitch and judgment, the best piano tuner in the world: Oppur Knockety. (For the purposes of this entry, we're going to assume Oppur Knockety is blind. It has some resonance.) For a great reward, the King persuaded Oppur Knockety to visit the palace and tune the King's own piano. When he was done, the piano sounded true and wonderful, better than one could have imagined that a piano could sound, before one heard this one.
That night, there was a great storm, and the next day, when the King sat down for his morning exercises, the piano was painfully out of tune. The King called for his men to bring back the tuner, to fix the piano, but they returned with only his solemn regret...
You know, this guy reminds me of King Frederick the Great. He was a great patron of the sciences. Leonhard Euler spent twenty-five years as a guest in Frederick's court, which I suppose is why one of the most famous early problems in topology is the seven bridges of Königsberg (first capital of Prussia), except that Frederick the Great ascended the Prussian throne in 1740, and Euler treated this problem in 1735. Oh well. At the end of WWII, East Prussia became Russian and Polish territory, and Königsberg became Kaliningrad, Russia.
Seven Bridges Road, sung in occasionally a capella harmony, was a hit for The Eagles in 1968. Steve Young wrote it about a road by that (unofficial) name that leads out of Montgomery, Alabama into idyllic countryside by way of seven bridges.
There's also a parkway called Seven Bridges Road in Duluth, Minnesota. It has gone by a variety of names. Samuel Snively, the fellow who had the inspiration first to build it, and who got most of the original road built in 1899-1900, wanted to call it Spring Garden Boulevard, but that name never caught on. It follows Amity Creek and was best known as Amity Parkway, but it was also called Snively Road. It originally had ten wooden bridges, but these and the road generally fell into disrepair, until 1911-1912, when it was renovated and the original bridges were replaced. The renovation plan called for stone-arch bridges to replace the wooden ones, but one of these was downgraded to a less decorative iron-pipe-and-cement structure. Of the nine stone-arch bridges, the two at the upstream (Western) end fell into vehicular disuse, hence the current name. But it was never called Ten Bridges Road or Nine Bridges Road. Some numbers have more romance.
You know, on the subject of romance, it says here in the Columbia Encyclopedia that in 1733 the future King Frederick II ``married Elizabeth of Brunswick-Bevern, but he separated from her shortly afterward and for the rest of his life showed no interest in women'' (my italics). Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.
In 2001 there was an incident in Bhutan involving royal marriage, and it turned out much worse. Oops, wrong Himalayan kingdom. It was Nepal.
As noted above, King Frederick II ascended the throne in 1740 -- he was known as Frederick the Great because his cynical, unscrupulous military adventures Greatly enlarged his kingdom. He was into all things French, and had a serious amateur interest in music. He played flute concertoes. As you may well imagine, in his court everyone absolutely loved flute concertoes. The King of Prussia was an absolute monarch.
The pianoforte (Italian for `gentle-strong') was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori around 1709. The original name, eventually shortened to piano, stresses the respect in which it was a major improvement over its predecessor the harpsichord: it is possible to vary the volume (and duration) of a note. The piano supplanted the harpsichord over the course of the nineteenth century, growing in popularity even as it was still being perfected. Gottfried Silbermann, the foremost German organ builder of the time, worked at perfecting the instrument. Frederick the Great was his greatest supporter and customer -- he was said to have owned as many as fifteen Silbermann pianos. So much for the Bhutan connection.
Fritz had his court in Potsdam (I guess that explains the Euler topology thing), where Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (a son of the great Johann Sebastian, and no mean musician himself) was Capellmeister (`chapel-, i.e., choir-master'). C. P. E. Bach was one of the first major composers to write for the piano. In 1747, J. S. Bach paid a visit to King Frederick's court and tried out all the pianos. A bit more on that the RICERCAR entry.
Sometimes terms like ``abridged'' are used where ``almost completely discarded'' would convey a more accurate idea. A paperback volume in the Milestones of Thought series from the Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. offers a good example. The front cover bears the title The Anatomy of Melancholy, a woodcut of a melancholy person, and the name of the author, Robert Burton. Below this: ``Abridged and Edited by Joan K. Peters.'' This handy volume is xviii+129 pages long. Not quite buried in the back-cover blurb and an introductory note is the information that the unabridged work is 1300 pages long. (The original and this have about the same count of words per page, within a few percent; so the text really is compressed by a factor of about 10.)
UBR (q.v.) and ABR are the two ATM ``best-effort'' service types, a sort of steerage class of data transmission, in which the network makes no absolute guarantee of cell delivery. In ABR, a minimum bit rate is guaranteed, and an effort is made to keep cell loss low.
Of course, in principle it could also mean `association of [park] benches of the Republic of Argentina.' Managing money requires the exercise of sound judgment. In Argentina today, investing in park benches (and charging rent, collectable in hard currency) might be the way to go.
Spanish is one of those languages that, with no offense intended, physicists refer to as `highly degenerate.' Words have many meanings (acepciones). I suppose you could apply the same term to languages in which words have many spellings (which should be called heterographs). It's a transferred sense of the physics adjective degenerate (German vielfach), describing an eigenvalue (most often an energy eigenvalue) corresponding to more than one eigenstate. I don't mind giving clear and thorough explanations. It just happens that I don't.
In 1998, ABRA closed, after a fashion, merging with ADEBA (details there) to form ABA.
A near homonym of abra is habrá (the only phonemic difference is that the stress falls on the first syllable in the first word and the second syllable in the second word). Habrá is a form of the verb haber, and means, in certain contexts, `there will be' or `will have to.'
a magical word, recommended by Serenus Samonicuss as an antidote against agues and several other diseases. It was to be written upon a piece of paper as many times as the word contains letters, omitting the last letter of the former every time, and then suspended about the neck by a linen thread. Abracadabra was the name of the a god worshipped by the Syrians.
Thank God we've gotten away from all that nonsense!
ABRACADABRA ABRACADABR ABRACADAB ABRACADA ABRACAD ABRACA ABRAC ABRA ABR AB A
Actually, I've been away from Buffalo, and I've heard his name in Pittsburgh and around Ohio. Someone ought to look into this.
[Later:] It turns out that he provides weather reports for many different radio stations. His hardest job is keeping straight which personality he's supposed to use with which station.
In prescriptive or ``school'' grammars, the absolute form of a modifier is more commonly called the positive form. In the literature of linguistics, positive and absolute are probably used to a comparable degree.
An absolute adjective is one that has no -- or logically should have no -- comparative forms. Dead is a pretty good example. One can get into arguments about this, but they rapidly get philosophical. Whether an adjective is absolute or not is a question of the assumptions underlying its semantics. These may not be shared, and one can question them, but we all recognize the humor or oddity of characterizing a woman as less pregnant or a quartet as fourer. Absolute adjectives are rarely called positive adjectives.
One of the more irritating semantic abuses is the description of some item being hawked as ``very unique.'' In principle, one could argue that uniqueness is not an either-or thing, that unique is not an absolute adjective but rather describes a quality more like unusualness. But we already have the word unusual, and the salesman doesn't want to use it. He recognizes that ``unique'' is a more powerful word, indicating something beyond merely unusual. Even that advertising whore has an inchoate sense that unique is an absolute adjective. (Give that man an ADDY.) His promiscuous, meretricious use of the word in a superlative form abases it, churning the vocabulary hierarchy and forcing us to establish new words for him to abase.
Grammatical rules are a bit like poetic scansion. Perfect meter in poetry, and perfect adherence to grammatical rules in prose, can become tired. A little deviation is spicy. But it is spicy only because the frame of order is present to play off of. It is a good thing occasionally to form the comparative or superlative of an absolute adjective. If you break the rule systematically, however, you find little joy left in the breaking, and the language poorer.
One can compute the maximum function from the absolute value function and vice versa. For two real numbers r and s:
max(r,s) = [ r + s + abs(r-s) ] / 2 .
Maximum functions of more arguments can be generated by successive comparisons from maximum functions of fewer arguments, using the fact that
max(r1, ..., rN, rN+1) = max( max(r1, ..., rN) , rN+1) .
Equivalent statements apply for the minimum function, since
min(r1, ..., rN) = - max(-r1, ..., -rN) .
Alice Cooper's lyrics run through my mind -- ``I wanna be elected!''
Allied Signal Corporation, based in Morristown, NJ, started talks with ABS manufacturer Bosch of Germany in Fall 1995, in hopes of collaborating to improve the performance of its brake division, which manufactured ordinary brakes. They ended up selling the division to Bosch.
Allied has facilities in the Buffalo area, but that's not where it's at; Allied had the brake stuff from the former Bendix Corporation. (You know: George Schultz's old company; you remember George Schultz -- one of Reagan's Secretaries of State? One who didn't say ``I'm in control here''?) Anyway, Bendix used to be a big presence in the South Bend area -- there's even a local ``Bendix Woods'' county park. At the end of Bendix Road, just north of the Amtrak station, there's an empty shell of a building that used to house the brake factory. Bosch uses some of the building for office space. Tim -- he lived upstairs from me -- works there. He's a mechanical engineer (MechE).
I guess you really didn't need to know about Bendix Woods, huh?
A rare alternative expansion of ABS is ``automatic braking system,'' but it's best to leave that for the rail and air transport braking systems, which are not antilock systems.
Traditionally, Mother's Day has the heaviest phone traffic of the year.
Zero temperature and zero-point energy are related concepts, but the first can be described independently of the second.
Briefly: a system is said to be at absolute zero temperature when all possible energy has been sucked out of it.
Classically (i.e., within a classical physics/classical mechanics description), you expect that you could always extract all the kinetic energy from a system and leave it at minimum potential energy. Quantum mechanically, we know that's not true. Zero-point energy is the classically unexpected minimum energy, or minimum kinetic energy.
You can see zero-point energy as a consequence of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. For simplicity we consider a system that consists of a single particle in a potential well, but the argument generalizes (see STAFF for a less ordinary instance of the same concepts). Suppose you did manage to remove all the kinetic energy from a system. Then the momentum would be known exactly (it would have to be zero). But if the potential energy has a minimum at a particular point (the usual situation except in vacuum or symmetric situations) then the position at absolute zero would be known exactly too -- the particle would be exactly at the place where the potential is minimum. So if you could remove all the energy, you would know both position and momentum exactly. This violates the uncertainty principle, so the tentative assumption is wrong. Conclusion: you cannot remove all the kinetic energy from a system. This argument can be quantified to give estimates of the zero point energy that are good to exact.
To understand all the energy in macroscopic systems, you have to use thermodynamics or statistics, because there are too many (microscopic) degrees of freedom. The only exception is zero temperature, when there is so little energy that the number of accessible states (talking QM, of course) is small. So certain calculations that don't involve statistical ensembles (explicitly as stat mech or implicitly as thermo) are said to be done at ``zero temperature,'' even though nonzero temperature only makes strict sense as a concept if you do have thermal ensembles.
Calculating the ground state energy of a hydrogen atom is an ordinary non-statistical quantum mechanics problem. When you recognize that mechanics is zero-temperature statistical mechanics (as partly explained in the previous paragraph), you realize that the ground-state energy of an atom is its "zero-point energy." Here is a mathematical problem to avoid discussing. I said earlier that the sero-point energy is the minimum [QM-attainable] energy or the minimum kinetic energy. For a classical atom, the minimum energy is minus infinity (atoms are classically unstable -- they collapse), so the zero-point energy, measured from the classical minimum, is positive infinity. So "zero-point" energy is not always well-defined. If you stick to systems that are classically stable, like springs or phonons, you can say zero-point energy is kinetic energy. When QM is the reason for a classical system to be stable at all, z.p. isn't k.e.
A bald absurdity is just an error. A detailed absurdity is Humor.
Also in the details: God, the devil.
Saint Augustine wrote, `I believe because it is absurd.'
Many churches provide weekly messages of spiritual uplift on their outdoor marquee billboards. It is reliably and corroborably reported that some time before the millennium, a church marquee in Nashville proclaimed the following consolation:
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