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Accident & Emergency. An attributive noun that modifies nurse, nursing, medicine, department, etc. In England, ``A&E;'' or ``A&E Department'' is widely used for the emergency department of a hospital, equivalent to ED (or, metonymically, ER) in the US.

All aloooong, alooong, there were incidents and accidents. (And Betty when you call me you can call me ``Al.'')

Acoustic Emission.

Acrodermatitis Enteropathica. A hereditary disease of childhood. Symptoms include a severe rash, loss of immune function, and drastic behavioral changes. See E. J. Moynahan: ``Acrodermatitis enteropathica: a lethal inherited human zinc deficiency disorder,'' Lancet, vol. 2, pp. 399-400 (1974).

Apparently, the disease results from a genetic defect that prevents breakdown of tryptophan before the point where picolinate is produced. The picolinate shortage is apparently most noticeable in the reduced ability to extract zinc from food in the intestines. Other chelators, particularly hydroxyquinoline, are effective substitutes.

Acta Eruditorum. A journal about which all I know is that G.W. Leibniz published a number of papers in it. The first was ``Meditationes de Cognitione, Veritate et Ideis,'' published in 1684. This was his first paper in a scholarly journal, which is both less and more of a big deal than it sounds. It's not the case that Leibniz was an unknown testing the waters of scholarly fame, so in that way the paper was less of a big deal for him than it might seem at first blush. On the other hand, one reason that Leibniz was already well-known and greatly respected before he published any journal papers is that journals were a new phenomenon. A.E. was one of the four great general scholarly journals of its time, the last of the four to begin publication. More about that later, as I want to get the current tranche of entries out the door (I want to publish).

aetatis. Latin for `at [or of] the age of.'

Albert Einstein.

[Old bushy-hair himself]


Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936). Poet (``A Shropshire Lad''), classicist and put-down virtuoso. Never got a Ph.D., which I suppose isn't all that odd. More at Housman, A.E. Interestingly, the classicist Alfred Edward Taylor (1869-1945) also published with ``A.E.'' instead of a name. Fascinating, huh?

Like another A.E. -- Einstein -- Housman initially worked in the patent office when he could not get an academic position. If you're still reading at this point in the entry, then you may be interested in visiting the A.A.M. entry.

If you're not still reading this entry, then it's too bad, because you might have liked to have learned more about Housman's grave.

Arts and Entertainment. That at least is what ``A&E'' originally stood for. Googling on "Arts and Entertainment" brings up a deluxe ``A&E - The Arts and Entertainment Network'' top hit with a search bar for <aetv.com>, but the gloss appears to be Google's. ``Arts and Entertainment'' does not appear on the home page (or in its meta tags). Searching on ``arts'' at <aetv.com> on July 1, 2009, doesn't appear to bring up a single instance of the original expansion. (There were 283 hits; I didn't check them all. Excuse me.) I think A&E is now, so far as A&E itself is concerned, a sealed acronym. They would apparently prefer that people forget the original expansion. I think this is going to work even less well than Kentucky Fried Chicken's rebranding as KFC.

Early in the Twenty-First Century (we're talkin' programming for the ages, right?) A&E realized that (1) old people die, and (2) dead people do not participate in Nielsen sweeps (unless Nielsen subcontracts to ACORN or the Islamic Republic). So they decided to stave off destiny by going for younger viewers. They did this by going the crime-drama equivalent of ``reality'' programming: they replaced mystery programs with true-crime shows. And they dumped the good movies too. See the PBS entry for related thoughts on age and TV-watching.

The A&E Television Network includes not only the A&E cable channel but also bio. (they haven't suppressed the word biography, yet) and at least three History cable channels.

Audio Editions. Books on cassette and CD.

Nom de plume of George William Russel (1867-1935), a friend of Yeats, and himself an editor and poet, author of The Candle of Vision. The same is a character in Joyce's Ulysses. The illustration above is of a different, non-Irish writer.

One. A term that finds its principal application in Scrabble®. It's accepted by the main tournament dictionaries: SOWPODS and TWL98. The OSPD4 says it's an adjective. This is quite accurate. It's modern Scottish, and the noun is ane. So there is no plural aes. I don't know how SOWPODS and TWL98 define it, but they don't accept aes either.

(Domain name code for) United Arab Emirates.

Here's the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The CIA Factbook has some basic information on the Emirates.

Oh, goodie: evidence that Outlook Express virus-propagation technology is also used in the emirates; I received good ol' W32/Sircam with an .ae-domain return address. Courtesy of Emirates Internet.

Application Entity.

(US) Armed Forces (in) Europe. ``Europe'' here is understood loosely, since it includes permanent installations (mostly in Europe) and contingent installations in the Middle East and Africa. Two-letter ``state'' code used by the MPSA and USPS. (For USPS purposes, US Armed Forces stationed out-of-country are served by ``domestic mail,'' and so require a ``state'' code.)

Mail bound for the AE region used to be (and I believe still is) routed through processing centers at New York City, and used to be nominally bound for New York. Using NY (for New York) instead of AE still works for mail, but will probably cause problems with credit-card verification, so go ahead and do it. See if I care. For more on MPSA/USPS military mail, see the MPO entry.

[column] AE has a lot of alternative expansions in Latin inscriptions too.

Alabama Education Association. Homepage reloads every second. Now children, what does that tell us? One of the state affiliates of the NEA.

American Electronics Association.

American Emu Association. ``Formed in 1989, AEA is a national, member driven, non-profit agricultural association dedicated to the emu industry. AEA promotes public awareness of emu products, fosters research and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter and several industry brochures.''

American Engineering Association. ``[A] national, non-profit professional association, dedicated to the enhancement of the engineering profession and US engineering capabilities.''

American Economic Association, founded 1885. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1919. ACLS has an overview, according to which, appropriately enough, payment of dues is the sole criterion for individual membership.

Arizona Education Association. One of the state affiliates of the NEA.

Atomic Energy Act. 1954 act of US congress that created the US AEC.

Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography. A journal. The cover is plain and matte, but it does feature the letters A, E, and B in a bouncy calligraphic style that makes them look like ``A & B.''

Catholic spirit that I am, I picked up a random issue (``New Series Volume 6 Numbers 3 & 4'' dated 1992, though copyrighted in 1994) and -- doing a bit of analytic bibliosomethingorother of my own -- looked at the table of contents. The authors of the first two items were Bernice W. Kliman and Robert F. Fleissner, respectively. What, you want to know the titles of their articles? Are you sure? Are you sure you don't want to just skip ahead to the next paragraph? The next entry altogether?

  1. Samuel Johnson, 1745 Annotator? Eighteenth-Century Editors, Anonymity, and The Shakespeare Wars.
  2. On Retaining M. Arden of Feversham: The Question of Titular Resonance.
Don't say I didn't warn you, even though I didn't really. Anyway, in an analytic sociobibliography comment that Abraham Lincoln once made, or that you can't definitively prove he didn't once make, ``For people who like that kind of book, that is the kind of book they will like.'' (I doubt he'd he have phrased it quite so inelegantly.)

Listed below those articles was a letter to the editor, and then a large number of items from men of the cloth. Errr, make that ``people of the cloth,'' and I don't mean seamsters and seamstresses. Starting with Rev. Carolyn D. Rude! I guess she's not Catholic. Twelve items in all, every one by a reverend. The question was not, where did they find all these holies? Rather, why didn't the laity contribute?

Well, I eventually figured it out, but I wanted to share my confusion first. The items were in a section titled ``Reviews.'' The articles at the top of the table of contents had titles followed by bylines (to stretch the sense of the term back to its original meaning) like ``By Bernice W. Kliman.'' The reviews list gave titles and no authors, followed by -- for example -- ``Rev. Iain Gordon Brown'' (of the National Library of Scotland, as the item reveals). This looked like a perfectly fine minister's name, and even a nice second career for a Scotsman and former prime minister, but the ``Rev.'' just meant ``reviewer'' or ``reviewed by.'' The explicit ``Rev.'' was there so the reader of the table of contents would not mistake the reviewer's name for the unlisted name of any author. To avoid confusion.

In the Reviews section there was also an article about (but evidently not a review of) reviews ``By'' an editor.

Acoustic Echo Canceler.

Architecture, Engineering and Construction. There's an AECNET sponsored by Environmental Dynamics Design, Inc.

(US) Atomic Energy Commission. Established by the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (a/k/a the McMahon Act). The legislation created the initial framework for private industrial involvement in the development of nuclear power generation; the AEC was charged with administering and regulating atomic power production.

In 1948, the AEC authorized the construction of several research and test facilities, including a high-flux materials-testing reactor (MTR), an experimental fast breeder reactor (EBR-I), and a prototype pressurized-water reactor for submarine propulsion (STR, for submarine thermal reactor, later called S1W).

Many years later, the AEC was split into the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA). The latter was absorbed into the Department of Energy (DoE) when that was created in 1977.

La Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional.

Atomic Energy of Canada, Limited. (EACL in French. What is it in Inuktitut?)

Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Within the NEA.

Academy for Eating Disorders. Why would anyone want to eat a disorder?

Academy for Educational Development.

Atomic-Emission Detector.

Automatic External Defibrillator. I hope that's CLEAR!

Arnold Engineering Development Center.

Asociación de Editores de Diarios Españoles. `Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association.' Founded in 1978 to support press freedom (Generalisimo Francisco Franco died in 1975 and was still dead at that time). AEDE became a trade association in 2000. AEDE was in the news in 2014 when it successfully lobbied the Spanish parliament to require Google News to pay (unspecified, but nonrenounceable) royalties for the snippets of content accompanying links to news sources. The law is effective from January 2015. After Google announced that it would pull the plug on Google News Spain in December 2014, AEDE called for the government to stop Google from closing the offending site.

aedean, AEDEAN
Looks like an Irish Gaelic word, but it's actually an acronym for Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos. (Click here if that link doesn't work.) Aedean is a member of ESSE and also EAAS, but the emphasis is clearly with the former (i.e., on English philology).

Asociación Española de Estudios Irlandeses. I've read complaints by Irish people about the ignorance of South Americans (at least in Brazil and some Spanish-speaking countries). They will explain that they are irlandés (in Spanish; irlandês in Portuguese), and are often misheard as having said that they are holandés (or holandês). Sometimes repetition doesn't help. Evidently the Netherlands (population about 17 million; a Spanish possession during Spain's Golden Age and a commercial competitor of the Spanish and Portuguese empires afterwards) is better known than Ireland (population about 5 million).

Asociación Española para el Desarrollo de la Ingeniería Eléctrica. `Spanish Association for the Development of Electrical Engineering.'

Asociación Española de Estudios Canadienses. `Spanish Association for Canadian Studies.'

American Entrepreneurs for Economic Growth. A name that promises tendentiousness and special pleading, if anything ever did.

Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.

Advertising Educational Foundation. Is that really the point?

Aerospace Education Foundation. A ``non-profit educational charity promoting aerospace excellence.''

American Enuresis Foundation.

American Expeditionary Force. Contingent of American troops, informally called doughboys, sent to fight on Allied side in WWI. On July 4, 1917, Charles M. Stanton gave a speech at the tomb of Lafayette in Paris. He said, ``Lafayette, we are here.'' So were the British, as the BEF, and the Canadians (CEF). Why, it was a regular Boy Scout International Jamboree, but with a lower survival rate. See the U-boat entry for something about how we all happened to get together there.

If you just linked here from the Þe entry, you're probably wondering why.

Armenian Educational Foundation. ``Since 1950, the Armenian Educational Foundation, Inc. (AEF) has been a cornerstone of the Armenian educational movement around the world. It has lent a helping hand to hundreds of students and to dozens of schools in numerous nations. Through its many years of giving, it has proven to be one of the most enduring and productive organizations in the Diaspora.''

Association of Engineering Geologists.

Advanced Electronic Guidance and Instrumentation System.

A.E. Housman, supra.

(Japan) Association for Electric Home Appliances.

Allergy & Environmental Health Association: Nova Scotia.

They have pages at geocities.com dedicated to spreading the word about great dangers of natural gas. Thank you very much, I needed an excuse to leave that party.

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. ``Founded in 1943 and located in Washington, D.C., [it] is one of America's largest and most respected `think tanks'.'' Atlanticist, free-market, neoconservative.

Architectural Engineering Institute.

Automatic Equipment Identification.

A cryptic initialism invented by Frederick III, ruler (duke, then archduke) of Austria (of the long Habsburg line) and Holy Roman Emperor from 1440 to 1493. It modestly encoded the immodest ambition of his dynasty. He had it engraved on public buildings and used the device with his signature. Subsequent Habsburg emperors continued the use. Fred was a bit of a mystic and obscurantist, and it's not certain what the expansion was supposed to be, or even if it was originally intended to have a single expansion, but all the common ones have a similar thrust:
  1. German: Alles Erdreich ist Österreich untertan.
    (`All earth is subject to Austria.')
  2. Latin: Austriae est imperare orbi universo.
    (`Austria is destined to rule the world.')
  3. Latin: Austria erit in orbe ultima.
    (`Austria will last forever.')
The translations are the typical ones into English. The two from Latin are a bit free. The one from German is fairly accurate; Erdreich has a sense of `soil,' but one somewhat etymological translation would be `earthly realm.' Three alternate expansions usually indicate severe backronymy.

Strictly speaking, the German version would give rise to the initialism A.E.I.Ö.U., but Ö is also written Oe.

Analytic Electron Microscop{e | y}. Catch-all term for any TEM-type microscope with any advanced feature, such as CBED, EELS or SAED. In other words, TEM that isn't merely CTEM.

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.


Ancient Etymology ONline.

American Electric Power Company.

AppleTalk Echo Protocol.

Arts Education Partnership. ``Partnership'' among over 100 US organizations seeking to promote arts education in schools.

Association of Emergency Physicians.

Association of European Psychiatrists.

Association for European Paediatric Cardiology. French: Association Européenne pour la Cardiologie Pédiatrique.

ASAS/ENSCE Process Cluster. (The acronyms stand for All [intelligence] Sources Analysis System and Enemy Situation Correlation Element.)

American Economic Review.

Annual Energy Review. Don't wait for the next one, look in MER!

American Educational Research Association. Holds its annual meeting in Spring.

AtmosphERe/Ocean Chemistry Experiment. Gosh, that seems A bIt Recherché.

aerial metal
Strong lightweight aluminum-lithium (Al-Li) alloy. Used for its low density: ~4 g/cc (~100 lbs per cu. ft.).

An obsolete word in the same lexical rubbish heap as aerostat (so I thought) and aerostation. Evident etymology: aero (combining form from the Greek meaning `air') + naut (from the Greek meaning `sailor,' derived in turn from the English nut, meaning `person who takes stupid risks').

A silicon-based solid that is very translucent, and has a dielectric constant that is on the order of a percent or more, but not a lot, above unity. Material useful for, indeed specifically invented for, Cherenkov-counters.

The most striking feature of aerosil is its density -- it's much lighter than pumice. If you want to know what it feels like to hold a block of aerosil in your hot little hand, just bake an ordinary-size potato for eight hours at 450 °F.

According to the encyclopedia and dictionary Pantologia (London, 1813), aeroscopy is ``[t]he observation of the air.''

Heck, no -- I ain't daydreaming! I'm engaging in aeroscopy!

Here's the complete aerostat entry from the Pantologia (London, 1813):
AEROSTAT, the air balloon, is a name given to a new constellation situated between the feet of Capricorn. This constellation was proposed by M. Lalande, in 1798, when he had an interview with M. Borda, Dr. Zach, and other German astronomers, at Gotha, whither he was sent to convert them to the French calendar and measures: he did not obtain the object of his mission.

At least not immediately. We also have entries for balloon payment, balloon smuggler, and SI, but read on.

I used to think this was a quaint old word. See JLENS.

Pantologia, an 1813 encyclopedia and dictionary, charmingly explains that aerostation
in its primary and proper sense, denotes the science of weights, suspended in the air [why doesn't MIT have a Department of Aerostation -- is it a social science?]; but in the modern application of the term, it signifies the art of navigating through the air, both in the principles and the practice of it. ...

The article on this important modern technology runs to unnumbered pages (little joke, actually almost eleven nonpaginated pages), covering the principles, the history, etc. As I write this in 2003, it seems appropriate to reproduce the review of the earliest history of flight R&D:

   History of Aerostation. Various schemes for rising in the air, and passing through it, have been devised and attempted, both by the ancients and moderns, and that upon different principles, and with various success. Of these, some attempts have been made upon mechanical principles, or by virtue of the powers of mechanism: and such are conceived to be the instances related of the flying pigeons made by Archytas, the flying eagle and fly by Regiomontanus, and various others. Again other projects have been formed for attaching wings to some parts of the body, which were to be moved either by the hands or feet, by the help of mechanical powers; so that striking the air with them, after the manner of the wings of a bird, the person might raise himself in the air, and transport himself through it, in imitation of that animal. The romances of almost every nation have recorded instances of persons being carried through the air, both by the agency of spirits and mechanical inventions; but till the time of the celebrated lord Bacon, no rational principle appears ever to have been thought of by which this might be accomplished. Friar Bacon indeed had written upon the subject; and many had supposed, that, by means of artificial wings, a man might fly as well as a bird: but these opinions were refuted by Borelli in his treatise De Motu Animalium, where, from comparison between the power of the muscles which move the wings of a bird, and those which move the arms of a man, he demonstrates that the latter are utterly insufficient to strike the air with such force as to raise him from the ground. In the year 1672, bishop Wilkins published his ``Discovery of the New World,'' in which he certainly seems to have conceived the idea of raising bodies into the atmosphere by filling them with rarefied air. This, however, he did not by any means pursue; but rested his hopes upon mechanical motions, to be accomplished by human strength, or by springs, &c. which have been proved incapable of answering any useful purpose. The jesuit Francis Lana, contemporary with bishop Wilkins, proposed to exhaust hollow balls of metal of their air, and by that means occasion them to ascend. But though the theory was unexceptionable, the means were certainly insufficient for the end: for a vessel of copper, made sufficiently thin to float in the atmosphere, would be utterly unable to resist the external pressure, which being demonstrated, no attempt was made upon that principle. ...

For an example of the use of this term in a modern language, see a CIA entry. Dang! Here's a site in English that uses the word (aerostation.org). Next thing you know, cavers will start calling themselves spelunkers.

Association of Educators in Radiological Sciences, Inc.

Abrasive Engineering Society. Hey you! Yeah you. You call yourself an engineer? Hah! You're not fit to design my shoelaces. You think stress analysis is done by psychiatrists. You're a disgrace to your degree. I'd tell you to go jump in the lake, but you probably couldn't design yourself out of the house and down to the bridge all alone.

Acrylonitrile Ethylene propylene Styrene [rubber]. A quaterpolymer plastic.

Adlai E. Stevenson. AES III was the Democratic Party candidate for the US presidency in 1952 and 1956, losing both times to Republican candidate DDE. The ``Stevenson shoe'' (shoe with a hole worn into the sole) got its name from his footgear.

American Endodontic Society.

Application Environment { Standard | Service }.

Atmospheric Environment Service (of Canada).

Atomic Emission Spectroscopy. Equivalently, Optical same.

Here's some instructional material from Virginia Tech (VT).

Audio Engineering Society. The 2001 AES Convention was in September.

Auger Emission Spectroscopy. Electron emission by atoms near the surface. AES is energy analysis of these electrons to determine the chemical composition. The position-resolved version is called Scanning Auger Microscopy (SAM).

Vide Auger process.

Here's some instructional material from Virginia Tech (VT). Here's some from Charles Evans & Associates.

Augmented Export Schema. Look here for explanation.

Automated Export (reporting) System. Used by the US Customs Service and by the Foreign Trade Division (FTD) of the US Census Bureau. A voluntary program. Described in AESTIR documentation.

Automotive Electronics Services. A retailer of electronic diagnostic equipment and services for automobile service technicians and also for back-yard goof-offs.

Association of Earth Science Editors.

Audio Engineering Society (AES) / European Broadcast Union (EBU).

American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society, Inc.

Asociación Española de Lingüística Aplicada. `Spanish Association for Applied Linguistics.' Affiliated with AILA.

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society.

Australian Eastern Standard Time. Ten hours ahead of UTC.

Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science. ``Aestimatio provides critical, timely assessments of books published in the history of what was called science from antiquity up to the early modern period in cultures ranging from Spain to India, and from Africa to northern Europe. The aim is to allow reviewers the opportunity to engage critically both the results of research in the history of science and how these results are obtained.''

In Roman Law, aestimatio (or litis aestimatio) was an assessment of damages. Yeah, yeah, it had other meanings.

Automated Export System (AES) Trade Interface Requirements. Part of the technical documentation maintained by the US Customs Service.


Latin aetas, `age.' Often encountered in the titles of death notices, as in "Mary Corinne Rosebrook (aet. CVII)." The use of Latin confers a solemnity that delicately indicates age at the time of decease. (Yes, Corinne Rosebrook was 107; she died on January 11, 2001. She was an undergraduate at Ohio Wesleyan (OWU) when the Titanic went down.)

The word aetas arose by contraction from a form of the word aevum, `eternity.' A cognate word, aeternitas, was used to mean the same thing, aevum was more often used in the transformed sense of `age,' giving us medieval (middle age), primeval (first age) and coeval. The naturalness of the semantic shift is perhaps clearer in aevum's Greek cognate aiôn, our eon.

AET, aet
After Extra Time. AET, often in parenthesis and sometimes in lower case, is used to indicate final scores reached during ``extra time'' in ``football'' (soccer), the same way OT is used with final scores in basketball and football. (I don't know if announcers in any soccer-playing countries use an expression like ``in ee tee'' like the corresponding expression with OT.)

Anishinabek Employment and Training Services. The Anishinabek are, I think, an Ojibway First Nation in western Ontario.

Association for the Education of Teachers in Science. ``The mission of AETS is to promote leadership in, and support for those involved in, the professional development of teachers of science. AETS serves educators involved in the professional development of teachers of science, including science teacher educators, staff developers, college-level science instructors, education policy makers, instructional material developers, science supervisors/specialists/coordinators, lead/mentor teachers, and all others interested in promoting the development of teachers of science.''

Alberta Energy and Utilities Board.

Airborne Early Warning. (NATO acronym.)

Abercrombie and Fitch. An amazingly successful brand of undistinguished casual wear for the young and the young-at-brain. But fashion is fickle.

Afghanistan flag

(Domain name code for) Afghanistan. The US government's Country Studies website has a page of links (``Afghanistan Country Studies'') amounting to the online version of its Afghanistan book.

Scarecrow Press, Inc., of Lanham, Md. and London, publishes a number of historical dictionaries, mostly one per (relatively noticeable) nation, including The Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan (2/e, 1997) by Ludwig W. Adamec, which runs xiii+500 pp. In 1996, Scarecrow inaugurated a new series of Historical Dictionaries of War, Revolution, and Civil Unrest. First in the series was Afghanistan. The (series) Editor's Preface begins ``[i]t is indeed appropriate.'' The Dictionary of Afghan Wars, Revolutions, and Insurgencies, also by Ludwig W. Adamec runs xvii+365 pp.

Arnold J. Toynbee spent a third of the year 1960 between Oxus and Jumna. The last four words are the title of a book he wrote about the trip, subtitled ``A journey in India Pakistan and Afghanistan.'' (Punctuation sic, and in a way most appropriate.) (Oxus is the ancient name of one of the longest rivers in Central Asia, from Oxos in Greek. The name was used throughout Europe for a couple of thousand years or so, but recently it has become common to refer to it by a local name -- Amu Darya or Amudarya. The river forms much of the northern border of Afghanistan. The Jumna lies south and east of the Indus.)

Arnold Toynbee was a widely (I didn't say universally) respected historian, so this book was something of a teaching opportunity. In ch. 1, ``The Old World's Eastern Roundabout,'' he divides the world up into culs-de-sac and roundabouts. ``In the fifteenth century the Portuguese invented a new kind of sailing ship that could keep the sea continuously for months on end.'' This, he says, temporarily turned Europe from a cul-de-sac into the world's central roundabout and ``temporarily put both Afghanistan and Syria [the previously dominant roundabouts, in his telling] out of business.'' Toynbee judged that more recent inventions -- ``mechanized rail and road vehicles, followed up by aircraft... have been deposing Western Europe from her temporary ascendancy in the World and have been reinstating Syria and Afghanistan.'' (``Syria'' here means greater Syria, including Lebanon.)

He noticed somewhat mildly that ``disputes over political frontiers'' were holding back this progress, yet ``[a]ll the same, Beirut is already one of the World's most important international airports, and Qandahar is making a bid to become another of them.'' Toynbee described various infrastructure projects (roads, railroads, river ports, mountain tunnels) that the Russians and Americans were building in Afghanistan.

On p. 4: ``These new roads promise to reinstate Afghanistan in her traditional position in the World. They are her economic bonus from the present political competition between the Soviet Union and the United States. The bonus is valuable, but the accompanying risk is high. Roundabouts are strategic as well as economic assets, and strategic assets are tempting political prizes.''

Around page 103, he is again describing various projects that the Soviet Union had undertaken, some already completed, to improve the movement of freight into and out of Afghanistan. If successful, these would have the effect of reorienting Afghanistan's traffic to the Oxus.

    This will not be the first time that the navigation of the Oxus has been one of the determining factors in world history. In the second century B.C. the Water Sakas--Iranian forerunners of the Cossacks--applied the boatmanship which they had learnt on the Oxus to the navigation of the Helmand and the Indus. Like the Cossacks in a later age, the Sakas made their conquests by boat as well as on horseback. The present-day Russian navigators of the Oxus are most unlikely to try to use their command of the river, Cossack-fashion, for making conquests of the old-fashioned military kind.

Strictly speaking, perhaps this was technically correct, but he continues...

They will try, not to dominate Afghanistan by force of arms, but to attract her as a sun-flower is attracted by the Sun. Evidently the Russians have every right to do this if they can. And, of course, Pakistan and the Western World have an equal right to compete with the Soviet Union for Afghanistan's custom by making the Karachi trade-route more attractive for the Afghans than it is at present. If one chooses, one may call this economic competition `the Cold War'. But giving it a bad name will not make it a bad thing.

I don't entirely condemn Toynbee for failing to see a couple of decades into the future. No one can do so reliably, though some possibilities can be reliably discarded from consideration. But it is not just ``with the benefit of hindsight'' that we see Toynbee as misguided; a limited historical horizon helps us miss what he could see. In May 2010, Foreign Policy magazine published a bittersweet recollection by Mohammad Qayoumi, a photo essay online here.

Given the images people see on TV and the headlines written about Afghanistan over the past three decades of war, many conclude the country never made it out of the Middle Ages. ... But that is not the Afghanistan I remember. I grew up in Kabul in the 1950s and '60s. When I was in middle school, I remember that on one visit to a city market, I bought a photobook about the country published by Afghanistan's planning ministry. Most of the images dated from the 1950s. I had largely forgotten about that book until recently; I left Afghanistan in 1968... Through a colleague, I received a copy of the book and recognized it as a time capsule of the Afghanistan I had once known -- perhaps a little airbrushed by government officials, but a far more realistic picture of my homeland than one often sees today.

A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine; men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul; factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods. There was a tradition of law and order, and a government capable of undertaking large national infrastructure projects, like building hydropower stations and roads, albeit with outside help. Ordinary people had a sense of hope, a belief that education could open opportunities for all, a conviction that a bright future lay ahead. All that has been destroyed by three decades of war, but it was real.

Back to Toynbee's book. The then-septuagenarian covered a lot of ground, and modernizing cities were a small part of it. The following concerns a Pakhtun tribal area in Pakistan, but Toynbee's observations there are relevant to Afghanistan. The famous Khyber Pass straddles the Afghan-Pakistan border. Its summit is at Landi Kotal, about 3 miles inside Pakistan. The nearest large city is Peshawar, the provincial capital, roughly 30 miles from Landi Kotal.

P. 17: ``...we happened to approach the Landi Kotal railway station at the moment when the weekly train was disgorging a horde of passengers. As they streamed westward, I thought they must be on pilgrimage, but their business was mundane. They were bound for Landi Kotal market-place, where Russian teapots, German wireless-sets, and Indian gauzes can be bought at prices which make the rail or bus fare from Peshawar worth paying. The Pakistan Government loses some customs revenue, but it turns a blind eye, and this is surely politic. The highland tribesmen cannot live off the crops from their pitiful little stony fields--at least, not unless they plant the fields illicitly with the opium poppy. Forbid poppy-cultivation, forbid the contraband trade, and you will drive a starving people into falling back on their traditional way of earning a living. And the old rhythm of raids alternating with punitive expeditions is not one that either party wishes to revive.'' (Personally, I imagine that duties went uncollected more as a result of corruption than of the central government's enlightened neglect.)

Air Force. Productive acronym suffix, as in RAF of Great Britain and USAF.

Air Frame.

Air-Fuel, Air-to-Fuel. In fact, the collocations ``Air Fuel'' and ``Air-to-Fuel'' occur most frequently in the phrases for the ratio, so AF is often a synonym for AF ratio. Tastes, or degrees of punctiliousness, vary. I'm about to bore you terribly, so before I drive you away I should say: cf. AV.

In all cases I have seen, the ratio is a mass ratio. In fact, there's even something called the ``volumetric efficiency'' for internal combustion engines, which also tends to be thought of as a mass ratio. Aeronautical engineers sometimes define the AF ratio as a mass ratio, but other mechanical engineers, particularly those who deal with land vehicles, describe it as a ``weight ratio.'' That's quite accurate enough, and it has the benefit of a dedicated adjective (see AFR), though weight as such is usually a little beside the point.

I suppose it's a niggling point, but it's irritating to a physicist. The mass is a measure of the amount of a substance, while the weight is a measure of the gravitational force it exerts. The mass-to-measured-weight conversion factor (the acceleration of gravity g) depends on altitude and deviations from a spherically symmetric earth, and has Coriolis and centrifugal force components. (Weight also depends on velocity and the space-time curvature tensor, if you want to get relativistic). These corrections are tiny at the level of precision relevant to combustion engines, and since the fuel and air are in the same place, most of the variation of g cancels, and weight ratios and mass ratios are equivalent. So it's ``academic,'' but when it costs nothing to state precisely rather than imply what one means, in technical usage one should be pedantic, errr, precise.

As long as we're being inappropriately precise, it's equally inappropriate to mention that mass is probably not the ideal measure of quantity, since the fuel and air often enter the combustion chamber at different temperatures. Raising the temperature increases the energy and thus the mass (E = mc2, remember?). Distinguishing mass and weight doesn't help here: the thermal-energy mass and the matter mass obey the same equivalence principle, and contribute in the same proportion to weight. (The necessary correction is on the order of a part in 1020.) The chemists are wise to use moles.

Anglo-French. In politics, history, and just about anything other than linguistics, this term characterizes whatever is jointly English (or British, or UK) and French. In linguistics it is essentially the version of Old French spoken in Norman England. The Norman conquest of Great Britain had enormous direct effects on the Germanic languages spoken there, of course, particularly the infusion of French and more Latinate vocabulary and inflections. In addition, there were indirect effects from the demotion of English to a peasant language, when the nobility and royal court spoke and made law in French. The Battle of Hastings took place in 1066, a date that was once universally recognizable to English-speakers. Language changes usually take time and cannot be so sharply dated, but for practical purposes the periodization of English takes Old English to 1100, and Middle English from there.

Armed Forces.

The story goes that Victor Mature and Jim Backus were at work in the Paramount Studio one day when Mature had to run an errand. Backus went along, and as they were in a hurry they skipped lunch and substituted a quick drink (not a hardship). Also to save time, they didn't bother changing out of their costumes for the sword-and-sandals flick they were working on. So they walked into an Encino bar as Roman warriors, in tufted helmets, shiny breastplates, and knee-length skirts, and ordered two highballs. The bartender didn't move, just stared. After a long pause, Mature demanded ``What's the matter with you? Don't you serve members of the Armed Forces?''

In fact, Victor Mature (1915-99) was a petty officer in the Coast Guard during WWII, serving on the Admiral Mayo, a troop transport.

I first read this story in Buskin' with H. Allen Smith, which isn't necessarily accurate. One of my first thoughts was ``Jim Backus -- the voice of Mr. Magoo? Thurston Howell the third on Gilligan's Island? You've gotta be kidding! He could be maybe a centurion. Centurions can be soft and slow.'' Sure enough, it seems the only ancient Roman he ever played in the movies was a centurion in Androcles and the Lion (1952). Victor Mature had a starring role in that, as a captain.

Androcles, played by Alan Young, only got third billing. Look, everyone knows this old story, so you have to add stuff -- flesh it out, so to speak. First billing went to luscious Jean Simmons, in the role of Lavinia. Oh! This was an adaptation of GBS's play ``Androcles and the Lion.'' A comedy. Harpo Marx was originally supposed to play Androcles, but he was eventually replaced by Young. The only other film role Harpo ever played after this was Sir Isaac Newton in The Story of Mankind (1957). Groucho and Chico were in it too, but it wasn't a comedy. It was a drama with a sci-fi frame narrative! Apparently one of the great all-time star-studded clunkers. Now where were we? Alan Young, the Androcles part? Alan Young later went on to direct the TV comedy Mr. Ed (1961-66). He also starred (co-starred?) as Mr. Ed's owner Wilbur Post.

As you may have guessed, there's an animal in ``Androcles and the Lion'' too. In the movie production the guy in the lion suit was Woody Strode, who sounds like someone I should mention in the nomen est omen entry. I don't know about you, but when I think of guys in lion suits I think of Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz (1939). The Wicked Witch of the West in that movie was played by Margaret Hamilton, who before she went into film acting was a kindergarten teacher. In that role she threw out rambunctious little William Windom, age five, who later went on to a successful acting career of his own. That seems kind of harsh. I didn't know you could get thrown out of kindergarten, my little pretty one. Another of Margaret Hamilton's students was Jim Backus. Ah, good, we're coming back around again.

Jim Backus (1913-1989) and Victor Mature (1915-1999) both attended Kentucky Military Academy, and Backus's first movie role was in Easy Living (1949), which starred Mature. The two were good friends who shared a love of golf and evidently didn't take themselves too seriously. Victor Mature was a major star from the end of WWII to the end of the 1950's, when he let Charlton Heston have the Biblical Hero franchise and focused on golf instead. Mature didn't get much respect from critics. (I'm not saying he deserved more respect, mind you -- this wasn't exactly high art.) According to a widely repeated story, when he applied to join an exclusive Los Angeles Country Club at the height of his career, he was turned down and told that actors were not accepted as members. His famous retort was: ``I'm not an actor -- and I've got 67 films to prove it!'' (The number varies in different tellings.) So it seems he had a sense of humor too. This Encino-bar story looks plausible.

We're not likely to have a Victor Mature entry, so this is probably the place to mention that his dad's name was Marcello Gelindo Maturi. (You were probably wondering about the origin of the name.)

Back in the early 1980's, there was a problem in Germany of restaurants refusing to serve Americans. Someone I knew actually experienced this first-hand. I mention it in this entry because it seemed to be a policy directed against American servicemen in Germany. The US and German governments at the time cooperated in ending the practice. My Uncle Fritz, who'd been a lawyer in Germany before becoming a lawyer in the US, pointed out to me that the restaurants didn't have the legal right to select customers. I guess it's one of those quirks of Roman code, where (roughly) things not expressly allowed are forbidden, rather than vice versa.

Arthritis Foundation.

Atrial Fibrillation. Former President Bush says he's got it. Atrial fibrillation isn't as bad as ventricular fibrillation (VF, q.v.), because the atria are basically just holding tanks for the ventricles, which do the heart's heavy lifting (pumping blood into the arteries).

Well, whatever it is, at least it's more decorous than the overly publicized medical disorder of the subsequent defeated Republican presidential candidate. (That was ED, in case you forgot. If you're going to make up a euphemistic acronym, make it up for something that needs it. Then again, there's the example of B.O.)

Audio-Forum. ``[O]ne of the largest publishers and distributors of self-instructional, personal development, and educational audiovisual materials in the United States.'' Yet I don't even know they exist! ``We've been in business since 1972, providing quality programs to both individual consumers and educational institutions throughout the United States and the world.''

Audio Frequency. Nominally from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The young and those who have lived all their lives in a pre-modern society can sometimes hear to the upper end of that range. ``Sounds'' at the lower end of the range are not very audible, but they may be perceived (a) as felt vibration and (b) through their higher harmonics (in effect: through the deviations from purely sinusoidal form of the vibrations).

Axle to Frame. Truck dimension: precisely, the horizontal distance from the center of the rear axle or axles to the end of the frame.

For more, see Chassis Dimensions in the NTEA's glossary of Truck Equipment Terms.

Adoptive Families of America.

Air Force Acadaemy. See USAFA.

Air Force Association. ``The Air Force Association is a grass-roots, non-profit aerospace organization whose objective is to promote greater understanding of aerospace and national defense issues.''

American Forensics Association . See our other debating entries.

American Forestry Association.

Asociación Física Argentina.

Association of Flight Attendants.

The American Foundation of Audiology.

As Far As He { Knows | Knew }. On the pattern of AFAIK.

AFAIK, afaik
As Far As I Know.

Much less common approximate synonyms: TTBOMKAB, TTBOMKAU.
With similar meanings: TTBOMM, AIUI.
Expressing a greater certainty (with subjectivity not explicit): AAMOF.

What is this, a thesaurus?

I suppose that, on the pattern of AFAHK, AFAIK ought to mean As Far As It { Knows | Knew }.

As Far As I Recall. Modeled on AFAIK so the acronym will be recognized (in speech people tend to use ``can recall'').

<Alt.Fan.Authors.Stephen-King>. I don't have to tell you that newsgroups are normally written all lower-case, do I?

As Far As She { Knows | Knew }. On the pattern of AFAIK.

Air Force Base. Some national (US) research laboratories are sited within USAF bases. One of those, not surprisingly, is AFRL; it's located at Wright-Patterson AFB. Sandia Labs was founded in New Mexico as part of the Manhattan Engineering District, but is now operated by Lockheed Martin for the is operated by the Department of Energy; it's located within Kirtland AFB.

Oh, I suppose air force bases may have some other purposes besides hosting basic-science research laboratories. I'll have to look into that.

American Foundation for the Blind.

American Family Business Institute.

Association Francophone Belge de l'Ostéogenèse Imparfaite.

Alkaline Fuel Cell. Fuel cell using aqueous potassium hydroxide as the electrolyte.

AFC's have been used in NASA manned missions since around 1965, supplying electrical power for Gemini, Apollo, and space-shuttle astronauts. They react oxygen and hydrogen, and the oxygen tanks double as sources of oxygen for breathable air. (Before the Apollo 1 test disaster, the plan had been to use a pure oxygen atmosphere. After, this was changed to a 60-40 oxygen-nitrogen mix at 5 psi.) Because the fuel cells are not efficient, they generate waste heat; this has been used for heating the inhabited portions of the spacecraft.

The material byproduct of combustion, of course, is water, and on manned missions the fuel-cell exhaust is the principal source of water for drinking, rehydrating food, and operating the toilet. When the water is released into the vacuum of space, its expansion cools it. This effect has been harnessed to cool spacecraft electronics.

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American Football Conference. One of two subdivisions of the NFL.

As Tennyson wrote --

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward.

Asociación de Fútbol de Cuba. One of forty national organizations in CONCACAF.

Association Française pour la Contraception. Cf. Condom.

Automatic Frequency Control. Periodic sampling of FM signal to keep receiver detecting in the center of the transmission band. Also called Automatic Fine Tuning (AFT). Note that audio signal of TV is FM-encoded in most (all?) major protocols.

Air Force Communications Agency.

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American Football Coaches Association.

Air Force Computer Acquisition Center.

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

Allied (NATO) Forces CENTral Europe.

American Federation for Clinical Research. Now the AFMR.

Association Française des Diabétiques.

Atomic Flux Divergence. By the continuity equation, a negative flux divergence causes local accumulation, and a positive value of the flux divergence causes local decrease in particle count or density.

Electromigration causes atomic flux in solids, with local accumulation causing ``hillock'' growth since the solid density does not increase. (If a cap or cladding layer is used to prevent hillock formation, mechanical stress counteracts the electric field gradient to cancel the AFD, with a slight increase in density (solids are not very compressible.) A positive AFD from electromigration causes voiding, and this is an important failure mechanism in microelectronic devices.

Electric field in a metal is divergenceless (div E = 0), and the atomic flux, viz. atomic current density, is proportional to the electric field. Therefore, in a homogeneous material, electromigration does not lead to flux divergence. However, any inhomogeneity in material composition or temperature affects the proportionality constant relating atomic flux and electric field. Thus, wherever material or temperature varies along the electric field direction, voids or hillocks may form.

One of the most common misunderstandings about electromigration concerns the kind of atomic flux that can give rise to hillock or void growth, and it has to do with the word divergence. I've been kind of out of that field for years, and it's not a great draw for research funding, but there are fundamental things about electromigration that bug me, so I'll probably write more about this someday.

Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The main federal program, jointly administered with and partly funded by the states, constituted (with food stamps, Medicaid, home relief, and some others) what was popularly thought of as ``welfare.'' In 1996 AFDC was replaced by block grants under the PRA. As of 2005, the program was called ``Temporary Assistance for Needy Families'' (TANF).

AFDC Child Care. A program providing child care to AFDC families with the head-of-household in a state-approved education or training program or working. If the work starts to come into enough money to end AFDC eligibility, there's some get-you-on-your-way help in the form of TCC, q.v..

Americans For the Environment. Americans who have volunteered to be mulched. But not yet. First, like nihilists, they must proselytize. And besides, in war it is not as good to die for one's side as it is to induce or cause some other guys to die for their side.

Pretty soon, there'll be a line you can sign on your driver's license, agreeing that whatever is left after your transplantable organs are harvested can be mulched, so long as this is done in a manner that respects the dignity of the body parts that haven't somehow become detached yet.

I guess you can tell I haven't done the reading on this one, huh? My cat was sick, my grandmother died! No, the other grandmother. Yes I have three grandmothers... um, it's a bit complicated. Yes, all passed away now. I don't know why they always die when I have tests -- come onnn, gimme partial credit at least!

It's a tropical rain forest out there!


Association Française d'Études Américaines. (`French Association for American Studies,' also abbreviated FAAS.) A constituent association of the EAAS. AFEA publishes RFEA.

AFrican Ecclesial Review. A publication of the AMECEA Pastoral Institute (Gaba). ``AFER is not the official voice of AMECEA (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa), except when this is clearly stated.''

AIDS isn't quite the massive problem in eastern Africa that it is further south. It's a great relief to be able to pick up an issue and not be faced with that horror all the time. For example, the December 2003 issue of AFER was dedicated to the ``War of Terror in Northern Uganda.'' More at LRA.

Association Française d'Épargne et de Retraite. `French Association for Savings and Retirement.'

Latin affinis, `having affinity to.' Used in taxonomy. Taxonomy is the acrimonious branch of biology.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry - Australia. The former Department of Primary Industries and Energy (PIE).

AFFirmeD. The higher court upholds a lower court's decision. Such an upbeat term in such a contentious field.

Affirmed was also the name of a great racehorse.

American Frozen Food Institute. For an opposing opinion, visit the Canned Vegetable Council. (``The Canned Vegetable Council was founded over twenty years ago to provide factual information about vegetables in cans.'' Surprise conclusion: canned veggies taste good and are good for you.)

What do I look like, I potted plant?

``Affirmative, Captain.''
Of course, you illogical waste of protoplasm! Oh, man, talk about human anti-Vulcanism. I've heard them talk -- ``half-breed,'' they call me. They think just because I maintain the dignity of my noble composure, that I have no feelings. I know Kirk photon-torpedoes all my promotion requests because this ship would fall apart without me. I'll one-big-happy-crew him when I finally get my own command. The man couldn't be more full of it if they beamed the head contents into his cabin. And he probably couldn't tell that stuff from mess rations anyway. I sure can't. Oh ... for the brassberryant fire-tarts of home!

``Hmmm, fascinating sir.'' The words of that old plastic face ring so true -- Both sides was against me since the day I was born.

Affordable Luxury
  1. cheap knock-off
  2. tagline in Daewoo advertising campaign

American Federation of Government Employees.

American Friends of The Hebrew University.

``America's Funniest Home Videos.'' A television program showcasing spontaneous and candid moments carefully staged by amateurs, and videos of children and cute pets doing the darndest things already, dammit! Now the official abbreviation is AFV.

Air Force Instruction. I.e., a rule. Cf. command.

American Film Institute.

Authority and Format Identifier.

(US) Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

This reminds me of the famous fight between Sugar Ray Robinson and Jimmy Doyle, in June 1947. Specifically, of something Robinson said after the fight. (I'm not sure of the exact words, and all I have to go on right now are a dozen different versions in recent newspaper stories. I'll try to run this down later.)

It was Robinson's first defense of his welterweight title. Doyle had suffered a severe concussion in a match with Artie Levine 15 months earlier, and the night before his match with Doyle, Robinson dreamt that he killed Doyle with a single left hook in the eighth round. The next morning, Robinson tried to back out or postpone the match, and only agreed to go ahead after the promoters brought in the priest from Doyle's parish, who somehow reassured him.

Robinson's left hook knocked Doyle out in the eighth round, though he was ``saved by the bell,'' which rang at the count of nine. Doyle didn't answer the bell for the next round. In fact, he was carried from his corner on a stretcher, and he died the next day. Testifying at the inquest, Robinson was asked ``... you must have known Mr. Doyle was in trouble -- why did you go on hitting him?'' Robinson replied: ``Mister, it's my business to put people in trouble.''

``Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) is a tri-service agency of the Department of Defense with a threefold mission of consultation, education and research.'' Whoa! Three services and three missions!

American Federation of Information Processing Societies.

Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate. ``AFIRE members have a common interest in preserving and promoting cross-border investment in real estate. Founded in 1988 AFIRE currently has more than 180 members representing 21 countries.''

The AFIRE website has a graphic labeled ``Foreign Data: 2008 AFIRE Annual Survey (that was apparently done in some kind of collaboration with the Wisconsin School of Business and the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate) that shows three years' results of some polling on the country ``providing the most stable and secure real estate investments.'' The US received by far the highest percentage of members' votes: 64% in 2006 falling to 53% in 2008 (eyeballing from the graph). Germany and Switzerland rose to about 11% for 2008. I'm not sure how meaningful this is, except to me (not very much at all). I only give the information to help you sort out what they mean by ``foreign investors.'' It helps to recognize (from a use of ``cross-border'' that apparently includes ``overseas'') that AFIRE is guilty of more than one linguistic infelicity.

I imagine that this association of investors in foreign real estate decided that ``AFIRE'' just sounded hotter than ``AIFRE'' (in English, anyway). Did it really not occur to them that it is not a positive thing to associate real estate with fire?

It's an interesting thought, though, that investors rather than real estate should be regarded as foreign. After all, the real estate usually stays put, and it's domestic where it is. (Yeah, I've visited Lake Havasu City's London Bridge.)

American Forces Information Service.

(US) Air Force Institute of Technology. Campus at WPAFB.

Atheists For Jesus. ``A Site designed to provide a method of communication between religious and non-religious people who believe in the message of love and kindness put forth by Jesus.''

What good is love if you're not saved, eh? Makes being a non-atheistic Christian seem kind of selfish.

April Fool's Joke. The entity described in the preceding entry was not one, AFAIK.

Administradoras de Fondos de Jubilaciones y Pensiones. Spanish, `administrators of pension and retirement funds.' An official Argentine-government designation for the commercial associations that administer retirement and pension funds under the terms of the S.I.J.P. Notice that the feminine plural administradoras is used. Normally in Spanish, mixed-gender plurals ``resolve'' (that's the standard linguistic term) toward the male plural (administradores, in this instance), but here the individual administrators are all S.A.'s (anonymous societies) and grammatically female.

The government entity that monitors AFJP's is the SAFJP.

Away From Keyboard. Cf. BAK, PEBCAK, PIFOK.

Archiv für Kulturgeschichte. A German journal that might have been named `Archives of Cultural History' in English. See if Stuart Jenks's page of Tables of Contents of Historical Journals and Monographic Series in German has a link for this yet (deutsche Seite: Zeitschriftenfreihandmagazin Inhaltsverzeichnisse geschichtswissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften in deutscher Sprache).

American Federation of Labor. A federation that was created in 1886 by national craft unions out of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada.

In 1935, the CIO was formed behind the leadership of UMW head John L. Lewis, who stormed out of the AFL. The AFL and CIO were merged as the AFL-CIO in December 1955.

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American Football League. Short-lived competitor to the NFL, absorbed into NFL as the American Football Conference (AFC), which included a few teams transferred from the originally larger NFL.

Arabic as a Foreign Language.

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Arena Football League. A professional indoor league of American football, complete with its own minor league, AF2.

Founded in 1987, its attendance reached an average of over 12,400 in 2005. It has had an NBC broadcast contract since 2003, when it moved the beginning of the season from May to February and switched to playing on Sundays.

Apologies For Lack of Audi Content. An alternative to OT preferred (by some) in electronic discussion forums for Audi automobiles.

The abbreviation is also used by a protesting duck in some television commercials that are, of course, not about Audi.

American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations. See AFL.

Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism.

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Arena Football League Writers Association.

Adobe Font Metrics, Adobe Font Manager.

Air Force Manual.

American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. A member union of the AFL-CIO and the CLC-CTC. Established in 1896, representing musicians of all genres. For $20+, they offer something that could be really useful: a video on how to get paying gigs.


Association Française contre les Myopathies.

Atomic Force Microscop{e|y}. (AKA SFM.) One mode of operation of essentially the same apparatus as an STM. In AFM mode, a sharp probe tip is scanned across a surface, with three piezoelectric ceramics being used to control position in three dimensions. The two lateral (in-plane) positions are raster scanned, the vertical dimension is controlled by a feedback circuit that maintains constant force. The image produced is a topograph showing surface height as a function of position in the plane. AFM is the imaging mode of choice for an insulating surface, since in that case tunneling currents are small. However, since the force depends on the material below the tip, the height of the tip does not exactly track the surface of an inhomogeneous material.

The University of Michigan Electron Microbeam Analysis Laboratory has put a description of their AFM online.

Cf. other types of scanning-probe microscopy (SPM).

American Film Market, um, Association?

American Furniture Manufacturers Association.

American Friends of Magen David Adom

Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, US Department of Justice.

American Federation for Medical Research. (Formerly the AFCR.)

AntiFerroMagnetic Resonance.

American Forces Network. See AFRTS.

American Forensic Nurses. They seem to be mostly about investigating sexual assault.

Assoc. Française de NORmalisation.

Allied (NATO) Forces NORTHern Europe.

Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The Air Force OXR.

Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones.

Agence France-Presse. I don't know what this means, as it's written in a number of foreign languages. AFP is an EANA member.

Oh, here's something from It Happened in Manhattan, by Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer. It's subtitled ``An oral history of life in the city during the mid-twentieth century''; I'd have recommended ``A collection of recollections.'' Hilton Kramer's recollections begin on page 37. In page 39 and the fall of '52, he landed a job ``on the night shift of the New York bureau of the Agence France Press [sic], the big French news agency in the AP Building at Rockefeller Center.'' The next year he started reviewing exhibitions for the fortnightly Art Digest, which later became Arts Magazine. He continues:

It became very convenient to be working on the night shift for the Agence France. I could see the exhibitions during the day and, since nothing ever went on in that office at night anyway, write my reviews at night. French journalists were lazy beyond imagining. They got what they needed out of the New York Times or the Herald Tribune. The only times I actually had to send anything to Paris on the teletype machine was when the sports editor was too drunk to send the scores.
I was supposed to work from four to midnight but it was French hours. One night I wandered in at six, and the general manager, whom I'd always heard spoken of but had never seen, and whom the French didn't regard as French because he was from Alsace, was there. The place was in an uproar. What happened? It was the day Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe.

I've read a similar stories of foreign newsgathering in WWII consisting of translating the major local papers, though if the home office doesn't seem to want anything more in-depth -- which why would it? after all -- you might feel foolish working any harder. The French have a reputation for laziness, and I suppose there must be something to explain it, but the French co-workers I've had never exhibited the phenomenon, and if the French economy doesn't collapse before you read this, I'll argue that the French can't be doing anything too far wrong. It might be the work-smarter-not-harder thing. At least compared to the fabled Japanese salaryman, they may be getting drunk after work rather than staying late and getting drunk on the job. Gertrude Stein wrote somewhere that during WWI, the different work styles of French and American workers in railcar repair yards led to conflict, which was eventually resolved by having different nationalities work different shifts. She seemed to think that the different groups were equally effective, though I wonder how she would have known.

I was a bit puzzled about Hilton Kramer's mention of sports reporting. What US scores would be of interest to what readers of French news media? The only explanations of the comment, that I can think of, involve an American over-estimation of the interest generated by American sports in France. For support, perhaps, I can adduce the experience of Gilles in the ND entry.

AppleTalk Filing Protocol.

Associated Foreign Press. This somewhat absurd acronym expansion is unusually informative because it tells something about the competence and credulity of the reporter who uses it. If you google on "Associated Foreign Press," you get (as of April 2012) about 80,000 ghits. Pride of first place goes to the AFP.com website, home of Agence France-Presse, but that's just Google being helpful; AFP knows its own expansion. Many ghits are for other webpages that also include ``AFP'' but not the bogus expansion. That's just Google being unhelpful. Some hits are for blog posts that somehow manage to include the phrase ``associated foreign press.''

So it's hard to tell just how widespread the error is, but the error is widespread: Many websites do give ``Associated Foreign Press'' as the expansion of the well-known AFP. Often, these are sites dedicated to passing along news on a regular basis, using writers who can't be bothered to do more than fatuously guess at the expansion of AFP.

Australian Federal Police.

American Forest & Paper Association. ``The national trade association of the forest, paper, and wood products industry, representing member companies engaged in growing, harvesting, and processing wood and wood fiber, manufacturing pulp, paper, and paperboard products from both virgin and recycled fiber, and producing engineered and traditional wood products. AF&PA represents a segment of industry which accounts for over 8% of the total U.S. manufacturing output.''

Association of Family Practice Administrators.

Association of Faculties of Pharmacy in Canada. It's ``the national non-profit organization advocating the interests of pharmacy education and educators in Canada

Automatic Facility Protection Switching.

AFP Test
Alpha-FetoProtein Test. Blood test for evaluating fetal development.

Armed Forces Qualification Test. Four tests of the ASVAB.

Air Force Regulation.

Air-Fuel Ratio. The ratio of air to fuel intake rates for a combustion engine. Almost certainly the mass ratio, but if you want to remove any doubt you can refer to ``gravimetric AFR.''

afraid of commitment
See fear of commitment.

Air Force Research Laboratory. It's located at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, which I usually hear called ``Wright-Pat.''

WHO (World Health Organization) Regional Office for AFrica. It really is a scrambled acronym: cf. EMRO, EURO (!), SEARO, or WPRO. It would be simpler if they just expanded it ``AFrican Regional Office of the WHO.''

(US) Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

American Field Service. The name of a medical volunteer group that started out in 1914 as the ambulance arm of the American Hospital in Paris, and eventually evolved into an international pacifist organization. The AFS site offers a soft-focus, almost triumphalist or Whig history of itself. For a more interesting version, see this page about Literary Ambulance Drivers in WWI.

American Folklore Society. ``... serves to stimulate interest and research in all aspects of the study of folklore and folklife. The Society exists to further the discipline of folklore studies, to improve the professional well-being of its members, and to increase the respect given to diverse cultures and their traditions.''

Founded 1888, a constituent society of the ACLS since 1945. ACLS has an overview. We mention the AFS at our turd de force entry.

Andrew File System. A distributed file system developed at CMU. Effectively, this mounts all disks, with off-site file space having symbolic link directory names /afs/machine.tcp-ip.address/directory-address. Multiple requests to off-site data are satisfied from local cache. Does not appear to be in monstrously widespread use as of Spring 1996. It's used by ESPRIT's NoEs.

UPDATE: Since I'm now at Notre Dame, where AFS is used campus-wide, AFS does now ``appear to be monstrously widespread in use as of'' Summer 1996. I don't claim universal validity for appearances reported here. [Although I don't deny that this is a catholic institution, AFS is probably, in the strictest theological sense, an accident.]

AFS grew out of a Carnegie-Mellon University / IBM collaboration called Andrew, created to set up a distributed computing environment at CMU. The project was named for Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon.

Atomic Fluorescence Spectroscopy.

Here's some instructional material originally from Virginia Tech (VT).

American Foreign Service Association.

American Friends Service Committee. This was once an important pacifist organization.

Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees. Rhymes roughly with ``Ask me.'' They once had a publicity campaign with the slogan ``Ask me about AFSCME.''

A member of the AFL-CIO; see comment on government-employee representation at NLRA.

Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics.

American Food Safety Institute. ``...the nation's leader in food manager training and certification [FMC].''

Allied (NATO) Forces SOUTHern Europe.

(US) Air Force SPace Command.

American Federation of Teachers. Founded and controlled by Albert Shanker until his death in around 1997. A merger with the larger NEA has been in on-again, off-again discussion for quite a while. Currently (as of June 2001) off again.

Arizona Federation of Teachers.

Automatic Fine Tuning. Same as Automatic Frequency Control (AFC).

What happens to a person's intellectual activity after the person dies? It slows down considerably, by all accounts. In fact, I gave my mom -- who knows about this stuff -- a copy of Marian Thurm's novel The Clairvoyant (1997) to read, and her only remark on it that I can recall was that the ghost was way too lively.

According to instructions left by Alfred Nobel while he was still alive, his famous prize could not be awarded to anyone who had died before the year in which it was awarded.

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. A trade union. A member of the AFL-CIO. Its membership of 80,000 (as of 1999) includes not only people in entertainment programming and commercials, but also in ``news broadcasting.'' This might disabuse those who think broadcast news is artless and without guile.

Association of Federal Technology Transfer Executives. Concerned with (encouraging, fostering, facilitating) transfer to the private sector of technology developed in federally-funded labs of the US.

Alt.Folklore.Urban. See the archive: TAFKAC.

Alternate-Fuel Vehicle.

America's Funniest Home Videos. An ABC television program that shows videos of people falling. You can't say there's no innovation on the program; the title used to be abbreviated AFHV.

Audio-Follow-Video. Switching mode in which audio signals are automatically routed with the video signals they're associated with.

American Foundation for Vision Awareness. (If that link no longer works, try this.)

``The American Foundation for Vision Awareness (AFVA) is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to educating the public about their vision, to creating awareness of quality eye and vision care and to supporting vision-related scientific research. The AFVA awards research grants and scholarships, conducts public service projects and provides educational materials to the public.''

Acronym Free Zone. (Not its real name.)

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Arena Football 2. The minor league of the AFL, founded in 2000.

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