(Click here for bottom)

(Domain code for) Barbados. `Bearded ones.' (Cf. discussion at b. entry, just in case you missed it as you were systematically reading through the B's.)


Base Band (n.) or Baseband (adj. and sometimes n.).

Base[s] on Balls.

Bed and Breakfast. An old house that's been divided into a large number of servant's-quarters-sized rooms. Night's stay in one of the rooms, with Breakfast included. Private bath is extra, if it's available at all, but there may be a sink in the room.

Benedictine & Brandy. Cognac may be substituted for brandy. Stirred (i.e., with ice) or neat (i.e., straight up). The most parsimonious of mixed drinks, the standard recipe calls for only 1/2 ounce of each of the main ingredients. And you thought those prissy little isosceles right triangles of white-bread sandwich garden-party treats were stingy.

BlackBoard. A widely used, almost completely worthless piece of education software. BlackBoard enables you to do everything that you can do with email and http. The technologically feebleminded report that they find it helpful.

The main selling point to faculty is that it streamlines a number of on-line activities that one would normally accomplish using different programs, but BlackBoard itself is universally recognized to be clunky. There you have it: clunky streamlining.

B'nai B'rith.

B'nai Brith is a Jewish fraternal service organization. It was founded in Aaron Sinsheimer's café on New York's Lower East Side on October 13, 1843, by a group of twelve recent Jewish immigrants from Germany. The early meetings were held in German, but they eventually switched to English. Around then they also changed the name of the organization from the original Bundes Brüder (German for `brothers of the covenant'). I was going to praise their wisdom in preserving the initials, but the case is not so clear-cut. The English name they originally chose was ``Independent Order of B'nai B'rith.'' They didn't get around to shortening the name to plain B'nai B'rith (Hebrew for `sons of the covenant') until 1930.

At first it was really a fraternal organization like some Masonic ones -- a collection of lodges. Also, until 1988 it was all-male. (A women's auxiliary chapter was formed in 1897; see BBW.) The organization went international in 1875: A lodge in exotic Toronto! Or York or whatever it was at the time. Then Montréal! In 1882 it went intercontinental: a lodge in Berlin, where I imagine they spoke German. That is believed to have been the first instance of a Jewish organization founded in the New World being transplanted in the Old. Lodges were formed in Cairo (1887) and Jerusalem (1888).

Because the organization is international, you want to know how the name is pronounced in English. Roughly (very very roughly) speaking, that's what the rest of the entry is about.

Hebrew, like most Semitic languages, is written with a consonantal script. Vowels (and some other phonemic information) are indicated in schoolbooks and some other literature by a system of diacriticals called ``pointing'' (actually by Tiberian pointing, which is the one of various competing pointing systems that survived). The shwa can be indicated like any other vowel, but it can be very short, so in transliterated Hebrew it may or may not be indicated. Whether it is or not depends partly on what are regarded as acceptable consonant clusters in the target language. For example, an apostrophe indicates the shwa in the word b'rith as the BB writes it, but usually the vowel is not indicated at all, probably because br is a standard consonant cluster in English. The word is normally written brit: the final aitch in the BB spelling is an indication that the consonant was aspirated. (In practice, however, the BB word B'rith is pronounced as ``brith,'' to rhyme with ``with.'')

Do I really have to explain this aspiration thing again? No, but I'm gonna anyway. The final letter of the Hebrew alphabet is tav. A dot (called a dagesh) could be inserted in its glyph to indicate that it was not aspirated. The sound of the undotted (i.e., aspirated) tav evolved into an ess sound in Ashkenazi pronunciation (hence bris instead of brit). I think the Douai versions of the Bible (essentially the Catholic response to the KJV) use a lot of aitches to indicate aspirated consonants that evolved (bh for what became v, etc.). So for example, the apocryphal book Tobit in the KJV (the original Authorized Version did authorize the Apocrypha) is Tobith in the Douai. (Of course, the Hebrew version of the name Judith also ends in tav -- Yudit -- but the English version of that name was established. There's more about brit at the USA entry, about half a dozen paragraphs from the end.

Okay, now back to shwa. If the vowel occurs between consonants that don't occur as a recognizable consonant cluster in English, then some graphical indication of the vowel is more likely to be given. Before the en (Hebrew letter nun) for example, one typically sees an apostrophe transliterating shwa in b'nai (`sons, members of a group') and sometimes in p'nina (`pearl' -- the object, and also girl's given name). Notice that Ancient Greek had the consonant cluster pn, but in Greek-based words like pneumatic we don't pronounce it. Probably more often a vowel is used instead of an apostrophe, as in the more common transliteration penina. Incidentally, the final vowel cluster in bnai, typically pronounced like a long a in North America, actually transliterates a long i sound, just like ai in the Hepburn system for Japanese, but I've generally heard it pronounced ``buh-NAY.''

While we're on the subject, the strict Hepburn system also has an apostrophe associated with en. The two-letter sequences na, ni, etc. could either represent one kana (na, ni, nu, ne, or no) or two (syllabic en followed by one of na, ni, etc.). An apostrophe following letter en indicates that two kana are transcribed. (Yes, there is a difference in pronunciation.) Some Romanized-Japanese dictionaries use an apostrophe between doubled consonants to indicate that they should both be pronounced. This can be a bit of overkill, since there's no other reason to double a consonant in transliteration, but it's a useful reminder to people familiar with West European languages that, like French, English, and pre-spelling-reform Portuguese, maintain double consonants from Latin with no phonetic distinction from single consonants. However, in retranscribing nn or n'n back to Japanese kana, there is no ambiguity: it's a syllabic en followed by the kana for a syllable beginning in en.

As individually transcribed, all kana other than syllabic en end in a vowel, so you might wonder what other doubled consonants could occur. In a word (if you'll pardon the, uh, expression): plenty. For example, the kana for tsu, followed by the kana for ku, is sometimes used to write kku. (Most of the time, of course, you wouldn't see this because the word would be written in kanji.) This is not so strange as it might seem, for two reasons: First, because the vowels i and u are often elided. (Most people, for example, pronounce the final syllable su as an ess, or with a very soft vowel that sounds like a German ö.) Hence (and I'm not certain what ``hence'' means here), syllables with consonant sounds that cannot be represented by single kana are represented with kana pairs, the first kana ending in i. (E.g., kiya for kya, shisa for sha, etc.) A similar use of kana ending in u is less extensive; I'll have to look into this. The second reason that tsuku for kku is natural is that tsu is a sort of hyperaspirated tu (the related kana are ta, chi, tsu, te, to). So tsuku is like tuku is like t'ku.... Adjacent stops are often assimilated into one. For example, Latin -ct- becomes Italian -tt- (octo, otto). Let's not talk about duct tape. Some people pronounce ``dotcom'' as ``dah com'' -- you can't hear a tee. To take a more distant example (labial and dental stops, rather than palatal and dental), Western European languages generally simplified the pt and phth consonant clusters in Greek loans.

To round out the discussion, we should also cover doubled vowels in Japanese. Japanese vowels have length like Latin and German vowels: they vary in duration. In hiragana, lengthening is normally indicated by doubling the vowel (i.e., by adding a vowel kana for the doubled vowel). In katakana, the syllable is followed by a length mark. Prominent exceptions to ``normally'' in the preceding sentence occur with long-o in hiragana, which may be indicated using the a u kana or with the length mark normally used with katakana. The length mark, incidentally, is refreshingly intuitive: it's a long horizontal line. The strict Hepburn system tries to reproduce this, with some allowance for Western orthographic sensibilities. In particular, long e and long i are indicated by ei and ii if they would be written with hiragana (i.e., if they are native Japanese words or Chinese loans) and by a macron over the e or i if they are foreign loans (katakana). Vowels a, o, and u are consistently indicated by a macron. Of course, that's the Hepburn system. What people generally write is something else again. Most fonts still don't have macrons, so people either fail to indicate the lengthening or use a doubled vowel (or ei or ou). (You think this is confusing? Imagine ``or ou'' in French.) It seems to me that the usual practice is to omit any indication of long a or u, to often indicate long i, and sometimes to indicate long e and long o. Pronunciation varies, and the long e and o can be a little rounded (like English ey and ow, as you won't be surprised to learn given the transcriptions ei and ou). It occurs to me that I probably should move this explanation someplace else. What was this entry about in the first place anyway?

Body Bias[ing]. The voltage of the body or bulk of the semiconductor wafer on which an integrated circuit is fabricated.

Bold and the Beautiful. A CBS daytime soap opera.

Branch and Bound. A method of solving discrete optimization problems (COP).

Postal code for Brandenburg, one of the sixteen states (Länder) of the German Federal Republic (FRG). [Like most of the country information in this glossary, Germany's is at the domain code .de.] Its area is 29,479 sq. km., and its population was estimated at 12,057,000 for 1997. Brandenburg was part of the old East Germany.

Brigitte Bardot. Animal rights crusader, née Camille Javal, September 28, 1934. Cf. D. Day.

Broad (spectral) Band.

Shot 0.18 inches in diameter, and the gun or air rifle used to fire it.

Watch out! Someone could get hurt with that thing!

Bachelor of Business Administration. New name for what used to be designated an undifferentiated, if not always undistinguished, BA; patterned on ``MBA.''

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in need of a wife.

-- Opening words of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Balanced Budget Act. Appropriations bills need Madison Avenue titles so people will buy them? Money is sexy! (Though budgets are soporific, often by design.)

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. An entire suite of journals from that astoundingly expensive scientific journal publisher Elsevier.

British Bankers' Association. ``The voice of banking and financial services'' in the UK.

Broad-Band AntiReflective (coating, etc.).

Better Business Bureau. A great idea, but just try to get them on the phone.

Blood-Brain Barrier.

Broad-Breasted Bronze turkey. As opposed to BBW.

Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Before Birth Control.

Boston Baptist College.

British-Born Chinese.

British Broadcasting Corporation. Known as the Beeb.

BroadBand Bearer Capability.

Bumper to Back of Cab. Truck dimension: precisely, the distance from the point furthest forward on the front bumper to furthest point back of the outside of the cab.

For more, see Chassis Dimensions (I know what you're thinking, you filthy-minded person!) in the NTEA's glossary of Truck Equipment Terms.

British Broadcasting Corporation America. A digital cable and satellite channel distributing the Beeb in the US -- totally undubbed! But wait: if you order now, you also get ... advertising! Cf. BBCC.

Brussels British Community Association. ``The Brussels British Community Association (BBCA) covers not only Brussels itself but also the provinces of Brabant, Hainaut, Liege, Namur and Luxembourg. The Antwerp British Community Association covers the northern part of the country.'' This makes it seem as if BBCA is for French-accented English, and ABCA for Flemish-accented.

British Broadcasting Corporation Canada. A cable channel distributing Auntie in Canada. But there's more: you also get ... Canadian content! ``As per our license agreement with the CRTC, we are required to air 35 per cent Canadian content on BBC CANADA. This agreement also requires us to show [some] Canadian programming at peak hours.'' (That is, they can't pack the required Canadian content into the no-viewer time slots. Shucks -- they thought of that!)

British Broadcasting Corporation Kids. Victims of teletubbies? Good guess, but no cigar. It's a joint project of the BBC and Alliance Atlantic Communications, which distributes BBC (diluted with Canadian content to protect weak governmental stomachs) in Canada.

bBDC, BBDC, bbdc
Before Bottom Dead Center. See BDC.

Bare Bones EDIT. An html editor for the Mac. For Windows, try HomeSite, the WYSIWYN html editor.

Broadcasting Board of Governors. In harmony? No. ``On October 1, 1999, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) became the independent, autonomous Federal entity responsible for all U.S. government and government[-]sponsored international broadcasting.''

N. N. Bogoliubov, M. Born, H. S. Green, J. G. Kirkwood, J. Yvon. Hierarchy of equations involving reduced distribution functions for successively higher numbers of particles. The heirarchy, in various equivalent formulations, was derived independently by the named researchers during the 1950's.

Bogoliubov, in particular, worked in the Soviet Union. Although he published in major Soviet journals, there was always a delay before most Western scientists became aware of his work, since most of them did not read Russian, and cover-to-cover technical-journal translation was just starting up. Right through the 1960's, a lot of scientific work that was not secret and which had no evident military significance was done essentially in duplicate because of the poor communication between scientists on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain, but that has nothing to do with what I wanted to write about. I only wanted to say that I would be surprised if this Bogoliubov didn't play chess, but that the one better known for playing chess was the Ukrainian master Efim Bogoljubov (1889-1952). (He lived in Germany after WWI, hence the transliteration using j.) Famous line: ``When I am White, I win because I am White; when I am Black, I win because I am Bogoljubov.'' [It's the second definition of modesty in Eliot Hearst's Chess Glossary.] I suppose it would have crossed the line from modesty to self-abasement if he'd noted that when he was White, he lost because he was Bogoljubov.

Broad-Band High-Reflectance (coating, etc.).

B'nai B'rith International. (Follow link for main entry.)

bbiab, BBIAB
[I'll] Be Back In A Bit.

Just go. You won't be missed.

Bis-BenzImidazole Perylene. Also BBZ. An excellent near-IR sensor.

Barrel. No, I don't know where the second b comes from. They probably just had too many extras lying around.

BBL, bbl
Be Back L8r. (But BB4N.)

Brain-Based Learning. Yer thinkin': ``duh.'' Not so fast there, smarty-pants! The head isn't always where it's at. Brains ain't everything, you know. When praying mantes mate, the male doesn't really start to pump furiously until after the female has started eating him, starting at the head. No, no, I mean really eating him, biting his big compound eyes off and all.

Ugh! Anyway, it just goes to show that it's not only internal organs that can function just fine without any free advice from the upstairs. (Most business organizations are the same way, but those data are problematic as there may not be any brains upstairs either.) Limbs, the parts of the body one thinks of as being under ``voluntary'' (i.e. brain?) control can, uh, go through the motions without any input from the brain.

Your fall-back position is that that's just it: going through the motions is one thing, but fer larnin' yeh needs a brain. In fact, you say, it's also well known that some insects, such as cockroaches and locusts, are able to walk and to right themselves when turned over, even after they have been completely decapitated. You used to perform these experiments yourself. Heck, you'll even grant that chickens are very well known to sometimes run around after being decapitated, even though it's difficult to track down serious research on this. (In any case, that phenomenon is, pardon the expression, short-lived.)

But you're wrong about learning and the brain. In 1962, Nature (London) published a letter by G. A. Horridge in entitled ``Learning of Leg Position by Headless Insects'' (vol. 193, pp. 697-8). Horridge reasoned from the roach and locust facts you mentioned that ``[e]vidently there is a high degree of local control of the posture and responses of the legs by the corresponding segmental ganglia; therefore not all details of the proprioceptive control of leg position need ascend to the brain. In turn, long-term adaptive changes in leg posture might then necessarily be controlled by the segmental ganglia if the detailed information were available only at the segmental level.''

Sure enough, decapitation is only slightly more effective in changing the behavior of a roach leg than is amputating other legs. It reminds me of the line an alarmed Woody Allen utters in Sleeper, an encomium to his brain: ``It's my second-favorite organ!'' Horridge describes the basic experiment he performed with both cockroaches and locusts:

   If a headless insect having only one remaining leg is placed in such a position that it receives an electrical stimulus at 1 per sec. to the tarsus during the time that the tarsus remains below a previously set level, it will repeatedly lower the leg to the point where a shock is received and then withdraw. However, after repeated shocks over a period of 15-20 min. the behaviour changes. The leg is progressively held up for relatively longer periods, fewer shocks are received .... Of 200 animals so tested in groups of 20, about 70 per cent behave in this way, 10-20 per cent hold up their leg for a period of up to 5 min. after receiving even one or two shocks, and 15-25 per cent behave unsatisfactorily and may never change their behaviour in such a way that fewer shocks are received.
(Funny way the rounding works out. Even with three assistants, that's a lot of experimental animals. I guess lawyers were not so abundant in those days.)

In principle, of course, the behavior modification might be the result of shock-induced damage or some such effect other than adaptive learning. To rule out this possibility, Horridge performed an experiment using what are now called ``yoked controls.'' Forty decapitated one-legged cockroaches were wired up in pairs so that when one of the animals (the trainee) lowered its leg, both it and the yoked animal received a shock. After 30-45 minutes of training and 10 minutes of rest, the animals were separately tested to determine shock avoidance. The trainees dramatically outperformed the yoked controls.

Also very impressive: Horridge demonstrated a sort of cross-training effect. (He didn't use that term, but even as of 2003 the term hadn't appeared in an OED Supplement.) The cross-training used forty decapitated cockroaches with two legs each: one prothoracic leg and the metathoracic leg on the opposite side. Training shocks (or just shocks, for the yoked animals) were applied to the prothoracic leg, but post-training tests were performed on the metathoracic leg. The results were still significant by rank-order test, but only at the 5% level.

If you're interested in this stuff, you should probably have a look at the rattle entry, since some day I may put something useful there besides an explanation of terminology used in this entry. Eventually, I also plan to explain BBL. Right now, in fact.

It turns out that I could have forgone the foregoing. I only performed that long song-and-dance above to suggest the existence of some significant kind of learning that does not involve the brain, which would make ``brain-based learning'' (BBL, remember?) something other than the psychobabble pleonasm it appears to be. It turns out, however, that BBL implicitly ignores that possibility. ``Brain-based learning'' is merely a poorly conceived way of saying ``teaching based on brain research.'' The term implies a claim; it could give a new meaning to the term ``dream research.'' Teasing apart actual usage, the term names two things:

  1. An approach to teaching which is putatively derived from
  2. a theory of learning which is putatively derived from research on the brain.

Less often, it's called ``brain-compatible learning'' (BCL). By any name, it's still ed research. In principle, this may not be certain proof that it's pure horseshit. This article suggests how rudimentary and uncertain is our knowledge of the brain, and how unreliable that knowledge is as any kind of guide to teaching. That is rather beside the point, however, because BBL is not based on detailed scientific findings, but on fuzzy generalities. This particular brand of snake oil was first marketed by Leslie Hart, in Human Brain and Human Learning (1983). Renate Nummela Caine and Geoffrey Caine franchised the idea with Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain (1991), Unleashing the Power of Perceptual Change: The Potential of Brain-Based Teaching (1997), Education on the Edge of Possibility (1997), and The Brain, Education, and the Competitive Edge (2001). Making Connections introduced ``Twelve Brain/Mind Learning Principles.'' (The use of solidus within ordinary English text is not a propitious sign.) As this sympathetic page declares, they ``are not based solely on the findings of neuroscience. Instead, these principles and the ideas generated from them come from a wide range of additional disciplines, including cognitive psychology, sociology, philosophy, education, technology, sports psychology, creativity research, and physics.'' Sure. Interesting mix there. Rather more goats than sheep.

A more recent classic of this depressingly tenacious genre is How the Brain Learns by David A. Sousa. Sousa is one of the bright lights of this dim field, thanked in the forewords of others' books. How was rated a cumulative 19 stars out of 20 by the four reviewers who had commented at Amazon when I visited. This gives you a pretty clear idea of the kind of person who would buy and read a book like this. (High school principals, gym teachers, and their ilk.) It's not actually a book. It looks more like a bunch of power-point slides with a relaxed attitude to grammar, semantics, usage, and logic. God   help   your   children.

I just realized that I had already mentioned the praying mantis thing in the argonaut entry! Sorry.

Brown Bag Lunch. An informal seminar. Catered on a BYOL basis.

BBM Bureau of Measurement. Broadcast audience rating service for Canada since 1944. The name is now expanded like a XARA, as above, but it is etymologically an AAP pleonasm: when created on May 11, 1944, it was named the ``Bureau of Broadcast Measurement.'' Conceived in 1942, it was formed by the CAB and the ACA. (Look'em up if you wanna know!)

Brotherhood of Blessed Michael. ``[A] religious community of men living together under a monastic rule.'' One of the two religious communities (the other is the Servants of the Good Shepherd, ``a voluntary association of worker priests and clergy'') that function within the Western Orthodox Church in America.

Big-Bang Nucleosynthesis.

Bloomberg Business News.

Bolt Beranek and Newman. An engineering company that was in charge of the network layer for the original ARPANET.

9-BoraBicycloNonane. Also ``9-BBN'' and more precisely 9-borabicyclo[3.3.1]nonane. It's ``bora-'' and not ``boro-'' because the functional group is related to borane (BH3).

It's made by reacting cycloocta-1,5-diene with borane or diborane (B2H6). The double bonds break to single bonds, and a BH group ends up bonded to carbon 1 or 2, and also to 5 or 6, of the cyclooctane structure. In other words, you get a bicyclic structure that is asymmetric (five- and seven-member rings) or symmetric (six-membered rings). Note, in other words, that ``bicyclononane'' is not a bi(cyclononane) -- it doesn't have two occurrences of nonane. Instead, it's a single nonane with a substituted boron (actually n-cyclooctane with a single-boron bridge somewhere across the middle) that can be thought of in the usual way as bicyclic. The two rings share a common -CH-BH-CH-.

With a bit of heat, the symmetric structure (the standard BBN) is thermodynamically favored and produced in high yield. See JACS, vol. B90, p. 5280 (1968) for details of the synthesis.

BBN is a popular hydroborating agent for organic synthesis. Unlike borane, BBN is stable in air. Also, whereas borane reacts with most double bonds, BBN's steric constraints make it highly selective, reacting preferentially with the most exposed and accessible double bonds (preferring, in particular cis- to trans-configured bonds).

Borophenyl-9-Borabicyclo[3.3.1]Nonane. See JACS, vol. B91, p. 4304 (1969) for the synthesis.

Bye-Bye, Now! (Prob'ly BBL, anyway.)

BaB2O4. Beta Barium Borate, a nonlinear-optical crystal.

Billion (109) Barrels of Oil (i.e., petroleum).

As of 2005, the US consumes about 7 BBO annually. Of this, about 3 BBO is produced domestically, 0.9 comes from the Persian Gulf, 0.6 each from Canada and Mexico, and the remainder from Venezuela and a dozen smaller suppliers.

Oil represents 40% of US energy supplies, used primarily for transport -- cars, trucks, and aircraft. Since the oil crunch of 1979-1985, US utilities have shifted steadily away from petroleum, and in 2005 it supplies 3% of electric power.

BBS, bbs
Be Back Soon. Chat and IM abbreviation.

That's okay, don't hurry. No need to put yourself out! Staaaay awaaay!

Bulletin Board { Service | Software | System }.


B&B Smith, Booksellers
A specialty bookshop trading primarily in new and used books on archaeology and classical studies. Excellent prices. For more on classics books, see this list. In general, see our Book Stores entry.

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. One of the UK's seven research councils. The research councils report to the Office of Science and Technology within the Department of Trade and Industry.

Basal Body Temperature.

Broadband Technology.

British Blood Transfusion Society. Transfusing British blood since, uh, let's see... oh: ``A membership organisation working to enhance Blood Transfusion Expertise since 1983.''

British Baton Twirling Sports Association. (Here's an alternate, .com-domain URL.) Founded in 1971 as the British Majorette Association. This is one of the two major twirling associations in the UK, the other being NBTA England. It is possible to participate in the competitions of either or both, as well as gawd knows how many others. You could do so much twirling that you'd spend the rest of the year unwinding. An important difference in approach between BBTSA and NBTA England is that the NBTA allows specialization in competition, but the BBTSA apparently requires competitors to develop all skills -- do a twirling decathlon, so to speak. That is my understanding from this page, which has some information about BBTSA and some other twirling organizations. For our list of twirling organizations, see the majorette entry.

Big Beautiful Wom{a|e}n. An inspired euphemism. (It's not a euphemism! And if you say that again I'm going to sit on you!) So the question arises, what might have inspired it?

B'nai B'rith Women. Could be confused with -- um, oh, nothing. Forgot what I was thinking. Now officially JWI. Good move!

There might be a bit more to this move than initialism repulsion. BBW began as a women's auxiliary of the B'nai B'rith in 1897. The auxiliary chapters were largely shut out of participation in B'nai B'rith governance, so they developed their own, and ran the auxiliaries essentially independently and with their own budgets. In 1940 the auxiliaries created a national headquarters and Supreme Council. Hence, B'nai B'rith Women (technically, the name was only adopted in 1957, though it was the title of the inchoate organization's monthly magazine by WWII) became a parallel international organization affiliated with B'nai B'rith.

The precise terms of that affiliation were in some dispute by the late 1980's. In 1988, BBI overwhelmingly passed a resolution admitting women. At the same time, BBW passed a resolution to remain distinct. Finally in 1995 BBW declared its independence and changed its name to Jewish Women International.

Broad-Breasted White turkey. As opposed to BBB. Narrow-breasted doesn't seem to be an option. Sure, all broads have breasts, but....

BaseBall Writers' Association of America. They award the MVP each year to the major-league baseball player with the best steroids.

B'nai B'rith Youth Organization. Could be confused with BYOB.

Bis-BenZimidazole perylene. Also BBIP. An excellent near-IR sensor.

Bye-Bye For Now! Long-winded version of B4N. (BBL, I guess.)

Backup College. The usual term is ``safety school,'' but this term is used to pun on Boston College (known as BC).



B Compiler. A program that processed a B-language program and produced a file in an intermediate language, for processing by ba. The past tense is apprpriate here. See the a.out entry for the entire parade.

Beam Coupling.

BeCause. I've actually seen this abbreviation used. I'm at a loss for words.

BC, B.C.
Before Christ. (Vide BCE.)

This came up as a topic on the classics list, in the archives of which you can discover the answers, under the obvious rubrics.

Before Computers.

Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Co. Inc. has been part of Addison-Wesley for decades.

Boston College.

B.C., BC
Boundary Coundition.

You think I'm going to explain that? There are whole books to explain that.

Guicciardini's ricordo C138 reads, in Domandi's translation,

Neither fools nor wise men can ultimately resist what must be. Hence, I have never read anything that I thought better said than: Ducunt volentes fata, nolentes trahunt.

(The Latin may be rendered ``Fate leads the willing, drags the unwilling.')

Postal abbreviation for the Canadian (.ca) province of British Columbia. Capital: Victoria. Unofficial nickname: Lotusland.

British Council.

[dive flag]

Buoyancy Compensat{or|ion}. Vide BCD below.

Bc, Bc
Committed Burst size.

Bird Conservation Alliance. They dig feathered dinosaurs. Archaeologists dig extinct dinosaurs.

No, that's not very amusing or precise. Please be patient. Humor is like constipation: it can cause painful delays, and straining hurts. ``Leave 'em laughing when you go,'' they say. Let's not think about that. At least we didn't perpetrate a pun on human ``chicks.''

``The Bird Conservation Alliance is a network of organizations whose focus is the conservation, study, and observation of birds. Through the Alliance, millions of birdwatchers and concerned citizens are united with conservation professionals, scientists, and educators for the conservation of wild birds.'' (I've noticed elsewhere that ``educator'' is a catch-all term now stretched to include people with no particularly relevant training or credential. I guess ``activist'' has worn out any connotational welcome it may once have had. A political organizer engages in education, you know. When you consider what goes on and doesn't go on in the schools, it's a sad comparison all around.)

I dunno, the humor crank seems balky this morning.

British Colostomy Association. ``The British Colostomy Association is the national registered charity which represents the interests of people with a colostomy and which provides support, reassurance and practical information to ostomates and anyone who is about to have a colostomy.''

Buddhist Churches of America. Temples... whatever.

British Columbia Automobile Association.

(Notre Dame) Black Cultural Arts Council.

Bulletin critique des Annales islamologiques. A publication of IFAO. Sometimes Bulletin critique for short. Annales Islamologiques (AnIsl) is a separate publication of the IFAO.

Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. Established Jan. 21, 1970.

BromoChloroAcetoNitrile. Other haloacetonitriles popular in water treatment are CAN, DBAN, DCAN, and TCAN.

British Columbia Association of People who Stutter. ``Speaking out for people who stutter.''

No wait -- don't tell me: ``people who stutter'' is respectful and recognizes the personhood of people who stutter, whereas ``stutterers'' is essentializing, derogatory, and offensive. (And somewhat onomatopoeic.) When all the professional offense-takers are done with the language, it'll be three times wordier and more opaque. It'll take longer to speak that speak than to stutter the language as it is now.

It's been almost seventy years, so I guess the story can be told. When my dad was a young man, the family was still in contact with relatives in Alsace-Lorraine. It was the run-up to WWII, and a lot of these relatives realized they were in a bad place and needed to get out. Of course, it was the middle of a world-wide depression and immigration visas were scarce. Many countries that were willing to take immigrants would only accept them to fill perceived labor or skill shortages. So a rich cousin of ours bought a farm and brought over a number of the mishpoche on the pretext that they were trained agronomists or something. My dad was fluent in French, so he was employed to teach the newcomers the local langauge (Spanish). He had variable success with this, and apparently the government was in a hurry for the newcomers to demonstrate that they were Spanish-speaking. So one other thing that my dad taught was how to stutter. You can learn to stutter faster than you can learn any language. When you stutter it's hard for others to tell that you can't speak the language because you don't know it well, rather than because you can't get it out. And people complete your sentences for you with the answers they want, as for example on naturalization papers.

More on stuttering and the New World emigration at the Abend entry.

Beacon (aircraft-) Collision Avoidance System.

BenzoCycloButene. An organic molecular solid used for microelectronic insulation. Specifically, as an ILD with k below 3. PAE has also been considered; I should find out whether it is or has been used.

Bush-Cheney Bomb & Bankrupt Cheap-Labor-Conservative Resistance Movement. A character string introduced by Warren Gammel in a November 1, 2003, guest editorial at mikehersh.com.

Broadband Connectionless Data Bearer Service. Maybe I have the letters a bit scrambled. Maybe I'm not the only one.

Blind Carbon Copy, or Blind Cc. A Cc: not explicitly indicated on the copied document (or the document copied).

The Bcc: field in email is an optional header that functions like the Cc: field -- it instructs the MTA to send a copy of the message to any addresses listed after the field name. It differs from the Cc: header in that the Bcc: line does not appear in the email received.

Body-Centered Cubic (crystal lattice).

British Council of Churches.

Buried-channel CCD. All commercially available CCD's are BCCD's. The channel is the semiconductor electrode of a MOS-C, and it is ``buried'' by a combination of doping and applied voltage.

Board of Control for Cricket in India. The governing body for professional cricket in India, and a full member of the ICC, q.v.

Bergen County (New Jersey) Community Library System. Pronounced ``buckles.''

Binary-Coded Decimal. Numbers encoded or represented as a sequence decimal digits, with the individual digits stored in binary representation. If you ignore the higher-order byte, EBCDIC and ASCII both implement BCD. In ASCII, 0-9 are encoded as hexadecimal 30 to 39. Vide Packed BCD.

Board-Certified Diplomate. As in Board-Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (CSW). [See SW entry for related entries.]

[dive flag]

Buoyancy Control Device. Also `bouyancy compensators' (BC's). What tech divers use the way fish use air bladders. This is the most informative page on BC's I've seen on the web.

Broadband Connectionless Data Bearer Service.

The similar-sounding initialism ``BCBDS'' seems to be widely used as an equivalent of BCDBS.

On January 4, 2004, I googled around trying to figure out what was going on. Here are the hit counts I got with various searches:

The words in the expansion: 3220
The expansion: 193
"BCBDS": 95
"BCDBS": 108
"BCBDS" and the expansion (as phrase): 56
"BCBDS" and the expansion words: 56
"BCBDS" and "Broadband" and "Service": 57
"BCDBS" and the expansion (as phrase): 51
"BCBDS" and the expansion words: 81
"BCDBS" and the expansion words: 83
"BCDBS" and "BCBDS" and the expansion: 39
"BCDBS" and "BCBDS" and "VERA" and the expansion: 36
("BCDBS" or "BCBDS") and "bearer of data": 0

Banco Central Europeo. Spanish for `European Central Bank' (ECB).

Before the Common Era. Less religiously provocative than ``Before Christ'' (BC). Also expanded ``Before the Common Error.''

Bulletin de la céramique égyptienne. A publication of IFAO.


Bulletin canadienne des études classiques. `Canadian Classical Bulletin.' See CCB/BCEA. A publication of CAC/SCEC.

BCF, Bcf
Billion Cubic Feet. A convenient unit for national natural gas production. ``Billion'' in the American sense: thousand million (explanation at billion).

Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association. The BCFM Annual Conference is in May.

Bacillus Calmette-Guérin. An attenuated Mycobacterium tuberculosis bovis vaccine for (human) TB. It's also now used in cancer chemotherapy. In the olden days of yore, BCG stood for bacille Calmette-Guérin, like it was French or something.

Binary Computer-Generated Hologram. Vide A. W. Lohmann and D. P. Paris, ``Binary Frauenhofer holograms, generated by computer,'' Applied Optics 6, pp. 1739-1748 (1967).

Bose-Chaudhuri-Hocquenghem. A forward error correction technique with low overhead.

Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. `Central American Bank for Economic Integration' (CABEI).

As of March 2005, it has only five regional member states (miembros regionales) (Belize, the former British Honduras, and Panama are the nonmember C.A. countries). In addition it has five miembros extraregionales: Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, the Republic of China, and Spain.

Wait a sec: Spain!? That's not just extraregional -- that's practically on the other side of the world!

Batch Command Language.

Brain-Compatible Learning. Most people who have anything to do with ``brain-compatible learning'' or ``brain-based learning'' regard the terms as closely equivalent. Googling in March 2004 suggests that the -based term is over four times as common. This is consistent with my own impression from limited conversations that the -based term is predominant. (I sure hope she doesn't discover this page!) Interestingly, however, pages with the -compatible term are almost seven times more likely to use ``BCL'' than pages with -based are to use the corresponding ``BBL.'' So in this context, BCL appears to be roughly 60% more common than BBL, even though its expansion is much less favored. The Ockhamite observes that a single theory can account for all quantitative trends: although both expanded names are pretty silly, ``brain-compatible learning'' is most silly, so the -based term is preferred. When the -compatible term is nevertheless used, embarrassment leads to its concealment in BCL.

British Comparative Literature Association.

Billion Cubic Meters. Why, why that's huge! It's the volume of a cube 0.6 miles on a side! (Cf. the Forbidden Planet machine mentioned at the anticline entry.) The BCM is a unit commonly used in describing natural-gas reserves and production. It might be used for other gas production, but the Congressional Quarterly is only published in solid form. (Technically, the solid state is a ``condensed'' form of matter, but this appears to be an exception.)

Bit Compression Multiplexer.

Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. The name of a department at Harvard Med School, and presumably elsewhere as well, but the acronym ... it's so euphonious that it really ought to stand for something more common.

Butler County Motorsports Park. A member of Dirt Tracks of America. No, this isn't what I had in mind either.

A C-language routine that compares two byte strings and returns false if they're equal and true otherwise. Except that C doesn't have a logical variable type, so bcmp is an int-valued function that returns a nonzero value or 0. In the local implementation, the nonzero value was 1.

No, that isn't it either. This is really beginning to bother me. Maybe they did away with it. In ANSI C, they dropped bcmp for memcmp().

BCMP Theorem
A THEOREM of Baskett, Chandy, Muntz and Palacios, 1975. Something important to do with computer performance.

Rebus for ``Be seein' you.'' Cf. CU. Also the name of a quite toxic cancer drug, so it's dark humor.

Broadband Class Of Bearer.

Block CoPolymer.


Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc. Strong in Latin and Greek materials.


Bristol Classical { Press | Paperbacks }. Previously with Focus Publishing, now part of Duckworth Publishers.

Broadband Customer-Premises Equipment

Baltimore County Public Library.

Basic CPL. Now of interest mainly as a precursor of the programming language C (the history is outlined at the Algol entry). BCPL was designed in 1966 by Martin Richards and implemented for the first time at MIT in the Spring of 1967. Like its antecendent Algol, BCPL was one of the earliest languages with support for structured programming. This is still a bit surprising, however, as BCPL was a rather lower-level language, a grunt or two above assembler. It was even ``typeless'' -- the only data type was the machine word.

Even more surprising, perhaps, is that you can download a machine-independent interpreted version of BCPL, implemented in C, made available by Richard Martin in 2000. He published an article in the December 2011 Computer Journal (``How BCPL Evolved from CPL''). The article abstract ends ``surprisingly, the language is still used commercially and by individuals all over the world.''

A copy of the BCPL manual from July 1967 (which also constituted the language definition) is available on-line (different typescript with almost identical content here). The abstract:

BCPL is a simple recursive programming language designed for compiler writing and system programming: it was derived from true CPL (Combined Programming Language) by removing those features of the full language which make compilation difficult namely, the type and mode matching rules and the variety of definition structures with their associated scope rules.

From Section 4.2, on string constants:

     The string character alphabet contains all the
characters except * and ' are represented directly. These two
exceptions are represented by

     **  and *' respectively.
In addition
     *n represents    newline
     *s     "         space
     *b     "         backspace
     *t     "         tab

It's interesting that nested blocks in BCPL (called sections), opened with multiple $( (called SECTBRA) tokens, could be closed by a single SECTKET $). This doesn't seem like a convenience to me. In later versions, the {,} tokens were adopted, and curly brackets have been the standard code-block tokens ever since. A little bit about the history of comment styles in BCPL and its successors B, C, C++, and C# can be found at the B entry.

Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages includes a Hello World program in BCPL.

Bibliographic Center for Research.

Bulletin de la Commission royale des Anciennes Lois et Ordonnances de Belgique / Handelingen van de Commissie voor de uitgave der Oude Wetten en Verordeningen.

Bridge Clube do Rio de Janeiro. Founded in 1955.

Bandwidth Conservation Society.

Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer theory of superconductivity. [Presented in Phys. Rev. 106, 162 (1957) and 108, 1175 (1957).] Cf. Cooper pairs, Fröhlich polaron, polaron, London Penetration Depth, Pippard Coherence length, Meissner effect, strong-coupling superconductors, Josephson junctions.

The Net Advance of Physics site has one (as of 95/08) paper directly on the theory.


Bibliotheca Classica Selecta. ``Une introduction bibliographique aux études classiques.''

Boston Computer Society.

[Football icon]

Bowl Championship Series. An agreement among the most prominent US college football bowls (that ones that host post-season Division I-A contests), on how to allocate bowl invitations. One of the goals of the agreement is to make it possible, sometimes, sort of, to determine a ``national champion'' in the absence of a play-off series.

In 2005, for only the first time since 2003, Congress looked into the fairness of the BCS. Finally our legislators were getting off their duffs and getting to work on pressing issues! ``College football is not just an exhilarating sport, but a billion-dollar business that Congress cannot ignore,'' said Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Barton feared that the method for determining who's number 1 was flawed. Coincidentally, the Texas Longhorns were ranked #2 (behind USC) in most polls for virtually all of the 2005 season. (They were #1 in the BCS rankings for week 9, the second week that BCS rankings were available, due to higher computer ranking. In 2005, the score that determined BCS rankings was a simple average of the Harris Interactive poll, the USA Today Coaches poll, and a strange number called the Computer poll.) Barton represents Texas legislative district #6, which is nowhere near the Longhorns' Austin home, and he's an Aggie, so obviously the hearings represent his disinterested concern, and not demagogic pandering or Texas pique.

People complain about unfairness as if fairness were possible. The BCS is just a prominent example of the failure of the assumption.

British Computer Society.

Business Communication System[s].

Business Council for Sustainable Development. Cf. CSD.

[Football icon]

Bowl Championship Series National Championship [game].

BiCMOS Bus-Interface Technology. You sort it out. This page from TI.

Big Close-Up. Movie slang for a screen-filling facial close-up.

British Columbia Veterinary Medical Association. See also the relevant CVMA.

BroadCast WorldWide. An international exhibition and conference. In 2008 it was held in Seoul, September 3-5.

Bande Dessinée. French for `comic strip,' also used more loosely for comic books.

(Domain code for) Bangladesh. Old Eastern Pakistan. Occupies the delta of the Bengal river, which floods during the monsoon to cause the annual national disaster, whose effects linger at least a year. bangla.net, run by Information Services Network, Ltd., claims to be the first online ISP in Bangladesh, not the only.

George Harrison had a song called Bangladesh, and he made four syllables out of the name (BANG-uh-luh-DESH). What more do you need to know?

Base de données. French for `database.'

Beloved Disciple. Not a general term but a specific person, mentioned in the Gospel of John, first at Jn 13:23-25.

Cf. B.D.

Black & Decker. A manufacturer of power tools for the home craftsman. A surprising number of gentlemen and ladies express an interest in ``B&D'' in personals advertisements. They must be real homebodies who enjoy making furniture. Yeah, that's it. And leatherwork. Cf. S&M.

[Football icon]

B.D., BD
A regular character in the Doonesbury comic strip, represented wearing a (North American) football helmet at all (generally inappropriate) times. Gary Trudeau started drawing Doonesbury for the Yale Daily News in 1968, when one Brian Dowling was quarterback for Yale.

Cf. BD

Bronze Disease, q.v.

Bomb-Damage Assessment.

British Deaf Association.

British Dietetic Association. The UK ICDA member.

Big Dumb Booster. Talkin' rockets here, not hometown football fanatics with too much money.

Backup Domain Controller. Used in NTFS for Windows NT.

BDC, bdc, b.d.c.
Bottom Dead Center. The moment or position of a reciprocating engine piston when the piston is furthest out of the cylinder (although it may not be ``out'' to any extent at all). Half a cycle, or 180 degrees, away from TDC. BDC is used as a reference position, with angles described as before or after BDC (bBDC or aBDC), but timing is more critical for events occurring around TDC, and TDC is the more commonly used reference.

Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group. With John Grisham and Danielle Steele, you think they care about your miserable manuscript? You can have a $1 advance, they need to line the birdcage.

Binary Decision Diagram. See Sheldon B. Akers: ``Binary Decision Diagrams,'' in IEEE Transactions on Computers, 27 (#6), pp. 509-516 (June 1978).

BDD's are one tool to analyze fault trees. See R. Sinnamon and J. Andreas: ``Fault Tree Analysis and Binary Decision Diagrams,'' Proceedings of the Reliability and Maintainability Symposium, pp. 215-222 (January 1996).

Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Morbid obsession with a perceived flaw in one's appearance. I suppose if the wicked queen suffered from BDD, then Cinderella was the flaw in her appearance. Or was that Snow White? I always get those two confused.

Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Short for the former NCEH division and probably still used to refer to the successor organization, the NCBDDD.

Bibliothèque d'étude. (The study, specifically, of ancient Egypt up to about the Hellenistic period.) A publication of IFAO.

According to Dioscorides and Pliny it's the word for a plant and the fragrant gum exuded by it. It's also mentioned in the Old Testament. As is typical with such names, it's now unclear precisely what plants were originally referred to. In modern times the name has been given to several trees and shrubs of the family Amyridaceae, primarily of the genus Balsamodendron. These exude a gum resin resembling impure myrrh, having a pungent taste and pleasant odor. It's one of many herbs found in the Scrabble tablelands.

(Adobe Glyph) Bitmap Distribution Format.

Block Data Format.

Butyl DiGLyme.

Beck Depression Inventory.

Bean Developers Kit. Think Java, as in coffee beans.

Blätter für deutsche Landesgeschichte. German journal, something like `Journal for the history of German Land.' See Stuart Jenks's page of Tables of Contents of Historical Journals and Monographic Series in German for a link to a partial listing of contents (deutsche Seite: Zeitschriftenfreihandmagazin Inhaltsverzeichnisse geschichtswissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften in deutscher Sprache).

Building, Design and Management.

Bund Deutscher Mädchen. [`Union of German Girls.'] Nazi Girl Scouts. Mädchen is a cognate of the English word maiden, and -chen is a diminutive ending, so there is some justification for translating the BDM expansion as `union of little German maidens.' I happen to like etymological translations, but I have to admit that maidens is not the common and unmarked word it once was in English, even as recently as the time of Gilbert and Sullivan. Moreover, to a German-speaker, Mädchen is no more likely to evoke the associations of the English word maiden than is, to an English-speaker, ``scullery maid'' likely to evoke the associations of virgin. Cf. JM.

Branched DNA (-signal amplification assay). The bDNA test made by Chiron is used to measure viral load in blood plasma (``viral titer'').

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor.

Basic Delivery Order.

Battle-Dress Overgarment.

Bangladesh Rifles. Metonym for a paramilitary unit of the Bangladeshi border forces. They made international news on February 25, 2009, when they staged a mutiny against their army officers.

Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions. Not boycotts, divestments, and sanctions in general, but the name of an anti-Israel movement.

Bush Derangement Syndrome. A syndrome caused by hatred of George W. Bush, and characterized by a (further, in the view of some) diminished ability to think rationally. The term was coined by Charles Krauthammer, who was a practicing psychiatrist before he became a political commentator, who defined it formally as ``the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency--nay--the very existence of George W. Bush.'' Many people think that the definition is a joke, and in principle they might be right.

The problem I have with the original definition is that those who are not ``otherwise normal'' get a free pass, but by now that definition has faded into obscurity. Many other ``derangement syndromes'' were suggested, but they have fallen out of fashion since the end of Bush administration. The initialism is also less common now, but for those who regard BDS as a real phenomenon, that has the virtue of tying together an affliction with an identically-labeled enthusiasm that is correlated with it (this other BDS, supra).

British Double Summer Time. The name for Double Daylight Saving Time (more at the link) when it was used by the UK suring WWII.

In the 1953 movie ``The Titfield Thunderbolt,'' there's a scene in a pub where Mrs. Valentine (so IMDb) asks her husband ``Do you know what time it is?'' He replies ``Yes, my love: summer double time.''

British Dependent Territories Citizen. Designates holder of a second-class citizen passport. More clarifications in this glossary.

Berkeley Design Technology, Inc. Does DSP stuff.

Battle Dress Uniform. Camouflage gear. Comes with reinforced elbows standard, just like standard-issue phlegmatic professor cardigans (PPC's).

(Click here for top) Previous section: B (top) to BayMG (bottom)

Next section: be (top) to BFV (bottom)

[ Thumb tabs and search tool] [ SBF Homepage ]

Space above was intentionally left free of glossary definitions so that links to bottom of document can appear at the top of the screen display.

© Alfred M. Kriman 1995-2014 (c)