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Baylor University. Their teams are called the Bears or the Lady Bears.

Binghamton University. Long ago, and possibly still, the more common name has been ``SUNY Binghamton.'' The new name makes it sound more like a private school. That's probably not unintentional, but there seems to be more to it than that, as explained at the SUNY entry. State support for the SUNY system declined over time, and some time in the 1990's people started to emphasize the distinction between ``state-supported,'' which the four flagship universities of the SUNY system had been, and merely ``state-assisted,'' which they were becoming. So the distinction between private and public university is in a certain respect a matter of degree. (SUNY's ``flagship university centers'' are UB, BU, Stony Brook, and Albany. UB regards itself as ``the flagship'' school of the system, largely because it offers the broadest range of fields of study.)

Bodansky Unit[s].

Boston University. 'Couple friends of mine went there, but I never knew that ``[i]t is the third-largest independent institution of higher education in the United States.''


BUtyl. Alternatively (using the older terminology): BUtyric.

Big Ugly ASCII Graphic.

A velocity unit equal to 1 millimeter per millenium. It's got a ring to it, doesn't it? According to the Dictionary of the Physical Sciences: Terms, Formulas, Data, compiled by Cesare Emiliani (NY, Oxford: Ox. U.P., 1987), it ``is used for tectonic movements and deep-sea sedimentation rates.'' Not so much any more, it seems. More typically, people write m/Ma and may mention that these are ``Bubnoff units.'' I think this refers to one S. von Bubnoff.

Buckingham's II Theorem
(The ``II'' represents a capital Greek letter pi, okay?)

Let a1, a2, ... an, be n independent quantities measurable in terms of m independent dimensions or units. The theorem states that if f(a1, a2, ... an) = 0 has a solution (i.e., if f has a root), then that solution is of the form F(b1, b2, ... bn-m) = 0, where the {b} are independent, dimensionless products of the {a}. It's the fundamental theorem justifying dimensional analysis, but most people just use dimensional analysis when, by hook or crook, n = m.

(The name, II [Pi] Theorem, apparently comes from the fact that the {b} were written with that character to indicate that they represented products.)

Hey, wasn't Buckingham the guy who came up with the theme for Friends? Oops, my bad: the Friends theme song, ``I'll Be There For You,'' was performed by the Rembrandts. I was thinking of the Buckinghams, who had five Top-40 hits in 1967. ``Kind Of A Drag'' was probably their greatest hit, and hit #1 that year. It wouldn't be a bad title for a text book of aerodynamics. Aerodynamics makes extensive use of dimensional analysis.

bucket truck
The kind linemen use. In New York, you need a special license to operate one.

Better known as fullerene. Individual fullerene molecules are also called bucky-balls. The molecule consists of sixty carbons (C60) bonded into a soccer ball form, with a carbon atom at each vertex of that Aristotelian solid. The class of large molecules related to buckminsterfullerene is called fullerenes (but the singular seems to be reserved for the original buckminsterfullerene). The name honors R. Buckminster Fuller, a very unconventional designer and architect who championed geodesic domes.

Illustration below is mirrored from http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/multimedia/images/gif/b/bball.gif.


Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology.

American bison. Not technically a ``buffalo,'' although on this matter of terminology and usage, one may be as sceptical as Melville was, of the silly news that the whale was not a fish. Some pictures are available from the Smithsonian's collection:
too close.

When two buffalo fight, it is the grass that gets hurt.

[Football icon]

Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo NFL franchise. This is another of the many instances that occur in sports of funny grammatical-number issues arising from team names. It is common in English to form a proper noun by application of the definite article to a plural noun (e.g., the New York Jets, the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys, the Miami Dolphins...). The definite article itself has an unusual presence: it is part of the name, though typically uncapitalized -- it would be an affectation of informality to exclude the article and say ``New York Giants are in town for tomorrow's game.'' That sounds like ``New York giants,'' which could be the New York Knicks instead.

Occasionally a team name is constructed from a definitized singular, as in ``the Stanford [Univ.] Cardinal,'' although this singularity is often forgotten. This works better with uncountable nouns, as in `the Nashville Sound'' or ``the Utah Jazz.'' And in case you're wondering: yes, the Jazz was originally a New Orleans team. In the early days of the National League, Buffalo had a team; Buffalo once had a basketball team as well. Alas, the vicissitudes of time.

Editorial Health Advisory: this entry contains pointlessly odd formatting.

Anyway, the Buffalo Bills are the only team in American pro football (NFL) with a name that is constructed from another proper noun. ``Buffalo Bill'' was the nickname of William Frederick Cody. He was not from Buffalo, but he killed some as a frontier scout, and in 1883 he started a ``Wild West Show'' that toured the US and Europe. This was a popular show, with spin-offs and tie-ins, and even though Buffalo Bill himself died in 1917, you could still join a young boys' adventurers' club and get a Cody decoder ring if you order now as recently as the 1960's. I think so, anyway. You get old your memory starts to fail and you start going off on random tangents. In It's a Wonderful Life a young George Bailey tells a young Mary Hatch about being an explorer and reading National Geographic. No ring, but then George was always the literary type. Some years later, George Bailey's father tells him that he was ``born older'' than his brother. If I was born older that would go a long way to explaining my literary style [called ``Krimanian Discursive Geometry'' by Steve Bishop, who did photospectroscopy before he got into the research lab director racket]. Eventually, George tells his dad that he loves him, or that he's a swell guy or something, which is probably about as close as you could get to saying something like that in a movie in the days of the Hayes office anyway. (The possible team name ``the Hayes Office Days'' is not taken yet.) Amazing but true, there were things that Frank Capra left out of the movie to

keep it from being too corny,

like having George get down on his knees and recite the Lord's prayer at the end of the movie.
(That was in the script at one point.) From her listening post behind the door, the maid declares that it was about time that one of the two lunk-heads expressed affection (I paraphrase). That night, George goes to his brother's high school senior prom, where he dances with Buckwheat's date, Donna Reed, who is playing the older Mary Hatch, who at that point of the movie is younger than actress Donna Reed. This is a bit unusual. Usually, actresses are cast older than their actual age, like Phylicia Rashad as Mrs. Huxtable, or Mrs. Robinson, the `older woman lover' of Benjamin Braddock (played by Anne Bancroft, and Dustin Hoffman, 36 and 30 years old at the time, respectively, but she got some make-up aging) in ``The Graduate'' (1967). Barry Williams, the actor who played Greg Brady on the original Brady Bunch series, briefly dated Florence Henderson, who played his mom on the show. More about Mrs. Robinson and these issues at the entry for the Car Door Slam Method.

But the main thing about age is that you get old your memory starts to fail and you start going off on random tangents. I think I mention that elsewhere in this reference work. It's good to have a reference work where I can discard used thoughts, since I don't know if I'll ever remember where I put them, because when you get old your memory starts to go. George Bailey's father has a fatal heart attack that night, and four years later, as he is about to leave town and do some exploring, George finally gets a ring, but he gives it to Mary Hatch and they get married. Rap! ... Rap-Rap! Uh-oh, e. e. cummings is paging me from the other side.

Back before I was a kid, mothers would get their sons National Geographic so they wouldn't steal their dads' Playboy magazines. A sort of homeopathic browsing prescription. (Update here.) George Bailey probably would have read the accompanying text as well, but in any case, the movie is set (and was made) in a time before Playboy. Sex itself was only invented in 1953, and at first it was available only by prescription. (Phillip Larkin had an alternate opinion.)

You know, if you came here for information about Wild Bill Hikock, you're probably wondering why so few pages turned up on your internet search, forcing you to visit us as a last resort. The reason is that his last name is spelled Hickok. But Wild Bill Hickok was somebody other than Buffalo Bill. He wasn't even a William.

Of course, you probably didn't come here to learn all of that. You wanted to find out about the Bills per

se, rather than about the linguistic and historical significance of their name,

let alone the other stuff. You should have visited

this fan's page.

Buffalo Bisons
The major-league baseball team of Buffalo, 1879-1885. Part of the National League (1876-present).

Buffalo Black
I think it's a chemical, maybe a pH indicator like BTB. Black Buffalo (``Buffalo, Black'') is a fish.

[Football icon]

Buffalo Jills
The official cheerleading squad for the Bills NFL football franchise. In 1994, the Jills made labor history when they voted overwhelmingly to become the first NFL cheerleading squad to unionize. The sponsor at the time, Mighty Taco of Amherst NY, withdrew its support. On July 13, 1995, just two weeks before preseason began, the Bills (helmet image here mirrors http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/multimedia/images/gif/b/bill1.gif) announced new joint sponsorship, by Bradford Travel Service, a travel agency, and Pure Tech, an electrical contractor, both of Bradford, Pa. IBEW Local 41 represents employees of both companies, and that month the Buffalo Jills voted to disband the NFLC and join the IBEW.

There's something called the Universal Cheerleaders Association, but they're not a union. They are ``the largest organizer and producer of cheerleading camps, regional and national competitions, and summer conferences in the United States.''

Some surfers who browse here are not interested in NFL cheerleader labor relations, despite the interesting questions raised about trade versus industrial unionizing and how that would affect struck games. Instead, a small number of our visitors are interested in alright! alright already! pictures of cheerleaders. Here's a site that has what you came here for. That site does not have Buffalo Jills pictures at this writing, so you might try some individual admirers' sites like Paul Kiister's. and the Unofficial Buffalo Bills Home Page.

Buffalo, New
New Buffalo is in Berrien County, Michigan. On the Galien River near Lake Michigan. According to this useful document, there are toilets there.

Buffalo, New York
When the first modern polyphase power station went on line in 1895 at Niagara Falls, the first customer was the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, which later became ALCOA. The company used the power to produce aluminum by the Hall electrolytic process. Buffalo soon became the largest electrochemical center in the world. Later, nearby Amherst achieved the distinction of hosting the alpha chapter of the SBF.

There is a Buffalo Official Online Guide.

There's also a page constructed with the desultory assistance of usacitylink, which demonstrates the awesome power and utility of the internet by giving you the current time and date in Buffalo.

buffalo wangs
Sands lack one o'tham Suthun foods. Great with mountain oysters. Hard to beat.

buffalo wings
I suppose pigs are next.

Buffalo wings
Spicy-hot chicken wings and legs, in the style that is traditional in the Buffalo (NY) area. Buffalo wings are basically fried chicken dipped/steeped/heated in hot sauce. The better places give you extra sauce to dip in to make them spicier. You must eat them with your hands. (The sauce is not runny; it's a non-Newtonian fluid. It's thicker than tabasco and thinner than ketchup.) Licking your fingers afterwards is optional but highly recommended. Typically served with celery sticks (and maybe carrot sticks) to be dipped in a cream sauce. Some people dip the celery in the hot sauce or the wings into the cream. It takes all kinds.

The hottest and best wings near UB are found at Duff's, on the SE corner of S...I-can't-believe-I-forgot-the-name and Millersport, about a mile south of the hotel cluster near the North campus. Sheridan and Millersport. Open for lunch. Like good Texas chili, the strongest stuff makes your forehead sweat and your ears tingle. Across Millersport from Tandoori Kitchen, where the chicken vindaloo is not as hot.

The other local food is beef on weck. That's roast beef on a Kaiser roll. ``Weck'' is short for Kümelweck, a German variety of cumin that is used to flavor the rolls. Good with mustard, spiral fries garnished with vinegar, and beer. Especially beer.

Among the ``southtowns'' (towns south of Buffalo or south of the main East-West rail lines) is a town named Hamburg since 1812. Hamburg is one of the places that claims to be the home of the American Hamburger (sold during a world fair ca. 1903). They have a water tower with a tank that from time to time has been painted to look very convincingly like a juicy hamburger on a bun. On April 21, 2003, PETA sent a fax to the town offering to supply $15,000 worth of mutilated plant matter to feed the cattle in area schools (not PETA's wording) if only the town would change its name to Veggieburg. PETA spokesman Joe Haptas claimed that the publicity ploy was ``serious as a heart attack.'' I don't much doubt it. I do doubt that $15,000 would even cover the costs of changing the signage and stationery, or the revenue that would probably be lost from the town's annual Burgerfest. Hamburg town supervisor Patrick Hoak's (nudge) response: ``We're proud of our name and proud of our heritage.''

What I want is for neighboring towns to change their names, to ``Mayo,'' etc. There's also a Hamburg in Germany (see HH).

buffered HF
BUFFERED (aqueous solution of) HydroFluoric acid. See BOE.

On Tuesday evening, April 20, 2004, a couple following the Atkins diet was forced to leave the Chuck-A-Rama in Taylorsville, a suburb of Salt Lake City. On the Atkins diet, you have to avoid carbohydrates but you can eat protein and fat. (Somewhere in there I think it may say that if you eat a LOT of fat and protein, you won't lose weight, but anyway....) When Mr. Amaama went up for his twelfth (12th, dozenth) slice of roast beef, the general manager asked him to stop. The manager was concerned that he wouldn't have enough for other patrons. Okay, so that's the background. Get set for the learning portion of the entry!

The couple said that they were under the ``impression [that] Chuck-A-Rama was an all-you-can-eat establishment'' and demanded a refund. The manager refused and called the police when they refused to leave. Jack Johanson, the chain's district manager, explained that buffet is not a synonym of all-you-can-eat: ``We've never claimed to be an all-you-can-eat establishment, our understanding is a buffet is just a style of eating.''

There you have it: if you're on an all-you-can-eat type of diet, then a buffet restaurant may not cut it.

Incidentally, not long after this incident, I ate at an Iron Skillet somewhere along the Ohio Turnpike. They had an ``All-You-Can-Eat Buffet.'' I was careful to observe that the menu did not use quotation marks around any part of the overweight compound noun I quoted in the preceding sentence. The qualifier that Iron Skillet uses suggests that the unqualified term ``buffet'' does indeed just describe a ``style of eating.'' (More eating than style, though.) The Iron Skillet restaurants I've seen cater to truckers, and many are open 24/7. All-You-Can-Eat and 24/7 sounds like a recipe for occasional disaster to me.

bug juice
What we used to call any sweet powder drink in summer camp; what it became if left outside uncovered.

The name, or an element in the names, of various plants. The word is borrowed via French from the Greek boúglôssos, `ox tongue' [< boûs `ox' + glôssa `tongue']. ``Ox tongue'' describes the shape and roughness of the leaves of plants so-called.

Singular bugloss and plural buglosses grow in the Scrabble tablelands. That's where I found it.

BUsiness InformationLink Technology. Part of the name of BUILT Informationstechnologie AG. This is what you might call a Akronym-assistierte AAP pleonasmus.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The
They eschew the adoption of an acronym. ``BotAS'' would make a good one.

Black Unaccountable Machine. Tony Brown's acronym for current US Black Civil-Rights leadership. He feels that its liberal positions and policies are self-serving, and bad news for the majority of black people, but I guess you could figure that out from the name he gave it [in Black Lies, White Lies (Morrow, 1995)].

In a little book of quotations of Charles Barkley, compiled from press clippings and published when he was still playing for the Phoenix Suns, he recalls a conversation with his family. They criticize him for voting Republican -- the party of millionaires, but he protests that ``I am a millionaire.'' Money talks.

When Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1964, he observed that he had signed away the Democratic party's strength in the South for the rest of his life. If the civil rights movement had been even more effective he might have lost the Democratic party's strength in the Black community. Abraham Lincoln and the radical Republicans (how oddly that phrase rings today!) won the Black vote for many decades after the Civil War; the broad loyalty of African Americans to the Democratic party dates from the administrations of FDR. Jack Kemp, former quarterback (QB) for the Buffalo Bills, appeared for a while to be the only prominent member of the Republican party seriously interested in bringing blacks back into the party.

B.U.M. Equipment
A trendyish brand of casual self-advertising clothes. The B.U.M. Lore page purports to attempt to discover the origins of this name in the dark dawn mists of primeval time.

BUM Fodder.

Blood Urea Nitrogen. Elevated levels a possible early indication of kidney damage.

Bündnis 90
German `Alliance 90.' An alliance of civic movements of the GDR and then of the former GDR: Demokratie Jetzt, Initiative für Frieden und Menschenrechte, and Neues Forum. In 1993, Bündnis 90 joined the Green Party.

In an interview with Charles N. Wheeler that appeared in the May 25, 1916 issue of the Chicago Tribune, Henry Ford made this famous comment:
History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history we make today.

buoyancy, positive
Last Sunday, Gary and Susan bought some furniture, so I was over to help move stuff out of the living room (LR) to make space. There was this light-colored unit that the TV used to sit on, and that held a lot of video tapes. In order to lighten the load when we moved it, we started taking the tapes out. It was getting pretty light. Now, I want you to understand, its mass was still positive. We weren't infracting any important physical laws. Its mass was definitely positive, positive definite. But it was lighter. David was playing on top, so when the tapes were out we just let him sit and went to move stuff in another room. While we were gone, David got off, and when we came back, the unit had floated up and was sliding along the slanted ceiling. The vacuum cleaner was handy, but we couldn't bump or suction it down, and before we could get a ladder (they have a high ceiling, especially in the LR) the thing had fallen up into the skylight and crashed through. Pretty soon, we lost sight of it in the clouds, although a loose pencil rolled out of the inside and bounced off the roof into the driveway. (I'm pretty sure that's how it got there. I mean, how else could a pencil wind up on a driveway?) At least they didn't lose any tapes, but obviously they were denser anyway.

Some people I've told about this have expressed skepticism. They say it couldn't have happened. Look: before you jump to conclusions, let me point out that it was a pretty humid day, like maybe 2000%. The air was way heavy. It was just one of those days when relatively light wooden objects might weigh less than the air they displace. It's the reason trees have roots. Light things rise from the depths, if they're really light; Alicia Silverstone has explained this rather succinctly in an oceanographic context. Still don't believe me? Some people are pretty stubborn. You know, there's probably a physical law that says if you saw it happen with your own eyes, then it happened. Now do you believe me? Sheesh. Wait a sec, I'll put Gary on the keyboard:

Yeah, like Al said. Good thing the skylight was insured. But, did I ever tell you how I got that piece? No? It's a pretty interesting story, I -- Uh Gary, Gary? -- same piece at Menards, but $40 more, so -- Gary, I don't think they care how -- make a deal, but I said ``Look -- Gary, gimme the keyboard! -- Al, they probably want to know where they could get a good deal on a TV table, don't-- legGO! It's MY computer! --MY modem. Now where was but I'm the glossary guy! What, this is the glossary? I thought it was live.

Well, you heard it folks, broke through the skylight, just like I said.

This is probably as good a place as any to mention George Carlin's explanation of Frisbeetarianism -- ``the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.''

Don't laugh -- it's a religion: you're supposed to respect!

      And so everyone present begged the architect to tell them how the weight of the wood could be scientifically and reliably measured against that of water; and he explained the matter succinctly and clearly, in such a way that it was understood by all except the philosophers. He was in fact constrained to repeat the explanation a second and a third time; and finally, with great difficulty, they managed to understand it.

      ``It is quite true,'' said the architect, ``what most people say of them--that they possess nothing but the false conceit of knowledge. For it has been proved that in areas where knowledge is difficult they understand nothing; in areas where it is easy, they merely pretend to know.''

The Affections and Errors of the Soul
tr. P. N. Singer

The British United Provident Association. Formed by the merger in 1947 of 17 British provident associations. A ``provident association'' is a kind of private nonprofit. ``Over fifty years later, BUPA is still the UK's leading independent health and care organisation.''

Buppy Ah Oo!
Famous line from that sixties rock classic, ``Lightning Is Striking Aga-ain!'' The more intelligible lyrics are pretty embarrassing as well.

Book Under Review.

Bottum-Up Review.

Coming back to this entry years later, I don't know if that was a spelling error or a joke. Certainly bottom-up review is the sort of term that could be entertainingly misunderstood, but not so much this way. Joseph Bottum is the Books and Arts editor for The Weekly Standard and does other reviewish things like hosting ``Book Talk,'' a syndicated radio show.

I'm reminded of Dante's journey in the Divine Comedy, as Virgil carries him on his back out of the Inferno. At the center of the earth, with great effort, Virgil turns around to be upright again on the other side (they're ``headed'' for the antipode along the most direct route). When Dante looks down again he sees the feet of the devil sticking ``up.''

[In Dante's time there was still a great uninformed debate going on about whether gravity increased or diminished as one approached the center of the Earth (and the universe as then understood, of course). ``Dante's time'' was 1265-1321. Even back at the beginning of the Christian era, there had been few among the educated who thought that the Earth was flat; by the time Columbus proposed to sail west to reach the Indies, no one seriously suggested that he would fall off an edge of the Earth. It was correctly thought that westward was far the longer way around.]

The suBURBS. With picturesque burbling storm sewers.

Government by the bureau. Bureau here is a metonym twice over, as you can infer from the burl entry.

The following is widely attributed, on the internet, to Mary McCarthy:

Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.

The line first appeared in The New Yorker, on page 186 of the issue of October 18, 1958. (You might want to note that information in detail; the magazine is available in many on-line databases, but none of them go back much before the 1990's. The printed magazine has no table of contents, and the article authors are listed at the ends of the articles. And if your library is my library, then this issue is in a volume that didn't make it into the electronic catalog.)

The quote is from McCarthy's rave review (pp. 182-189) of a book with the not especially imaginative title of The Human Condition (Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1958). The book is by Hannah Arendt, whom McCarthy does not happen to identify there as a good friend of hers. This is one of those teachy reviews in which it's not always clear what part is about the book and what part is about the reviewer's reaction to the book. In the pages preceding the quote, McCarthy went on about the difference between work and labor (craftsmanship and drudgery, essentially). These are important terms, along with ``action,'' that are discussed in Arendt's book. The relevant paragraph, however, concerns an ancient-modern comparison which ``is not in fact made in her book'' and which frankly doesn't seem to have a great deal to do with it either. Here's immediate context for the quote:

Progress has effected not a steady march but a bewildering transformation. The supplanting of tools by machinery has reached its logical conclusion in automation; the discoveries of physics and chemistry have interfered with the life process (artificial insemination) and with inanimate nature, while the vast growth of the social [sic], steadily encroaching on both private and public life, has produced the eerie phenomenon of mass society, which rules everybody anonymously, just as bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.

burger vector
Direction to the nearest McDonald's.

Burger's vector
An indication of the presence of a dislocation. Essentially, it is minus the line integral of the ideal crystal position vector over a path in a real crystal: Following a ``Burger's circuit'' -- a closed chain of bonds connecting adjacent atoms -- one constructs a sum of lattice vectors corresponding to the same set of bonds in an ideal lattice. Point defects, which cause a local deformation of the positions of the atoms, do not change the lattice topology and lead to a zero Burger's vector. A pure edge dislocation produces a Burger's vector perpendicular to the dislocation in any Burger's circuit that encloses it. A screw dislocation produces a Burger's vector parallel to the screw axis.

To finish cloth by removing lumps. From the Old French bourle, `tuft of wool.' Bureau, in its literal sense of `desk,' was originally a metonymic use of a related French word for the wool cloth used to cover a desk. Thus, bureau used in the sense of `office' is a metonym of a metonym. (The prior etymology is uncertain -- perhaps the terms originally referred specifically to brown cloth.) Burlap may be connected with these, or it may have a Dutch etymology.

Oh man, if I keep looking up etymologies I'm never going to memorize the OSPD4. How will I ever win games against Gary again when he practices against a computer and is faculty advisor to the Scrabble Club?! (Needless to say, burl, burls, burled, and burling are in SOWPODS and TWL2006 as well.)

Burmese names
This entry is about the names of Burmese people. For Burmese cats, you're on your own.

The first thing to know about Burmese people names is that Burmese people don't use family names. Okay, I guess this often applies to Burmese cats as well. Children simply receive given names at birth, and these names carry no geneological information other than that they are likely the children of Burmese parents. Then again, the child may be named after the parent. For example, well-known Aung San Suu Kyi was named after her father, the independence hero Aung San.

Traditionally, astrologers are consulted to help choose a success-oriented name. A general with the inauspicious-sounding name of Ne Win became head of the military junta that installed itself in 1962, and then president under a new constitution promulgated in 1974, so his parents' astrologer must really have known his stuff. Then again, Ne Win is not an unusual name.

Given names were commonly just a single syllable long as late the beginning of the twentieth century, but they've been lengthening more or less systematically, and nowadays newborns typically get names that are three to five syllables long.

burn rate
The rate at which start-up money is spent, usually stated in units of bucks, quid, pesetas or whatever per week. Time is money.

Burstein Effect
In highly doped semiconductors, the conduction or valence band may become degenerately doped--i.e., the Fermi level may cross a band edge. The resulting increase in apparent energy gap and absorption threshold is called the Burstein effect.

bursting effect
You're probably thinking of the Burstein effect.

Broadcast and Unknown Server.

A vehicle for transporting many people simultaneously.

Plural noun form, and third pers. sing. present tense verb form, of bus (q.v.).

bush supporter
A rather unusual form of underwear, apparently. I see it mentioned on chats sometimes, but immediately everyone has something to say and the text flies up the screen faster than I can read it. It seems to have something to do with merkins.

Bush 41
George Herbert Walker BUSH, 41st president of the US.

Bush 43
George Walker BUSH, 43rd president of the US. Eldest son of Bush 41. Say what you will about the Kennedy ``dynasty,'' only one has ever been US president. Bush 43 is nicknamed ``W,'' which is often written dubya.

British for (communication) bus. More at busses.

Plural noun form, and third pers. sing. present tense verb form, of bus (q.v.) and also of buss, which means ``kiss.''

Phenylbutazone. An analgesic.

But seriously folks...
The last comment was a joke! You were supposed to laugh! Laugh, you clueless morons, or I won't get another gig!

Back in 1999, in a classics-list discussion of Circassian women (of legendary beauty), I recalled reading of one such in the second book of Candide. I recalled incorrectly: a favorite odalisque of Candide there was Zirza, not (necessarily) Circassian. (In my defense, c for z is an easy switch in some languages, and may have been made in the translation I read.) Some years later, I received an email from a woman who had read my posting in the classics-list archives; she informed me that (a) she was Circassian, and (b) it's true about Circassian women. I didn't write back asking for proof, which demonstrates that I am a clueless moron.

Anyway, the second book, like the first, is framed as a translation (to the French) from the original German of one ``M. le Docteur Ralph.'' This sequel is not well known. Trying to learn more back in 1999, I spoke with a local professor of French who taught Candide regularly in her classes; she was unaware of the sequel. I now understand that the sequel is considered spurious, and that its true author is apparently unknown. I did learn something from the French professor, however. She shocked me with the information that her students don't realize that Candide is funny.

For an example closer to homepage, you can visit our ENT entry. When I first wrote it, I assumed people would ``get it.'' (I think it was only one paragraph long, then.) Eventually, I received a polite email explaining that otorhinolaryngology was Latin (!) for the ENT thing. I surrender.

I imagine many people today might not recognize an allusion to Dale Carnegie's self-help book How to Win Friends and Influence People. First published in 1936 and based on a 14-week course he had been teaching, it has sold 15 million copies world-wide, and remains in print in a revised edition (1981). In 2010 or so, a display case that my local Barnes and Noble has at the front of the store to draw the attention of incoming customers featured two books: this one and one from the 1950's (one of Vance Packard's books, I think it was); they were being plugged as ``New Books.'' So much for the lemma; on to the trivial theorem.

Toby Young (born 1963) had many publishing failures until he wrote a memoir about them, entitled How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2001). Now the corollary.

The Young ``How To'' book also achieved world-wide success. It became a best-seller and was translated into a dozen languages, anyway, and it was made into a movie (2008) starring Megan Fox, Kirsten Dunst, and a couple of guys. The screenplay for that movie was done by Peter Straughan, but the book's success had garnered Young an invitation to try his luck as a Hollywood writer. He failed there too, and wrote a memoir of his new failures entitled The Sound of No Hands Clapping (2006). Is Tom Young the George Plimpton of our time?

Remark: I suppose Young's earlier title may also have been meant as an allusion to Lenny Bruce's How to Talk Dirty and Influence People. That was an autobiography that Bruce had the foresight to publish in 1965, the year before he died of a drug overdose, aged 40. Lenny Bruce was a comedian, and one whom we (or at least English professors) would now describe as ``transgressive.'' His audiences might gasp rather than clap with two hands... or laugh. Riverrun.

A flat-topped hill. Like a mesa, but without any steep sides. Loosely speaking: any ol' mesa.

Remember, you can't spell butter without butt. You can't spell butter without butte either, but that's just a coincidence.

A plant that captures insects on its sticky leaves and digests them. The inspiration of some really bad sci-fi horror flicks.

Butterworth filters
Low-pass filters of a kind described by S. Butterworth, ``On the theory of filter amplifiers,'' Wireless Engineer (London) 7, pp. 536-541 (1930).

butt floss
Thong underwear.

Four frustrating hours in a chat room with forty indistinguishable nonpunctuating flirts frothing about phone sex, and then finally someone says something to make it all worthwhile.

Boltzmann-Uheling-Uhlenbeck. Nuclear dynamics model based on single-particle distribution-function description. See Bertsch, G. and Das Gupta, S., Phys. Rep. 160, 189, (1989).

Buy Now
And Save!

Buys Ballot's Law
The funniest-named law in meteorology. Governs the pressure gradient in cyclones and anticyclones: In the northern hemisphere the pressure gradient points pi/2 (90°) to the right of the velocity direction; in the southern hemisphere, to the left. This simple rule is the consequence of the dominance of Coriolis [fictitious] force over ordinary centrifugal [fictitious] force. The former is ``omega cross vee'' while the latter is ``omega cross (omega cross arr).'' [Here omega is the Earth's orbital angular momentum vector, vee is the local wind velocity, arr is the position vector (most conveniently defined with an origin at the earth's center), and woe is me that the standard ISO character set has virtually no Greek.] Clearly, however, the centrifugal force is larger, since (omega cross arr) is the surface speed of the earth itself -- much larger than puny vee (order of 20-30 mph in a typical cold front, up to 200 mph in the terror hurricanes that come once per century or so). The point, however, is that when the wind is still and there is no pressure gradient, the centrifugal force is already acting, but the BB law is concerned with the additional effect of relative velocities to induce pressure gradients: When the air ``starts moving'' (relative to the local piece of earth), the centrifugal force is unchanged but the Coriolis force changes.

Interestingly, the law named after Christoph Hendrik Diederik Buys Ballot had previously been discovered both by James Henry Coffin and by William Ferrel, and Ferrel had actually explained it (correctly) in terms of Coriolis force, while Buys Ballot merely reported it as a statistical regularity. This injustice is typical. Buys Ballot was a science bureaucrat -- he chaired a bunch of committees and tried to steer the research efforts of his intellectual superiors. He had entered the field of meteorology when he failed at chemistry. He claimed Sine hypothesi scientia nulla, but most of his research consisted in dull accountancy: looking for regular patterns in the vast meteorological data that technology (the telegraph) was then making available. In his creative application of busy, mind-numbing mediocrity, he was truly a man ahead of his time.

Bed Volume[s]. The total volume of the bed in a water medium, including both particles and the interstices (``void spaces'') between the particles. In other words, the volume of the bed that you would compute macroscopically, without pulling out a sample of the bed and draining it to see what fraction is interstitial water.


If a high school Latin teacher is needed for levels B-V, that's Beginning through Virgilius.

Bleed Valve.

Blocking Valve.

(Domain code for) Bouvet Island.

British Veterinary Association.

Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe. German: `Berlin Transit System.' Official name Kombinat Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, which suggests something more socialist, like `Berlin Transit Enterprises Collective.' BVB operated in East Berlin until the wall came down. On January 1, 1992, it officially re-merged with the West German BVG (q.v.). The lines are now sometimes distinguished as BVG-West (old, or rather always, BVG) and BVG-Ost (`BVG-East') or BVG-Ost/BVB. The BVB-Stadion, a soccer stadium northeast of Berlin, is now BVG-Stadion. Some people still just call the BVG-Ost subway lines BVB. There's an ASCII map of the Wall-era system at the Berlin entry.

Bibliotheks-Verbund Bayern.

Belgian Veterinary Computer Association.

Antonomasia for men's briefs, or underpants. BVD Apparel was founded in 1876 by Bradley, Voorhees, and Day. They originally manufactured women's bustles; I imagine they don't anymore. Popular guesses at the origin of the name include ``Boy's Ventilated Drawers.'' See also BF.

Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst. Dutch ``Internal Security Service.' The predecessor (vorlooper -- literally `forerunner') of the AIVD.

Berliner Verkehrs-AG. German for `Berlin Transport Co.' It is reasonable to omit the A, since AG represents the compound noun Aktiengesellschaft (`stock company'), constructed on the noun Gesellschaft (`company'). BVG was formed in a 1929 merger. When it became a publicly owned company of the city of Berlin in 1938, it changed its name to Berliner Verkehrs-Betriebe but kept using the old initialism. When the company was divided up after the war (along with the rest of Germany and Berlin), the communist part adopted the initialism BVB (q.v.).

Betriebsverfassungsgesetz. German, `Industrial Relations Act.'

British Veterinary Hospitals Association.

Blessed Virgin Mary.

In England, ``blessed'' was once used to allude to BVM, and in that sense was regarded as sacrilegious. ``Bloody'' eventually came to be a standard euphemism for ``blessed,'' and it is by that route that ``bloody'' came to be regarded (perhaps no longer in our decadent time) as profane.

That's one story, anyway. I've heard that it was debunked, but I haven't the bloody time to look into it.

British Veterinary Nursing Association.

Boundary-Value Problem.

Beyond Visual Range.

Backed With. Used to designate the B side of a 45RPM record without actually calling it the B side. A less common equivalent was c/w, but the c/w entry has more information. Why should I cut and paste when it's just as easy for thousands of visitors to click on the link and wait for another glossary page to load?

Postal code for Baden-Württemberg, 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 its domain code: .de.] The state's area is 35,753 sq. km. Its population was 9,286,000 by the census of 1987, estimated at 10,393,000 for 1997. Baden-Württemberg was part of the old West Germany.

BandWidth. In amplifiers, the frequency at which gain is down by 3 dB (or a factor of about half) from its zero-frequency value. More generally, it is the full width, in frequency, of the transfer function, measured between half-maximum power points. This definition assumes a relatively well-defined peak in the frequency response. Cf. Effective Bandwidth.

[Phone icon] Typical analog telephone bandwidth is somewhat under 3 kHz. Digital cellular phones can sound cruddy because they use only 1 kHz (and compression; a very unsolved problem over lossy channels).

Everybody understands BW.

Biological Warfare.

Bos-Wash Axis of Elitism. Apparently coined by Hugh Hewitt at the time of the Miers SCOTUS nomination in 2005, to facilitate discussions of elitism along the Amtrak line.

Better World Books. A charity formerly known as Campus Community Outreach. They fund various literacy initiatives. In 2004 they were the largest contributor to BFA. They make money by collecting book donations on college campuses and turning a profit on them somehow. Onehow is reselling them on their website. I don't know what they do with the books they don't sell this way. You might suppose they raised funds by selling the used books to publishers, who would be happy to draw down the supply of used recent editions competing with new textbooks. Then again, maybe BWB could try to get a bidding war going between publishers and the used-book market.

The selection of books at the website is curious, possibly because the website lists only those books they couldn't unload in bulk. Unexpectedly for a charity that gets its books in end-of-year donations from college students, textbooks, especially recent textbooks, are poorly represented. I just took a peek at the books accumulated at the donation box on campus, and what I saw were recently-published textbooks. Also, the price distribution is bimodal. Do a title-word search on chemistry and you'll find a bunch of old texts for two to ten bucks, a number of monographs for $250+, and little in between. Anyway, not a bad place to look for used textbooks, if you know what to get.

B&W, B/W, BW
Black and White. Standard ``palette'' for hypotext.

Three-Card Monte bunko artists on the streets of New York City often use a shill of a different race than the dealer, to dispell the (correct) suspicion that that lucky man in the crowd is a confederate of the dealer. (The game is completely rigged; the job of the shill is to be allowed to win, thus encouraging others to risk and lose their money.) This different-race decoy practice is not called ``B&W'' but salt'n'peppa.

Isn't it wonderful how the workplace is tearing down traditional barriers between the races?

In various cities and various times, black-and-white has been the color scheme of one or another fleet of vehicles (police, typically, back as recently as the 1960's, and sometimes taxis). There and then, ``a black-and-white'' has meant one of those vehicles.

(Domain code for) Botswana. This country should not be confused with Bophuthatswana, which was a homeland or bantustan in South Africa. [Homelands were essentially an attempt by the old white minority regime to lawyer its way out of being undemocratic: blacks (Tswana people, in this instance) were declared citizens of a nominally independent homeland and hence not citizens of South Africa. Bophuthatswana, founded in 1977, comprised seven disjoint areas, one of which was on the Botswana border. The majority-governed South African government took over Bophuthatswana in 1994.]

You wanted to know about Botswana? Its CIA World Factbook page is here.

Business Week magazine. As the name implies, it's a magazine about keeping busy during the week. In other words, it's a hobbyists' magazine, for hobbyists whose hobby is making money.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area. In the Quetico-Superior region.

IATA code for Baltimore-Washington International Airport, at Baltimore, MD, USA. Here's its status in real time from the ATCSCC.

Block Write Mode.

Boiling Water Reactor. A clear instance in which the acronym sounds far better than the term it abbreviates. A kind of nuclear reactor.

Bright Well-Rounded Kids. As Rachel Toor revealed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 6, 2000, honestly telling college applicants (or their parents) that their admission is unlikely is inappropriate behavior for an admissions officer at a selective institution:
... The job of admissions officers is to recruit, to boost application numbers. The more applications, the lower the admit rate, the higher the institutional ranking. Increasing application numbers is usually the No. 1 mandate of the recruiting season. Partly, that means trying to get the very best students to apply. But it also means trying to persuade those regular, old Bright Well-Rounded Kids (B.W.R.K.'s, in admissionese) to apply -- so that the college can reject them and bolster its selectivity rating. Reject them because there are so many of them, and because they're actually not as interesting as the "well-lopsided" kids -- those who have shown real prowess and potential in a more focused manner.

Battered-Woman Syndrome. Lady-fingers writ large. Either that or a diminished-competence defense or a diminished-culpability argument in sentencing.

Better World 'Zine.

Postal code for Bavaria (Bayern in German), 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.] Bavaria is by far the largest state of the republic (in area): 70,551 sq. km. Or maybe 70,548 sq. km., it's not clear. Maybe they're trying to shed the old Teutonic reputation for pedantic precision, but is Bavaria the place to start? Its population was 9,286,000 by the census of 1987, estimated at 10,393,000 for 1997. Bavaria, in the southwest, was part of the old West Germany.

(Domain name code for) Belarus. (AKA `Byelorussia'; `White Russia.') Ariadne, ``The European and Mediterranean link resource for Research, Science and Culture,'' has a page of national links.

Rec.Travel offers some links.

by design
The German language has absorbed a lot of English since WWII, but when you encounter ``by design'' in a German love song, it gives you pause. If you listen closely (I'm thinking of a particular hit song, but I haven't got the CD handy right now) it sounds like bei dir sein, `to be with you.'

A collateral and sometimes less frequent word form.

But You Knew That. Email usage.

Bring Your Own. Productive prefix in party situations.

Bring Your Own Alcohol.

We'll be replicating traditional pharmacological studies. Repeatability is a hallmark, or a benchmark, or a trademark, or a foomark of Science. Repetition is a sign of addiction.

Bring Your Own {Beer|Beverage|Booze|Bota|Bottle}. Okay, I made up the Bota expansion, but the acronym is ambiguous -- sometimes intentionally or usefully so.

Bring Your Own Computer. The practice of companies that let staff choose their own computer for use at work. The company picks up all or part of the cost.

Bring Your Own Cup.

Bring Your Own Device. The same as BYOC above (no, not the one immediately above), but the computer might be a smartphone. This was a growing and eventually widespread practice among companies in the five years or so around 2010, but due to security concerns, by 2013 it was beginning to be superseded by SYOD (S for Select).

Bring Your Own Lunch.

In fact, why don't you just stay home?

Bring Your Own Lime Jello.

by some
A reliable sign of controversy.
``...believed by some...'' ``...said by some...''

Generally, language communicates information. When language appears not to be performing the communicative function, it is really just performing it in a more subtle way. When something obvious is stated, the fact being communicated is not the obvious stated fact -- which was already known to the reader or hearer. Instead, what is communicated is an acknowledgment by the speaker that the obviously true fact is also important enough to bear in mind. To be a little more precise, this is the meaning intended to be conveyed. The significance, and the meaning understood, may be simply the author's continued fear of those who would insist on continued emphasis on the disclaimer.

This is rather too abstract, isn't it? It would be considered so, by some.

A subdivision of a word, larger than a bit. Nowadays it's usually eight bits. This standard unit was not always so standard. Octal-based systems liked word lengths that were multiples of six. The powerful CDC6000 series designed by Seymour Cray and introduced in 1964, for example, used 60-bit words. The popular IBM-360/370 series, introduced the same year, was hexadecimal-based and led to the standardization of the 8-bit byte. See the entry on byte in FOLDOC for more historical detail.

There's a suggestion there that byte was an acronym, but lots of people suppose it's intended to suggest bite and allude to bit. Cf. nybble.

If there's a possibility of confusion with bytes of length different than eight bits, you can use the term octet.

byte sex

Brigham Young University.

(Domain name code for) Belize. Was British Honduras.

Brillouin (Eng.: ``Brill-wan'') Zone.


Byzantinische Zeitschrift. German `Byzantine Journal.'


Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. Quarterly journal of the ICZN.

BZ reaction
Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction. Oscillates. Can only continue to oscillate because it involves an open system, otherwise entropy (i.e. second law of thermodynamics, entropy increases) would dictate a unique final state.

Standard German abbreviation for bezeihungsweise, translatable in typical contexts as `respectively.'

Paper dimension standard used by people who haven't realized that the metric system is a failure. When you see people in such extreme denial, you hardly know whether to laugh or cry.

Oh well, B0 is just one more doomed effort to crack the world dominance of paper sizes that are measured out in inches. A0, A1, etc., are defined so that the area is rational, but the length and width are irrational -- they are rational numbers times (alternately) 2¼ and 2¾. B0, and B1 and the rest, manage to get one side rational, but the other side smaller or larger by a factor of the square root of two. It doesn't work! If you want paper with both width and length that are rational (i.e., that makes sense) in inches or even in centimeters, you gotta go with the real thing: eight-and-a-half-by-eleven! Yeah!

B0 paper has a width of one meter and a length of the square root of 2 (2½). Successive sizes (B1, B2, ...) have their linear dimensions shrunk by successive factors of 2½.

Name Area (sq cm) Width (cm) Length (cm) Length (in)

Business visa. Cf. B-2. Visitors from certain countries don't need to obtain a visa; under the visa waiver program they typically get an I-94 card with a ``WB'' notation (q.v.).

Following are the conditions for reimbursement of visitors to an academic institution, under the liberalized rules that came into effect in January 2001.

Travel status Honorarium Compensation for incidental expenses
B-1 visa or WB Maybe Permitted
B-2 visa or WT Maybe Maybe

Incidental expenses are costs of travel, meals, and lodging. ``Maybe'' in the table above means permitted if and only if the visitor stays at the institution nine or fewer days, and has not accepted payments from more than five US entities in the preceding six months.

A paper size. See B0.

Flying Fortress. A WWII-era four-engine bomber for the allies. Image (99 kbytes) here. A larger image from http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/multimedia/images/gif/b/b17-fort.gif has the wrong aspect ratio (it's been anisotropically scaled to 640×480) so it looks sleeker than it was. Maybe I'll mirror a scaled version sometime. [Don't get me wrong: I'm very grateful to Washington University of St. Louis for hosting their very convenient image archive. Here's their third image of a B-17.]

Bomber number 2. The `Stealth Bomber.' Manufactured by Northrop (Northrop Grumman since 1994; the Pentagon encouraged post-Wall consolidation for a while, then around 1998-9 started complaining about a dearth of competitive bids on military contracts -- be careful what you wish for, especially when you have the clout to make it happen). They have a spiritual site.

A paper size. See B0.

Tourist visa for the US. A few of the INS visa types are paired, like J-1 (``short-term scholar'') and J-2 (spouse of ``short-term scholar''). One may consider B-1 and B-2 visas to be paired in like manner when the B-2-holder is a ``spouse-along.'' At least it explains the B (for business) and the 2. Visitors from certain countries don't need to obtain a visa; under the visa waiver program they typically get an I-94 card with a ``WT'' notation (q.v.).

Another way to look at it is that tourists are like business travelers in that, to some extent, they may receive financial compensation. The rules are explained at the B-1 entry. This can be a problem, because in many academic disciplines, in many countries, an honorarium for the speaker is common courtesy. It might be embarrassing or rude not to return the favor. I've noticed that the honorarium is typically delivered in crisp Mark or yen notes, with a minimum of paperwork (it comes in a paper envelope).

Perhaps a word is in order here about rules. According to the bean counters at a certain large state university system, if I take a visitor out for dinner, we can go to an expensive French restaurant or to McDonalds or Hooters, it doesn't matter -- it's food and the expense is covered. But if we order a beer at Hooters, or if we are so gauche as to have wine with our French food, that's entertainment or something, and not a legitimate business expense. It is for wisdom like this that we have accountants. I certainly couldn't have figured this out myself. I probably still can't. So by all means go to Le Crazy Horse or a French restaurant, but for goodness sake don't be entertained, and don't itemize, or petty cash will have to take a hit. 'Nuff said.

(It could be worse: you could work for the US government.)

Business-2-Business. Cf. C2C.


A paper size. See B0.

Bipolar 3 Zero Substitution.

Rebus for before.

In the GNU release of grep, the options -A #1 and -B #2 cause #1 lines after and #2 lines before a matching line to be displayed.

A paper size. See B0.

  1. Before Now.
  2. Bye For Now. Cf. BBN.

A paper size. See B4.

A very tall, smooth-walled bee-hive woman's hair style. A rock group (from Georgia?) that took its name from this hairstyle. They had a hit with ``Rock Lobster.'' Here's another kind of B-52.

A paper size. See B0.

A stupid paper size. See B0.

Bipolar 8 Zero Substitution.

Model number of the robot called ``Robot,'' from the TV series ``Lost in Space.'' Xenophobe from a future earth. This is `benign'? More like a guard K-9 that talks.
WARNING! WARNING! Aliens Approaching!!
(Flail arm-things.)

The most complete technical details are available here. Less-technical details at our camp entry.

B-9 was modeled on ``Robby the Robot'' from the classic Forbidden Planet. Robby was cool; a couple of space cadets, or troops or whatever, give him some whisky to analyze. Can he synthesize some more?

Robby: Would 60 gallons be sufficient?

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