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Dupe, swindle. From confidence (game).

COnsejo NAcional de Ciencia Y Tecnologia. They have a Dirección Adjunta de Asuntos Internacionales (DAAI).

con caca
Spanish: `with shit.'

Confederation Of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football.

The name is slightly redundant, since Central America is a part of North America. Also, the Caribbean islands (we're not talking water polo on the ocean, after all), while not a part of the North American mainland, are considered a part of the Americas. (I suppose at least Trinidad and Tobago would have to count as part of South America, though.) So an equally accurate and more mellifluous name would be CONACAF (you figure out the shorter expansion). Probably the main difficulty with this is that Latin Americans tend to use the term norteamericano as a synonym of estadounidense and yanqui; i.e., pertaining to the USA. North Americans (at least Anglophone North Americans) tend to use American in the same sense.

I suppose this would be as good a place as any to point out that repeating a word like American or even and can have useful effects like making a list correct. In this case, setting aside what it is named, and accepting the technical redundancy just discussed, CONCACAF is a confederation of North American, Central American, and Caribbean Football Associations. If you think three syllables is too great a sacrifice for accuracy, try ``North and Central American and Caribbean Football.'' You could roll it around on a plate-full of commas, too.

And it's SOCCER, dammit!

Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia.

Historically, Chile has had a fragmented political spectrum. This led to disaster in 1970, when Salvador Allende was chosen president by the lower house of Congress, after an election in which none of three candidates came close to winning an outright majority. The first coup in Chilean history took place in 1973, and the country returned to democracy, with some initial constraints, in 1989. Since that time many political parties have appeared or reappeared. It is plainly obvious to all parties that they have little prospect of governing alone: political allegiances have been rather stable. It follows logically, though logic in many other places and times has not been a significant political consideration, that a party that wants to play a part in government must form alliances. Many alliances have formed and mostly dissolved since 1989. By 1997, however, two major coalitions had formed which have been dominant to the time of this writing (2004).

Concertación is a center-left coalition that has controlled the presidency and the legislature since it emerged. It comprises a number of parties; I think the only parties it doesn't include are a few small parties on the left (the largest being the Partido Humanista and Partido Communista de Chile, which together win 5-10% of the vote nationally) and the two parties on the right that constitute the Unión por Chile (for more on that coalition and on the word por, see the UDI entry). The dominant parties of the Concertación are the centrist Christian Democrats (PDC), 24 seats in the 2001 Congressional (Chamber of Deputies) elections, and two leftist parties (PPC and los socialistas, a combined 32 seats in the same elections). Other members of the coalition won another 6 seats all told.

Concise Wine Companion
I must not have been thinking straight when I bought this. Wine companions come in all kinds -- weepy, sleepy, angry, yourbeshfriendly, Iamsexy, talkative, and catgotchertongue, at least -- but ``concise''? And the author, Jancis Robinson (ish thet shpelled right?), she doesn't loog like you been partying very long yet. SEZ ONNA BACK! (sorry) -- ``with an international reputation.'' Wow! Hic. Should writabout tanks arounnaworld. From Oxford, where the pubs close so early you can still have dinner after.

Popular material for canoe competitions held by university Mechanical Engineering departments. Makes you wonder; it's supposed to. Rules typically require canoe prows to be smooth. Absent the rule, teams would roughen the surface to generate turbulence and decrease drag.

It is important to understand that concrete is not cement. Concrete is chunks of hard material embedded in a matrix of sticky material called cement. The same principle is used in constructing Spam.

condensed milk
Sucrose by any other name would taste as sweet. See sweetened condensed milk.

Conciencia de Patria. Spanish, and I suppose it means `conscience of the fatherland,' but without the definite article it sounds more like `consciousness of the fatherland.' (Conciencia usually means `conscience,' but in certain contexts, it means `consciousness.') A Bolivian political party.

A town in the department of Gers, in southern France. The region is known for the production of Armagnac. Armagnac is essentially a single-distilled variant of cognac. (Cognac is double-distilled, but otherwise -- grapes, aging, etc. -- the same.)

Condom is on the Baïse River. The word baise (no dieresis) is French slang for `sexual intercourse.' For related information, see the ``I dunno'' and Tampon entries.

Condone is not equivalent to the verb excuse. For one thing, only a person can condone. Persons and reasons can excuse.

The Spanish word conecta means `connects.' CONECTA is an electronic bulletin of news on the history of science, medicine and technology (Boletín de Noticias sobre Historia de la Ciencia, la Medicina y la Tecnología).

CONsolidated EDison. Popular name for electric power utility formed from the merger of smaller companies.

cone off
To cone off an area (such as a section of street, parking lot, etc.) is to indicate with cones that the area is closed to regular traffic. The expression is apparently common among cops and construction workers.

The participial ``coned off'' seems to be even more common; when I first saw it I thought for a moment it was an egregious misspelling of ``cordoned off.'' Now it only reminds me of the conehead sex. In one skit that aired on SNL, Beldar and Prymatt Conehead (Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin) take some time out for a quickie. They stand facing each other, each holding a stack of hoops, and engage in a horseshoes-like game. Each alternately tries to toss a hoop onto the other's cone. Beldar succeeds, but Prymatt just runs out of hoops and is visibly disappointed and frustrated. I guess that time she was the one who was ``coned off.''

cone of silence
  1. A high-tech cone that allowed CONTROL agents on Get Smart to speak without being overheard. It was used on nine episodes of the show. It didn't work.
  2. A cone of space above a rotating radar antenna in which it doesn't work. (I.e., the region is ``silent'' because it's above the field of view of the antenna.)
  3. (Capitalized.) A southern-California-based band that performs hits by Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Steely Dan, Earth Wind & Fire, Tower Of Power, Al Green, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and others.

The Get Smart cone of silence didn't look very much like a cone. It looked like a couple of plexiglas bubbles mounted on a screen-door-size horizontal frame, with various contraption components attached to make it look technological. The umbrella of silence looked more like a cone. Over the years, we've come to realize that Get Smart was a more true-to-life portrayal of intelligence agencies east and west than any Bond film ever was. Consider also the ``privacy sleeve'' mentioned at this BMD entry.

Why are you looking this up? Everyone knows what confession is, therefore you do too.

Pablo Neruda's memoirs are entitled Confieso que he vivido (`I confess that I have lived'). He died in 1973. A note on the copyright page reads, in translation, ``the editing of these memoirs of Pablo Neruda was left interrupted by his death.''

The elementary explanation of present perfect, the tense of he vivido (`I have lived'), is that it describes action completed in the past. In practice, aspect and tense are more subtle, but Neruda's death assured that in both reasonable and unreasonable senses of the words, his title was literally correct. Neruda was a Chilean poet.

In 1956, E.M. Cioran published La Tentacion d'Exister. Alright, really Librairie Gallimard published it; E.M. Cioran only authored it. It was just a manner of speaking. The book was translated from the French by Richard Howard and published in English as The Temptation to Exist in 1968, with an introduction by Susan Sontag. I just figured that a temptation to exist might help explain why having lived would be something to confess.

Lack of imagination.

After we rip you off, you'll be too embarrassed to file a complaint.

confidentiality, We will respect your
Pay no attention to the bar code in the corner.

Divulge. A special verb used by identity thieves, with object of your ``personal information.''

confirmation path
Tenure track. Characterizes a (usually university) faculty position of limited duration, towards the end of which duration, in due course and in consideration of one's performance, one is considered for permanent employment. The ``confirmation'' expression is used by a few universities in Australia and New Zealand. Actually, just New Zealand. In fact, just the University of Otago [Te Whare Wananga o Otago -- can't neglect to mention that] in Dunedin, New Zealand.

conflict archaeology
The archaeology of battles, wars, violent disagreements concerning land, rights, property, etc. It's especially helpful if ceramic dishes or other durable artefacts were thrown.

Complete (and utterly superfluous) disclosure:
    This entry is here because I noticed an announcement of the program for the Third Postgraduate Conference in Conflict Archaeology, to be held at the University of Birmingham (England), 5-7th November 2014. When I first saw the term, I thought it referred to archaeology conducted in a conflict area.

confocal microscopy
Ordinary microscopy uses a lens system to focus the image of a small region onto a viewing screen (typically somebody's retina, increasingly a planar CCD array). In confocal microscopy, the same lens system does double duty: it focuses a point light source onto the object, and focuses an image of the illuminated region back into the viewing plane. [A half-silvered mirror (a beam splitter, BS) is placed between point source and lens system, and reflects the image returning from the object away from the point source. This has the quite useful effect of allowing the point source and the eye, say, to be in different locations.]

Since one is only illuminating a small region of the object, one expects to produce only a small portion of the image, so scanning is necessary. By appropriately collimating the returning light, one can reduce unwanted reflection from parts of the illumination light away from the focus. [Essentially, one places a diaphragm in the image plane with an aperture only at the image of the illuminated focus. Light coming from any part of the object away from this focus is in a different plane, and consequently its image is focused in a plane in front of or behind the diaphragm, and only a small portion of its light goes through the image aperture.

All this gets you an extra factor of two in resolution.

CONFerence PROCeedings publication.

US CONference on Fair Use (of copyrighted material). Organized by the USPTO, produced its final report in November 1998.

Animals or plants of the same genus (or other taxonomic category, or kind or race). You know, the word has a singular form, but definitions of it are a bit awkward. Do the grammatical arithmetic. You can never be too rich or too thin, and you can never have too many different words for indicating that two things are related in some way, so congeners is used in various transfered senses.

In linguistics, congeners are cognates.

In chemistry:

  1. An element belonging to the same group in the periodic table (as another). For example, two alkaline earths are congeners. (It's an old term, and sometimes it's applied to two elements that would be in the same group in Mendeleev's original table. For example, aluminum, in group IIIA, is a congener with scandium, in group IIIB.)
  2. Compounds synthesized by essentially identical reactions or procedures.

congo eel
Not an eel or even a snake or annelid, but a salamander with legs so tiny it looks like an eel or snake.

COnsejo Nacional de Investigaciones CiEntíficas y Tecnológicas. Argentine `National Council on Scientific and Technological Research.'

To conjugate a verb is to put it into its proper form in context or to list its forms. Depending on the language, verb conjugation may depend on a variety of kinds of information. In Indo-European languages, the most common dependencies are time and tense, and the grammatical gender, person, and number of the subject. The rules of conjugation tend to be fairly consistent, but there are often different sets of (usually similar) rules for different groups of verbs. In a High School (HS) Latin class, the teacher drills the class on principal parts: given the first-person singular indicative, present tense, student is to provide the principal parts. Kid dozed off, gets called on, whispers to his neighbor ``What's the verb?'' Neighbor replies ``Damned if I know.'' First student answers the teacher: ``damdifaeno, damdifaenare, damdifaenavi, damdifaenatus.''

Modern English, which uses an extensive and quite regular modal structure (in addition to adverbials of time, and instead of inflections) to indicate precise time, tense and mood information, has a conjugation based on four principal verb forms: the infinitive or present-tense form, the past, the past participle, and the present participle (typically given in that order). Respecting the way of making the four principal forms, three classes of verbs can be distinguished: regular, irregular, and strong. Most verbs, and especially most verbs not derived from Old English (i.e., Latin, French, and other borrowings, and native neologisms). For example, the verbs PO, interleave out-gas, flame and dephlogisticate are conjugated:

interleave, interleaved, interleaved, interleaving;
unglue, unglued, unglued, ungluing;
tip-toe, tip-toed, tip-toed, tip-toeing or tip-toing;
PO, PO'ed, PO'ed, PO'ing
tow, towed, towed, towing;
fly out, flied out, flied out, flying out (baseball usage);
fly, flew, flown, flying;
out-gas, out-gassed, out-gassed, out-gassing;
flame, flamed, flamed, flaming;
dephlogisticate, dephlogisticated, dephlogisticated, dephlogisticating.

Some particularly nasty, exceptional examples have been chosen in order to make certain points. Note first, however, that the general pattern is to add -ed for the past and past participle, and -ing for the present participle. As interleaved correctly suggests, there is a rule that verbs ending in e do not have the vowel doubled in the past and past part., and drop the e when adding -ing. More precisely, this rule applies to the silent e; thus: flambé, flambéed, flambéed, flambéing. These cases are somewhat rare. A large fraction of the words with voiced final e are French borrowings. As we can see, the past and past-participle forms are identical for regular verbs. (The apostrophe occurs only in some acronyms.)

Note also that two verbs may have one or some forms, but not all, in common -- obviously this can only happen if at least one of the two verbs is not regular. An example of the situation occurs with the verb to leave on which interleave may be regarded as being patterned. This verb is related to the noun leaf. Another verb to leave is an antonym of arrive. This is an example of an irregular verb: leave, left, left, leaving.

The ARTFL project offers a verb conjugator for the French language.

Connie Mack
The all-time winningest manager in the history of US professional baseball, with 3731 wins to his credit. He is also credited, or debited or whatever, with 3948 losses as a manager, making him the all-time losingest manager in US professional baseball.

What with all the conspiracy theories floating about, I (hereinafter designated ``we,'' ``the Stammtisch,'' etc.) thought the time was ripe to do some logical pruning. After all, as the lyrics of `Industrial Disease' argue, ``two men say they're Jesus, one of them must be wrong.'' The Stammtisch therefore assembled a focus group to investigate entirely the question of conspiracies. Quicker than a Simpson jury, they drew a firm conclusion: the Stammtisch itself is the center of the one nefarious worldwide conspiracy. Naturally we were very surprised and alarmed by this news, but relieved to have been among the first to learn the outrageous facts.

Among other revelations: the trilateral commission is a Stammtisch front. Heeding Caesar's observation that ``Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres,'' we have fashioned an equally portentious (spelling? maybe that should be pretentious. must check.) organizing vision based on a crucial organometallic source for compound semiconductor growth and fabrication of devices: ``Gallium est omne partitum inter ethyles tres'' (TEG). The mysterious origin of the name, ``trilateral commission,'' now stands revealed as a simultaneous allusion to the three tentacles of the Stammtisch (FAL, FNSM, SEAS), and to its three tripartite tools -- gall, solid gallium sources, and the trilateral commission itself.

Oh, wait! Maybe it's the Council on Foreign Relations, with the same acronym as the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). I'm no longer sure. Columnist (fifth?) Tony Snow appeared on the Rush Limbaugh radio show and claimed that ``[i]n most meetings, the key challenge is for members to stay awake.'' I must have missed that. Obviously a ruse, or he hasn't been ``made'' yet. [Newsweek, p. 23, April 1, 1996.]

Fascinating! This is the stupidest entry I have yet visited upon this glossary. What dastardly definitions am I planning even now? I shudder to think.

As in West Conshohocken, PA. This entry is just here in case I forget how to spell it. (Primary and secondary stress on first and third syllables, resp.; second o pronounced shwa, others pronounced as in ``con hock,'' in case you were wondering.)

Consol. ad Liv.
Consolatio ad Liviam.

As reported in the Trans. Internat. Astron. Union, vol. 1, pp. 158ff (1922), at the first General Assembly of the IAU, the ``following resolutions were adopted [at the first General Assembly of the IAU]: (1) The exclusive use of the Latin names of the constellations. (2) The adoption of the three-letter abbreviations proposed by Profs. Hertzsprung and Russell for the representation of the 88 principal constellations.'' Those were heady years for astronomy.

The IAU no longer refers to the 88 as ``principal constellations,'' but simply as ``[the] constellations.'' I haven't investigated exactly how quickly the qualifier disappeared. To understand what they might have had in mind, consider this from a couple of decades earlier: R. H. Allen, in Star-Names and their Meanings (1899):

The Kids are the stars Zeta and Eta Aurigae. Zeta, [magnitude] 4, orange, is the western one of the Érifoi, or Kids, of Hipparchos and Ptolemy, the Haedi of the Latins. Pliny made of them a separate constellation.

(Note that Allen's interpretation of classical texts is known to be unreliable. As James L. P. Butrica noted on the classics list, for example, it was Allen's misunderstanding of some references to individual kids of the four-legged terrestrial variety that allowed him to write about the Kids, ``Propertius wrote of them, in the singular, as Haedus....'')

This page maintained by Chris Dolan, and this one from the Peoria Astronomical Society (PAS), each list the 88 constellations with links to associated information. Here at SBF, we have mostly bare entries for the 88 and then some, which we'll be decorating as the occasion arises.

constructive engagement
When the government of a country of citizens interacts with the government of a country of subjects, if the former operates on any of a number of improbable anthropomorphic theories of dictatorial government. Pragmatism or cowardice, depending on circumstances. A special case is critical dialogue.

The White Rain ® shampoo labeled ``Pink Grapefruit Essence'' is not that at all! It's cumquat essence, with a muscular vinyl bouquet.

contact sport
Football is often called a contact sport. This is an understandable error. Basketball is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport. We have an entry for NASCAR, but not for demolition, yet.

You know, it's not as if we were hard up for entries beginning in C-O-N. We have plenty of candidates. We can be picky. On this page of the glossary we present only entries that give high value to our customers (not like some other pages). For your improvement, we have selected the following definition of contagion (from the CLHS).

contagion n. a process whereby operations on objects of differing types (e.g., arithmetic on mixed types of numbers) produce a result whose type is controlled by the dominance of one argument's type over the types of the other arguments. ee Section (Contagion in Numeric Operations).

Oh: ``CONTACT US.'' Whew.

You know, a lot of people who take good eyesight for granted, because they've always had it, may start to suffer headaches and watery eyes as adults, and have difficulty keeping their eyes focused toward the end of the day...

Figure it out! You finally need glasses.

'Took me two years to figure it out. The (non-drowsiness-inducing) antihistamine I got seemed to help the watery-eyes problem, too. I was about 1.5 diopters hyperopic.

The two most common non-drowsiness-inducing antihistamines at the time were Seldane and Claritin. (Seldane-D is Seldane with a Decongestant.) In the US, these were both prescription drugs at the time. (Claritin went OTC at the end of 2002, I think it was.) In Canada, they were available without a prescription at pharmacies (or at least Seldane was), because Canadians are much more responsible and informed. (Also, there seems to be some difference in access to health care; no very big difference, I'm sure -- under a typical provincial health plan in Canada, anyone who needs an urgent operation pays for it out of pocket in Florida, just like many uninsured Americans. So I've heard.)

If you live in Buffalo or Niagara Falls or Detroit, smuggling is quicker, cheaper, and more convenient than visiting the doctor for a prescription. The price of the drug is about the same (after exchange; not in nominal dollars). Back in 1997, that was about 1 USD per twelve-hour pill (or dose or ``hit,'' as we drug smugglers called it).

To regard with contempt. The verb corresponding to the noun contempt. This is a very useful word because it applies to so many people and things, don't you think?

Also, it is more concise than circumlocutions like ``view with contempt,'' and in particular does not have the ambiguity of ``hold in contempt,'' which might allude to its special technical sense at law. Moreover, its semantic field is more sharply defined than scorn, spite, despise and disdain in various ways:

To scorn is not only to hold in low regard, but also to express that opinion, if only by avoidance or at least aversion. It has a transferred meaning in which the avoidance is central and the contempt is secondary. In this way one can scorn an inanimate object, and the contempt is not for the object as such, but for its use or users. For example, in billiards I scorn the granny stick. Scorn is also more of an immediate reaction than a considered judgment.

To spite is principally to express contempt. It resembles to contemn more closely than scorn only in that the action (the expression) is directed at the object of contempt, whereas one may scorn (avoid, disdain to use) an object that is associated with, and not precisely the object of, contempt. Spite also differs from scorn and contemn in that an expression constitutes spite only if it is consequential for the target. If spite results from a prior act of the party spited, then it can be called revenge. Spite is usually also unpleasant, or has an edge. Hence, a spiteful person is generally regarded as unpleasant by anyone who does not share the person's bitter enmities. One can be cheerfully spiteful, but it is a vengeful cheer, participatory Schadenfreude. One can be anonymously spiteful, but hypocritical spite is a convoluted sentiment, not yielding full measure even of the slight satisfactions spite is due.

To despise is to contemn angrily or with hatred.

One uses the word disdain in preference to scorn or contemn in order to draw attention to the usually implicit elevated status of the disdainer. Today a concern for any social position other than slumming celebrity is in low repute, and Prince William of England like his late mother Diana, princess of Wales (née Lady Diana Spencer) scorns use of HRH. In this atmosphere a sense of propriety is generally contemned, and disdain carries the connotation that the disdainer is haughty, supercilious, or arrogant. In other words, disdain is used to express one's contempt for the contemner. (In a similar way, condescend now retains only a pejorative sense.)

In conclusion, contemn is a needed word. Languages develop vocabulary as animals develop muscles -- need and use lead to growth. Your first responsibility is to know it, to have passive knowledge of it. It would be admirable if you use it from time to time. See also hight.

Find, invent, or adduce a specious reason to deny the plain true sense and significance of.

contract bridge
Contract bridge is played by four players seated at a four-sided table. The sides, and the players, are named after cardinal compass directions -- North, East, South, and West, but you don't have to bring a compass or a map; it's only necessary that under some (possibly time-dependent) three-dimensional rotation (typically described by Euler angles), the table could in principle be aligned approximately with the local geography. This does, however, impose the constraint that the table be approximately square or rectangular. (Of course, there are always spherical-trigonometric problems when the table dimensions are comparable to or larger than the planet radius.)

It's not necessary to actually carry out the rotation. This is one of the better features of the game, allowing it to be played on moving vehicles. Naturally, when bridge is played at the North or South Pole, or elsewhere along the earth's rotation axis (the coordinate singularity of its spherical-coordinate description), there may be some problems. For example, players may freeze to death. (See also the comments on making water at the Veep entry.)

Now that we've got all that technical stuff out of the way, you can relax and enjoy the game. If you want to understand what's going on, however, you might want to visit the entry about bidding in bridge.

This is not the contradiction entry.

con trail, contrail
CONdensation TRAIL. Trail of condensed droplets left behind by a jet. It's condensed water vapor -- water droplets and ice crystals. Water vapor itself is transparent. It condenses because it's cold up there (by very roughly three degrees Fahrenheit per thousand feet).

The same sort of thing happens in your kitchen: when you uncover the stew pot, the water-saturated air in the pot rises into the cooler air of the kitchen and condenses into tiny droplets. Rayleigh scattering by the droplets makes the condensed steam appear white.

The water vapor in a con trail is a product of combustion: the fuel is mostly hydrocarbon, and energy is released its oxidation, which produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).

A sign that continuing the treatment is inadvisable. For example,

    Signs that she is not Ms. Right:
  1. It's easy to keep your hands off her.
  2. She's a nun.
  3. She doesn't look as good as the picture in her ad.
  4. She doesn't sound as good as the picture in her ad.
  5. You're thinking that maybe she's not Ms. Right.


The week of March 14-20, 2004, was declared Severe Weather Awareness Week by the Governor of the State of Indiana and by the Commissioners of St. Joseph County. As part of Awareness Week, the State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service conducted two ``Test Tornado Warnings.'' These were scheduled for March 17, at some time between 2:00 and 2:30 pm and between 7:00 and 7:30 pm.

The advance announcement of the tornado-warning tests did not give the exact time of the testing, so as ``to add some reality to the tests.'' The announcement also gave a sort of rain date: ``Should actual severe weather be a threat on March 17, the testing will be held on March 18.''

The good guys' organization in the sixties TV series Get Smart. CONTROL is not an acronym. It is pronounced control, got that? CONTROL is not to be written with periods (* C.O.N.T.R.O.L.) -- it would confuse some of the agents, 86 especially. (We also have an entry for 99.)

Don't visit Amanda Haverstick's Get Smart pages without a volume control.

The bad guys' organization is KAOS.

CONTROL corresponds to U.N.C.L.E. on ``The Man From U.N.C.L.E.''

CONtinental United States (US). Military usage. There's also OCONUS. You can probably guess its meaning.

Here is an elementary description from JPL.

Convent Garden
Perhaps you're thinking of Covent Garden. Convent is an old word meaning `meeting, gathering, company,' from the Latin convenire, `convene.' In Old French (and Anglo-French, hence in Middle English too), the word came to be pronounced without the first n. During the sixteenth century, the French spelling was modified to conform to pronunciation (modern French couvent). In England, where the spelling already reflected the loss of the n, the Latinized spelling convent was introduced in the middle of the sixteenth century. That spelling, and presumably the associated pronunciation, were dominant by the middle of the next century. The most prominent survivals of the earlier spelling are the place name Covent Garden, and the English word coven (for a gathering of witches).

A common faux ami for Spanish is convent in its religious application. In English, a convent is now implicitly a nunnery, and a convent for brethren of a religious order is called a monastery. In Spanish, a convento retains the older sense -- it does for both monastery and nunnery. If you're still awake, you can go read about double monasteries under Audrey (an eponym). If you're not, you can't.

As he joined us at La Fortune, Gary warned Gerard: ``you've got to be careful -- Al is liable to put anything you say in the Stammtisch glossary.''

Donald Margulies's play ``Collected Stories,'' tells a story of a young writer, Lisa, and her mentor Ruth. In a Nov. 2002 review of a new production of the play, Alvin Klein wrote

As everybody knows, nobody is safe in the company of a writer, and Ruth has fallen victim to her own advice.

``You taught me to be ruthless,'' Lisa retorts when Ruth accuses her of revising and cheapening her life. Then Ruth caps her confessional with intimate details that give the lie to the book's steamy scenes.

Here's some more general advice about conversations: in or out of the company of writers: If your pleasant outdoor conversation should happen to be interrupted by a loud noise, turn your head ninety degrees to face forward, stop talking to the passenger, and DRIVE, already!

One dinner at Procter Hall, I saw a friend walk in with her tray and I shouted over to her ``Isobel, you are Ruthless!'' She was pleased by the remark; she came and sat with me. I often saw Ruth and Isobel together at dinner. It's not especially relevant to you, but it's sad to me and hard to forget, that Isobel died young.

One time, I don't know how, Isobel and I got into a discussion of the difficulties of finding a man. It hadn't really occurred to me that she should have any such difficulty. Her comment was, ``it's hard to find a man to come up to scratch.'' ``Like a dog?'' was my immediate puzzled thought. She meant that it was hard to find one who came up to her standards. Oh look, here comes a related entry...

C =
Commitment phobic
O =
N =
Not responsible
V =
Verbal ability
E =
R =
S =
A =
T =
I =
O =
N =
No money

Just like JONES and SIGECAPS, this is a healing doctor's mnemonic. In particular, it is a mnemonic contrived by Dr. Romance, author of Desirable Men (p. 117).

Conversations with Elie Wiesel
A series of interviews conducted by Harry James Cargas. The first edition, published as Harry James Cargas in Conversation with Elie Wiesel, consists of seven sections and was published in 1976. (Cargas does not say how these sections align with the interviews; personally, I prefer readability to slavish authenticity, so long as the interview is not substantively distorted.) Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, but it didn't tarnish his reputation. The second edition (bearing the title that is the head term of this entry) was published in 1992 and contains eight additional interviews in a single section (pp. 117-170). It's an interesting book, and a pity it's not better-known. So far, I've excerpted it at the entry about editors at publishing houses.

Chief Operating Officer. Acronym is always pronounced as an initialism.

Cost Of Ownership.

In WWII, a cookie was Allied slang for a 4000-lb. blockbuster. There were also double and triple cookies (8000 and 12000 lbs.).

We have invented the motor car--and Caliban has climbed into it and Europe flares red in the wake of Panzer armies. We have invented the aeroplane--and Caliban soars in it, dropping on our clever heads the two-ton bombs we have likewise contrived for his amusement. We have invented the wireless and from it Propagandaministerium comes--the voice of Caliban. For his are the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory.''

-- F. L. Lucas, Critical Thoughts in Critical Days (1942).

Here's a little vignette about ``Barbara'' from Your Erroneous Zones (see F.O.O.L.):

...She could and would manipulate her own mind. Next time she felt hungry she resolved to reward herself with thoughts of her own internal strength rather than a cookie. ...
How does that taste? Anyway, it's true that if you eat a lot of cookies, you're going to blow up.

Yes, that pun bombed.

cookie kite
A British bomber used in WWII: a Wimpy with special modifications to the bomb-bay doors, allowing it to carry a single cookie. The Wimpy was also used for anti-submarine patrol. Today you can go to Wimpy's and pay fifty cents for a single cookie.

cooler by the lake
A phrase that occurs in Chicago area summer weather reports, which is about as useful as ``darker at night.'' I propose AUCBTL (AU for the obligatory ``as usual'').

Actually, in the early morning, and in somewhat unusual conditions, it's warmer by the lake. It's a heat capacity/conductivity thing: Heat conductivity of earth is low, so the thermal mass to be heated is a thin layer at the surface, and it heats (and cools) quickly. By comparison, water is heated (a) radiatively (light penetrating surface, and also thermal IR light emission and reabsorption and (b) by ordinary thermal conduction. Thus, even though the specific heat capacity (i.e., per unit volume) of the water is lower, it is heated to a greater depth, and its heat capacity per unit area is higher than that of the land. Upshot: land heats faster.

A similar effect at the coast gives rise to the sea breeze: rapid heating of the land means the air pressure over the sea is higher, causing a breeze to blow in from the sea. (Above 500m, a return anti-sea breeze blows back.)

You wouldn't expect a convection effect when you're heating water from above, but there is one: warmer water has a higher salt solubility, and as you warm the surface salt diffuses upward. Saltier water is denser and sinks, enhancing heat transfer. I'm not sure how still the water has to be for this effect to be a significant correction to the heat transfer caused by ordinary wave motion. Obviously this isn't significant on a sweet-water lake.

[Strictly speaking, of course, solubility is not the parameter that causes salt diffusion across a temperature gradient. Raising the temperature lowers the chemical potential for the solute species, and the salt diffuses to approach diffusive equilibrium.]

A weaker effect than sea breeze is valley breeze, which blows upward into the mountains or hills that have heated up more than the valley they shade.

In the winter, of course, it's typically warmer by the lake. The weather reports only include an -er-by-the-lake comment if it is systematically true for much of the day, and that condition only clearly holds in summer and winter.

In Toronto, the comment is more often in the form ``cooler in the suburbs'' than `warmer by the lake'' (conveniently ignoring the suburbs along the lake). Presumably, the reason for the difference in usage has something to do with the airport location. Toronto's airport is only a dozen kilometers from Lake Ontario, so the reference point for Toronto weather is essentially lakeside. In Chicago, by contrast, the larger airport, O'Hare, is far inland -- a whopping, uh, 18 kilometers or so from the lake.

One of Scrabble®'s many nods (another is eath) to ye Elizebethan English. Everee major Scrabble dictionary recognizeth this word.

Continuity Of OPerations.

Continuity Of Operations Plan.

Cooper Pair
A bound state of two electrons whose attraction, mediated by the phonon field (or ``the lattice'') overcomes their mutual electrostatic repulsion. This term is used in wide-band conductors, for which a quasi-free carrier approximation is appropriate. In narrow-band (or more-or-less equivalently, in tight-binding materials) such bound states are called bipolarons. Cooper's concept of phonon-mediated pairing of zero net-momentum pairs followed Fröhlich's treatment of the continuum polaron (first nontrivial many-body state) and led quickly to the BCS theory (q.v.).

Center of Percussion. On a baseball bat, it's called the ``sweet spot.''

Coalition OutPost.

Combinatorial Optimization Problem. An optimization problem over a discrete space. Computation of the number of possible solutions is a combinatorics problem. Probably the most popular illustration is the traveling salesman problem (TSP).

Crystal-Originated Pits. Microvacancies.

Chip Off-line Pre-Authorized Card.

``COPAC is a registered trademark of the Victoria University of Manchester.'' Okay, but what does it stand for? In the COPAC FAQ, there is a question ``Is Copac an acronym?'' The answer, such as it is, reads as follows (allegro con brio):
Nyah-nyah, nya-nyah-nyah!
We-won't-tell, we-won't-tell!
Nyah-nyah, nya-nyah-nyah!

(That's not exactly verbatim, but it's more precisely informative on this topic than the entire website.) They continue

If you wish to refer to Copac, on a web site or in a publication, we prefer you to just use Copac rather trying [sic, and appropriate] to deconstruct [sic] the acronym. It may be helpful to add an explanatory sentence along the lines of: "Copac provides ... to the ... of major ... and ... plus ...."

(You can look up the details. Of course I want to be ``helpful,'' but I don't want to burden you here with information that you might want.)

COPAC started out as ``CURL OPAC,'' where OPAC stood for On-line Public Access Catalogue and CURL is also in the glossary. It's a union catalog for UK and Irish libraries -- mostly large research-university libraries, plus the British Library and the National Library of Scotland. On April 30, 1996, CURL OPAC was officially relaunched as COPAC. At the time, it covered the university library catalogs of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, and Oxford. By 1997 sometime, coverage included ten libraries in England and Scotland, plus Trinity College Library in Dublin. Some time in 2003 or early 2004, all of the two dozen CURL members' catalogs had been integrated into the system.

Comisión Panamericana de Normas Técnicas.

Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies. The homepage has irritating <BLINK>. Must be their idea of excitement.

co-pay, co-payment
The amount charged a consumer of medical services when a service is partly covered by insurance. The purpose is principally to minimize frivolous or unnecessary use of health insurance. Private and public insurance in the US generally have co-pays in the range of 10-20% of the charges, which are often negotiated with insurers. In the EU, where all countries have universal government-administered health insurance, co-pays tend to be fixed fees per GP visit and per day of hospital stay. The UK has no co-pay.

The term ``co-payment'' is not necessarily equivalent to ``deductible.'' In some insurance arrangements, ``deductible'' refers to an amount of expenses to be borne by the covered party before insurance starts picking up some or all of the tab. Medical insurance schemes generally have at least one of the following three features: co-pays, deductibles, government subsidies.

Contaminant(s) Of Potential Concern. Not as certainly worrisome as COC.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Symptoms include chronic cough, shortness of breath, increased mucus, frequent clearing of the throat and a limited exercise tolerance. Fourth-leading cause of death in the US as of 1999, and the only one of the top ten still growing.

Council Of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. ``As it looks toward the new century, COPLAC is planning to grow selectively in the number of member institutions it admits and to increase its visibility and influence in order to accomplish its four goals:

(1) To promote nationally the values of superior ... setting in order to enhance understanding among the general public of the value of moderately sized [etc.].

(2) To communicate ... policy makers ... vital importance and benefits of providing ... comprehensive ... in the [etc.].

(3) To work actively ... institutions ... improve ... quality ... achieve the goals ... organization.

(4) To support the efforts of the other institutions to achieve [yawn].''

It's a good thing I copied that stuff into here. By 2005, they had a completely new list of four goals to accomplish.

Cost Of Poorly Performing Processes. The PQ in the initialism represents the letter P cubed (or Q'b'd or something). If that bothers you, there's also COP3. Another advantage of the latter abbreviation is that it contains a number. This is good because the concept itself is a bit of Sixsigmanese. Six Sigma, as the name implies, has pretentions to mathematical rigor, but it's actually just pretentious bullshit. So any number you can toss in gratuitously, like three, is just gravy.

CO-PROmotion. The manifestation of a CMA. Pronounced as two stressed syllables with the same ``long-oh'' vowel, which means that it sounds like a more faithful pronunciation of the Greek root copro- than occurs in words actually based on that root, like coprolite and coprophagy.

Petrified poop.

A surprising number of food and beverage products have scatological names.

  1. BM
  2. Colon
  3. Skor
  4. Sucrets

Community-Oriented Police Satellite.

Community-Oriented Police Services. A Clinton-administration program begun in 1994 to increase the number of bike- and shoe-mounted municipal police. The COPS program makes grants for the hiring of new officers (which could include civilian dispatchers, for some reason). COPS grants are partial: participating police departments are required to kick in some supplementary money for the hires, and they are required to maintain the increased level of staffing for at least one budget cycle after the grant ends. I wonder how they enforce that.

Community-Oriented Police Station. In a northwest corner of Buffalo, on College Avenue, I saw a satellite police station that was actually labelled with these words. Community-Oriented Policing is a philosophy of putting police on the beat, recognized by and recognizing members of the community and eventual criminals. It's one of a half-dozen indistinguishable philosophies of how to reduce crime in poor neighborhoods that all have been fighting to take credit for the drop in US crime rates that took place in the 1990's. By the end of the 1990's, crime rates had fallen to thirty-year lows. In other words, they were as low as the rates that gave political resonance to presidential candidate Richard Nixon's law-and-order appeal in 1968. Yes, it was more complicated than that. Most political things are. But today's low crime rates are the same as the alarming high crime rates of the late 1960's.

No one knows for sure, but one quantitatively plausible explanation of decreased crime rates is that the increasing legalization and availability of abortion in the 1970's made it possible for pregnant women to nip crime at the source. This explanation is not popular with groups that are philosophically opposed to abortion.

Common Open-Policy Service.

Computer Oracle and Password System.

A small stand of trees.

I'm going to copyright my name. Anybody sends me a bill, I slam them with an infringement suit for putting my name on the envelope. Eventually, all my bills will be addressed to ``resident.'' Then I'll move away.

(AAMOF, you don't copyright the name of a work, you trademark it. But what do I do if I'm just ``some piece of work''?)

Back in 1952, the avant-garde American composer John Cage released a piece entitled 4'33". Next time I'm in that part of the attic, I'll have to see if any of those old discs (``records'') used the angular minutes/seconds notation for the time units. The title is often given, incorrectly, in a glossed form like 4'33" of Silence, but it is actually 4:33 of no sound added to that of the environment in which it is performed. I suppose we've all heard it. Cage died in 1992. For the time being, I will express the most interesting paragraphs of this entry tacitly. Sorry; good things take time.

Composers must respect the instrumental limitations to which the performance of their works will be subject, and even in his Zen period Cage apparently did not feel at liberty to ignore them. The longest track one could record on one side of a 78-rpm record was about 4.5 minutes. [The first of the longer-playing formats (see the LP entry), at 33 rpm, was already available starting in 1948, but the sound quality, or the quality of the silence, was initially probably not so good, since this was technologically edgy at the time. That was probably a crucial issue, since this is obviously the sort of work you'd want to play at maximum volume.]

It seems to me that when you copyright silence, or claim to, and then claim infringement by a work with a silence that probably sounds different in detail, you're not really copyrighting silence. What you're really doing, apart from being a mischievous pimple on the ass of justice, is copyrighting a concept, or trying to. It is well established that concepts can not be copyrighted (they can be trademarked in some cases, but that requires an application to an appropriate national authority, as copyright in the US no longer does). Another thing that cannot be copyrighted, besides my name and Cage's concept, is the plot of a story. (And if it could, the copyright would probably have lapsed by now.) For more on the law and reuse of plots, see the C.S.I. entry. I really ought to put a link here to the TNN entry also. Okay, I relent.

You say pimples can't be ``mischievous''? Alright, then: ``suppurating.''

copyright year
This entry has a lot of loose ends, but a loose end is also the beginning of a clew. If you're interested in copyright years, it may be useful. (And if not, not.)

Sigmund Freud's landmark work, The Interpretation of Dreams [Die Traumdeutung in the original German], was first printed and bound in 1899. I remember reading somewhere (probably some Freud biography) that Freud already had a copy in hand late that year. I have also read that it used to be common for books published towards the end of a year to have a forward-dated copyright. This effectively extended the copyright protection by an extra year -- a profitable démarche back in a time when copyright protection did not last so long as today, and when the backlist of a good publishing house was typically (certainly in the US until the 1960's) its main source of income.

Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders was first published on January 6, 1936, by the Collins Crime Club. The copyright information that I have seen in a reprint is ``Copyright 1935, 1936 by Agatha Christie Mallowan. Copyright renewed 1963...'' One's first thought is that the original target date for publication was late in 1935, and that the book was somehow recopyrighted when that was delayed into the new year. It's probably relevant that the Collins Crime Club (an imprint of William Collins & Co., Ltd. begun in 1930) marketed its titles via a loose subscription plan (subscribers received a newsletter but made no advance commitment to buy) and had a schedule of publishing three new books on the first Monday of each month (which did fall on the sixth in January of 1936). The number of books published exceeded plans, with a modestly overachieving pre-WWII peak of 42 in 1938. It seems like an operation that might have been seriously discombobulated had a book not been published on time, or when offered in the newsletter. But there you are.

[The following tedious parenthesis contains a bit of gory but lazy detail on the question of whether Freud's book was published (i.e., made available to the public) or merely manufactured in 1899. At least it's a start to resolving the question. (Why don't you dive into the stacks and write to me with a nice potted explanation?) A few Wikipedia pages for the book claim, perhaps sloppily, that it was published in 1899 and post-dated. These include the pages in Frenc h (which uses the word ``publié''), Galician (``publicada''), Italian (``pubblicato''), and Portuguese (``publicado''). This is hardly corroborative, since anyone writing in any of those languages could easily crib from any of the others. The Spanish Wikipedia page for the book goes a bit further and claims that it was first published (``publicada inicialmente'') in November 1899 and simply forward-dated. None of these Romance sources gives a source specifically for the fact of interest. There's no specific German Wikipedia page for the book, but the page for Traumdeutung describes the book as inauguriert 1899, verlegt 1900. The first participle is a bit vague in this context, and the second could mean `printed' elsewhere but must mean `published' here. It seems to me that the usual and more precise word would be veröffentlicht. It could all be hedging. I see that the brief Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia page echoes the Spanish one. To my horror, it begins to seem as if there is some information that cannot be found in Wikipedia.]

Cost Of Poorly Performing Processes. It's also abbreviated COPQ, and it does sound like the sort of phrase you'd like to have extra ways to avoid saying. Isn't that nice? No, it's Sixsigmanese.

A palm tree (Jubaea spectabilis or Jubaea chilensis) native to Chile and very common in central Chile, now also found in the Scrabble forest. The tree has a thick trunk and yields a sweet sap that is used to make a palm-honey and also fermented into wine. The name has nothing to do with Coquimbo, port and capital city of Elqui Province. It also has nothing to do with the Coquimbo administrative region, about 400 km north of Santiago. (Did you want to know that Elqui province is part of Coquimbo region, and that the port of Coquimbo is part of the urban area surrounding La Serena, the beautiful capital city of Coquimbo region? No? Too late.) In fact, coquito is simply a diminutive form of coco (`coconut').

Co Q-10
COenzyme Q-10. Ubiquinone. Sometimes called vitamin Q.

Coefficient Of Restitution. This has nothing to do with damages or Wiedergutmachungsgeld or anything like that. It's the fraction of energy not dissipated (to noise, heat, and vibration) when a ball or other object bounces vertically off the floor.

(UK) College of Radiographers.

Common Object Request Broker Architecture. An emerging ``standard'' for retrieving objects and invoking operations on objects across a network, approved by everyone except Microsoft and its vassals. Let what?is.com or Object Management Group explain.

Corbino Geometry
Two-terminal geometry for measuring magnetoresistivity. An annulus of the material under study is placed in a magnetic field normal to its plane, and the concentric inner and outer edges serve as contact nodes. An advantage of this geometry is that ``there are no edge effects'' associated with the finite (i.e., non-infinite) electrical length (here the electrical length is the difference in inner and outer radii).

Corbino, a Sicilian, was a senator as well as the head of the physics department at the university at Rome. His greatest contribution to physics was to apply his political acumen and pull the strings so that Enrico Fermi would have a job.

The acid test of feminine sex appeal. A woman who looks sexy in a pair of tan corduroy slacks with a long seat looks sexy, period. No further qualification possible.

The question arises whether a similar test exists for masculine sex appeal. Sure. A man who looks good in really expensive clothes is sexy, if he can afford the clothes.

COordinate Rotation DIgital Computer.

Copyright Office electronic Registration, Recordation and Deposit System. An office of the US Library of Congress.

Center for Organ Recovery and Education. Evidently you have to recover them before you can educate them. This CORE is ``a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting donation, education and research for the purpose of saving and improving the quality of life through organ, tissue and corneal transplantation.''

The biggest pictures on the homepage (browsed Dec. 19, 2008) are of two young children, and the widest words are passion and integrity. It seems designed to evoke ``The Second Coming'' of Yeats, written in 1919. The first of its two verses runs thus:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Ah, what the heck. The second verse is this:

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Committee Opposed to Ruining the Environment. Gee, when you put it that way...

COmponent-REsolved [spectroscopy].

Congress Of Racial Equality. A civil rights organization founded in 1942 that made news in the late 1950's and the 1960's. It still exists as of December 2008, but the ``What's New'' box on its homepage is conspicuously blank.

COntent-based Retrieval Engine. See J. K. Wu, A. Desai Narasimhalu, B. M. Mehtre, C. P. Lam, Y. J. Gao: ``CORE: A Content-Based Retrieval Engine for Multimedia Information Systems,'' Multimedia Systems, vol. 3, pp. 25-41 (1995).

COntrolled Requirement Expression.

The kind of RAM that was used to store instructions and some or all data of a program during execution. The name comes from the kind of RAM based on small ferrite cores that was used on mainframe computers until the late sixties. This magnetic core memory technology was replaced by various kinds of semiconductor array memories (vide DRAM, SRAM).

Although the traditional core memory is technically a kind of RAM, the term RAM was introduced along with the semiconductor memories. On the other hand, the term ``core'' has continued in use: the main memory in a CPU is still sometimes called core memory, and a program crash generates a record of core memory called a core dump, often in a file whose filename is or includes the word core. (Virtually no one seems to read core dumps. Let me suggest that you try reading it. Some of it is humanly readable, or at least composed of printable characters, and it can be more informative than ``segmentation fault.'' It's easier to at least try that than it is to learn how to use the debugger.)

The typical old core memory consisted of tiny ferromagnetic doughnuts (okay, ``tori') called cores, strung at the intersections of a square lattice of insulated wires. (The wires were woven through the doughnuts, or cores, so they were suspended at an angle at each of the lattice intersections.) Each core would store one bit of information, encoded as direction of magnetization. A major criterion in choosing the material was that the hysteresis curve (of M vs. H) be sharp. Ferrite material fit the bill, and all core memories -- back in the day -- used ferrite cores.

Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility.

Consorzio per la Gestione del Centro di Coordinamento delle Attività di Ricerca inerenti il Sistema Lagunare di Venezia. Italians love to talk. And who can blame them? They have a beautiful language. They offer English pages that explain CORILA as `Consortium for Coordination of Research Activities concerning the Venice Lagoon System.' See also MOSE.

In the US, maize or cornball. In Britain, edible grain. (See popcorn.)

Possibly the only vegetable quantified like one body appendage (cf. cabbage) and sharing a name with a different body appendage. The government of British Columbia answers your questions here.

Visit Corn Palace, South Dakota's answer to Carhenge.

A raised skin callus, typically on an extremity; epidermis that is horny (I mean hard! Er, rather, I mean, oh, nevermind.)

COmputer Resource Nucleus.

Mawkish and unsubtle. Also ``corn.'' Adjective use only: corny.

corn husking
Unlike cornball, corn husking is a sport. Oh, sure, once upon a time it was a work activity. A lot of sports started like that -- fishing, rock climbing, bungee jumping, etc.

The early history of this, like many sports, is shrouded in the mists of time. Actually, it looks more like dust. Anyway, county and regional husking bees had been going on for a long time in the corn belt, but in 1924 the sport went national. Henry Wallace, editor of the Iowa periodical Wallace's Farmer, had the idea of holding a national championship and organized one that very year. (I doubt that this was the same Henry Wallace who was FDR's vice-president before Truman. Wait -- it was!) It seems they never had a, um, winnowing process, let alone seedings for brackets. It was open to all farmworkers in the corn-growing districts of the US, according to The New Encyclopedia of Sports, ed. Frank G. Menke (NYC: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1944, 1947). (This Barnes & Co. was a different publisher than Barnes and Noble. A.S. Barnes seems to have struggled on to about 1969, ending its days in South Brunswick.)

As explained in the encyclopedia, the husker

uses an arrangement strapped to the right hand. This consists of a palm-shaped plate, on which a hook is attached. The hook is about one-half inch long, and its sharp protruding length enables the husker to tear off husks from the ear. In husking, he grasps the ear in his left hand, swings it up and, with one motion, if the right hand, opens the husks, grabs the ear in the right hand, continuing to hold the shank of the ear in the left hand as he snaps it off and tosses it to the wagon with the right hand.

Corpus Christi
A city in Texas and a college at Cambridge and elsewhere. Latin for `body of Christ' (or in principle, I suppose, `body of an anointed fellow'). According to official figures released by the National Catholic Welfare Conference (and published by New York's Catholic News on November 29, 1951, and no, I don't happen to have more recent figures) the diocese of Corpus Christi, Tex. (as they abbreviated it then), was 70% Catholic (using ``diocese'' in the sense of a region, of course), with a Catholic population of 454,000. Out of the other 118 diocese and archdiocese, the next-most-Catholic the diocese of Lafayette, La., at 60%.

When I first visited Cambridge University, a friend of mine made arrangements for me to stay in a guest room at the college where she is a reader, or whatever they call a professor. I never paid careful-enough attention to the name of the college, and when I got into a cab at the train station, I simply asked for ``Christ College.'' The driver patiently explained to me that Cambridge has a ``Christ's College'' and a ``Corpus Christi College'' (he didn't mention Jesus College). (They also have both a Trinity College and a Trinity Hall -- Good Lord!) I guessed that I wanted Corpus Christi, because that was more ironic.

I guessed right. Always go with the principle of maximum irony. It's the minus-second principle of theodynamics.

Corominas y Pascual
Diccionario Crítico Etimológico Castellano e Hispánico. A six-volume etymological dictionary edited by Joan Corominas and José A. Pascual, published 1984.

Spanish for crown; a premium Mexican beer; the Sun's outer atmosphere.

Corporation. A company owned by stockholders. With preferred and ordinary stock, not all stockholders are equal: holders of preferred stock, traded separately, are more creditors and less owners: they have preference in case of bankruptcy.

Similar business organizations are AG (Germany), plc (Britain), S.p.A. (Italy).

A dead body. It's pronounced with a final <ps>, so it sounds very different from corps, which is a homonym of core.

Here is an example of the misuse of corpse where corps is meant:

Give kudos to the much maligned corpse of wide receivers for Kordell's elevated completion percentage.

This is from the Christmas Eve 2001 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kordell is the Steelers' QB Kordell Stewart.


Short for Corpus Paulinum, a moderated academic mailing list ``dedicated to the scholarly discussion and evaluation of critical questions surrounding the life, influence, teaching, theology, and the writings of the Apostle Paul.'' It's ``purpose is to provide a forum where these questions may be raised, entertained, and debated outside of the usual arenas of printed journals and monographs. Additionally, Corpus Paulinum is intended to be a venue in which those working professionally in the field of Pauline studies may post and receive critical responses to papers or ideas that are in the process of development.

corresponding displacement
The component of displacement along the direction of the force. This term hasn't been useful or common in roughly half a century.

It's hard to believe today, when conservation of energy is derived as a consequence of Newton's laws in elementary mechanics courses, but even though Newton's Principia was published and famous in the late seventeenth century, conservation of energy was not discovered until the nineteenth. Analysis of energy in mechanical systems involves forces and displacements: a force F acting through a displacement r performs a quantity of work F⋅r. It took a long time, however, before systematic vector notation was widely used. Absent that, some compact alternative was needed. The notion of ``correponding displacement'' fills that bill. The corresponding displacement δ is simply the signed quantity F⋅r/F (F = |F|). Thus the needed energy quantity (work) is equal to δF.

This notion is introduced in a textbook that was published in 1936 by Oxford University Press: Richard V. Southwell's An Introduction to the Theory of Elasticity for Engineers and Physicists. It comes in section 7, which bears the title `` `Corresponding' Forces and Displacements.'' (When using the word in this sense, he always places ``corresponding'' in quotes, evidently to indicate no looser or broader sense of the term is meant.)

Southwell emphasizes the fact that the corresponding displacement is computed as a projection of the ordinary displacement along the direction of the force, but another aspect of the definition, which I have left largely implicit above, is that in a system of forces applied at multiple points, and with multiple displacements corresponding to those multiple points, the ``corresponding displacement'' is defined in terms of the displacement at the point where the particular force is applied. In the few other (generally old) contexts where I have seen the term ``corresponding displacement'' used, the sense seems to be that given by Southwell.

Southwell footnotes his introduction of the concept of corresponding displacement thus:

Cf. Rayleigh, Theory of Sound, 1, § 74.

Note that he doesn't claim that Lord Rayleigh's Theory of Sound actually defines ``corresponding displacement'' at section 74 of volume 1. He merely suggests that you take some time out of your busy day to pull this classic book from your shelf and check it out. When you do, you'll find that Lord Rayleigh (a) uses vector notation, and (b) introduces the notion of ``corresponding force'' (not displacement), but only (c) to distinguish points of application. He introduces the concept with the longer term ``force of corresponding type,'' and explains by an example that for a given displacement, the ``corresponding force'' (apparently an equivalent term) is just the force applied at the same point. That the force is in the same direction (or in the opposite direction and with negative sign) is implicit.

The phrase ``corresponding forces and displacements'' occurs in Southwell's index, but apparently it is always the displacement that is made to correspond to (i.e. be projected onto the direction of) the force, and not vice versa.

Neither Rayleigh nor Southwell spends much time explicitly examining the notion of a point, but of course there is a complication. If there is a displacement of a point, then the point is displaced, and the precise point at which the force is applied is unclear. The resolution of this ambiguity is usually implicit, and depends on the problem. In problems with macroscopic forces applied at isolated points, the ``point'' that occurs in the analysis is the point of application of the force, and there is no real problem. Such isolated-point analysis is a large component of older books on elastic solids (like Rayleigh's and Southwell's), and of books on ``structures'' for civil engineers (and to a lesser extent mechanical engineers). This kind of analysis is convenient for deriving some general theorems, and it is also appropriate for many kinds of problems (cf. -- as Southwell writes -- lumped parameters.)

Problems, for the careful person, occur in the general analysis of elastic continua, which takes account of the microscopic structure of forces and displacements. In this analysis, the forces acting on points are formally zero. Nonzero forces arise from the integration of fields representing forces per unit area (stresses) or per unit volume (body forces). In the first analysis, the fields are taken as functions of the undisplaced (a/k/a undeformed, undistorted) coordinates. This is analytically convenient, but it means that in principle, the forces are evaluated at the ``wrong'' places (the force does not ``correspond,'' in Rayleigh's sense): When the solid is deformed, the force field at a point is associated with the displacement at a point away from which it has been displaced. This is not a problem because the displacements are small and the force fields slowly-varying. More precisely, the displacements are much smaller than the characteristic length scales of the variation of the force fields, so the errors involved are fractionally small.

The idea involved here is a near cousin of a common elementary calculus idea: When one defines a derivative as the limit of a difference quotient, one has some ``infinitesimal'' play in where the difference quotient is evaluated. For example,

                    f(x+Δx) - f(x)
                    f(x) - f(x-Δx)
both approach df(x)/dx in the limit as Δx approaches zero. This requires the function f to satisfy some smoothness condition, and this parallels the ``slowly-varying'' condition on force fields described above.

There is a crucial difference between these conceptual cousins, however: Derivatives really are limits of finite differences taken to zero, but the theory of elastic continua is used to describe displacements that are nonzero (``finite,'' as physicists say to mean noninfinitesimal). As a practical matter, there are many applications in which the error introduced by the small-deformation approximation is negligibly small. This is the sense in which it is ``not a problem,'' above, in the ``first analysis'' of elastic continua. There are also plenty of practical situations in which the deformations are not so small. This requires a further ``finite deformation'' analysis that is mathematically rather uglier. When deformations are not small, it is also the case that the Hookean approximation fails. That is, the force is no longer linear in the deformation, and accuracy demands a nonlinear analysis. Usually, for not-much-greater deformations, the material ceases to be elastic: it flows, and one is out of the realm of elasticity and into viscoelasticity. In summary, when trouble comes, it doesn't come alone.

I'd like to go back now and tie up a loose end in the safe realm of linear, nonfinite elastic continuum theory. I mentioned point forces (formally zero in the continuum theory) and forces derived from fields distributed in three and two dimensions (body forces and stresses). That leaves one-dimensional fields, for forces acting on edges or other lines. Such forces are common in the analysis of liquids in contact with gases, with solids, and with other liquids. There they are called surface tensions, and they represent the area-dependence of the interfacial interaction energies of different bulk phases. In the study of elastic continua, such forces are rarely important. I think that back around 1990, Mario Ancona of NRL did some work on this kind of force, and that was only in an application of continuum mechanics as a semi-empirical ``jellium'' approximation to quantum mechanics. He sent me a preprint to look over, and I wrote back praising his use of the plural ``jellia.'' But maybe the extra force involved torsion rather than edges. Hey, I only said ``I'd like to go back'' and tie up the loose end.

corresponding force
The force acting at the same point as the displacement that the force is said to correspond to (and implicitly acting in the same direction). The concept isn't as deep as the previous sentence is long. To understand why I even bothered to give the term a glossary entry, see the corresponding displacement entry supra.

Cutesy name for Toyota Corolla. Pejorative.

The Spanish noun that means `cut' and `court.' You can learn more about the word by reading about the conquistador Hernán CORTÉS.

Coordinación de las Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas. (Cuban) `Coordination of the United Revolutionary Organizations.'

Aluminum oxide. Mineral of hardness 9 on the Mohs scale. Described in detail here. Also see our sapphire entry.

The term corundum only sounds like Latin. The mineral is found in Sri Lanka [new improved postcolonial name for Ceylon] and parts of India, and its name in English comes from the Tamil (i.e.: not IE) word _kuruntam_. Ruby is red gem-quality corundum. Sapphires are gem-quality corundum in any other color.


The common cold. Etymon in Greek was a synonym of catarrh, q.v..

Chief Of Staff.

Co$, CO$
Church Of Scientology. Pejorative. Read about it.

Class Of Service.

Close Of Service. Volunteers preparing to leave the Peace Corps attend a COS meeting. The purpose of the COS meeting is to reacclimate them to stateside life, preparing them for culture shock as they reenter a developing country that has changed dramatically during their absence (e.g., gopher is dead, long live HTML).

Community of Science.

Corona Oxide Semiconductor. A noncontacting wafer test technique that charges oxide layers with low-energy (and so nonpenetrating) ions created in a corona.

Corporation for Open Systems.

Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology. See this IOC for a relevant comment. ``CCOPP'': now that's more like it! Why not ``CoSiPPy''?

Confederation of Oregon School Administrators. I imagine that Italian Oregonians say `e la COSA nostra,' since all Latin -tio nouns and their derivatives in Romance languages, like confederazione, are feminine. (See D-ION-Z-A.)

COSATU, Cosatu
Congress Of South African Trade Unions. Founded in 1985, it is a partner in the Tripartite Alliance (national parliamentary coalition) with the ANC and the SACP.

Council of State Community Development Agencies.

Common Open System Environment. Vide CDE.

Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife In Canada.

Council of State Governments.

COllege Sports Information Directors of America.

Spanish: `sewn.' (That's the female form of the adjective.) In Latin America, cosida and cocida are homophones. Cocida means `cooked.'

COntrol Staff INstructions. US governmentese.

Cooperation for Open Systems Interconnection Networking in Europe.

The SINE of the COmplement of an angle.

Chief Officers of State Library Agencies. I bet the guy from the state of -- you know -- registers for the conferences on-site so they won't have a name tag already prepared with his state written on it in bold clear lettering.

cosmetic surgery
Now let me get this straight: Those are the Greta Van Susteren after pictures?

COSMOpolitan magazine. For female cosmopolitans. Famously the brainchild of Helen Gurley Brown. I don't know if Cosmo was the first to institute regularly quantitative cover come-ons, but now they're very common (read that with a sneer) in women's magazines. You know what I'm talking about -- ``472 NEW Ways To Blow His Mind In Bed'' and such. It's been known to happen (once in late 1999 or early 2000) that they forget themselves and have virtually the same title in successive issues, with the main difference being the number (six, then ten places to touch). Aaaah, numbers, they give me such a thrill. (That must be it! It's the numbers that are sexy -- the rest is misdirection.) Of course, numbers also give the sophisticated consumer of women's magazines a quantitative gauge of whether they (don't want to be pronominally sexist there) are getting value for money, and how much. As they say, si-- err, numbers matter.

It does seem rather scientific, but it's not indexed by the ISI Web of Science (not even in its Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities Citation indices). The journal doesn't have a source code either. Ditto for Biological Abstracts and MedLine. But it hasn't been entirely shunned. The following quote is taken from an article in Sexual Behaviour in Canada: Patterns and Problems, ed. Benjamin Schlesinger (University of Toronto Press, 1977):

  Writing for Cosmopolitan Magazine, Dr. David Reuben deals with the myth of sexless old age and sets out his three criteria for active, enjoyable sex in the later years.

Reuben's article is ``13 Sex Myths Laid to Rest'' (is that the same as putting them to bed?); it's in the April 1971 issue. Masters and Johnson (the Masters and Johnson: William H. and Virginia E.) are quoted from a December 1970 Playboy interview. Cosmo used to be regarded as a sort of women's Playboy, before that market niche got cluttered with things like Playgirl, and before Playboy got major competition. The title of the Masters and Johnson interview was ``Ten Sex Myths Exploded.''

Interestingly allusive word, exploded. It reminds me of the time I visited the Scientology storefront on Hollywood Boulevard for a free psychological screening that would discover (correctly) that I was an emotional mess and recommend that I join their group to get my head straight. You know, like Tom Cruise. Anyway, they had a good-cop/bad-cop routine, as it's called in another context, with the bad cop first (standard MO). The bad cop met you in a private booth and explained the sorry results of your psychological test (one of those fill-in-the-ovals machine-graded things). I wasn't impressed with his analysis, and the meeting turned into a dialogue. In the course of it, I pointed out that his cigarette could be regarded as a phallic symbol. (Yes, in those days you were allowed to smoke a cigarette in California.) The emotional health professional countered that no, he thought of it as symbolic of a volcano. I might have said ``oh, that's different!'' but some moments are too precious, and I'm glad I had the presence of mind not to gild that lily. Alas, he must have written me off; I didn't win a trip to a good-cop booth, though I did get to breathe again.

Perhaps I should clarify that this Dr. Reuben has nothing to do with healthful corned-beef-on-rye sandwiches. Rather, he's the fellow who published a famous very-long-titled book about sex in 1969 (details and full title at the TTBOMKAB entry), also cited in that article in the scholarly Canadian sex tome. The article was ``Sexuality and the aged: taboos and misconceptions must give way to reality.'' (``Misconceptions''! Good one! ``Myths'' was becoming hackneyed.) It was by Schlesinger and Richard Albert Mullen, reprinted from Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, vol. 3, #11 (November 1973), pp. 44-53.

Lev Davidovitch Landau, of all people, said that
Cosmologists are often in error, but never in doubt.

I've noticed versions of this line elsewhere (with others than cosmologists). I guess it's an international proverb template.

COmplementary Symmetry Metal Oxide Semiconductor (circuits). Alternate name for CMOS used by RCA.

COmputer System for Mainframe OperationS.

COmmittee on SPAce Research. ``A Committee of ICSU: The International Council for Science'' that was founded in 1958. COSPAR publishes an Information Bulletin via Elsevier Science.

Consortium of Social Science Associations.

``[A]n advocacy organization supported by more than 100 professional associations, scientific societies, universities and research institutions. COSSA stands alone in representing the full range of social scientists.''

I knew the social ``sciences'' were in trouble.

Cf. National Humanities Alliance (NHA), corresponding advocacy organization for humanities.

They have an office on K street (in Washington, DC). Their original homepage was at an AOL location that we will leave tactfully undisclosed. One day in his campaign for president, Adlai Stevenson crossed his legs on a podium and revealed (stop that! I know what you were thinking!) a hole worn through the sole of his shoe. Eisenhower won handily, and for a long time a shoe with a hole worn in the sole (you'll have to figure out the sense of worn here) was called a ``Stevenson shoe.''

Compton Observatory Science Support Center.

(European) COoperation in Science and Technology. Also (estimated spelling) Coopération européenne dans la domaine de la recherche Scientifique et Technologique.

This organization was obviously at the end of the line when they were giving out acronyms. Say what you will, but any American legislators stupid enough to suggest such an honest name for any proposal would be punished so severely that you could never again see them on C-SPAN any time before 3:30 AM. Cf. COBRA.

Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement. (For the Hubble Space Telescope.)

Costello, Elvis
Elvis Costello is the stage name of Declan Patrick McManus, born August 25, 1955, in Liverpool, England. He has also gone by the names Napoleon Dynamite, The Little Hands of Concrete, Henry Coward (of the Coward Brothers), and The Imposter.

He put together his first album, ``My Aim Is True'' by taking sick days away from his computer programming job. That classic album, as well as the next two (``This Year's Model,'' and ``Armed Forces'') are being rereleased by Rhino Records, a division of Time Warner (formerly AOL Time Warner, which used to be Time Warner) to coincide with the release of Costello's 2002 album, ``When I Was Cruel.'' I learned about it in an interview published at CNN.com, a division of Time Warner. The interview concludes

... He expects little from commercial radio.

``[Commercial radio] is owned by one or two corporations now, and they're not in the music business. They're in the advertising business,'' Costello says. ``So let's not kid ourselves. If you want to hear music, go buy a guitar.''

A seller (monger) of food from a cart or street stand. The word, along with the phenomenon, is rarer than it used to be. The food was typically fruit, vegetables, or fish. The term comes from costard, which was widely used from the 14th to the 17th centuries for a large cooking apple, and continued in use among growers in the names of some varieties continuing or derived from the apple originally so called. According to the OED, R. Hogg's British Pomology (1853) described the costard as ``a large apple, distinctly five-sided, having five prominent ribs extending into the basin of the eye, and forming ridges round the crown.'' Although there's no evidence for an etymon of the word in French, the name presumably comes from Anglo-French coste (`rib') < Latin costa. (The word costard also came to be used metaphorically for a human head.)

COrrelation (NMR) SpectroscopY.

Central Office (CO) Terminal.

Chip-on-Tape. Uses TAB.

Customer-Owned Tooling.

Central Ohio Transportation Authority. Buses in Columbus, OH.

Children's Organ Transplant Association. Offices at 501 COTA Drive, Bloomington, Indiana.

Classroom Of The Future, a NASA-related initiative. COTF is located at Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU), in West Virginia, a state represented by the influential US Senator Byrd.

Commercial-Off-The-Shelf. Turn-key system, or (esp. military) one that bids don't require funds for development of. Possibly something you could find already available in a store.

The word cottage now simply denotes a small house not in a city. For many centuries, however, it had a narrower technical meaning with legal significance, as well as a strong connotation of poverty. (The following paragraph is based largely on England in Transition, pp. 14-15, 94)

Under Queen Elizabeth (the first, or now the First), Parliament passed a famous act limiting the building of houses without at least four acres of land. The law's title was ``An Act against the erecting and maintaining of cottages.'' From that time until around the middle of the eighteenth century, a cottage was a house or hovel with less than four acres of land (whether that land was enclosed or allocated as strips in the common fields). There were exceptions for the dwellings of gamekeepers and seafaring people, but most cottagers were ``housed beggars'' (in the words of Francis Bacon). The law was finally repealed in 1775.

[The original act was passed in 1589 (the 31st year of Elizabeth's reign) and modified near the end of her reign by the 1601 Act for the Relief of the Poor. I haven't read the original law, but I assume the land restrictions did not apply to domiciles within any ``City, Town or Place Corporate'' in the language of the 1601 act. There were also similarly-intended measures for limiting construction in London, described by M.D. George in London Life, pp. 66-72.]

I'm reminded of the observation Plainville, USA, that people (in that early twentieth-century rural Midwestern town) clung to the land: even people who lived in town and had substantial income from a nonfarm profession (like teachers, and the doctor) tried to keep a plot of land going on the side.

couch potato
Very low starch content for a potato, and probably not much glycogen in the muscles either. Not surprisingly, it is usually slack in shape. Its eyes do not move -- from the TV.

In August 2003, Johannas Pope died at the age of 61. She had told her live-in caregiver ``Don't show my body when I'm dead. Don't bury me. I'm coming back.'' So (I think that's the proper connective), after she died, her caregiver left her sitting in a chair in front of the TV set, like an updated Momma Bates, in an upstairs room of her home in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio. She was dressed in white, which is possibly one of the few appropriate aspects of the story. The caregiver came in regularly and did, apparently, whatever she thought was necessary, which included turning on the TV occasionally and swatting away flies. The caregiver, a woman in her forties, was encouraged by the apparent regeneration of her nose and an ear. When the case eventually came to light, the coroner speculated that the ``regeneration'' was an illusion created by the appearance of the face when it was covered with maggots. You know, this is just a little bit too intense. Why don't you amuse yourself reading the next paragraph, while I run off for an urgent visit to the nearest bucket, okay?

There's a magazine called Veggie Life ``with more than 100 full-color pages of tips, techniques, and delicious recipes,'' but we don't have an entry for it. Try the NAVS entry instead.

Ahhh. Okay, I'm back. Initial reports were somewhat unclear about how regularly the house was inhabited by the living, but it seems that Pope's daughter and three-year-old granddaughter, and the caretaker, all lived on the first floor. Pope's upstairs room had a window-mounted air conditioner, and this was left on. You have to wonder about their electric bills. Finally in December 2005, the air conditioner succeeded its owner in death, and according to Hamilton County Coroner Dr. O'Dell Owens, ``standing outside, one could smell death.'' (Dr. Owens is the source for this entry of all quotes and medical speculations regarding the case.)

At least four other relatives apparently knew about Ms. Pope's non-departure departure, but not all. Police had been asking after Pope's whereabouts around the neighborhood in fall 2005, and you have to wonder why they didn't focus on her house. In any case, a relative who hadn't seen Pope in years called police in January 2006, and this apparently prompted a visit to the house on January 4, and the discovery of her body, or what was left of it. The coroner believed that the air conditioner had allowed the body to mummify. I don't know if ``mummify'' is really the right word for the process, but the word does conjure associations with vaguely similar ancient Egyptian attitudes to death. The coroner's office was attempting to determine the cause of death, but as of the January 9 press conference, it looked like it was going to be difficult because very little organ tissue was left.

The largest species of small cat. Really, this isn't silliness: the Felidae family -- the cats -- are divided into four subfamilies, of which two -- Felinae and Pantherinae -- have extant (not yet extinct) members. The former includes most of the really big cats -- lion, tigers, jaguar, and leopards. The pantherinae includes the cougar and a bunch of smaller cats. The smaller cats include, not surprisingly, the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus, a subspecies of the wildcat, F. silvestris). The domestic cat is also often described simply as Felis catus. The etymology of cat names is interesting and mysterious. For now, the etymology of cougar is treated at the puma entry.

Look, I don't really care about those cats. The previous paragraph was just due diligence. The point of this entry is that ``older'' women who seek romantic relationships (or romance-optional sexual relationships) with men significantly younger than themselves are described by the names of cats. The most general term is apparently cougar. More specific terms are jaguars (women over 50), cougars (restricted in its narrower sense to women between 40 and 50), and pumas (women under 40). (Among felids, pumas are cougars, so there's one difference between women and cats.) Those seem to be the most common age ranges; the next-most common definitions differ in lowering the age dividing pumas from cougars to 35 or so.

The general term for the partners of cougars (in the general sense) is ``boy toys.'' However, when I was 25, the woman I was dating and I happened to get into a discussion of ages, and learned each other's ages. It turned out that-- oh, I just realized I told this story elsewhere in the glossary. Never mind. Actually, not just that story but other stuff relevant to ``cougars'' can be found under Door Slam Method, Car.

could signal a trend
Not worth reporting.

could've predicted
Didn't predict.

The ``positive'' direction of rotation. Isn't it amazing, all those clocks going backwards all those years? No wonder technological progress was so late coming. Uhrzeigergegensinn. (Vide clockwise.)

In the English peerage, there are no counts, but the wife of an earl is a countess. The ents could have used this kind of resourcefulness.

Country Codes
TCP/IP domain names use only the two-letter codes, only one of three parts of ISO 3166.

coup d'état
Rare variant spelling of coup d'etat. Used in French.

coup de grâce
A mispronunciation. See next entry (coup de graisse).

coup de graisse
Death by chocolate. (Let Godiva be your Kevorkian. Alternate site thissa way.) In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, death by chocolate very nearly occurs. See also Just Desserts.

The newsgroup rec.food.chocolate has an faq. Go on, you can't resist. Just read a little bit. Also visit TOP 20 Reasons Chocolate Is Better Than Sex.

Sex and death -- this is beginning to resemble a Woody Allen film.

Coordinators Of Undergraduate Psychiatric Education. (A Canadian organization.)

Courrier électronique. French neologism equivalent to email. Cf. mél, pourriel

course banking
On some college campuses, faculty can or must ``pay'' for leave time by teaching overload courses. This is called course banking.

courtly love
Seems today almost more an affectation than an affection. Boy meets girl. Girl is already married to a medieval nobleman. Indeed, she is a medieval noblewoman. Arranged marriage; husband rôle may not exhibit character development. Boy worships the ground girl walks on even though effective floor polishes and foot powders have yet to be invented. Girl pretends indifference so husband will suspect nothing. (Technical term: spitta inna face-uh.) Much ennobling pining. Character-lubricating insipidness. Girl gives boy laundry list of errands to run, to prove his love and bulk up the plot line. All very pious Christian behavior. Okay, maybe a little discreet nooky, if the troubadours can be believed. Oh, alright, yes, it's adultery, but it's noble because, uh, because ... true love must be freely given. Yeh, it's lame, but... Listen, dammit, this is not the 1960's speaking here. You think orgasm is a recent invention? You think Biblical protagonists ``knew'' each other in some kind of intellectual ecstasy? Log out immediately!

There is no recorded instance that the compiler of this glossary is aware of, in which ``courtly love'' has been confused with Courtney Love, despite the obvious similarities, if any.

The term (l'amour courtois) was introduced by Gaston Paris in ``Études sur les romans de la table ronde,'' Romania, 10, pp. 465-96 (1881), specifically on p. 478; although he intimated its meaning in that article, he gave a full definition in the context of the love of Guenevere and Lancelot, in ``Études sur les romans de la table ronde: Lancelot du Lac,'' Romania, 12, pp. 459-534 (1881). Soon a major industry sprang up to study this idea to death, and eventually the term entered mass consciousness. One authoritative treatment is Clive Staples Lewis: The Allegory of Love; A Study in Medieval Tradition (Oxford: Clarendon Pr., 1936). (Yes, that C. S. Lewis.) (Yes really, that's a semicolon in the title. What did you expect?)

I imagine that you've probably read down this far through dry citations in some foreign language, all in the hope of encountering one of my brilliant humorous mots, which would make it all worthwhile somehow. Well, here's the punch line: the joke's on you! There is no joke, sucker.

Courtney Love
Sexually provocative leader of the popular music group Hole; widow of Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain. Frequently condemned for continuing to be employed after Kurt killed himself. Frequently confused with courtly love.

The director of ``US vs. Larry Flynt'' or whatever it was called, sought a newcomer, a fresh new face, not a professional actress, for the rôle of Flynt's wife. He sought advice from the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, who recommended Courtney Love and was promptly hospitalized.

Court of Law
Performance art.

Console OUTput. A part of the standard namespace in iostream or iostream.h of C++ . Very little in C or C++ is so standard that it's default.

CERES Ocean Validation Experiment.

In Britain, in the context of private (supplementary) health insurance, cover is used like the noun coverage in the US.

[Football icon]

Cover 2
A football defensive configuration in which 2 safeties provide deep zone pass COVERage. Normally, there's a four-man rush, and the remaining five defenders (two corners and three linebackers) cover the underneath yardage (i.e., near the line of scrimmage) in five zones. So the basic Cover 2 is all zone coverage, but defenders have to read the pattern as the play unfolds and adjust accordingly. This frequently puts one or two underneath defenders in man-to-man coverage.

Man Under is a variant of Cover 2 that looks similar before the snap, but the five underneath defenders play man-to-man on the five eligible receivers. One advantage of Man Under is that it can be used as a change-up, if the offense has been led to expect Cover-2 and has made offensive adjustments for zone coverage.

[Football icon]

Cover 3
A football defensive configuration using 3 defenders in zone COVERage.

[Football icon]

Cover 4
You seem like a bright boy. Let's see if you can figure this one out.

Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick (universities in the UK). The COW seminar (on Algebraic Geometry) is so called because it originally met in those places.

Correlates Of War. Measures used in assessing imperial power.

cow magnet
No, not a sexy bull, not an application of animal magnetism of any sort.

It happens that over the years of domestic breeding, cattle have had most of the intelligence bred out of them. This may be convenient for some purposes, but it has reached the point where it has made their grazing habits pretty indiscriminate, and they scarf up scraps of metal along with the more nutritious browse. (N.B., we're not talking about BSE-afflicted cows here, just your ordinary ruminant of average-for-a-cow but still stupefiedly low intelligence.) Too much of this, and cows can develop ``hardware disease.''

Treatment is to feed the afflicted cow or bull a strong little bar magnet -- a couple of inches long, no sharp edges -- which clumps together all the metal (nails, bits of barbed wire) in the leathery first stomach (rumen), so it doesn't get to the downstream, more easily perforated parts of the GI tract. You launch the magnet into the animal's mouth with the same device normally used for pills. The person who told me about this is probably grateful that I have left his name (i.e., Craig's name) out of the entry.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has been running a California condor recovery program since 1975. A landmark achievement of this effort occurred in Spring 2002 when, for the first time in eighteen years, California condor chicks hatched in the wild. The three chicks (from five eggs laid in the wild by five breeding pairs of rereleased condors) survived the Summer. They were at the point of fledging the following autumn when they all mysteriously died. A necropsy of one found that its digestive tract was crammed with glass chunks and various metal objects -- electrical connectors, washers, half a dozen bottle caps. Condor program coordinator Bruce Palmer explained that ``Condors are very curious. They eat bone chips and gravel or anything that looks different.'' You know, it's not as if the birds nested on garbage dumpsters. The pairs nested in caves in remote mountain wilderness areas around the Los Padres (apt name there) National Forest in southern California. The litter is apparently quite old junk, and officials think it was already in the nest areas when the chicks were hatched. They might have been collected by previous generations of condors (who didn't eat it?) or by ravens. They're thinking of sweeping out the nesting areas.

cow orker, cow-orker
The Jargon-file definition of this term is
[Usenet] n. fortuitous typo for co-worker, widely used in Usenet, with perhaps a hint that orking cows is illegal.
There is also a folk-etymological note that ``[s]ome people believe this was coined by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert.''

Scott Adams, in Dilbert Newsletter 17, relates the tale of a cow orker who was offended by messages she was being sent marked FYI:

I KNOW what the 'FY' stands for. What does the 'I' stand for? ENORMOUSLY?

The Dilbert Newsletter is the official publication of the DNRC.

Council On Wage and Price Stability.

Cytochrome OXidase. Enzyme used as stain in muscle biopsy for identifying and distinguishing (differential diagnosis) mitochondrial syndromes.

Combined Operations EXperimental Establishment. Pronounced ``coxy.'' A British government organization that conducted various top secret military R&D projects in support of combined ops during WWII.

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