(Click here for bottom)

A programming language conceived as and unlikely to be a successor to C++.

Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in many other programming languages also lists many wonderful features of this language.


deci-, metric prefix from Latin, meaning a tenth. E.g., 10 dL = 1 L. Easily confused with D, which partly explains the latter's rarity.


Latin, Decimus. A praenomen meaning `the tenth,' typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Also ``Dec.''

Defense. In ordinary speech, in all dialects I am aware of, the stress (accent) is on the second syllable of the noun when it does not refer to team games. A common partisan cheer at (N. American) football and basketball games is the exhortation DEE fence; pigskin and round ball discussion, over beer and in the press box, now systematically stresses the first syllable. The noun has been verbed, and following the ordinary pattern, the verb to defense is stressed on the second syllable.

Defense in the sports sense is best regarded as a homograph of its etymological precursor (the noun with final accent). The verb to defense refers to all on-field or on-court actions comprising defense, and emphasizes the component of strategy. To defend is only a close synonym. It is generally possible to define what is being defended, and the person or object being defended can always be named as the direct object (in the active voice, or as the ``retained object'' of the passive voice). This makes sense in chess (``defending the king,'' ``the center squares are defended'') but leads to difficulty in some team sports. The earlier common use of defend in sports got around the difficulty by speaking of defending the end zone, or defending the middle yardage, but this was never quite right: the most important piece of substantive information to convey in the game context tended to be the offensive strategy or tactic against which defense was deployed. With the verb defend, this requires a prepositional phrase (against the run, the shotgun, the nickle, the four horsemen). The verb to defense streamlines communication by making the offense the default direct object of the verb. (Both verbs can be used intransitively.)

Defense is sometimes called Dee or Big Dee. There is no corresponding small dee, as there is in politics (vide D infra).

The word offense has undergone a sports-usage development parallel to defense, with stress shift and associated change in pronunciation of the initial vowel. Sports offense is not close in meaning to the ordinary sense of the word, but is instead simply the complement of defense. Offense is not called O because it might be confused with words O (introducing the vocative, as in ``O Romeo'') and Oh (the interjection). Offense is not often called Big O because Big O already means ``orgasm.''

North American football did not use separate defensive and offensive platoons until the forties, around the same time that the D party changed its name. I don't know when the American league adopted the designated hitter (DH) rule.

It was Grantland Rice who first dubbed the Notre Dame backfield of Knute Rockne ``the four horsemen.'' The phrase alludes to the four horsemen of the apocalypse mentioned in Revelations. Perhaps he was influenced by a novel by Vicente Blasco Ibánez that appeared in English with this title in 1918.

Deca- or Deka-, metric prefix meaning ten. E.g., 10 L = 1 DL. Might be confused with d. It seems deci- got a head start and elbowed-out the too-similar Deca.

Delta. Not an abbreviation here, just the FCC-recommended ``phonetic alphabet.'' I.e., a set of words chosen to represent alphabetic characters by their initials. You know, ``Alpha Bravo Charlie ... .'' The idea behind the choice is to have words that the listener will be able to guess at or reconstruct accurately even through noise (or narrow bandwidth, like a telephone). Hence, a common word like ``Dearth'' would be no good because it might be heard as ``Firth.''

Coincidentally, or not, a (river) delta is the thing whose hieroglyphic or hieratic writing representation came to stand for the /d/ sound, and which thus gave rise to the letter. Delta remains the name of the corresponding letter in the Greek alphabet.

Personally, I prefer ``Dishwasher.''

Democrat[ic]. In the US, when clarity requires it, one often distinguishes ``small-dee democrat'' (a supporter of democracy) and a ``big-Dee Democrat'' (a member of the Democratic party). ``Small-dee democrat'' and ``little-dee democrat'' are equivalent. ``Big-Dee'' has a sports synonym. A similar usage occurs in Canada: ``small-l liberal'' and ``small-c conservative.''

The Democratic party evolved quickly in the early days of the republic, around Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and like-minded individuals who favored weak central government. (This led to ironies, but what political position doesn't?) It evolved from an unofficial government faction and from a number of independent local ``popular societies'' in the states, most active in 1790-1800. These societies called themselves ``Democratic Society [of Richmond, say],'' ``Democratic-Republican Society,'' and in one or two cases ``Republican Society.'' In public discussion, members typically described themselves as republicans. (Although after the early heady days of the French Revolution, the actual practice of French republicanism began to give the word republican a bad odor, and American ``Republicans'' of that era were at pains to distance themselves from it. According to this history offered by the DNC, it was the National Convention of 1844 that eventually simplified the Party's name to the Democratic Party. The Democrats' earliest opposition was the Federalists (John Adams, Alexander Hamilton), who never won an election after that of John Adams (see dynasty entry), and that party petered out to the point where, by 1820, US presidential elections were contested by different factions of the Democratic-Republican party.

The election of 1824, a four-way race among Democratic-Republicans, was decided in the House (each state delegation having one vote) when no candidate won a majority. Second-place finisher John Quincy Adams, who won 31% of the popular vote, became president when fourth-place finisher and House Speaker Henry Clay threw his support to him. That election polarized and eventually split the party along lines of loyalty or opposition to the candidate with a 41% popular-vote plurality in 1824, populist Andrew Jackson. In 1828, Andrew Jackson ran and won on the Democratic-Republican ticket against incumbent John Quincy Adams. Adams ran as a ``National Republican,'' member of a grouping that took in some of the former Federalists. The National Republican party evolved into the Whigs, which eventually went on to form a part (with Free-Soil and others) of the Republican party, whose first elected president was Abraham Lincoln.

Many Republican Party members use the name ``Democrat party,'' but I can find no evidence that Democrats ever used ``Democrat'' as the name or part of the name of their party. Some Republicans may regard this usage as a way of insisting that Republicans are democratic too (but they are also democrats too, so I don't see much force in the argument). Mostly, this usage is simply rude: nonstandard use of an attributive noun in place of an appropriate adjective is pejorative (e.g. ... I can't think of any examples I would be willing to put above my name).

In the book mentioned at this other entry (p. 20), Senator Sam Ervin is quoted thus:

I have been trying to reform Republicans all my life and have had virtually no success, but I would like for them to adopt good grammar and quit using the noun ``Democrat'' in lieu of the adjective ``Democratic.'' If I can teach the Republicans that much grammar, I will feel that my effort to educate them has not been entirely in vain.

Sam Ervin is also credited with this assessment (p. 23) of the mental health of voters:

The American people have a simplistic faith in law. Our great national delusion is based on the fact that we have a childlike faith that anything wrong in our civilization can be abolished by law and that all of life's problems lend themselves to legal solutions. It is doubtful whether many people who are in custody in institutions for the mentally ill in our land suffer under a greater delusion than that.
(Eventually, I'll have to put in an entry on how the mentally ill were cruelly and with the best of intentions de-institutionalized in the years after.)

Pride of place in that book (pp. 1-5) is taken by some folksy antifeminism that will probably seem both hilarious and sage if you are a folksy antifeminist. Catharine A. MacKinnon is an unfolksy feminist, but there is common ground between her and Sam Ervin. A collection of her speeches [Feminism Unmodified : Discourses on Life and Law, Harvard U.P., 1987)] includes an edited version of her side of an ERA debate with Phyllis Schlafly. Much of it reads like a carefully crafted ad hominem attack on her opponent (in other words, like a typical debate), but it does include some substantive claims...
At page 26:

Now I want to consider with you the role of the law in the future of women's rights. The law alone cannot change our social condition. It can help. So far, it has helped remarkably little.
At page 27:
I am clear that everything women need will not be accomplished by the ERA, and not by law alone.
The last four words were made the chapter title.

It must be conceded that MacKinnon had an ulterior motive for making modest claims: one of the greatest fears driving opposition to the ERA was that once it was constitutional law, the courts would interpret it ad libitum, with no end of mischief. The strongest precedent for this belief was civil rights juris(im)prudence that included affirmative action and busing.

In a perverse way, MacKinnon was right: although the ERA failed, the Supreme Court has interpreted other laws in an expansive way that obviates the need for an ERA.

Denier. A metric unit that is used to measure fiber fineness. ``Fineness'' is typically thought of as average cross-sectional area, but the denier is a unit of linear mass density. The linear mass density is equal to the ordinary density (mass per unit volume) times the cross-sectional area, so when one is comparing materials of equal or similar density, the ratio of that area and that linear density is constant, and D can be thought of as a unit of either.

The language used for the discussion of fibers is sloppy in practice, but if you simply regard ``fineness'' as a mass density and ignore any contradictory claims, you'll be okay. That's what I'll do moving forward (through this entry). [You also have to reinterpret some other quantities. For example, ``tensile strength,'' when stated in units such as gf/D, is really tensile strength divided by density. (Here gf is a common, alas, abbreviation of ``grams force.'')]

One denier is one gram per 9000 meters. Thus, for a mass density of 1 g/cc, a fineness described as 1 D represents an average cross-sectional area of (10/9) × 10-6 cm2, or a diameter of about 11.894 microns (yeah, wistful precision).

Oftentimes, the density will not be stated but both the fineness and diameter will. In that case, you can compute the mass density as f/a, where f and a are fineness and area, and D/μm2 = (1000/9) g/cc.

Look, I know you can do this simple arithmetic, and maybe these are not your favorite units, but the only reason I'm writing this entry at all is that I'm trying to extract some information that's reported in these cussed units.

Even more convenient: density is (4/π) f/d, where d is diameter and 4D/πμm2 = 141.47 g/cc.

Mass density is a useful thing to know, because it's a good clue to the identity of an unknown plastic. Here are some examples.

 Material    Density (g/cc)
Nylon-MXD6       1.22 
Nylon-6          1.13
Deuterium. Heavy hydrogen. The isotope of Hydrogen (H) with one neutron (hence atomic weight A=2). See also earlier use of D for didymium.

Deuteron. The nucleus of a deuterium atom. The weakly bound state of a single proton and neutron.

Died, deceased. Not expected back.

Didymium. Apparently the consensus chemical symbol for this metal, and perhaps the official chemical symbol during the period when it was believed to be an element, is Di (q.v.). But D was also used, when either was. There seems to have been a sentiment to replace single-letter chemical-element symbols with two-letter ones, when it could be gotten away with. Cf. A.

``D minus.'' The lowest grade that is not an `F.' Patty's grade. This venerable grade indicates that the instructor takes pity on a hapless incompetent student, or else just wants to see all different students in next year's class. Most schools (100% in my statistical sample of two) have discontinued this mark as a course grade. That's not a problem, because with grade inflation its place has been taken by B+. The ``Gentleman's C''? That's now an A-. Today we use ``D'' to indicate that the student died.

Systems with six letter grades (A, B, C, D, E and F) existed at various times (like when I was in junior high school) and various places (Westfield, NJ, in this instance). My guess is that E disappeared because it might be mistaken for an abbreviation of Excellent (hope sprang eternal).

DeuterIDE is a ``mobile based programming text editor, compiler and IDE built for Android and Blackberry Playbook.'' It uses a D minus as its favicon. That's what I call a FAIL.

As you will no doubt have noticed, here on the grounds of the SBF, we're attempting to build links between all our entries. This ambitious task is a never-ending effort (because we procrastinate). But here, at last, is a connection between this entry and the Cameron BRIGHT subentry of the Nomenclature is destiny entry. Bright acted in a bio-sci-fi vampire superhero action movie called Ultraviolet. In the Entertainment Weekly issue of March 17, 2006, Scott Brown reviewed the movie in an item entitled ``Ultraviolet: Finding new ways to suck the blood from a sci-fi vampire flick (D-).''

The largest single-letter bra-cup size designation used by all manufacturers, so far as I'm aware. (And although I am sort of an ``end user'' of the product, I don't actually shop for bras, so really what do I know?) For some the next larger size is DD and for others E. (It's not like letter grades, where they skip immediately to F.)

``Another dee'' rhymes and sort of agrees metrically with ``surgery.'' (Limited rhyme like this is called ``masculine rhyme.'' There could be something to this terminology.)

Deformation Acoustic. Deformation potential of electron-phonon interaction. Deformation potential arises from the fact that deformations of the lattice, described by phonons, cause inhomogeneities in the dielectric coefficient, and therefore affect the electrostatic component of the electron (or hole) self-energy.

Departments and Agencies. US governmentese.

Desk Accessory. Small utility item in Macintosh Finder pull-down menu. Deemphasized in System 7.

Destination Address.

Deutsches Archiv. This vague title, by equivocation, manages to refer both to Deutsches Archiv für Geschichte des Mittelalter and its postwar successor Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters. (`German Archive for the History of the Middle Ages' and `Research on' same.) See Stuart Jenks's page of Tables of Contents of Historical Journals and Monographic Series in German for a complete table of contents, with Frames or without (deutsche Seite: Zeitschriftenfreihandmagazin Inhaltsverzeichnisse geschichtswissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften in deutscher Sprache).

Digital Audio.

Digital to Analog. DAC stands for digital-to-analog converter.

Directory Assistance. Telephone directory information by phone. Either that, or collaboration with one of the revolutionary governments of France. Whatever is available in your dialing area.

District Attorney.


Duck's Ass. A kind of men's hair style. Not pejorative.

For more very useful information, visit the FLAT TOPS ON THE WEB dictionary.

[But they're wrong about Wahl comb/guide attachments: all the comb sizes, #1 to #8, are in eighths of an inch (i.e., #5 puts the blade 5/8 in. high, etc.).]

[Phone icon]

Data Access Arrangement. Used by modem on a phone line.

Designated Approving Authority. Federalese.

Distributed Active Archive Center. Acronym popular with NASA.

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. `German Academic Exchange Service.'

DA architecture
Distributed-Arithmetic architecture.

Digital Audio Broadcasting. Here's a site (in German). ``Quality approaching CD'' reception with antennae no longer than a pencil. Uses CODFM; 1536 carrier frequencies multiplexed into 1.5 MHz. Smart error correction. All this to achieve excellent reception of a puny six stations?!?! Kill a fly with howitzer.

Some men's hair potion years ago was advertised with the slogan, ``A little dab'll do ya.'' I can't remember which product. That's my favorite kind of ad campaign: you are entertained, and you blithely forget the product. That probably has something to do with DAB after all. (Mark refreshed my memory: it was Brylcreem. I'd like to hear their funky heavy metal sound. I had also misremembered the ad catch-phrase. But those were my big-hair days, a dab wouldn't've done me, and I wouldn't've wanted what it would've done me.)

Just one other comment: this work is all apparently being done in VHF and UHF bands, which means there is no reflection from the ionosphere, and consequently only line-of-sight transmission. This makes terrain a problem, which is addressed with ``gap-filler'' transmitters, even in a rather flat country like Holland. That's terrestrial DAB (TDAB). The alternative is satellite-based DAB (SDAB).

Design Automation Conference.

Development Assistance Committee of the OECD.

Diamond Anvil Cell. The place where most laboratory ultra-high pressure work is done. Two diamond faces separated by a thin gasket in the shape of an annulus. The item to be pressurized is in fluid in the cell. When the diamond faces are pressed together, the gasket is deformed outward somewhat. The radial force on the gasket is only the cell pressure times the area of its vertical inner surface, whereas the normal force is the same pressure (exerted by a diamond face) times its surface area. In other words, the gasket holds so long as the diamond-metal coefficient of friction is about greater than the ratio of the gasket's thickness to its width (difference of inner and outer radii) -- easily done.

DAC's are used mostly in spectroscopic studies: the diamond has a large band gap, so spectroscopy can be done deep into the UV. Electronic transport studies, on the other hand, are rare or unknown, because of the difficulty in putting leads through the gasket.

Digital to Analog (D/A) Converter.

Digital Access and Cross-Connect System. Network switching equipment for T1 lines and their subchannels.

A badger hound. From German Dachs, `badger,' and Hund `dog.'


dactylic hexameter
The metric used for Classical Greek and Latin epic poetry. Here's what I thought was a nonstandard mnemonic:
KIND to our WEB-footed FRIENDS / for a DUCK may be SOMEbody's MOTH-ER.

[Underground lyrics to ``Stars and Stripes Forever'' -- ``Three cheers for the red, white and blue ....'' The pause after FRIENDS functions as a strong caesura.]

Well, all right, the example above is what is called ``defective.'' That's not as bad as it sounds -- good poetry plays off deviations from metric purity. Still, it's probably not the best way to learn. Here's an attractive one-webpage introduction to dactylic hexameter. While there, you can hear the first line of Virgil's Aeneid croaked to the tune of the first two measures of ``Stars and Stripes Forever.''

Desktop Application Driver.

Deputy Assistant Director. I've seen this used apparently unselfconsciously. Specifically, when the NSF was seeking to fill a DAD position in its Directorate for Engineering (ENG), announcement dated Sept. 30, 2003. The DAD serves as ``the primary assistant to the Assistant Director in providing leadership direction to the ENG Directorate....'' It would have been more efficient just to

#define A assist #define D direct

and then (with a custom uc definition) code

the primary Aant to the uc(Aant) uc(Dor) in providing leadership Dion to the Engineering uc(Dorate);

// This also improves readability.

Informal or familiar expression for father.

In Highcastle (p. 5; bibl. details at the inanimate entry), Stanislaw Lem tells this story from his childhood:

... Craning my neck constantly was too tiring, so mainly I watched what passed my father at knee level. One time I noticed that he was not wearing his usual shoes with laces, but something entirely different, smooth shoes with no laces. His spats, which he always wore, were gone, too. Surprised, I asked, ``Where did you get those funny shoes?'' And a voice came down from above, ``What rudeness!'' It wasn't my father at all, but a complete stranger, to whom I had attached myself, I don't know how. My father was walking a dozen steps behind. I was terrified. This must have been an unusually unpleasant experience, for me to remember it so well.

I imagine this sort of thing must happen a lot, particularly to men. Men's clothing doesn't exhibit much variation at knee level. Many times, standing in a store aisle, I've felt the hand of a small stranger grab a piece of my pants leg.

Off Grape Road there's a guitar store called Hoosierdad's. Okay, we all recognize that ``Hoosier dad'' (literal meaning: Indiana father) can be worked into a tolerable joke (pun on ``who's yer dad''). But puns don't really age so well. On the up side, this is the store where I first saw a new semi-hollow Danelectric, after that model was ``reissued.''


Data Analysis and DISPlay. Pronounced ``day-disp.'' DADiSP is engineering software developed by DSP Development Corporation. I haven't used it, but it's evidently a spreadsheet program with Matlab functionality. This might be attractive even, or perhaps especially, if you despise Matlab. It also has a C/C++-like programming language called SPL (Series Programming Language) ``to address the special needs, routines, and customization of the engineer, programmer, or OEM.''

A massively parallel (started at 1K programming elements) computer designed in the early eighties, coming out of the DARPA Strategic Computing program, first successfully demonstrated on December 5, 1985. A tree-structured machine intended for rule-based intelligent programs (written in Parallel Lisp, say). Much-faster-than-real-time speech recognition a target application.

DADS Against Discrimination Since 1977. Seems like a half-hearted XARA.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell. A former policy of the US military. The military's policy on homosexuality used to be that homosexual activity was forbidden. I don't know if there was a policy on ``being homosexual'' or homosexual self-identification, or if there was any attempt to define that precisely.

  1. The first artificer or inventor, a sculptor of Greek mythology. Imprisoned on the island of King Minos, he made wings so he and his son Icarus could escape. Icky didn't make it: he flew too high and melted down. But you knew that. Mr. D also killed a nephew who was apprenticed to him (tricked him into diving off a cliff) out of jealousy of the boy's inventiveness. (The boy invented the comb, or saw, or the compass [the drafting tool] or whatever. There are multiple versions of all the stories -- like Hollywood remakes. But I can't recall anyone ever getting credit for inventing the bag.) If I were a young male relative of Daedalus, I think I would have a very rational fear of heights. Maybe they should have called him Deadalus.
  2. The title of a journal published by the AAAS, but you knew that too.
  3. The family name of the hero of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a Bildungsroman that James Joyce (1882-1941) published when he was a little past 30. Stephen Dedalus (oh yeah, it's a different spelling) is the artist, Simon is his dad. On June 16, 1904, Stephen finds a surrogate father figure in Leopold Bloom, but that's another story (Ulysses, published in 1922). Of course, you knew all that as well.
Let's face it, you're an irritating know-it-all and nobody likes you. But since this glossary is one-way, meaning I don't have to read your definitions, I have the patience of a saint, so I'm going to go on and tie all these loose threads together.

A young man wants to escape ... he wants answers to all those unanswerable questions (42) ... he tries wings. Consider Rasselas, a 1759 novel by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) and name of the novel's principal character. (Subtitle: The Prince of Abissinia.) The novel is a Bildungsroman after the fashion of Voltaire's Candide.

Rasselas is the fourth son of the king of what we now spell Abyssinia and call Ethiopia. He's twenty-six years old and dissatisfied with life in Happy Valley, where he and the other royal children are imprisoned but live in material luxury. (When this glossary has a Pleasant Valley entry, you'll be the first to know, I promise.) Rasselas escapes and seeks the secret of happiness. Where Candide eventually concludes that one must become a gardener, Rasselas eventually realizes that one ... but I'm already getting ahead of myself.

Look, this is rough, okay? I'm just putting this stuff in as context for a little excerpt. (Quotation style, spelling, etc., as in the original. Paragraph breaks are also as in the original, with the following exception: square-bracketed remarks have been interpolated within the body of some of the paragraphs, and separated with additional paragraph breaks. This has been done to confuse and irritate you personally. Also, I've reduced the font size of one slower-moving bit, so it'll be harder to read and you'll have to spend extra time reading it.)

Chapter VI

A dissertation on the art of flying.
Among the artists that had been allured into the happy valley, to labour for the accommodation and pleasure of its inhabitants, was a man eminent for his knowledge of the mechanick powers, who had contrived many engines both of use and recreation. By a wheel, which the stream turned, he

[ Yadda, yadda, yadda. He invented indoor plumbing, evaporative cooling, and a sound system powered by renewable energy. ]

forced the water into a tower, whence it was distributed to all the apartments of the palace. He erected a pavillion in the garden, around which he kept the air always cool by artificial showers. One of the groves, appropriated to the ladies, was ventilated by fans, to which the rivulet that run through it gave a constant motion; and instruments of soft musick were placed at proper distances, of which some played by the impulse of the wind, and some by the power of the stream.

This artist was sometimes visited by Rasselas, who was pleased with every kind of knowledge, imagining that the time would come when all his acquisitions should be of use to him in the open world.

He came one day to amuse himself in his usual manner, and found the master busy in building a sailing chariot: he saw that the design was practicable upon a level surface, and with expressions of great esteem solicited its completion. The workman was pleased to find himself so much regarded by the prince, and resolved to gain yet higher honours. "Sir, said he, you have seen but a small part of what the mechanick sciences can perform. I have been long of opinion, that, instead of the tardy conveyance of ships and chariots, man might use the swifter migration of wings; that the fields of air are open to knowledge, and that only ignorance and idleness need crawl upon the ground."

This hint rekindled the prince's desire of passing the mountains;

[ you know, Happy Valley is surrounded by mountains ]

and having seen what the mechanist had already performed, he was willing to fancy that he could do more; yet resolved to enquire further before he suffered hope to afflict him by disappointment. "I am afraid, said he to the artist, that your imagination prevails over your skill, and that you now tell me rather what you wish than what you know. Every animal has his element assigned him; the birds have the air, and man and beasts the earth." "So, replied the mechanist, fishes have the water, in which yet beasts can swim by nature, and men by art. He that can swim needs not despair to fly: to swim is to fly in a grosser fluid, and to fly is to swim in a subtler. We are only to proportion our power of resistance to the different density of the matter through which we are to pass. You will be necessarily upborn by the air, if you can renew any impulse upon it, faster than the air can recede from the pressure."

"But the exercise of swiming, said the prince, is very laborious; the strongest limbs are soon wearied; I am afraid the act of flying will be yet more violent, and wings will be of no great use,

[ More on these theoretical objections at the aerostation entry. ]

unless we can fly further than we can swim."

"The labour of rising from the ground, said the artist, will be great, as we see it in the heavier domestick fowls; but, as we mount higher, the earth's attraction, and the body's gravity, will be gradually diminished, till we shall arrive at a region where the man will float in the air without any tendency to fall: no care will then be necessary, but to move forwards, which the gentlest impulse will effect.

[ Newton spun in his grave. Very yrast, no doubt. The same way his bones become vertiginous whenever ``Children of the Sun'' is played and the lyrics ``no more graa - vi - tee, nothing holding them dow - owwn'' are heard. ]

You, Sir, whose curiosity is so extensive, will easily conceive with what pleasure a philosopher, furnished with wings, and hovering in the sky, would see the earth, and all its inhabitants, rolling beneath him, and presenting to him successively, by its diurnal motion, all the countries within the same parallel. How must it amuse the pendent spectator to see the moving scene of land and ocean, cities and desarts!

[ What atrocius speling! Can you believe that this same Samuel Johnson was the author of a famous dictionary? Me neither. ]

To survey with equal security the marts of trade, and the fields of battle; mountains infested by barbarians, and fruitful regions gladdened by plenty, and lulled by peace! How easily shall we then trace the Nile through all his passage; pass over to distant regions, and examine the face of nature from one extremity of the earth to the other!"

"All this, said the prince, is much to be desired, but I am afraid that no man will be able to breathe in these regions of speculation and tranquility. I have been told, that respiration is difficult upon lofty mountains, yet from these precipices, though so high as to produce great tenuity of the air, it is very easy to fall: and I suspect, that from any height, where life can be supported, there may be danger of too quick descent."

"Nothing, replied the artist, will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.

[ Right on! ]

If you will favour my project I will try the first flight at my own hazard. I have considered the structure of all volant animals, and find the folding continuity of the bat's wings most easily accommodated to the human form. Upon this model I shall begin my task to morrow, and in a year expect to tower into the air beyond the malice or pursuit of man. But I will work only on this condition, that the art shall not be divulged, and that you shall not require me to make wings for any but ourselves."

"Why, said Rasselas, should you envy others so great an advantage? All skill ought to be exerted for universal good; every man has owed much to others, and ought to repay the kindness that he has received."

"If men were all virtuous, returned the artist, I should with great alacrity teach them all to fly. But what would be the security of the good, if the bad could at pleasure invade them from the sky? Against an army sailing through the clouds neither walls, nor mountains, nor seas, could afford any security. A flight of northern savages might hover in the wind, and light at once with irresistible violence upon the capital of a fruitful region that was rolling under them. Even this valley, the retreat of princes, the abode of happiness, might be violated by the sudden descent of some of the naked nations that swarm on the coast of the southern sea."

The prince promised secrecy, and waited for the performance, not wholly hopeless of success. He visited the work from time to time, observed its progress, and remarked the ingenious contrivances to facilitate motion, and unite levity with strength. The artist was every day more certain that he should leave vultures and eagles behind him, and the contagion of his confidence seized upon the prince.

In a year the wings were finished, and, on a morning appointed, the maker appeared furnished for flight on a little promontory: he waved his pinions a while to gather air, then leaped from his stand, and in an instant dropped into the lake. His wings, which were of no use in the air, sustained him in the water, and the prince drew him to land, half dead with terrour and vexation.

Warning, spoilers ahead.

Rasselas doesn't get out until chapter 15. His favorite sister, Princess Nekayah, comes along. They spend 33 chapters searching for the secret of happiness. Chapter 48 is entitled ``The conclusion, in which nothing is concluded.''

The princess thought, that of all sublunary things, knowledge was the best: She desired first to learn all sciences, and then purposed to found a college of learned women, in which she would preside, that, by conversing with the old, and educating the young, she might divide her time between the acquisition and communication of wisdom, and raise up for the next age models of prudence, and patterns of piety.

The prince desired a little kingdom, in which he might administer justice in his own person, and see all the parts of government with his own eyes; but he could never fix the limits of his dominion, and was always adding to the number of his subjects.


Oh, brother.

Deutsch als Fremdesprache. `German as a foreign language.' Cf. EFL, ESL.

Device Assembly Facility.

Deutsche Angestelten-Gewerkschaft. German salaried-staff union, with 489 thousand members in 1997 (269 thousand female). The second-largest union outside the DGB, q.v.

Directed Acyclic Graph.

Digital Archive of Historical Astronomy Pictures.


Deutches Archäologisches Institut. (`German Archaeological Institute.')

During the German occupation of Greece, 1941-1944, various atrocities were committed by ordinary troops of the occupation forces, including the decimation of various villages in retaliation for partisan attacks. Sometimes whole villages were leveled, sometimes all adult males were murdered, etc. In the village of Distomo in Boeotia in June 1944, 214 civilian inhabitants, including women and children, were murdered. Since WWII there have been a number of conventions and treaties to settle German reparations for wartime murders, thefts, enslavement, etc. One that eventually covered the massacre at Distomo delayed settlement until the (then apparently distant) time when Germany was reunited. (That's according to one interpretation of the relevant treaties; the German government has a different interpretation, and believes that the Distomo claims were ettled by another, omnibus agreement.)

Germany was reunited the year after the Berlin Wall fell, in September 1990. About 300 relatives of the Distomo massacre victims subsequently brought a civil suit against the Federal Republic for punitive damages. The Greek government did not participate in the action, and was evidently chagrined about its effect on relations with the most powerful fellow member of the EU. The suit in the German court was dismissed, and the plaintiffs brought their grievance to a Greek trial court, which found for them in 1997. The decision was appealed, but upheld by Greece's Supreme Court in April 2000.

The German government refused to accept the verdict of the Greek courts, and plaintiffs sought seizure of German government assets within the jurisdiction of the court, in order to pay the penalty assessed (about $30 million). Three German assets in Athens were targeted: the German high school, the DAI building, and Goethe Haus. The latter two buildings were impounded in September 2001, just before I wrote this entry, to be auctioned later in the month. At the time, I wrote that I'd try to remember to get back to this entry after September 19, when there would be new developments. I guess I must have been distracted by other news. Anyway, before the auction could take place it was ruled that an auction of foreign assets would require Foreign Ministry approval, which the FM did not give and apparently could not be compelled to give. The dispute has dragged on in subsequent years, mostly in Greek courts, with new suits continuing to be filed by survivors from other villages where atrocities were committed.

There's a DAI in Rome as well: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Rom - Istituto Archeologico Germanico Roma.

Distributed Artificial Intelligence.

La Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas. Spanish, `[Congress of] Delegation[s] of Argentine Jewish Organizations.' DAIA was founded in 1935.

After Argentina gained its independence from Spain in 1810, President Bernardino Rivadavia abolished the Inquisition. You know, under previous Argentine constitutions, the president had to be Roman Catholic (see article 74 of the 1860 constitution). In the constitution of 1994 that requirement was abolished, although article 2 still reads ``El Gobierno federal sostiene el culto católico apostólico romano.''

After WWII, Argentina had one of the largest Jewish communities in the world. The Jewish population is still (in 2004) estimated at a quarter million. The population of Argentina is about 38 million, of whom about 14 million live in the province of Buenos Aires, where most of Jewish population is concentrated.

Ironically, after WWII Argentina was also a popular destination of Nazis fleeing justice. (Juan Perón, variously dictator and elected president from 1946 to 1955, was, well, less of a fascist than Hitler. Argentine sympathy in WWII lay with the Axis. This was attributed in large part to loyalty of Italian immigrants to their country of origin, and there was indeed a change in sympathies when Italy surrendered and became a partly German-occupied battleground.)

At one point during the war, my father worked as a radioman on a merchant ship that was going between the port of Buenos Aires and South Africa. Instead of heading directly out into the Atlantic after leaving the Plata, they hugged the coast northward for a while. The motive was to not leave territorial waters too close to where Axis-sympathizing ham radio operators might report their departure to German naval vessels.

After Adolf Eichmann was abducted by the Israeli Mossad in 1960, it was revealed that he had lived in Argentina under the false name of Ricardo Klement. Ricardo Klenent had at one time been a laborer in a factory where my father was a manager. (That had little directly to do with my family's decision to emigrate to the US, which we did early in 1963).

Daily Planet
If you think of them both in astronomical terms, Daily Planet is a more modest name than Daily Star. In the original Superman comics, Clark Kent worked at the Daily Star. Joe Shuster, the original illustrator, recalled this in an interview with the Toronto Star for the newspaper's centenary in 1992:
``Sure! The Star!'' Shuster exclaims, wheezing slightly. ``Not the Planet. That came later.

``I still remember drawing one of the earliest panels that showed the newspaper building. We needed a name, and I spontaneously remembered the Toronto Star. So that's the way I lettered it. I decided to do it that way on the spur of the moment, because The Star was such a great influence on my life.''

Technically, what he remembered in the 1930's was the Daily Star, which became the Toronto Star in the 1960's. Shuster's dad used to read him the comics in the Star when he was a little boy, and at age 9 Joe sold the Star on the streets of downtown Toronto. The family moved to Cleveland when he was 10. (No, they didn't leave him behind.) The Superman strip debuted in 1938. At one point (at least in Action Comics #2) the newspaper was called the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Until that point, in other words, they were using the real name of a real newspaper. The strip was quickly in national syndication, and in 1940 some editor in New York demanded a name change from Star, and that's when it became The Daily Planet. (In the books, the name was used from Action Comics #4 onwards.)

Dockland Arrivals Information SYstem. Real-time train information for Docklands Light Railway, Ltd. (DLR, q.v.).

Data Access Language.

Dallas Semiconductor Corp.
According to their webpages (mostly product-related), ``Dallas Semiconductor Corporation designs, manufactures, and markets electronic chips and chip-based subsystems. Founded in 1984...''

A frequent misspelling of Dalmatian, seeming to suggest the result of some unspeakable genetic act of dalmating. Look, it's very simple: Someone from Italia is Italian, someone from India is Indian, from Russia Russian, and from Croatia Croatian. Similarly, someone from Dalmatia is Dalmatian. Same thing with spotted dogs. In fact, someone from Dalmatia is also Croatian because Dalmatia is the coastal region of Croatia.

But remember the take-home: Dalmatians are a dog breed that takes its name from Dalmatia (and not from some bogus Latin dalmatio, -ionis). Thank you. Get it right or I'm going to have to start shooting down a hundred and one movie marquees.

[A similar instance is ``dimension.'' This is obviously a misspelling of Dementian -- a resident of Dementia, someone who is not all at that particular there, someone who listened to the Doctor Demento Show. Dementites, on the other hand, I'm not sure I can believe. Of course, what's really hard to believe is that the show is still on the air (and on satellite radio, etc.). By now Demento must be a geriatric pediatrician.]

Yeah, yeah, Dalmatians are not Croatians in every ethnic sense of the word. Dalmatians are Croatians the same way Texans are Americans -- legally the same nationality, but with an identifiable regional identity. I've got before me a book by Robert St. John. It's about Yugoslavia shortly after WWII, and it makes the break-up of Yugoslavia seem less surprising, if you were surprised. Then again, if you were surprised then lack of information might not be your problem. The book's chapters are collected in parts, many of them entitled ``These Are the Foobarians'' or ``This Is Metavariable City'' or somesuch. Part Four is entitled ``These Are the Dalmatians,'' and Part Six is ``These Are the Croatians.'' You're probably wondering what happened in between. ``These Are the Montenegrins.'' You may be thinking that the book is oddly organized. Part Thirteen is ``This Is Belgrade Again.''

Okay, I admit it: the book is not before me -- not exactly. It's off to the left. The mouse is on the right, etc. The book is The Silent People Speak, (NY: Doubleday, 1947). The real reason I mention it is the intriguing fact that the copyright page mentions

The lines from ``Thanks'' by Arthur Johnston & Sam Coslow are copyrighted, 1933, by Famous Music Corporation.

The reason it's intriguing is...

[I'll give you a minute to guess.]

Okay, time's up!

It's intriguing because of the coincidence of Silent and Johnston. William Johnston wrote a book entitled Silent Music: The Science of Meditation (New York: Harper & Rowe, Publ., 1974 [nudge]). Amazing, huh?

Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate.

A synonym for atomic mass unit (amu). My impression is that this term is popular primarily among by biochemists and polymer chemists, so atomic masses given in daltons are usually 105 and up.

Data Acquisition and Monitoring.

Digital Answering Machine. These critters use DRAM memory chips for digitized voice storage. Because a small amount of error is acceptable and probably imperceptible to the human ear, defective DRAM chips can be used in this application. They're called ARAM's; Micron CMS in Boise, Idaho deals 'em.

Data Administration Management Association. Now prefers to style itself ``DAMA International -- Data Management Association.''

Demand-Assignment Multiple Access.

Spanish, `lady.' Cognate of French, English dame.

In principle, damita, as a regularly formed diminutive of dama, might be translated `little lady.' But the English expression ``little lady'' is an idiom; it's meaning involves conventions beyond those of its constituent words. In Spanish, damita is a rare, slightly stiff way to say `young lady,' and is really just un anglicismo.

In April 2004, a couple of months after el escándalo of the SB halftime-show ``wardrobe malfunction,'' Janet Jackson released a new album entitled ``Damita Jo.'' Perhaps this was meant to suggest something like ``little ol' me,'' since the English pronunciation of Jo approximates the pronunciation of Spanish yo (`I') in some places (Argentina and Puerto Rico, for example, and of course a few scattered parts of Andalucia). The title is either a lot cleverer than that, or stupid. I guess the latter, so I'm happy to report that sales have been disappointing.

I've now been informed that ``Damita Jo'' is what comes between ``Janet'' and ``Jackson'' in the entertainer's full name. How could I have been so ignorant!? She also had an album entitled ``janet. [sic]'' (``[sic]'' was not part of the title, just an indication to you, the sophisticated reader, that the word was written all lower-case and that the period was part of the title). Before that there was an album entitled ``Janet Jackson.'' These album titles show a systematic progression over time: each successive title presumes a greater familiarity with the artist, or imposes a greater difficulty of guessing the author from the title. Up next: the pet names her boyfriends gave to her body parts. Normally this would be a limited release.

And if you think three (so far) is the record for most self-titled albums, you don't know Diddley.

In its conventional sense, damage is a ``mass noun,'' an ``uncountable noun.'' That is, just as one does not have one water, two waters in the usual sense of water, one does not have one damage, two damages, etc.

Countability is a grammatical distinction, and is to some degree arbitrary. For example, one normally counts ``facts'' (i.e., fact is ``a count noun'' or ``countable''), but not ``informations.''

I haven't finished writing this entry, but I have to get to work. Think about waters, monies, ``finding fact [or law]'' and ``statement of fact.''

Dental Appliance Manufacturers Audit Scheme. Something run by the UK Dental Laboratories Association.

``DAMAS is essentially an independent assessment according to the DAMAS Management System Specification, a set of criteria that ensure consistent quality and high standards. The assessment is carried out by an external Certification Body which will check that each member of [a dental laboratory's] staff complies with process checks throughout the manufacturing procedure. All DAMAS laboratories institute a quality policy, undertaking management reviews and internal audits to verify that the systems in place are working correctly.''

`Ladies.' Plural of the Spanish noun, dama (above).

It's also the Spanish name of the board game called checkers in the US and draughts in the UK. Jugar a las damas means to `play checkers.' It looks like it could mean `play to the ladies,' but it doesn't work that way, because the particle to in ``play to'' isn't exactly the preposition to that might be translated as a. A pun is possible if jugar is part of the object: ver jugar a las damas means `to see the ladies play.'

[Phone icon]

Digital Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS). Originally a North American Standard, is probably still the most widely implemented cell phone standard in the world. This acronym is still generally written with a hyphen, perhaps to encourage the pronunciation ``dee amps'' in preference to the soggy-sounding ``damps.'' As a result, however, the expansion is frequently burdened with the same, in this case inappropriate, punctuation (``Digital-Advanced ...'').

Dynamically Adaptive Multicarrier Quadrature Amplitude Modulation.

[dive flag]

Divers Alert Network.

Dental Assisting National Board.

From the French dent de lion, meaning `yard pimple.'

Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística. We don't have a very thorough coverage of Colombian governmental organizations acronyms, but I figured this one merited inclusion.

DimethylAminoNaphthalene SulfonYL. Same as Dns.

Delays Alternating with Nutations for Tailored Excitation. (NMR abstrocity.)

Dante Alighieri. A disciple of Virgilio.

Data Access Object[s].

Data Assimilation Office. At the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

Disk-At-Once. CD recording programs.

Data Access Protocol. Digital terminology.

DiAllyl Phthallate (plastic). Spit when you say that!

Donor-Acceptor Pair[s].

A genus of flowering shrub. The genus includes among its species the Spurge Laurel. In classical mythology, Daphne was the name of a nymph who was metamorphosed into a Bay tree. The Bay tree, or Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) used to be the main plant referred to by the word laurel, but over time the word's meaning was extended to include many plants that happen to have similar leaves.

Let this be a lesson to you: when you're playing Scrabble and the tiles on your rack suggest a proper noun, like Abbot, Al, Alan, Alaska, Alexander,* Alley, Ally, Amber, Ampere, Ana, Angstrom, Anna, Apollo, Art, Bach, Barlow, Barb, Belle, Berlin, Bertha, Beth, Bill, Billie, Billy, Bob, Bozo, Brad, Brandy, Brasil, Brazil, Brent, Buck, Bud, Buddy, Bum (as in Oail Andrew ``Bum'' Phillips), Bush, Cab, Caesar, Cain, Candy, Cap, Carl, Carol, Carter, Carver, Charley or Charlie, Chad, Chastity, Chile, China, Chuck, Cicero (but not Tully), Clement, Colorado, Conner (but not Connor), Cooper, Coulomb, Crocket, Daisy, Dale, Dalton, Daphne, Davy, Dawn, Dean, Dick, Dolly, Don, Donna, Dot, Drew, Duke, Ed,* Einstein, Erica, Fanny, Faraday, Fawn, Fermi, Flora, Ford, Frank, Fritz, Fuji, Garret, Gauss, Gene, Ginger, Gore, Grace, Grant, Gray, Grey, Guernsey, Guinea, Hamlet, Harry, Hector, Henry, Herb, Homer, Jade, Jake, Jane, Japan, Jean, Jenny, Jeroboam, Jerry, Jersey, Jess, Jesse, Jill, Jimmie,* Jimmy, Jo, Job, Joe, Johannes, John, Johnnie, Johnny, Joey, Jones, Jordan, Joseph, Joule, Joy, Judas, Ken, Kid, Kip, Laurel, Lear, Lewis, Liana, Lily, Louis, Mac, Macadam, Madeleine,* Madonna, Mae, Magdalen, Magdalene,* Magenta, Marc, Marcel, Marge, Maria, Mark, Mars, Martin, Maryjane, Matt, Mavis, Mel, Mercury, Merl, Merlin, Mollie, Molly, Morris, Mort, Myrtle, Nancy, Nelson, Nestor, Newton, Nick, Nimrod, Nubia, Oersted, Ohm, Ole, Oxford, Paddy, Pam, Panama, Pascal, Pat, Patty, Pearl, Peg, Peer, Peter, Pierce, Polo (not Marco, though), Pops, Puck, Ralph, Red, Rex, Rich, Rick, Rip, Rob, Rock, Rod, Roger, Rose, Ruth, Sally, Saul, Schiller, Shawn, Sheila, Sherry, Siemens, Smith, Smokey, Smoky, Snoopy, Sol, Solon, Sonny, Spears, Spike, Stentor, Stew (sorry, not Stu), Sue, Sunny, Sweeny, Ted, Terry, Texas, Tod, Tom, Tommy, Tony, Trey, Tucker, Turkey, Tweed, Venus,* Victor, Victoria, Violet, Wade, Wales, Wally, Warren, Watt, Weber, Will, Willy, Wilt, Wolf, or Woody, don't put it out of mind -- it might be a playable word also.

The names suggested above are all accepted by the two major tournament dictionaries, TWL and SOWPODS. I don't have my own copy of these and am relying on the online versions at <Scrabulous.com> (and earlier at at <Bingobinge.com>). Consequently, I can't give complete version information respecting TWL and SOWPODS. Specifically, I started entering names in this entry when the TWL version was TWL98, and during 2006 the version was updated to TWL2006. I haven't checked, but I assume that none of those I found in TWL98 was removed in TWL2006. (If there's any exception, it might be Moe, which is not in TWL2006 but which I thought was in TWL 98.)

* All of the names above were also in the OSPD3, with the exception of those marked with an asterisk. Of those exceptions, Ed and Jimmie were added in the OSPD4. (If they were in the OSPD3, I assume they were in the OSPD4 also and haven't checked.)

Generally, SOWPODS is more inclusive. It accepts the following names not in TWL2006 or any OSPD. Abram, Albert, Alison, Ann, Barton, Canada, Chas, Darcy, Dan, Dino, Dob, Gunter, James, Jeff, Judy, Kant, Lana, Lew, Luke (Matthew is the odd gospel out, though Matt is in everywhere), Mary, Meg, Minnie, Moe, Moses, Niger, Norman, Oliver, Patrick, Paul, Poisson, Rubin, Russia, Sean, Steven (sorry, Steve and Stephen), Sweeney, Travis, Tyler, Willie, Yale, and York.

Don't overlook homophones like fillip, or adjectives based on proper nouns, like Chinese (SOWPODS only), Danish, Dutch, Egyptian, Fleming (SOWPODS only), Flemish, French, Gaussian (SOWPODS only), German, Germanic, Greek, Gypsy, Hessian, Italianate, Jew, Mongol, Mongoloid, Platonic, Scot, Scotch, Scotia, Sorb, Swede, Swiss, Turk, and Welsh (and apparent ones like argentine, colombine, pole, and polish, or even reb, sabra, and yank).

Daughters of the American Revolution.

1789 is not one of them, officially. [The French Revolution had many fathers. This is odd, since failure is an orphan. I guess the mother died.]

Digital Audio Radio.

Direct Arc (plasma) Reactor.

I'm not sure that it is entirely ethical to have an entry for this term once proposed, so you'll have to go to the yrneh to find out about it. That's bad enough.

Dictionary of American Regional English.

Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Multiple scientific studies have demonstrated that it's ineffective, a $700 million/year waste, but support for the program is not based on rational thinking, so all these studies are really beside the point -- thus, ironically, the effectiveness research is itself a waste of money as well. [The preceding is a NewsTimeweek-style ending: middle-brow irony, paper-thin cynicism, suburban knowingness. But it's not over. Here we give you more.]

In my high school we had some traditional gangs that got drunk and rode motorcycles (in that order, if there were any sober intervals). By ``traditional'' I mean they didn't use any modern intoxicants. In that way I suppose they were purists, sort of like civil-war reenactors. Nowadays they're responsible citizens with well-paying Wall Street jobs that don't require them to know the stuff they didn't learn in high school. When they were young hoodlums, though, the local police tried to make them go straight by having them join the junior police. I guess that would be sort of like police acolytes or novices, I don't know. They got kicked off for being drunk on duty. Even though they weren't that interested in being junior cops, they resented the injustice that the junior police who were stoned on pot weren't kicked off.

When I was in elementary school, Lieutenant Catalon would come around to our school every semester or so and scold us about traffic safety, teaching us to ride legally on the right side of the road so we couldn't see who was going to hit us. Later on I learned that many years before, he and a couple of other officers got caught doing something bad-coppish, or maybe they just came under strong suspicion, and they ended up on permanent traffic duty with no chance of promotion.

How many people go into police work so they can spend their days talking to fifth-graders? The DARE workbook is distributed to 26 million schoolchildren in 75% of US schools according to an April 16, 2001 article in The Courier News. (That was The Plainfield Courier in my day.) That doesn't make any sense. Not about what happened to the paper after it joined the ``Gannett family'' -- I mean about the 26 million schoolchildren. That's like 10% of the US population. If the population is constant and most people live to about the same old age of 65, then only 1/65 of the population is in fifth grade each year. If you count fifth graders in only 75% of schools, no matter which 75% you choose it's probably under 1%. Granted the population is growing, still, 26 million? That's the trouble with public-issue statistics: they're meant to be taken in emotionally, not understood. I'll get back to this after I visit an almanac.

Darién Gap
A break in the Pan-American Highway at the Darién Rainforest straddling the Panama-Colombia border.

dark matter
Matter inferred from the elementary mechanics of galactic motions and other evidence, in excess of that matter estimated from visible objects (mostly stars or galaxies).

Vide WIMP and MACHO.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Later called ARPA, now called DARPA again. An independent OXR not associated with a particular service branch.

Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems.

Degree Audit Reporting System. The name of a software product developed at Miami University (of Ohio) [which maintains a mailing list DARS-L] and now licensed for use in over a hundred other schools, incl. SUNY Binghamton and other SUNY-system universities.

In college I had a next-door-neighbor named Daras. She was studying to be a pharmacist, but she never brought us any free samples of recreational chemistry. I guess you didn't really need to know that. I apologize for wasting valuable time that you could be spending on a talk.politics.extreme.* newsgroup.

DARtmouth SIMplified COde. A programming language, predecessor of BASIC. See this DART entry for others.

{Dallas (TX) | Dublin (Ireland)} Area Rapid Transit. (RT is a common productive affix.) Cf. DART.

DARTmouth College (experimental programming language for undergraduates).

In 1959 Dartmouth College bought an LGP-30. Two researchers there, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz, used it to develop a programming language appropriate for the average undergraduate. FORTRAN and full-strength ALGOL apparently did not qualify.

Kemeny and Kurtz made a number of tries, with names such as these:

I figured you might enjoy trying to guess what these stood for. The expansions are at the links. (Who am I kidding? I only set it up this way to inflate my headword count. Okay, okay: ``Whom am I kidding, question mark.'' That's really what I said, you just didn't listen carefully. What a bunch of captious glossary readers!)

None of these languages became a widespread success or frankly even a narrowspread success, but they provided excellent preparation for the main event: BASIC.

Data Acquisition, Real-Time. Here's a specialized glossary for DART meetings. The web enables people all over the world to study that document, although their chances of actually attending one of the meetings are generally not high.

Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis.

``As part of the U.S. National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP), the Deep Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) Project is an ongoing effort to maintain and improve the capability for the early detection and real-time reporting of tsunamis in the open ocean. Developed by NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and operated by NOAA's National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), DART is essential to fulfilling NOAA's national responsibility for tsunami hazard mitigation and warnings.

Delaware Authority for Regional Transit. The expansion refers to a Wilmington-area transit service that was merged in 1994 with other publicly run transit services into a statewide ``DART First State'' in which DART is not expanded. Cf. DART.

Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology. NASAnese.

Disaster Assistance Response Team. The designation of a Canadian military unit.

Traditionally, a military unit's disaster assistance role is making it happen for the enemy.

Directory of American Scholars.

Dual Attach Station.

Data Acquisition System for Crash Avoidance Research.

Direct-Access Storage Device. Fancy name for hard drive on larger IBM computers, but used more generally.

Digital Array Scanning Interferometer. Designed and built for DASI Pathfinder mission of NASA's ERAST project.

4-DimethylAmino-N-methyl Stilbazolium Methylsulfonate.

Dienstleistungsgesellschaft für Automatisierungs- und Signalverarbeitungssysteme mbH. German, `Consulting Company for Automation and Signal Processing Systems.' I suppose the asterisk helps distinguish the company name from the word dass (better daß), meaning `that' (in the sense of a relative pronoun). They're in the actuators, robotics, and image processing businesses.

Digital Access Signaling System #2.

DiethylAminoSulfur Trifluoride. CAS no. 38078-09-0.

4-DimethylAmino-N-methyl Stilbazolium Tosylate.

DimethylAminoSulfur Trifluoride. CAS no. 3880-03-3. The acronym DAST is much more frequently used for the diethyl solvent.

Form of the verb dare encountered in Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman. At the grave of Willy Loman (pun and salesman of the title), his friend Charley explains to Willy's son Biff, or scolds him:
Nobody dast blame this man. You don't understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back--that's an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you're finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.

The word dast certainly raises the register of his speech; if one doesn't feel that takes it too much over the top, that it's a bit out of Charley's character, then one may say that it works. The word sounds like an archaism, but its a neologism. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of the word's ever having been used before Miller put it in his play. It doesn't even look like third-person singular form, since it's missing the final ess; it looks like a thou conjugation. I suppose one could take it as a subjunctive, which is appropriate here, but given the third-person uses of ``don't,'' that might be over-reading.

Death of a Salesman is standard high-school reading in the US, and ``dast blame'' has come into widespread use. The champion creator of faux anachronisms must be Thomas Hardy, many of whose neologisms have come to be recorded in dictionaries solely on the evidence of his novels, but I'm not aware of any that came into common use as a result.

DAST d-26
Perdeuterated DAST.

Dementia of Alzheimer's Type. If the person with DAT is elderly, then the DAT is SDAT (S for senile).

Dental (school) Admission Test. Also expanded Dental Aptitude Test, which may at one time have been the official expansion. The test is now offered in a computerized format, and includes a writing sample.

Digital Audio Tape.

Dynamic Area Telethermometry.


A plural noun in Latin. The English plural of anecdote, normally construed singular.

An uncountable (``mass'') noun in English. There are still a few people who get their panties in a knot over the fact that data is not used as a plural in English, as it is in Latin. It's not as bad as countable singular use of media, which also raises hackles, and agenda, which doesn't. (Discussion of the latter is buried somewhere in the chai entry.)

Design, Automation and Test in Europe. An annual conference.

A book released on August 25, 2015, subtitled How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game. I don't doubt that the author, Jon Birger, is right in arguing that young college-educated women who live and work in New York City have trouble finding and keeping (romantically speaking) male peers because the men are outnumbered and elsewhere in various ways. But Birger seems to be statistically challenged nevertheless. He gathers a lot of statistics that don't show what he thinks they do, or at least don't prove the points he thinks they do.

date windowing
A crude workaround for the Y2K problem: a century-long window is used to interpret two-digit year numbers. If the window runs, say from 1970 on, then year designations 70, 71, 72 ... are interpreted as 1970, 1971, 1972, ..., while 69, 68, 67 ... are interpreted as 2069, 2068, 2067, etc. This disambiguates dates, but requires slightly nontrivial ordering functions. It led to collation problems in CREN archives using the option of yy (as opposed to yyyy) filenames.

Having to do with giving. From the Latin dativus, `of giving,' from datus `given.' As a grammatical term, it renders similar Greek words ultimately derived from Greek dotós, `given.'

In many Indo-European and other languages, the dative case is the grammatical category of nouns denoting the indirect object of a verb's action, or the more remote of different objects. The indirect object is typically glossed as the object to or for which the action of the verb is performed. (For example, if I write you an entry, I write the entry for you. So the entry is the direct object of my writing, and you are the possibly unwilling indirect object.)

There are never enough different cases, so the dative case is usually used in a variety of ways. German, for example, has only four cases (nominative, genitive, accusative, and dative), and the objects of prepositions and postpositions are in either the accusative or dative case. The prepositions aus, bei, mit, nach, von, zu, seit all take the dative, as do the postpositions nach and weder. Many prepositions take either the accusative or dative depending on whether the sense is, roughly, ablative or locative, respectively. A characteristic example: ins Kino, using the accusative (standard contraction of in das Kino) means `to [or into] the movie theater'; im Kino, using the dative (standard contraction of in dem Kino) means `at [or inside] the movie theater.' As the example suggests, case distinctions are usually not apparent from noun morphology, but may often be inferred from an article or adjective.

dative bond
A coordinate bond. That is, a covalent bond in which both bonding electrons are donated by one of the atoms. Probably the standard example is the Lewis acid-base pair of boron trichloride (Lewis acid -- electron-pair acceptor) and ammonia (Lewis base -- electron-pair donor). The formation of the dative bond is the reaction
	H N: + BCl  -->  H NBCl   .
         3        3       3    3

(The colon represents a lone pair. In this case it occupies an sp3 orbital of nitrogen.)

``Dative bond'' seems to be one of those terms left over from the time when scientists were burdened with liberal education, grammar, rhetoric, geometry, and similar rot. Probably the various forms of ``coordinate bond'' are collectively more common. To confirm this, I just (on data updated to October 22, 2005) did simple searches on SCI (1975-2005) for a few alternative terms. (The total number of documents searched was 23,562,336; I'm glad I didn't have to do this by hand.)

dative bond             184     dative bond*            329
co-ordinate bond          5     co-ordinate bond*         7
coordinate bond         100     coordinate bond*        243
co*rdinate bond         100     co*rdinate bond*        243

Ummm, yes, now that you mention it -- it does seems that the last two lines returned the same hits. So it seems that ``dative bond'' (speaking merely in quantitative terms, you understand) has been the more common term, over the past 30 years. Hmmm. But probably it's going out of use. Therefore, I have computed the ratio h(dative bond)/(h(co*rdinate bond) + h(co-ordinate bond)), where h(phrase) is the number of hits for a search on ``phrase'' in a particular period. Dividing the 30 complete years of data into three decades, one finds:

1975-1984       0.17
1985-1994       1.45
1995-2004       1.36

There, see? It peaked. (Only the last digit in each line is not significant, by the standard rules.) I also found no accusative, ablative, allative, genitive, inessive, instructive, locative, nominative, partitive, or vocative bond. I was surprised to find just a smattering of ``associative bond'' and similar terms, used in a few specialized senses, usually defined ad hoc. And I did encounter the phrase ``The power and the wide applicability of Fourier-transform spectroscopy unite these fields with a common mathematical and instrumental bond.''

Some languages have a terminal case. Basque, for one. In Basque, cases are indicated by suffixes. (The suffix goes on the noun if there's no adjective. Adjectives follow the noun, and the ending goes on the last adjective.) The precise form of the suffix depends on a kind of gender: i.e., whether the noun is animate or inanimate. (There is also a male-female distinction in second-person familiar verb forms.) Another matter determining the suffix form is whether or not a specific entity is meant (i.e., definite declension or indefinite declension). Furthermore, in the definite declension the suffix indicates number (though the form of a suffix may depend on whether the verb is transitive). In the indefinite declension, there is no distinction between singular and plural nouns or adjectives. Not having to choose a grammatical number when one speaks in generalities could be a convenient thing in science. (Incidentally, I got a lot of SCI hits on ``terminal bond*'' -- with the meanings you'd expect.) But Basque is not a major world language of science, unless you count the science of not getting your head knocked off in jai alai. Anyway, just to keep things complicated on the indefinite side (in the absence of grammatical number), the indefinite-declension suffixes depend on whether the root noun ends in a consonant or not. (Interestingly, given names are declined like indefinite nouns.) Also, you can use the separate indefinite article bat following the noun, and this, alas, has plural forms (batzu, batzuk). (In jai alai, one doesn't use a bat but a wicker basket called a cesta. It's strapped to the wrist and it's not big enough to cover your head, so you have to use it to catch and launch the projectile.)

That should be enough general context, so finally we come to the terminal case, which Basque indicates with suffixes that end in -aino. Most nouns in Basque have natural gender, so you will not be surprised to learn that the word etxe, for `house,' has inanimate gender. (I'd be curious to know about haunted houses.) With the (definite, inanimate, singular) terminal ending -raino, this becomes etxeraino, meaning `up to the house' or `as far as the house.' The plural etxeetaraino means `up to the houses' or `as far as the houses.' Comparing the singular and plural forms just given, it is interesting to note that eta is a Basque word for `and.' (The other standard word is ta, and in French they use et. I have no idea how significant any of this is.) A lot of the indefinite inanimate plural suffixes are constructed by slapping an -eta- on the front of the corresponding singular form. (I'm trying to save you some memorization here!) Thus (by the way, I assume you realize that x is pronounced like English sh or French ch, and tx like English and Spanish ch), etxeruntz is `toward the house' and etxeetaruntz is `toward the houses.' You can guess the singular forms that correspond to the ablative form etxeetatik (`from the houses'), allative etxeetara (`to the houses'), and locative etxeetako (`of the houses').

``Locative'' in Basque indicates what is called the nonpersonal possessive, something like `corresponding to,' and there is no locative form for animate nouns. The semantic range of this case may be better understood by considering that there is also a genitive case and an inessive case (the case name is from the Latin inesse, `to be in [or at].' Now that we all understand what the locative case means, we are intrigued to recall that the singular suffix for destination, -rako (etxerako is `for the house'), looks like it's constructed by combining the locative -ko and allative -ra that you were supposed to figure out above. The plural form is -etarako. (This allative-plus-locative analysis doesn't work in the indefinite declension, and is of course impossible for animate gender.)

This destination case is not to be confused with the dative (as in etxeari, `to the house'; etxeei, `to the houses'), used for indirect objects. The dative -- it's like coming home! Screw the animates and indefinites and let's have a beer. I'll just leave you with gizonarenganaino, meaning `up to the man' (from gizon, `man'). (Oh yeah -- exceptions to natural gender: mahai, `table,' is considered animate. Great for seances in a haunted house (etxe mamuztatu). Let's dance the mamushka! On the other hand, body parts are inanimate. Hmmm.)


Deutscher Altphilologenverband. `Association of German teachers of Greek and Latin.'

Disabled American Veterans.

Digital Audio-VIsual Council.

d.a.w., DAW
Dispense As Written. Physician's notation on a prescription, instructing pharmacist not to substitute generic brand of drug.

Driving While Ability Impaired. Cf. DWI. (This entry is itself an example of typing while ability impaired, I believe. I probably meant DWAI.

A Star Trek character, female, with a bad peripheral case of alien eczema. Here's a picture.

Okay, here's some higher-quality information on Dax from Mark. Mark is a real person. He's really an alien too, except when he's in Canada. You know, Shatner was that way too, although there's this: In ``Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,'' there's a scene with Kirk in a restaurant with the 1985 marine biologist. The Captain is telling her about his work. She is incredulous.

Biologist: So you're telling me you're from outer space?
Kirk: No, I'm from Iowa. I only work in outer space.

Now about Dax: the Star Trek character -- to be exact, that's Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (ST:DS9) -- is (or was, or will possibly have been) a composite of two intelligent beings: the humanoid host, female, whom you see, and a ``symbiont'' living in her abdomen that looks like a giant slug or something. The humanoid depicted is named Jadzia; the symbiont is named Dax. It is the custom for the host's original surname to be replaced by the symbiont's name when they are joined, so her whole name is Jadzia Dax.

Mark also has a last name, but I tend not to give those in this glossary. At least he gets his first name. Madeleine is usually just described as the SBF banjo specialist (alpha chapter).

Anyway, Jadzia was murdered at the end of the 1997-98 season. The symbiont survived the attack and was joined to a new host, Ezri (its ninth or thereabouts -- symbionts are long-lived). Whereas Jadzia Dax looked like the human Terry Farrell with a bad peripheral case of alien eczema, Ezri Dax looks like the human Nicole deBoer with a bad peripheral case of alien eczema. I could probably find a picture of Ezri Dax and/or Nicole deBoer on the web somewhere. It's on the to-do list. Okay, here's a picture of Nicole deBoer at the DS9 Series Wrap Party on April 22, 1999.

Deutsche Aktienindex. `German share index.' A kind of Dow Jones average of the thirty strongest German stocks, introduced in 1988.

day beacon
A marine marker without its own light source.

``Days of Our Lives.'' Supermarket-tabloid abbreviation for a soap opera on NBC.

There's a link from UB, served by someone at Buff' State (it's intentionally made confusing for out-of-towners). Here's another unofficial homepage for DAYS, with links to yet more. Another.

Day Tripper
I recall about three hit songs whose standard releases end with explicit musical reference to the Beatles' ``Day Tripper,'' but I can only recall exactly the following two:
  1. The Eagles song ``In The City,'' released in early 1979 on their album The Long Run. It ends with a lone electric guitar slowly beginning the first eight notes of Day Tripper. (Note that there are a number of songs entitled ``In The City.'' The Eagles song includes the line ``I know there must be something better.'')
  2. April Wine's ``I Like To Rock'' (from the album Harder Faster, 1980, named after lines delivered by Marilyn Chambers in the movie ``Behind The Green Door'' and mixed into their version of ``Twenty-first Century Man''). Brian Greenaway, who had recently joined the band, explains the origin of the meshed licks in an interview with Classic Rock Revisited:
    At the end of ``I Like To Rock'' the band takes advantage of their 3-guitar attack as [the group's leader and main songwriter Myles] Goodwyn plays the main melody while Greenway and Gary Moffit pump out the main riffs to both ``Satisfaction'' and ``Day Tripper.'' The result was magical and people around the world loved it. The dueling guitar part was just one of many tricks the band used. Greenway gets credit for the idea, ``When I was in a band called All The Young Dudes we used to fool around playing two songs at one time as we had 2 drummers. I brought it from there. How we started doing it in April Wine I forget but it must have been Gary and myself doing it as joke in rehearsal for the album.''
    (Of course, ``All The Young Dudes'' is itself a musical reference -- it's the title of a David Bowie song. That song includes the phrase ``Bugaloo dudes,'' which I believe and also hope is unconnected with Juggalo.)

Sugarloaf's ``Don't Call Us, We'll Call You'' (1974) integrates an instrumental riff from the Beatles' ``I Feel Fine'' (1964) (sweetened to mark the contrast with the Sugarloaf's darker metal style). The riff follows the line ``Yeah -- it sounds like, eh, John-Paul-and-George.''

Incidentally, I heard the other day that Aerosmith is opening for Kiss, and blowing them away. Is this really the twenty-first century?

day walkers
People who work day shifts. Slang among bouncers in the South Bend area, beginning to be used by others. To judge by a web search in May 2004, the usage is not widespread.

Deutsche Allgemeine Zeit. `German Common Time (zone).'

(Click here for top) Previous section: CU (top) to C7 (bottom)

Next section: DB (top) to DDX (bottom)

[ Thumb tabs and search tool] [ SBF Homepage ]

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

© Alfred M. Kriman 1995-2017 (c)