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Feedback Control.

Flip-Chip. Dielectric isolation of a sort: etch to define isolated regions, grow substantial oxide (or other insulating material) to serve as a new mechanical support for electrically active regions, flip the chip, etch through semiconductor substrate regions to the top (formerly the bottom) of the active regions. There are also flip-chip techniques based on whole wafer thickness, which take advantage of the flip to achieve better lithography of interconnect layers.

Flow Control[ler].

{ Football | Fútbol | Fußball } Club. `Soccer Team' in various languages.

Forward Control. A motor vehicle in which the driver is seated forward of the front axle.

Frequency Counter.

Fuel Cell. A cell for converting chemical to electrical energy. The idea is that instead of burning fuel to produce heat and run an engine, you convert chemical to electrical energy directly. Direct conversion efficiency is limited by various practical issues, but at least theoretically it can be very high. In contrast, heat engines like the internal combustion engine (gasoline, diesel, or turbine, in order of rapidly increasing rarity) are limited theoretically to be less efficient than an ideal Carnot cycle:
1 - TL/TH .
(TL and TH are the lowest and highest absolute temperatures available to the heat engine.) In practice, as engine speed increases the engine cycle deviates further from equilibrium behavior and efficiency decreases, so shift gears already!

Currently, fuel cell technology is competitive only for certain niche applications such as space satellite power systems. The fuel-cell type used by NASA, and still the only one that is ``space qualified,'' uses potassium hydroxide electrolyte. More details about it and NASA's experiences with it are at the AFC entry. A number of new FC systems are being researched or developed. These are distinguished and designated primarily by their electrolyte material, and the main ones are Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell (PAFC), Molten Carbonate FC (MCFC), Solid Oxide FC (SOFC) and Proton-Exchange Membrane FC (PEMFC). See also DMFC.

As of 1997, the basic problem was that costs were at US$3000/KW and up, whereas fossil fuel capital costs were about 800-1000 US$/KW. The gap is being closed from both ends.

The first fuel cell was demonstrated by William Grove in 1839, who used four large cells in series to generate the voltage to split water in a separate smaller cell.

A single hydrogen fuel cell has a voltage of about 0.7 V. That is, its open-circuit voltage is 0.7 V. As you draw current the voltage decreases. If it didn't you could just use a very small resistance to draw very high current and get arbitrarily high power. Let's start a research program to do just that! Maybe not. The first law of thermodynamics is such a party-pooper.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Fibre Channel Association. A trade association incorporated 1993 to promote fiber channel technology. They used to have annual meetings in San Francisco -- where are they now? In 1999, FCA merged with FCLC to form FCIA. There were separate FCA Europe and FCA Japan organizations.

Film Chip Capacitor Array. Typically a DIP or IC-type package, containing a number of capacitors.

Flip Chip Attach.

Fluorescent Cytoprint Assay.

Free-Carrier Absorption.

Freund's Complete Adjuvant.

Fiber-Channel-Arbitrated Loop.

Federation of Chinese Associations in Malaysia.

Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance, Security management areas.

Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. A test taken by Florida public school students. Based on their performance, their schools are assigned letter grades. Under the A-plus program implemented by Jeb Bush (governor 1999-2007), students at schools that receive an F grade twice within four years are eligible for tuition vouchers.

I had forgotten about the FCAT when I happened to see some thick workbooks for sale cheap. Their titles were Show What You Know® on the <n>th Grade FCAT. The ones I saw had <n> values of 4 and 5. It saddened me; Mr. Thomas Gradgrind would have been pleased. The workbooks came in two versions: ``Student Workbook'' (pink, with a place for the child to scrawl a name on the front) and ``Parent/Teacher Edition'' (blue).

I suppose the FCAT is a ``comprehensive assessment'' of how well the children have been prepped for the test, so it's about as uncomprehensive as ``comprehensive'' gets. Perhaps there is some inadvertent spillover of non-test-oriented learning that affects the FCAT grade. I can't remember the (clever punning) title right now, but I once read a book about a year in the life of an elementary school elsewhere (Maryland, if memory serves) that was under its own state's testing gun. It was in a poor neighborhood, and it regularly received extra state funding to improve its performance. Teachers and principal were hostages to the often chaotic home lives of their students, and lived in terror of poor test results.

FCAW, FCA welding
Flux-Cored Arc Welding.

Initialism by which the Federación Colombiana de Bridge and Federación Chilena de Bridge are sometimes referred to. Both NBO's are members of the South American zonal confederation (CSB). The Columbian one claims the less specific, if less cryptic, ``FEDEBRIDGE'' (q.v.) as its acronym, and the Chilean NBO doesn't. The Chilean one has no Internet presence of its own and is the largest member of the CSB.

Face-Centered Cubic. One of the two three-dimensional lattices (the other is HCP) with a hard-sphere packing density of
			2 /6 ,
which is the highest packing density possible for hard spheres in three dimensions. The problem of finding the densest possible sphere packing is easily visualized, and no denser packing than FCC or HCP was ever reported, yet it is immensely difficult to prove rigorously that there is no denser packing, as the following proverb expresses:
Every physicist knows, and every mathematician believes, that Face-Centered Cubic has the highest possible packing density.
The hypothesis that this widely-held belief is correct was called the Kepler conjecture. Kepler made this hypothesis in 1611. In 1831, Gauss demonstrated that FCC has the highest packing density of any periodic (i.e., lattice) packing, but for a long time there was no proof that a nonperiodic packing might not exist with higher density, so the Kepler problem was still open. The final proof was given by Hales in a series of papers ending in 1998.

In many higher-dimensional Euclidean spaces, it is unknown even whether the closest hypersphere packings have crystal (i.e. translation) symmetry.

The fact that FCC and HCP have identical, maximal packing densities has, as one of its most immediate reflections in crystallography, the fact that all noble gases (the group VIII-A elements) all have HCP or FCC structure. The reason is that with their closed atomic shells, noble gas atoms have weak interatomic forces and maintain their spherical symmetry more accurately in the presence of external perturbations. The interatomic forces among noble atoms therefore closely approximate the hard-sphere model. Helium (He) freezes in HCP (under pressure only; at atmospheric pressure, it is fluid -- superfluid, actually -- down to T = 0K). The other noble elements freeze in FCC. The number and distance of nearest neighbors is the same in FCC and HCP, so the difference in energy between the two structures, determining which is the equilibrium lattice, is dominated by van der Waals interaction between next-nearest neighbors.

FCC is a Bravais lattice, and its Wigner-Seitz cell is a rhombic dodecahedron. Its reciprocal lattice is Body-Centered Cubic (BCC).

It is convenient to regard the FCC lattice as a simple-cubic (SC) lattice with basis. For that picture, consider an SC lattice with points on hax + jay + kaz (a is the cubic lattice spacing; h, j, k are integers; x, y, and z are orthogonal unit vectors, so that ax, ay, and az are a set of primitive lattice vectors for the SC lattice). An FCC lattice can be generated using a basis of 0, (y + z)/2 , (x + z)/2 , and (x + y)/2 .

Federal Communications Commission. An independent agency of the US government.

Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Framework Convention on Climate Change.

La Fédération culturelle canadienne-française. Too bad it doesn't have an English name, because then it could have the same initialism in English with a different expansion: `The French-Canadian Cultural Federation.'

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

FCC 68
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Part 68, Title 47 CFR, Oct. 1, 1987. Administrative law standards relating to the safety of telecommunications workers, and the safety and integrity of the telephone network (voltage surge, leakage current, hazardous voltages, excessive signal levels, longitudinal balance, on- and off-hook impedance, REN's, billing protection, and hearing-aid compatibility).

Food Canning Establishment. FDA term for a target of regulation opportunity. But wait, in ``addition... Yellow Olives businesses are typically subject to FDA Bioterrorism Act Registration and U.S. Agent requirements (when applicable).''

La fédération canadienne des épiciers indépendants. What does this mean in the lingua franca of commerce? Spoiler at CFIG.

Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle. An electric vehicle with fuel cells and batteries that drive electric motors.

Fuel-Cell Hybrid Vehicle.

Finance Corporation for Industry. All is explained at the FFI entry. (All I know of it, anyway.)

Fibre Channel Industry Association. A trade association formed from the 1999 merger of FCA and FCLC.

Federal (US) Crop Insurance Corporation.

Framework Class Library. This is used by both C# and by Visual Basic (since VB6 or so). From the C-languages point of view, it does for C# what STL and various header files do for C++.

Full (modularized freight) Container Load. Cf. LCL.

Fibre Channel [Loop] Community. A trade association incorporated 1995 to promote Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop technology for storage applications. They removed Loop from the organization in 1997, but wisely chose to keep the original initialism (they could see the namespace collision coming.) In 1999, FCLC merged with FCA to form FCIA.

Fellowship of Christian Magicians.

Fuzzy Cognitive Map.

Food Consumer and Nutrition Service of the USDA. You can distribute punctuation ad libitum, because the named organization does not exist equally under any punctuated variant. See FNS.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The title on their homepage naturally reads ``Home Foreign & Commonwealth Office.'' Given the current British aversion to punctuation, it can take a moment to disambiguate that. Anyway, the page source contains a meta tag (name="Description") with the following sensible content: "British government department responsible for overseas relations and foreign affairs, through its headquarters in London and its Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates throughout the world." the published page content has the following imbecility: ``The purpose of the FCO is to work for UK interests in a safe, just and prosperous world. We do this with some 16,000 staff, based in the UK and our overseas network of over 200 diplomatic offices.'' They might have more success working for UK interests if they recognized that their overseas network of diplomatic offices is camped in an unsafe, unjust, and penurious world. (Granted, diplomats are paid to feign stupidity as necessary, but they needn't be so convincing.)

FORTH CODE. Specialized to write drivers for PCI.

For Crying Out Loud. Common acronym in email and on newsgroups. Cf. LOL.

Flat Concurrent PROLOG. If this is a commentary then I agree.

Fiber Channel Protocol.

Forward Command Post.

Federal Corrupt Practices Act.

Food and Consumer Products of Canada. The name used include the word Manufacturers (FCPMC), but now (text copied March 2005) they are ``the industry association representing approximately 150 Canadian-operated member companies that manufacture and market retailer and national brands integral to daily life at home, work and leisure. These companies provide Canadians with safe, high-quality food and consumer products sold through grocery, drug, convenience, mass merchandise and foodservice distribution channels.'' The best thing about cut'n'paste is that you needn't actually read what you're copying. That's a great time-saver.

In French it's the PACC (formerly the FPACC). Don't worry -- it's national but nongovernmental, so everything is in English.

Food and Consumer Products Manufacturers of Canada. Former name of the FCPC, q.v.

Fast Circuit Switching.

Food and Consumer Service of the USDA. Now known as the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). This is an improvement, because the old name suggested that food and consumers might be served equivalently.

In the name transition from FCS to FNS, there doesn't appear to have been a time when the official name could be abbreviated FCNS. However, either out of confusion or a desire to avoid confusion, FCNS has also been used.

[Football icon]

Football Championship Subdivision. NCAA football's old Division I-AA, officially so renamed in 2007. The name is logical, because the divisions are I, II, and III, so I-AA is more appropriately regarded as a subdivision. It is also a reasonable name because Division I-AA teams that do well are eligible to participate in the a championship playoff series, while Division I-A teams aren't (see FBS). However, the enduring and defining difference is that Division I-A (and a subdivision is a division, after all, just as a subgroup is a group) has generally better players and better play. Hence, the new, improved names for I-A and I-AA have the odor of euphemisms, and you can smell that from a distance of many stadia.

Frame Check Sequence.

Fédération Canadienne des Sciences Humaines et Sociales. Same as the HSSFC.

Fluorchlorkohlenwasserstoff. Faithfully translated from the German, this means `fluorochlorohydrocarbon,' but the term is taken as equivalent to CFC (chlorofluorocarbons). Technically it isn't equivalent, because some CFC's have no hydrogen. The corresponding less-restrictive term FCK doesn't seem to occur. (That's probably just as well, since it avoids confusion with FC Kaiserslautern. You might think, since the translation of the English ``F-word'' is ficken in German, that there might be some reluctance to use an initialism like FCK, but it's actually quite common. It's used for a variety of FC's besides Kaiserslautern.)

Look, if you mean freon, you can just say Freone. In any case, it's not the hydrogen that people worry about. It's not even the fluorine people are worried about, but mostly the chlorine -- on account of the ozone layer.

French Connection United Kingdom. It's a clothing store, and I don't know if it has any more French or UK connection than your typical international retail chain.

Fuel-Cell Vehicle.

Fair Disclosure. Contrasted to selective disclosure (of company information to investors). Former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt, Jr. called selective dislosure a stain on US financial markets. See Reg FD.

Fermi-Dirac (statistics).


Finite-Difference. Refers to mesh-based numerical simulation codes. Distinguished from finite-element (FE) approach in that FD performs an evolution of (a discretized approximation of) a continuous field, using the value of the field at various nearby points to compute ``finite-difference'' approximations to derivatives (``infinitesimal differences'') that occur in partial-differential evolution equations. In contrast, FE approaches evolve not the field value at various points, but the values of expansion coefficients. Specifically, each mesh volume (or surface, edge, etc.) element has associated to it a few coefficients of a small basis set of local functions that approximate the field function. Derivative values are computed from these coefficients and corresponding derivatives of the small local bases.

Fire Department. Productive in acronyms.

{Floppy | Flexible} {Disk | Drive}. Note here that only the disk is floppy. The drive is not floppy at all. ``Floppy drive'' is short for ``floppy-disk drive.'' That is, the first word in ``floppy disk'' is an adjective that describes the disk. In contrast, the first word in ``floppy drive'' is an attributive noun: because ``floppy disk'' has been contracted to ``floppy,'' the word floppy is an adjective functioning as a noun functioning as an adjective. Cf. floppy bowtie. See coach for related parts-of-speech proteanism.

Information bits are stored on floppy disks, or diskettes, as orientation patterns of magnetic domains. X-rays are not particularly likely to flip these orientations. The concern about airport X-ray scanners has to do with the equipment used to generate the X-rays. This is high-power and therefore high-current, and high currents generate high magnetic fields, which certainly might wipe or corrupt diskettes. FWIW, I've put my portable, my quasiportable (Macintosh SE/30; hey -- it's got a handle on it!), and my diskettes through plenty of X-ray machines with no discernible problems. (Wow, historical entry.) Of course, YMMV.


Fulda. German postal code. Fulda is the name of a city (population roughly 50,000) and of the district of which that city is the capital. The city and district are in the state of Hesse (HE).

The words state and district above translate the German Land and Bezirk. I guess if you read that last word in English it sounds like a common pronunciation of berserk, so right there I've filled my humor quota for the day. Correctly pronounced in German, it sounds something like ``beh TSEERK'' in English, which doesn't look a whole lot saner. Bezirke are like counties, so their capitals are like county seats. The proper term is Kreisstadt, and it doesn't gain much in translation.

The city and surrounding district take their name from die Fulda, a 218-km river, half of that navigable, whose waters join those of the Werra to form the Weser. The origin of the name Fulda is uncertain.

(US) Food and Drug Administration. This federal agency has jurisdiction strictly limited to items intended to be taken internally (by other animals as well as humans, though; see CVM). Therefore, nail polish and topical pheromones are not covered. Just to be on the safe side of the law, however, Spanish Fly bottles are often clearly labeled as ``placebo.'' They don't even bother with a subterfuge like ``PBO.''

Full-Duplex Audio.

Functional Data ADministrator.

Flight Data Acquisition and Management System.

Finite-Difference Beam Propagation Method.

First Day Cover. A term of art employed by all those overexposed philatelists.

Food, Drug and Cosmetic (Act; of 1938). Federal legislation which, as amended, is administered by the FDA.

FDA-approved synthetic food colors have FD&C numbers.

Frequency-Division Duplexing.

Fiber Distributed Data Interface. A 100 Mbit/s ANSI standard ring architecture for LAN's, intended for implementation on fiber-optic networks. Definition is X3T9.5. FOLDOC has a nice hyperlinked description. Acronym is also expanded as Fiber Digital Device Interface or Fiber Data Distribution Interface.

Finnish Defense Force. Don't laugh -- under Mannerheim they had a rather successful Winter against a Soviet force with overwhelmingly superior numbers. (Of course, numbers told. They suffered enormous casualties and eventually signed a peace that gave Stalin about what he'd decided to take in the first place.) Finnish success encouraged Hitler to move up Operation Barbarosa.

Feeder Distribution Interface.

Food Distributors International. Umbrella name for the National-American Wholesale Grocers' Association (NAWGA) -- and its foodservice partner, the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).

Foreign Direct Investment. Is that eff as in ``four,'' or ess as in ``soar''? You had me worried there, talking about ``new launches.''

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It was established by the Banking Act of 1933 (first year of the first FDR administration). Originally available to insure accounts at commercial banks. Probably all US states require the commercial banks they charter to be insured with the FDIC (which imposes sound accounting requirements, requires a deposit representing a certain fraction of funds the bank might be required to return by depositors, etc.).

The FSLIC was available to insure deposits at S&L's and savings banks from 1934 until 1989. As explained at the RTC entry, since 1989 the FDIC has also been the federal deposit-insurance corporation for these other banks.

For a long time the maximum amount insured per account per bank was $100,000. At the time of the market meltdown of September 2008, some kinds of accounts had their maximum insured amounts temporarily raised to $250,000, and that increase was eventually made permanent. The notion of ``per account'' is slightly tricky. For example, if a person has two essentially equivalent individual accounts at one bank, then as far as the FDIC is concerned that's one account. On the other hand, if the individual has one account that is P.O.D. to some particular person, and another that is not, then those may each be separately insured up to the maximum. But don't take my word! Ask your bank; everything depends on details of control of the assets.

The accounts referred to above are ordinary savings and checking accounts. Money-market accounts and certificates of deposit, at least, may be subject to different rules. Also, the requirement that accounts be federally insured, while now fairly uniform for ordinary accounts, may not extend to higher-yield accounts. At least in Indiana, I had money in a privately-insured money-market account as recently as 2008. This was through a credit union, which was essentially acting as an intermediary for a self-insured outside institution. I don't know if Indiana or some other state allows similar arrangements through other kinds of financial institutions, but I'm just saying: I don't know that they don't. Generally speaking, if you want to take a risk, there are plenty of ways to do it. And if you don't want to take any risk, then there may be no way to do that, unless you count burning your money and having nothing left to lose.

ISHPSSB Future Directions in the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology Workshop.

Floating DIVide. Instruction mnemonic for floating point (FP) division in some assembly languages. Made famous in 1995 by the discovery of an error in its implementation on the Pentium chip.

Facility Data Link. See Bellcore document TR-TSY-000194 [Extended Superframe (ESF) Format Interface Specification, December 1987] and ANSI document T1.403-1989 [Carrier to Carrier Installation - DS1 Metallic Interface].

Federal Depository Library. They catalog things so that you can throw your own copies out. They are the saints of office clean-up.

Flexible and Distance Learning.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Federal Depository Library Program (run by the GPO).

Frequency-Division Multiplexing.

Frequency-Division Multiple-Access (same as FDM).

Frente Democrática National. I'm sorry, that's all we have here. The main content of this entry was moved and is being housed in the PRD entry for the indefinite future.

First Dog Of the United States. The US President's principal canine companion. Rarely: first daughter[s] -- perhaps on account of the possibility of partial confusion.

Fluorescent Dye Particle[s].

Freie Demokratische Partei. `Free Democratic Party' of Germany. For many years following WWII, it was the single largest third party in the Federal Republic. As such it was a frequent junior coalition, forming part of the federal government for more years than any other German party.

The German flag consists of three horizontal bands: black, red, and yellow (schwarz, rot, und gelb) from top to bottom. In the color shorthand for political parties, the Christian Democratic parties (CDU and CSU) are ``black,'' the socialist parties (primarily the SPD) are ``red,'' and the FDP is `yellow.' The yellows are a centrist party in the qualitative sense of being a moderate party that in some respects occupies the political middle ground between the reds and blacks. [I guess if you insist on seeing latent racial thinking everywhere, then you will also be pleased to recall that it was Kaiser Wilhelm II who coined the term ``yellow peril'' (gelbe Gefahr, discussed at the Morgenlande entry).]

An SPD-FDP coalition is known as a red-yellow coalition. A coalition of the (CDU/CSU) with the FDP is called a black-yellow coalition. In the elections of 2005 left parliamentary seats more broadly distributed than ever before, so no two-party coalition other than a grand coalition could make a majority. One of the possibilities considered was a black-yellow-green Jamaika-Koalition, named after the colors of the Jamaican flag.

The FDP was for a period in a coalition government with the SDP, but after sixteen years as junior partner of the CDU/CSU, with the passing of the sixties generation of Nationalliberale, and with the rise of the Greens as a natural coalition partner of the socialists, it has clearly become a party of the right -- a ``liberal'' party in the current sense of that term in Europe, favoring economic liberalization and reduced government in general. It has adopted as mottoes ``So viel Staat wie nötig, so wenig Staat wie möglich'' (`as much state [government] as necessary; as little state as possible') and ``Schaffung und Wahrung der Freiheit des Einzelnen'' (`creation and preservation of the freedom of the individual').

With 8.8% of the vote in the 1998 general elections, they were allocated 44 seats (out of 669).

Faculty Development Public Service Initiative.

Family Death Rate. The number of immediate-family deaths per hundred students about to take an exam. Research measure introduced in a groundbreaking study of the Dead Grandmother problem.

See also the entry on dog food.

Flight Data Recorder. Often called a ``black box.'' It's painted orange or red to make it easier to find.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Frequency-Domain Reflectometry. Because transmission is dispersive (propagation velocity is frequency-dependent), with a swept-frequency input to a T-line or antenna, one can use an inverse FFT of the reflected signal for diagnostic information [principally distance-to-fault (DTF)]. Once restricted to military applications, FDR test equipment is beginning to replace more traditional time-domain reflectometry (TDR) equipment. Advantages of FDR include (1) with proper accounting of insertion loss, it's possible to get more information about a fault than just `open' or `closed' and (2) FDR operates in the frequency range of interest, while TDR is essentially a DC measure.

Food Distribution Retail Systems Group.

Feminine Deodorant Spray. I really don't like the stuff I'm learning in chat.

Formal Description Technique.

Frequently Discussed Topic. At the Stammtisch. As John Paul Jones is reputed to have said: ``we have not yet begun to fight!'' The following partial FDT list is in the preliminary stages of development. It has a lot of ostensible errors in it. Some of the FDT's haven't been discussed yet.

In fact, when I made up a list, it quickly became unwieldy, so I've decided only to add items for which I have either written something useful or found a good link (mostly, as of 1997.12.21, from Eric's Treasure Trove of Scientific Biography).

Finite-Difference Time-Domain.

Far End. The other end of a communications link. Productive fragment in acronyms listed below. As an attributive noun, it should be hyphenated.


Field Emission.

Finite Element. An approach to mesh-discretized numerical modeling, distinguished from finite-difference approach. See comparison at finite-difference (FD) entry. There is generally a much greater variety in FE approaches than in FD approaches. FE is particularly useful in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and mechanical design, where irregular geometries and things like point stresses occur. In electronic device modeling, on balance, FD has been popular. Part of the reason is that the many-orders-of-magnitude variations in charge densities that must be followed often require the use of Slotboom variables (Scharfetter-Gummel approach), which further complicates, and partially obviates the need for, FE. Part of the reason is surely inertia. In principle, the Coulomb interaction is more singular than strain fields: an unscreened dipole exerts a force whose magnitude falls off approximately as the strain of a point defect. In conductors, however, electrostatic fields are exponentially screened. Strain fields are ``screened'' by fracture.

Free Exciton.

Fundamentals of Engineering. An eight-hour test administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES, q.v.). A ``supplied-reference examination.'' The four-hour morning session, common to all disciplines, currently consists of 120 one-point questions. The afternoon session, four hours to answer 60 two-point questions, now comes in six different versions: Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering discipoline-specific exams, and a general engineering version for the rest.

The FE used to be called the Engineer-In-Training (EIT) exam. People who successfully pass the test may be called engineers-in-training or engineering interns, but use of their given names is probably preferable. For surveyors, the NCEES administers a different exam called the Fundamentals of Land Surveying (FLS) exam.

The FE and FLS exams are preliminary to the taking of the Professional Engineering (PE) and Professional Land Surveying (PLS) exams, respectively.


Iron. Atomic number 26. Chemical element abbreviation from the Latin ferrum. More about that at the ferrous entry. More about iron at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool, where it was #4 on the Top Five List last time I checked, rather a long time ago.

A Mid-Iron is what a two iron (golf club) used to be called.

Federal Energy Administration.

Finite Element Analysis.

Florida Education Association. An affiliate of the NEA, it had 122,000 members in 2002.

Functional Economic Analysis.

Spanish, `ugly' in female declension.

Far-End Alarm and Control.

fear of commitment
There is great confusion surrounding this male malady. Women realize that refusing (or ``being afraid,'' as they say) to commit is very similar to ``rejecting.'' But ``fear of commitment'' is not a passive-aggressive form of rejection. It's rejection plus sex.

There's a TV commercial running these days (May 2006, mindestens) that plays off the stereotypes associated with fear of commitment. It's for Mitchum antiperspirant, which sells an urbanized Marlboro-man image for just the price of a stick. The commercial begins with a flattering portrait of you the customer, which includes this: ``Your only real fear is commitment.''

I saw an episode of a prime-time soap in 2003 or so -- I think it was Sex and the City. One of the regular-cast characters encounters an old high-school flame who looks a lot like David Duchovny (this isn't part of the story; it's part of the guest cast). They rekindle their relationship. He doesn't seem to have too great a fear of commitment. After sex and a few dates, he reveals to her that -- you know, I can just walk away from this entry whenever I want. I'd kick the f______ dust off my shoes and never look back. I mean, is it about me, or is it about you? Or is it really about ``fear of commitment,'' the head term?

Alright, let's try to patch this up. The Duchovny character turns out to be sort of part-time institutionalized. He usually spends his nights in bedlam. If you remember, that's not a kind of bed. By now one's probably not allowed to call it that or an insane asylum or even a mental-health facility. Let's call it a happiness center. All the same, I sure as hell wouldn't want to be committed there.

Association for Feminist Ethics And Social Theory. It's FEAST or feminine. Sorry, I had to say that.

Really! I'm really, really sorry! It just sounded cool! I didn't know it would have offensive implications. Oh I'm really, really--wait a second. I'm not sorry. I've just developed a Social Theory of Masculinist Ethics, and according to that, it's alright. Everything is relative, you know, except Uncle Joe.

A kind of British railway signal. A row of white lights attached to the main signal head, which are all lit or all dark. Each feather relates to a particular switch on the track, and if lit, says that the train will be taking the diverging route there. In general, the driver is expected to know and obey the proper speed limit over the switch and then, once clear, to drive in a manner appropriate to the aspect of the last signal sighted.

Far East Broadcasting Company.

Far-End Block Error.

Although it's ``the cruelest month,'' I know a couple of women named ``April.'' There are plenty of Junes and Julies. Mays too. Even cold January has a hot January Jones, and I've heard of a ``March Hare.'' Yet I know of no one named ``February.'' We need a government program to address this problem. Wherever possible, opportunities should be sought out to name people after disadvantaged months. Court cases should be brought in the names of February Doe and November Roe. PSA's should tout the advantages of the less commonly used names, and there should be subsidies. If these things don't bring all months into parity, then more coercive measures should be considered.

That's enough for today. Tomorrow: Monday.

Federal Election Commission. Candidates for national (US) office have two options: (1) if they want to be open about where their money is coming from, whom they might be beholden to, who supports them, etc., they can send their reports in electronic form to the FEC, which will put them on line immediately; (2) if they want to delay release of the information until it is no longer newsworthy, they can print out their (certainly electronic) records on paper and submit that. In a few months, the FEC will scan in the paper reports and make them available as (nonsearchable, of course) image files. For this quick check on the honesty of the candidates, see the FEC Electronic Filing Campaign Finance Database.

``Note that presently campaigns for the Senate file their reports with the Secretary of the Senate -- not with the FEC -- so these reports are not available [there]. Reports of the National Party Senatorial Campaign Committees are, however, included in the system. (Microfilm copies of Senate reports are on file at the Commission offices in Washington, and candidates must also file copies with their state elections office.)''

Forward Error Correct{ion|or}. FEC techniques are used to repair corrupted data packets. FEC and corruption -- a recurring collocation.

Federal Employee's Compensation Act. I have nothing to do with any FECA matter.

Forward Explicit Congestion Notification.

Try Fed, The.

Field Emission Display. (Vacuum display with field-emission cathode.)

Federation Execution Development. Maybe Mr. Spock can follow this ``explanation.''

Federación Colombiana de Bridge. Also abbreviated FCB. It was founded on June 17, 1963, as the Asociación Colombiana de Bridge. The federation is currently (2006) an NBO of the CSB (the confederation of NBO's of the WBF's zone 3: South America). Previously, it was a member of the CACBF (zone 5: Central America and the Caribbean).

federalism, limitations of
My first thought when I learned that Amanda Bynes had tweeted US president Barack Obama on June 6, 2012, asking that he fire the local police officer who arrested her. (Heck, if a mere professor from Harvard rated a ``beer summit,'' surely this was the least he could do for a world-famous former child actress from a rich-campaign-donor-rich area.) Later that day her lawyer entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf in Beverly Hills Superior Court. She was charged with drunk driving and possibly something else (a misdemeanor count of drunk tweeting, I guess).

I should say something more about the limitations of federalism, beyond what you might gather from the entry on the principle of subsidiarity. I had a particular something more in mind when I started this entry but, distraught at Amanda's continuing difficulties with the legal system and her oily complexion, I was unable to finish and have now forgotten what I was going to add. You can help me out by completing this paragraph:

But really, federalism is all about limitations. Just this year, for example, ...

Federal Government
Visit more than 120 government agencies! Become a red-tape mummy. Just the domain name alone (fedworld.gov) sounds like the theme park of a Kafkaesque nightmare.

Short for its original name, Federal Express. (Some people still call it that, but it doesn't seem to be official, so I guess FedEx is a sealed acronym.)

Hurry! Hurry to the website!

Among C. Northcote Parkinson's many great contributions to bureaucracy science were his preliminary investigations of the ``Law of Triviality. Briefly stated, it means that the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.'' [Quote is from Parkinson's Law (1957), available online from a Russian site, but perhaps only until the copyright holder finds out.] The standard example given of a low-cost/long-discussion item is coffee -- something everyone knows something they think worth prolonging a meeting to say. Here's something I circled on page D3 of the New York Times, SportsMonday, August 30, 1999. This continued the page D1 lead story about a secret agreement between the NFL and the NFL players' union under which a number of players who tested positive for illegal drugs went unpunished. (Unpunished by the league, of course. No one would think of applying the ordinary laws that put mere nonprofessional athletes in jail. It turns out that being a professional athlete does not constitute ``probable cause'' to test for drug use or search for evidence of possession, so an agreement on drug testing can be reached between league and union without any inconvenient involvement of the government, which anyway is too busy waging its war on drugs to get involved.)

Mark Collins, a former Giants cornerback, had been a player representative for 12 years and, though then recently retired as a player, remained a member of the union's executive committee. He had said in an earlier interview that there was usually a lot of bickering at meetings, and that players were known to argue about whether to use Federal Express or the United Parcel Service to mail documents. ``We get a lot done,'' he claimed, ``but things get pretty intense.''

An event this morning inspired me to haiku. I've entitled it ``New Computer.''

When the doorbell rang,
I hoped it was FedEx, but
it was the jay double-yoo.

Fed, The
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.

FEDeral Research In Progress. A database of the NTIS. This is an interesting acronym: depending on how you break it up into syllables, it suggests either the dashing insouciance of RRRRIP! or the feeble tediousness of drip.

If you read too many acronyms, soon you read too much into acronyms. Same problem with the next one (as opposed to HungryWorld).

FEDeral (US government) World. A comprehensive central gateway to information disseminated by the US federal government. A program of the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) of the Department of Commerce (DoC).

FEEBle or FEEBle-minded.

feel your pain, I
Bill Clinton made this phrase famous during his 1992 presidential campaign. It's not original with him, however. The precise phrase ``I feel your pain'' occurs in John Wain's poem ``To a Friend in Trouble'' (first published in book form no later than 1961, in Weep Before God). Philip Francis published a verse translation of Horace's Ars Poetica in 1749 that was well-known for a time, and it included the following lines:
If you would have me weep, begin the Strain,
Then I shall feel your Sorrows, feel your Pain;
But if your Heroes act not what they say,
I sleep or laugh the lifeless Scene away. 

The thought seems to have been in the air during that last decade of Jacobitism. In 1743 Henry Fielding published the following in a poem called ``Of Good-Nature'' in a three-volume set of Miscellanies. (The ``Name'' referred to is ``Good-nature.'')

What by this Name, then, shall be understood?
What? but the glorious Lust of doing Good?
The Heart that finds it Happiness to please,
Can feel another's Pain, and taste his Ease.
The Cheek that with another's Joy can glow,
Turn pale, and sicken with another's Woe; 

The earliest version or similar formulation that I can find, and probably the one that was most celebrated in its time, occurs in a much-reprinted minor poem of Alexander Pope entitled ``The Universal Prayer, Deo Opt. Max.'' The phrase of interest occurs in the tenth of thirteen stanzas:

Teach me to feel another's Woe;
  To hide the Fault I see;
That Mercy I to others show,
  That Mercy show to me.

There are many similar expressions that are happily forgotten. Here are two such that were constructed with a third-person agent: (1) John Thelwall wrote ``Still prone to feel another's pain, / And to relieve inclin'd'' in a clever boring poem of 1787. (2) Jimmy Carter began an Address to the Nation with ``Good Evening. Exactly three years ago on July 15, 1976, I accepted the nomination of my party to run for the presidency of the United States. I promised you a president who is not isolated from the people, who feels your pain and who shares your dreams, and who draws his strength and his wisdom from you.'' (The pain people were feeling was an oil shortage created when Iran suspended oil exports following the overthrow of the Shah.)

Clinton introduced the phrase while responding to Act-Up member Bob Rafsky, who was heckling Clinton at a March 26, 1992, campaign stop at Laura Belle, a nightclub in Midtown Manhattan. Here's Clinton's key turn, as recorded by CNN and reported by the New York Times:

Let me tell you something. If I were dying of ambition, I wouldn't have stood up here and put up with all this crap I've put up with for the last six months. I'm fighting to change this country.

And let me tell you something else. Let me tell you something else. You do not have the right to treat any human being, including me, with no respect because of what you're worried about. I did not cause it. I'm trying to do something about it. I have treated you and all the people who've interrupted my rally with a hell of a lot more respect than you've treated me, and it's time you started thinking about that.

I feel your pain, I feel your pain, but if you want to attack me personally you're no better than Jerry Brown and all the rest of these people who say whatever sounds good at the moment. If you want something to be done, you ask me a question and you listen. If you don't agree with me, go support somebody else for President but quit talking to me like that. This is not a matter of personal attack; it's a matter of human wrong.

You can be for George Bush, you can be for somebody else, but do not stand up here at my rally, where other people paid to come, and insult me without -- listen, that's fine, I'll give you your money back if you want it, out of my own pocket.

I understand that you're hurting, but you won't stop hurting by trying to hurt other people. That's what I try to tell all you folks. You're not going to stop hurting by trying to hurt other people.

The reason I'm still in public life is because I've kept my commitments. That's why I'm still here. That's why I'm still standing here. And I'm sick and tired of all these people who don't know me, know nothing about my life, know nothing about the battles that I've fought, know nothing about the life I've lived, making snotty-nose remarks about how I haven't done anything in my life and it's all driven ambition. That's bull, and I'm tired of it.

And anybody -- there are other choices on the ballot. Go get 'em is my answer to you. If you want somebody that'll fight AIDS, vote for me, because when I come in to do something, I do it, and I fight for it.

Feeling your oats in public
Sounds like the sort of thing there ought to be a law against.

A FErrous FEmale mascot of swinish extraction. I suppose the name is pronounced ``Fifi.'' For a fee, you can have her attend your event in the Allentown, PA, area. More at the ferrous entry.

Flying Electric Generator. A kind of tethered helicopter that is parked in one of the jet streams. While net power must be supplied in the initial positioning, in operation the jet stream supplies more than enough lift, and the helicopter rotors function primarily as a wind turbine. The idea originated with Prof. Bryan Roberts of the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. He started developing it in 1979 and test-flew a model (the design has four rotors on the corners of an H-shaped frame) in the early nineties or so. Since 2002 he's been working with David H. Shepard's San Diego-based company SkyWindPower. They expect to demonstrate a model working in 2010.

The latest published work I've seen on this is an article entitled ``Harnessing High-Altitude Wind Power,'' in IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, vol. 22, no. 1 (March 2007), pp. 136-144. The authors are Bryan W. Roberts, Shepard, Ken Caldeira, M. Elizabeth Cannon, David G. Eccles, Albert J. Grenier, and Jonathan F. Freidin. They reported the design of a 240kW craft.

The Federation of the Electronics Industry. ``[T]he lead UK Trade Association for companies in the Information Technology, Communications and Electronics Industries, in Defence and Civil Electronics and in Office Equipment and Furniture.''

Free-Electron Laser.

FEderación LAtinoamericana de FAcultades de Comunicación Social. [`Federation of Social Communication Faculties.'] Every single one of the affiliated organizations has a six-, seven- or eight-letter acronym!

Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations. Cf. LASA.

Far-End Loop Back.

Felix Frankfurter Reminisces
A book first published in 1960, whose title is given on the front of the dustjacket as Felix Frankfurter Reminisces: An intimate portrait as recorded in talks with Dr. Harlan B. Phillips. The title page and the front inside flap of the dj omit the words ``An intimate portrait as.'' The copyright page doesn't resolve the issue; in those days the copyright page often didn't give the title.

Frankfurter was born on November 15, 1882, and died on February 22, 1965; he is best remembered for his service as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court from January 30, 1939, until August 28, 1962.

Phillips began his interviews with Frankfurter in 1953, as part of an ongoing oral history project at Columbia University, and the original idea was to produce archival material. According to Phillips's foreword (p. ix) ``During our sessions as we talked our way through his life to his appointment to the Court in 1939, no thought was given to the possibility of publication. ... It was only when the recordings were completed and ready to be filed away for future researchers that a re-reading made it clear that these recorded memories were [worth publishing]. Editing has been done in the interest of providing unity and flow to the work as a whole with relatively few retrospective changes in wording and phraseology.'' I will silently repair the punctuation in any of the quotes from this book that I use in this glossary.

Turkish for `philosophy.'

Fédération Européenne de la Manutention. (In English, the official name is ``European Federation of Material Handling, Lifting and Storage Equipment Industries.'' Wow, French sure is an efficient, information-packed language! German name: ``Europäische Vereinigung der Förder- und Lagertechnik.'')

Finite Element Method.

Federal (US) Emergency Management Agency.

Fondation Européenne des Métiers de l'Image et du Son. French `European Foundation for Image and Sound Crafts.' {THE REST OF THIS ENTRY HAS ERRORS, although I could be excused for making them. Get what looks like the straight poop here. I'll fix the entry on, um, after September 22, 2006. Right now I have more pressing work.} A school of film created in October 1986. It succeeded l'IDHEC and was renamed INIS (Institut National de l'Image et du Son) in 1999. That's one version of the story, anyway.

The website <http://www.lafemis.fr/> evidently belongs to the same organization, but while it does mention the historical connection with l'IDHEC, it makes no mention of any INIS. It does mention that since 1998 it has enjoyed the support of the French ministry of culture. More interestingly, the organization is referred to as ``la fémis, école nationale supérieure des métiers de l'image et du son.'' In fact, one may find the acronym ENSMIS used in various places such as sound engineers' résumés, and even once or twice in lafemis.fr webpages.

My best guess is that one string that came with government support was that the school should be nominally national rather than European, but that people liked the old acronym and kept using it informally and unofficially. Moreover, an identically named INIS was already in existence in Quebec, with direct Canadian government support since at least 1990. In view of the namespace conflict, continued use of the already popular F-word must have seemed sensible. Proper obeisance was shown to the national government by the steadfast ignoring of the original expansion of the word and by tactics that obliterate the original sense. The ``tactics,'' as they must seem to any lexicographer, are the use of lower case and an acute accent on the e. The latter disguise is inspired: anyone guessing at an expansion is likely to suppose the e represents École rather than Européenne. Also, because accents have a habit of disappearing on capitalization, anyone aware of the old capitalized form could reasonably suppose that the accent had been there in reality all along. All in all, a well-camouflaged acronym subversion.

If you don't mean FEMIS (though if you're thinking of a film school then I think you do), then I can't help you.

Association for Feminist Epistemology, Metaphysics, Methodology and Science Studies. This organization got off to a bang (a few bangs, literally) on October 2, 2003. I only read two philosophy mailing lists, but I got four announcements in the space of a few hours, with a total of about eight exclamation marks. The name is only a bit rechrrché. It even has a certain panach.

FEMMSS is going to be another club for the grievance-as-Weltanschauung crowd, which includes much of the humanities faculty at your better universities. There was an organizational meeting on March 2004 at the Penn State Conference on The Ethics and Epistemologies of Ignorance. For Kant's observation on ignorance experts, see the Idiot entry.

Free Expression Network. See also the Freedom Forum, ABFFE, and OIF.

Fujitsu ENhanced Information & Communication Service.

Appetite suppressants FENfluramine (or the closely related dexfenfluramine) and PHENtermine taken in combination. It was an enormously popular prescription in the 1990's, given to an estimated six million Americans. The party ended in 1997, when the fen drugs were taken off the US market because studies had suggested they might cause heart-valve defects.

No idea. ``Feo specializes in [elegant but slow-loading] interface & graphic design.''

Spanish, `ugly' (male and unmarked-gender form).

Front End Of (production) Line. In integrated-circuit fabrication lines, this conventionally refers to earlier process stages that directly modify the semiconductor substrate or the immediate contacts to it -- mainly dopant diffusion and implantation, sputtering of gate films, oxidations, and the patterning steps associated with these. In contradistinction, the back end of the line (BEOL) is metallization (by means of PVD) for interconnects and vias (vertical interconnects between planar interconnects) and associated nonconducting depositions and growths (mostly glasses: polymers, oxides, nitrides, and oxynitrides) for electrical isolation, dielectrics (for capacitance), diffusion barriers, and mechanical passivation (in particular, to prevent failure of interconnects by electromigration and stress migration). FEOL and BEOL are used in transferred senses to refer to the levels of an IC fabricated in the corresponding stages: BEOL is the metallization layers (say between four and ten) and associated insulating layers; FEOL everything below that -- mostly transistors.

Fluent English {Proficient|Proficiency}. Cool: the adjective form of FEP describes what the adjective form of FEP isn't. What it is is an acronymic heteronym.

Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene. One of the polymers that du Pont markets as ``Teflon'' ® (along with PFA and PTFE).

Front-End Processor.

Federal Emergency Relief Administration. A depression-era program put in place early in FDR's first administration.

A surprisingly common error for femtosecond. Usually, at least, it seems to be due to faulty OCR. Not surprisingly, ferntosecond (that's fe-r-n-tosecond: primitive nonflowering leafy plant to second) is over ten times as common.

Far-End Receive Failure.

A nobler name for what the SI calls a femtometer: unit of length equal to 10-15 meter. About the size of a nucleon, and also the typical range for the strong interaction.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. In Batavia, Illinois. Longer entry under shorter name: FNAL.

Any particle with total angular momentum quantum number equal to half an odd positive integer (1/2, 3/2, 5/2, ...). For an elementary particle, this is equivalent to having ``half-integer'' intrinsic spin. Compound particles are fermions if they have an odd number of elementary fermion constituents, and bosons otherwise.

Fermions obey Fermi-Dirac statistics: their total wavefunctions must be antisymmetric. When expressed in terms of single-particle quantum states, this implies that fermions obey the Pauli exclusion principle.

A misspelling or misreading of femtosecond. To judge from ghits, one in a thousand webpages that has or should have the word femtosecond has ``ferntosecond.'' Cf. feratosecond.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. FERPA is 20 USC Sec. 1232g. To read it as a MSWord doc., go to title 20 (Education) of the US Code and select chapter 31. Search on 1232g. Philologists may be amused by "(FOOTNOTE 1)":
So in original. The period probably should be a semicolon. 

On June 25, 2001, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear a case, Owasso Independent School District v. Falvo, 00-1073, that should be of interest to anyone who teaches or is otherwise humiliated in a classroom. The court will probably have to decide whether classmate grading of swapped papers violates FERPA.

The particular case in question was brought by Kristja J. Falvo in 1998, who sued the Owasso, Okla., school district (in suburban Tulsa). She contended that three of her children were embarrassed when classmates graded each other's work and called out grades to the teacher. A federal judge rejected her claim, but last year the 10th US Circuit Court ruled that FERPA was violated. The act prohibits the release of ``education records'' without parental consent, and the tenth circuit found that grades students record on homework or tests and then report to a teacher are ``education records.''

The regulations are imposed by the usual mechanism: federal monies not to be disbursed to institutions that violate them. This affects virtually all public schools, AFAIK, and apparently few if any private schools.

I've also seen the F of FERPA incorrectly expanded as ``Federal.''

A colloidal suspension of nanoscopic magnetic particles. Has interesting properties. Combined with an inmiscible nonmagnetic fluid, its magnetic domains form interesting structures.

I ought to say something here about the old cation nomenclature, though that's not the reason I entered the entry, so this will be quick and minimal. Most transition metals are multivalent -- they have at least two oxidation states in addition to the elemental state (which has oxidation number 0). Most often they have valence 2 and something else. Anyway, to indicate the oxidation state there was a system of element-name inflections that was official for much of the twentieth century. It's still popular today, so you should know it. When there are only two oxidation states, the inflections are simply -ous and -ic. Hence, for iron, the cations are ferrous and ferric, because the names are formed from the Latin name of the element, which everyone knows, or perhaps because ``ironous'' and ``ironic'' might be confusing. The ferrous cation is Fe+3, and the ferric cation is Fe2+. Okay, enough about that.

Ottawa used to host a minor-league baseball team called the Lynx. Following the 2007 season, the team moved to Allentown, Pa., to become a Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Allentown is part of the rust belt: areas that used to have a thriving iron-and-steel industry and that now don't.

Well, that's not entirely accurate: a down-sized steel industry that employs fewer workers thrives in some places, but I'm not going to do heavy industrial research for an entry that's basically about a furry pig. Oh, all right, I suppose when the research falls in my lap I might as well type it in:

Through much of the 1970's and 80's, the United States, under intense competitive pressure from foreign countries, underwent an often agonizing economic restructuring. New and much more productive methods were adopted to produce goods that could compete with the flood of imports. Steel, which for a century had been the sine qua non of an industrialized economy, was a case in point. In 1974, 521,000 American steel workers were producing 99 million tons. In 2000, nearly exactly the same amount was being produced by only 151,000 workers.
That's from a February 2008 Commentary article by John Steele Gordon. (Yes, the surname Steele is related to steel -- it was a name given to foundry workers in the Middle Ages. The word -- spelled style in Old English -- has been traced back to at least around 725, and the forms of its cognates in Northern and Western Germanic branches indicate that the vocable goes back to proto-Germanic. Cognates in non-Germanic languages, like Russian and Old Prussian, appear to be more recent loans from German or Scandinavian. This feels really weird; I thought I was into at least my third tangent, yet I'm writing content that's actually somewhat relevant to the head term.)

Steele and similar names (stele was the typical Middle English spelling) were also given to people who were just tough. A more recent example of the practice was Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. He was born Iosef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (that's a transliteration of the Russian form of his Georgian name). His assumed name Stalin means `made of steel.' It apparently had nothing directly to do with steles, funerary or otherwise. You could be forgiven for thinking so, but you probably wouldn't have survived saying so. The Arabic word for iron is hadid.

Anyway, fast forward back to the global market and so forth, and that article by John Steele Gordon, of all aptronymic authors. The article title was ``Look Who's Afraid of Free Trade.'' The ``who'' turned out to be the Democrats, and Gordon reminded the reader that Democrats have been the party of free trade since the time of Jackson. I'd have written that it had been the party of free trade. I think the surprise implied by the title would have been more appropriate a quarter of a century ago.

Billy Joel wrote a song called ``Allentown'' (1982) about economic hardship, and the mayor of Allentown tried to shake him down for a share of the profits. That's sharper evidence than industrial statistics. I've got family in Allentown, but nobody was ever in the steel industry. One time when I visited in the 1960's there was a 1"-diameter boule of silicon on the kitchen table, and in an odd way that's about as far as you can get from the steel industry and still have anything to do with manufacturing.

Where was I? So the new owners called the team the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and chose a large furry pig as mascot. (No, pigs are not notably furry, but this is a pig of the mascot species. And pig iron is kinda shaggy stuff anyway.) Having introduced or imposed the mascot, and perhaps belatedly thinking that they ought to have some prospective-fan input, they solicited suggestions for the mascot name. There were 7345 submissions, and the most popular name, with 235 submissions, was ``Ferrous.'' Another suggestion was Porkchop, which was the name the owners chose. As they quickly learned following the announcement of the name, porkchop is a derogatory term for a Puerto Rican.

If the team had still been in Canada, this error would have been punished by means of an efficient modern instrument known as a ``human rights tribunal.'' (It's ``efficient'' because part of the torture is the star chamber itself. No need to wait for the inevitable conviction.) Instead, following immediate protests that, absent a receptive government entity, had to go directly to the owners, the team switched to plan B the very next day (December 2, 2007): ``Ferrous.'' FeRROUS (this is the official capitalization as of 2013, since I-don't-know when) wears number 26, the atomic number of iron. (Ferrous is also the mascot of the Aberdeen IronBirds, a Single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Given that this differently-named team is in a different league and plays games in a different region, the coincidence of mascot names was not expected to be a problem. FWIW, the last previous time that Allentown had had a major-league-affiliated baseball team was 1958-60; that team was called the Allentown Red Sox.)

At some point, a furry sow named FeFe was added to the mascot lineup. She sports pigtails and doesn't seem to have a number, because she wears team gear but not a uniform. Don't feel bad if you didn't groan immediately at the ``pigtails'' pun. It was years before I noticed that FeRROUS is a pun on feroz, the Puerto Rican word that means `ferocious.' The second syllable is in all-caps because the Spanish word is stressed on the ult.

In ordinary speech, fertility is a potential, the ability to produce offspring. This is natural; the adjective fertile means able to produce offspring. (Okay, okay -- if it's soil then the ``offspring'' are not its own but those of some plant. At various ancient and primitive times, the role of the female in the procreative process was conceived -- little pun there -- as analogous to that of soil, with the male providing a seed conceived as a complete tiny person -- a homunculus. The ancients were not oblivious to the fact that children might resemble their mothers as much as their fathers; they simply imagined that the way that came about was as what we would call an environmental effect.) The conventional sense of the word fertility is essentially that used by the medical establishment (possibly excluding some epidemiologists), as evidenced by the meaning of expressions such as ``fertility treatment.'' We have a number of entries that have to do with fertility in this sense. Considering the cultural centrality of fertility in primitive societies like, say, the G-7, it's hard to know where to draw the line on relevance, but here are a few of our apparently more relevant entries:

In demographics and social sciences today, the term fertility is used consistently to mean what might be called ``manifested fertility'' or perhaps ``fecundity.'' A couple of our entries that mention fertility in this (demographers') sense are kyoiku-mama and WEU. (For the ordinary sense of the word fertility, demographers use ``biological fertility.'')

Fertility is computed by demographers as the number of children born per woman. This expression is a kind of shorthand for the actual mathematical definition. Obviously there are difficulties if one tries to take it as a strict definition. One difficulty is that one does not know how many children a woman will have until she is past her reproductive period (nowadays that is usually until menopause; at various times and places it has often been until death). Hence, for a large fraction of women and girls alive at any given time, one does not know the value of the individual vital statistic. A second problem with understanding the loose definition rigidly arises because fertility varies over time. Even when computing fertilities in the distant-enough past, with all necessary data putatively available, it is unclear how to assign the time in a meaningful way. For example, in one strict interpretation, the fertility rises immediately when a cohort of girls is born who will have a high birth rate years later.

These problems are analogous to the problems of defining life expectancy, and the solution is similar. In any given year, one can know (for the previous year, which is ``current'' in published statistics) how many children are born to women of each age. To compute fertility, one uses that current rate to estimate how many children women currently in each age group will ever have. Thus, the total number of offspring that women who are currently 25 will ever have is estimated by assuming that at age 26 (i.e., the next year) they will have offspring at the same rate as current 26-year-olds, at 27 (two years out) at the same rate as the current age-27 cohort, etc. This makes it possible to fold the current demographic profile (more-or-less known) into an estimate of future birth rate (the current birth rate). There are elementary corrections to this that are based on mortality rates (next year there won't be quite so many 26-year-olds as there are 25-year-olds today, because some will die -- tragically young). When birth rates are changing, one can attempt to extrapolate future birth rates in order to get a better estimate of fertility. There is no real agreement on how to do this, since many of the factors affecting whether women have children are not known, often by the women themselves.

(That's right, it's nothing but a convolution integral.)

Family Environment Scale. Has various component subscales, such as Expressiveness and Achievement Orientation.

Flash Evaporator System.

Fluent English Speaker. That's the usual expansion. Better would be ``Fluent English-Speaker'' or ``fluent speaker of English.''

Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope. You can visit a picture of a Hitachi S-4500 FESEM at the Notre Dame Microelectronics Lab.

Here's a description from Charles Evans & Associates.

festival seating
General-admission seating. See GA.

Field-Effect Transistor. (Brief description here.) A majority-carrier device. In principle, this includes IGFET's as well as JFET's, but in practice the term usually refers to JFET's and operationally similar MESFET's and MODFET's.

Pronounced both eff-ee-tee and as word rhyming with set.

Federal Energy Technology Center. There seem to be a couple of them: Morgantown (MGN) and Pittsburgh (PGH).

feudal land measure
Not strictly area measurement but crop-yield measurement.
1 wapentakes = hundred (Danish term)  (Odd, though, because Danish doesn't use w much.)
1 hundred = 100 hides (in principle), a subdivision of a shire.
1 knight's fee = 12 hides
1 sulong  = 2 hides (Kentish unit)
1 hide    = 120 acres for tax-assessment purposes (actual area varies)
1 hide	  = 4 virgates
1 hide	  = the land that can be cultivated by an eight-ox plow in one year
1 carucate = 1 hide (in the Danelaw)
1 yoke    = 2 virgates (Kentish unit)
1 arpen	  = 1 acre

Foreign Executive Women. Perhaps only in Japan.

Far-end (telephone-line) Crosstalk. Cf. NEXT, vide crosstalk.

Fighter (aircraft) Engagement Zone. See analytic differential definition at the weapon engagement zone entry of the DOD's online Dictionary of Military Terms.

Fast Forward. Skip the boring stuff.

Fill Factor. A measure of power-supply efficiency. If power supply (a solar cell or fuel cell, say) could drive the short-circuit current (ISC) unchanged as voltage increased to the maximum (the open-circuit voltage VOC) then they could supply a power ISCVOC. In practice, current decreases with increasing voltage. The maximum power that can be extracted is a fraction FF of this value.

(The term ``fill factor'' evidently refers to the fact that power is represented by a rectangle on the I-V characteristic. The simpleminded maximum is the area of a rectangle of height ISC and width VOC. The real maximum power is the area of the largest rectangle that can be inscribed from the current and voltage axes to a point on the solar cell's I-V characteristic. The fill factor is the fraction of the former rectangle filled by the latter.)

An alternative discussion of this stuff is at the MPP (Maximum Power Point) entry.

Flip-Flop latch.

ff, ff., ff
... and pages following. [Single eff if only one following page.] Abbreviation in book indices and references, such as one in the Forrestal entry infra.

[Football icon]

Force[d] [a] Fumble.

Form Feed. Go to top of next page.

Founding Father. Not a foundling father, necessarily.

French Fries. (Restaurant-order abbreviation.) (Briefly ``Freedom Fries'' during the American dyspepsia over French belly-aching about the US action to eliminate Saddam.)

``French fries'' (or just ``fries'') is American for potatoes cut into long pieces and fried. Potatoes fried in other shapes are called by various names -- curly fries, country fries, home [style] fries, hash browns, potato cubes, 'tater bits, Cajun fries, etc.

Originally, ``French fries'' was a more specific term implying that the lengths of potato had been deep fried. That's the impression I have from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook (11th edn., 1965), which defines French frying as a general procedure that we would now call deep frying. (Frying by immersion in hot shortening -- ``fat,'' in the book's definition. Fast-food restaurants nowadays use vegetable oil.) The book offers recipes for both French fries and German fries. The German fries were similar, but the fat was not as hot; they took 15 minutes to fry instead of 5 for the FF. The next time I get limp, soggy fries, I'll complain that if I'd wanted German fries, I'd have asked for them. Realistically, though, nowadays there's no reliable terminological distinction between potatoes deep fried (placed in a basket and immersed in shortening), potatoes grilled on a metal surface, and potatoes shallow fried (my neologism for fried by immersion in tepid oil, since no one would understand ``German fried''). Potatoes are not the ideal vegetable to stir fry.

The term ``French fry'' is surprising to the French; the idea of serving potatoes cut and fried was a Belgian innovation a couple of centuries ago. For all I know, the idea of slicing them twice, so they'd be long instead of flat, was an American innovation. (In Japanese, the names of numbers change depending on the general kind of thing that is being counted. Flat things and long things, for example, get different kinds of numbers.) In French, `fried potatoes' are normally called frites -- more or less literally `fries.' If you wanted to get a bit more specific, it wouldn't be as helpful as you'd suppose. The standard long term is pommes frites, which can be literally translated `fried apples' -- pomme is `apple'; pomme de terre (`earth apple') is `potato.' In the US, road apple is what a horse's behind leaves behind. The French are also innocent in the invention of what is called ``French [salad] dressing'' in the US -- a goop of equal parts mayonnaise and ketchup. ``French toast'' is just the new name that was given to ``German toast'' when Germany became the main enemy and France an ally in WWI. Belgium was overrun by German forces in that war and the next.

Actually, Belgian fries are fried twice, first at high temperature and then at a lower temperature. It seems like a compromise between French Fries and German fries. What the world needs is a truly scholarly cookbook. Fries in the US are cooked in the French way: a single stage.

The true origin of the potato chip is controversial. My own experiments indicate that it's not too easy to make, either.

British `chips' are fried potatoes, but not what most US restaurants would advertise as ``French fries.'' For many years in London, there were merchants who sold freshly fried fish, and merchants who sold freshly fried potatoes, but none who offered both. Selling fish and chips together was a twentieth-century innovation.

The Guinness Book of World Records reports that someone survived more than a year on just potatoes and water. It doesn't say what prompted him to live again.

The elementary school pupil who spelled potato correctly, but was persuaded by veep Quayle to add a final `e,' had his moment of fame afterward; I saw him on the David Letterman show, he seemed like a bright kid. Today, August 8, 1997, the news media reports tracking him down. He dropped out of high school and works for a Pontiac dealer in Trenton. He's still in the vanguard of linguistic innovation, though: he was described as an `unwed father.'

Living in Indiana (IN), the home state of J. Danforth Quayle, I passed by an Arby's recently that advertised ``Potatoe'' something or others. James C. Quayle, Dan's father, died in July 2000.

Somewhere else in this glossary I explain that politicians like classroom audiences because they tend to ask questions keyed to the intellectual level of political rhetoric, rather than to the level of ordinary intelligent conversation. Anyway, something like that. You knew that, of course -- it's obvious. But you don't realize how long it's been going on. I have here before me a dusty old copy of the New York Times ``Week in Review'' section. The lead story: ``Greasy Kid Stuff: Washington Kidnaps Dick and Jane.'' The featured pull-out quote: ``Children are cute, and useful to politicians, in ways that adults aren't.'' It was news that week, so that must be when this political trick was first tried. Sunday, June 15, 1997. There you go.

Fast Fourier Analy{sis | zer}.

Federal Facility Agreement.

Free Fatty Acid[s].

J. McSavage and S. Trevisan published a study entitled ``The use and abuse of frying oil'' in Food Service Technology [vol. 1, #2, pp. 85-92 (2001)]. They assessed the quality of frying oil discarded by a sample of catering establishments, using a rapid test method to measure the FFA concentration. ``Results show that none of the establishments used an objective assessment method; a lack of consistency between establishments, and many discarding oil where the FFA levels were above the recommended safe level.''

Free From Alongside (ship).

Future Farmers of America.

Foundation Fighting Blindness. (Formerly the National Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation.)

Fabric and Finance Committee. The FFC advises on how, or whether, the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) can implement its planned pastoral policies. This is at the St. Margaret Clitherow Roman Catholic Church in Bracknell, England.

Fabric FIFO Controller. For something to do with FIFA rather than FIFO, scoot down to the FFF entry below. There seems to be something wrong with this entry, and believe me I'm trying hard to figure out what it was originally supposed to entail.

Fabric Fortune Cookie[s]. Reported by the seller to be an ``unbelievably clever idea for gifts, favors and home decoration...'' They're right: I don't believe it. Do they sell patterns for edible panties also?

Fast and Fun Crochet. Not just a magazine. A website. A lifestyle concept! A welthistorisches Revolutionsprinzip! And something you can do with just one needle and half a brain.

Fauji Fertilizer Company, Ltd. ``... committed to attaining excellence in all areas of its operation.''

Feed-Forward Control. The practice, in manufacture, of evaluating a product at an intermediate step in fabrication and adjusting later manufacturing steps to compensate for measured deviations from spec.

Flexible Flat (electric) Cable. Also, equivalently, flat flexible cable or flexible flat conductor.

Flip-Flop (FF) Complementarity.

Foam For Comfort, Ltd. ``Sorry, UK and Northern Ireland deliveries only.'' (They presumably mean some other ``UK'' than the familiar united kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Either that, or this is one of those rare (a.-a.p.p. pleonasms.)

FFC makes Church Pew Cushions! Of course! Why didn't I think of it?

I was sort of a greeter at Gary's wedding (yeah, and taxi driver too), and when Wally and his wife came in, he explained that he considered that attending this wedding would satisfy his personal church attendance obligations for the week. Most weeks, Wally is a Roman Catholic. This week, I told him to put on a yamulka. He told me later that when he went to sit down in the pews, and seeing no knee-rests, it struck him that Jews must be serious masochists about worship. He might be right, but there's no full genuflection in Jewish worship.

Full, Final, and Complete. Bureaucratese for ``It's your problem now.''

Federal Facility Compliance Act.

French Football Federation. Oh wait, wait -- it's not that at all. Fédération Française de Football.

Failure to Follow Instructions. The this abbreviation is used in grading otherwise acceptable work, to explain that the student is being a low grade because the instructor gave poor instructions.

Fatal Familial Insomnia. A disease of humans, suspected of being caused or transmitted by prions, q.v.

Finance For Industry. Founded in 1973, owned by the Bank of England and seven leading commercial banks (Scotland's and England's clearing banks). The ICFC, which had been created in 1945, was folded in as Finance for Industry's best-known subsidiary, and one of four main constituents parts. The other three were TDC (development capital for technology-based firms), FFS (Finance for shipping) and FCI (Finance corporation for industry, lending to large companies). Another entity, ``FFI UK Finance,'' employed the staff and held almost all the assets.

Nobody understood the structure of the beast, and its various limbs hardly knew what else they were attached to, so in July 1983, with great fanfare (i.e. with twenty-page glossy inserts in The Economist), FFI introduced a unifying corporate identity, ``Investors in Industry,'' and a 3i logo painted in wavy-edged watercolors, with the dot over the "i" replaced with a drawing of an eye. Except for ICFC, the 3i symbol began to be used as a prefix to the names of the various entities (``3i FFS'' and so forth).

For later developments, see the 3i entry.

Forces françaises de l'intérieur. Pronounced ``fi-fi.''

Fantasy Football League. A role-playing game in which the roles contestants play are team owners. ESPN functions as the dungeonmaster, or whatever they call it. Who would ever have thought that sports could get this geeky?

Flip-Flop Latch. Here're some exercises.

Forces françaises libres.

French as a Foreign Language. See FSL.

Front Focal Length.

Fat-Free (body) Mass. I think that equals body mass minus fat mass (FM), but in the one paper I looked at that listed FFM, FM, and ``weight,'' the last exceeded FFM+FM by a couple of kilos.

Fédération française de majorette. Founded in 1970, merged with the FNMF in 1972 to form the FFM (q.v.).

Fédération française des majorettes. Founded in 1972 from the merger of the FNMF and the FFM, which changed its name to FFTB in 1975 and expelled all the member organizations that didn't like that. It was a terrible bloodbath. More fascinating intrigue revealed at our mysterious majorette entry.

Federal Financial Participation. The percentage of expenses funded by the federal government in a program funded jointly with a state. See also FMAP.

Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. NSF serves a master list.

Ferrovie Federali Svizzere. Italian name of Swiss (.ch) national railway. The acronyms in all the other languages also consist of one double letter and one single:

Finance For Shipping. All is explained at the FFI entry.

Fast Fourier Transform. A way of coding Fourier Transform that takes advantage of multiple-angle trigonometric identities to reduce or simplify computation.

Fédération française de twirling bâton. Name since 1975; see FFM. March on over to our majorette entry.

First Families of Virginia.

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