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From Japan. A top-level hierarchy of newsgroups.

IP address tag for Fiji.

On April 5, 2005, a court in Suva (Fiji's capital) handed down a sentence for behavior the magistrate described as ``something so disgusting that it would make any decent person vomit.'' The men pled guilty to a charge of ``committing an unnatural offense and indecent behavior.'' They had taken pictures of themselves naked, so one suspects police did not want for evidence. I was motivated to add this to the entry because of the ironic headline that resulted: ``Men Sentenced to Prison for Gay Sex.''

Federal Judicial Center.

IP address tag for the Falkland Islands. Since Argentina (.ar), which has disputed ownership, rather forcefully at times, calls the islands Las Malvinas (freely: `the heather islands'), this selection of ISO code has political content. So, for that matter, do .cn and .tw.

Formerly Known As. On the pattern of a/k/a.

The Federation of Korea Information Industries.

Sorry, don't have expansion yet. An antirejection (immunosuppressive) drug used in organ transpantation. Solomon Snyder, of Johns Hopkins Univ. School of Medicine, announced 1996.10.27 that in vitro and rat and monkey trials indicate nerve-regeneration activity for FK506 and derivatives. It's not a coincidence -- nerve cell death and organ rejection were found independently to share some chemical pathway.

FlatLine. Verb: to flatline is to have one of one's time-varying vital signs, like pulse, say, become constant, or time-invariant. This is not good.

FLorida. USPS abbreviation.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for Florida. USACityLink.com has a page mostly of Florida city and town links. Visitor information can be found by a virtual visit to Absolutely Florida.

FL, F.L.
Focal Length.

Foreign Language.

Fuzzy Logic. Not pejorative.

Logic based on truth values in the continuum between zero and one. So true. There's a usenet newsgroup comp.ai.fuzzy, and an associated FAQ. (The CMU archive has an older but more hyper mark-up.)

Just as a logical condition can be used to define the ordinary subset of a set, so a fuzzy logical condition can be used to define a sequence of fuzzy subsets conforming to the condition with increasing strictness or degree of truth (and corresponding decrease in cardinality).

First-Language Acquisition.

F{ive|our}-Letter Acronym. I recommend ETLA or XTLA for a four-letter acronym.

Florida. Traditional abbreviation. 'member the Beach Boys' lyric -- ``down in eff el ay.''

See FL supra.

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales. Spanish `Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences.'

Local colloquialism for FLAGstaff (AZ).

German acronym of Fliegerabwehrkanone, meaning `anti-aircraft guns' (more literally, `aircraft defense guns').

An inspired misspelling, even when it's inspired by ignorance.

Fastball pitcher.

flamingo dancing
Oh, ya, i m just so TOTALLY into that. Im n2 kool walks on the beech to. c u @ HotOrNot, k? Toodles!

Flannel plaid shirt with five pens in a breast pocket
Probably encloses a physicist.

Foreign Language Assistance Program. Funded by title VII of the ESEA.

Federación Latinoamericana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. An organization that in 2001 became the IFPI regional office for Latin America (and goes by the name IFPE Latin America).

The bit of plastic left over on injection-molded pieces, at the edges where the mold separates, and especially at the injection points.

Free-Electron LASer in Hamburg. Originally known as the (and a) VUV-FEL.

flash memory, flash PROM, flash EPROM
EEPROM in which erasure is done by blocks rather than bits. Higher density than ordinary EEPROM, but can only survive 10,000-100,000 rewrite cycles.

Flash Player
Memory-leak enabler.

The FLorida chapter of the American Translators Association. This acronym has possibilities. Didn't Mick Jagger sing about this in ``Shattered''? Sure! The song ends
Flata, flata, flata, flata, flata, flata, flataaah--
Pile it up! Pile it high on the plattuh--

It sounds cut off. With all that pause-filling repetition, it sounds like he he got too far ahead of his interpreter.

To flaunt something is to show off that you have it. A common malapropism is the use of flaunt for flout. To ``flout a rule'' is to violate that rule brazenly.

Fiber from plant stems, used to make cloth called linen. The original flax is from Linum usitatissimum (Latin for `very common flax').

Federal Laboratory Consortium.

Fiber Loop Carrier. That's not a carrier of fiber loop, you understand; it's a carrier having loop topology, made out of fiber and carrying optical signals. Of course, if this wasn't obvious then it wasn't helpful either.

Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal Display (LCD.

Flux Logic Element Array.

Fledermaus, Die
German: `The Bat.' A small opera. Could this have been the inspiration for ``Batman''? Probably not.

FLEFO, Flefo
Foreign Language Education FOrum. An old CompuServe chat or newsgroup or something. I'm not sure how real-time those things were, and they went through one or more format changes. At some point CompuServe membership ceased to be a requirement for participation, as it had been originally, and eventually it was shut down. It was apparently a lively place for translators in the 1990's, and it had a number of successors, including <Flefo.org>, none of them especially lively. See Translation Journal's list of translator discussion groups (but note that it hasn't been updated since 2001 -- at least as of my last update of this FLEFO entry in mid-2006).

Funded Legal Education Program. A US military program that allows officers to attend law school at government expense while receiving full pay and allowances. A smaller number of officers are allowed to defer military obligations (entered into voluntarily, these days) while attending law school at their own expense (this is the Extended Leave Program, ELP). An officer who attends law school under either program can practice law in the Air Force as a member of the Department of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) upon graduation from law school and admission to any state bar.

Foreign Language in the Elementary School.

Federation Licensing EXam.

Foreign Language EXploratory (program).

German: `inflection.' (I suppose it is used only in the grammatical sense, and would not occur in the translation of an expression like ``inflection of the voice.'') Eine Flexionsparadigma is what is usually just called a `paradigm' in language classes.

A pet-rental service based in Wilmington, Delaware. It was founded in March 2007 by Marlena Cervantes. As of August 2007, the company owned ten dogs and offered its services in Los Angeles and San Diego. Plans are to expand to New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., and London over the following six months. Dogs can be rented for periods ranging from a day to a week, or adopted.

Fermented Liquid Food. So far I've only encountered this term in the pig-slop context. But doesn't beer count? (There's also a slightly alcoholic yogurt-based drink I think is called kfir or something.)

Federal Library and Information Center Committee. ``Service and guidance to federal libraries and information centers since 1965.'' Part of the US Library of Congress.

Dismissive term for movie or film. From `flicker,' which earlier movies used to do. Part of the reason for the flicker was that they showed only 16 frames per second instead of 24. Older newsreels often show people and vehicles moving jerkily because 16-frame-per-second motion is being viewed at 24/16 or 1.5X speed. If you find this confusing, please understand: the newsreels show people moving jerkily because that's how people used to move. People were pleased by the change to 24 fps, and this caused them to relax and slow down.

German: `to mend, repair.' In relevant contexts, it may be applied to the repair of an engine or building, but mostly it refers to the mending of clothing (hence der Flickenkorb is `the sewing basket'), usually by application of a patch. The noun Flicken means `patch.' Yes, this entry is written in a somewhat flat-footed style, but I haven't time to fix it.

flicker noise
Noise with a 1/f spectrum, associated with material inhomogeneity.

Bilingual (German-English) dictionaries typically translate this word and its plural as `filler.' The Duden Deutsches Universalwörterbuch defines Flickwort as Füllwort, and defines that in turn as a ``Wort mit geringem Aussagewert.'' That is, loosely, a `word that communicates little.'

In each of the following statements, the words preceding the first comma would probably count as Füllwörter:
``Come now, every word means something.''
``Well, yeah, but still...''
``Look, the first word in this sentence is a verb in the imperative mood; it's an instruction.''
``You know, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to look at.''
``So nu, the first two words are filler.''

[Icon link to ornithopter image and text]

According to Sally Field, in her character as ``The Flying Nun'':
``When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, watch out!''
More detailed explanations are available.

Forward-Looking InfraRed (sensor).

Flux-Locked Loop. That would be magnetic flux. As it happens, the magnetic flux through an area (the surface integral of the magnetic induction B) corresponds to a quantum phase line integral around the edge of the surface. I don't know exactly how an FLL would work, but I imagine it's an idea that was tried in one of those Josephson-junction computing-technology efforts that failed regularly from at least the 1970's until funding ran out: the magnetic flux trapped in a superconducting loop is related to the supercurrent circulating in the loop. Since the flux is quantized, the current loop functions as a digital memory element. Nominally lossless memory elements were always the strong point of Josephson technology. The weak point was three-lead devices with gain.

Of course, FLL could be something completely different.

Folch Lower Layer. A/k/a Folch lower phase. The denser, mostly-chloroform layer that forms when one uses the lipid extraction procedure of Folch, q.v. The FLL is the phase that contains the lipids. It should not be confused with ``pure Folch lower,'' a mostly-chloroform wash used in further processing of the FLL itself.

floating gate
A MOSFET gate lying between conduction channel and the usual MOSFET gate (called control gate). Serves as a memory element in EPROM's, EEPROM's and flash EPROM's.

Normally, only the control gate (CG) is electrically contacted, and at low gate voltages the floating gate serves as a conducting slab within the region between control gate and channel. Thus, ignoring short-channel and narrow-channel effects, which are exacerbated, the main effect of fabricating a MOSFET with a floating gate is that gate capacitance and transistor gain factor (``k'') are decreased inversely as the total thickness of oxide between control gate and channel.

Any negative charge on the floating gate raises the transistor threshold voltage of an nMOS transistor. Thus, stored charge can be detected electrically and serves as nonvolatile storage for one bit of data.

Starting from with an initially neutral floating gate, charge can be added by exciting channel electrons and applying a large positive bias to the control gate. Different EPROM's differ in the way the floating gate is charged. Traditional EPROM's used UV light absorption to excite electrons out of the floating gate. EEPROM's and flash EEPROM's have at least a segment of very thin (20 nm or less) thinox layer between the FG and the channel, which allows quantum tunneling between them under acceptable bias conditions.

floating head
A magnetic write head, for an analog audio tape, that is set back from the surface. Although the field is strengthened to compensate, erasure and writing of the tape is done by the fringing field of the magnetic head, and the magnetization occurs over a length of tape on the same order as the distance between head magnet and the tape. This gives erasures and taped signals a smooth fade-in and fade-out.

floating signifier
A term introduced by Claude Lévi-Strauss to describe a word or expression that does not have a meaning so much as hold open a space for that which exceeds expression. ``Postmodern'' is alleged to be such a term.

I remember reading an article in Time or Newsweek sometime in the mid- to late-seventies, which reported that according to some poll or other, Claude Lévi-Strauss was regarded as the most over-rated personality in recent history. I won't say whom I'd have voted for then, if I had known what I do now, but now would be a good time to visit the deconstruction entry.

On the other hand, if you simply must learn more about L-S, you could go fishing for it here.

Defined by the OED2 as
``The action or habit of estimating as worthless.''

In the earliest instance cited (1741) there are hyphens after flocci, nauci, nihili, and pili. These four are enumerated in a ``well-known rule of the Eton Latin Grammar'' as words meaning `at a small price' or `at nothing.' In 2004, the term was heaved into a Scientific American article (Dec. 20) about research confuting the belief that boosting self-esteem helps improve academic performance. For more, just follow your NASE.

FLorida, OHio, and PennsylvaniA. Crucial swing states in the 2004 presidential election.

Florence Griffith Joyner. US Olympian in track and field. Died cruelly young.

Fractional Low-Order Moments. Expectation values of low powers of random variable. Of use in alpha-stable and other distributions which cannot be characterized by (because they do not have) higher-order moments.

Chip-level design, in which one is concerned with the disposition of large objects (e.g., ALU's, memory arrays).

FLoating point OPeration, but see FLOPS.

FLOPPY disk (FD).

floppy bowtie
The only kind of bowtie that utilizes gravitational effects. For no good reason at all, you should also read the entry for floppy disk (FD).

FLoating-point OPerations per Second. [See MIPS for usage note.]

Florida Effect
Decreased willingness of taxpayers to fund the education of students they feel socially distant or detached from. The term is based on the idea that this effect should be strong in Florida. Whether it is only expectation or observation as well, I don't know. The expectation is due to the fact that Florida is a popular retirement location, and that the retirees are generally not Hispanic, whereas a relatively high percentage of the students are Hispanic.

Front for the Liberation Of South Yemen.

Forward Line Of Troops.

FLOating-gate Tunnel OXide. Vide floating gate.

First Lady Of The United States (US). A term used only by the military and the Secret Service and the news media and people who read or hear the news.

``FLOTUS''! You got that? Not ``flatus''!

I suppose a presidential floozie would be FLOTPOTUS.

More information, not all of it fanciful, at the POTUS (President Of ...) entry.

flouridation, flourination
Adding flour. A crucial step in bread-making.

You know, writing ``flour'' for ``fluor'' is a pretty stupid error. It's not the sort error you'll find in this glossary; I've got an editor.

Crucial information available at Liouville. The information you really sought is at the Fluorine entry, F.

FLuorinated (high-density) PolyEthylene. [See MIP(s) for usage note.]

Federal Librarians Round Table. The ALA apparently likes to name its groups ``round tables.'' Cf. EMIERT, IFRT.

Fundamentals of Land Surveying. An exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES, q.v.). Corresponds to the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam administered by the same professional organization on a different date. The FE and FLS exams are preliminary to the taking of the Professional Engineering (PE) and Professional Land Surveying (PLS) exams, respectively.

See also the Land Surveyor Reference Page.

(US) Fair Labor Standards Act.

Faster-than-Light Travel. Superluminal travel. In our current quite good understanding of space and time and all that, travel that appears to be faster than the speed of light to one observer will appear to be travel backwards in time to another observer. It should be understood that the theory of relativity (I.e. the name of our understanding of space, time, etc.) does not favor any particular observer's point of view...it simply allows us (a) to compute what actually happens, referred to any particular frame of reference (``observer'' in this context) and (b) translate one observer's description of events into another's. Thus, faster-than-light travel is travel backwards in time.

The theory of relativity does not forbid travel faster than the speed of light, strictly speaking. However, it does imply that for anything massive, it takes infinite energy to get up to that speed. In principle, however, tachyons (hypothetical particles moving hyperluminously) or other massive objects might be created already moving faster than the speed light, so they don't have to cross an infinite-energy barrier. No one has ever come up with a credible mechanism for creating more than one or two tachyons in this way. The comment that ``nothing can go faster than the speed of light'' is shorthand for ``I don't believe in `time travel'.''

There is a more precise statement, that ``information cannot travel faster than light.'' This includes the movement of matter, of course -- the arrival of a stone can convey whatever information has been inscribed on it. One kind of faster-than-light motion that is allowed is apparent motion: If you scan the sky with a flashlight, and if you see its reflection on distant planets like the image of headlights through fog, then (a) you have very good eyesight, better than 20-20 anyway, and (b) the image can travel gazillions of miles across the sky in as little time as it takes you to turn your wrist. This is faster than the speed of light, but no information flows that fast. For example, if the flashlight beam is reflected by a circle of planets 5 billion light years away, and you turn the flashlight beam 180° in one second, then the beam image will move (really: the image will appear to travel) across about 15 billion light years in one second, for an apparent speed of about 15 billion × (1 year/1 second) = 45 × 1016 times the speed of light, which everyone agrees is quite fast. However, to see this image you're going to have to wait ten years while the light goes away and returns. Ten years later, sure enough, the image of high speed that you've set up appears, the reflection of your flashlight beam flashes across the sky in one second. However, no information has traveled faster than light. There's been plenty of time for information to travel out to the stars, poking along merely at the speed of light, and set up the celestial illusion. (Of course, if the planets were not equidistant to within a fraction of a lightsecond, then you're out of luck.)

More of this at the ICBM entry.

Pierre de Fermat (1601-1665) had a habit of recording his mathematical discoveries and excitements in the margins of his books. His most famous such marginal comment was made in the margin of his copy of Diophantus's Arithmetica, next to Proposition II, 8: ``To divide a given square number into two squares.'' Fermat wrote there:
``In contrast, it is impossible to divide a cube into two cubes, or a fourth power into two fourth powers, or in general any power beyond the square into powers of the same degree; of this I have discovered a very wonderful demonstration. This margin is too narrow to contain it.''
This is published in Oeuvres de Fermat, vol. I, p.53 (Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1891-1912). Fermat's copy of Diophantus was lost, but only after this and other marginalia were transcribed, I think by his son. At first, most people (mathematicians were people) assumed that the fact was true and that he had proved it. The proposition became known as Fermat's Last Theorem because it was the last one remaining unproven [by who came after, at least]. It seems to be widely agreed now that finally, more than three hundred years after its statement, a proof of the proposition has finally been found, by Andrew Wiles. Visit the appropriate section of the sci.math FAQ for a status report. The paper was accepted for publication by The Annals of Mathematics, and has already been simplified and generalized by other mathematicians. You can also visit a relevant AMS page.

Eric Zorn, in his column on page one of the Chicago Tribune METRO section, reported (June 29, 1993) the celebratory high spirits just six days after Andrew Wiles announced his victorious proof of the FLT. It was eerily reminiscent of events following Chicago Bulls NBA Championship victories.

``Math hooligans are the worst,'' said a Chicago Police Department spokesman. ``But the city learned from the Bierbach riots. We were ready for them this time.''

When word hit Wednesday that Fermat's Last Theorem had fallen, a massive show of force from law enforcement at universities all around the country headed off a repeat of the festive looting sprees that have become the traditional accompaniment to triumphant breakthroughs in higher mathematics.

Mounted police throughout Hyde Park kept crowds of delirious wizards at the University of Chicago from tipping over cars on the midway, as they first did in 1976 when Wolfgang Haken and Kenneth Appel cracked the long-vexing Four-Color Problem. Incidents of textbook-throwing and citizens being pulled from their cars and humiliated with difficult story problems last week were described by the university's math department chairman, Bob Zimmer, as ``isolated.''

(According to Eric Zorn's column on June 19, 2001, Eric's father Jens is a full-time professor at the University of Michigan. Zorn is also an important name in mathematics.)

FLighT. Airline fare abbreviation.

Erica Jong's Fear of Flying -- A Novel (1973) was a best seller.

Nancy L. Rose's Fear of Flying? Economic Analyses of Airline Safety (1991) was not.

FLUoxetine. An SSRI.

Influenza. In the original Italian, the letter zee (zed) is pronounced ts. Both cold and flu are viral infections that cause fever, chills, feeling lousy, and inflammation of the upper part of the respiratory tract. However, cold is a general term for less severe infection by any of a broad class of viruses, especially rhinoviruses. Influenza is the disease caused by a particular class of viruses. Influenza is rarer and more acute.

In the US, the flu typically kills about 30 or 40 thousand mostly elderly people each year. However, most flu viruses do not kill directly; they damage cells lining the the upper respiratory tract, exposing infected persons to airborne bacteria. Most flu-infected people who do die are actually felled by bacterial pneumonia. (That's why antibiotics, which do not act against viruses, are nevertheless prescribed for flu.) The Spanish flu of 1918 evidently killed more directly, by causing severe damage deep in the lungs, associated with severe edema and hemorrhage. (The severe immune response provoked by the infection also played a part in this.) A difficult reconstruction of the Spanish-flu genome in 2005 confirmed that it was an H5N1 virus, like the avian flu causing concern at this time. This avian flu seems to kill directly in the same way as the 1918 flu. It extended its range alarmingly in 2005, but as of October there is no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.

It is clear that violin solos, like viral infections, cause respiratory irritation and, in particular, loud coughing. The question, as with flu lethality, is one of mechanism. Mike Nichols, writing in the New York Times on October 2, 1977, hypothesized exogenous rather than endogenous causes for the coughing at theater opening nights:

Opening night . . . you will find a sizable number of people with severe respiratory infections who have, it appears, defied their doctors, torn aside oxygen tents, evaded the floor nurses at various hospitals and courageously made their way to the theater to enjoy the play -- the Discreet Choker and the Straight Cougher.

There are a bunch of other things I want to say about fluency, but I haven't thought of them yet. Well, one thing is that in my experience, it's usually easier to sound fluent in a second language than it is to seem fluent in writing, at the same level of competence. Another is that true fluency in two or three languages is unusual. Okay, that will do for now. Think of this paragraph as the declaration statement instantiating an object of the entry class. Now I can start assigning properties to the new object.

David Warren's column on the Benazir Bhutto assassination only came out on January 2, 2008 (he had taken a vacation). It turns out that like just about everyone else in the chattering classes, he had known her personally -- in Pakistan, no less. Among his observations:

She thought in English, her Urdu was awkward, her ``native'' Sindhi inadequate even for giving directions to servants. Part of her political trick, in Pakistan itself, was that she sounded uneducated in Urdu. This is as close as she got to being ``a woman of the people.''

There you have it: an advantage to lack of fluency. Now you have an excuse.

It's amazing, the things that come to fill your head in a lifetime of TV-watching.

German for male `flight attendant.' The female of the species is Flugbegleiterin.

Fluorescence Nightingale
Heroinic pioneer of optically-detected nurdsing.

AKA Fluorspar. Can fluoresce in the blue when excited in the UV. It also thermoluminesces in the green. Defines hardness 4 on Friedrich Mohs's mineral hardness scale. (A scale used to determine the hardness of solids, especially minerals. It is named after the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs.)

flying coffin
Pilots' nickname for the B-26 and B-24 bombers.


FM, .fm
Federated States of Micronesia. USPS and international abbreviation. Getting this as a national domain name is hitting the TLD sweepstakes. FM radio stations like WZOW pay to have memorable URL's like <wzow.fm>. Cf. .tv.

Fermium. Atomic number 100. An actinide. Named after Enrico Fermi. Name proposed by Seaborg in 1955, shortly after Enrico's stoic death from stomach cancer in 1953. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Finance Minist{er|ry}. Cabinet portfolio corresponding most closely to that of the US Secretary of Treasury. Not a very useful abbreviation in governments that have both a foreign minister and a finance minister. Of course, they could avoid all these problems by renaming the Finance Ministry the Economics Ministry, and the Foreign Ministry the Exterior Ministry. Cf. EAM, FAM.

Financial Management.

Foreign Minist{er|ry}. Cabinet portfolio corresponding most closely to that of the US Secretary of State. Not really a very useful abbreviation in governments that have both a foreign minister and a finance minister. Oh, you heard that joke already?

Frequency Modulation. The encoding of information as a variation in the frequency of a carrier. Strictly speaking, there is a puzzle in this simple definition: frequency and time are complementary variables, and any function or distribution in time can be described equivalently by distribution in frequency. Fourier integration transforms the time distribution into the frequency distribution, and the inverse Fourier integral returns the time distribution. Fourier and Inverse Fourier transformation are nonlocal operations: A signal has a single frequency only if it is a sinusoid for all time, and a signal over a short time cannot define a frequency unambiguously. Therefore, one can only speak of ``frequency modulation'' in an approximate sense.

In Japanese, FM is called efuemu. That's a transliteration of ``eff em,'' the English pronunciation of the FM initialism. (You can't really get rid of the u's. See eizu for a little clarification of why.)

Financial Management Association International.

Fire Marshals Association of North America. Old name of organizations now known as International Fire Marshals Association.

Federal Medical Assistance Percentage. The percentage of Medicaid expenditures subsidized by the federal government. This percentage is computed for each state based on the per capita income, ranging from 50% for the states with the richest residents (on average) to 83% for those with the poorest. (That's the statutory range; in principle no state might have an FMAP as low as 50% or as high as 83%.)

The FMAP is the ``federal financial participation'' (FFP) for medical expenses (including screening, diagnosis and testing; hmm, see EPSDT). The FFP for general administrative expenses, including outreach, is a flat 50%.

CHIP programs are funded at the ``enhanced FMAP'' computed as 0.3 + 0.7xFMAP or 85%, whichever is less. CHIP FFP for administrative expenses and outreach gets more complicated.

FerroMagnetic AntiResonance. In a simple kind of empirical modeling of magnetization in ferromagnets, the magnetization obeys a time-evolution equation with two components: one, conservative component, causes precessional motion of the magnetization around the magnetic field direction, caused by the electromagnetic torque. A second component, represented by a variety of different relaxation terms, models the effect of energy dissipation by friction between domains. The shape and position of the microwave transmission maximum (the FMAR) is used to determine the gyromagnetic ratio (g) as well as the magnitude of the dissipative term.

{Firemen's Mutual | Fire Marshal} Benevolent Association. Cf. PBA.

Westfield Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association Local #30 is the labor union and fraternal organization that as of 2004 represents the paid members of the Westfield NJ Fire Department. Westfield FMBA Local 30 was established on June 27, 1924.

Federal Maritime Commission.

Fédération Mondiale de la Chiropratique. French for `World Federation of Chiropractic' (WFC).

Food Manager [Training and] Certification. See AFSI.

Ford Motor Company.

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. ``[C]reated in 1947, [it] is an independent U.S. government agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 10 district offices and 67 field offices, the agency provides mediation and conflict resolution services to industry, government agencies and communities.''

Federal Motor Carrier Standards. Officially FMCSR, which if systematically used would prevent namespace collisions with the official FMCS.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Replaced the OMC.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Enforced by the FMCSA (vide supra), which used to be the Office of Motor Carrier Safety (OMC). ``Motor carrier'' means truck, in case you were wondering.

For more, see the NTEA's glossary of Truck Equipment Terms.

Foot and Mouth Disease. Traditionally called hoof-and-mouth disease in the US, but if we keep hearing FMD news from the UK, it may shift usage.

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. See next entry.

Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis. See previous entry.

Fuels and Materials Examination Facility.

Fondo Monetario Internacional. Spanish, `International Monetary Fund' (IMF).

Food Marketing Institute. A ``nonprofit association conducting programs in research, education, industry relations and public affairs on behalf of its 1,500 members including their subsidiaries -- food retailers and wholesalers and their customers in the United States and around the world.''

Fujitsu Microelectronics, Inc..

Family Medical Leave Act. The FMLA is a federal law in the US that mandates employers to grant up to a total of 12 work-weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to an ``eligible'' employee who needs it to care for a family member needing medical attention.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers.


Financial Management Officer.

9-FluorenylMethylOxyCarbonyl. Used in peptide cleavage.

Fault Modeling Procedures. The name of some geological software from Subsurface Computer Modeling, Inc. (SCM). Now you understand what kind of ``fault.''

Federación Mundial de Quiropráctica. Spanish for `World Federation of Chiropractic' (WFC).

Foundation for Mind Research.

Family Medicine Research Centre. ``The Family Medicine Research Centre at the University of Sydney was established in August 1999 to undertake health services research in general practice and primary care in Australia. The Centre was formed from the Family Medicine Research Unit which has carried out research in the Department of General Practice since 1990. The Centre is part of the School of Public Health and is located on the Westmead Hospital campus of the University of Sydney.''

Fibrous Materials Research Center (homepage a bit thin as of 9/95) at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Fluorescent Microsphere Research Center at the University of Washington.

The basic idea of fluorescent microspheres is pretty straightforward: you inject a number of spheres in one part of the vascular system and you count them someplace else, and this gives you a quantitative idea of how fast blood moves around. You count them by shining an exciting pulse of light and measuring the intensity of fluorescence. Unfortunately, a lot of biological materials fluoresce, so fluorescent dyes have to be chosen carefully and contamination avoided. This is one reason to use the lowest-frequency light possible for excitation (to minimize the interference from naturally occurring fluorescent materials). With the proper precautions, the fluorescence (emission) intensity is an accurate measure of microsphere count. Because the injected spheres are diluted in dispersion throughout the body, small-number statistics (standard deviation varying as the square root of the sphere count) is a significant contribution to the measurement error.

Fluorescent microspheres have been adopted as an alternative to radioactive tracer methods. I guess microspheres are used, rather than free dye, because chemical interactions with the solvent (blood plasma), and in particular the effects of varying pH on free dye would shift the emission frequency.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

False Memory Syndrome. Mistaken memories of one's own abuse during childhood. A controversial and very sad topic.

Latin, Fratres Maristae A Scholis. English: `Marist Brothers of the Schools.'

Fast MagnetoSonic (wave[s]). See KPI for a discussion of the treatment of a model for certain FMS waves.

Flight Management System[s].

Foreign Military Sales.

Five-Minute Speech Sample. A swift method of assessing ``expressed emotion,'' developed by A. Mangano-Amato et al.

Field Monitoring Team[s].

Far More Than You['ve] Ever Wanted To Know.

Fair Market Value. The United States IRS has a publication 561 available on-line to help you figure out the FMV of donations to charitable organizations. If you just give to somebody who needs, that's not deductible.

Full-Motion Video. Video streams such as AVI's and MPEG's, for example.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Regulations promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


FootNote. More common abbreviation: ftnt. (q.v.).

Foreign National.

Fowler-Nordheim (quantum tunneling through a triangular barrier).

FreeNet. Productive suffix, as in LAFN (Los Angeles FreeNet). We all laffin'. It occurs to me that in some languages (Hebrew and Russian, for instance), one doesn't use a copula in the present tense; it is understood from the absence of a verb between two noun phrases.

Frente Nacional. Spanish for `National Front.' Also Spanish for `National Forehead.'

Front National. That's French for `National Front.' Have no fear, we are here to answer your most difficult questions. In France (that's one of the French-speaking countries), the FN is the party of Jean-Marie Le Pen.


Fars News Agency. It's not entirely propaganda.

When you point your browser to the linked URL (or any other file in that domain), the browser window expands to fill the screen. Why does this seem strangely in character? The same behavior obtains for the Farsi pages, but not for Arabic or Turkish.

Fine-Needle Aspiration. Needle aspiration, a/k/a needle biopsy, is the removal of fluid from a cyst or tumor by means of a needle and syringe. (In the case of a tumor, the fluid is secondary to the tumor cells that come with it.) ``Aspiration'' here is used in ignorance or neglect of the original sense of the word, and merely refers to the fact that the syringe is pulled to produce, um, suction.

If a large-bore needle is used, the procedure is called a ``core biopsy.'' Ugh. I never had any aspiration to become a physician. If the needle is thin, it's called fine-needle aspiration.

Fermilab or Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. A DoE Facility. Elementary particles research facility about 25 mi. W of Chicago.

Okay, okay, it's in Batavia, IL, to be exact, between Geneva and Aurora, and you pass by Ronald Reagan's alma mater on the drive between it and Chicago. There used to be a diner NE of the lab, called ``The Depot.'' Are they still in business? Sadly, I don't see them on this extensive list. The page gives distances and price ranges, but -- possibly because it's served by a theorist -- it fails to list one very important piece of information: hours. More specifically, which places are open all night, as the Depot was.

First evidence for the bottom quark was obtained at Fermilab in 1977 with the discovery of the upsilon. The upsilon is a meson with ``hidden beauty.'' ``Beauty'' is a now less-used synonym for the quark flavor known as bottom. The flavor is ``hidden'' because the meson consists of a bottom quark and a bottom anti-quark, so it has zero net bottomness.

I was at Fermilab that Summer working in another group, and my boss (my faculty sponsor) arranged for me to have an interview with Leon Lederman. Lederman headed the E288 collaboration which had just discovered the upsilon, so it was pretty generous of him to take some of his time then to interview a callow undergraduate who was just trying to avoid being a screw-up over at E441. He was known for various other achievements in experimental elementary particle physics, although the upsilon is what finally earned him a physics Nobel. Fortunately, I was so clueless that I wasn't cowed or anything. I don't remember too much about the interview. I can't even remember whether the point was for me to make a good impression for when I applied the next year to his home institution (Columbia University), or for him to make a good impression for Columbia should I be accepted. Probably a bit of both. He was a personable guy, and for whatever reason I was accepted by Columbia's graduate program in physics. I went to Princeton instead. Lederman left Columbia to become the head of Fermilab.

One thing I do remember about that Summer is that there was a spoof issue of Fermilab's local newsletter, apparently orchestrated by Lederman's collaboration, that amounted to the first semi-official announcement of the upsilon. It included such things as an interview with a janitor, respectfully recording his pride in the contribution that his work had made to the discovery. I can't find anything about this spoof newsletter on the Internet, but I'll look around and try to talk to some of the old-timers in that field. Maybe it turned out later that it wasn't a spoof. Still, as it was explained to me at the time, they were afraid of being scooped by another group before they were ready to make a certain announcement (there was in fact an ``oopsilon'' earlier in the saga). Despite the small number of accelerators and groups in a position to make the discovery, this was not an idle fear. A couple of years before, the ultracautious (and reputedly micromanaging) Sam Ting had been forced to share a Nobel (with Burton Richter) for the discovery of the charm quark because he waited too long to make the announcement.

FunctioNAL. This is used in mathematics as a noun describing functions that take functions as their arguments (i.e., functionals are maps from function spaces) not as an adjective describing things that function. (Usually, the space of functions that can serve as arguments of a functional is fairly restricted. If it weren't, with a little recursive definition you might run into barber-of-Seville problems.)

Fox News Channel.

FouNDeD. The two great bookends of existence are founding and foundering.

New Guy. Army jargon.

Floating Network License. I don't know how general this term is, but the COMSOL Installation and Operations Guide contains the following note: ``Cluster computing requires an FNL (floating network) license.'' That's either the most brazen example of an AAP (acronym-assisted) pleonasm I've ever seen, or a misplaced parenthesis. (One of these days I'll have to write an entry for parentheses ((,), & (...)).)

That's not the most elaborate emoticon you've ever seen. Trust me -- I know.

Frente Nacional {para a | de} Libertação Angola. Portuguese: `National front for the liberation of Angola.' The expansion with de seems to be much more common, but I've seen it written both ways in Portuguese. My guess is that the original name used para a. Of the three major Angolan independence groups, this was the first to engage in military (or terrorist, as we might call it today) activity, and the first to disband its army. Like UNITA it was mostly pro-West. Today it's a small parliamentary party.

Federal (US) National (US) Mortgage Association. Generally called ``Fannie Mae'' or ``Fannie.'' The FNMA was created in 1938 -- one of the later New Deal entities. Its purpose was to help provide liquidity to the mortgage market.

Before the creation of the FNMA, the market for home mortgages was a relatively straightforward thing. Certain kinds of banks of the sort we call thrifts would accept deposits by private individuals and use the money to back their issuance of mortgages. The mortgages would be held by the mortgagees (the issuing banks or, as we say now, the ``initiating banks'') for their full term.

Since banks did not resell mortgages, the issuing of mortgages used up their liquid assets and the number of mortgages they could issue was sharply limited by their deposits. FNMA changed this by creating a secondary market for mortgages. They would buy mortgages from the savings and loans, so the latter could turn around and issue more mortgages. The FNMA itself either held the mortgages on its own books or repackaged them as mortgage-backed securities (MBS's) for sale to investors. Because the FNMA was a government entity, it was backed by the proverbial ``full faith and credit of the United States'' and was thus able to borrow at low rates than individuals, and it financed its operations on the difference between the higher rates earned by the mortgages it held and the lower rates at which it could borrow.

The preceding is based on ``Speculators, Politicians, and Financial Disasters,'' an article by John Steele Gordon in the November 2008 issue of Commentary. (If the name looks familiar, it may be because I relied on another of his articles for the ferrous entry. With a name like Steele, how could I not?) Probably to avoid introducing complications, he neglected to explain the banks' need for liquidity in detail. I explain that at the ARM entry.

In 1968, during the Johnson Administration, the FNMA was turned into a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), independent of the government, owned by and responsible to its stockholders. In the process, part of FNMA's business that was aimed at helping ``low- and moderate-income homebuyers'' was split off and retained as a wholly government-owned corporation called the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA, known as ``Ginnie Mae''). The MBS's issued by FNMA (now just a GSE, so its paper was no longer formally backed by the government) continued to be highly rated as before, largely because people figured, or gambled, that if FNMA got in trouble the government would swoop in to bail them out. That was in fact what happened in 2008, when the US government ``took over'' FNMA.

Fédération national des majorettes de France. Founded in 1966, merged with FFM in 1972 to form the FFM.

You like this stuff? Go see our majorette entry.

Family Nurse Practitioner.

Front-End Network Processor.

Federal News Service. The FNS Daybook is published daily Sunday through Thursday. This schedule corresponds to weekdays, because it reports future news rather than past news. It reports events scheduled by the all three branches of the U.S. federal government, as well as by various NGO's in the Washington, DC, area.

Daybook provides schedules up to a month in advance (excluding the President's) so that ``lobbyists, attorneys, the media, public affairs and government relations offices, trade associations, policy analysts and [other bloodsuckers] whose responsibilities include monitoring government and political activity'' can ``keep track of the many events and activities in the Nation's Capital.''

FNS Daybook is published by Federal Information Services Corporation and includes freelance articles and features such as classifieds.

Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA. Previously known as the Food and Consumer Service, and also occasionally referred to as the FCNS.

Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. At UB, the former FNSM, together with the faculties of Social Sciences (FSS) and Arts and Letters (FAL) were merged into a College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in 1998.

Fowler-Nordheim tunneling.

Fujitsu Network Transmission Systems, Inc.

F-N tunneling
Fowler-Nordheim TUNNELING. I.e., quantum tunneling through a triangular barrier. [The usual way to create a triangular barrier being to apply a uniform field to a rectangular barrier. See
L. Nordheim, Procs. Roy. Soc. (London) 121, 626 (1928).]

Field Not Valid.

Frame Not Valid.

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