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Gadolinium. Atomic number 64. A rare earth (RE).

Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Gadolinium tends to concentrate in tumors and so is used as a contrast material in MRI.


Genitive {and|or} Dative. See NVA.

Graphics Database tool? Don't know, but looks good. Freeware graphics code library which ``allows your code to quickly draw images complete with lines, arcs, text, multiple colors, cut and paste from other images, and flood fills, and write out the result as a .GIF file. This is particularly useful in World Wide Web applications, where .GIF is the format used for inline images. Free here, from Thomas Boutell and his company.

(Domain name code for) Grenada.

Georgia Dental Association. Established in 1859. ``Georgia's Dental Voice.'' ``Aaaaaah. ... Ah! Ih hauwfs!''

gdb, GDB
Genome DataBase.

GNU DeBugger. The Afrikaner surrealist.

Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, e.V. `German Chemical Society.' (That's the official or standard English translation; for what it's worth, a literal translation is `Society of German Chemists.')

Geographic Data File[s].

Glucose DeHydrogenase.

Government Distribution HUB.

Gender-related Development Index. One kind of HDI.

Gosh Darn Independent. Or something similar. A term used on some campuses, for students who don't belong to a fraternity/sorority/Greek-letter-society, or who do not have a communal meal plan.

Graphic{s|al} Display Interface.

The Windows GDI is the part of MFC that provides all the services needed to produce images on the screen. This is another one of those strokes of genius that bends our knee when we face Redmond, Washington. [Cue the high-pitched humming.] I don't know what we did before, when we only had Macintoshes, TRS-80's, and HP's with slightly different instruction sets.

Game Development Kit. For example, CDX -- a set of C++ wrapper classes for writing Windows games; it's built on top of Microsoft Windows and DirectX technology.

Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry.

Graphics Device Operating System.

Galvanostatic Double-Pulse (method).

Ground Delay Program.

Gross Domestic Product. Many regard this name as a sly judgment. Cf. GNP.

Guanosine DiPhosphate. Functions like ADP, in a pair with GTP like ADP/ATP, but in a more limited set of processes having to do with the construction of cellular structures.

Gross Domestic Product by Region.

German Democratic Republic. East Germany, when that was a distinct country during the twentieth century (1946-Oct. 1990). DDR in German. A bit more at the FRG entry.

Giant Dipole Resonance. A nuclear giant resonance.

Global Defence Review, Ltd.

Grinning, Ducking and Running (for cover, after a comment at someone else's expense). Email abbreviation, what else?

Groupement de Recherches. French `research grouping.' If I had wanted to be funny, I would have translated it simply as `Zee reesairsh groopang' and let you figure out that it was French from context clues, but I don't have time for such silliness. So far as I can recall, THAT is the only GdR entry I have in this glossarie.

General Depreciation System.

Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing. GD&T is a set of symbols and conventions, used with engineering diagrams, to describe nominal or target dimensions and allowed variations from those dimensions (tolerances). People in the field like to call GD&T a ``language,'' and they occasionally venture to claim that one of the virtues of using it is that it encourages thinking in terms of the philosophy it embodies. [This begins to be true if you replace the word ``virtue'' with ``vice.''] They especially like to use the word ``concept.''

GD&T is what results when people with a bureaucratic rather than a mathematical turn of mind try to systematize the description of geometric information, but only if those results are redacted by editors with no grammatical or logical sense. For just a hint of the mayhem, see this FOS entry.

Ahhh, just think what might have been: GD&T could have been designed by mathematicians. It would have been based on only three undefined terms and yet have been completely general, logically well-defined, elegant, and utterly impractical.

Geophysical Diffraction Tomography.

Global Descriptor Table.

Gas and Electric (company). Productive acronym suffix.

(Domain name code for) Georgia, the country or countries and former soviet republic. Not to be confused with Georgia (GA), the American state (which shows up as .ga.us in TCP/IP addresses).

You can download a Georgian font at the MultiMedia Center. The capital of the country is Tbilisi.

Uncle Joe was from Georgia. He was an Osete (as Mandelshtam pointed out in the untitled 1933 poem that led to his arrest), but the Georgians are proud of their local boy just the same.

Germanium. An indirect-gap semiconductor with bandgap of 0.67eV, and m*/m of 0.55 and 0.37 for electrons and holes, resp. Original basis of semiconductor electronics revolution. Superseded in the early 1960's. Gordon Teal, leading a group at Texas Instruments, was the first to pull (vide CZ) silicon crystals in 1952. Once silicon crystals can be grown, Si wafers have a fantastic advantage over Ge: stable native oxide that is a pretty good doping mask and passivator. This is called ``the miracle.''

Element was named after Germany (L. germania). Atomic number 32. A group-four semiconductor. First predicted as eka-silicon by Mendeleev on the basis of a gap in his periodic table.

Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Lattice constant 5.646 Å.

It's a byproduct of coal production, so there was plenty of it around in time for the beginning of the transistor age, even though until then it hadn't been good for very much in particular.

General Education. Typically refers to a broad survey course, usually taught in a large lecture format, to undergraduate nonmajors fulfilling ``general education'' requirements (see (gen ed).

General Electric. An obstetrics conglomerate. As Dr. Frankenstein did, they bring good things to life, and they also make aircraft engines.

They have a homepage with an NII award-winning component on plastics.

Their Power Systems web pages contains a lot of history of turbines, but they gloss over all of the interesting history that would interest any normal person, like how Edison's gamble on DC power failed, and how he lost control of patent rights to his best inventions, and went broke and was supported in his later years by handouts from his former employee Henry Ford.

Gradient-Enhanced (NMR spectroscopy). Also Gradient Accentuated Spectroscopy (GAS).

Group on Educational Affairs. [Of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).]

Standard abbreviation for German geboren, `born.'

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, a book by Douglas R. Hofstadter.

German masculine noun meaning `use.' The word has no plural form.

Infinitive of German verb meaning `use.'

Past participle of the regular German verbs with infinitives gebrauchen and brauchen. As an adjective, it primarily has the sense of `second-hand, used.'

General Electric COmpany. Back in the 1890's, the GECo logo was embossed on the switch paddles of the comany's light bulb sockets.

General Electric Computer Operating System. Later GCOS, q.v.

Graduate Equivalency Diploma. One of various alternate expansions of the GED that officially (it's a registered trademark of the developer, the American Council on Education) stands for General Educational Development.

General Educational Development. The name of a five-part test (or of the five tests individually) developed by the American Council on Education (ACE). People take the tests in order to earn a document more or less equivalent to a high school diploma. The tests were originally created to help recently demobilized WWII veterans. Today they are widely taken and they are available to just about anyone. (The only limitation I am aware of is that the test-taker not already have a high school diploma. Shucks.)

A belief in second chances is a part of the American credo. (That's right, F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong about there being ``no second acts in American lives.'') The GED is offered at over 3000 locations in the US and Canada, and can be taken on-line elsewhere.

One in every seven Americans with high school credentials received them via the GED, as well as one in 20 college students, but right now I can only think of two people who I know have taken the GED. One was thrown out of the house by his mother in the middle of his senior year, and the other started her senior year pregnant and had such severe morning sickness that she had to quit. (Most high schools in the US today try to help young mothers complete their education, but I think in this case she and her husband probably needed the money when she was able to go back to work.)

The tests are administered in cooperation with the local state or province, which awards a high-school equivalency diploma for successful completion. (Typically, the official name of this is something like ``Certificate of General Educational Development.'') All five component tests must be taken, and ACE sets a minimum standard for completion. (There's a minimum score for each test, and a slightly higher minimum for the average score on all five. This nicely mirrors the typical requirements for high school graduation.) The local jurisdictions may require a higher standard, but not a lower one. In practice this means that a GED certificate represents a higher standard than many high school diplomas.

For a fully detailed, in-depth investigation of the career advantages of a GED, see the K-8 entry. (You won't find much there, but if you're going for a fully detailed investigation, you should check out everything.)

A long definition is available online. Inferior to a nerd, because a geek has a life.

On the other hand, according to this page, geeks were a major influence on the Life of Paul of Tarsus.

Geek Code
``The Geek Code is a simple way to tell the entire world everything you want them to know about what is really important in your life. I.e., your computer abilities and assimilation level into net.culture.'' Check it out.

geeky addresses

The trouble with starting to calling yourself a geezer when it's still obviously ironic is that the joke ages as you do.

Global Environment Fund (of the World Bank -- WB).

Gravure Education Foundation. ``An educational foundation established in 1979 to raise funds to support gravure education. The foundation awards at least 16 scholarships each year in addition to giving direct grants to universities involved in gravure education.'' Supported by the GAA. If the GAA supported me, I would probably be able to tell you what gravure is myself. Oh look -- here's something:

``Gravure is an advanced, high-tech printing process operating the fastest and widest printing presses in the world. It uses a unique image carrier, a gapless cylinder that can be imaged directly from the digital data. Gravure was the first printing process to employ a totally digital environment. The Gravure Association of America, Inc. promotes the use of the gravure printing process for publication printing, package printing and product (specialty) printing. The resources of the associations are dedicated to the collection and dissemination of state-of-the-art, as well as historic, information pertaining to gravure technology, marketing, environmental issues, government regulations, education, and training.''

German: `given.' More precisely, one of the inflected forms of the adjective gegeben, which is the past participle of geben (`to give'). Obviously, I only mention it because it's -- well, I don't know what it is, but it repeats. A stutterer's nightmare, I suppose.

Government Employees' Insurance COrporation. Pronounced ``GUY Co.''

They sell to the general public (although they won't write car insurance in New Jersey and one other state), but they did ask me if I'd ever been a government employee.

Human sciences. That is, the behavioral and social sciences, or loosely speaking the social sciences. Pronounced "GUY stess VISSen shoften."

The German word Geisteswissenschaften is a calque coined in the nineteenth century by the translator of John Stuart Mill to render the English `moral sciences.' ``Moral'' in that instance had the older sense related to morale: conscious, mental. The word Geisteswissenschaften has now been borrowed back into English rhetorical ordnance in the War of the Words. The singular form (Geisteswissenschaft) is unusual, just as would be the singular of Humanities (in a related sense) in English. In fact, the semantic field of Geisteswissenschaften in German today shades strongly into what would be called the `Humanities' in English. This may be partly due to the fact that Wissenschaft in German has a meaning closer to the general sense of learning or knowledge expressed by the French word science than by its English cognate.

In the US today, sociology is the single most popular undergraduate major. In South Africa, the most popular field is Humanities, but there that term subsumes Sociology. Drawing disciplinary boundaries is a politically fraught and intellectually imprecise thing to do. In the US, one of the more common tricky decisions concerns whether History is to be included among the Social Sciences. (Please excuse the promiscuous capitalization -- we're talking Wissenschaft, after all.)

A Japanese noun meaning `last third of the month.' How cool is that?

Gemini. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation. Until we come back and bulk up the astronomical component of this glossary, you can entertain yourself at the twins entry.

Generic Equipment Model.

Graphics Environment Manager.

General Electric Medical Systems.

Global Environment Monitoring System.

genau genommen
German, `strictly speaking.'

A grammarians' word meaning category, or kind. In most linguists' definitions, gender is a noun category with consequences: most typically, an adjective must have the same gender as a noun it modifies, pronouns must have a gender consistent with their antecedents, etc.

The word gender is cognate with genre and genus. (The Latin word genus is a third-declension noun, as one can tell from the genitive singular form generis. Most of the words derived from it are based on the root gener- and have nothing in principle necessarily to do with sex. It is nevertheless useful to note the sense in which, grammatically, gender ``is'' sex. In most Indo-European and Semitic languages, nouns have two or three genders, and the nouns for adult humans have ``natural gender.'' That is, one of the two or three genders includes all or most nouns for adult males, and another includes all or most adult females. It is the existence of this condition that makes gender ``sexual.'' (I've also seen ``natural gender'' called ``biological gender.'' Nouns with natural gender are sometimes called ``gender nouns.'')

Reconstructions of Proto-Indo-European itself identify an early stage in which there was no grammatical gender, followed by a first stage of gender development in which the fundamental distinction was between animate and inanimate objects. There are indications that what eventually became the feminine gender first arose to distinguish abstract nouns.

The distinction between animate and inanimate is a widespread basis for categorizing nouns. It is the only general distinction among nouns in Basque. In that language, exceptions demonstrate that this is a lexical rather than a strictly conceptual distinction; parts of the body, for example, are in the ``inanimate'' class, while tables are ``animate.''

The common pattern in the languages of sub-Saharan Africa is to have five or more genders (usually called noun classes in this case). Animate and inanimate objects tend to segregate into different classes (with, of course, some exceptions).

The reconstruction of PIE is based on comparisons of and inferences from daughter languages, so conversely one may describe various features of the daughter languages as being reflexes of the original. It is awkward, however, for a noun not to have a gender, since its gender is needed to determine the appropriate form of adjectives agreeing with it. What one does see, however, are coincidences of form in different gender. For example, in Latin (as in the other classical languages), nouns and adjectives fall into different well-defined groups called declensions, and the rules according to which they are inflected to indicate number and case depend on the declension. They may also depend on the gender. However, nouns of the third declension have identical inflections for male and female, and the fourth-declension inflections are independent of gender. The interpretation given to these facts is that gender in the latter case, and male-female distinction in the former, were not reflected in the morphology because they did not exist when at least some of the paradigmatic words in those inflections assumed their established forms.

The Indo-European language families with the largest numbers of speakers in Europe and the Americas are the Slavic, Italic, and Germanic. The Slavic languages generally retain three genders. Extant members of the Italic group are all descendants of Latin. Although Latin had three genders, its daughter languages have generally collapsed the system down to masculine and feminine, with the old neuter nouns coalescing into the masculine group. (The principal exception, not surprisingly, is Romanian, which still has three genders.)

Languages of the Germanic group have gone various ways, with German at one extreme preserving three IE genders, and English at the other discarding the concept entirely. [Discarding grammatical gender as such, that is. English preserves semantic gender, which is explicit primarily in third-person personal pronouns. (Hence the alternative name ``pronominal gender.'')] Standard Danish and Swedish have two-gender systems consisting of ``common gender'' (combining former masculine and feminine genders) and neuter. (The word neuter is a Latin adjective meaning `neither,' so the grammatical gender options are effectively either and neither.)

Nevertheless, a very common kind of grammatical gender is sex, and many people conflate the two. This conflation, which I am not alone in regarding as a misuse of ``gender,'' is made by people who ought to know better (and do). It seems like Victorian avoidance of the word sex, and to some extent it probably is, but there are tortured arguments for this use of the word, having to do with the claim that much of what we might call sexual difference is really socially constructed (just like the linguistic distinction among genders). My counterclaim is that the distinction -- between natural sexual differences on the one hand and culturally determined differences correlated with sex on the other -- can never be completely sharp, and are not competently distinguished in practice. Anyway, back to grammar.

When there is a third gender in addition to two sexual genders, the third is usually called neuter (via French, ultimately from Latin neuter, which meant `neither').

It is often the case that diminutives are classed as neuter, even when they have a natural gender. In German, for example, diminutives can be constructed by appending the suffix -chen or -lein or (in Southern dialects, including the Silesia of my mother's childhood) -el (-le in Swabian). All these diminutives are neuter. Hence Mädchen (`young girl') is neuter. Neuter diminutives are a widespread and ancient phenomenon. In Ancient Greek, to paidion meant `the little child' of either sex (to is the neuter form of the singular nominative definite article). Just as well. This must occasionally have helped avoided some embarrassment. The nondiminutive forms are ho pais (`the boy') and hê pais (`the girl'). (The final sigma here occurs only in the nom. sing. The noun root paid- is used to construct the other inflected forms -- plurals and the singulars of the other three cases, sc. accusative, genitive, and dative. Likewise compound and other forms, as seen in the case of paidion.) You also note that this is one of those situations in which natural gender is not reflected in the noun form. This coincidence might occasionally be used to cover ignorance, since articles are not as crucial in Ancient Greek as in English. (For example, at a climactic moment in the last book of Xenophon's Anabasis, the usual English translation has the soldiers shouting ``The sea! The sea!'' The Greek reads Thalassa! Thalassa! No article .)

With pais we see that the noun has gender (natural gender, in this case) which is reflected in the article (when present), as well as in (some) adjectives. The extent to which nouns' gender can be deduced from their morphology varies from language to language.

This entry will grow a bit more, but to anticipate let me mention that two and three genders are only typical of European languages, but many African languages use five and more genders, and these then tend to be called noun classes.

gender correctness
I've seen postings by Latin teachers addressed to ``amici/ae.'' It's a modern anachronism.

Gender-inclusive language is wording that (a) does not implicitly exclude either males or females, or that (b) explicitly includes both males and females. In the future, perhaps, consideration of only two genders will not be regarded as adequate. (Paging Tim Curry!) So far as I can tell, when the achievement of gender inclusiveness is really, really impractical, it is permitted to exclude males. We have noted various instances of unnecessary, awkward, or otherwise egregious gender-inclusive language throughout this glossary. (We're fighting a losing battle to list every human association that is or has been known by its initials. See, for example, this one.) But we won't attempt to include all instances of gender-inclusiveness here. Too boring. Just read the entire glossary and you'll find them -- they're not hidden or anything. (Maybe you want to cut to the chase at CLC-CTC and VIAL.)

Here's an instance of gender-inclusive language that didn't fit in any acronym slot, finally forcing me to create this entry. It's from a progressive newspaper (an independent monthly distributed on the ND and SMC campuses), called and generally lacking Common Sense. The title and rustic font recall Thomas Paine's famous pamphlet of 1776. On December 23, 1776, Paine began publishing occasional essays under the common title of ``The American Crisis.'' The first number began with these words:

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

(Capitalization and italics as in the original; no hyperlinks in the original.) The monthly mentioned above quotes these lines above its title, in what one might call abbreviated form:

These are the times that try men's souls. Women's too.

Okay, this wasn't inclusive enough. I noticed the March 2006 issue (vol. XX, #4); the font is no longer rustic, and the motto now reads thus:

These are the times that try women's souls, men's too.

I'm waiting for the times that try lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual souls. Since this is a Catholic school, there are probably people who fully expect those times. Hmm, April came and went with no issue. May brought #5/6, with the headline ``Worried About Vaginas.'' (It's got to be about the endless ``Vagina Monologues'' discussion.) This double issue isn't any larger than the usual, but it really is a double issue: first they filled the distribution boxes in time for graduation, then they refilled them for reunions. It's to épater le développement-comité, or something like that.

Oh, here's a good one. I'm not sure whether it's meant to be gender-inclusive or gender-specific or something else or nothing else, but here it is:

It was a speech defined by grace, feistiness, sly wit, generosity toward her former rival and by a powerful nod to the history her forewoman/bearers made --and which she carried forward with her unprecedented run for the presidency, winning more primaries and caucuses (23) than any woman in history.

It appeared in a blog posting by Katrina vanden Heuvel on the website of The Nation magazine. Obviously, it was about Hillary Clinton's speech to the Democratic Party convention on August 26, 2008.

I thought this might be an entry where I complained about all the ``/innen'' inclusiveness in my German-language email. It wasn't, but now it is. I get a lot of email addressed to Kollegen und Kolleginnen (academic `colleagues') that has a lot to say to and about ``Kollegen/innen.''

I wanted to add that I recently saw an article title uglified by gender-inclusiveness in a Spanish-language publication (Revista de Ciencias Sociales [Rcs]). From No. 6 (January 1999; but I only just saw it): ``Prácticas de aceptación y rechazo de estudiantes dominicanos(as) en una escuela elemental en Puerto Rico.'' [`Admissions Practices for Dominican [Republic] students at a Puerto Rican Elementary School.'] This is slightly interesting because the noun estudiantes is of common gender, so it can be modified by adjectives in masculine and feminine form. It raises an interesting question: when a noun has different forms for feminine and masculine gender, is it more or less likely that explicitly gendered modifiers will be used? This gets at the questions of whether gender-inclusivists care whether their locutions are awkward, and (if they do evince caring) whether they prefer awkwardness or grace. Probably no single answer applies generally, but it would be interesting to have some statistical data on trends. The contrast between common-gender nouns and explicit-gender nouns suggests a way to develop such statistics, but I haven't designed the appropriate study yet.

gender of fruit and trees
In the typical European languages that mark grammatical gender, the semantic content of gender is limited. There is thus little obstacle, usually, to creating a new noun from an old one by a change of gender. There are many instances of this, and maybe someday we'll collect a bunch of them in a single entry, but here I just want to give examples for the special case of gender used to distinguish trees from the fruits or products they yield.

It's surprising how many of these words have unrelated homonyms. The Greek mêlon could mean `goat, sheep' and oínê, written on a die, meant `ace' [from oînós -- note the accent -- meaning `one']. Malus is the male form of a general adjective for `bad' (`unpleasant, evil, etc.'), while malum, in addition to being the neuter form of the adjective, is the related noun (`evil, unpleasantness, etc.').

It's in line with modern practice, yet noteworthy, that the connection between wine and vine skips over unrelated ancient Greek and Latin words for grape (uva and rháx).

The trees and products listed above are not all independent, of course. Latin oliva was apparently adapted from the Greek elaía (the v reflects a digamma in the archaic form of the Greek word), and olea is either a native parallel form or an alternate Greek derivative. Similarly, malum was from the Greek mêlon (quite possibly in the Doric and Aeolic form mâlon).

The Spanish word manzana (earlier mazana) is derived from the Latin Matiana mala (i.e., Matiana apple). At some point, it must have become more confusing to give the full name than just the adjective, for Matiana mala could have been interpreted as `bad apple.' The Spanish word melón (like the English melon and French mélon) ultimately comes from the same Greek word for fruit.

Spanish Cereza is ultimately from a Latin pair cerasus, cerasum -- female and neuter second-declension nouns grammatically parallel to pirus, pirum -- and these words were used for `cherry tree, cherry bark, and cherry,' but it's not clear that Latin maintained a semantic distinction between the female and neuter forms.

gender of Spanish women's names
This is an entry about the grammatical gender of women's names in the Spanish language (viz, in Castilian, though I suspect that the other Spanish languages are similar). The women themselves need not be and sometimes are not Spanish-speaking, although in the course of things they usually are.

Some Spanish women's names are masculine common nouns. All of those I am aware of arise from the popularity of María as a girl's given name. Many girls are given names of the form María de <foo> (think of the names of some Catholic churches and schools, in the form ``Our Lady of <foo>'' or ``Notre Dame de <foo>''). These names are often shortened to <foo>, and sometimes such shortened forms have become formal given names themselves. Prominent examples include

  1. María de los Ángeles (`Mary of the Angels')
  2. María del Consuelo (`Mary the Consoler,' loosely)
  3. María de los Dolores (`Mary of the Pains')
  4. María del Pilar (`Mary of the Pillar')
  5. María del Rosario (`Mary of the Rosary')
The first name, or at least the concept, gave rise to the city name Los Angeles. In Bolivia, the parallel construction ``Nuestra Señora de La Paz'' (`Our Lady of Peace') is the official name of the country's administrative capital, normally referred to simply as ``La Paz.'' The largest city in California was originally saddled with the moniker ``El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula'' (`The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola'). It might as well have been named ``Abbreviate me please!''

The other four names in the list above gave rise to the common girls' names Consuelo, Dolores, Pilar, and Rosario. In Spanish, as common nouns, all four are masculine. They don't just happen to be unobtrusively male, they are nouns whose morphology makes them hard to mistake for female. (Consuelo and rosario both end in o; pilar and the singular form dolor both end in r. When you get to the LONERS entry, you will see that this makes them, morphologically speaking, highly probably male nouns.) As proper nouns, these names are construed female: they agree with adjectives in female form, etc.

I'm not aware of any men's names that are female common nouns, but the popularity of the name María does bend gender a bit in the usual way. One has compound names with María as the second element. I believe that the most common is Juan-María (cf. the French Jean-Marie). However, I've also seen Jorge-María (corresponding to Georges-Marie, also comparatively rare).

gen ed
GENeral EDucation. Universities in North America, and to varying degrees elsewhere, recognize a responsibility to apply a thin patina of sophistication to their students. This involves forcing them to study (or at least register for courses in) subjects outside their area of specialization (``major''). I think that most students would end up taking elective courses outside their major department anyway, but most schools I am familiar with impose some kind of structure on nonmajor elective courses, with the intent of making sure that the selection is truly broad. There are various ways to arrange this, and the least restrictive common approach is to establish ``general education'' requirements.

Many schools call these ``distribution requirements,'' and inevitably people use the locution ``taking a distribution'' for taking a course in fulfillment of a distribution requirement. This is a Chinese-menu approach. Students must take, say, at least one course in each of four different domains of knowledge. Sometimes things will be qualitatively looser, with six areas defined, say, and students required to take a course in at least four or five. Sometimes there will be specific requirements, such as a foreign language.

Some schools have one or more ``depth'' requirements, in addition to the fundamental ``breadth'' requirement of courses distributed among knowledge domains. For example, students might be required to take at least one ``advanced'' (second-year or 200-level) course outside their field of concentration. Back in the 1960's, Yale had an infamous ``seventh distribution requirement'' that required every student to take either calculus or second-year Latin. If you felt you had to choose Latin then I guess that was a ``depth requirement.'' (Just between you and me: introductory calculus at the college level is a remedial course.)

The distribution areas are usually just collections of academic departments (or other units that offer courses), and sometimes any course will count towards fulfillment of gen-ed or distribution requirements. Of course, some departments may designate certain courses as ``majors only'' or impose other restrictions. The most common restriction relevant to gen-ed requirements is that only certain introductory courses may be allowed to count toward fulfillment of gen-ed requirements. Think of this as crowd control.

You're probably wondering how I could have written so much without more evidence of cynicism. I just want you to know that I'm not growing soft, just tired. An approach that is virtually opposite to gen-eds is Great Books. There are endless gradations and variations, but the following is certain: if you stop reading after you graduate, you are a peasant.

general chemistry
Gunnar Hägg (1903-1986) published a textbook for the first semester of chemistry in Swedish universities, Allmän och Oorganisk Kemi (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1/e 1963). The fourth edition (1966) was translated into English. The Preface of the English edition includes the following comment on the title:
  After consulting several English-speaking chemists I have thought it best to use a literal translation of the Swedish title [General and Inorganic Chemistry] although the expression `general chemistry' may have a slightly misleading meaning, at least to an American reader. In Europe, this or equivalent expressions usually imply an introduction to the laws of chemistry without any specialized, descriptive material, while in America it seems to mean an elementary presentation of the entire science. An American reader may, therefore, miss a treatment of organic chemistry and biochemistry.

Frankly, I have no problem with this. I just want to know what ``and'' means.

A sentence adverb with about the same sense as ``in general.'' Generally speaking, I use it to mean ``always'' or ``usually.''

Generation of Vipers
A book-length vituperation written by the novelist, screenwriter, and essayist Philip Wylie (1902-1971) over two months in 1942. For the twentieth printing, in 1955, he added some afterthoughts as footnotes. The tenth Pocket Cardinal edition was published in March 1968. That is the definitive edition, because it's definitely the one whose page numbers I refer to elsewhere in this glossary, and it's definitely the only copy I would ever want, because this isn't the sort of book worth replacing when it is accidentally lost into the garbage can.

Here's the front-cover blurb on the definitive edition:

The most explosive classic of our time, newly annotated by the author of Opus 21 [see 22], The Disappearance, The Innocent Ambassadors, brilliantly examines and exposes American morals, women, moms, schools, politicians, businessmen, doctors, religion, and a host of other explosive subjects from TV to sex mores. A powerful book that should be read by every thinking person!

Despite what you'd expect, it does have some virtues even a thinking person could appreciate. It is sometimes unexpectedly even-handed, in a plague-on-both-your-houses sort of way. Here, for example, is the beginning of a footnote from page 241:

  While the ``pink'' aspect of many professors was plainly to be noticed in 1941 (and not a Great New Finding of Congress made a decade later) it was seldom a true communism or even faith in Marxist theory; usually it was a vague trust in ``economics'' as the basis of human motivation, a belief also commonly held by capitalists.

It's a hat trick: he heaps scorn on businessmen (a little bit) as well as congressmen and professors (rather more in the following). One disadvantage, for anyone who cares what the author thinks, is that the complaints are often vague, or perhaps allude to events whose memory has become hazy in the mists of time. For example, page 38 has this:

  The people, beholding the real millennium of goods, rejoiced exceedingly (and smugly) upon being told that there was at hand a similar millennium of the soul. The cloacal welter of evidence to the contrary was shushed by a new set of fancy conventions variously called forbearance, tact, manners, purity, holiness, sanctity, tolerance, and so forth. Another batch of citizens walked out of the church when they were told they were whole. They knew it was a lie. Their archetypes made it plain that nobody could be whole save for a minute at a time. ...

I can believe that he had some more definite events and conditions in mind when he wrote this than I can conjure on reading. I also suspect that I might color the events differently, and in more different shades, if presented with the raw data rather than his pre-processed, post-consumer, uh,... -- cloacal, let's say -- conclusions.

It was a preposterously influential book. Some people like to read this stuff because they're the kind of people who enjoy hanging around the tavern when the town crank gets into a talking drunk. As you may have guessed, I value this book for its fresh language, occasional malapropisms, and neologisms. Some examples of the last: ``scumskulls,'' ``profundaments,'' ``prickamette,'' and most famously ``momism,'' for which see portiere. Also, I learned all I needed to know about baptism in utero (pp. 176-9).

generic name
A public-domain name for a drug. Details at the drug-names entry.

generic vote
Also called ``generic preference,'' ``generic congressional trial heat,'' etc. A poll, or the results of a poll, asking some variant of the following question:
``if the elections for Congress were being held today, which party's candidate would you vote for in your congressional district?''
The answer often contradicts the answers to questions asking whether respondents are happy with their own congressional representation, unless one supposes they would like their representatives to switch parties.

gen. et sp. nov.
Latin: genus (novum) et species nova, `new genus and new species.' Taxonomic term.

John Adams wrote [see Charles F. Adams's edition of The Works of [CFA's ancestor] John Adams (1851), Vol. 6, pp. 313-314]:
Let not Geneva be forgotten or despised.
He referred to sixteenth-century Geneva, known as ``the Protestant Rome.'' This civitas dei under John Calvin's control was a miniature Afghanistan under Taliban control.

Adams continued

Religious liberty owes it much respect, Servetus notwithstanding.
Michael Servetus was a Spanish physician who was condemned as a heretic by the Catholics, cheated death by escaping prison, then had the misfortune to be recognized in Geneva. Out of the frying pan into the fire. He was tried in the usual way and burned slowly at the stake. There are a lot of nasty details, but the detail forgotten is that he was only one among many who were merely less well-known.
From this city proceeded printed books and men distinguished for their wit and eloquence, who spreading themselves in the neighboring provinces, there sowed in secret seeds of their doctrine. Almost all the cities and provinces of France began to be enlightened by it. It began to introduce itself into the kingdom under Francis I, in opposition to all the vigorous resolutions which he took to suppress it. Henry II ordained, with inexorable severity, the punishment of death against all who should be convicted of Calvinism...
Early Calvinists were not more tolerant than Catholics, Zwinglians, Lutherans or any number of others. Calvin's contribution was to create a new heresy that was very successful but which was also a failure in other places. It was the failure as much as the success that led to religious liberty. After only a few centuries of inconclusive wars, ``tolerance'' broke out as a surly cease fire.

Calvinism as it actually evolved was hence considerably more tolerant than its creator, eventually. Calvinist religion was also, as many have observed, a good fit to capitalist economic philosophy. Actually, that observation is often made of Protestantism, but Calvinist ideas were widely influential, particularly though not exclusively among other Protestants. Adams wrote (in the paragraph preceding that quoted above) that Calvin's ``opinions were ... embraced with ardor, and maintained with obstinacy, by a great number of persons of all conditions.'' But not equally by persons of all different conditions. In France, Calvinism was more popular in the mercantile west. There as elsewhere it was especially well-received among shop-keepers, professionals, and others of the rising middle class (I swear I didn't crib this from a high school essay, but at least I inserted a sentence break before there). That's why persecution of the Huguenots (French Calvinists) was such an economic downer for the French kingdom.

Let me just mention here that Martin Luther was the son of a relatively prosperous peasant. John Calvin was the son of a relatively prosperous physician. If this were an encyclopedia entry, I would have integrated that information more gracefully into the capitalism/Calvinism/Protestantism discussion of the preceding paragraph.

Calvinism did not spread very effectively where capitalism did not, so it made negligible inroads in Russia. The only reason I wrote this and the previous two paragraphs was to build a digression that justified mentioning the entry for Spirit of Geneva, a Russian beverage.

At some point I should probably remind the reader that John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Done. Oh yeah -- and don't forget to visit the Reformed entry.

The new name of the company resulting from the merger of General Motors and Alitalia.

Also reportedly the pronunciation of Gen. Taylor Ave. in New Orleans. Let me just say ``palatalization.'' That way, when I have a palatalization entry, I'll remember to link to it from this entry.

GENerator LOCK. Phase synchronization of two video signals.

gen. nov.
Latin: genus novum, `new genus.' Taxonomic term.

One typically expects an adjective and its noun to have same ending in Latin. This is particularly the case with the nominative singular endings -us, -a, -um. These are the typical male, female, and neuter endings of first- and second-declension nouns and adjectives. And the adjective novum is indeed an adjective of the first and second declensions. (This is one of the two large classes of Latin adjectives; adjectives in this class take first-declension endings when agreeing with feminine nouns and second-declension endings when agreeing with masculine or neuter nouns.) As it happens, however, genus is not the masculine second-declension noun it appears to be. It's not even a fourth-declension noun. (Although there does happen to be a fourth-decl. neuter noun genu, reflected in the English word genuflect. The good old Germanic word knee in English is a cognate of genu going back to proto-Indo-European.)

Rather, the genus abbreviated in the head term is a third-declension neuter noun, indicated in dictionaries by giving the genitive singular form generis. Most derived forms within Latin, and most derived words in Romance, are based on the root gener-. Hence gender and genre.

For a discussion of how genre is redefined by its each new member, see E. Spolsky and E. Schauber: The Bounds of Interpretation: Linguistic Theory and Literary Text (Stanford UP, 1986).

Abbreviation for the given name George. George is a boy's or literary woman's (George Eliot, George Sand) name.

FWIW, George Sand was the pseudonym of Aurore Dupin Dudevant, but she also signed her personal letters ``George Sand.'' Born Mary Ann Evans, George Eliot signed her letters M.E. Lewes (although she was unable to become Mrs. George Henry Lewes legally on account of Mr. Lewes's first wife refusing to grant him a divorce). At the J. K. Rowling entry there's information which should make both their practices seem quite natural.

George-George couples are rare, or were. Evelyn-Evelyn couples have been less so.

GEOstationary orbit. Or maybe that's GEostationary Orbit. Or maybe the abbreviation was coined heedless of my capitalization issues. Also, I trust unofficially, Geostationary Earth Orbit -- probably inspired by the expansion of LEO.

A GEO is a geosynchronous circular orbit over the equator. In other words, it is an orbit (and the only kind of orbit) that places a satellite in a position that appears at a fixed point in the sky to observers on earth. Communication satellites in geostationary orbits can serve fixed antennas. In practice, the delivery vehicle does not originally place a satellite on a precisely geostationary orbit, and may not place it at its assigned longitude. The satellite's on-board rockets are used to nudge the satellite into its final orbit. However, GEO is itself an approximation: the Earth's deviation from a perfect sphere and tidal forces from Moon and Sun cause the satellite to drift, and the same on-board roackets used for initial positioning are afterwards used for station-keeping (correction for this drift). Rocket fuel left over from initial positioning typically suffices for 10-15 years of station-keeping, but a really good initial position can save enough to add 10 years to the life of a satellite.

Geostationary satellites orbit at an altitude (a height above sea level) of about 35,786 km. For comparison, you realize that the earth's circumference is about 40,000 km, since the meter was originally defined as one ten-millionth of the length of a quadrant arc passing through Paris. What this means, among other things, is that a GEO is kind of close. The average equatorial radius of the earth, rE, is 6378 km, and the center-to-center distance R between Earth and GEO satellite is 42164 km. The Earth therefore has an angular diameter 2θ, where sinθ = rE/R (θ ≅ 8.7°). Each satellite is visible in a spherical circular region representing a fraction [1-sinθ]/2 ≅ 42.4% of the earth's surface. In particular, geostationary satellites are below the horizon for all points on earth above a lattitude of 81.3°.

For something about powering GEO's, see the solar cell entry. More at the DBS entry.

The study of silicates. Wings has a list of links. Other good places to mount your net surfboard are the GSA and the (UK) Geological Society.

Once when we were living in Illinois, my pal Ken said ``I want to start a rock club!'' I said ``I have a geode!'' Ken had a guitar.

Vide Rare Earth.

Here, as item #23, is an excerpt of Euclid's Elements.

geophysics resources
Try here.

Georgetown, Go the way of
Follow the path of creeping secularization. Notre Dame (ND) expression.

General English Proficiency Test. A test developed and administered by the Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC) at National Taiwan University (NTU). They like to call it the LTTC GEPT:
The LTTC GEPT is divided into five levels with content appropriate to each level, and each level incorporates listening, reading, writing and speaking components. The Elementary, Intermediate, and High-intermediate Levels are administered twice a year, the Advanced Level once a year, and the Superior Level upon request.

The LTTC GEPT is used by various government institutions as well as private enterprises. The test is also used by hundreds of public and private schools as an admissions, placement, or graduation criterion. About 2.20 million people have taken the test since its inception in the year 2000. [This appears on a webpage with copyright 2002. Wow! Oh wait: ``Revised: 2006-11-27.'']

Gerald Ford
I noticed that we didn't have a Gerlad Ford, Ge-Gerald Frod, Gerald Ford! entry. So I put one in and now we've got one. Good. Therefore we don't need one anymore. I suppose that means I should take it out now.

Well, here's something interesting about sports. Ford was the star center for his high school (``South High'' -- imaginative name) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As a senior in 1931 he won a football scholarship to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he played center on the undefeated national championship teams of 1932 and 1933. He graduated on time (1935) and had offers to play professional football with both the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers, but he passed that up to attend law school at Yale. He paid his way through Yale Law by working locally as an assistant football coach and as a freshman boxing coach.

Now, I knew that the whole scholar-athlete thing had changed a little bit over the years, but who today could ever imagine a football center as a ``star''? It's too strange.

(The second sentence in the preceding paragraph was put in because in school I learned that you can't have a one-sentence paragraph -- or is that ``halve''?)

According to True Confessions, a collection of unprovenanced quotes compiled and edited by Jon Winocur (London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1992), Gerald Ford said ``I've had a lifelong ambition to be a professional baseball player, but nobody would sign me.''

Gerald Ford's finest achievement was to become the first US president to be overshadowed by his wife in his retirement. Entries that are about other people or things, but which happen also to mention something about Gerald R. Ford, include those for 11Q5 (mentions the museum), MG autos (mentions his wife), the WWII channel (he served with distinction), and WIN (not a winner for him).

FWIW, Gerald Ford was born on Bastille Day, 1913. His name was Leslie Lynch King, Jr. His mother left his dad two weeks later -- and who could blame her? They lived in Omaha, Nebraska! She returned to live with her parents in GR, and literally before he knew it, Leslie Lynch King, Jr. was known as Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. Interestingly, Gerald Jr.'s mother's maiden name was Dorothy Gardner. In the Wizard of Oz, the role of Dorothy was played by Judy Garland, who had been born Frances Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Okay maybe not so interesting. Mnemonic, a little bit. I usually mention the American proclivity to name change in connection with Werner Erhardt, creator of est, but you can find another example at the MGM entry.


Einleitung in die Altertumswissenschaft [German, `Introduction to the Study of Antiquity'], edited by A. Gercke and E. Norden. It initially appeared in 1910 (publ. by Teubner) and in a series of revisions. Now replaced by Einleitung in die griechische Philologie (EGP) and Einleitung in die lateinische Philologie, also from Teubner.

GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease. Normally called acid reflux (disease). Let's not do the herdy-gerdy.

Spanish for `management' in the business sense of the word.

gerencia de inventario
Spanish for `inventory management.'

Spanish for `manager' in the business sense. In Portuguese it means both this and `managerial.' It's mildly intriguing that English has no common word derived from the Latin gerens, gerentis. There is the rare word gerent meaning `ruler.' Elizabeth Barrett Browning used it in her ``Prometheus Bound'' in 1833. It might be worth mentioning that Robert Browning's nickname for his wife was ``my little Portuguese,'' and this probably contributed to the choice of Sonnets from the Portuguese as the title for her famous colletion of sonnets.

A language and a nationality. Clicking on this link will generate a subglossary of all entries that contain any information in or about the German language or the German Sprachraum. (The subglossary will launch in a separate window.) But don't click now, I haven't written the script yet. My internal format is riven with exceptions.

A substantial online translation dictionary (German-English two-way) is offered by LEO (translations are also accessible directly via google.de). As of 2005, a parallel German-French resource is under development. A comparable German-English resource, <dict.cc>, has been constructed by user contributions, somewhat like Wikipedia. Another online two-way dictionary is ODGE. I haven't used any of these much, so I'm not making any recommendation.

I just (May 2007) had a surprise. On a German-language mailing list I subscribe to, there was an announcement for a junior research position (30-month contract) in economics, and the funding was from a grant whose title was in English (``Emergence and Evolution blah, blah, lasers, blah,'' approximately). The weird thing is, the title was accompanied by a translation into German. The implication seemed to be that there might be post-doctoral researchers working in Germany whose reading ability in English is less than excellent, and that one would consider hiring them.

English name for Germanistik.

German saltpeter
An old name for ammonium nitrate. See saltpeter.

German toast
Earlier name for French toast, q.v.

A Latin adjective related to the neuter noun germen (genitive form: germinis) meaning `sprout, offshoot.' Beyond the narrow senses used in horticulture, the word was used metaphorically to indicate the common parentage of siblings or a quality of true brotherhood (cf. blood brothers). A frater germanus was a brother (frater) having the same parents, or at least the same father (similarly soror germana for a sister). You recognize the word frater as the root of the related English words fraternity and fratricide. In fact, frater is a cognate of the English word brother and the German Bruder. The IE root is supposed to have had an initial eff sound, which was transformed into a bee sound by the First German Sound Shift (described by Grimm's Law).

In Classical Latin, the adjective became an abbreviation for the noun phrase, in about the same way that automatic stands for ``automatic transmission'' in English. So germanus came to mean `brother' and (to a lesser extent) germana `sister.'

The same word capitalized (Germanus) means `German.' In this sense, the earliest known use occurs in the second book of Caesar's Gallic War (written sometime between 52 and 50 BCE).

Quintilian (viii.3.29) quotes the second epigram in Virgil's Catalepton (`Trifles'; a collection of 14 now often obscure epigrams) and explains that it refers to T. Annius Cimber, who [was accused of having] killed his brother. In this connection he cites Cicero's ``Germanum Cimber occidit'' (Cimber killed [his] brother'). Germanum here is the accusative of germanus, so the brother is killed rather than killer (except that, oh never mind). Cicero's pun is a little better than that: ``nisi forte jure germanum Cimber occidit.'' Cimber was the name of a Germanic tribe, so the phrase can be interpreted to mean `unless perchance by law, a Cimber may kill his countryman.' [This might be a good place to mention again that the German nation has a remarkably large number of names in different languages. Part of the reason is that as different neighboring nations encountered them, they often knew Germans by the name of the local tribe and tended to apply the name in an unconscious antonomasia. Something like considering Cimbri as equivalent to Germani.]

Gertrude Stein
I didn't really want to have a Gertrude Stein entry I just needed a place to put something for reference yes reference for another entry its a limerick

There's a wonderful family named Stein,
There's Ep, there's Gert, and there's Ein.
    Ep's statues are junk,
    Gert's poems are bunk,
And nobody understands Ein.

Gertrude Stein is cited usually quoted at various entries in the glossary such as CSICOP and GRE but those are not really relevant and I shouldnt have mentioned them see? Not like 5-2 defense sure and ans. why not? Popular music too The Archies As Time Goes By thats not one song!

Okay, that's enough of that. Other entries with significant Gertrude Stein content:

A verb form used as a noun. In English, that's usually the infinitive or present participle form, but in many terms using a past participle as an adjective, the original noun may be elided, giving rise to what is effectively a past participle gerund. The truth is, in such a scantily inflected language as English, any form of any word can aspire to any syntactical rôle. It's the American Dream.

Abbreviation of gesamt and its inflected forms. German for `whole, total, entire, complete.'

Ground Engineering System.

Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection.

Graduate Employees and Students Organization. A group that has been trying to gain recognition as the union representing Yale graduate student teaching assistants. The University of Wisconsin became the first US university to recognize a graduate student labor union in 1969. Since then a score of other public universities have done the same, partly because they are often subject to state laws that treat the graduate assistants as state employees. Unionization in private institutions is governed principally by the NLRA, and the NLRB, has ruled that students who teach as part of their education are not protected under the act.

Geheime Staatspolizei. German: `secret state police.' A Nazi institution.

A Jewish legal document that a man owes to his ex-wife, declaring that they are divorced.

Get a life!
Overheard at a Star Trek convention. I don't know what you think, but to me that sounds like someone who's not getting cut in on the residuals.

Actually, the phrase was uttered by William Shatner (who played ``Captain James T. Kirk'' in TOS). In an SNL skit set at a Star Trek convention, he speaks it to some trekkies.

Groupe d'études inuit et circumpolaire.

Get real!
You needed that. You also need a slap in the face, but this page can't deliver it because you're using an obsolete browser.

Giga-Electron-Volt[s]. A convenient energy unit for anyone who accelerates elementary charged particles through potential drops that cumulatively amount to gigavolts. Convenient for elementary-particle physicists, in other words (also called high-energy physicists, because they're high-strung, of course). BeV (B for billion) is equivalent in US usage, but was discarded in the sixties in favor of GeV, partly on account of the billion ambiguity, and partly out of a preference for systematic nomenclature in numerical prefixes.

Because E = mc2, energy units can be used to state a mass (and vice versa, of course, though this is less common). For example, the proton and the neutron have masses equal to about one GeV/c2 (see amu). It is very common for physicists to elide the ``cee squared'' in informal conversation. There are three ways of looking at this. (1) Linguistically, one may regard GeV as an abbreviation for GeV/c2 where no confusion is possible. (2) Lexicographically, one may regard ``mass'' as having among its acceptions ``energy equivalent of the mass,'' so that ``the mass is 1 GeV'' is to be understood as ``the energy equivalent of the mass is 1 GeV.'' (3) Logically, one may observe that there is no way to measure time in length units, or length in time units, or perform any other experiment or theoretical calculation that establishes an equivalence between, say, microseconds and kilometers, or nanoseconds and feet. Looked at another way, this means that if one were to posit that, say, one nanosecond equals one foot, it could not contradict any bit of science otherwise known. Also (this is a bit harder to see), making such an assumption does not prevent one from performing any calculation one might otherwise perform. Hence, and because it is convenient, physicists often assume that c has precisely the value one. (Hence the constant can be replaced by the number in calculations, which means that as a factor it disappears entirely.) This is a very common move for elementary particle physicists, and common also for some electromagnetic calculations. Similarly, other universal constants such as the gravitational constant G have their values set to one for calculations. At the end of a calculation, if necessary, explicit constants are reinserted for the evaluation of quantities in ``practical'' units.

GeV is usually pronounced ``gee ee vee'' in my experience, but I have heard ``jevv,'' and for all I know usage has shifted in the twenty-five years since I was last regularly involved. Cf. MeV.

German: `weightlifting.' (The verb heben, in case there is any doubt, is cognate with the English verb heave.)

Greater EXpectations. ``AAC&U's multi-year initiative to articulate the aims of a 21st century liberal education and identify comprehensive, innovative models that improve learning for all undergraduate students.''

It is troubling to read, in the documentation of their National Panel, ``Information on many of these sites helped brief the Greater Expectations National Panel during its deliberations.''

Gey kak'n af'n yam!
`Go shit in the sea.' [Yiddish.] Like most technical terms, this phrase gains utility through obscurity. I've seen three conjugations of the verb, with the same translation, but this makes sense. Gey, geyt, and gey'n should be the familiar singular, familiar plural, and polite (no number distinction) forms, respectively. This really doesn't seem the place for the polite imperative, but it does lend a supercilious sarcasm. I write ``should'' above because I'm assuming the Yiddish forms parallel the standard German forms. This is usually right, but even if it isn't generally right, it's probably at least sometimes right, since Yiddish, like other nonstandard German languages, is subject to quite a bit of variation and can shade into more standard usage among speakers, like those few left in my family, whose native language is really German but who just happen to be familiar with Yiddish. (In this theater, Mark Twain would applaud that sentence.)

The 1984 movie Top Secret is an action comedy thriller, a parody of WWII spy movies from the 1950's and Elvis vehicles from the 1960's. Val Kilmer stars as Nick Rivers, the role I'd like to call the Elvis impersonation. While performing in East Germany (just so), he falls in love with a beautiful heroine and becomes involved with the French Resistance (if this makes sense, you're in trouble). The German dialogue in the original (English) release of this movie is generally inappropriate. Sometimes it's nonsense syllables, sometimes it's ordinary German but out of place (`I love you, honey' in reply to an officer's command), and sometimes it's Yiddish. At one point, a waiter seems to ask Nick if he's ready to order, but he actually says ``Gey kak'n af'n yam?''

Generating Function.

GF, gf
GirlFriend. Supposedly a personals-ad abbreviation.

In the Ring Lardner short story ``Zone of Quiet,'' a stupid chattering nurse goes on for a few minutes about a couple of her G.F.'s, and about the B.F. of one of her G.F.'s, and finally the patient says

``Maybe I'm a D.F. not to know, but would you tell me what a B.F. and G.F. are?''

She apparently understands what a D.F. is:

``Well, you are dumb, aren't you!'' said Miss Lyons. ``A G. F., that's a girl friend, and a B. F. is a boy friend. I thought everybody knew that.''

Ring Lardner grew up in Niles, Michigan, where there is now a Ring Lardner Junior High School, and since July 2007 the Niles District Library has sponsored the Lardner Writers Ring. Niles is just north of the state line from South Bend, Indiana. Lardner got his start as a sports writer with the South Bend Times in 1905. Them wuz the days. Today the only surviving local paper is the South Bend Tribune. (I mean, not counting the Irish Sports Report.)

``Zone of Quiet'' is the third story in The Love Nest and Other Stories (1926). Ring W. Lardner was one of the writers whose editor was the famous Maxwell Perkins.

Government-Furnished. Productive: GFE, GFI, GFP, GFD, and GFX. Terminology used in broad agency announcements (BAA's) of US funding agencies, appearing in the Commerce Business Daily (CBD).

Graphite Furnace.

Green's Function.

Ground Fault. A captious world diffuses blame.

ccTLD for French Guiana.

Glass-Forming Ability.

Gliding Federation of Australia. See Landings: Soaring-Related Links.

Global Freight Agreement. When I went around the world in about 30 days in 1989, I woke up early one morning in Rana'a, Israel, ate an early lunch in Rome, and by the time I reached Taibei I finally learned that yes, my luggage had made it. I'll probably replace this boring story as soon as I can think of virtually anything else.

Guitar Foundation of America. Other links at the guitar entry.

Graphite Furnace (GF) Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS). Do a Zeeman background correction, whatever that is. Search on STPF as well.

Generic Flow Control. Of routed packets. A field in an ATM cell header (q.v.).

Global Financial Crisis.

Ground Fault Circuit Breaker. The same as a ground-fault circuit-interrupter. The specs are very loosely explained at the GCFI entry; here we'll very loosely explain how one kind of GFCI works.

The traditional GFCI for single-phase power supply is based on a current transformer (CT) -- a toroidal core surrounding the live and neutral wires. (That is, the wire pair passes through the hole in the doughnut.) A ground fault occurs if some of the current in the live wire doesn't return in the neutral (i.e., if a circuit closes through ground; a ground loop). Normally, without a ground fault, the net current in the wire pair through the hole in the CT is zero. When a ground fault occurs, a net current flows, generating an azimuthal magnetic field around the wires. This magnetic field is concentrated in the toroidal core of the CT because the core is made of high-permeability material (supermalloy or something similar; relative permeability typically 40,000 at a density of 4 mT). The current flowing in the wires is AC, so it induces an AC magnetic field.

If you consider a small sector of the magnetic core, something like a slice out of a Bundt cake, you realize that an alternating magnetic field through the slice yields an alternating electric field around the slice. The way this is detected is by wrapping a secondary wire poloidally around the torus. Poloidally means going around the ``small'' radius of the torus, as if you were wrapping ribbon around a hula hoop gift without covering the center. (The toroidal direction is the way the little noise-making marbles go inside the tube of the hula hoop. This is parallel to the azimuthal direction for a wire passing through the center of the hoop, perpendicular to the plane of the hoop.) The poloidal electric field integrates to a significant voltage across the ends of the sensing loop, and this voltage is amplified and drives the circuit that throws the circuit breaker.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt(er). Breaks the circuit if it detects any significant difference between current in the hot cable and in the neutral line. Typically, for 240- or 120-volt single phase current, it trips in 25 ms if the leakage current exceeds 5 mA.

There have been few accurate studies of the lethality current threshold for humans. (Red tape problems, you know. Legal technicalities.) Nevertheless, statistical fits of available data suggest that when a current I passes through the body, persisting for a time t, may be fatal if

I×t1/2 > 116 mA-sec1/2.

[Number from C.F. Daziel: ``Reevaluation of Lethal Electric Currents,'' IEEE Transactions on Industry and General Application, vol. IGA-4, #5, pp. 467-75 (1968).]

The resistance from one hand to the other, when the hands are clammy, can be as low as 500 ohms (this is very clammy; take a towel). With a line voltage of 120 V, the current through this resistance may approach 240 mA (if other resistances in circuit are small), so if the GFCI takes the full 25 ms to trip, it would only give a completely unacceptable safety factor (for death, never mind injury or pain) of about 3. In fact, the standards bodies specify (UL 943, CSA 22.2 No. 144, etc.) permissible trip time as a (decreasing) function of current (up to a maximum current rating). As a practical matter, the trip time is almost an el-shaped function of the current: the circuitry takes much less than 25 ms to break the circuit, and except for low currents close to threshold, the circuit breaks at its maximum rated speed.

Cf. GFEC. See GFCB for operation.

Government-Furnished Data.

Government-Furnished Equipment. Socialist!

Ground-Fault Equipment-Protector. A GFCI that trips to protect the equipment rather than a human. The trigger level is generally higher, at 30 mA trip sensitivity.

General Format Identifier.

Government-Furnished Information.

Ground Fault Indicator. It has detection innards that may be like those of a GCFB, but it displays a signal or keeps a record instead of throwing the switch. Makes a bit more sense for protecting equipment than humans. Often, a GFI is part of a grounding system that includes a GFCB (a GFEP, to be application-specific), and is useful for monitoring sub-threshold faults that indicate trouble but don't merit immediate shut-down.

Government Finance Officers Association.

Gas-Filled Panel.

Government-Furnished Property.

Green Fluorescent Protein.

Glomerular Filtration Rate.

Grand Funk Railroad.

``... I don't need -- a big fine car.''

The band had a hit with ``We're an American Band,'' mentioned at the Sweet Connie entry.

GFR may have been an American band, but their group name was an allusion to a Canadian railroad, the Grand Trunk Railway.

Glass-Fiber-Reinforced Plastic.

Gordon Food Service.

Geographical Full-Time. I think that means ``full-time when you count together the different local administrative units [a person works in].''

Government-Furnished Other.

Garet Garrett. Author of The American Story (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1955). Well, it's readable. But don't go out of your way to get a copy.

Gadolinium Gallium Garnet. Laser substrate material.

Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.

Generalized Geometric Optics Approximation. Useful for analyzing the optical properties of twisted-nematic LCD's.

H. L. Ong, J. Appl. Phys. 64, 614 (1988).

Gateway-Gateway Protocol.

Golden Gate Transit. Buses, primarily serving Marin and Sonoma counties (CA). Cf. Muni, BART.

Gag And Heave. After Diane tattled to Chuck that Mary had taken me to Shirley's Gag and Heave, he asked Mary ``What are you trying to do -- get him killed?'' Shirley's G&H is a 24-hour greasy spoon on Mishawaka Avenue. (I don't think it has a real name on any sign. On the other hand, ``White House'' is printed in small white letters along the bottom of one of the windows, and the building is white. The building has the dimensions of a truck trailer flipped on its side.) Mary had a regular tab there when she lived across the street. She's still a regular; other patrons at the counter know her by name and remember her problems. The place has an atmosphere excess. When it gets busy, one or another of the customers -- sometimes one of the cops -- will go behind the counter and do things like refill coffees and sodas. You're probably just in awe that I was able to guess that you wanted to know all this.

There's no nonsmoking section. Then again, if you go there to eat, you're probably not overly concerned about living healthy. Shirley herself is deceased.

The tired old joke is that the waitress or whatever is supposed to ask: ``You want some heave to go with that gag?'' Basically, though, it's a hamburger-and-fries joint. Some other meats are also grilled.


``General Hospital.'' The longest-running daytime soap opera. On ABC.

GesamtHochschule. German, `comprehensive high school.'

(Domain name code for) Ghana. Commercial web presence at <http://www.africaonline.co.gh/>.

Good Housekeeping. The seal-of-approval magazine.

Growth Hormone.

A broad stairway leading down to a landing on the bank of a river. The word is of Indian origin (subcontinent, of course). It's a loan that could be more widely used.

Gamma HydroxyButyrate. Sort of a modern Mickey Finn, but used as a ``facilitator of date rape.''

Global Hydrology and Climate Center.

Greater Houston Dental Hygienists' Society.

Global Health Disaster Network. As of January 2005, a web search on this name turns up hits that mostly include the words ``need for.'' There used to be US and Japanese sites for one or two organizations by this name, but they're gone.

Greater Houston Dental Society.

GreenHouse Gas. For earth, that's mostly water vapor and carbon dioxide.

German Historical Institute. A research institute specialising in German and American history and international relations.

Google HITS. An accepted tool of research in linguistic usage. It is conventional to quote ghits without mentioning whether they are reported by Google as estimates (the usual case) or not. I have decided to follow this practice myself, because I can't decide whether to write ``About'' or ``[a]bout'' when I quote the ghit estimates. This topic (the estimation, not my personal quotation-style problems) is explored compulsively further below.

In July 2009, I was shocked to discover that ``Giordano Bruno'' is not universally known, is not a standard cultural reference point like Seinfeld. In order to get an idea of his relative celebrity, I did phrase searches on various names (i.e., I searched on the names as quoted strings). Here are some names and their ghits between around 10:30 and 11:45pm EDT, July 13, 2009:

Name:		   ghits:
God		 483,000,000
Obama		 224,000,000
Michael Jackson	 200,000,000
Jesus		 199,000,000
Paris Hilton	  65,500,000
Buddha		  28,500,000
Lindsay Lohan	  27,000,000
Sarah Palin	  24,700,000
Tom Cruise	  24,600,000
John McCain	  23,400,000
Oprah		  22,000,000
Jennifer Hudson	  18,000,000
Elvis Presley	  17,700,000
George Washington 15,900,000
Paul McCartney	  14,400,000
Albert Einstein	  13,900,000
John Lennon	  13,000,000
Santa Claus	  12,800,000
Sarah Jessica Parker 12,000,000
Abraham Lincoln	  11,600,000
Susan Boyle	  11,200,000
Descartes	  11,100,000
Mel Gibson	  10,600,000
Nicole Kidman	   9,940,000
Thomas Jefferson   9,750,000
Nicole Richie	   7,950,000
Joe Biden	   7,860,000
Fidel Castro	   7,630,000
Winston Churchill  6,850,000
Max Planck	   6,720,000
Jennifer Love Hewitt 6,000,000
Elizabeth Taylor   5,540,000
Dolly Parton	   5,020,000
Elvis Costello	   4,820,000
Lionel Richie	   4,590,000
Immanuel Kant	   4,570,000
Yoko Ono	   3,870,000
Isaac Newton	   3,250,000
Christopher Columbus 3,040,000
Ashley Olsen	   2,550,000
Groucho		   2,460,000
William Shatner	   2,180,000
Cookie Monster	   1,860,000	(tied with next)
Mary-Kate Olsen	   1,860,000	(tied with previous)
Mark Sanford	   1,650,000
Philip Glass	   1,580,000
Jackson Pollock	   1,360,000
Ronald McDonald	   1,570,000
Axl Rose	   1,440,000
Harpo		   1,420,000
Richard Burton	   1,370,000
Giordano Bruno	   1,350,000
Zeppo		   1,280,000
John Quincy Adams  1,250,000
Francis Drake	   1,230,000
Leonard Nimoy	   1,220,000
Mary-Kate and Ashley 1,100,000
Werner Heisenberg  1,090,000
Carrie Fisher	     997,000
George Thorogood     996,000
Henry Hudson	     941,000
Enrico Fermi	     850,000
Alfred Nobel	     753,000
Richard Feynman	     729,000
Debbie Reynolds	     704,000
Jan Hus		     661,000
Maura Tierney	     624,000
José Canseco	     601,000
Leon Panetta	     599,000
Robert Boyle	     467,000
Gummo		     370,000
James Polk	     286,000
Eddie Fisher	     231,000
Stedman Graham	     199,000
Steven Hawking	      92,600
Ashley and Mary-Kate  63,700
Of course, Harpo once protrayed Isaac Newton in a movie, so that might distort the numbers.

There are some other things that might distort the numbers. One is that Google at first returns only an estimate of the number of documents that satisfy the search criteria, and these estimates are sometimes off. For example, when I first drafted this part of the entry (Feb. 11, 2011), I did a search on "exciton polariton scattering" (sic: the search string was in quotes in the text box; I didn't want just any old page that happened to mention excitons, polaritons, and scattering). The results page came back with ``About 17,500 results (0.13 seconds)'' but there were only four more (ten-result) pages linked at the bottom of the first page. Clicking on the last link (page 5) brought up ``Page 4 of about 33 results (0.13 seconds),'' from which we can see that the 0.13 seconds is pretty consistent. I took up the offer at the bottom of that page. (``If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.'') In response, I got ``About 7,870 results (0.38 seconds).'' Clicking on the last linked page at the bottom (page 6), I reached ``Page 6 of 52 results (0.26 seconds).'' Notice the absence of the word ``about.'' When there are more than about 1000 hits, using Google's regular search will not get you to the point of no-``about.'' Maybe there's a way around that; I'll have to find my copy of Google Hacks and see.

Another search that (as of this writing) yields interesting rapidly diminishing ghits is "transmitted light lamp housing". Back in February, it first yielded ``About 2,530'' ghits, then 19, and finally, at the end of the second pass with ``omitted results included,'' 26. I guess that when the individual words in a search string are common, an estimate of total hits is computed based on their individual probabilities and some low-level correlations. However it is computed, it seems the estimate can be far off. [When I repeated the procedure on June 26, the numbers were 3200, 19, and 23. If correlations are used as suggested above, then the increase in the initial estimate is most simply explained by correlations that stayed about constant as the overall size of the database (i.e., higher page counts for the individual words).]

Estimation oddities do not require multi-word quoted strings, however. For example, back in February a simple search on the single word lateration yielded an initial estimate of ``About 7,780 results.'' Google often returns results that are close to, but not exactly what one searched for. One used to be able to get around this by prefixing a plus sign to strictly require a word or quoted string; normally and logically, this would yield a smaller number of ghits. The search on +lateration, however, yielded 10,400 results. When I ran the searches some time later, however, the results were more logical. However, the ghits were also much greater -- about 26,800. This is about the number of ghits I got back in February for the plural (no plus). But now there are fewer ghits for the plural than the singular form. I don't think that anything had happened to turn the world of webpages that mention lateration upside down. In fact, I don't hope to make any sense of this.

[Some time in 2011, the plus-sign syntax (to require a word to be contained in the hits) was changed without warning or noticeable notice. Now, so far as I know, single words or phrases in quotes are strictly required. Generally speaking, Google's attitude is that Google is bigger and smarter than you, so it will give you the results that you really want, rather than what you asked for. Hence, there's no point in maintaining consistent behavior while tweaking and optimizing the software.}

Given the variability described above, some other apparent illogicalities are less surprising or less puzzling. It is frequently the case, for example, that narrowing a search seems to increase the number of ghits. For example, nonspecularly yields 5460 ghits, and nonspecularly reflected yields 10,200 ghits. Using plus signs (later: quotation marks) to force a strict search yields logical results in this case, but not in all. For example, today a strict search on +"heavy Majorana" yields 23,100 ghits, while a manifestly narrower strict search on +"heavy Majorana neutrinos" yields 51,000 ghits. I suppose this is an artifact of correlation-based estimates: +"Majorana neutrinos" yields 58,800 ghits, and it might be that this number, along with the ghits for heavy, and with some further two-word correlation, yields the initial estimate for the full phrase. Whatever the explanation, it is certain that at least one of the numbers is off by at least 33%.

Remember, you can't spell ghoti without looking like an idiot. Don't tell me that spelling makes sense. Virtually none of the phonetic scripts used for writing natural languages are strictly one-to-one maps of sound to symbol. Indeed, they're rarely either injective or surjective maps from spelling to sound.

Maybe we ought to back up here. One day in my 7th-grade German class, our regular substitute teacher was out and we had a substitute substitute teacher. They were scraping the bottom of the barrel. I don't think the substitute substitute knew any German, and if he did but wasn't ``qualified'' they might not have allowed him to teach it anyway, but in any case they allowed him to bore us with non-course material. He wrote ``ghoti'' on the board and asked us to guess how it was pronounced. He claimed the gh was pronounced ``eff as in rough,'' with the o and ti as in ``women'' and (it may have been) ``action'' respectively. It was an old joke by then.

This entry was inspired by the you-can't-spell...without entries. Indeed, it's one of them, somewhat as proline is one of the ``amino acids'' even though it doesn't contain an amino group.

Group Health Plan.

General HeadQuarters. Often, as in the case of Eisenhower's GHQ in WWII, this is also the General's HQ.

GigaHertZ. (When spelled out, SI rules call for named units to be written in lower case. Hence: gigahertz.) A billion (thousand million) Hz.

Gastro-Intestinal. Hospital Abbreviation. See GI series. In connection with another GI entry, recall Napoleon's dictum: an army travels on its stomach.

Flying on Air Force One early in his first presidential term, Ronald Reagan tossed back a peanut and it went the wrong way. He turned blue and staggered from his seat, and the secret service scrambled all around him to get oxygen. Reagan made eye contact with his amanuensis Michael Deaver, whom he had taught the Heimlich maneuver not long before. Deaver pushed past the secret servicemen, administered the maneuver, and popped out the peanut. It was big news, and Dr. Heimlich himself called Deaver for the details. Later, Reagan also survived an assassination attempt. He became the first US president to win election in a year divisible by twenty since 1840 and not die in office (but during that first debate with Mondale in 1984, he looked like a zombie).

President George Herbert Walker Bush lost lunch and passed out in the lap of the Japanese prime minister. I prefer not to remember the details.

President George W. Bush nearly choked on a pretzel and passed out.

It seems to be a GOP presidential thing in recent years. Cf. ED.

General Instrument Corporation. They make, inter alia, the VC II decoders that dominate the North American market in encryption for transmission of programming via satellite. Their DigiCipher multiplexes up to ten channels by digitally compressing the signals.

General Issue. Military usage referring to equipment all soldiers are issued. Came to be a synonym for soldier. Similarly, GP for ``general purpose [vehicle]'' is widely supposed to have given rise to the word ``jeep'' (q.v.).

(Domain name code for) Gibraltar. Under .gb government.

giant resonance
A collective excitation of a nucleus. The widths of these excitations, as observed in scattering experiments are much wider than typical single-particle interactions, and are in fact comparable to the excitation energies themselves. (However, it is difficult to extract information from the width because most of the deexcitation -- say 95% -- is ``statistical'': via a variety of combined collective and single-particle mode excitations.)

Two categories of giant resonance are distinguished: ``electric'' and ``magnetic,'' corresponding respectively to excitations that do and do not involve the spin degree of freedom. The magnetic giant resonances (e.g. SDR) are naturally excited by a relatively restricted set of scattering processes, such as (p,n).

Among the ``electric'' resonances, four angular momentum levels have been observed -- L = 0, 1, 2, 3 [viz., monopole (GMR, q.v.), dipole (GDR), quadrupole (GQR), and octopole (LEOR, HEOR), respectively].

The first observation of giant resonances was in experiments by Bothe and Gentner, reported in Zeitschrift für Physik 106, 236 (1937). They used 7Li(p,gamma)8Be to generate 17 MeV photons. (I.e., they bombarded a 7Li target with protons. Those lithium nuclei that absorbed a proton became beryllium nuclei, and their deexcitation involved the conveniently monochromatic emission of 17 MeV gamma rays.) Bothe and Gentner observed that these photons induced neutron emission in 63Cu, but not in other nuclei they studied. They suggested that perhaps the large cross section for this process in copper was due to some sort of resonance effect. Later research has shown that there is indeed a resonance there. The isolated giant resonance in copper is near the energy they studied, and the cross section for their process is about 70 mb. Bothe and Gentner had estimated 50 mb.

Global Individual Asset Identifier. EDI term.

Giant Computers file
A page that is part of Mark Greenia's History of Computing website. That excellent site shows some tiny little signs of transience.

The relevant page seems to have a slightly independent existence. The page lists a hundred computers from the ``big iron'' age of computers. Most of the information is taken from a 1953 survey of automatic digital computers conducted for ONR. It lists machines already finished by that date as well as machines under development, with estimated completion dates as late as 1955.

Anyway, where I cite the Giant Computers file elsewhere in this glossary, it means either that I haven't checked elsewhere for confirmation of the information for which it is cited, or that I have checked but for one or another reason haven't updated the link. So in practice it means almost nothing at all (other than that it's a source of the information for which it is cited).

This other page lists 300 computers, with good coverage up to 1960, but contains a bit less detail.

Global Instructional Chemistry. Web site for distributed teaching of Chemistry.

Group IDentification.

Gender Identity Disorder of Adolescence or Adulthood, NonTranssexual type. One of the disorders identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 3rd. edn., rev.

Girl mIDGET. The blend was a nickname given to Kathy Klara Kohner when she started to hang out with surfers. Obviously, calling her by her initials would not have been nice. Kathy's father, a screenwriter, had taken the family to Berlin in 1954 to work on a movie there. When they returned to southern California, Kathy didn't feel like she fit in. Her mother suggested she go to the beach on Saturdays. On one of those outings, an acquaintance took her for her first ride on a surfboard.

``It was June 24, 1956 -- it's in my diary pages. They called me Gidget. And I felt like, ha! I got a name! I'm one of them!'' I dunno. Someone happy 'bout a name widdat kinda der'vayshun might be an idget.

She thought of writing about her experiences and mentioned the idea to dad, who did a fictionalized treatment himself in six weeks. The book eventually sold half a million copies, was made into a movie starring Sandra Dee in 1959, and a TV series (1965 to 1966) starring Sally Field.

Gate-Induced Brain Leakage. Look where yer goin! Oh, sorry. That's Gate-Induced Drain Leakage. Rust, I guess, somehow.

Oh look, we're talking about MOSFET's. The gate is a control gate, and its voltage controls the current through the drain and source terminals.

GIF, gif
Graphic Interchange Format. Developed by Compuserve. Here's a good site for gif animation information.

I read in one heretical book the terribly misguided belief that ``gif'' should be pronounced like the beginning of the word ``jiffy.'' This is wrong.

GIF89 allows one ``color value'' to be assigned to transparent. In HTML 3.2, perhaps the handiest way to insert a paragraph indent or other fixed-length text tab is to inline a small transparent graphic:

<IMG WIDTH="length of space in pixels" SRC="near0.gif">
with near0.gif a single-pixel transparent gif.

Animated gifs are explained here.

(In HTML 4, you can use CSS to adjust indents.)

A form of the conjunction if found in Scottish and northern English dialects.

Just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Pennsylvania Dutch country there's a tourist trap with a big sign on the roof that reads Gift Haus. Haus is German for `house,' reflecting the national origin of the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch --> ``Dutch''). Gift is English for `gift,' reflecting the national origin of the potential customers, or marks. In German, Gift is `poison' (etymologically: a thing given, just like the English word gift), and a Mark was money in the bank. In Swedish, gift is bride, presumably given away by the father. These are examples of faux amis, q.v.

Thanks to the internet, I've learned this this bit of stupid cleverness is widespread. The one I was thinking of is probably the one at #93 Roadside Dr., Route 22, exit 23 off I-78 (Pa. TP), in Shartlesville, PA 19554, but they're all over the place -- Ohio, Minnesota, China, and the Philippines. Not all of these claim to be Pennsylvania Dutch or Amish.

Gamete IntraFallopian Transfer. Eggs surgically abducted from an ovary are reinserted in one or both fallopian tubes, there to be fertilized by sperm in the good old-fashioned natural way. Sort of. In reality, GIFT is ZIFT plus a little medical legerdemain: the eggs and sperm are mixed a test tube and injected into the fallopian tubes. You know, if you don't actually see the gametes combine under a microscope, then you can't say it didn't happen in the natural-material tubes, now can you? So. It turns out that success rates are slightly higher with GIFT than with IVF. In IVF, the fertilized egg is deposited directly on the uterus. This apparently irritates the uterine lining, so the implantation probability is not as high as with GIFT.

Gas-Insulated Flow Tube. Sounds like welding technology to me.

Grazing-Incidence x-ray Fluorescence Yield.

An improved version of Graphic Interchange Format (GIF, q.v.) promulgated in 1989. Includes transparency ``color.''

Garbage In, Garbage Out. Terminology especially popular in computing, to explain to users that information alchemy is just as chimerical as the traditional sort.

Goods In, Goods Out. A logistics term. It looks familiar. Where have I seen a similar term before?

Getty Information Institute. A project of the J. Paul Getty Trust, GII was originally founded in 1983 as the Art History Information Program, and closed operations at the end of June 1999. It was devoted to the application of computer technology to art access.

Global Information Infrastructure.

Global Information Infrastructure Commission. An NGO.

Gas Immersion Laser Doping.

The great ichthyologist W.C. Fields objected to the substitution of water for beverage-quality ethanol solutions in these (as well as many other) terms: ``fish piss in it!'' To be precise, what fish do is convert their nitrogen waste into uric acid, and excrete it through their gills. It would be as if, instead of converting our nitrogen waste to urea and excreting it in a water solution known as urine, we converted it to ammonia and excreted it through our lungs. I guess we don't do this because it would give us very bad breath; it's a case of sexual selection.

Gilligan's Island
There's a homepage from which you can reach most necessary net resources.

It is the unanimous opinion of the Stammtisch that I date myself by placing this entry in the Minutes. Stuck on a deserted island with some attractive alternatives, dating oneself doesn't seem like the best option.

Gilliganian Genetics is also illustrated on the net.

IMDb has an entry, of course. There are a couple of faq's from the tv.gilligans-isle newsgroup. (A kind of first degree of separation file -- other acting ``credits'' of those who appeared in GI, and an episode guide). Regarding the degrees-of-separation thing, see our relevant AF entry.

ESPN asked various surviving members of the GI cast to make a pick for Super Bowl XXXIV. Dawn Wells, the actress who played Mary Ann, replied ``I really don't want Tennessee to win, but I think they will. I think they are so jazzed. St. Louis was the old (Los Angeles) Rams, but I lived in Nashville for 19 years. It was a tough decision. I also have property in Florida, so I was rooting for Tampa! I'm real confused. But in my head rather than my heart, Tennessee is going to win.'' (Rams won.)

There was once an episode of GI where the female islanders went on a strike of sorts. Mrs. Howell mentioned the Lysistrata.

Government Information Locator Service (of the GPO).

GNU Image Manipulation Program ``It is a freely distributed piece of software suitable for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.''

We also have a GNU entry.

Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. ``[F]ormed in January 1996 to discover new world-record-size Mersenne primes. GIMPS harnesses the power of thousands of small computers like yours....'' Just what are you implying here, exactly?

Mersenne primes are prime Mersenne numbers, and Mersenne numbers are numbers of the form Mn = 2n - 1.

The GIMPS group is organized by mathematicians at UCLA. On September 27, 2008, they announced that a new Mersenne prime had been discovered in August on a network of 75 computers running Windows XP. The newly discovered prime, M43,112,609, or about 3.1647×1012,978,188, was verified by a different computer system. It's the 46th known Mersenne prime, and the eighth discovered by GIMPS. Because the number has more than ten million digits, it is illegible -- sorry, that's eligible -- for a $100,000 prize being offered by the EFF for the first such discovery. The prize is expected to be awarded when the new prime is published, probably in 2009.

Short for enGINe. The most famous gin of this sort in the US is Eli Whitney's cotton gin. The story goes that this gin revolutionized cotton production in the American South, perpetuating and extending slavery by making economic the production of cotton by mass unskilled labor. The least speculative part of the preceding sentence, and the part that most people probably assume is correct, is the direct role of Eli Whitney's gin in improving cotton production. That part is largely wrong. Eli Whitney's cotton gin design was not very good, and it did not come into widespread use. Someone else designed an effective gin, but few people (I not among them) remember that fellow's name.

Gini coefficient, Gini index, Gini's ratio
A measure of dispersion. Introduced by Corrado Gini in 1910 as a measure of income inequality, and still used principally for that. For a general variable x, and representing average values by <.>, it is
          < | x - <x> | >
          --------------- .
               2 <x>
In words, it is the mean absolute deviation of the variable from its mean, divided by twice its mean. If x is sharply concentrated (incomes all about equal, say) then the Gini index is close to 0. It is obviously not true, as is sometimes asserted, that the maximum value of the Gini index is 100.

Yet another name for Gini's statistic is ``coefficient of concentration.''

Here are some values of the Gini ratio, and per capita selected countries.'' These appeared in an article in the Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2004 issue, and if the author of that article had given a source for his data, or even just avoided propagating the stupid 100-maximum myth, I would surely have given him credit.

Country            Gini index          Per capita GDP (USD)
-------            ----------          --------------------
Japan                 24.9                   25,130
Sweden                25.0                   24,180
Yemen                 33.4                      790
Egypt                 34.4                    3,520
Britain               36.0                   24,160
Jordan                36.4                    3,870
Morocco               39.5                    3,600
China                 40.3                    4,020
United States         40.8                   34,320
Russia                45.6                    7,100
Mexico                53.1                    8,430

One of the most certain conclusions that one can draw from the preceding table is that a lot of countries have names ending in the letter en. This appears to be correlated with low Gini index. Indeed, when Russia was part of the Soviet Union, its Gini index was lower. Generally speaking, however, Gini indices can be very deceptive. One reason is that income variations within a country may track to some degree the variations in cost of living.

This is as good a place as any to discuss measures of central tendency (because the mood just hit me; not for any objectively sound reason) and dispersion.

The Graduate Institute of Political and International Studies. Part of the University of Reading.

Global Investigation of Pollution in the Marine Environment.

GIPS, Gips
Giga-Instructions Per Second. See usage note at MIPS.

Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain. It sounds kind of cute, like a pet name for guppies or the Gipper. Not like PIGS.

girl-next-door looks

Geographic Information System[s].

The newsgroup comp.infosystems.gis has an FAQ.

See also AM/FM, GITA, A major software source is ESRI. A nice site for GIS, remote sensing, and various related stuff is served by Thomas Weiss at Universität des Saarlandes.

Ghost Investigators Society. ``A nationally-recognized, Utah-based organization dedicated to documenting, as well as educating and enlightening the public about the existence of ghosts.''

``No decisions are made by any one person that concern this Society. This website, any and all media appearances, any written publications, all personal appearances or presentations on behalf of the Society, and all or any equipment used in research has been and is collaborated and approved by the Society.''

I think it would be nice if some of their text were ghost-written. The organization and the website don't seem to be considered jokes by the members. I first learned of G.I.S. from Coast to Coast AM with Georg Noory. On October 28, 2006, he had Barbara McBeath (pronounced ``Macbeth'') on the show again ``with a new selection of actual recorded voices of ghosts, known as Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP).'' I guess if they'd just actually entered what the voices said into a file using a word-processing program, that would have been Digital Voice Phenomena. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to listen to the entire program, or even more than a few seconds of it, but all four hours of the show, including all of Barbara's interview with host Art Bell, are available at the C2C website.

GI series
Gastro-Intestinal (GI) series. A series of X-ray images of the GI tract made as an X-ray-opaque fluid passes through. The fluid is usually a barium compound, taken on an empty stomach (a barium milkshake for breakfast; it tastes a bit chalky). Useful in detecting obstructions or deformations (like tics).

In the days before MRI this was the only way to image the soft tissue of the GI tract. In contrast (I mean this both ways), from the earliest days it was possible to make out the substantial heart muscle (although not to image it sharply).

Goddard Institute for Space Studies. A ``subdivision of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Earth Sciences Directorate[,] which is primarily engaged in studies of global climate change. We are located near Columbia University in New York City.''

Gross Income Tax. One of three interlocking corporate income taxes in Indiana until 2003, when it and SNIT were repealed. A little bit about GIT is explained at the entry for AGIT (the one tax on general income of corporations that remains in place).

Short for Bhagavad Gita.

Geospatial Information & Technology Association. ``The technologies addressed by the association include Automated Mapping and Facilities Management (AM/FM), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Work Management Systems (WMS), Customer Information Systems (CIS), and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA's). GITA offers educational services to utilities, oil and gas companies, telecommunications companies, and government agencies.''

Grazing Incidence X-ray Fluorescence. Cf. GAFY.

Grazing Incidence X-ray Scattering. Cf. GAFY.

The Gospel of John. See G for general usage and special case of John. There was an apostle John who was the son of Zebedee. (Yes, I know who Zebedee was. He was the supposed father of an apostle named John.) Traditionally, John who wrote the gospel of John is believed to be the same fellow. I suppose it must matter, because if it's not true, then millions of books entitled ``The Gospel of Saint John'' will have to be recalled for reprinting. F.C. Grant, in his revision of the Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (edd. F.C. Grant and H.H. Rowley), p. 515, concluded that the two persons cannot be identified (i.e., determined to be the same person) ``without a full explanation of serious difficulties and discrepancies.'' That sounds like a typical critic. I have a simpler view. I think the two persons cannot be identified.

On the other hand, we can perform the less-accurate equivalent of DNA testing on the text. There's another book, called The Book of Revelation, that was written by someone who identifies himself in the text as John, written at exactly the same time (give or take a century or so). This John does not claim to be the same person as the apostle John who wrote GJohn. On the other hand, he doesn't disclaim it. The traditional view is that they were the same person. However, text criticism challenges that. GJohn is written in straightforward Greek (more specifically Koine, the common international version of Greek). The other book (now we'll call it Apocalypse, just to keep you off balance) was written in what anyone would call broken Greek. Robert H. Mounce, in The Book of Revelation, (this is a book about the book, published by Eerdmans in 1977) writes (p. 30) ``the Apocalypse seems to pay little attention to the basic laws of concord.'' This is a not-very-subtle way of saying that the author hardly knows the language. The Apocalypse also tends to use word order appropriate to Hebrew or Aramaic. In his classic two-volume commentary (1920, repub. 1985), Robert H. Charles includes a 42-page ``Short Grammar of the Apocalypse'' (pp. cxvii-clix of vol. I), whose main point seems to be that the way to make the book intelligible is to interpret it as Hebrew translated into Greek words by some simple-minded ignorant process like typing it into Babelfish. (Not Dr. Charles's exact words.) Even where the author of Apocalypse is grammatical and otherwise acceptable as Greek, he (okay, or she or they -- what the hell) uses different idioms and different style than the GJohn author.

Graduiertenkolleg. German, `graduate college.'


GreeK. When Shakespeare put ``it was Greek to me'' in the mouth of Casca (in his tragedy of Julius Caesar), the idea of Greek as a strange and difficult language was not new. Vide gringo.

Shakespeare himselfe was criticized (in a left-handed compliment of Ben Jonson) for hauing ``small Latine and lesse Greeke.'' See, however, some of the classics-list postings with ``Shakespeare'' in the subject, during the fourth and fifth weeks of April 1998, in particular this comment on S's Greek and this one on his Latin.

There's a Java applet, DisplayGreek, which properly displays polytonic Greek in web pages regardless of the fonts or system used by the person viewing the text. DisplayGreek does this by translating BetaCode-formatted text into a gif of the corresponding Greek text. It is not necessary to install the applet on one's web server.

There's a mailing list, Ancient Greek Study, posted to mostly by teachers. To subscribe, send email to <listproc@lists.colorado.edu> containing
subscribe greek Your Name Here

If you need to learn Ancient Greek right now, visit the UCB Classics Department's Ancient Greek Tutorials immediately.

Now that you've learned the language, you'll want to know about the excitingly, invitingly entitled ``Let's Review Greek!'' website, which provides the answer to students who ask ``what can I do to keep up my Greek skills over the summer??!?''

Alison Barker's ``Ancient Greek with Thrasymachus'' sounds friendly too.

Oh look, there's probably some more stuff at our Greek entry.

G. K. Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, born May 29, 1874, died 1936.

Graphical Kernel System.

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