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Lactase Deficiency.

LAN Destination.

Large (satellite) Dish (antenna).

Laser Desorption. Vide LIMS.

Laser Diode. Here's a link to NEC's.

Learning Disability, Learning-disabled.

Legibility Distance.

Lethal Dose.

Lev Davidovitch. Given name and patronymic of Leon Trotsky, born Lev Davidovitch Bronstein, son of David Leontiyevich Bronstein, on November 7 of the Gregorian calendar, so the anniversary of the October revolution was his brithdday. He was born in 1879, a few months after Albert Einstein. Trotsky's wife Natalia used the abbreviation L.D. in her journal, and friends also used it in writing.

Others born on November 7 are singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, the evangelist Billy Graham, scientist Marie Curie, singers Joan Sutherland and Johnny Rivers, and ethologist Konrad Lorenz, but not in that order. The science of astrology allows us to see that all these people (as well as those born that day who did not achieve fame) were essentially the same, with some minor differences occasioned by the phase of the moon.

Laser Doppler Anemomet{ er | ry }.

Late-Deafened Adult. An adult who became deaf after learning to speak. More restrictive definitions (e.g., deafened after age 13) are also used. ALDA's homepage discusses the implications of being ``late-deafened.''

Local Density Approximation.

Long Drivers of America. Not long-haul drivers; long golfball drivers. That is: long drivers of golfballs, not drivers of long golfballs, particularly. And the long drivers are people, not clubs. LDA is apparently the leading world authority in power golf. RE/MAX sponsors an annual World Long Drive Championship (WLDC) that is staged and overseen by the LDA.


Leuven Database of Ancient Books. A CD-ROM, 7K papyrological entries. Principal editor Willy Clarysse.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. `Lightweight' compared with the full DAP associated with X.500. UB maintains an faq for the local implementation.

The regular DAP is not, TTBOMKAU, called ``Heavyweight Directory Access Protocol.''

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Less Developed Countr{y | ies}. Even this euphemism is considered too harsh, and `Developing Country' is preferred. Unfortunately, this has the same acronym (DC) as its complement -- `Developed Country.'

Another problem is, some less developed countries got that way by not being developing countries in the first place.

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Long Distance (telephone communication) Carrier.

{ Low- | Lightly } Doped Drain.

{ Low- | Lightly } Doped Emitter. An LDE layer between the base and standard emitter of a BJT increases the width (electrical length) of the depletion region and thus decreases the emitter-base parasitic capacitance, increasing speed.

Light-Duty Gasoline Vehicles.

Lactate DeHydrogenase. An enzyme.

La Ligue des droits de l'Homme. French for the (French) `League of the Rights of Man.'

During the autumn rioting in 2005, they took a courageous stand against police violence and the nasty language of the Interior Minister.

Low-density lipoprotein. ``The bad `cholesterol'.'' Physicians like to see this above about 130 mg/dL, because then they have God's blessing to tyrannize your diet and your lifestyle, in a generally fruitless [without fruit, get it? Ha-ha! I'm a riot!] torture putatively aimed at reducing your chances of suffering atherosclerosis and heart disease. This practice is known as ``saving the body for cancer.'' You thought that it was dentists who had the sadistic streak, but no: when medics had to give up cupping, leeches, and surgery without anaesthesia, they found that they could induce general suffering by controlling lipid intake.

This makes me sick. Go visit the HDL-C entry.

Liquid Drop Model. A model for the energies of nuclei based on macroscopic quantites associated with the free energy of a liquid drop: bulk cohesive energy, surface tension energy, electrostatic energy of smoothly distributed proton charge. A correction is usually included to distinguish odd and even nuclei.

This overview page of nucleus models has a link to an extended technical description (dvi).

Limited-Distance Modem. A few miles. Also called short-haul modems and bit drivers. They use a dedicated line and thus are not (as) restricted in bandwidth (as general service lines).

Local Data Manager. Works with WXP from Unidata.

Logistics Decision Model.

Low-Density Microsome[s].

Lateral Double-Diffused Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (MOS) (Transistor).

Longman Dictionary Of Contemporary English.

Liberal Democratic Party. Founded in 1955, it has been the dominant party of Japan since 1958. It's not known for being particularly liberal or even democratic.

In upper-house elections on July 29, 2007, the LDP coalition (LDP and New Komeito) lost its majority for only the second time in history. There are 242 seats in the upper house, and half are contested in each election. The coalition entered the campaign defending 76 of its 132 seats, and as of the next morning appeared to have retained 46 -- LDP 37 and New Komeito 9. (In 1998 it won only 44 seats and the late Ryutaro Hashimoto, PM at the time, resigned.) The DPJ is projected to win 60 seats, well over the 55 it needed to gain an outright majority in the upper house. However, the LDP has a two-thirds majority in the lower house; in principle, that means it can override the constitutionally weak upper house.

At first, PM Shinzo Abe chose not to fall on his sword. (Okay, the traditional practice is slightly different in Japan. You get the idea.) And his party was okay with that, to the extent of there not being a public challenge to his leadership. He duly reshuffled his cabinet, but that was it. Then about a month later, on September 12, Abe, age 53 (the statement of his age is mildly disturbing at this point, isn't it?), announced that he would quit. The next day, he entered a hospital (see?) for unspecified stress-related abdominal complaints. (Sharp pains?) The LDP chose a new PM, Yasuo Fukuda, age 71 (it's okay this time), on September 25, and on the same day Abe emerged from the hospital to dissolve his Cabinet and formally resign.

The most important reason for the 2007 defeat was widespread anger over poor record-keeping in the national social security system: fifty million records lost. I don't understand how a problem can build to that scale before breaking. Claims (by the opposition) that many pension records had been lost only the news in late 2006, and were only confirmed in Spring 2007. (In summary reports in English, it is often reported that two ministers resigned and one committed suicide ``in the scandals.'' This gives the impression that the big pension scandal led to resignations and suicide, but so far it has not. A bit ironically, administrative reform minister Genichiro Sata resigned in December 2006 over charges of misusing of political funds. Agriculture minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka committed suicide in May following allegations that he misused public funds; his successor in that ministry, Norihiko Akagi, got into similar scandals by early July. In June, defense minister Fumio Kyuma suggested the 1945 U.S. nuclear bombings of Japan were justified, and he resigned in the ensuing, uh, firestorm I think is what you'd call it.)

To say nothing of the millions who have received smaller pensions than they'd earned, the pension screw-up has required practically all Japanese adults to visit government offices to check that the records of their employment histories are complete and correct. The lines have been rock-concert-ticket-window bad, though not Notre-Dame-football-ticket-window bad. (This was before ND's historically bad 2007 season.)

Low-Density PolyEthylene. Less resistant to organic solvents than HDPE, whether or not fluorinated (FLPE) or cross-linked (XLPE). Recycle code 4 (in PCS).

Land Disposal Restrictions.

Long-Distance Relationship. May interfere with an LTR. This might be one of its hidden advantages.

A lot of men you meet on internet dating sites will reply to your note by saying that gee, you're a swell gal, it's too bad you live so far away. This means that your beauty lives too deep below your skin.

Latter-Day Saints. The LDS Church is better known as the Mormons.

Liechtenstein Development Service Foundation. See LED. LSD, which may light up your brain like an LED, was first synthesized in neighboring Switzerland.

Oh wow, man! That pun was like, mind-blowing! Intense! I better sit down. What do you know -- I am sitting down! How cool is that?

Lightning Detection System. That's the technical term used by the National Weather Service. In common parlance, there is another term.

Linear Data Set.

Local Digital Switch.

Low-Dimensional System.

Low-dimensional semiconductor system.

Laser Doppler Velocimet{ er | ry }.

Lethal Dose to 50%. I.e., a dose that is lethal to 50% of a standard sample of human or animal subjects. Typically given in units of milligrams per kilogram of animal body mass. (This suggests a reasonable scaling rule -- that lethal dose in different animals scales with body mass. This rule is only very approximately true.) Cf. LC50.

Common abbreviation for the Egyptian pound, at least in English-language reports I've seen.

LAN Emulation. (Also, ``LANE.'')

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Left End. A defensive position in American football. Ahh, read all about it at the RE entry. Mutatis mutandis, as coach says.

Lower Extremities. Medical term that sort of translates Hebrew raglayim: legs-and-feet. (Actually, the singular regel, `foot, leg,' also has the slang sense of, um, another lower appendage vaguely suggestive of a foot. It reminds me of the comment of a colleague complaining about her spam -- ``they promise to enhance what I haven't got.'') A lot of cardiac and vascular problems leave them (the LE, that is) cold and vulnerable. See the SCIA entry for more about the Hebrew.

Laboratoire Européen Associé.

Left Ear Advantage.

Local Education Agency. In the language of the US government's ESEA. Also expanded ``Local Educational Authority,'' but see next entry.

Local Education Authority. Under a UK law of 1902, 120 L.E.A.'s were instituted as school boards for primary and secondary education for all of England (or England and Wales, it was long ago, I don't recall). Cf. preceding entry.

Law Enforcement Assistance Administration.


A dense metal. Pron. /led/ (rhyming with the past tense form led of the verb lead). Atomic number 82; atomic weight about 207. Chemical symbol Pb (q.v.) from Latin name plumbum. Little chemically to do with pencil lead, q.v..

A wire used to establish electrical contact. Pron. /li:d/ (rhyming with the present tense form lead of the verb lead; leed would be a rational spelling).

lead-acid battery
Car battery. According to a slightly more specialized glossary, a fully-charged lead-acid battery has an electrolyte density of 1.28 g/ml, and is discharged at a density of 1.1 g/ml.

You're not supposed to just throw it away when it deceases. Learn here what to do.

Huddie Ledbetter. Twelve-string blues guitarist. Not that there's any such thing as twelve-string blues.

A noun used in typography, referring to the thin continuous or dotted lines in a table of contents that one can follow from titles justified against one side of the page to the numbers justified along the opposite side. They ``lead'' the eye across the page. Leaders are very useful, though sometimes they'd be more useful if they were used only for one per two or three lines. The increasing failure to use leaders is just another of many signs that The End Times Are Upon Us. And the shame of it is that it's so easy to be saved! I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on a Northstar computer, when PC's didn't have hard drives -- when PC's weren't called PC's! -- and even the limited word processor that I loaded on a 5½-inch floppy drive A: (Wordstar) had the ability to insert leadering. So just do it. There's no excuse not to.

Here's an interesting collocation of the word, though quoted by an anonymous and very probably unsympathetic source. It was posted to the American Spectator blog on October 31, 2005, following the nomination of Samuel Alito to be a justice on the Supreme Court:
``We're waiting on some polling data,'' says one Senate Democratic leadership staffer, when approached about where her boss thought he might go the Alito front.

My Aunt Edith contributed a lot of money to the Democratic Party. She had a card to add to her wall with the president's autograph and a picture of the White House every Christmas season during Democratic administrations, although she took down Clinton after the Lewinsky affair (and she didn't remember the Democrats in her will). She also had certificates attesting to her status as a member of a Democratic ``Leadership Circle.'' It reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon. The sexy young thing sitting at a table in the glitzy restaurant is saying ``Oh, I don't think of you as an old man at all! I think of you as a very, very rich old man!'' Something like that.

A cop I know, a fellow regular at a restaurant where I know all the table numbers, was holding forth at 23 the other day. He said that before he met his wife, he was looking for a rich woman, preferably a rich old woman.

Anyway, these leadershipish things have become pretty common, along with appeals for money that are thinly disguised as polls. At the time, though, it was new to me. I asked Aunt Edith about it and she replied modestly that ``oh, everybody sends those things.'' As a joke, I decided to take her somewhat literally and ask whether the Republicans sent her such certificates too. She gazed at me in horror (it wasn't mock horror; mock horror doesn't usually include tremors of fear) and asked ``You're not a Republican, are you?'' I reassured her (without explaining that I don't have much respect for people who can be wholeheartedly enthusiastic about any political person or party), and I wasn't cut out of the will, but for all I know it may have been the most expensive joke I ever told.

Interference in the work of people who know what they're doing and haven't spared the time to explain it to fools.

Lean Sigma
Six Sigma combined with rightsizing. Officialese that surely has spawned ``mean sigma.''

Lowest Empty Acceptor Orbital. LEAO and HODO, LEAO and HODO, go together like a horse and carriage! Well, it's been awhile since I saw Oklahoma! I may have the lyrics garbled a bit. See the HODO, entry, because it's got a more mouthfriendly pronunciation and because I explain things there.

Labor Education Action Program. Run by CSEA.

Lightweight ExoAtmospheric Projectile. For ballistic missile defense.

Loaned Executive Assistance Program. Part of the Regional Alliance of Small Contractors run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Louisiana Educational Assessment Program. See LEAP 21.

Long-term Equity AnticiPation Securities.

Louisiana Educational Assessment Program for the 21st Century. A criterion-referenced test. New improved LEAP. The Louisiana state legislature noticed that students did well on the old LEAP and poorly on the NAEP, and somehow concluded that the LEAP was too easy. In addition to mandating the new LEAP, they replaced the CAT with the ITBS. Now students are evaluated on some sort of standardized test evey year from grade 3 to grade 11 (there is also a school-leaving exam required for a diploma). They take ITBS in grades 3, 5-7, and 9, LEAP 21 in the remaining years.

Teachers are encouraged to teach to the test, but they don't call it that. They want teachers to ``align'' the curriculum the test.

Low-Energy Antiproton Ring. At CERN.

Learn how to get rich quick by selling a scheme to learn how to get rich quick!
Hey -- it works for me!

LAN Emulation (LANE) Address Resolution Protocol (ARP).

Low-Energy Booster (particle accelerator ring). See the SSC entry for an obsolete instance.

Low-Energy Beam and Ion Trap (facility). Pronounced ``LEE-bit.'' A facility operating at the NSCL at MSU since about 2005. It's designed to facilitate a variety of experiments at low energies with rare isotopes.

LAMPS Element Coordinator.

LAN Emulation Client.


Les Études Classiques. A classics journal catalogued in TOCS-IN.

Liquid-Encapsulated Czochralsky. A crystal growth method. Czochralsky method (``crystal pulling'') in which the growth front is completely surrounded by melt.

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Local Exchange Carrier. A local provider of phone service. See CLEC for details.

Loss of Earning Capacity. A pseudocalculation done in determining workers comp.

LAN Emulation Client Identifier.

LAN Emulation Configuration Server.


lectio brevior
Latin, `the shorter reading.' Short for lectio brevior lectio potior -- `the shorter reading is the likelier reading.' A maxim of textual criticism, that where two manuscripts differ, the shorter version is more often correct (all other things being about as equal as all other things are likely to get). The idea is that when scribes can't make sense of the original, they insert a letter or a word or a phrase that changes the meaning to something they expect. Of course, this principle is only useful if the editor (the textual critic, the philologist) is able to understand the shorter reading that the scribe did not.

Here's a nice page on textual criticism.

The principle seems to work in many instances where the philological reasoning does not, as in the phrase ``play it again, Sam'' that does not occur in Casablanca (discussed at the As Time Goes By entry).


lectio difficilior
Latin, `the harder reading.' Short for lectio difficilior lectio potior -- `the harder reading is the likelier reading.' A maxim of textual criticism, that where two manuscripts differ, the less usual expression (if sensible) is more likely correct. The idea is that a scribe is likely to substitute a trite or common word or expression for an original that had some bite, rather than vice versa. It's a maxim, but not a rigid principle. Things happen. There isn't always agreement on which exactly constitutes the more difficult reading. Try to make sense of your own pee-chem notes if you don't believe me.

An equivalent expression is proclivi lectioni praestat ardua. According to L. D. Reynolds and N. G. Wilson: Scribes and Scholars (Oxford, 2/e 1974), p. 248n, the ``principle of difficilior lectio seems to have been first expressly formulated as a criterion by Jean Le Clerc (Clericus) in his Ars Critica, vol. 2, Amsterdam, 1697, p. 389...''

Leading-Edge Detector.

Light-Emitting Diode. The initialism (pronounced ``ell ee dee'') refers to diodes designed to emit light in a controlled way. An SED may also emit light once.

[Stiftung] Liechtensteinischer Entwicklungsdienst. English: `Liechtenstein Development Service [Foundation].'

The word Entwicklung, incidentally, is used in mathematics for what is usually called a series (or ``series expansion'') in English. I half-remember some German-speaking mathematician talking about ``developing'' an expansion in powers of some parameter or other.

The past-tense and past-participle form of the verb whose infinitive is `to lead.'' The word is widely misspelled. A google search today (2006.03.22) found 24.1 million pages with the word sequence ``have led to,'' and 1.12 million with the usually incorrect sequence ``have lead to.'' (I checked over 40 instances of ``have lead to,'' and all were errors.) More about this in the lede entry below.

Variant spelling of lead, used in newspaper editing jargon for lead in the sense of leading paragraph (graf or graph). I also saw it used once in a newsletter from the editor of the New Republic, in the phrase ``lede editorial.'' Non-arts writing for TNR was by then (2007) only marginally literate, so this use may not be normative. See Bil for another example of use.

Nowadays, with spell-checkers built into many kinds of text-processing software, the most common misspellings in commercial publications are homophone errors -- principle for principal or vice versa, likewise complementary for complimentary, etc. (Incidentally, I don't use an automatic spell-checker, so here you get to enjoy the traditional full panoply of orthographic absurdities and atrocities.) Ware won've uh pear of homophoans iz rellatively rer, it seems probable that the spelling of the more common word will be overused for that of the less common. For example, in a FOXNews.com story (``Sixth Human Foot Washes Ashore on Canada's Coast'') credited to the AP and dated Wednesday, June 18, 2008, ``the Straight of Georgia'' was mentioned (as well as the Strait of Georgia). A version from early the next morning managed to avoid that error, but quoted an RCMP spokeswoman as saying ``Too my knowledge, we have not encountered anything like this.'' This particular version contained a comment about spelling at the bottom:

(This version CORRECTS Corrects spelling of British Columbia in lede)
[Repetition and punctuation sic. The misspelling had been an instance of Colombia, a homophone of Columbia in most accents. More to the point, though, it was the sort of error that can slip past typical spell-checking, as the error is a correct spelling, just not the correct word. The reporter seems to have achieved dynamic equilibrium at one (different) misspelling in each iteration.]

By the end of the day Thursday, it turned out that the sixth foot was a hoax. Incidentally, I think the reason four out of the five genuine finds have been right feet is that most people are right-handed, and that right-handed people tend to be right-legged and right-footed as well. That probably makes the right foot slightly meatier and bigger, whereas the shoes are more closely equal in size. Hence, the right foot fits more snugly in the right shoe and is less likely to slip out. (This explanation depends on the hypothesis, which has been put forward repeatedly, that the reason only feet have appeared, and no other body parts, is that they were carried along by the buoyant athletic shoes they were found in.)

For over a century, newspapers were typeset with a ``hot lead'' process, in which a ``line-o'-type'' (hence the trademarked name Linotype for the first successful American invention of this kind) was created by pouring a molten lead alloy into a line of type molds. (There was at least one significant competitor, Monotype, but the Linotype brand was dominant in the English-speaking world and the word linotype is now in practice a generic term.) A linotype operator could create the line of molds directly from a keyboard -- the process was dramatically more efficient than setting type manually from a case of movable type. (For more on the keyboard, see etaoin shrdlu.) Since the typesetting was in ``lead,'' the same written word lead was used for extra lead inserted as spacing. Hence, the word lede had the advantages of distinguishing between what would otherwise have been a common pair of homographs in copy-editing, and of doing so with a word whose pronunciation (with a long e) was clear.

One irritating common error that I have seen even in the writing of otherwise observant highly intelligent people like me is the spelling ``lead'' for the past-tense verb form led. It's a sort of multiple homonym error: The uncountable noun lead is a homophone of the verb form led, but it happens to be a homograph of the verb form lead, making it look like a conjugation error instead. It produces a kind of egalitarianism: we have difficulty determining the tense of leading as well as of reading. See also leaders.

Linotype printing is called ``hot-lead'' or ``hot-metal'' printing, but the latter term is almost 20% more accurate (or say 20% more inclusive). The hot metal poured to make a line of type is normally an alloy of lead (84%), antimony (12%), and tin (4%). The particular composition chosen corresponds to a eutectic point. There's a reason for this, explained in the next two paragraphs.

Most alloys do not freeze at a single sharp temperature. Starting from a high-temperature melt and slowly cooling, one reaches a temperature where a solid phase begins to precipitate out. This solid has a composition different from the initial liquid, and as the solid phase grows, the composition of the remaining liquid shifts in a complementary fashion. (That is, whatever the solid has a relatively high concentration of is progressively depleted in the liquid.) The situation is further complicated because there may be as many coexisting phases as there are distinct elements in the alloy, and the composition of a phase in equilibrium changes as temperature decreases. (The newly-formed solid at any time is in equilibrium. Since the older solid does not remelt, its composition is essentially fixed and out of equilibrium.) The result once the last of the melt has solidified is a highly inhomogeneous solid.

On the other hand, if one starts with a eutectic composition, then like a pure element it remains entirely liquid until it reaches a freezing point, where it solidifies homogeneously. A eutectic alloy thus makes possible sharply controlled mechanical properties. Also, cooling requires the conduction only of the latent heat of fusion and only an infinitisimal heat flow to cool the melt through a range of melting temperatures, so a eutectic alloy can be cooled rapidly. (In fact, the only way to make bulk amorphous metal from liquid metal is to cool a eutectic alloy.) Also, for any given set of elemental components, the eutectic composition (if there is one) yields the lowest melting point. (That is, its single melting point is at or below the temperature at which any other composition begins to melt. For the standard linotype alloy, the melting point is an almost chilly 475°F. This alloy is also considerably harder than lead, though also more brittle.

In his little book Le Degré Zéro de L'écriture (1953), in the chapter ``Écriture et Révolution,'' Roland Barthes critiques and criticizes the French social-realist style. I quote here from the 1968 translation Writing Degree Four Seventy-Five (actually, that might be Writing Degree Zero; I'll let you know after I check) by Annette Lavers and Colin Smith (p. 71):

Here are for instance a few lines of a novel by Garaudy: `... with torso bent, he launched himself at full speed on the keyboard of the linotype ... joy sang in his muscles, his fingers danced, light and powerful ... the poisoned vapor of antimony ... made his temples pulsate and his arteries hammer, fanning his strength, his anger and his mental exaltation.'

(Note that this scrap of translation is offered here without warranty or representation of accuracy. Then again, the translation is not much worse than the original. If you choose to bend your torso (rather than crouch or lean) and launch your body at full speed at a six-by-six square of linotype keys to achieve mental exaltation, well, all I want to know is if there's an advance-purchase ticket discount. Barthes's original reads thus:
Voici par exemple quelques lignes d'un roman de Garaudy: « ... le buste penché, lancé à corps perdu sur le clavier de la linotype... la joie chantait dans ses muscles, ses doigts dansaient, légers et puissants... la vapeur empoisonnée d'antimoine... faisait battre ses tempes et cogner ses artères, rendant plus ardentes sa force, sa colère et son exaltation. »)

[FWIW, in a search of medical literature databases I found no report associating antimony with any health effect in linotype operators. The characteristic occupational disability of linotype operators was deafness, because the machines were loud.]

Barthes does not identify the novel or give a full name for Garaudy, but evidently the person referred to is Roger Garaudy, a philosophy professor by profession. He is known to have published some novels and plays. If the sample above is any indication, then it's ``no coincidence,'' as a favored communist locution went, that I have been able to find no novel published by Garaudy in or out of print.

Garaudy was born in 1913 and has been a serial fanatical convert since shortly thereafter. At age 14 he converted to Protestantism. In 1933 he joined the Communist Party, eventually serving 28 years in leading positions as a member of the Executive Central Committee. Krushchev's famous ``secret speech'' denouncing Stalin (February 24, 1956, at the 20th Party Congress) shook Garaudy's faith, and he became increasingly critical of the USSR. He broke with the party after the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and was expelled in 1970, following his publication of an article claiming that USSR was not a socialist state. (``Expelled'' from the party, not Czechoslovakia. I think that's right, but I'm not sure whether they tossed him out or slammed the door behind him.) As part of this pinball pilgrimage of his, he had begun to seek a reconciliation between the Catholic and communist faiths, in De l'anathème au dialogue (1966) and in A Christian-Communist Dialogue (1968), the latter co-written with Quentin Lauer, S.J. Then in 1982 he converted to Sunni Islam, taking the name Ragaa (i.e., ``Ragaa Garudi,'' so I understand, though his books seem to be published under the old name). In the 1990's he started writing antisemitic books, including one which earned him a conviction for holocaust denial in a French court.

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin reputedly got its name from The Who's John Entwistle (1944-2002, bassist) or Keith Moon (drummer). He (whoever he was) suggested that Jimmy Page's new project would go over like a lead balloon.

I suppose speakers of Commonwealth English could call this group ``Led Zed'' for short. I don't recall ever having heard or seen that abbreviation, nor LZ (q.v.), but it did go by the name ``New Yardbirds.'' What happened was that the Yardbirds broke up in 1967, and still had some concert commitments in Scandinavia for 1968. Jimmy Page had joined the Yardbirds in June 1966 as bassist, and took over lead guitar in November when Jeff Beck left. Page put together a new band with John Paul Jones as bassist, Robert Plant lead vocals, and John Bonham, drummer from the original Yardbirds, and the ``New Yardbirds'' played out the remaining Yardbirds gigs. They performed as Led Zeppelin for the first time in their first show after returning to England, at Surrey University in October 1968.

The Who's drummer Keith Moon died of an accidental drug overdose in 1978. Led Zeppelin's drummer John Bonham (``Bonzo'') choked to death on his own vomit at Jimmy Page's house in 1980, after an all-day drunk. There was a lot of this stuff going around; overdoses were not a drummer specialty.

Low-Energy Electron Diffraction. Electrons with energies in the range 5 eV to 500 eV have deBroglie (i.e. quantum mechanical) wavelengths h/|p| in the range 0.55 Å to 5.5 Å, comparable to crystalline lattice spacings. Low-energy electrons are a surface-sensitive probe because typical inelastic mean free paths for electrons in this energy range are on the order of 5-10 Å. Moreover, the typical energy lost in these inelastic scattering events -- of order 5 eV -- is large compared to the energy resolution of electron detectors. As a result, it is possible to resolve an elastically scattered signal with surface structural information (elastic LEED or ELEED). It is also possible to filter for only those electrons that have undergone a single inelastic event (ILEED).

A city in northern England. A town in Alabama.

Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics.

left bank
The opposite bank from the right bank. The way rivers work, you pretty much need two and only two banks. In fact, if you take away one bank, the other bank goes away too -- it becomes a shore. If you wanted useful information, you came to the wrong bank entry; you want the right bank.

legacy computer system
A way obsolete system that continues in use because the boss won't admit that the earlier purchase decision was ignorant and short-sighted or ``a judgement call'' (relied on brother-in-law, a Wang salesman). Penny-wise and pound-foolish, the company continues to bear the costs of this system both hidden (legacy software with low functionality and less interoperability; poor productivity; good personnel leave for well-run company) and not-so-hidden (hire brother-in-law as consultant to crisis-manage Y2K conversion). Since the company's party line is that the original purchase was savvy, continued use of crappy legacy system is called ``mining the gold'' (on the level; used without ironic intent by United Airlines management as recently as 1998, referring to host-centric IBM boat anchors).

FOLDOC has a kinder, gentler explanation, but here we don't pull our punches. Except for our friends. Or for money. We got standards!

legal fiction
A falsehood that a court requires be assumed true, for the court's convenience. An important foundation of the legal system. You think this is a joke. Ha-ha.

The name of a Danish toy company that originally made other toys, but now specializes in this, their most successful product (the patents on which happen already to have expired). The company name is supposed to be a contraction of Leg godt, meaning `play well.' There's an official company site, and there are many unofficial sites, including David A. Karr's, at Cornell, one with subject-appropriate horizontal rules from David Koblas, and a site in Buffalo. Pictures would have been nice.

The rec.toys.lego newsgroup has extensive faq documentation compiled by Tom Pfeifer. (All together in one file here.)

LEGO blocks have plug-and-socket structures on top (squat plugs) and bottom (sockets) arranged in regular patterns (as dots on dominoes). A similar relief pattern can be seen on the bottoms of the metopes of ancient Greek temples -- they look like upside-down LEGO blocks. The characteristic was copied in neo-classical architecture and can be seen on many old public buildings in the US. I learned about this from Dr. J in Philadelphia. Have a look at Prof. Siegel's Illustrated Parthenon Lecture.

LEGally Oriented (computer programming) Language. Name on the pattern of COBOL and SNOBOL.

See R. K. Stamper: ``LEGOL: Modelling Legal Rules by Computer,'' Computer Science and Law, Bryan Niblett (ed.), (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge U.P., 1980).

A plant that yields pulse (loosely, edible seed), or the pulse itself, or the pulse and its edible envelope, or just the edible envelope, if there would be a pulse inside. So string beans are a legume but not a pulse. (String beans contain pulse, but not much to speak of; snow peas in the pod aren't string beans.) One can get into philosophical difficulties here, however. An argument or criterion used to exclude grapes as a legume might cause string beans to be excluded as well. Use your judgment.

The adjective leguminous generally has the meaning one would infer from the legume definition above. Legume is also used in the more general sense of edible vegetables. The noun vegetable could once refer to any plant or non-animal life. This is evident from the attributive (i.e., functionally adjectival) use in terms like vegetable matter (equivalent to plant matter). Vegetables were not necessarily edible. (Children still feel that way.) If one excludes figurative uses (primarily to describe people), however, the (adult) meaning of the word vegetable functioning as a noun has now become restricted to the sense of edible plant. With vegetable thus serving the semantic function that was once served by the compound edible vegetable, we now have the opportunity to sharpen up the meaning of legume to include only its pulse-related senses. Let's do it! (Recommendation subject to change once I think through grains and cereals.)

Laser Entrance Hole.

A garland traditionally made of flowers, shells, feathers, etc. Aloha and welcome to Hawai'i!

Laser-Enhanced Ionization. Virginia Tech serves a brief description.

Actually, it's ``Leibniz'' -- no t. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). He died some years before even daguerrotype was invented, so there is no photograph.

This is the correct spelling of his name, you pedant. For more information, see ``Leibnitz.''

Leidenfrost's Phenomenon
The formation of a thin vapor layer between a liquid or a wet surface, and a hot surface beneath it, suspending the condensed portion out of contact with the hot surface. The vapor layer slows heating of the liquid because its thermal conductivity is much lower than condensed material, and substantially eliminates friction with the surface. The skittery motion of liquid nitrogen on a floor at room temperature is due to this effect, and fools hold liquid helium on their tongues by the same principle. (Do not try this experiment at home! This trick should be performed only by trained low-temperature physicists with generous health plans! A hiccup or other error can be dangerous. For example, the teeth are extremely vulnerable.) Walking over hot coals depends on the same principle.

Lower Explosive Limit.

Lunar Excursion Module. Sounds jaunty, doesn't it? It was a bit of a LEMon, though: the rear right fender fell off, and if the astronauts hadn't been able to fashion a replacement from cardboard, C-clamp and tape, the excursion would have had to have been called off, on account of the danger from moondust. The middle name must have offended: it became the LM before landing. Oops, wait a second: it turns out most of that is wrong.

The LEM or LM was the lander -- the vehicle with two rocket engines that took the astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon and back. The thing with fenders was the LRV or Rover. I'll try to fix the rest of the preceding later.

Frank Zappa's daughter was named Moon Unit; she was born almost two years before the first LEM landed on the moon. More on that Moon Unit at this CCSU entry.

Lemniscate of Bernoulli
Curve defined by (x² + y²)² - a² (x² - y²) = 0.

Line Equipment Number.

Low Entry Networking [node]. IBM term.

Low-Energy Neutral Atom imager. An instrument on NASA's IMAGE spacecraft. LENA detects ENA's with energies between 10 and 500 eV.

lending value
The value of a property (on which a mortgage loan is to be extended) that is the appraised value adjusted for the cost of unloading it in reasonable time. In other words, the real value of a property as security on its own mortgage. Of course, the actual price a buyer pays and a seller accepts always depends on factors like credit availability and other needs and considerations of the negotiating parties, so the appraised value itself may not approximate the price.


Lens is Latin for `lentil.'

In Modern Greek, the word for lentil, phakos, also means `lens,' and lentils as food are usually referred to in the plural (phakê). Indeed, the singular English form lentil is used mostly as an attributive noun (i.e., adjective). Lentils are (and lentil is a) pulse.

In Spanish, the pulse is called lenteja and the optical element is called lente.


Leo. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation named Leo. I guess this one was never in much doubt. Leo means `lion' in Latin. This one can only be captured using mathematical methods.

Link Everything Online. Well, everything Münchner, anyway, but I like the acronym, and some of the resources are quite valuable.

Low Earth Orbit. E.g.: Michael Jordan trajectory, as noted by the presumed earthling Spike Lee.

In the satellite industry, LEO basically is anything closer than geostationary. They pronounce it both ``Leo'' and ``el ee oh.''

Complimentary lapel pins are a popular item in that industry. I guess free samples are just not an option.

Lasers and Electro-Optics Society of IEEE.

Low Earth Orbit Satellite.

Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics. It's at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in Greenbelt, Md., USA.

Large Electron-Positron (cooling rings and collider CERN). Sometimes pronounced to rhyme with ``let.''

Lepus. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Limited English-Proficiency (student).

Low-Emissions Technology R&D Partnership.

Name of an ancient Greek bronze coin. In modern times, it was a fraction of the national currency: 100 lepta to the drachma (cf. dram). Since 2002, lepton has been the Greek designation for one cent of a euro.

A class of fundamental particles. The electron is the best-known lepton. The late Bram Pais invented the name lepton during a brief period after WWII when, having come out of hiding in Holland, he was able to accept the invitation of Niels Bohr five years earlier to do postdoctoral work in Denmark. The name comes from the Greek root lept- for small (meaning low-mass, in this instance) and the Greek male noun ending -on widely used for elementary particle names.

However light a particle may be, you might suppose it would make some qualitative difference whether its mass is zero or not. It does, but it's not the most important of differences. In some respects, it is more significant whether its mass is large or not. The leptons are ``light'' (i.e., not very massive) particles. As recently as the early 1990's, the electrically neutral leptons (the ``zero-charge leptons''), called neutrinos, were believed to be massless. Measurements of the solar neutrino flux now indicate that at least one kind of neutrino (and its antiparticle) must have nonzero mass, and it seems likely they all have mass.

(All references to nonzero particle mass in this entry are to rest mass: the mass as it would be measured by an observer in the rest frame of the particle. Not to put too fine a point on it, matter consists of massive particles -- particles with nonzero rest mass. Note, however, that the mass of matter is not just the sum of the rest masses of the constituent particles; one must also consider the kinetic and interaction energies. Zero-mass particles are exceptional, because zero-mass particles move at light speed, and time stands still for an observer boosted into such a particle's frame. There'll be more about this at the massless entry, when that is rolled out.)

At the current energy scale of the universe, there are four fundamental interactions, or ``forces,'' in nature: gravitation, electromagnetism, the weak force, and the strong force. (In earlier, hotter epochs, these interactions were integrated into more symmetric interactions with equal coupling constants: electromagnetic with weak -- electroweak interaction, electroweak with strong -- GUT, and all forces together -- what superstring theory attempts to achieve. There are very slight experimental suggestions, and no theoretical ones, for other forces.)

(The weak and strong interactions were originally known only from nuclear phenomena, and so were called the weak and strong nuclear forces. In fact, the range of effects is more general, and the ``nuclear'' modifier is no longer used.)

The gravitational force affects and is affected by all particles, including ``massless'' ones (i.e., those with zero rest mass). The situation is actually pretty easy to describe: the distance between nearby events (the length of an infinitesimal separation in spacetime) is described by the metric tensor. The Ricci tensor, representing certain combinations of the metric tensor and its derivatives, describes the curvature of spacetime. [Aside: this is an intrinsic curvature, in the nontechnical sense. For a two-dimensional analogy, imagine you lived on the surface of a sphere (not a bad approximation) and light traveled in ``straight lines'' (great-circle trajectories) on that sphere. You would know that your space was curved because any macroscopic triangle (a spherical triangle) would have a sum of inside angles greater than 180 degrees. The same thing happens with spacetime. You should not imagine that the curvature of spacetime by thinking of it as embedded in a larger-dimensional flat space. Instead, you should think of the curvature as something detectable completely within the spacetime. When the Ricci tensor is nonzero, you can tell that spacetime isn't flat because Minkowski geometry doesn't work, just as Euclidean geometry doesn't work for curved space.] Anyway, getting back to particles: in the classical form of Einstein's General Relativity, the Ricci tensor is proportional to the stress-energy tensor (through an overall factor of eight pi times the gravitational constant, and various factors of c). The stress-energy tensor is a symmetric second-order tensor that generalizes to four-dimensional spacetime the stress tensor of three-dimensional space. The stress-energy tensor includes components for stress, energy density, and momentum density. Therefore, not just rest mass but all mass (i.e. energy), as well as momentum and forces, generate curvature in spacetime. The trajectories followed by particles are determined by the metric tensor (whose curvature is described by the Ricci tensor, remember?), so energy, momentum, and forces all affect motion gravitationally.

The electromagnetic interaction couples all particles with electric charge or a magnetic moment, which means in effect it couples all massive particles.

The electromagnetic and gravitational forces are the only long-range forces -- they are mediated by zero-mass bosons and in static situations the force between fundamental charges (masses in one case, electric monopoles -- conventional ``charges'' -- in the other). Electromagnetic forces and quantum mechanics essentially explain, in principle, all chemical reactions. The gravitational interaction, in dimensionless terms, is by far the weakest of the four interactions. However, there is no ``static negative charge'' for gravitation, no negative rest mass. Consequently, this long-range interaction cannot be screened like electromagnetism and is the dominant interaction observable on planetary and larger length scales.

The weak and strong forces are short-ranged: they cause interactions that fall off exponentially on a length scale corresponding to the deBroglie wavelengths of their mediating bosons. While all massive particles participate in the long-range interactions and the weak short-range interaction, not all particles participate in the strong interaction. The massive particles that do not participate in strong interactions are leptons. (Remember leptons?)

Note that the preceding discussion was essentially about the bare particles, which are really just idealizations of real particles. It's hard to ``turn off'' interactions in this situation. For example: an electron, as a lepton, does not participate in the strong interaction. However, the real electron is a bare electron ``dressed'' by a cloud of virtual particles. Through the weak interaction, it has a probability amplitude for transforming temporarily to a neutron, antiproton, and electron-neutrino (this is a rather less likely, high-order process, but it saves me introducing quarks). The virtual neutron and antiproton can interact strongly, so the real electron does. It's a tiny effect, but an effect of that general sort -- strong-interaction corrections to the electron gyromagnetic ratio -- began to be measured in 2001.

Lewis Research Center. A NASA facility in Cleveland, Ohio.

Low-Excitation Radio Galaxy. See RG.

As the saying goes: be one.

LAN Emulation Server.

Lesbian Rule
A post facto law. Making an act the precedent for a rule of conduct, instead of squaring conduct according to law.

I dunno. I read it in a quote at the beginning of a chapter of Megalith Science, and the term appears to refer to a physical instrument of some sort. At least no one claims it describes a feminist separatist's fantasy.

LeistungsElektronik, Systemtechnik, InformationsTechnologie.

Light-induced Electron Spin Resonance (ESR).

Lateral Epitaxy Seeded Solidification.

A very handy English word, and often a difficult one to translate simply into other languages.

Linear Energy Transfer.

Line Equipment Transfer. Don't forget your LEN!

Low-Energy Telescope.

let him...
Look here.

let know
A phrasal verb that fills the semantic slot in English that avisar and avisare fill in Spanish and Italian, respectively. ``Let me know'' in English is ``avisame'' in Spanish and ``avisami'' in Italian.

Le Tour de France
A tiny French ``delicatessen'' in London. If you're looking for the bike race, that's Tour de France (TdF). I guess that as a proper noun, it doesn't need an article. See also La Tour de France.

Let's come together
and do what I say.

Lets go!
Lets go of what?

Let's think this over.
Let's put this off.

JugaLETTE. A female ICP fan. See the Juggalo entry.

LEU, Leu
LEUcine. An amino acid. One-letter abbreviation is its first letter (that would be L). Not every amino acid has that privilege, you know.

Low-Emissions Vehicle. (Without the hyphen, this would be an emissions vehicle that could fit under low bridges.)

A Russian name corresponding to Leo.

leverage the synergy
Achieve enhanced tendentiousness.

The winner: ``A common need was felt to leverage the synergy of the expertise Information technology expertise and domain specific knowledge amongst the founders to deliver relevant, cost-effective IT.'' [Notice the giveaway British spelling amongst. (In a British document, of course, British spelling wouldn't give anything away.)]

Nomenclature-is-destiny recognition: ``Regarding the merger, Vague said, `With the merger, a top priority will be to leverage the synergy's realized by the merger to drive growth and earnings.'' [No special bonus for run-of-the-mill (ROTM) apostrophe error.]

In a March 1999 web survey posted to the classics list, I reported that "leveraging the synergy" was significantly more common than "leverage the synergy" (44 versus 32 hits) while "leveraged the synergy" was unattested. It's a happening thing.

Boy was it ever. In a December 2009 survey, I found

"leveraging the synergy": 134,000 ghits)
	("leveraging the synergy of": 127,000 ghits)
"leverages the synergy":  105,000
"leverage synergies":      50,000
"leveraged the synergy":   36,800
"leverage synergy":        14,000
"leverage a synergy":      10,600
"leveraging synergy":       3,880
"leverages synergy":        1,100
"leveraged synergy":          870
"leverage the synergy":       556
"leveraging a synergy":         8
"leverages a synergy":          1 (I didn't ``repeat the search with
                                             the omitted results included.'')
There are two ghits for "trying to leverage some synergy", but "leveraged a synergy" was unattested.

A GE-registered trademark name used for a range of highly scratch-resistant polycarbonate glasses.

A language that is a source (usually the main source) of the vocabulary of another is called a or the lexifier of that language. The term is currently used primarily for the sources of pidgins and creoles, but there's nothing preventing this grotesque neologism from being used to describe, say, the role of Anglo-French in Middle English.

LE 1755
A conference: ``The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 and its historical impact.'' At the University of Lisbon, 4-5 November 2005.

``The purpose of the conference, on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Lisbon Earthquake, is to discuss the variety of historical implications of this event: social, political, economic, cultural, urban and architectural.''

LF, lf
Left Field[er]. (Baseball term.)

Line Feed. EBCDIC 37! ASCII 10! CTRL-J! Hike! Typically represented in strings by an escape sequence like \n or \012 or \x0A or something. See the B programming language entry for \n etymology.

The bare term line feed refers to related things that context distinguishes. As a button on a line printer, it means jerk the paper up. In various programming contexts, it may be an instruction to perform that action. (In some contexts, the abbreviation or code or token NL has also been used.) Within a character string, line feed simply refers to the value of a byte (or seven bits of a byte, ``lower ASCII''). (Don't ask me how things work with wchar_t.) Not every ASCII code has to represent a printable character, you know. But LF is kinda borderline. In practical programming languages that allow multiline character strings, it makes sense that the presence of the line-feed character within a string is interpreted as an end-of-line.

Within electronic text files, things may be a bit more complicated. See the discussion at the CR entry.

Low Frequency. In radio transmission and other electromagnetic radiation contexts, this means frequencies between 30 kHz and 300 kHz.


Latin For Americans. Textbooks and associated materials. A mailing list for teachers using LFA was created on February 18, 2007: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/latinforamericans/>. For a general orientation to Latin textbooks, see our Latin school texts entry.

LFA traces its lineage to one of various competing Latin schoolbooks of the 1920's that were called Elementary Latin. (Another one was by M. L. Smith, 1920.) The Elementary Latin that became LFA was first published in 1923 (and hence is in the public domain). The original version is available in a one-pound, 391-page paperback reprint from Simon Publications. That 1923 book was originally written by B. L. Ullman, Charles Henderson, and Norman E. Henry.

LFA is later editions of the same work -- rewritten, expanded by the inclusion of readings and split into two volumes. At least by 1945, the publishers (Macmillan Company) were advertising LFA as by ``Ullman and Henry'' ($1.84 for the first year book, $2.40 for the second). Henderson was only mentioned in in the second book. (For all I know, this may have reflected his contributions.) I just noticed that I own a copy of the second book (© 1942, 1950; fifth printing 1953). This one lists B.L. Ullman as editor and also as author, along with ``the late Norman E. Henry.'' At this point Henderson gets no mention in the second book either.

The readings in LFA, particularly the simple early ones, are regarded by students and teachers alike as boring. (There are scattered exceptions like ``Anna et Rana.'') Nevertheless, it has been popular over the years among high-school teachers who favor an approach that emphasizes grammar, and teachers frequently supplement it with readings from some other sources. These readings are typically taken from other texts (and materials developed for and keyed to other texts) or stand-alone pedagogical materials: graded readers, and story collections that are not graded but at least simple. (A list of Latin texts discussed in this glossary can be found at the Latin school texts entry.)

Over the years, there have been various revisions and additions to LFA, including a third book, for which there are few dedicated ancillary materials published. Among the most important ancillary materials is a workbook (for the first two books) first created by Marcia Stille. Or maybe by Marcia Stille et al. It's hard to know now, because giving due credit is not a priority. The eighth edition of LFA, infamously error-ridden, was the last to list all three original authors (somewhere). The ninth edition credits only Ullman, dissing not only Henderson and Henry but various people who have revised subsequent editions for better and worse. The workbook no longer mentions Stille, to say nothing of the three or more others who did substantial work on it. ``Company policy,'' you understand. It's a similar story with other old Latin textbooks. You'd figure they might at least get a foreword (not forward) mention.

Works about proper language use are perennials. Just think of Strunk and White. Wheelock's Latin, which first appeared in 1956, is still in print, now in its sixth revised edition. (For this work, copyright is in the control of the original author's family. Prof. Richard A. LaFleur, at UGA, is current keeper of the flame.) Even when subsequent works are substantially or completely new, there is a marketing advantage in publishing a book as the latest version of a respected or beloved classic. The New ``Fowler's'' comes immediately and bitterly to mind.

The phenomenon is not restricted to books for English-speakers only. Here's an example sampled randomly using a convenient selection procedure I developed just before my trip to Poland: Polnische Grammatik (a compact German manual of Polish grammar) is volume ``942/942a'' of the collection Sammlung Gröschen. The 1967 version (specifically 942a, apparently) lists Dr. Norbert Damerau as author, but the copyright page acknowledges (precise degree of indebtedness unclear) the 1926 Polish grammar published by Dr. Meckelein.

Dictionaries have similarly long histories. Ordinary (one-language) dictionaries tend to flaunt their bloodlines, preserving a respected name in the title (think Webster). The same thing occurs to a lesser degree with bilingual dictionaries (read the LSJ entry up the Pakistan link), but there is also a great deal of indebtedness acknowledged only in the prefatory material that no one reads (follow that Pakistan link).

I infer, from queries and requests from revision authors of Latin primers, that scattered earlier versions of some such works may be hard to come by even when the work has been popular over time. With dictionaries, the earliest works are often forgotten and sometimes lost (see v.a.).

Letter From America. A regular BBC feature in which Alistair Cooke explained America to people who didn't know enough to call his bluff.

German: laufend, meaning `running, in progress.' Just a fat-finger and a couple 'hundred kilometers away from lfs. Be careful.

The -d added to just about any infinitive yields the present participle, but usually this doesn't function adjectivally nearly as prolifically as the English present participle (in -ing), to say nothing of functioning as a gerund (it doesn't).

Lexical-Functional Grammar. Here's an introduction, evidently endorsed by the international association for LFG (ILFGA).

Linear Focusing Grating Coupler.

Lutherans For Life. An anti-abortion ministry. (Remember that you can turn of the irritating flashing graphics by pressing the escape key or making the appropriate selection from the right mouse button (on your Netscape browser).

Linear Frequency Modulation.

Low-Frequency Noise.

Labor Force Participation Ratio.

LFS, lfs
Lófasz a seggedbe.

stands for horse; be is a postfix particle. That's about all I have to say about the semantics.

It's difficult to have a language that is agglutinative and that also maintains complete vowel harmony.

There are worse profanities in that language! Can you imagine?

Linear Feedback Shift Register.

Ligand Field Theory. An elaboration of Crystal Field Theory (CFT) that discards the assumption of point ions.

Least Frequently Used. A cache management algorithm.

Leader of the Free World.

In 2004, the British food company Warburtons commissioned the BBC to conduct a survey marking the launch of its new Cheese Flavour Crumpets. (The new Cheese Flavour Crumpets were introduced by Warburtons, not the BBC. The BBC doesn't do advertising.) The survey, which polled 2,000 British moviegoers, asked what were the cheesiest lines ever uttered in a movie. The winner, or anyway the top vote-getter, was a line uttered by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Titanic. In a romantic scene with co-star Kate Winslet, he stands with arms outstretched at the bow of the sinking ship and shouts ``I'm the king of the world!'' Not long after, in a scene we don't get to enjoy, he dies. Cf. planetarch.

London Fashion Week.


Late Geometric. A long period of Greek art. LGIIb dates to the last quarter 8 c. BCE.

Left (L) Guard (G).

Large Grain. Crystallographic grain, say.

IATA's code for LaGuardia Airport, which went into service in 1939 and is named after popular mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. It covers 680 acres and has two runways. Its best feature is that it is very convenient to New York City. Its worst feature is that it is very convenient to NYC, so people are willing to risk and endure delays in order to use it. It is one of four airports for which a national authority, ARO, allocates arrival slots. It should have had the code LAG; in all important measures of on-time performance, it is the worst airport in the US. Check out its status in real time from the ATCSCC.

Land Grid Array. Like BGA.

Led Glean Blue? That's what I think of.

Last week I ate twice at ``Thailand Restaurant,'' a wonderful place on Central Avenue in Clark, New Jersey, occupying a location that used to be a 50's-style diner. The prices are reasonable and the food is tasty. I can't say from personal knowledge, but according to what I've read the food is quite authentic.

On the other hand, I've also read (again on various online restaurant-review sites) that the portions are modest and that ``mild, moderate'' and ``hot'' should be understood as `hot, spicy hot unbearable for an American palate,' and `guaranteed martyrdom.' In fact, the portions are generous and when I asked for something between ``moderate'' and ``hot,'' making clear that I had been adequately warned, my food was not noticeably spicy-hot at all. On the second visit, when I recounted my previous experience and asked for ``hot,'' I got something that was noticeably but not especially hot.

Perhaps it was a communication problem. Probably the most authentic aspect of the restaurant is the personnel. The restaurant has been in business for a decade or so, but the front-of-the-house staff all sound like they just came off the boat. They can understand a little English, but be sure to order by number. If you're trying to guess what has been said to you, definitely try replacing l's with r's and inserting r's at the end of long-duration vowels.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual. ``Ladies'' first!

It reminds me of a famous putative exchange between the famous wit Mrs. Dorothy Parker (b. 1893) and the famous beauty Mrs. Clare Boothe Luce (b. 1903). The story goes that, as they approached a door somewhere, Mrs. Luce yielded with ``age before beauty,'' and Mrs. Parker went ahead while retorting ``pearls before swine.''

Mrs. Luce apparently denied that the incident occurred. I haven't tracked this down, though, and in principle she might have been presented with a particular version of the story and simply denied that that occurred. Celebrity gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, who published the anecdote on October 14, 1938, in the Hartford Courant, claimed there that she heard it directly from Parker, but perhaps ``Dorothy Parker tells me'' is just a figure of gossip-column speech that could mean ``I read something like that in The Spectator.'' There doesn't seem to be any other direct comment or claimed comment on the story from Parker.

Graham's is the second publication of the anecdote that anyone seems to have found, and the first that mentions Luce. The earlier one, September 16 of that year in The Spectator of London, has it between ``Mrs. Parker and a snooty debutante.''

Apparently the only person ever to positively claim that she witnessed the exchange was Gertrude Benchley. The claim appears only in Robert Hendrickson's American Literary Anecdotes (New York, etc.: Facts on File, 1990), p. 174:

Recalled Mrs. Robert Benchley when she was 80 years old: ``I was right there, the time in the Algonquin, when some little chorus girl and Dottie were going into the dining room and the girl stepped back and said, `Age before beauty' and Dottie said very quickly, `Pearls before swine.' I was right there when she said it.''
(Italics and quotes sic. Robert Benchley married Gertrude Darling in 1914 and died in 1945. Gertrude Benchley turned 80 in 1969 and died in 1980.)

[At least one webpage attributes this quote to ``Mrs. Robert Benchley's biography of her husband.'' There doesn't appear to be any such.]

Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley were star members of the famous Algonquin Round Table, which met daily at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until about 1929. (There are widely credited claims that they had an affair.) If Mrs. Benchley's recollection of the age...swine incident is accurate, it would likely to have occurred during the Round Table days. If so, then one could reasonably have expected the exchange to have been reported by FPA in ``The Conning Tower.'' [During that period, fwiw, Ann Clare Boothe was single and then married to (Aug. 23, 1923) and divorced from (1929) George Tuttle Brokaw. Tuttle remarried, and died in June 1935. Clare Boothe married magazine magnate Henry Luce in November 1935. Tuttle's widow married Henry Fonda. Henry seems to have been a successful name for second husbands.]

Here, from <quoteinvestigator.com>, is one detailed excavation of the anecdote. What doesn't get said enough in analyses of this sort is that Mrs. Luce (or Mrs. Brokaw or Miss Booth), a celebrated writer, was smart enough to guess that a dimwitticism like ``age before beauty'' would elicit a sharp retort from the likes of Mrs. Parker, and would at least have had a rejoinder ready for the expected retort, if she have been (I think that's the probably-contrary-to-fact subjunctive) foolish enough to launch the first verbal assault.


Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Classical Caucus. Within the American Philological Association (APA, q.v.). Dang, this is so advanced -- I'd be surprised if the American Physical Society even had so much as a Democratic Caucus.

Identity groups in professional organizations often raise the same sort of question. In this case: is this a caucus of lesbian, gay and bisexual philologists, or is it a caucus of those who do philology related to the lesbians, gays and bisexuals of antiquity? I think the answer is sometimes and yes.

In regard to the first question: it is considered impolite to ask, but it is not considered impolite to say. It's probably even considered impolite to guess, but our visitors demand information, and we have to come up with answers somehow.

The LBGCC has cosponsored events with the Women's Classical Caucus (WCC) and the Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups.

In 2000, the LBGCC changed its name to LambdaCC.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual, Transylvaniaaaa-aa-aah. Sorry, got a little bit carried away there. Excited. The T definitely doesn't stand for Tim Curry, probably.

Some people like to have a lot of l.*ers. Some people like l.*ers of the same kind, some people like different l.*ers. Some people have felt they had the wrong kind of l.*ers and known that they wanted a different kind of l.*er since they were six. (The l-word, of course, is ``letters.'') Some people feel that four is enough for anyone. So LGBT may stand, as an example, for ``Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer and Questioning.'' I've seen that apparent expansion.

I'm with Mrs. Campbell -- just don't do it in the street and scare the horses. This isn't too theoretical. Since I've been in Indiana, I've never lived more than two miles from at least one horse stables. The nearest one to me now is across the road from the nudist colony. More about that at AANR.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans{gender|sexual}, and Que{er|stioning}. I'm not sure what ``transgender'' means, so I guess I must be questioning. My friend L__ claims that at some bien-pensant center on this campus, she's seen little cards that say stuff like ``Safe Zone: LGBTQ-friendly.'' Or maybe it was the more-common ``LGBT-friendly'' version. She thinks this shouldn't be promoted on a Roman Catholic campus. Boy, is she gonna be shocked when she finds out that the heterosexual students fornicate.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans{sexual|gender}, and Que{er|stioning} Alliance. This is not considered redundant; see GLBTQ. Trust me, I will alert you as soon as I encounter BLTGQ. Okay: done!

Loop- or Ground-start Exchange.

lgfd, LGFD
Looks Good From Door. Hospitalese that occurs both as a complete comment and as a noun. As a comment it implies, besides whatever the expansion suggests about a patient, that someone (generally the speaker) has not made a closer examination of the patient in question. The noun LGFD describes someone not in obvious need of immediate treatment; the implication of using the term LGFD, sometimes intended and sometimes not, is that the patient is or is judged to be obnoxious.

Looks Good From The Corridor. Synonym of LGFD.

Local Government Financing Vehicles. Term for financial entities established by local governments to invest in infrastructure and other projects. Example of use (by Minxin Pei, writing for The Diplomat): ``Chinese LGFVs are known mainly for their unique ability to sink perfectly good money into bottomless holes in the ground.'' Ah -- they're deep-mine drilling investments! That doesn't sound so bad.

Lower GastroIntestinal Bleeding.

Little Green M{e|a}n.

Lateral Geniculate Nucleus.

Librascope/General Precision 30. An early 1960's computer.

Loop- or Ground-start Subscriber.

Ladies' Golf Union. Founded in 1893, it is the governing body for ladies' amateur golf throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

Local Government Unit.

Ligne[s] pour trains à Grande Vitesse. French acronym for French name of (surprise!) French `High-Speed train Line[s].' The trains themselves use the acronym TGV (just don't ask me what's down with TGV-R). LGV consists of three lines:

Ligne pour trains à Grande Vitesse [LGV] Atlantique. The trains themselves use the acronym TGV.

Lesbian & Gay Veterinary Medical Association. This isn't one of those bogus joke entries, but I think it's okay to laugh anyway.

Ligne pour trains à Grande Vitesse Paris-Sud-Est. The first of the three LGV's to be built. More information at the entry for the trains used on that line: TGV-PSE.

Laser-Guided Weapon.

Lateral Hypothalamus. Damage to the lateral hypothalamus can reduce the desire to eat. Stimulation of a healthy LH can induce hunger. Cf. the complementary VMH.

l.h., LH
Left-Hand[ed]. See also LHCP, LHD, LHDP, LHS, and lvalue.

LH, lh
Light Hole. A kind of hole, in the sense of an unfilled one-electron state in a valence band (almost completely filled in a semiconductor). The crystal field breaks the symmetry of the atomic levels that broaden into a crystal's electronic bands. At the level of perturbation theory, this can be thought of as a split of the s=1/2, l=1 (p) states into j=1/2 and j=3/2 states. This gives rise to two bands -- the lower-energy band, with energy decreasing more rapidly with quasimomentum, has a smaller effective mass and is generally called the light hole band. The other band is called the heavy-hole band. (Strictly speaking, these two bands should not be thought of as bands of different j, since, j is not a good quantum number in the crystal.)

Luteinizing Hormone. Here's a comparative study involving human, horse, and llama LH. Also ISCH. A gonadotropin; a pituitary hormone that stimulates the gonads -- to produce sperm and testosterone in males, and to release an egg from its follicle and produce estrogen in females.

Left-Handed Batter. LHB's generally bat better against LHP's than against RHP's.

Lecturer, Human Behavior or Psychopathology course.

Large Hadron Collider. A proton-proton collider originally planned to begin operating at CERN ca. 2003. Testing and commissioning have been rescheduled and pushed back a few times. As of January 2008, commissioning with beam is scheduled for May 2008. When the LHC is operating at full performance, the center-of-mass energy of collisions will be 14 TeV and luminosity is expected to be 1034/sec/cm².

It is supposed that the LHC will have enough energy to detect the Higgs boson. Elementary particles physicists are hoping for Higgs plus -- the Higgs boson plus some other particles. This would finally take the science into a domain of phenomena that are not already predicted by the Standard Model, which has been in place for decades. Personally, I'm rooting for Higgs minus.

The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field, and the Higgs field is a kludge. In order to have all the nice symmetry properties that explain the relationships among the known lighter particles, it is necessary for the fields of which those particles represent excitations to be massless -- that is, to give rise to particles that have zero rest mass. To explain the mass, Higgs posited the existence of a single scalar field (now called the Higgs field) which in its pristine (``uncoupled'') form would imply a single massive particle (the Higgs boson, or just ``the Higgs''). When there is a coupling between the fields, the number of kinds of elementary excitations -- i.e., the number of kinds of particles -- is preserved, but the properties of the particles can mix. This mixing gives rise to a nonzero rest mass of the other particles (and to interaction between the Higgs and other particles).

Left-Hand Circular Polarization.

Left-Hand Drive. Refers to steering-wheel placement; LHD is for vehicles to be driven on the right (i.e. correct, American) side of the road. Very oddly, the driving convention followed in the US is the same convention followed in most of the rest of the world. There's more extensive discussion at the entry for right-hand drive.

The Travel Library site lists useful mundane information for the places it describes, including driving side. For Texas, they report ``Driving side: N/A.'' Yeah, that'id be about raght. For Virginia, they seem pretty optimistic: ``Driving side: Drivers drive on the right-hand side of the road'' and ``Languages: English, Spanish, French, German.'' I suppose that refers to intervehicle communications (profanities and suggestions).

Local Health Department.

Left-Hand Decimal Point. Refers to digit displays. (See, for example, 7-Segment displays.)

Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics of NASA's GSFC.

Leah was Jacob's first wife. Rachel was the one he wanted, but Jacob's uncle (brother of his mother Rebeccah), tricked him into marrying Leah. Always check under the veil.

Life History Inventory. The data collection instrument for the Random Access Monitoring of Narcotics Abusers (RAMONA) Project. A semistructured interview designed by Simeone Associates Inc. (SAI).

Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. A mitochondrial syndrome.

Left-Handed Pitcher. You want your LHP to face right-handed batters, so the batters have less room to swing, and tend to hit more weakly into the ``opposite field'' (right field, in this case).

Only about 10 per cent of the general population is left-handed, so LHP's are evidently disproportionately prevalent in the bigs. This is evidently because of their advantage over RH pitchers. Conversely, one would expect lefties to be less over-represented at other (hitting) positions, since their advantage is in hitting against the minority of pitchers who are lefties. I no longer have any idea what I meant when I wrote the last sentence. This either means that I'm getting stupider or smarter. Maybe they should be under-represented, all other things being equal, but probably they're not.

Lower Half-Plane.

Labour History Review. A publication of the SSLH.

Law and History Review. ``America's leading legal history journal, encompasses American, European, and ancient legal history issues. The journal's purpose is to further research in the fields of the social history of law and the history of legal ideas and institutions. LHR features articles, essays, commentaries by international authorities, and reviews of important books on legal history.''

Until 2009, LHR was published by the University of Illinois Press. UIP's description of the journal was very similar to the current one (2010) quoted in the previous paragraph, with one easy-to-miss difference. LHR was previously said to encompass ``American, English, European, and ancient legal history'' (my emphasis). The omission is almost certainly reflects no change in editorial policy, for many reasons. For example, it would be awkward to study American law in a broad historical context while ignoring British precedents and antecedents. I don't know if the description change was an oversight or a conscious streamlining (perhaps by the new, English, publisher: Cambridge U.P.), but the omission is more significant than usually. ``Europe'' may include England or not, in different political usages of the term, but English law is a very different thing from continental European law. The general principles of law throughout western Europe are based on Roman law, with various important codifications. England (along with Wales) traces its laws to a traditional and virtually pre-historic ``Common Law.'' (Scotland's system is something else again, with Roman Catholic canon law an important component, but I don't know much about it.)

The journal used to be published in three editions per year (``Spring, Summer, and Fall''), but now there are apparently four. According to the journal's current adverising information, the copy dates are (12/18, 2/5, 5/7, and 8/6). [Isn't it sweet how they use the US date-ordering system?]

The UIP page used to state that the annual subscription fee included membership in the American Society for Legal History (ASLH). I'm not certain, but it seems that ASLH dues (which depend on income and job status) include a subscription to LHR.

Library History Round Table.

In 1954, the Westfield (NJ) library was a room in someone's house. In the 1960's it took an expanding portion of the municipal building. In the 1970's they created a second floor where some of the high ceilings used to be. I was away for a while. Today it has a building of its own further up East Broad Street.

Thank you for letting me contribute. The ALA has lots of other round tables, like EMIERT and LRRT.

Luteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone.

LHS, l.h.s., lhs
Left-Hand Side. This curious expression means left side, because, coincidentally, the left hand is on the left side, so the side corresponding to the left hand is in fact the left side. Got that?

This expression is frequently used in referring to equations, as mathematics requires clear, efficient expressions, and ``l.h.s.'' uses one less alphabetic character than ``left.''

Cf. RHS.

I saw a Chrysler with the chrome letters LHS on the right rear fender.

In the bad old days, when earrings were uncommon on male landlubbers, the mnemonic for sexual orientation was ``left is right and right is wrong.''

Left-Hand Traffic. There seems to have been a screw-up here. Until it's sorted out, I suggest you take a detour through the RHT entry.

Lock Haven University, a member of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.

Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. All new!

It should be a buggy Unix command: not NO HangUPs, just Less HangUPs. (Of course, that should be fewer.)

Lower Heating Value. Cf. HHV.

Liquid Hydrogen. (Molecular hydrogen is diatomic, of course: H2.)

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