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Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

Medieval Institute. Since the break-up of the Roman Empire (5pm, 476 A.D.), authority has been decentralized.

Michigan. USPS abbreviation. One state (AR is another) for which the quasistandard URL form http://www.state.mi.us/ does not work.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for Michigan. USACityLink.com has a page with mostly city and town links for the state.


MIle. From Latin mille passuum, `one thousand paces' or five thousand (Roman) feet. The Roman foot was only 29.6 cm long, so the Roman mile was 1.480 km. (Cf. M, m.)

The English foot is 30.48 cm long (see barleycorn), and an English mile has 5280 of them, making an 1 mile equal to 1.609344 km. It takes seven digits in kilometers to get the same accuracy that you get with just one digit in miles! It just proves yet again how inconvenient and unwieldy all those mutually incompatible metric systems are.

Military Intelligence, British abbreviation. Ian Fleming's James Bond works for MI-5. As early as a speech in 1920, O. G. Villard said
``Military intelligence--a contradiction in terms.''
The phrase is commonly attributed to Groucho Marx.

Minority Institution. DARPA usage similar to HBCU.

Myocardial Infarction. Heart attack.

IATA code for Miami International Airport, at Miami, FL, USA. Here's its status in real time from the ATCSCC.

According to the LatinCEO issue mentioned at the FTAA entry, 76% of (of the dollar value of) US airborne exports to Latin America and the Caribbean and 79% of US airborne imports therefrom, pass through MIA. The information source is MIA itself. Brazil has by far the largest share and MIA handles ``just under 60% of all [US] air cargo trade with Brazil and Argentina.'' Total trade (exports plus imports) with Brazil through MIA totaled $6 million in FY 2001. Colombia was second with $2 million. Gee, that's not a whole lot. Oh! They mean legal trade.

Joking aside, the dollar amounts appear to be off by a factor of a thousand.

Missing In Action.

Montgomery Improvement Association. An association founded for the moral improvement of Montgomery, Alabama. On December 5, 1955, Rosa Parks was convicted of failing to give up her seat on a bus, as required by a Jim Crow law then in effect. That evening several thousand protesters crowded into (into?) the Holt Street Baptist Church for the foundation of the MIA. The new pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., became the president of the MIA. A daylong bus boycott held that day (see WPC) was extended, ultimately continuing for 381 days. Read more about it in the Encarta Africana article about Rosa Parks.

MIchigan Association for Infant Mental Health. ``An affiliate of the World Association for Infant Mental Health.''

The International Monitoring System's (IMS's) code for the seismic station on Mount Ida, Arkansas, US.

Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society.

Looks like it should mean ``Michigan at Western Michigan University (WMU). Actually means the Medieval Institute (try ~medinst if that link fails) at Western Michigan University.

Management Information Base. The ATM UNI information for SNMP that enables different machines to query each other.

Men In Black. Men named Jones and Smith. Sounds pretty ordinary.


Mint In Bag. Term of art among Pezheads. See relevant entry from our local copy of Chris Sharpe's unofficial PEZ FAQ. Cf. MOC, MOMC.

Mishap Investigation Board. A NASA group formed in the aftermath of a mission failure, to develop, you know, ``lessons learned.''

Methyl IsoButyl Ketone, traditional name for 3,3-dimethyl-2-butanone. A common solvent, and in particular a usual component of PMMA resist developers. If you want to know what it smells like, take a whiff of your dry-erase marker (for overhead-projector film).
	 \  /
	 /  \==O

Message Integrity Check. Content-MD5, described in RFC-1864, is an optional header field for MIME; a 128-bit ``digest'' of arbitrary-length data that serves as an MIC.

MICah. A prophet. A consensus (Catholic and Orthodox, Jewish and Protestant) book of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Considering the needs of astronomy and machine shops, and the small degree of abbreviation achieved by this one in a generally verbose field, it is one of the most dispensible of abbreviations.

Microscopium. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

MICrometer. Shop talk. Pronounced ``mike''; never written ``mike,'' in my experience. The AHD only lists ``mic'' as a variant spelling of mike, but I hope that usage stays rare. The OED2 is also unaware of any other meaning, and the supplement missed this when it passed through that part of the alphabet in 2001. Come on guys, get a clue! This was already common in the 1970's, FCOL.

Military-Industrial Complex.

Motorcycle Industry Council. It's ``a not-for-profit, national trade association representing manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, scooters, motorcycle/ATV parts and accessories and members of allied trades, located in Irvine, California.''

Moving Image Collections. ``The goal of the Moving Image Collections portal is to provide a window to the world's moving image collections for educators, researchers, exhibitors, and the general public that also allows preservationists to collaborate in describing and maintaining this unique cultural resource and thus avoid costly duplication of effort.''

MId-America Chapter of the ATA. ``Serving Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, MICATA is a group of professional translators and interpreters residing in or involved with the Mid-America region.'' (For Illinois, however, see also MATI.)

Multimedia Integrated ConfErencing. That E seems rather recherché to me.

The feast (and day of the MASs) of Saint MICHAEL. September 29. The precise time of day at which Michaelmas begins depends on the local time. When will they celebrate Michaelmas on Mars?

Michael Steele
A bass player with The Runaways and The Bangles. The Runaways first performed as a trio (Steele, drummer Sandy West, and rhythm guitarist Joan Jett) in 1975, but Steele left after a few months, before their first record contract.

The Bangles were originally (1980) a trio: sisters Vicky and Debby Peterson, and Suzanna Hoffs. Michael Steele joined them in 1982. They were the hottest all-girl group of the 1980's. They had some success in the music business too.

[The Runaways lasted less than five years and had more than five bass guitarists. Peggy Foster was bassist for a couple of weeks (according to this) or a month (per The Runaways Wikipedia page, browsed Nov. 2010) after Micki left. She was replaced by Jackie Fox (``this'' link of previous sentence is an interview with her, with details of her departure). Joan Jett filled in when Fox left the band in the lurch during a Japan tour (there was already a lead guitarist by that time -- Lita Ford). Victory Tischler-Blue (Vicki Blue) joined as bassist after the group returned from Japan; she got sick and left the group in 1978. Laurie McAllister replaced Vicki.]

There's another person, a Michael Stephen Steele, who was the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee (during the 2008-2010 election cycle).

Michiana is the unofficial name of a region that includes the area around South Bend, Indiana, and some parts of lower Michigan. A typical description is ``north-central Indiana and southwestern Michigan.'' See, for example, the Michiana Roads page. I would say that Niles (in Michigan, due north of South Bend, Indiana) and Elkhart (to the east in Indiana) are within Michiana, while Gary, Kokomo, and Fort Wayne (in Indiana west, south, and east of South Bend) and Kalamazoo (in Michigan) are all clearly outside the region. Some people in South Bend may think that Benton Harbor (to the northwest, in and on Michigan) is in Michiana, but probably not too many in Benton Harbor think that.

A few outsiders use or impose the term expansively to mean Indiana and Michigan (or most of it). For example, the Michiana Region Volleyball Association is the RVA for all of Indiana and lower Michigan.

Michigan basement
An incomplete basement of some sort. Here are the three sorts of ``incomplete'' that seem to qualify:
  1. A basement with a dirt floor. These may extend from exterior wall to exterior wall, and sometimes a laundry room is located there. Don't drop the laundry.
  2. A basement that is not full height. Four feet (i.e., a height of 48 inches) was typical, when these things used to be built. They usually had dirt floors too. Sometimes a full-height basement has been dug within the original basement, with walls set in from the original (so it's not ``full width''), and the basement continues to be called a ``Michigan basement.''
  3. A basement that is much smaller than the ground floor -- say 50 square feet in a typical SFH -- large enough for a water heater and furnace, and little else. I've been in a house that was built mostly on a slab and which apparently had a tiny basement built under a space between the original construction and an extension, and that was not called a Michigan basement.

There's clearly some overlap between the first two definitions, which seem to be the two in most common use. On the other hand, I heard the last definition from a realtor. Most houses that are described as having a Michigan basement seem to have been built in the nineteenth century. (The late nineteenth century, but then fewer of the earlier houses still survive.) I guess that the notion of a Michigan basement as one that is inferior (in any but the most literal sense) has been extended recently to describe something else... which I haven't encountered yet.

The realtor who introduced me to this term works in South Bend, Indiana, which is only a few miles from the Michigan border. I thought the term might be invidious or at least colloquial, but it's not. And some people in Michigan wonder what such basements are called in other states. I haven't learned precisely how the name of Michigan got attached to something that was once rather common elsewhere. Use of the term is geographically widespread (in the US), but has become rare only because what it describes has become rare.

Magnetic-Ink Character Recognition. (Occasionally also ``... Reader.'') Pronounced ``micker.'' You know those funny-looking numbers and (four other) characters on bank checks? The characters look funny so they will be detectably different. They are printed with ``magnetic ink'' so their shapes can be detected magnetically. ``Magnetic ink'' means ferromagnetic ink; the pattern is generally not magnetized (or ``poled''). With the right ink cartridge and font, you can print MICRable text on your laser printer. Visit this site to learn about the history and this page for current standards.

I thought this was funny -- credit in amounts on the order of one millionth of a standard unit. Then I thought, if a standard unit is a country or region with on the order of a million inhabitants...

See CML.

The MICROlensing Follow Up Network. Microlensing events occur as the result of coincidence: one object (typically a star) passing in front of a more distant bright object (a star, if the event is to be of much use) and deviating the path of light from the more distant object. The light from that more distant object is bent by an angle that is inversely proportional to its distance of closest approach to the nearer object. Proper motion of the nearer object typically limits the period over which microlensing events can be observed to a few weeks.

Hence, when a microlensing event is observed, it is very useful to have data from many observatories, since one can't simply get more data by longer or later observation from a single observatory (even assuming the weather collaborates). MicroFUN, which is led by Andrew Gould, a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University, is a mechanism to activate the follow-up after a microlensing event is first detected, and to pool the resulting data. Other microlensing networks are MOA, PLANET and RoboNet, all of which have collaborated at some level. (At the very least, they exchange ideas on algorithms and strategies to find promising microlensing events. They also share news of such events, and pool data for analysis.)

As the PLANET acronym suggests, a major goal of microlensing observations is to discover planets. Planets orbiting the nearer star show up as interference in the bent light. As of February 2008, six planets had been discovered by this method (and announced). The latest two, announced on the 15th inst., were a pair of gas giants (like Saturn and Jupiter) orbiting a single star.

A set of microminiature electronic device package standards. Vide MMD and MMT.

In act two of his ``Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'' (1962), Edward Albee writes
Martha: Oh, little boy, you got yourself hunched over
        that microphone of yours. ...
Nick:                            Microscope. ...
Martha:                                ...  yes ... and
        you don't see anything, do you?  You see everything
        but the goddamn mind; you see all the little specks
        and crap, but you don't see what goes on, do you?
[Ellipses in script. In the movie, Elizabeth Taylor plays the braying alcoholic (not a big creative stretch, eventually) Martha, and George Segal the callow biologist Nick. Martha's husband George was played by Liz Taylor's real-life husband at the time (as well as a second time, later) Richard Burton.]

In case you came to this entry just for information on microscopy per se, and assuming that you've read down to this point, one place you might visit is Microscopes and Microscopy. There's the main site `in Europe', or at least in nearby Britain. There's an American mirror hosted by U. of Oklahoma.

In Albee's play, Martha and George are a childless couple, and a fantasy child is part of their mind games. In reality, Virginia Woolf wanted children and her husband Leonard did not. They didn't have children. See the VW entry. Or don't.

Resistance is futile. You must visit. Here too.

Microsoft Word
A program that is based on the principle that it should take dozens of key-clicks and mouse-button clicks to remove text that you didn't type in the first place. Microsoft knows best; you didn't want to type what you wanted to type.

Microwave Journal

Message IDentifier.

MIchigan Digital Automatic Computer. (The acronym-expansion word order may not have been strictly obeyed. In one old article that I've seen, it was introduced thus: ``The angular distribution coefficients were computed on the MIchigan Automatic Digital Computer (MIDAC), using Equations (12) through (15) and ....'')

MIDAC was a general-purpose computer completed in 1953. It had about 1000 tubes and 20,000 crystal rectifiers (i.e., semiconductor diodes) and 120 relays. Sounds like a vacuum-tube version of DTL.

Extensive technical details are served by the Computer History Museum at the MIDAC entry (original document page 111) in an etext of ``A Survey of Domestic Electronic Digital Computing Systems'' prepared by Martin H. Weik for the US Army in 1955; etext OCRed and marked up by Ed Thelen).

The Giant Computers file contains summary information from a Navy report of 1953, some of it possibly inconsistent with the Army report. In particular, the Army report says the machine used only 900 tubes of 10 different types. (Two types used in the central computer, others in the magnetic drum [data storage] system, tape units, and input-output stations.) The Navy report mentions 1100 tubes. Possibly there was some redesign. The Navy report gives a total footprint of 845 sq. ft. The Army report gives 65 sq. ft. for the computer and 12 sq. ft. for the air conditioning unit, but notes that there were 8 separate cabinets excluding the power and air conditioning units. They probably needed a lot of access space for the engineer and two technicians staffing the facility each eight-hour shift.

Maintenance Information Data Automation System.

Management In a Distributed Application and Service environment.

Manchester Information Datasets and Associated Services.

Marketmaker Information And Dealing System. I understand that the Burmese language has a similarly mysterious position on word order.


Mythological Idiotic Digital-Aurum Sovereign.

Recipe for success: First pick the name, then devise the acronym expansion.

On the other hand, in the last line of the G. Keillor parody of Oedipus, the chorus intones

``Everything Oedipus touches, Oedipus wrecks.''

middle class
In Gertrude Stein's Things As They Are, Adele (Miss Stein) explains
I never claimed to be middle class in my intellect and in truth, I probably have the experience of all apostles, I am rejected by the class whose cause I preach but that has nothing to do with the case. I simply contend that the middle class ideal which demands that people be affectionate, respectable, honest and content, that they avoid excitements and cultivate serenity is the ideal that appeals to me, it is in short the ideal of affectionate family life, of honorable business methods.

middle-level management
Hire the best people for the job, then tie their hands and watch them fail. Fire and repeat. Eventually sell division at a loss in order to ``focus on core businesses.''

Middle Liddell
An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon. An abridgement of the Oxford Greek Lexicon, which was universally known by the names of its creators, Liddell and Scott. See LSJ entry for more detail and links.

Middletown, USA
Muncie, Indiana. Pseudonym used by researchers (the Lynds) in a famous study. The town was chosen to be typical and therefore representative. Many years later, a new group went back and restudied. I've read the claim that they decided that the town had evolved in a non-average way, and concluded that the main reason for the town's different progress was the presence of a college. I'm not sure that's an accurate synopsis, but certainly the growth of the college has been important, and it is now the largest single employer in the area. The college was Ball State, then a teachers' college and now a university (BSU) with a major emphasis on teacher education.

Wesleyan University is located in Middletown, Conn.

Cf. Plainville, USA.

Malaysian Industrial Development Finance.

MIDF Consultancy and Corporate Services Sdn Bhd.

A skirt with a hem somewhere between mini and maxi.

A standard for optically isolated serial linking.

Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Don't say ``MIDI interface.'' It's redundant and vulgar and pleonastic as well. Do visit the popular MIDI homepage.

MIDwest Regional Library NET.

Non-Big Six conferences of NCAA Division-I basketball. They're ``majors'' because they're part of Division I, and the teams are eligible to be invited to the NCAA tournament (``March Madness''); they're only mid-majors because they're not one of the Big Six. ``Mid-majors'' is also used to refer to the teams that belong to the mid-majors conferences.

Mid-majors don't get a lot of invitations to NCAA tournament. In 2006, it was a big deal when the Missouri Valley Conference got four bids and the Colonial Athletic Association got its first at-large bid in 20 years.

Meals & Incidental Expenses.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research.

Manufacturing Information and Execution System[s].

Mikoyan-Gurevich. There don't seem to have been any even-numbered MiG's. MiG is pronounced to rhyme with ``pig.''

MIG, Mig, Mig
Metal Inert-Gas (welding). Another name for GMAW, q.v. MIG is pronounced to rhyme with ``MiG.''

Spanish: `crumb.' On the other hand, hormiga is `ant.' (Also, hormiguero is `ant colony' and hormigón is `concrete.' The aitch is always silent. It's just written to remind you that there was an eff in the Latin. Amazing the trouble people go to.)

I'm struggling to find the relevance, but until then you might as well know that ort is English for `crumb,' while Ort (q.v.) is German for `place.' `Oort' is International for a quite far-away place. Platz is also German for `place,' but plotz is Yiddish for `explode' and some related things. Interestingly, in Spanish explotar is both `explode' and `exploit.' You can imagine the greater persuasiveness of union-organizing speeches. There's no connection, I suppose, but also in Spanish, bomba is both `bomb' and `pump.' I guess what I'm trying to say here is: if you're ever in an airport in Latin America, and you get into a heated discussion about unionizing fire companies, switch to English. The advice might be different in Brazil, however, as the Portuguese language has (too) many more sounds and allows more distinctions among words. As a matter of fact, during WWII, in a bar in Rio (or some other Brazilian city that's harder to spell), my father met someone who spoke English. So they used that language, and someone came up and asked what that language was they were speaking, and the other guy made a little joke. He said `German.' Ha-ha. Police. Arrest. The first thing to know about joke delivery is when not to. As they say, timing is everything. As a general rule, wartime is bad timing.

As it turned out (I asked my father) it was Rio, and the guy's name was Wilson. My father never saw this guy again, which seems to me just as well.

For more on pumps, visit Grundfos.

It's probably fair to point out that the semantic subrange of explotar corresponding to `exploit' is narrower than that of the English cognate. As compensation, I'll note that celoso translates both `zealous' and `jealous' (in English these words arrived from Latin zelosus via French at different times).

It is often the case that a single word in Spanish corresponds to two slightly differently spelled close cognates of the word in English, but the divergence does not always go in that direction. For example, the English word respect corresponds to Spanish respeto and respecto. Thus, for example, les tengo gran respeto means `I have great respect for them,' while the standard phrase con respecto a means `with respect to.'

You know, if tangential thoughts hadn't so rudely interrupted this entry, I could have been finished with it already. Now then, I need to add that the Spanish word miga comes from the Latin mica (female first-declension noun), meaning a particle or crumb or grain, especially of salt. You may be tempted to take one with the news of what words this is cognate with. It is not too surprising that it is cognate with Greek adjective for `small, little,' with various surviving forms. In Doric, Boeotian, and Ionic dialects, it occurred as mikkós (female nominative form mikká, BTW). The variant mikós was also widespread, found in materials from the 4 c. BCE to the 3 c. CE. By far the most common literary forms of the Greek word, however, were mikrós (hence the SI prefix) and smikrós. Through Proto-Indo-European, these are believed to be cognate with the English word small.

The Latin word mica entered English directly as a mineralogical term, for a small particle of talc, selenite, or other crystalline inclusion when it is one of a large number in a matrix of some other rock. The word was also used for rocks containing micae (also micas). [There was, perhaps understandably, some confusion, about both etymology and sense, with the Latin micare (`to glitter, shine').] This meaning was abandoned as the term came to be used systematically for one particular class of minerals that had been common mica materials, namely (what we still now call) mica.

The word miga in Spanish developed another meaning, but to avoid clutter in this glossary we try to discuss only one meaning per entry, so you'll have to wait. Stop tapping your feet-- it's rude. It is better to scroll down than to curse the browser.

Spanish for `crumb.' Wait -- didn't we do that one already? Sort of: while the most common meaning of the word miga is that of the English word `crumb' (in the sense of a small amount or particle of anything, but mostly of bread), an interesting, slightly less common, sense is one that is also a sense of the word `crumb,' though now extremely rare: the soft inner part of a loaf of bread that hasn't been hardened by baking. Thus, a loaf of bread consists of crust and crumb.

The Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada offers translations of miga in this second sense and of migaja (synonym of miga and crumb in the usual sense). Here they are in that encyclopedia's standard order (which isn't alphabetical by language in Spanish either):
Language miga
(bread interior)
French mie miette
Italian mollica briciola, rimasuglio
English crum crumb
German Krume Krümchen
Portuguese miolo migalha
Catalan molla engruna
Esperanto panmolajo, molajo peceto, panpeceto

In French, mie has the same common senses as Spanish miga, while the diminutive miette not surprisingly only means `crumb.' The Italian mollica seems primarily to have the sense of loaf interior, though the plural molliche means `crumbs.' Briciola means `crumb,' but rimasuglio primarily means `[food] remnant, left-overs.' The putative semantic distinction between the English words crum and crumb exists only in a diachronic analysis: the spelling variant with the b seems to have arisen only around 1800, under the influence of the earlier crumble and dumb (how abt). Since the soft-interior sense of crumb seems to have petered out in the 1800's, one may say loosely that over time, crum had both senses and crumb had only one. I plan to check the other translations someday.

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, est. 1988.04.12, a member organization of the World Bank (WB) Conspiracy.

I just want to record here that 2009 seems to be the year when the modal might seriously began to lose its distinctive functions to may. Here's an example: ``She's always figured the child may be John's, but the positive DNA result really floored her.''

might could
A charming locution pretty much restricted to the US Southeast, meaning mostly `might be able to.'

might should
Another charming composite modal like might could. We might should adopt it.

Metal-Induced Gap States.

MIChael. Nickname.

MICrophone. Cf. mic.

0.001 inch = 25.4 µm exactly. It's not coincidence; it's the definition. If the unit seems inappropriate, however, check ml.

A gry is a tenth of a line, and a line is a twelfth of an inch, so a gry is 1/120 inch or about 211.6666667 µm, proving once again how ugly metric units are.

A unit of angle measure and a number. In fact, it's a number of units of angular measure. Name-appropriately, mils are a popular and now widely standard unit for use in artillery ranging and other military applications.

Mils, or ``angular mils,'' are generally almost exactly equal to a milliradian. Mils are typically defined as fractions of 360 degrees, and can be thought of as equivalent to approximations of π. The largest mil so defined is equivalent to a milliradian in the π=3 approximation: 1 mil = 2000π mrad / 6000. This was used in the former Soviet Union and Finland; Finland is switching over to the NATO mil. Other implicit values of π that have been common are 3.1415 (perhaps), 3.15 (formerly used by Sweden, which has moved to the NATO standard), and 3.2 (NATO standard). I write ``perhaps'' for 3.1415, which corresponds to the mil said to be used by many manufacturers of telescopic sights for civilian use, because it's not clear that saying a mil is defined as 1/6283 of a circle isn't simply an awkward way of saying it's defined to approximate a milliradian as closely as possible.

Mils are often described, if not defined, as the angle subtended by one foo at a distance of one thousand foos, where foo is typically ``yard'' or ``meter.'' This is equivalent to defining the mil as 2×Arcsin(1/2000) or about (1 + 4.1666671×10-8) mrad. Of course, the thing that makes mils convenient is the same thing that makes this description accurate: the fact that in the small-angle limit, the sine of an angle approaches the angle (in the natural units, radians).

Before the military forces of the world discovered the small-angle approximation, another unit was popular: the decigrad (the grad being defined as 1/100 of a right angle, or 0.9 degrees).

In Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, Richard P. Feynman described some of his WWII work on mechanical analog computers for, iirc, bomb sights.

Malfunction Indicator Light. A/k/a idiot light.


(Name code for top-level domain of US) MILitary. Cf. <.arpa>, <.gov>.


Slang for `million' or `million dollars.' Exact (i.e., 106) as opposed to Million-.

MInor League Baseball. ``The minors.'' In North America, it comprises three levels; in order of increasing prestige and player quality, they are imaginatively called A, AA, and AAA. Okay, this doesn't cover all the leagues. There are also Rookie Leagues, which are regarded as the lowest classification, and Winter Leagues, which run the gamut of levels of play. Some of the Class A Leagues are further distinguished as short-season or advanced.

The minors serve as the ``farm system'' that grows players for ``the show,'' a/k/a ``the majors,'' ``big league,'' or MLB. Each team in the minors, with the exception of the Winter League teams, is part of the farm system of some team in the majors. Players are transferred back and forth up and down the Minor League levels, usually within the farm system of a Major League team. There are also a number of independent baseball leagues; they are not affiliated with any MLB team and are not part of the MiLB system.

Minor League Baseball was officially known as the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL) until 1999. NAPBL was founded in 1901. Major League Baseball and NAPBL reached a wide-ranging cooperative agreement in 1902, but the practice of having minor-league teams owned by particular major-league teams came much later.

The first season of NAPBL was 1902, with 14 leagues and 96 teams. As of 2008, there were 188 teams.

A unit of long length, 5280 feet.

Miles Davis. Here's a shot of him relieving himself in the dark.

As I wrote to Dennis when he graduated from Med School:

It is better to pass a milestone than to pass a kidney stone.

And fwiw, this afternoon, April 29, 2006, this glossary begins its fourth myriad of entries.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front. One of four groups fighting for an independent Islamic state in the south of the predominantly Catholic Philippines. There is reported to be some evidence that MILF has collaborated with Al Qaeda.

I know what you're thinking. You figure that the Greek word moron, meaning `dull,' has dropped the final en, the same way Platôn dropped the final en to become Plato. However, that doesn't always happen even in English. (E.g., the last king of Syracuse before the Romans conquered it, the king for whom Archimedes designed novel weaponry, is called Gellon in English.) It happens less often in Spanish. Good guess, though! Moro is the Spanish word for a Moor, related to the name of the country Morocco. The word has been used with varying degrees of precision for people like Moors. (Think of Othello.) The words moreno/morena (more common in Spain) and morocho/morocha (chiefly Latin American) mean dark-skinned (adjective and, technically, pronoun).

The Moors were, of course, mostly Muslim. In the Philippines, moro refers to a Filipino Muslim. Islam was introduced to the Philippines from Borneo and Malaya in the 14th century, and currently about 5 per cent of the Filipino population, mostly in the South, is Muslim.

Mother I'd Like to beFriend. Or something like that.

military service
New York State children between the ages of 6 and 16 are required to attend school. Only the following are considered by the State Education Department to be legitimate reasons for absence or tardiness:

I am most intrigued by the ``military obligations'' exemption for 6-to-16-year-olds. When my great grandmother became a naturalized citizen of the US, she was asked if she would serve in the armed forces if called to. We won't say exactly what her age was. Let's just say that the question was preposterous. She replied, ``Me? An old woman? I'll cook for the troops!'' This was apparently recorded as ``I do.''

My great grandmother was known as ``Grandma Moses.'' This was not because of her spunk or her artistic ability, but because of her surname.

Milk Duds
The company originally tried to make the candies spherical, but failed. The imperfect resulting candies were called ``duds.'' They sold them anyway.

milk shake
Burger King shakes are sweeter than McDonalds. Too sweet -- but that's just my opinion. Wendy's sells ``frosties'' that aren't liquid enough to sip because Wendy's straws collapse under the necessary vaccuum; use a spoon. Some ice cream places have a machine that use to make a shake out of some scoops of their ice cream and some milk. I encountered one of these at La Fortune (Notre Dame's student center). I wondered what would happen if you made a shake out of chocolate-chip mint ice cream. I found out that what happens is that you get a mint shake with a chocolate chip clot at the bottom of the cup.

Wait, you wanted to know about milk snakes? That's okay: we have a little something about them too; see under Regina CREAMER.


Milky Way Galaxy
From a strict etymological point of view, this term is a pleonasm: galaxy comes from the Greek gala, `milk.' (Current Greek pronunciation makes this hard to hear: the gamma is pronounced back under the epiglottis, and sounds like an arr in many accents.) This information is duplicated and then some at the galaxy entry.

Galaxy is also one of the names of TradeWave or EINet, ``[t]he professional's guide to a world of information.''

Miller Effect
A mechanism whereby certain parasitics can decrease (i.e., degrade) the input impedance in an amplified way. The effect is essentially the same for all voltage amplifiers. The general voltage amplifier is a two-port, with a high-impedance input (between + and - on the input side) and a low-impedance output (between + and - on the output side). In the simplest voltage amplifiers, the - terminals of both ports are a common ground, and the input and output + terminals are gate and drain (common-source FET), base and collector (common-emitter BJT), or grid and anode (vacuum tube), respectively.

In the linear regime, the output contains a dependent current or voltage source linear in the voltage across an input impedance between + and - of the input. The small-signal equivalent circuit generally has an (ideally low-conductance) element connecting input and output + terminals [y++ = yBC or yDG]. This leads to an input current proportional to the difference in input and output. The Miller effect is that, because the output voltage is amplified (by a gain factor A), the input conductance is increased by an amount y++ (1-A) instead of just y++. [For the devices mentioned, A < 0; for a good voltage amplifier, |A| » 1.]

The Miller effect is put to good use in Op Amps: by using Miller effect to increase parasitic capacitance associated with one part of the amplifier relative to the capacitance of another, poles are kept apart to maintain stability. (Two nearby poles can cause a 180 degree phase shift and associated feedback problems.)

A hundred thousand or more. Specialized usage in national mall events like ``Million-Man March,'' ``Million-Mom March.''

MILitary Strategic, Tactical And Relay. Acronym for satellite communication.

MILitary STanDard.

Maoist Internationalist Movement. Self-described in MIM Notes 322 (and I suppose other issues) as ``the collection of existing or emerging Maoist internationalist parties in English-speaking imperialist countries and their English-speaking internal semi-colonies, as well as the existing or emerging Maoist internationalist parties in Belgium, France and Quebec and the existing or emerging Spanish-speaking Maoist internationalist parties of Azatlan, Puerto Rico and other territories of the U.$. Empire.'' [The last is probably a typo; I believe they prefer ``u.$. Empire.''] Oh blast, comrade, that sentence looks like it was constructed by a committee of centrals. It's good to see that none of the existing or emerging Maoist internationalist parties is described as English-speaking. I might cavil at that. For when you're not sure whether you want to laugh or be bored to sleep, MIM has, after a fashion, its own web presence. (It also owns the <mim.org> domain.)

Mendeleev Institute of Metrology. In St. Petersburg, Russia. Formerly in Leningrad, USSR. They moved the whole thing!!???

Metal Injection Molding.


Musical Instrument Museum. It's in Phoenix and on line.

Multiple-Instruction, Multiple Data (part of a strategy and an aspect of architecture for parallel-processor computing; cf. SIMD).

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (protocol). See N. Borenstein and N. Freed, ``MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) Part One: Mechanisms for Specifying and Describing the Format of Internet Message Bodies.'' RFC 1521, Bellcore, Innosoft, September 1993.

Here's an overview, etext copy of a paper presented by Borenstein. Ghastly formatting (1000-character lines); d/l and read in an editor.

Alternate expansion: Massively Incompatible Mail Experiment.

The RFC822 mail header passes the MIME type in a format that begins:
Content-Type: mime-type/subtype

Here's an entire page of them.

From AOL version 6.0 on, it is impossible to send text/plain content. It is of course possible for an AOL subscriber to, say, connect to the internet via AOL, and then use non-AOL software such as a browser or telnet client over that connection. However, the same is not true for email: AOL's proprietary internal mail protocol prevents AOL users from using an alternative MUA for email sent to or from an aol.com address. You can contact the online help chat, and once you get the friendly serviceperson to wrap its head around the idea that you do not want ``plain text'' encoded as MIME-type text/html, but instead want plain text encoded as text/plain, just as God intended, that polite person may recommend that you install version 5 if you want that to happen. One reason you are unlikely to want to do that is the temporary inconvenience of installing the older AOL version. Another reason not to do it is the temporary inconvenience of reinstalling the newer version, after you discover that AOL servers are not backward-compatible with older versions of AOL software. The upshot is that you can't send Content-Type: text/plain from an AOL address. In many civilized venues, this means that it is impossible for an AOLuser to participate as an adult.

In Unix, a typical mail or news application uses metamail to interpret any MIME types it doesn't know how to handle. Metamail in turn mostly just looks in a mailcaps file (default search path $HOME/.mailcap:/etc/mailcap:/usr/etc/mailcap:/usr/local/etc/mailcap may be overridden by the environmental variable MAILCAPS) and passes the item to the application designated as capable of handling the relevant type/subtype.

Magnetospheric IMaging Instrument. An instrument on board NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

Wasn't she a bathing suit model for Popular Mechanics or Popular Science (PS) back in the sixties?

Metal-Insulator-Metal-Insulator-Metal. Enough is enough! (Cf. minim.)

Multiple-Input/Multiple-Output. Next Monday in the Electrical Engineering Conference Room, a student is doing his oral candidacy presentation on a research topic entitled ``Bounds on the capacity of a MIMO channel with unknown funding.'' That sounds interdisciplinary, but there aren't any industrial engineering or government studies faculty on the committee.

Oops, missed it. Now I'll never know.

Motorola Impedance Matching Program.

  1. MINimum.
  2. MINima (plural of minimum).
  3. MINim. Particularly the minim that is a unit of fluid measure.

Multistage Interconnection Network[s].

Spanish for `mine,' of the underground variety. Do you really need a Spanish-English dictionary? Cf. mío.

A general purpose computer completed in 1953, according to various Internet sources. It's not clear what the expansion was or even if it had one. On the usual pattern, the AC should have stood for Automatic Computer. According to the Giant Computers file, this small computer contained only 90 tubes and 900 crystals (rectifiers), and occupied one square foot. So it's possible MIN stood for MINi. As I'll eventually explain, I think it probably stood for MINimum latency.

Speaking to a Nashville luncheon of the United Negro College Fund on May 9, 1989, then-vice president J. Danforth Quayle stumbled in trying to speak the UNCF's long-time campaign slogan, and came out with a memorable boner:
``What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.''
Someone must have remarked that such a statement could be construed as self-referential. Cf. deconstruction.

Common abbreviation of the German word mindestens meaning `at least.'

MINistry of DEFence. A standard abbreviation in Singapore. At least they don't call it Minluv. (For a similar such name, see the entry for bad guys' organizations.)

German: `minority shareholder.'

German, `at least.'

Are you sure you're not thinking of the MINAC (only one I)?

Volume 22 (1961-62) of Analysis (a journal of analytical philosophy) is a 152-page joke. Okay, to be precise the first 150 pages are merely risible, and the last article (pp. 151-2) is a joke entitled ``MINIAC: World's Smallest Electronic Brain1.'' Footnote 1 reads: Not to be confused with the automatic computer manufactured by Marchant Calculators, Inc., which costs approximately, 8.5 × 106 times as much and is not nearly so small.

For something that generally means the smallest thing, this word sure has a large number of meanings. Among those meanings is a half note or rest (which was typically the shortest time interval used in music in an earlier, more leisurely time when time was taken at a more measured pace). A minim is also a fluid measure equal to 1/60 dram. It is used in some dialects to mean any small fish, but especially a minnow (which seems to have a distinct etymology). The name Minim was also given to a member of (I mean to an entire member who belonged to) a mendicant religious order founded in the fifteenth century by Saint Francis of Paola. In the fifteenth century, minims were big.

The useful sense for which the word has no adequate synonym, however, has to do with the Gothic letters of late Medieval manuscript, used throughout Europe but most directly influencing the German typescript called Fraktur. Anyway, if you look at any of those Gothic texts, you'll notice that much of the lower-case text looks like a half-height fence -- a long low sequence of fat vertical strokes that could be mmmm or nnnn or unnu or whatever. Each vertical stroke of one of these letters was a minim -- three in an em, two in an en or `u.' With a little beveling at the top or bottom of a minim, you could make some other letters, though you couldn't really read them. It was almost as bad as Oriya. (A single minim represented an i; the practice began of putting accents on the letters i so they could be distinguished, and these evolved into the current dots.)


Also called red lead. Its common formula is Pb3O4. It's not a spinel, but it has a similar structure. Minium has a number of what may be indulgently described as ``systematic'' names, some of them sanctioned at various times by some official body. One purpose of such names is to allow someone with the appropriate technical background to understand instantly the chemical structure of compound upon encountering the name. At this task, these names have at best middling success. The names I have seen published in books are the following:
  1. lead tetroxide,
  2. lead (II, IV) tetroxide,
  3. lead (II, II, IV) oxide,
  4. trilead tetroxide,
  5. lead orthoplumbate,
  6. lead (II) orthoplumbate,
  7. plumbous orthoplumbate.
It's as bad as organic nomenclature! If you try doing a web search on the word minium, a large fraction of your hits will be for instances of aluminium broken before the first em. You might find it convenient to commit its CAS registry number to memory. I wish I had (1314-41-6).

Note carefully that ``lead (II, IV) oxide'' is lead sesquioxide. CAS registry number 1314-27-8. (Mnemonic: 13 14 - 13+14 -ate.)

As you may guess from the names, I have read some contradictory information about red lead. It does have at least one allomorph, but it seems that the red tetragonal phase is the stable one at standard temperature and pressure. There is another lead oxide that is sometimes associated with red lead in some way, and that other phase, or one of the other phases, may be black. But that black phase may be a red herring (sorry), because the sesquioxide is normally black (and monoclinic). I'm on the case! This is an interim report.

Two red minerals were well known to the ancient world: one was red lead, the subject of this entry, and the other was mercuric sulfide, or cinnabar. A Roman craftsman would have had no difficulty distingishing between pure samples of the two. Most immediately, they could be distinguished because cinnabar has a more brilliant red color. Book XXXIII, sec. 119 of Pliny's Natural History indicates that they were also able to (as we would say) reduce cinnabar under heat to produce liquid mercury, so they had a chemical assay.

The word minium entered Middle English from Latin, but the word apparently does not go back to proto-Indo-European and its ultimate etymology is unclear. It is believed to be related to the Basque word armineá, which means `cinnabar.' It is hard to know precisely what was meant by the word minium in Latin, since writers sometimes either were unaware of or confused about the difference between the minerals. (Pliny, confused as he himself was, mentions various instances of confusion.) In addition, even when writers knew what they meant, what they wrote does not give us enough clues for us to know. Nevertheless, the preponderance of the evidence suggests that minium has switched from describing the brighter (cinnabar) to the duller (red lead) mineral. It's not hard to see how this might have occurred. Pliny reports that cinnabar was adulterated in many ways. [Since the price was fixed by law (70 sesterces per pound), it was impossible to reward honesty with a higher price, so this is hardly surprising. See also next paragraph.] The first adulterant he mentions is red lead (either native or prepared by heating cerusite -- lead carbonate). He describes it as secundarium minium, where context implies that by secundarium he means `second-rate.' At any rate, minium secundarium was the standard way of referring to what we now call minium. Pliny gives some evidence of confusion at various places where he mentions either of the two minerals. He also notes that use of a Greek-origin word (our cinnabar) was causing [further] confusion.

If the word for the mercury compound (viz. minium in its original sense) should have a Basque etymon it would not be surprising: Spain is still today the world's leading source of cinnabar. However, for the Carthaginians, and for the Romans after they took it over from them, Iberia was a source of mineral riches primarily in the form of silver. [Yes, the Athenian silver mines of Laurion had also been an important lead resource, but by late Republican Roman times they were mostly exhausted, and the Spanish mines were by far the most important.] Silver mines are lead mines, for reasons explained at the pluton entry. The silver is extracted from galena (lead ore) by a process called cupellation, and lead is a byproduct. Galena is lead sulfide (PbS), so perhaps it is not too surprising that the lead compound minium and the sulfide cinnabar both are often found in the vicinity. According to Pliny the most famous Spanish cinnabar mine, and the most important one in terms of revenues for the Roman state, was the one in Almaden (where silver was not found). Raw cinnabar ore from Almaden (as much as a ton per annum) was required to be shipped to Rome, where one company was granted a monopoly for its production.

Snazzy names with minerals seem to be a status thing, like fine clothes with people. Cinnabar gets a choice of exotic names and casts off a perfectly serviceable but unwanted excess name like minium. Cinnabar even has a distinct name, vermilion, for its color. The mineral minium, on the other hand, in addition to having to make do with a hand-me-down name, has to share that name with its color, which is either called minium or minium red. To make matters even more humiliating, the drab name red lead (or is that read led? homonyms are so confusing!) has apparently led to some confusion, and minium is sometimes called red minium, as if there were any other kind.

Minium is also used as name for the bright red color of this oxide.

Ministry of Truth. The adjective formed from Minitrue is Minitruthful -- irregular because euphony trumps regularity in the B vocabulary of Newspeak (political words). Minitrue is Winston Smith's place of employment in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). It's the propaganda ministry, occupying a 300-foot pyramidal building. All four ministries are housed in such bomb-proof pyramids. Ever since Babel, it seems, science-fiction writers have identified large buildings with evil or menace, or at least with organizations of bad guys. In That Hideous Strength, N.I.C.E. has something similar planned.

Starting in the 1970's, Swedish Defense Forces security equipment detected sounds that Sweden identified as Soviet submarine intrusions into its territorial waters. The Swedish Navy discovered in 1992 that minks make sounds which the detectors could misinterpret as submarines. No submarine intrusions were detected after 1992.

I once dated a woman whose father had owned a mink ranch. Perhaps that dates me. You know, minks are carnivores. If you think about it, you realize that raising carnivores is a lot more expensive than raising herbivores. They also tend to be a bit less social, you know? And a bit wilier and more on the look-out for a way to escape. What with all the meat-handling he did, he eventually started a meat-canning business as a sideline.

MINK region
Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas REGION. This particular region wasn't defined because the named states are contiguous or have similar geology or climate or land use or anything. And agricultural and ecological research never focuses on this region because good weather records are available going back at least to the 1930's. It just made a cool name, that's all.

MINNesota. Traditional abbreviation. The USPS prefers MN.

A town in North Dakota (ND). The town name is pronounced to rhyme with ``why not.'' Indeed.

Malaysian Institute for Nuclear Technology Research.

Mission des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en Haïti.

You know, German aircraft supporting the NATO mission in Afghanistan are not allowed to fly at night in areas where there might be trouble. God forbid, someone might get hurt! MINUSTAH also operates under European-style rules of ``engagement.'' The mission has 8800 soldiers and police, which is woefully inadequate and also larger than Haiti's official police force (only about half of whom actually show up to work). Some Haitians use the alternate name TOURISTAH, because they're only found in the safe places where they're not needed. Again we see the Francophone propensity to use apparent acronyms without proper expansions. It's scandalous! (It would also have been helpful if the original acronym had picked up the E in en, since the proper spelling of the tee word is touriste.)

minutes to complete, this survey should take no more than 10
It will take less than ten minutes to read the questions and check off some answers. We're not figuring in any time for thinking about the answers because we didn't think of it. We don't expect you to take any time thinking about them. Heck, we didn't spend any time thinking about the questions or the multiple-choice answers. It's okay that they're ambiguous; we'll interpret them later.

MIlliOn. Abbreviation that occurs in EU statistical literature. Note that the letter o is the first letter in million that distinguishes it from milliard (Mrd).

Spanish: `Mine!'

I hasten to assure those suffering shell-shock from the revelations about pumps and exploitation (miga entry above) that mío is only a posessive pronoun, and not an explosive or exploitable thing below.

Italian: `my, mine.'

Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichte. A German-language journal that might have been named `Reports of the Institute for Austrian History' in English. See if Stuart Jenks's page of Tables of Contents of Historical Journals and Monographic Series in German has a link for this yet (deutsche Seite: Zeitschriftenfreihandmagazin Inhaltsverzeichnisse geschichtswissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften in deutscher Sprache).

Metal-Insulator-Oxide-Semiconductor. Either redundant description of MIS or oversimplified description for most devices today. I've seen this term very rarely.

Mortgage Insurance Premium.

Marist (College) Institute for Public Opinion.

Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request.

MIPS, Mips
Million Instruction(s) Per Second. The ``S'' represents the time unit `second' and not plural inflection, so one speaks of ``one MIPS.'' This makes it rather unfortunate that one common way to write this uses lower-case ess. Nobody says ``mipses'' -- the plural form of MIPS is MIPS.

The explanation I had here before was at best confusing and at worst wrong. Okay, okay, I've scolded myself long enough!

Maximum Information Rate.

If you feel dizzy, stop reading now.

Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria. Spanish: `Movement of the Revolutionary Left,' a Bolivian political party.

miracle, the
The fact that silicon has a native oxide with good mechanical properties, which serves as a diffusion mask, passivation, and dielectric.

In contrast, germanium (Ge), which is much easier to grow in single-crystal form and was therefore the basis of all the early progress in semiconductor (transistor) electronics, has an oxide that dissolves in water (and desorbs at 450 °C).

There are other opinions, of course. According to Thomas Carlyle, ``Certainly the Art of Writing is the most miraculous of all things man has devised.'' Of course, Tom never had the opportunity to experience television, laser light shows, or nitro-burning funny cars!

mirbane, essence of
Nitrobenzene. Traditional names include

mirbane oil
Nitrobenzene. See preceding entry.

Maritime Incident Response Group.

You probably don't realize it, but this glossary is really a blog. We just don't like that reverse chronological ordering (and using mirrors would make it hard to read). So we use a different ordering. (If you guessed ``alphabetical,'' you may be half right; the judges are deciding how to score that. Gary has submitted an amicus curiae brief, summarized at the collating sequence entry.)

This entry was provoked by Bob Patrick, who started an old-fashioned blog called ``Latin Proverb of the Day.'' His proverb for 17.08.05 is Forma viros neglecta decet, which he translates `Neglected concern for appearance is befitting men.' (I'm not sure it's a proverb, but it is Latin. It's from Ovid's scandalous Ars Amatoria, 1.509.) I don't think Bob Patrick gets it, but the meaning is obvious and I'm happy for his blog, so I won't get into that. I want to write about mirrors. (Considering that this is the mirrors entry, I figured I should warn you.) Bob Patrick, contemplating Ovid's thought, observes that weight rooms are full of mirrors, and supposes that they're there so people can check each other out. No, no, noooOOOOOOoooo!

Mirrors in a weight room serve many important purposes:

  1. To monitor ourselves for proper ``form,'' especially with free weights.
  2. To make the room feel psychologically larger and airier, making us feel less sweaty. When we feel just a little bit less sweaty, we do that crucial extra rep.
  3. To see around the corner whether the next machine we want to use is free yet.
  4. To make sure we're lifting the correct weights, especially on the resistance machines. (You're thinking that we should have checked before we got on? That doesn't always work. If this seems implausible, see the ``aside'' below.)
  5. To keep us from checking each other out. Without the mirrors, you could look directly at anyone who wasn't looking at you, and know that he or she (usually one or the other) wasn't looking back along some other optical path. With the mirrors, there are so many ways to be caught staring that you can't do it with impunity. Unless you don't care.
  6. To check each other out.

Aside on resistance machines: many of them are loaded with stacks of oblong metal plates. These are shaped like broad, short (about an inch high) bricks. Their upper and lower surfaces are approximately flat and smooth, so the force is spread out when they stack (or bang together). They have holes (usually two) bored vertically through the short dimension of the plate, located symmetrically away from the center (along the longer center-line). A vertical guide rod goes through each stack of these holes in the plate stack, keeping the plates aligned. Those rods are lubricated, and some of the lubricant (a light oil; see CAMELSPIN) spreads along the horizontal faces of the plates.

You probably don't need to read this paragraph. To adjust the resistance, you push a pin into one of the plates (there's a horizontal hole or slot for this in each plate). The pin catches on a vertical tongue (this passes through a third vertical bore, this one centered), so that you lift the selected plate along with all the ones stacked above it.

When your movement in the machine lifts a subset of the plate stack, one or two of the plates below the selected stack may come along as well. They seem stuck to the plates above, but it's not quite ordinary adhesion. The force provided by surface tension in the spread-out oil is enough to pull along a plate or two (i.e., as much as 40 lb.). In principle, the pressure of the air around the circumference of the oil slick should shrink it to the point where it can't hold the plate. This will eventually happen if your set lasts long enough. The problem seems to be particularly severe on the old Polaris-brand machines, which sometimes have the plate stack behind the user. You do three or four reps, thinking you feel a bit weak, and you hear a clang as one plate crashes and lightens your load, then you go on another couple and another plate crashes. It's one way to push the envelope.

Oily plates are rarely a problem on Universal machines, evidently because the plates, with upper edges rounded and bottom surfaces slotted, don't spoon snugly. Cybex plates are also only roughly flat -- they have some texture on a millimeter scale, so they don't suffer oily-plate sticking either.

Some Cybex machines do have another sticking problem, however. The guide rods run through the plate stack down to the machine frame, and usually there is something elastic around the bottom of the guide rods, so the bottom plate doesn't rest directly on the machine frame. Some machines have metal springs very similar to those that close the valves on a gasoline engine. These are okay. Other Cybex machines use a hard rubber annulus around the bottom of each rod. Since the rubber is under almost constant compression and since it is, well, a little bit rubbery, it sticks to the bottom plate and the frame. Hence, when you max out the stack, you have to unstick each rubber annulus from either the bottom plate or the frame. It feels like maybe ten extra pounds to unstick it the first time. (It's a different kind of experience from oily sticking, however, since you can't lift the stack until you've pulled the bottom plate free.) Anyway, just mention it to Ryan or whoever and he'll spray some WD-40 on the rubber and the underside of the bottom plate while you hold up the stack. Don't forget to mention later that the fix lasted less than a day.

It's also disturbing, although you know it doesn't matter, when you see one annulus rise, stuck to the bottom plate, while the other annulus stays stuck to the frame. Some Polaris machines have the bottom plate rest directly on the frame; this looks bad when exposed (abraded paint) but is less subject to any kind of sticking. Universal machines often use rubber annuli (broader than, but otherwise similar to, those of Cybex machines). What I haven't seen is any machine that uses a washer between the plate and rubber.

A lot of machines are loaded like dumbbells -- you hand-load free circular plates to set the resistance. These machines typically also have rubber pads to limit motion, but since such machines spend most of the time unloaded, the rubber doesn't stick noticeably.

I suppose another use of mirrors in training would be to pretend you're lifting a great weight along a wall when you're really only pushing it along the floor. I'm just full of practical suggestions.

Okay, here's something to do with mirrors in weight rooms, and it might cast some light on the question of what they're there for. It's from an article in Men's Fitness, issue on the racks in January 2006. (This is the issue that features UFC ring-card girl Rachelle Leah on the cover. A woman whose name is constructed from the names of Jacob's two wives, hmmm. This is the famous issue that ranked Baltimore as America's ``fittest city,'' so you may want to take the information in it with a grain of salt.)

On page 98 there were some budget tips for designing a home gym: ``#3 Install lighting that flatters your physique. Quality lighting is worth the expense. Looking good in the mirror during a workout makes you feel good and will keep you motivated. A single lightbulb with a string attached? It may be cheaper, but it will leave you feeling flabby and pathetic.'' I didn't notice any specific positive recommendations on lighting, but the meat section at the supermarket uses pink fluorescents to make the meat look good, so try that. Here's an idea: in ``A Streetcar Named Desire,'' Blanche DuBois says, ``I can't stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action.'' She bought this adorable little colored paper lantern at a Chinese shop on Bourbon, which she gives to ``Mitch'' to install. That can't be too expensive, and Stanley Kowalski's (Marlon Brando's) physique looked good in that. Of course, that was before he began to commit slow suicide by bursting belly. For expensive lighting, see the EU entry.

There's a popular German weekly magazine Der Spiegel, whose title means `the mirror.' The German word was borrowed a very long time ago from the Latin speculum. (Interesting that the grammatical gender switched from neuter to male.)

[column] Plutarch's life of Demosthenes records an early instance of the use of mirrors in physical training. Here's the relevant bit from John Dryden's translation:

Demetrius, the Phalerian, tells us that he was informed by Demosthenes himself, now grown old, that the ways he made use of to remedy his natural bodily infirmities and defects were such as these; ... in his house he had a large looking-glass, before which he would stand and go through his exercises.

Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment. ``MIRTHE is a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center headquartered at Princeton University, with partners City College [of] New York, Johns Hopkins, Rice [a top-tier Harvard of the South], Texas A&M, and the University of Maryland[,] Baltimore County.''

Multiple Independently-targetable Reentry Vehicles. Ballistic missile technology for carrying multiple warheads on a single missile. Ballistic missiles exit the atmosphere in the ascent stage. ``Reentry'' refers to reentry into the atmosphere. Pronounced like the nickname Merv. Cf. argonaut.

Management Information Systems.

Management-Initiated Separation. Old IBM euphemism for firing. Sounds more like a dysphemism, à la B.O.

Later, ``stimulated emission'' was used to describe the slightly more human practice of induced (rather than forced) resignation.


Usually involves property destruction.

mise en scène
An aesthetic (not anaesthetic) championed by the movie critic André Bazin and New Wave film directors such as Jean-Luc Godard (1930-) and François Truffaut (1932-84), each of whom started writing for Cahiers du Cinema in the early 50's, and each of whom made his first feature film in 1959.

In literal translation, mise en scène is `staging.' No one knows what it means, so you can use the phrase wherever you feel you can intimidate your audience into not challenging your use of it.

Major Indoor Soccer League. Pronounced ``mizzle,'' it was a fizzle. It's one of the many failed efforts to interest Americans in that foreign sport that calls itself ``football'' in places that don't have the real thing. It's got a website and all, with scoreboards and draft news and all, trumpeting an ESPN2 broadcast contract, all just as if it were a successful sports league. I'd heard of corpses walking, but having them jump and skull the ball -- that's a new one on me.

Japanese, `fermented soybean paste.' Used as a soup thickener and seasoning.

Multiple-Input, Single-Output.

Here's a reconsideration.

Metal-Insulator-Semiconductor Switch.

Mission Viejo
A municipality founded by gringos whose ignorance of Spanish is celebrated in the name -- misión is female, so any thinking person would either know that the adjective should be vieja or would ask someone who actually knew the language. The only circumstance allowing male gender here would be that Viejo were a family name, which it isn't.

Viejo means `old,' so the name seems intended to suggest (with transparent deceit) that the town has been there since the local language was Spanish. This ``old'' city was actually designed and founded in 1966 by the Mission Viejo Company, which continues to design and found small towns in the US (mostly California and Colorado, I think). Mission Viejo Corporation was bought in the early 1970's by the Philip Morris Cos., Inc., which sold it to Shea Homes in 1997.

You might think it strange for a corporation to be designing, founding, and owning an entire town. Eventually, a large-enough town would have its own courts and police force (small towns rely on their counties'), making it seem as if a part of the state government were owned by a private corporation. Then again, maybe that isn't so unusual, official niceties aside. We don't have a Levittowns entry yet. If you're looking for further amusement in this vein, consider the town of Bridgeville, California.

Mission Viejo is on I-5 a few miles north and inland from San Juan Capistrano, near the southern endpoint of the PCH.

misspelled city names
We have a list of them, courtesy of ePodunk (more about them below). They conducted a study of the subject (apparently first released in July 2001). They analyzed ``6 months of search entries on its Web site, which profiles communities across the country. After compiling a list of misspellings, ePodunk searched for incidences of the misspelled versions on the Web and in major publications (through electronic information services such as Lexis/Nexis).'' The result was a list ranking the 15 ``most misspelled cities in America'':

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Tucson, AZ
  3. Cincinnati, OH
  4. Albuquerque, NM
  5. Culpepper, VA
  6. Asheville, NC
  7. Worcester, MA
  8. Manhattan, NY
  9. Phoenix, AZ
  10. Niagara Falls, NY
  11. Fredericksburg, VA
  12. Philadelphia, PA
  13. Detroit, MI
  14. Chattanooga, TN
  15. Gloucester, MA

The fifteen cities are distributed among ten states. Five states have two cities in the list, and in two of those states -- Arizona and Pennsylvania -- the cities that made the list are the two largest cities of the state. Only one state could have the most misspelled city name, and it is just that Pennsylvania was that state. Pennsylvania toponyms are a rich subject.

I'm not aware of any similar list for other countries, but for Canada I nominate Ottawa. For Latin America, or at least for Mexico, I nominate México, D.F. Hmm...capitals both.

[``ePodunk was launched in 1999 in Ithaca, NY, just east of the real Podunk, a community so small it doesn't appear on the U.S. Census Bureau's list of places. ePodunk was founded by journalists with years of experience in newspapers, online publishing and demographics.'' They ``believe in the power of place,'' and they have a lot products related to real estate.]

Miss Spelling
The head term might be a misspelling of misspelling. Indeed, it is, but that's not what the entry is about. It's about Tori Spelling. Something else about her is sTori Telling, her autobiography. (No, I don't know who wrote it. It's not inconceivable that she did.) The book came out in March or late February 2008, and she was flogging it from early in January. A widely reported quote went thus: ``As for Luke Perry, he called me `camel' because I had long eyelashes. Trust me, Luke Perry can call you `camel' and make it sexy.'' My hat is off to Perry; who would have guessed that behind that pretty face was a brain that could think so fast on its feet? Another place in this glossary where you may read almost nothing about Miss Spelling (and that's as much as you want, after all) is the alternate Spelling entry.

Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey. Another catchy four-country acronym to compete with PIGS and BRIC. It was coined in January 2011 by Jim O'Neill, former chief economist of Goldman Sachs and now chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. As of June 2011, it hasn't caught on to anything like the extent that BRIC or PIGS has. Mist, fwiw, is `dung' in German. (Pferdemist is `horseshit,' etc.)

Mistakes come in two types, or sizes. There are mistakes I make, which are understandable and excusable, and really hardly worth mentioning, except that they serve as rare reminders that even I am only human. The other kind are mistakes that others make, which are not always ridiculous, idiotic, evil, contemptible, and outrageous, but certainly at least one of the above.

There. I just wanted to clear up your stupid confusion. For another mistake dichotomy, see the black bra entry.

Mistakes were made.
I did wrong and haven't the courage to own it.

MInnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart.

Manage{ment|r} -- Information Technology.

You can get a degree in this, but many businesses need much less. At least one national restaurant chain I'm aware of promotes shift managers to MIT's via a ten-week training course.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Metal-Insulator Transition.

Multidisciplinary, Interdisciplinary, and Transdisciplinary. Get down -- let's conference!

Oooh! Oooh! I've got a good one... intradisciplinary!

mit der Bitte um Weiterleitung
German: `with apologies for cross-posting.'

Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

MIchigan Translators/Interpreters Network. Founded in 1991, it became a chapter of the American Translators Association in 2004.

Magnetically Insulated Transmission Line. See, e.g., B. Church and R. N. Sudan, Phys. Plasmas, vol. 2, p. 1837 (1995).

An MIT-alumni-founded Research and Engineering CORPoration.

mixed metaphor
It's useful to have an articulate devil's advocate for the excusable or justifiable exceptions of this transgression, but in Practical Criticism (Pt. III, Ch. 2; p. 189 of the 1968 Harvest Books edition) I.A. Richards's liberality goes too far:
... That a metaphor is mixed is nothing against it; the mind is ambidextrous enough to handle the most extraordinary combinations if the inducement is sufficient.

(He continues: ``But the mixture must not be of the fire and water type--which unfortunately is exactly what we have here.'')

mixed vegetables
Carrots and peas, for example. Possibly even usually. You were expecting maybe an intelligent comment? Oh, okay, we'll give it the old college try.

The term ``mixed vegetables'' does not normally refer to vegetables of a single type that have been mixed. That is, if you have a bowl of Italian-cut string beans and you take a spoon and stir them around, that's not ``mixed vegetables'' despite the fact that the individual beans are not identical among themselves, as electrons are (so there's no ``bean exchange interaction,'' even in string theory). I think that a mix of French-cut and Italian-cut and pureed-from-too-much-mixing string beans is not mixed vegetables either. It hardly seems fair. Xenophobia. I need to bone up on the entropy-of-mixing aspects of this. Calico bean salad is not normally called ``mixed vegetables'' either. I think what we have here is a term that only looks like an ordinary compound, but which is really a slightly specialized term with a meaning not completely inferrable from analysis.

mixed veggies
Chaos at the funny farm! Not the catatonia ward? Okay, maybe this, which you may have seen quite recently.

Michael Jackson. A real talent for generating entertainment, one way or another.

Mother Jones, a muckraking magazine with haphazard fact-checking. Also MoJo.

The Matsushiro ARray in Japan. Part of the International Monitoring System (IMS) of seismic stations. Probably not too far from MAJO.

Maison des jeunes et de la culture. French: `youth club.' I guess that's not a literal translation.

Modified Julian Day. A modification of the Julian day system (vide JD) defined so the MJD value is 2,400,000.5 less than the JD value. This allows dates starting 1858.11.17 CE to have low positive numbers. The extra 0.5 puts the beginning of the MJD at midnight (the JD referred to here is the original-flavor astronomical JD).

Peter Meyer has a clear exposition of the various Julian Day numbers.

Mariner Jupiter-Saturn (mission).

(Domain name code for) Macedonia. (FYROM.)

There's some information at the Open Society Institute (OSI) - Macedonia.

Two million people live on about 10,000 sq. mi. of territory. If they stood in pairs on a square grid, spaced a tenth of a mile apart in N-S and E-W directions, well, that would be something, wouldn't it?

The capital is Skopje.

Mk, Mk.
MarK. Abbreviation used mostly in reference to the gospel of Mark (GMark). Markan (pertaining to GMark or to the writer Mark, or to whatever redactor gave GMark the spin one is immediately concerned with) is occasionally abbreviated ``Mkan.''

The common noun and verb mark is one of those basic words like get that gets crazy-long dictionary entries. Because a mark is often made to measure height or progress, by metonymy the word mark is used to mean a level of development, and level designations like ``Mark I,'' ``Mark II,'' etc. come to be used as proper names. Examples include the Lincoln Continental Marks Series, various Mark 1 and Mark I computers, and the quality influence bureau for this glossary (it's an informal operation; we don't have a quality control bureau). Mk. sometimes abbreviates such nominal uses of Mark.

Member of Knesset. Member of 120-seat Israeli Parliament. Cabinet members may not sponsor legislation. Election is by party lists (Israel-wide at-large voting), but as of the fourteenth Knesset, elected 1996, the prime minister is elected by direct vote. Here's a site with a little more detail than a few weeks'-worth of repetitious newsreports.

The number 120 is traditional from, I think post-exilic (post-Babylonian exile) times, when 120 was the membership of a knesset gadol (gadol means large). The number was ten (a good round number) times twelve (the original number of tribes, and also a good number).

Missionary Kid. Child of a missionary. The way these things work, usually the child of two missionaries. In no reported instances is an MK the direct offspring of three or more missionaries. Not just because it's impossible, although that might contribute to the low frequency (zero) of reported instances, but also because most missionaries are not into orgies and other creative procreativity. Then again, any position they use is, by definition, a missionary position. Standard gags like this are probably one of the reasons that MK's seek each other out for support and to have sickeningly good clean fun together (e.g., Mu Kappa).

The children of Salvation Army volunteers are both MK's and Army brats.

MKSA, mksA
Meter-Kilogram-Second-Ampere. The SI electromagnetic base units, and the rationalized system of equations that goes with it.

Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program. Feed a cold, starve a fever. You can get syphilis from a toilet seat. I've got it all down! MKSAP is available from ACP.

Mortal Kombat. A video game. A video game series! A video game that is history. It was mortal too.

Mkan, Mkan.
Markan. See Mk.


A brand name, along with Crixivan, for the protease inhibitor indinavir. I think MK stands for Merck, the drug company that developed it.

(Domain name code for) Mali.

Maximum Leader.

Maximum Likelihood.

Meat Loaf. A rock vocalist very successful when singing the music of Jim Steinman (Bat Out Of Hell and Bat Out Of Hell II: Back To Hell), and also a movie actor. (He will be remembered as the motorcycle guy who is murdered and eaten in the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show, which starred the rocker Tim Curry as Doctor Frankenfutter.) Born Marvin Lee Aday, September 27, 1951, so maybe he gets dual use out of some of his monogrammed stuff.

Micro Linear semiconductor device prefix.

MilliLiter. Some biologists pronounce this `mil.' In fact, it turns out that the use of `mil' as a pharmaceutical unit dates back to 1905 at least, when mil was authorized as an official name for a milliliter by the UK Board of Trade. Huh! (There is, however, a length unit by that name.) For a further discussion of this fascinating topic, you are invited to visit the Pronunciation Sidebar under the decibel (dB) entry.

You could probably save yourself a lot of argument by calling it a cc. Then again maybe not.

MonoLayer. In semiconductor science, that means a layer one atom thick. Monolayer-control is routinely achieved.

Music Library at UB. Coincidentally, this is the Library of Congress catalog code prefix for Music.

Maine Lobstermen's Association.

Medical Library Association.

Member of Legislative Assembly. Used in Canada and India, where it refers to a state (in India) or provincial (in Canada) legislature rather than a national one. In Canada, an alternative is MPP.

Modern Language Association. A subversive organization founded in 1883. Its annual convention is held in December. Perfect timing for soon-to-graduate graduate students in Engish to interview and be disappointed, or not get any interviews and be even more disappointed. Like the first book (Inferno, `Hell') of Dante's Divine Comedy, it turns out that suffering can occur at many levels (depths).

Louis Kampf explained this in 1967 (bibliographic source details at the Brooks and Warren entry):

      The MLA's power lies in its strong stomach, in its capacity to digest almost everything, thus giving it institutional sanction. It can do so because the professional standards it allegedly maintains do not exist: there is no basis on which to exclude anything. Clearly the MLA, rather than being a professional organization, is a trade association: its natural drift is toward the councils of the Chamber of Commerce, where it will best serve the social and economic aspirations of its own membership.

One year when the MLA's annual meeting was held in San Francisco, a Bronx native spotted Joe DiMaggio in the lobby of the conference hotel and introduced himself. The great man was gracious as always, but he wanted to know what MLA stood for. When told, he replied ``Modern languages? What the hell's wrong with the old languages?'' Cf. RMMLA.

Music Library Association.

Multi-Layer Anti-Reflection (coating). Essentially a Distributed Bragg Reflection (DBR, q.v.). See anti-reflective coating (ARC).

Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. Pronounced ``EM-lat.'' An agreement between two countries to cooperate in providing information for each other's police investigations.

Major League Baseball. A North American subsidiary of Caribbean baseball.

A lot of people unfamiliar with the game of baseball think it's a slow-moving, boring game where people mostly wait, alternately in a sitting or slouching position. (People familiar with baseball think that of cricket.) However, this impression misses the real action, which is in the strategy and tactics. The pitcher and the batter try to fake each other out, as the fielders try to anticipate where the ball will go. Baserunners coordinate their movements in part by anticipating each others' actions rather than watching for them. Yes, baseball is a game of expectorations. Major League Baseball is, anyway. Minor League Baseball is a game of expectations, or at least hopes.

[Football icon]

Middle LineBacker (LB). Lines up between an inside linebacker (ILB) and an outside linebacker (OLB).

Major League Baseball (MLB) Players' Association.

MultiLayer Capacitor.

MultiLayer Ceramic Chip Capacitor. Currently (2005), the majority of multilayer chip capacitors use a ceramic dielectric, but not all. A more precise initialism would be MCCC, but this is rare. (MLCCC is not used at all in this connection.)

Maple Leaf Chow Chow Club. Chow Chow is a breed of dog. ``The Maple Leaf Chow Chow Club was formed in 1973. Although our official area of operation is the province of Ontario, we are a truly international club. We have members from all across Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland'' and a number of far- and near-flung countries. Members are bound by CKC bylaws.

McNeil Learning Community Curriculum Alignment Council. I'd like to buy a vowel, please.

Multi-Layer Coil Counter-current Chromatography.

MultiLayer Ceramic MultiChip Module.


Minimum Lethal Dose. Not normally a well-defined quantity; consider the case of Mithridates (he died old).

Matched-Line Directional Divider. A kind of microwave power divider with mutually isolated outputs. See Thomas J. Russell: ``A Matched-Line Directional Divider Two-Way Power Divider,'' Microwave Journal, pp. 92ff (November 1994).

Major League Eating.

``Real life speed eating contests approved by Major League Eating and the International Federation of Competitive Eating are held only in a controlled environment with appropriate rules and with an emergency medical technician present.''

Takeru ``The Tsunami'' Kobayashi, six-time winner of the annual Independence-Day Hot Dog-Eating Contest at Coney Island, ``did not eat this year'' (2010, that is) because he refused to sign a contract with Major League Eating. He explained on his Japanese-language blog that he wanted to be free to compete in contests sanctioned by other groups. A few days before the 2010 event, however, he did tell Japan's Kyodo News that he really wanted to compete in the Coney Island event. After the 2010 competition ended (in a fourth consecutive win for Joey Chestnut), Kobayashi came on stage. He was welcomed by host George Shea, but then security officers appeared and tried to usher him off the stage. He was under arrest that night on charges of resisting arrest, trespass, and obstructing governmental administration. (It wasn't clear from news reports exactly which or how many of the security personnel were police.)

Maximum-Likelihood Estimation.

Multi-Line Hunt Group.

Martin Luther King. The famous preacher and his father were named Michael Luther King at birth. Junior was born in 1929 (on January 15, as you recall). In 1934, following a trip to Europe, Senior had his and his son's names legally changed to Martin Luther King in honor of the most famous Martin Luther.

Mode-Locked Laser Diode.

Multi-Level Marketing. Join a straight-up pyramid scheme instead and get it over with.

Multi-Level Metal.

Multi-Longitudinal Mode.

Master Limited Partnership. An MLP is a kind of limited partnership that issues publicly traded ``investment units.'' The modern form of MLP's in the US was defined by the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and the Revenue Act of 1987. These stipulate how companies can structure their operations to realize certain tax benefits afforded to MLP's. (Maybe they also explain what the word ``master'' is doing in the name. Read the legislation and get back to me when you find out.) In order to qualify for MLP tax status, a firm must earn 90% of its income through activities or interest and dividend payments relating to natural resources, commodities or real estate.


Minor Latin Poets. There's an old fat Loeb volume (fat for a Loeb) by that title.

Multi-Layer Perceptron.

Multi-Layer Protocol.

Minimum Lending Rate.

The International Monitoring System (IMS code for the seismic station at Muntele Rosu, Romania. Currently a 3-C station, AFAIK. Part of the auxiliary network.

Movimiento Laboral Registrado. `Registered Labor Movement.' Spanish.

Major League Soccer. Ten teams; the latest attempt (Spring 1996) to get professional soccer going in the US (only slightly less difficult than providing a valid proof of a logical impossibility). Reportedly solvent.

Master of Liberal Studies. Plural (``Masters'') and ``in'' (rather than ``of'') forms are less common. This is just the degree for people who don't want to learn anything in particular, but who want ``fresh perspectives and the critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills so valued in today's workplace.'' Alternatively, if you do want to learn something in particular, but it doesn't happen to satisfy the requirements for any particular conventional major, then this might be for you also. You usually have to pay as much to audit a course as to take it for credit, so if you plan to take a bunch of advanced courses, you might as well register for this degree, and maybe accidentally stumble into a credential.

Masters of Library Science. For most academic librarian positions, two masters degrees are a minimum. This would be one of them. It makes a big difference, for library positions generally, whether the library science program is ALA-accredited or not. Some libraries require the degree to be from an accredited program. On the other hand, the accreditation system is controversial, and ALA accreditation has been reputably described as a disrecommendation.

One person at U VA (which no longer has an MLS program) writes

``MLS programs also have a tendency to come to an abrupt halt, or to change their name to `Information Science' or some such.''

Microwave Landing System.

MultiLayered Structure.

Multiple Listing System. The industry-wide standard system for advertising the availability of homes and other real estate in the US. If you wanted to know (i.e., if you weren't ``just looking''), then you might want to visit <FreeHomeListings.com>.

MeLaTonin. As little as 0.1 mg has a detectable ability to facilitate falling asleep. There are preliminary indications that it has a number of medical benefits. Serotonin is a precursor.

Modern Language Teachers' Association of Victoria, Inc. Affiliated with the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers' Associations, Inc.

Machine Model. Model for the kinds of electrostatic discharge (ESD) events caused by machines involved in the manufacture of electronic devices (specifically in back-end-of-line processes: assembly, bonding and testing).

Marriage-Minded. Personals ad abbreviation.

Marilyn Monroe.

Methadone Maintenance.

Mile Marker. Abbreviation useful on VMS's.

Military Mail. Fan mail for US military personnel. MM collects mail from individuals, groups of all kinds, churches, schools, etc. all across the US, mixes it together, then sends it to more than 1,000 places across the country and around the world. (The figure of ``more than 1,000'' applies to the Christmas mail--it is many fewer places at other times during the year.)

MM is a continuation of the ``Vietnam Mail Call'' program established in 1965.

Moderation Management. A behavioral modification program and a national support group network for people concerned about their drinking. Drinking alcohol, okay? If you're worried that you're drinking too much hot cocoa, you're on your own.

For $25, MM makes available something they call a ``Behavioral Self-Control Program for Windows'' (BSCPWIN). They ought to look into bundling that with Norton Utilities.

Moving Magnet. Phonograph records are normally played (when they are still played) by being turned on a turntable; a stylus rests in the groove of the record, and the rotation of the record causes the stylus (or ``needle'') to vibrate as it tracks the groove. In the earliest players, with hand-crank turntables, the vibration of the stylus was transferred mechanically to a diaphragm and a sort of megaphone. A dog would stand listening to it, recognizing ``his master's voice.'' Except that the dog was optional and it didn't have to be a Victrola. One improvement on this design was volume control: the megaphone or equivalent was located inside the player cabinet, and you could open or close the doors on the front of the cabinet. The styli [the opportunity to use this plural was my only reason for not just calling them needles] for these monsters were like small nails, and you bought many at a time. The records didn't last very long either.

Electric phonograph players use electric motors to turn the disc and (since the mid-1920's) electrical amplification of the stylus movement. This requires something to convert the mechanical signal to an electrical one: a transducer or pick-up. Originally, the transducer was a piezo-electric crystal. (Stylus material has varied with cost considerations and the technical requirements of increasingly narrow grooves, but sapphire and diamond generally superseded steel, and since the 1960's diamond has been standard.)

I guess you didn't really need to know much of that. Eventually, magnetic transducers were introduced. These give higher-fidelity playback. If you're listening to vinyl in the twenty-first century, it's out of nostalgia or for high fidelity, so in the latter case you're using a magnetic cartridge (the cartridge is the housing that holds the stylus and transducer at the end of the tonearm). All magnetic cartridges use a magnet and a pick-up coil (or a pair of coils, for stereo), and work on the basis of Faraday's law of induction: movement of the magnet changes the magnetic flux through the coil, and changes in the magnetic flux through the coil induce an electromotive force (EMF). EMF is a traditional term; in plain terms, the EMF is the voltage between the ends of the coil wire. In principle, the magnet could be electromagnetic, but in practice I think it's always a permanent magnet or an induced magnet (a paramagnetic material with a magnetization induced by a nearby permanent magnet).

An EMF is generated by relative motion of the magnet and coil. This is kind of a big deal: Faraday's law was eventually incorporated in Maxwell's equations, and the notion of ``relative motion'' implicit in Maxwell's equations led to the Lorentz-FitzGerald transformations. As properly understood by Einstein, they lead to the special (i.e., gravity-free) theory of relativity.

But if you're just interested in pick-up cartridges, the implications are more circumscribed. Since transduction depends on relative motion, you can either let the stylus move the coil while the magnet is ``fixed'' (i.e., is attached to the much more massive and approximately stationary tonearm), or you can let the stylus move the magnet while the coil is fixed. The former of these is called the moving-coil (MC) configuration, and the latter may be called a moving-magnet configuration (MM, remember?). If the magnet is simply a permanent magnet, it's MM. However, cartridges in which the stylus moves an induced magnet (typically soft iron) have ``moving iron'' designs. They are not usually described as moving-magnet cartridges (perhaps because the permanent magnet is normally fixed), but by some other more specific term.

The stylus may be a user-replaceable part of the cartridge. User-replaceable styli are more common with MM cartridges than MC cartridges.

Multiple Mode (fiber, waveguide, etc.). As opposed to SM.

(Domain name code for) Myanmar. Burma, named changed by the current permanent military dictatorship (State Peace and Development Council).

The last elected civilian prime minister of Burma was U Nu. U Thant was a parliament secretary in the Ministry of Information in U Nu's government. In 1952 U Thant became a Burmese delegate to the U.N. and five years later became the country's permanent representative. He served as Secretary General from 1961 to 1971. Since you want to know more, you should go to this page.

``So what'' you ask? So what? These are not only important diplomats who achieved countless important diplomatic achievements -- they also had some of the shortest names in the world!

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Or maybe the Museum of Modern Art. In New York City. If you want to be understood, say ``the Met'' or MOMA.

MilliMeter Array project.

Mixed Martial Arts.

Muttahida Majlis e Amal. Pakistani `United Action Front.' A loose coalition of religious political parties, both Sunni and Shia, which won 20% of seats in the national parliament in the elections of October 2002, and in 2003 forms the government of the North West Frontier Province and shares power in Baluchistan.

Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center. ``Established in 1946 [in Oklahoma City] by the Civil Aeronautics Administration as a centralized [and convenient!] training and logistics facility with approximately 350 employees, the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center has grown to become a major organizational complex of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employing approximately 4,400 government and contract personnel. In fact, the Aeronautical Center is the largest concentration of Department of Transportation employees outside the Washington, D.C. area!'' See also AIDA.

Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno. `Municipal Museum of Modern Art.' The name of a museum (and associated cultural center with performance venues) in Mendoza, Argentina.

Not that it's anything unusual, but it's probably worth mentioning at least once: when the acronym is used in a sentence, it functions as a noun and takes the male article el, as would museo, the gender-determining noun of the noun phrase.

Memory MAP. Pronounced ``em map.''

Metal Matrix Composites.

MultiMedia Center. You were thinking of ``the most advanced communication and information services company,'' right? The one in the Caucasian republic of Georgia (.ge).

See MCL.

Micro Miniature (``micromin'') Diode. Small but discrete. ``micromin'' is a package standard.

Molecular Modeling DataBase ``contains 3-dimensional structures determined by X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. The data for MMDB are obtained from the Protein Data Bank (PDB). The NCBI [(National Center for Biotechnology Information) main page here] has cross-linked structural data to bibliographic information, to the sequence databases, and to the NCBI taxonomy. The NCBI has developed a 3D structure viewer, Cn3D, for easy interactive visualization of molecular structures from within Entrez.

Alternatively, you can view search the data with the 3DB viewer from PDB.

MultiMedia Data Services.

Malaysia Monetary Exchange.

Microsoft Multimedia Extension.

mmf, MMF
MagnetoMotive Force.

MultiMode Fiberoptic (cable).

See MCL.

MonoMethylHydrazine. In organic chemical nomenclature, the mono that the first em represents is conventionally implicit and omitted, so MMH abbreviates what, written out in full, is usually just methylhydrazine.

Maryland Multi-Housing Association, Inc. An NAA affiliate.

Medina Metropolitan Housing Authority. Not the Medina in Arabia. MMHA was established in 1953 as an independent political subdivision of the state of Ohio. It provides housing for low- to moderate-income residents of Medina County.

Man-Machine Interface.

Multi Media Interface. This is a stupid expansion, since multi is not a word. Fortunately, the expansion won't be used very much since it's for an MMI on which Audi claims a trademark. (Yes, it's also stupid to claim a trademark on an acronym that has been in use for over a decade to mean pretty much what you want it to mean. At least they're not claiming they registered it. Hold on -- I have to think it over. Maybe I don't mean stupid but asinine.)

Monolithic { Microwave | Millimeter[-wave] } IC [Pronounced ``mimic.''] (Electromagnetic radiation with millimeter-scale wavelengths is in the range called microwave, so in principle the senses of the two expansions overlap. In practice they're equivalent.) Here's a page of relevant links.

MultiMedia Modeling. Name of a conference; in Singapore in 1997.

meiner Meinung nach. German, `in my opinion' [IMO]. Cf. m.A.n.

Massively Multiplayer Online (game).

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.

MicroMeteoroid or Orbital Debris. The reason why the logical AND of MM or OD events is of interest is that either one might puncture something vital.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. A group-administered paper-and-pencil test first published in 1943 by Starke Hathaway, Ph.D., and J. Charnley McKinley, M.D., both of the University of Minnesota Hospitals. By the time it was replaced by the MMPI-2, it was the most widely used personality inventory in the US and was widely used throughout the world. The inventory was a routine screening instrument, intended to determine just what kind of crazy you were. Maybe that's a little harsh, but maybe not. At least, that's how I read the results. It was used on job applicants and people in marriage counseling. I find that offensive, but then again I find a lot of things offensive. Which is not to say that they aren't objectively offensive, if there is a valid way to determine such a thing.

MMPI was one of the earliest personality inventories to use ``empirical keying.'' Previously, personality inventories had used a ``logical keying'' approach. Logical keying created targeted questions intended to detect various personality characteristics, and personality scales were defined on the basis of expected answers to those questions.

In empirical keying, scales are defined by correlating responses on the inventory with other data (clinical data, professionals' evaluations, etc.; eventually one scale, a measure of masculinity-femininity, was simply correlated with sex).

[For example, in a simple linear approach, one could assign to each tested person (labeled i) a value yi by some external criterion (clinical evaluation if y represents psychosis, say) and tally the answers xij given by person i on inventory question j. A scale would be defined by assigning nonzero weights wj to an appropriate subset of inventory items, and the y-scale value of a particular person would be determined by taking the weighted sum over all items (i.e., by summing xijwj over j). The y-scale value is regarded as a prediction of externally assigned yi. The work of defining the scale, which is to say of assigning values to the weights wj, is typically done by a least-squares technique, treating the weights as variables and adjusting them so as to minimize the variance between externally assigned yi values and the y-scale values determined by the linear (or some more complicated) formula. There are various slightly different least squares techniques, and there are a number of detailed issues to be worried about, such as the validity and reliability of evaluators' assessments, the discreteness (as opposed to continuity) of the yi values, etc.]

Psychologists give many reasons why empirical keying is better than logical keying, but the fundamental reason is formal: the measure of an inventory's validity is the smallness of the residuals between inventory predictions and independent measures. Empirical keying simply minimizes the residual by explicit calculation rather than by intuition or estimation. Most claimed disadvantages (the empirically determined lower validity) of the logical approach are directly implied by this general fact. Deficiencies in question design are largely unavoidable; the MMPI was created by collecting about 1000 statements (which examinees are to agree or disagree with) from published sources, and selecting 504 that seemed ``independent.''

The Depression scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). The MMPI has four validity scales and ten clinical scales. The validity scales do not measure whether the inventory itself has validity, and that is considered a good thing. They are crude measures that attempt to detect whether the test-taker has been attentive and honest. The validity scales can effectively detect whether the test-taker was literate in the language that the questions are written in, stayed awake through all 567 questions on the current (MMPI-2) version of the inventory, and lied consistently. The clinical scales, in addition to depression, are hypochondriasis, hysteria, hypomania, psychopathic deviation, paranoia, psychasthenia, schizophrenia, social introversion, and masculinity/femininity.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2. The initialism and its expansion are trademarks owned by the University of Minnnesota. The result of seven years of R&D, published in 1989 to replace the old MMPI.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella. In Britain, vaccination against these childhood diseases used to be conducted in separate inoculations. In 2002, the government started paying only for the one-shot vaccine, but many parents, doubtful of its safety, were paying out-of-pocket for the individual inoculations.

Mandatory Manual Random Audits. To check that votes are being properly counted.

Mid-Michigan Chapter, Romance Writers of America. We also serve an RWA entry.

Multimission Modular Spacecraft.

Minimum Mean Square Error (MSE).

Molecular Manufacturing Shortcut Group. Organized within the National Space Society ``to promote nanotechnology as a path to the creation of a spacefaring civilization.''

Mariano Marcos State University. In Batac, in the Phillipine state of Ilocos Norte. Officially Don Mariano Marcos Memorial University, and sure enough they use the initialism DMMMSU, even on building names.


Micro Miniature (``micromin'') Transistor.

Multiple Mirror Telescope. Vide MMTO.

Multiple Mirror Telescope Observatory.

Memory Management Unit. I can't think of anything to say about this.

MilliMeter Wave.

MultiMegaWatt (space-based power source). See MMWSS.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. A publication of the US CDC.

MultiMegaWatt Steady State. The context of this terminology was SDI. It was anticipated that ``alert mode'' operation of military satellites might require anywhere from 100 kW to a few MW of power, for periods of up to a year. In alert mode, the satellite is monitoring hostile activity, and is prepared to switch to ``burst mode'' -- the mode of active war-fighting. Even the low-end guesstimate of power needed in alert mode exceeded any space-based electrical power system previously implemented by any US program. (A few systems, like SP-100, were under consideration for the task, but the research was largely abandoned after the Soviet Union collapsed, bringing an end to the Cold War and heralding a long era of universal peace, harmony, and loving kindness.)

In burst mode, power requirements were estimated to be in the range of tens to hundreds of megawatts. It was expected, however, that this would be required only for periods of minutes or an hour. This stretched technology far past anything then available. Approaches to the problem of providing such large bursts of energy included SMES and open-system chemical and nuclear power sources.

MultiMedia eXtensions. Improvements on pentium-family processors -- acceleration optimized for multimedia (audio and video) tasks.

Chemical element abbreviation for Manganese. Atomic number 25. In the first period of transition metals.

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


Minnesota. USPS abbreviation.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for Minnesota. USACityLink.com has a page with mostly city and town links for the state.

(Domain name code for) Mongolia. Possibly the most carnivorous nation on earth, just across China from probably the most vegetarian nations on earth.

(Historically, I suppose that Eskimos, Aleuts, and others occupying the iced-seafood ecological niche were probably even stricter carnivores.)

Member of the National Assembly. The Assemblée nationale du Québec is the equivalent of the provincial parliaments of the other Canadian provinces. They changed the name in 1969. It is no less provincial, despite the absence of that word. I guess they couldn't use the regular name because it's hard to find a satisfactory translation for such an irretrievably Anglo-Saxon word as parliament. It would offend the ear, or something.

Mehr News Agency. ``[E]stablished in Tehran in June 2003 to provide accurate and up-to-the-minute information to the public, with an emphasis on news about Iran and the rest of the Islamic world.'' Cf. IRNA.

Mobile Navigation Assistant.

MultiNational Corporation.

Mouvement National contre le Racisme. An organization founded in 1941 by members of the French resistance who made special efforts to save Jews. See also MRAP.

Motor Neurone Disease. The UK-standard name for ALS. It's the disease that Stephen Hawking famously suffers from.

Motor Neurone Disease Association.

MultiNational Enterprise. Colloquially ``multinationals.'' HMNE's and VMNE's (horizontal and vertical MNE's) are also distinguished.

When I googled for ``Minnesota Education Association,'' this was the first link up. It stands to reason, you would think, but it really stands for Missouri National Education Association. (An NEA affiliate, of course.)

Ah, dem Minisotens -- dey all-vays gots to do tings difrrent. (As witness DFL.) The local affiliate of the NEA and AFT is Education Minnesota.

A word for which one always needs a, um, something you can remember it by.

Here is a spelling mnemonic for mnemonics:
Mnemonics Neatly Eliminate Man's Only Nemesis -- Insufficient Cerebral Storage.

There's also a relevant movie, but I can't seem to remember the name.


What's that again? Oh, a classics journal.

Monday Night Football.

Cf. C.O.M.N.F.

Myopathy and external ophthalmoplegia; Neuropathy; Gastro-Intestinal (GI); Encephalopathy. Symptoms that define (and whose acronym names) a mitochondrial syndrome.


Master of [Arts in] Nonprofit Organizations. Offered by the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations (links at the NGO entry) and by the University of Georgia Institute for Nonprofit Organizations (here's their fee schedule). There are many masters programs (in Social Work and in Public Administration) that offer concentrations in nonprofit organizations. There are a few MNO programs with different names, such as Master of Science in Nonprofit Management (at the New School University and others). No need to take the word science there overly seriously. This page is a good place to start looking for such programs.

666-. In the US and Canada, the phone number 6 is labeled with the letters MNO, used for mnemonics.

Metal-(silicon) Nitride-(silicon) oxide-semiconductor [Pronounced ``EM-noss'' (i.e., in some accents: /'em nas/).]

Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionaria. Spanish: `Revolutionary Nationalist Movement,' a Bolivian political party.

Metro-North Railroad. Commuter trains between New York City (NYC) and its northern suburbs. Now part of the New York MTA.

Morning Nautical Twilight. The time from BMNT (sun 12 degrees below horizon) until dawn. Vide EENT.


Mean Number of Utterances. A variable that comes up in conversational analysis. Nu -- you want to know what it means? It means the mean value of nu -- nu!

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