(Click here for bottom)

Northern Mariana Islands. USPS abbreviation. I don't get it: NM, MI, MA, MN, and MS were taken, but what about ML? Anyway, don't try to convert a street address into a mailing address, firstly because the post office doesn't deliver, and secondly because there probably isn't a street address, which is why the post office doesn't deliver in the first place. You mail to a PO box.

The Northern Marianas used to be (1947-1978) a trust territory (assigned to US trusteeship by the UN), but since then it's been a US commonwealth (the CNMI, ``a self-governing commonwealth in political union with the United States''), and the trusteeship was formally dissolved in 1990. Since 1986 (on the eve of Guy Fawkes Day, FWIW in a largely Roman Catholic island), the residents have been US citizens.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to territorial government web sites for the Mariana Islands.

``Melrose Place.'' A soap opera. Here's the official Fox site.

MP, mp
Maximum Power. I want more, MORE!

MP, mp, m.p.
Melting Point. For pure substances, this is the same as the freezing point, q.v.

Member of Parliament. The plural (Members of Parliament) is abbreviated MP's, and not M'sP. This seems natural, but it indicates something of the nature of the acronym in language: productive suffixes can be applied to the acronym without information about its original expansion, so it exists independently. Cf. PO'ed.

MP, µP

MilePost. An efficient abbreviation for those digital traffic-warning signs.

Military Police.

Møller-Plesset. A perturbation method for computing correlation energy.

Magazine Publishers of America. ``[T]he industry association for consumer magazines. Established in 1919, the MPA represents more than 240 domestic publishing companies with approximately 1,400 titles, more than 80 international companies and more than 100 associate service providers. Staffed by magazine industry specialists, the MPA is headquartered in New York City, with an office of government affairs in Washington, DC.''

Cf. the distributors' organization IPDA and the sister organization ASME for editors.

Magazine Publishers of Australia. ``[T]he industry association for consumer magazines, representing Australia's leading magazine publishers.'' Aye, but what is ``leading,'' really?

``[T]en publishing companies with more than 200 titles.''


Cf. the distributors' organization IPDA and the sister organization ASME for editors.

Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

Marriage Protection Amendment. It's a special rider to your marriage contract. For just one dollar a month extra you get double indemnity in case of divorce, plus it pays for a loaner during separations. Let me just check on the details here a moment.... Whoa! It's something else altogether.

It's a proposed amendment to the US constitution, nominally intended to outlaw any kind of marriage other than the main sort traditional in the West, between one man and one woman at a time.

Massively Parallel Architecture (for computing). Reminds me of the problem of Buffon's needle.

Master of Public Administration.

Missouri Pharmacy Association. You might be forgiven for guessing it was the ``Missouri Pharmacists Association,'' or that it uses the initialism MPhA, as do the MPhA, the MPhA, the MPhA, and the MPhA. It probably has something to do with the Missouree/Missourah thing.

Motion Picture Association of America. Founded in 1922 as the MPPDA and renamed in 1945. Headed by President Eric Johnston (1945-1962), and then the legendary Jack Valenti -- forever or to the end of August 2004, whichever came first. His successor as president and CEO is Dan Glickman, former Democratic congressman for Kansas (the state, not the rock musicians), secretary of agriculture for President Clinton, and lobbyist for Disney.

Since the late 1960's, they have issued the ``voluntary'' classifications that have generally replaced actual censorship of movies in the US.

The original scheme was G, M, R, X - the first three letters stood for General, Mature, and Restricted. M was found to be confusing and was quickly renamed to GP (General audiences, Parental guidance suggested) and then to PG (Parental Guidance). PG-13 was added in the 1980's. The current system is described here.

Male-Pattern Baldness.

Marginal Propensity to Consume. The fraction of extra income that consumers spend, rather than save. More at the MPS entry.

MegaParseC (pc).

Midsouth Philosophy Conference.

MPOA Client.

Multimedia PC.

Medicare Premium Collection Center.

Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

Managed-Pressure Drilling.

Multiple Personality Disorder. We won't tell the Stammtisch webweenie that we put this entry in. It'll just be our secret.

Microwave Plasma Deposition Reactor.

Medical Practice Executive. See the professional organization: ACMPE.

I don't know what it stands for, but it seems to be an operating system for HP 3000-series computers. Certainly it's not

MultiProfessional Education. Interdisciplinary competence right out of the undergraduate education box.

Motion Picture Export Association of America.

Motion Picture Experts Group of the CCITT. Also designates the digital movie encoding defined by this group, files of which typically take a .mpg extension. Pronounced ``Emm-peg.'' Cf. JPEG.

The original MPEG standard (ISO/IEC IS 11172) publ. 8/93, concerned A/V delivered on compact discs, and was designed for 1.2 Mbps video bit rate and 250 kbps two-channel (stereo) audio.

Note that viewing occurs in real time, so decompression must be done on the fly. This means that, whereas the ultimate resolution of images extracted from JPEG's is limited only by file size, the resolution of MPEG video is also constrained by bit rates.

A proposed standard for MPEG that supports interlaced video, multiple-resolution scaling, and bit rates of 3-15 Mbps.

MPEG standard for very low bit rate images.

I don't know what this stands for either, but like MPE it seems to be an operating system for HP 3000-series computers. Presumably unix-like.


Mittheilungen aus der Sammlung der Papyrus Erzherzog Rainer. `Contributions to the Archduke Rainer Papyrus Collection.' Inaugurated in 1887, published in Vienna.

Notice the archaic spelling Mittheilung for Mitteilung. Der Erzherzog, translated archduke in this context, was the title of the Austrian crown prince. Theil was the earlier spelling of the root word Teil, back when aspirated and unaspirated initial tees were phonemically distinguished. I think it was a proclamation of the Kaiser that, taking cognizance of the general disappearance of the distinction, standardized the spelling by removing the aitch (with a few exceptions for foreign words like Theater).

MPER is the longest-running serial dedicated to papyrology. Cf. BGU.

Michigan Parkinson Foundation.

Common filename extension for MPEG files.

mpg, MPG
Miles per Gallon. Gives more headaches than MSG. Vide YMMV.

Motion Picture Guide. A hardcopy document. Acronym occurs in contexts that might suggest MPEG (.mpg)

MPG Algorithm
Marr-Poggio-Grinson algorithm. Not Marr-Poggio-Godot! A model of higher-animal visual analysis.

Master of Public Health (conferee) or Masters in Public Health (program).

Miles Per Hour. Faster than KPH by a factor of about 8/5, or exactly 1.609344. Last time I wanted to contest a speeding ticket, however, I found out that because under Indiana law, speeding is just a ``violation'' and does not even achieve misdemeanor status, the standard of proof is ``preponderance of the evidence.'' What this means quantitatively is that if the judge figures Mr. Officer is just slightly likelier to be right than Mr. DefendANT, say 50.00001% to 49.99999%, then you owe 100% of the speeding ticket plus court costs, which ain't nothing after you see your insurance bill.

One of my college roommates had gotten into a bad accident in high school and couldn't afford the car insurance rates it caused. So he got a motorcycle. Insurance companies promote safety, but premiums probably aren't the mechanism.

Maryland Pharmacists Association.

Massachusetts Pharmacists Association.

Minnesota Pharmacists Association.

Mississippi Pharmacists Association.

Max Planck Institut. The first one was in Berlin, and recruited Albert Einstein. Now there are a great bunch of them.

Message Passing Interface. A portable communication library, like PVM, used to implement distributed computation.

Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte. `Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.' In Berlin. The German word Wissenschaft is usually translated `science,' and is often (as here) used in that sense, but it really has the more general meaning of `scholarship.'

Member of Provincial Legislature. South African term for a member of a provincial body that functions like a parliament. Cf. MEC.

Minneapolis. Probably the one in Minnesota (MN).

Multi-Protocol Label Switching. Here's a tutorial slideshow on MPLS, by Peter Ashwood-Smith and Bilel N. Jamoussi of Nortel Networks, served at NANOG.

MultiPhoton Microscopy.

MultiProcessor Module.

Multifrequency Phase and Modulation Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence.

Metropolitan Planning Organization. The US government has a program to designate official MPO's. WILMAPCO is one such official MPO. MPO's are a highly seductive form of faux federalism; under the guise of seeking local advice on how to spend federal transportation dollars, the federal government leverages tax money that it returns to the states, setting the agenda and general goals. MPO's include local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives. In other words, they include enough competing interests that it will always be hard to oppose overall federal plans, and much easier to compete against other MPO's by committing state matching funds to implement federal plans. Freedom is a gilded cage.

The government serves a directory of MPO's that was current in October (October 1994). AMPO might have more up-to-date information.

Military Post Office. A post office associated with a military installation. Addresses in the US military take a form that is purposely shoehorned into the civilian (USPS) form. For example,
 PFC Gomer Pyle
 CMR 345, Box 12334
 APO AE 09250

Here APO is the ``city'' and AE is the ``state'' code. APO (Army Post Office) and FPO (Fleet Post Office) are the only two ``cities'' that should occur. For the obvious historical reasons (see USAAF), APO serves for army and air force installations. The only ``states'' are ``AA,'' ``AE,'' and ``AP.''

Ministère des Pêches et des Océans (du Canada). ``Pêches et Océans Canada.''

MultiProtocol Over ATM.

Massively Parallel Processor.

Maximum-Power Point.

An ideal voltage source drives as much current as its load wants to draw. This implies that it provides as much power (voltage × current) as desired. In your dreams. Real power supplies can only supply finite power, so they deviate from ideal voltage sources. The voltage at zero current is called the open-circuit voltage VOC (since zero current flows when the circuit is open). Need I add that since no power is supplied when no current is drawn, the maximum power from a real power supply is achieved at nonzero voltage? No, of course I needn't add that. I'm just bulking up the entry. I'm paid by the word, you know. The rate is pretty low -- zero, to be precise -- but I'm hoping that with enough words it'll add up to something.

Equivalently, one can view a power supply as a current source. The current supplied when the power-supply voltage is zero is called the short-circuit current ISC. Short-circuiting a power supply is usually unhealthy for something and possibly someone.

The current I supplied by a real power source is a smooth function I(V) of the voltage V. (It's a funny thing: smoothness assumptions are not approximations. Instead, nondifferentiable functions in science and engineering are approximations of more accurate functions that really are smooth. Even the best examples of nondifferentiable functions, the singularities and discontinuties called phase transitions in thermodyamics, are really the result of taking the limit of infinitely large thermodynamic systems. Large-but-finite systems are characterized by very rapidly varying thermodynamic functions that are experimentally indistinguishable from singular functions, as numbers like 10-24, in whatever macroscopic units, are indistinguishable from 0.)

Anyway, by assumption the power P = V × I(V) is a smooth function, and we maximize it by finding a point where the derivative w.r.t. V is zero. Applying the product rule for derivatives... (Just to interrupt here. For almost all readers, this discussion is either blindingly obvious and staggeringly slow, or mysterious and waaaaaaaay too fast. Sorry.) ... and doing a little rearranging, we find a condition

                I     dI
                - = - --
                V     dV

satisfied at the MPP. If the load is just a dumb resistance R, then according to Ohm's Law the left-hand side above is just R. The right-hand side is just the internal resistance r of the power supply at the MPP. (A very similar calculation leads to the famous rule that power to a loudspeaker is maximized when the output impedance of the final amplifier stage equals the impedance of the speaker.)

A standard figure-of-merit for power supplies is the fill factor F. This is simply the maximum power Pmax divided by the maximum conceivable power VOCISC. Equivalently:

                      P       V     I
                       max     MP    MP
                FF = ------ = --- × --- ,
                     V  I     V     I
                      OC SC    OC    SC

where VMP and IMP are the voltage and current at the MPP.

Member of [Canadian] Provincial Parliament (also MLA). In Quebec, this is called an MNA.

Message Processing Program.

Michigan Press Photographers Association.

Motion Picture Patents Company.

Multi-Purpose Peripheral Device.

Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. An organization headed throughout its existence under that name (1922-1945) by President Will H. Hays. Hays is famous for the Hays Code, a code of voluntary self-censorship by the movie industry. In 1945, Eric Johnston became president of the organization, and it assumed its current name, abbreviated MPAA.

Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library. See also P-H-M, SJCPL.

Minnesota Public Radio. I've never heard anyone use this abbreviation in speech, probably because, despite the exhausting length of ``Minnesota'' (use MN on envelopes, Minn. when the abbreviation is not part of an address), ``MPR'' sounds too much like ``NPR'' (National Public Radio). The only reason I put this entry here was to have a link to the homepage for A Prairie Home Companion.

Mouvement populaire de la révolution. The political party that Mobutu created in 1967, a little over a year after Mobutu's coup of November 24, 1965. This was not just made the sole legal party of the one-party state; even the option of sullen nonparticipation was foreclosed: MPR membership was obligatory for all Zairians (or maybe all adults, I'm not sure if there was any sort of lower age limit). Actually, they weren't ``Zairians'' until 1971, when Mobutu changed the country's name. That year he also held national ``elections.'' In the presidential, uh, contest, Mr. Mobutu ran unopposed. Voters supporting the incumbent could cast a green ballot paper, symbolizing ``progress.'' Voters opposed to the election of the incumbent could cast a red ballot paper, described as symbolizing ``chaos'' (or anyway, the consequences of a vote against). According to the government count, 157 red ballots were cast. Cf. ARV.

Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination.

Marginal Propensity to Save. The fraction of extra income that is saved.

An optimistic view of fiscal stimulus holds that, because of knock-on effects, putting an amount x in consumers' pockets generates a larger-than-x increase in overall spending. Explicitly, the initial spending x goes into the pockets of someone else, who spends a fraction MPC (marginal propensity to consume) of it, generating a further contribution xMPC to total consumption. That in its turn generates a further contribution x(MPC)2 in the next round, and so forth. It's obviously a geometric series, and an infinite one to some approximation, so the total increase in consumption is really

x( 1 + MPC + MPC2 + ...) = x/(1-MPC).

This enhancement is called the multiplier effect, and the factor 1/(1-MPC) is called the GDP multiplier. (See the relevant bit connected with Joseph Black for another economic factor.) On the reasoning that money not spent is saved, MPC+MPS=1, and the multiplier factor is 1/MPS.

There is a lot wrong with this analysis, of course. Just off the top of my head, here are a couple -- my downpayment on a complete entry:

  1. Initial spending: The original computation envision the initial fiscal stimulus as an increase in direct spending by the government. In practice, however, part (sometimes much) of the fiscal stimulus is in the form of transfers to private consumers. No matter how this fiscal stimulus is put into potential consumers' pockets, it isn't consumption until it leaves those pockets to make purchases. So the multiplier for this part is really MPC0/MPS, where is MPC0 is the consumers' marginal propensity to spend money received as ``fiscal stimulus'' (really as a tax credit, say). A simple assumption is that MPC0=MPC, which would yield a multiplier of MPC/(1-MPC), for which the maximum value is 1, when MPC=0.5. Hence, the multiplier is essentially always less than unity. There are, in fact, many arguments and some economics-``Nobel''-prize-winning empirical research that suggest that MPC0 will in fact be lower than MPC, further decreasing the effect of the stimulus.
  2. Marginal propensity to pay taxes and service overdue debt: It ain't zero. You can do this one yourself: MPC = 1 - MPS... - MPT - MPD. It lowers MPC and consequently the multiplier.

Medium-Powered Satellite. One kind of ``consumer satellite'' (the other is DBS, q.v.). Has lower power (50 W per channel) than DBS, but more channels.

Message { Processing | Passing } System. IF the teacher catches you, be ready to do hard time at the end of the school day.

Military Postal Service.

MPOA Server.

MultiProcessor Specification.

(US) Military Postal Service Agency. Information on this system has been delivered to the MPO entry.

Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share.

Microwave Power Transmission. I don't have much to say here, so you can either come back in a decade or two, when I'm sure to have added something, or go now to the rectenna or SPS entry.

MicroProcessor unit. (CPU on a single chip.)

Methane-Powered Vehicle.

Macintosh Programmer's Workbench.

Medical Physics World. Bulletin of the IOMP.

MPEG-1 Layer-3 Audio.

MPEG-1 Layer-4 Audio.

(Domain name code for) Martinique.

Magnetic Quantum Cellular Automata.

Memory Queue Handler.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement. A secular Pakistani political grouping of muhajirs (immigrants or refugees from India in 1947). Its leader, Altai Husain, lives in exile; the group itself has turned increasingly fascist in recent years.

Multiple Quantum Well. Refers to a heterostructure engineered with multiple conduction-band minima. Vide QW.

Multiple Quantum Wire. Vide QWR.

Macroporous Resin. A filtration material consisting of resin beads (macrospheres) with pores made by incorporating microspheres during manufacture.

Magnetic Resonance.

MagnetoResist{ance | ivity | ive }.

Materials Research. A productive prefix, as in MRC, MRS, and Penn State's MRI.

(Domain name code for) Mauritania. Apparently this is not the same place as Mauritius (.mu).
Miniature Railroading. A magazine published 1938-41. Not sure anyone ever used this abbreviation, but if you even momentarily thought that this might be what you sought an expansion for, you should check MR below.

MisteR. In British usage, and somewhat less commonly in Commonwealth usage, periods are now often omitted from a great many abbreviations that used to, and in the US still do, have them. This started out as an imitation of French practice that was advocated for English by Fowler. More later, okay?


Model Railroader. The most popular railroad modelers' magazine, published since 1934.

Hey Mark -- there's nothing in the early 2004 ToC's about BR.

(You can ignore that. It was just a note to the editor. It turned out to be the wrong MR anyway. It was Modern Railways. You have no idea of the magnitude of selfless research effort that goes into writing this apparently careless reference work!)

Not a good abbreviation for Model Railroading Magazine, published since 1979. Because of the namespace collision and priority, this is normally abbreviated MRG (by the magazine itself and by modelers generally).

Modem Ready. A standard light on external modems.

Modern Railways. A monthly. ``Modern Railways has been published since 1962 but its predecessor title, Trains Illustrated, first began publication in the 1940s. ...'' Covers all aspects of the business in Britain ``and abroad.''

Modified Richmond. MR magazines are a kind of subterranean concrete bunker used as ammo dumps for nuclear weapons.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography.

Malaysian Retailers Association.

Multiple Regression Analysis. Name applied to various statistical methods that attempt to isolate the effects of multiple independent variables on a single dependent variable.

Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (RAM). A chip that stores bits as magnetic material orientation, and reads out by detection of magnetoresistive effect.

Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle. Pronounced ``em-wrap.'' The specific ones to which this term is applied are manufactured for the US military by three companies, each with their own models. Their first deployments were in Iraq and Afghanistan.

MRAP, Mrap
Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l'Amitié entre les Peuples. See next entry for some of the history.

Mouvement contre le Racisme et l'Antisémitisme et pour la Paix. This organization was founded in 1949 (i.e., after the war), in part by former members of the MNCR. It changed its name to Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l'Amitié entre les Peuples in 1977.

Mr. Blackwell
Mr. B doesn't use a first name. He is known for his annual (since 1960) worst dressed list of women and transvestites. Mr. B is bowtie-positive. As a literary stylist, Mr. B is quite a ladies' fashion designer. Here are some vital statistics on his recycled word fashions:
  1. ``right dress in the wrong century''
    • 1976: Loretta Lynn, #8
    • 1978: Olivia Newton-John, #7
  2. Titanic
    • 1976: Lee Radziwill, #7 (designer went down with)
    • 1988: Shirley Temple Black, #6 (Good Ship Lollipop to)
    • 1997: Francis [sic?] Fisher, #9 (dresses should have gone down with) (rhymes with international panic)
    • 1998: Kate Winslet, #3 (dresses should have gone down with) (rhymes with fashion panic)
  3. neo-gothic
    • 1997: Madonna, #2 (Neo Gothic fright)
    • 1998: Marilyn Manson, #10 (neo-Gothic nightmare)
  4. She's foobar ... in heels!
    • 1992: Geena Davis, #2 (foobar = Big Bird)
    • 1997: Jennifer Tilly, #5 (foobar = El Niño)
    • 1998: Carmen Electra, #4 (foobar ... = fashion Viagra -) (note that ellipsis has been modernized to hyphen; exclamation mark remains)
  5. Madonna
  6. Bette Midler
    • 1973: #1
    • 1975: #4
    • 1978: #10
    • 1982: #4
    • 1991: eighth on the honors list of fabulous fashion independents
    • 1993: seventh on the honors list of fabulous fashion independents
    • 1996: again seventh on the honors list of fabulous fashion independents
  7. Clintons
    • Hillary Rodham:
      1993: first on the honors list of fabulous fashion independents 1995: fourth on the honors list of fabulous fashion independents 1998: sixth on the honors list of fabulous fashion independents; behind even Madeleine Albright
    • Chelsea:
      1996: fifth on the honors list of fabulous fashion independents; just beats out Whitney Houston. Time for a new dartboard.

Medium-Range Ballistic Missile. Range between 1000 and about 2500 km. You'd get a lot more invitations to summits and prestigious international parlays if just put a couple of hundred million into developing IRBM's. Everybody's got MRBM's now. Isn't it about time you moved up?

Materials Research Center.

Medical Research Council. One of the UK's seven research councils. The research councils report to the Office of Science and Technology within the Department of Trade and Industry.

Medical Research Council of Canada. Seems to be related to the CRM.

Medical Research Council of South Africa. (I can assure you that it is also referred to in writing as the ``South African Medical Research Council.'')

Mission Research Corporation.

Multinationals Resource Center.

Multiple-Relay Channel.

MultiReference Configuration Interaction. Something for quantum chemists to do with any extra cycles.

Multi-Rate Circuit Switching.

MilliaRD. An American billion. Abbreviation that occurs in EU statistical literature. Cf. Mio (million).

Mobile Remote Deposit Capture. A feature of many banking apps for smartphones that allows users to deposit checks by photographing them with the phone.

Mr. Ed
A television show about a talking horse, and the eponymous horse. There's a bit of context for the show at our AF (for Armed Forces) entry, and it's mentioned for context at our ST:TOS entry.

MagnetoResistive Element.

Meal Ready-to-Eat. Food for US troops on the move. Also expanded ``Meals Rejected by the Enemy,'' and during the Ethiopian famine ``Meals Rejected by Ethiopians.''

Mission Readiness Exercise. Military usage. Practive makes perfect, if the enemy cooperates.

Morally Reprehensible Elite. US Army nickname for Haitian upper class, according to Thomas Friedman op-ed (p. A21) on Wed, 20 DEC 95 NYT.

Malawi Rural Finance Company.

Model RailroadinG Magazine. Published since 1979. The G serves to distinguish it from the Model Railroader, which has seniority (MR).

Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet. Pronounced ``Mister Go.'' MRGO is a shipping channel that was dug in the 1960's as a shortcut to New Orleans and a way to boost development of reclaimed swampland east of the city. Many scientists and activists have claimed that MRGO boosted the flooding and destruction of that reclaimed swampland, and low-lying eastern parts of the city.

MagnetoResistive Head. (Magnetic recording and sensing element.)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Imaging using NMR. Invented by Dr. Raymond Damadian and patented in 1974. Fashionable medical imaging technology that can image soft tissue with great sensitivity to histology. The data processing involved is quite nontrivial. Originally called NMR imaging, its current name presumably reflects ignorant public resistance to anything with ``nookyuler'' in it. Vide NMR. Then again, there's also Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) for it to be confused with.

Noninvasive, but getting inside the magnet makes many people claustrophobic.

In the 7 March 1994 New Yorker, Alfred Kazin wrote

My cancer is so real to a lot of people that they feel free to probe me front and behind, stick me, prick me, haul me up and down, insert my claustrophobic head in the drum of one scan after another, in a process splendidly named Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Management Recruiters International.

Materials Research (MR) Institute at Penn State. There are probably some others with the same name.

Medical Records Institute. I admire them for sticking with the initialism. In the future, I plan to say things like ``I guess you must mean magnetic resonance imaging, rather than Medical Records Institute,'' just to be a pain in the ass.

A drum of India that can be played in Scrabble®. (All three major Scrabble dictionaries agree and accept a plural mridangas. I never realized how common the -s plural inflection is.)

Materials Research Instrument Facility. Part of CAPEM at UB.

Multi-Resolution Model.

Medical Research Modernization Committee. By ``modernization'' they mean the elimination of animal models.

Messenger RNA (vide RNA). A segment of RNA that transcribes genes coded in DNA.

Manufacturing Requirements Planning.

Maintenance, Repair, and Operations,

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. A NASA vehicle that weighs one ton fully fuelled. It's the first NASA mission to Mars since the twin rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) landed in January 2004. Launched on an Atlas 5 rocket on August 12, 2005, MRO will orbit Mars at an average altitude of 300 kilometers. Observations should begin in November 2006.

It has the largest telescopic camera ever sent to another planet, and plans are for it to orbit Mars for at least four years. Data from MRO will help in planning where to land two robotic subsequent explorers: the Phoenix Mars Scout, to be launched in 2007, which will search for organic chemicals, and the Mars Science Laboratory to be launched 2009.

Manufacturing Resource Planning.

Material Resource Planning.

Missus. Used as a courtesy title for married women and widows. (Back when people were more careful about these things, before the women's rights movement, and especially before mass direct mail solicitations, a further convention dictated the use of a woman's first name if she was widowed, and her husband's given name if she was not.)

Originally an abbreviation of mistress, but now the latter word has some offensive denotations, so a slurred version (missis, missus) of the original word is used. Nevertheless, the word missus continues to be regarded by many as slang, and while other courtesy titles (Mister, Miss, Reverend) are occasionally written out, Mrs. is much less frequently written out, and rarely as Missus. A lot of people wonder what the arr (r) in Mrs. stands for.

The word madam has suffered similar depredations. However, the abbreviation Mmes. of its plural is used in lieu of an accepted plural for Mrs.

Even though Drs. is the plural of Dr., Mrs. is not the plural of Mr.

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.

Materials Research Society.

Market Research Society of Australia. Now the AMSRS.

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Sometimes pronounced ``merza.'' When MRSA was first identified in the 1960's, it was transmitted primarily in hospitals, sort of like child-bed fever, and affected only those with weakened immune systems. More recently at least two new strains have appeared that are being transmitted outside hospitals and being contracted by otherwise healthy individuals. The familiar old group of strains is now distinguished as HA-MRSA (hospital-acquired MRSA) and the new group of strains is called CA-MRSA (community-acquired). See also VRSA. Here's a summary from APUA.

Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

Mass Rail Transit. The Singapore subway.

Management System(s).

ms., MS

Mass Spectro { metry | scopy }. The first term is more accurate, the second term ( -scopy) is more common. [The initialism seems to be used principally in the abbreviation of compounds, like MS/MS.]

An introduction is served by Virginia Tech.

MS, M.S.
Master of Science.

Mean Square. Often used in ANOVA to designate the variance (i.e., mean value of the square of the deviation from the mean; a/k/a the square of the standard deviation). Possibly the reason it's a more common usage in ANOVA is that the heavy numerical burden long ago put computers into the middle of the discussion, when they didn't speak Greek characters.

Meta Signaling.


MS, M$
MicroSoft, Inc. (The first abbreviation is commonly used in product names.)

Here's what you need to understand.

Middle School. Name for two- or three-year school (grades 7-8 or 6-8) preceding high school (grades 9-12). In other systems, grades 7-12 are divided into junior high school (7-9) and senior high (10-12). This is the province of the states, by settled interpretation of the tenth amendment to the US constitution.

During the 1990's, one of the more widespread education fads was the idea that children of middle school age have special in-between needs that are not well served by either elementary school or high school. It gives you some idea of how dim the education poobahs are, that this crude and essentially empty thought was seen as a cogent reason for converting junior high-senior high school systems into middle school-high school systems.

Military Science. Cf. Military Intelligence.

ms, msec

Mississippi. USPS abbreviation only. Literate abbreviation is Miss.

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


M & S
Modeling and Simulation. Here's a glossary thereof.

MonoStable (multivibrator).

(Domain name code for) Montserrat.

Mössbauer Spectroscopy.

Multiple Sclerosis. The mouseketeer Annette Funicello has it and tells about living with it in her autobiography. Find out MS it from the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Inc.

Master of Science in Accountacy. Also...

Master of Science in Administration. A graduate business degree. This expansion is more common than the preceding one. One possible interpretation is that administration is more of a science than accountancy. I'm okay widdat.

Medical Savings Account. Sort of like a Christmas savings plan, but with tax benefits. An Archer MSA is also known as Medicare Advantage MSA.

Methane Sulfonic Acid.

Metropolitan Statistical Area. Defined by the US Census Bureau after every census (i.e., every ten years). For US commercial purposes, RMA and MSA are the two standard definitions of urban regions. Read about it in this PDF file.

Microscopy Society of America.

Midwest Surgical Association. It's self-described as an organization ``of surgeons who have established reputations as practitioners, authors, teachers, and/or original investigators. The objective of this society is to exemplify and promote the highest standards of surgical practice, especially among young surgeons in the Midwest. The annual meeting is held in August each year in different locations throughout the Midwest and consists of a stimulating scientific program of the highest quality and a social program planned with children and families in mind.''

Minnesota Software Association. This glossary is beginning to resemble page two of USA Today (the McPaper). An affiliate (MSA is) of ITTA.

(UN) Mission Subsistence Allowance.

Management Service Access Point.

MultiStation Access Unit. Also MAU.

Main Support Battalion.

Malawi Savings Bank. Founded in 1994, in the process of privatizing since 2003 or before. The latest I read was than in mid-2005, in Phase II of a three-phase project, the government owned 100% of the bank.

MSB Ltd - Managing the Service Business.

Marshall School of Business. Part of USC. Cf. MSB.

Massive Sulphide Body. A geological formation; think lead ore and ores for other metals.

Master of Science in Business. I imagine that the MSBA and MSA are totally unrelated. Don't forget the MSB-IS.

Maxisegar Sdn Bhd.

McCombs School of Business. Part of the University of Texas at Austin. The school itself is known as McCombs; ``MSB'' seems to occur primarily in compounds like ``MSB [email] account.'' Cf. MSB.

Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business. Part of Georgetown University. Cf. MSB.

William G. McGowan School of Business. Part of King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Cf. MSB.

Meinders School of Business. Part of the OCU. Cf. MSB.

Robert G. Merrick School of Business. Part of the University of Baltimore (UB). Cf. MSB.

Minnesota School of Business. Cf. MSB. Teamed with Globe College as MSBGC.

Mona School of Business. In Kingston, Jamaica. Cf. MSB.

Monetary Stabilization Bond. MSB's of various descriptions, in terms up to a couple of years, are issued by the Bank of Korea in order to control inflation generated by a weak-won policy. Christopher Lingle's analysis (over my head) is at TCS.

Maintaining an artificially low exchange rate against major foreign currencies is a common strategy of export-led economies. However, maintaining a weak currency feeds domestic inflation by raising the prices of imported goods as well as the local-currency value of export earnings. (``Raising'' them relative to what they would be absent aggressive quasi-mercantilist government interventions.) The monetary approach to this problem is to soak up the excess liquidity with MSB's. (Another strategy is to keep a well-employed population from spending its earnings is to promote domestic investment in government savings bonds, as the US did to control inflation during WWII.)

Some other countries in the region with growth strategies similar to Korea's are currently (2005) using similar instruments: in Malaysia the BNM issues Bank Negara bills, and Bank Indonesia offers Sertifikat Bank Indonesia. From time to time, other countries have issued such bonds, but South Korea is apparently the only country that currently calls them by the generic name of MSB's. (No, I don't know the Korean for that.) Since we're talking won and inflation, you want to make sure you're familiar with the material at the WIN entry.

Moore School of Business. Founded in 1919. Part of the University of South Carolina. Better write that out -- a USC on the other coast also has an MSB.

Most Significant Bit.

Motorola Standard Building. Occurs in ``MSB communications site package.''

MSB Communications.

Master of Science in Business Administration. Also called the MSB.

MSB Communications
A political consulting and telephone campaigning firm based in Salem, Oregon. The MSB of the name appears to be constructed from the final initials of co-owners Kristina McCall, Marilyn Shannon (former state senator from Brooks), and Mike Basinger.

Minnesota School of Business and Globe College. Construed singular (e.g. ``Minnesota School of Business and Globe College provides the job training and skills necessary to be successful...'').

Master of Science in Business and Information Science. The University of Kansas offers one.

Mid-Size Bus Manufacturers Association. An NTEA group formed in 1993 ``to improve professionalism, safety and product quality in the mid-size bus industry. Mid-size buses are defined as passenger-carrying motor coaches, built on a cutaway or rail chassis or on monocoque construction, under 40' in length and having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) class of VII or less.''

MagnetoStatic Backward Volume Wave[s].

Management Systems Council (of the American Trucking Associations (ATA)).

Men who Sex Chicks. They work in the poultry industry. What were you thinking? I was thinking the same thing, after adding a new MSM entry below.

Mobile Switching Center.

Motorcycle Safety Center. Vide MSF below.

Mediaeval Studies Doctorate. Also ``Doctorate in Mediaeval Studies.'' You know how really cruel, gruesome torture is often described as ``medieval''? That is the sense in which the word is used in this expansion. If you are a sensitive person, or if you think you are not a sensitive person but then again you haven't visited hell yet, then you should pause here and consider just how badly you want to know the significance of the M.S.D. They say that LSD can sometimes drive you crazy, but...

Very well, then, but don't say you weren't warned.

Usually, ``doctorate'' implies some sort of Ph.D.. That's not its sense in M.S.D. At PIMS, which administers the M.S.D., a Ph.D. is just a prerequisite for candidacy to a different degree, the LMS. In contrast, the MSD isn't something you apply or ask for. Instead, according to this detailed confession, a ``Licentiate candidate who has shown unusual promise as a research scholar may be invited to enter the MSD programme, which consists of at least two full years of study and research beyond the Licence.'' [Emphasis added.]

As Bud Abbott would have put it, ``a p-p-, a p-p- -- a post-post-doctoral doctorate!'' When they get the news, the disbelieving ``invitees'' fall to their knees and scream ``NOOOOoooo!!!'' as tears of maniacal joy stream down their contorted faces and they are dragged away.

Incidentally, rumors that the letters ess and em in MSD stand for sadism and masochism are obviously untrue. Given the order in which they appear, they would have to stand for masochism first, and then sadism.

Most Significant Digit. I'd have to go with the index or middle finger on this one, on the right hand, anyway. For binary representation, MSD is MSB.

Modified Signed Digit (number encoding).

Maritime Self-Defense Force. The Japanese Navy. Cf. ASDF.

MicroSoft Developer Network.

MicroSoft DOS, ``MS-DOS,'' ``MS-DOG,'' ``Maybe SomeDay an Operating System.'' Slightly different from PC-DOS, which Microsoft developed for and sold to IBM for its PC. The difference enabled it to run on other machines based on Intel chips (clones) without crashing due to intellectual-property problems. If Kildall had thought of this, maybe ... (lament FOLDOC's CP/M entry).

Material Safety Data Sheets.

NOAA serves a list of links to publicly accessible MSDS information, including the above (whose URL's, if they change, will more likely be up-to-date at NOAA than here). The whole thing is mirrored in Japan. A short link list is at Michigan State U.

Master of Science in Engineering.

Materials Science and Engineering.

Mean Square[d] Error. This has nothing to do with the other things designated by the same acronym. An accident of letters! Mere homonyms!

Mobile Subscriber Equipment.

Montréal Stock Exchange.

Master Scenario Events List. Part of the civilian war-gaming for emergencies.

Médecins Sans Frontières. Increasingly referred to by the English `Doctors Without Borders' (DWB).

``Wine Stewards Without Borders'' is the caption of a New Yorker cartoon (p. 75, issue of Feb. 18 & 25, 2002; cartoonist so famous his signature need not be legible). Attired for an upscale fine dining experience, the WSWB pours a drink for the reclining wino on a streetcorner.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation. A US nonprofit founded in March 1973 and based in based in Irvine, CA, MSF is sponsored by the US manufacturers and distributors of BMW Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory, and Yamaha motorcycles.

This entry used to be a lot more fun back in the old days. MSF didn't have its own web site, so I just went weaving back and forth on the web -- surfing without a helmet. Unofficial, unauthorized information providers were the wind in my bandana, most of them long since highsided into the /dev/null, alas. Here are a few sedate, speed-limit-obeying survivors: Minnesota's Motorcycle Safety Center (MSC), Oregon's Motorcycle Safety Program, and a page of links from what used to be a Motorcycle Rider Education Program.

Marshall Space Flight Center.

MagnetoStatic Forward Volume Wave[s].

Madison Square Garden.


MonoSodium Glutamate. It's typically made from chumetz, so it's not kosher l'Pesach. If this does not compute, then it's very unlikely to be as big of a headache for you as Chinese take-out.

MSG was first isolated by Japanese scientists, and Japan today has the world's highest per capita consumption of MSG. MSG was introduced to China around the beginning of the twentieth century, and China is today the world's largest producer and consumer of MSG, producing 650,000 tons a year (as of 1999). Most of that goes to domestic human consumption, an estimated 1.3 lb. per capita per annum. It's also used in medicines and in a salty hard candy that is a popular export to West Africa. There are also proposals to put it in livestock feed to fatten animals more quickly. The Chinese name for MSG is wei jing, `flavor essence,' essentially equivalent to the Japanese name umami.

MSG first became widely known in the US through its use in Chinese restaurants. Chinese restaurant syndrome is the reaction of sensitive people to high doses of MSG. A wide variety of side effects have been reported from MSG, including fainting and headaches. (Hair loss is one feared in China.) Animal and human studies suggest that sensitivity to or inadequate metabolization of MSG results from vitamin B6 deficiency and can be reversed with B6 supplementation.

MSG is well known to be a major ingredient of flavor enhancers like Accent®. However, it is often also present in hydrolyzed vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein, gelatin, yeast extracts, calcium and sodium caseinate, vegetable broth, whey, smoke flavoring, malt extracts, and several other food components. When MSG is only introduced indirectly as a component of such ingredients, the ingredients list of a food will not list MSG.

In 1987 the WHO placed MSG on its list of safest ingredients, with items like salt and vinegar. In 1995 an FDA report concluded that ``MSG and related substances are safe food ingredients for most people when eaten at the customary level.'' It also concluded, however, that large quantities can produce transient symptoms, particularly in asthmatics.

In addition to its main flavor effect, MSG also tastes salty, since salt taste is caused by sodium ions. However, MSG does not have a high degree of ionization in water (or saliva), so the degree of saltiness per sodium ion is low. This has led to problems with cooks who season with MSG by saltiness. That is, using MSG as weak salt, they end up using too much MSG as MSG.


Multi-pillar Surrounding-Gate Transistor (SGT).

Medium-Scale Integration. (Chips containing 10-100 transistors; early sixties microelectronic technology.) (That's the nineteen sixties.)

Mega PSI. I suppose you could expand that as Millions of pounds per Square Inch, but another more common abbreviation, KSI, established a presumptive pattern of metric prefixes. 1 MSI = 6.895 GPa.

Metal-Semiconductor Interface.


Mixed-Signal Integrated Circuit.

Microsoft Internet Explorer. A graphical web browser. Back in 1996-7, about 50% of visitors to SBF used MSIE; most of the rest use Netscape Navigator. As of 2002, MSIE is at well over 90%. Microsoft's practice of strong-arming software developers and PC retailers into closing Netscape out of market share, and eventual integration of the MS's IE browser with its Windows Explorer (the file-manipulation application) were at the center of the antitrust litigation against Microsoft from 1999 or so. Early on in that story, Netscape (along with Time-Warner, and some other media conglomerates comprising formerly independent companies) was swallowed up by AOL.

MicroSoft Intermediate Language. Usually called IL, when context is adequate. In the Microsoft.NET Framework (usually ``.NET Framework'') or maybe it's on the ``.NET Platform,'' programming languages are compiled into IL. At run time, the .NET JIT compiler compiles the IL to produce an executable application in memory.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Martha Stewart Living. A magazine. (Not this kind.) This MS character -- does she have qualifications or anything?

Mean Sea Level. (Altitudes are quoted ``350 m MSL'' to indicate altitude above the computed MSL. Cf. ``AGL.'')

Mediaeval Studies Licence. Also LMS. A license to study mediaevals, evidently. You can get an official one from PIMS.

(A ``licence'' is an even more general term than ``baccalaureate,'' and the latter has been used to refer to a range of academic levels of accomplishment (sometimes in the same school at the same time). In Latin America and Iberia, the licenciatura is now some kind of undergraduate degree, although the term has also been used for an honors secondary degree that was regarded as a first undergraduate degree. At PIMS it's a post-doctoral program. Go figure.)

Mirrored Server Link.

Mixed Signal and Logic Product.

Multiple Sleep Latency Test.

MainStream [news]Media. In principle, this term needn't be pejorative, but in practice it and its initialism are. One reason might be that those satisfied with the performance of the MSM think of them simply as ``the media.''

Man Seeking Man. I think that ``men seeking men'' may be MSM's. Acronyms can make a hash of any language's morphology. I don't think one needs an acronym for ``men seeking man.'' It sounds a touch ominous, like a posse after Clyde Barrow. Why would men seek men (otherwise)? If you have to ask, the next entry may provide enlightenment.

Man who has Sex with Men. Or maybe the category Men who have Sex with Men. The initialism is used in medicine, and in public health and social services. Look, once you know the expansion, you can write the entry yourself. If you (think the terms medicine and public health overlap too much, just get out your crayon and edit.) MSM is a useful term because it makes no reference to sexual preference. It thus includes men who are not regarded as gay (like all those institutionalized men inteviewed by Kinsey) or who do not regard themselves as gay or who resist self-identifying as ``gay'' or ``homosexual.'' There's a bit of movie dialogue relevant to this at the entry for Wow, who's the mother? For other thoughts, cf. see this WSW entry.

Metal-Semiconductor-Metal. May characterize metal electrode patterns such as interdigitated fingers on semiconductor (often deposited by metal lift-off process, q.v.).

Movimiento Sin Miedo. Spanish: `Fearless Movement,' a Bolivian political party of the left, founded in June 1999.

Metal-Semiconductor-Metal PhotoDetectors (PD's). These are vertical structures -- i.e., not interdigitated like some MSM's.

Tandem Mass Spectrometry.

Medicare Summary Notice.

MicroSoft Network.

Monitoring cell Sequence Number.

Maritime Security Operation[s].

Mees Solar Observatory in Hawaii.

Multiple Service Operator.

Member of Scottish Parliament. Interesting word, ``member.''

Tory MSP Jamie McGrigor, twice-married and a father of five, was at a parliamentary dinner in Edinburgh with some Pfizer executives when discussion turned to the needs of isolated sheep farmers. One problem they face, according to the Scottish Daily Record & Sunday Mail, is ``find[ing] themselves snowed-in for weeks at a time in deepest winter.'' This apparently suggested an opportunity to address another problem: the declining number of Highlands shepherds. (According to the trashy but aptly named tabloid The People, ``the population of the Highlands is set to fall below 200,000 by 2017.'') Pfizer manufactures Viagra, and McGrigor suggested that the company might distribute it free to shepherds, to help raise the sagging population. (That's how he should have phrased it, but his exact words were not reliably reported.) McGrigor, 54, is a stockbroker as well as a ``hill [i.e. sheep] farmer.'' He said later that ``[i]t was a bit of a joke but it is not a bad idea. I am still waiting to hear from Pfizer.'' Pfizer already distributes freebies like jackets to promote its animal husbandry products, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, such as sheep dip. (Mmmm-mmm! Goes great with blue pills!) A spokesman for Pfizer said later that they were ``actively considering Jamie's proposition. Anything we can do to help valued customers such as Scotland's sheep farmers is worth considering.''

This news was reported on June 27, 2004. The very next day, there was a load of stories, including this one in The Scotsman, about khat. Khat is an African plant which is chewed for its hallucinogenic and stimulant effects. At the time, khat was illegal in the US and Canada, and in most of the EU but not the UK, where it is popular in the Somali community.

The active ingredient in khat is cathinone, which is broken down into various phenylpropanolamines (PPA's). PPA's are a common class of stimulants, sold OTC and by prescription in various diet and asthma medications. As you can imagine, that's not why I mention them here in the entry for Scottish Parliament members. The news reported on June 28, 2004, was on findings reported that day in Berlin, at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. It turns out that certain PPA's from cathinone help sperm cells through the final stage of maturation, when they develop the ability to fertilize.

The research was reported by Professor Lynn Fraser (who gave the talk) and Dr. Susan Adeoya-Osiguwa, of King's College London. Uh, yeah, there's more, but I'm too squeamish to include it.

Merit Systems Protection Board.

Million Samples Per Second. A unit used in DSP and data acquisition.

Multicultural Student Programs & Services. There's one at the University of Notre Dame, and it's based in the Intercultural Center, with an office in the La Fortune Student Center.

That's right -- apparently concentric centers.

On Tuesday, at a McDonald's on I-80 in Pennsylvania, I listened attentively as the girl behind the counter mixed up orders and chatted with her coworkers. I made a big problem for her: my order cost $4.47, I gave her a ten and, as she efficiently keyed in $10 on the cash register, I gave her seven cents. Now she was in a bind since, to perform the modified change calculation, she might have to do something complicated like cancel the order. Thrown back on her own resources, she DID THE MATH IN HER HEAD! This involved a carry operation, I believe. Then she asked her scurrying coworkers at large if $5.60 was correct, explaining as she did the charge and the cash tendered. I'm afraid that rather dulled the shine on her immediately previous achievement. Later, as my food item was being assembled, she chatted on about how she was going to take Geometry again, because she enjoyed it so much the first time. I was relatively quiet.

Main Street Rag. ``Main Street Rag Publishing Company has been publishing our print magazine: Main Street Rag, uninterrupted since 1996. Among its features are poetry, short fiction, photography and graphic images, essays, interviews, reviews, cartoons and commentary.''

Marine Sciences Research Center at the SUNY-SB.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. In principle, any manufactured product sold retail might have an MSRP, but in practice the term and the initialism are most commonly used in the context of new private passenger vehicle sales. This term probably originated as a compression of phrases on the pattern of ``retail price ... suggested by the manufacturer'' that occur in the Automobile Information Disclosure Act of 1958 (AIDA). That law required all new cars to bear window stickers, removable only by the purchaser, stating various sorts of information. (The sticker is called the Monroney sticker, after the author of the AIDA. And here you thought that was Verdi.) Inter alii, the sticker must list the MSRP of the base (``stripped'') vehicle, of options included in the particular vehicle, the amount the manufacturer charged the dealer for transportation from final point of assembly, and total MSRP (``full sticker price''), is the sum of those.

Some or all of the dollar amounts are meaningless in principle, particularly since certain combinations of options are rare or nonexistent. In practice, it may be conceded that the sticker does provide some useful information to the prospective buyer, including what options are included, and now the EPA mileage estimates (YMMV). The total sticker price provides a point of reference. In particular, no one pays the full sticker price except on high-demand/short-supply vehicles.

Once it became legally required, the MSRP was added to the palette of artists (car salesmen and car salespersons) who create attractive images for car-buyers. To inflate the price, they can add ``preparation charges,'' ``advertising charges'' (I kid you not), extra transportation charges. Once upon a time, dealers were often in the business of installing post-manufacture options, and charges for these things could be inflated. The price inflation serves two main purposes. One is for the dealer to quote you a low-ball price exclusive of the extras, and then add them to bring the price up after getting past ``yes.'' The other is to appear to offer a better deal by offering to discount the inflated price or offering better financing or a bigger trade-in allowance.

Car dealers have long had the reputation of being the sleaziest of all retailers, and I don't know anyone who thinks that reputation is undeserved. Maybe I'll ask around. Anyway, many people I know have delayed or avoided buying a new car (or buying a used car from a lot rather than from an owner) simply because dealing with dealers is a degrading and stressful experience. In theory, this might create a niche for honest dealers, and perhaps they exist, but the main market manifestations of the disgust have been work-arounds: information services of various sorts and buying or bidding services. If one knows more or less precisely what kind of car one wants, the latter services make it possible to reach a final purchase price without having to interact directly with a dealer.

Car information services take many forms. For particular used cars, there's CARFAX Vehicle History Reports. In general, Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book are good places to start for both used and new cars. There are many others, all doing something like what the AIDA was originally intended to do. You know how to google, don't you?

For new cars, the main piece of information that has changed the dynamics of car-buying is the dealer invoice price. Back around 1990, when this information began to be widely available, new-car dealers protested the unfairness of having their costs revealed, when other retailers (the kind that aren't nearly so sleazy) can mark up with impunity. After all, they have fixed costs! Eventually they adjusted. I don't know to what extent it was part of the adjustment, and to what extent it was a pre-existing arrangement, but one thing that makes the invoice price less informative than it seems is the ``holdback.'' Typically on cars sold in the US there is a 3% holdback that the manufacturer pays the dealer once the vehicle is sold. (About 3% of the MSRP, or a slightly larger percentage of dealer invoice.) This is why it is easy for dealers to advertise ``BELOW INVOICE! BELOW DEALER INVOICE!!'' (That's before various other charges, of course, to say nothing of government-imposed costs -- DMV registration, sales tax, and especially whatever.)

In addition to the holdback, from time to time manufacturers may offer ``dealer incentives'' of, say, a few hundred dollars per vehicle. Sometimes manufacturers offer incentives directly to purchasers.

mss., MSS

Mobile Satellite Service.

MS San E
Master of Science in SANitary Engineering.

Minimal Supersymmetric extension of the Standard Model.

Modeling and Simulation Resource Repository. Something about it here, I suppose. See also Modeling and Simulation (M & S) entry.

Mathematics, Science, and Technology.

MicroSystem[s] Technology.

Mountain Standard Time. GMT - 7 hrs. You can get a reading of the time by telnetting to ``india.colorado.edu 13'' (You must specify port 13).

Multi-Stage Tapped (ring oscillator).

Multi-Source Thermal Evaporation.

Master of Studies. Oxford usage.

Mystery Science Theater 3000. (Site crashes Netscape. Visit this FAQ or the IMDB entry instead.)

Michigan State University.

Mississippi State University. Located in Starkville, in Oktibbeha County of Mississippi and has its own place on the net.

Moscow State University. Not in Idaho. Nor in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, or Wisconsin.

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Meta-Signaling Virtual Channel.

Mount Saint Vincent University. Founded as Mount St. Vincent Academy by the Sisters of Charity in 1872, it has undergone a sequence of minor name changes, the last one in 1966. In 1967 the school admitted male students for the first time, but as of 2004, the ratio of female to male students was still about 4:1. The school is commonly referred to as ``The Mount.'' See cheating.

MagnetoStatic Wave[s] (microwave devices).

Master (s degree in) Social Work.

Midwest Division of the Society for Women In Philosophy.

Maximum Sustainable Yield.

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