Maltese is spoken on Malta, Gozo, and Comino. It can be honestly said that every person living on the two other islands of the Maltese Archipelago, Cominotto and Filfla, is fluent in at least four languages besides Maltese. This is tremendously useful in principle, but it's only true because there are no persons living on these islands. Okay, bad joke. When I think of a better I'll replace it. Start boning up on your Dashiell Hammett.
The Maltese language is very interesting -- a Semitic language, it began as the Arabic brought by Moslem conquerors in 870. Maltese has had an increasing Romance component since the Christian reconquest by Normans from Sicily in 1091. The Normans sure were active in those years. From 1530 to 1798, Malta was the stronghold of the former crusading order, the Knights Hospitaller of St. John (who used Italian and Latin). The French took it over in 1798 as a sideshow on the way to Egypt. (Napoleon asked for safe harbor, then turned his guns on the port.) The French were not popular; they provoked the island's first known popular uprising, which the English assisted. The French hung on long enough to say hello and goodbye, or more precisely bongu and bonswa, with meaning and sound of bonjour and bonsoir. English rule started in 1800.
Many web pages claim that the Semitic component in Maltese dates back to the Phoenicians. This is plausible, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence of it and I haven't seen a published scholarly source that deigns to so much as mention the possibility. Certainly Malta was settled prehistorically, and was for many centuries controlled by the Phoenicians and later the Carthaginians. However, to cite a parallel situation, the survivals of Carthaginian in Spain are negligible, apart from a few place names like Barcelona, Cartagena, and España. My guess is that a direct connection of the Maltese language with the Phoenicians is fanciful, and motivated by the greater prestige of a more ancient provenance.
In the broad circumstances of its history, Maltese is similar to English. Here is how Joseph Aquilina expressed it in the preface of his The Structure of Maltese: A Study in Mixed Grammar and Vocabulary (1959):
Maltese is a separate language resulting from the interaction and fusion of North African Arabic, but with its own dialect features outside the North African group, and Siculo-Italian, covering two different cultural strata. The Arabic element in Maltese historically very often corresponds to the Anglo-Saxon in English, while the Romance loans correspond to the Norman-French element. As in English, the primitive linguistic stratum is confined mainly to the description of the obvious facts of nature and man's reactions to them while the abstract and progressive vocabulary of the intelligentsia belongs to later times.
Another similarity is that the underlying grammar is that of the ``primitive stratum'' -- Semitic, in this case; Romance words have been assimilated into the Semitic morphology. A further and most melancholy similarity is that the mixed vocabulary has made the spelling a disaster area, reflecting etymology about as much as pronunciation. (Even Yiddish, composed mostly of Middle High German with only about 10% admixture of Hebrew vocabulary and even less Slavic, uses the Hebrew character set in two very different ways for words with different etymologies. Medieval Hebrew and Arabic were both more successful in absorbing large amounts of Greek.) One familiar bit of etymological spelling is the aitch, which is silent as in Italian -- with one significant exception.
Like Serbian, Maltese is written with a character set that contains an aitch-bar (an aitch with a bar through the middle of the riser). (Note that Serbian is written with a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet, though the aitch-bar and J characters appear to be borrowed from the Roman; Maltese is written with a variant of the Roman character set.) The aitch-bar represents an unvoiced pharyngeal fricative. That's like the unvoiced velar fricative /x/ (the sound of ch in Scottish loch and German Bach), but further back in the throat, if you can imagine. In fact, traces of the velar sound still survived in the dialect of the island of Gozo as recently as the 1950's, but there was apparently no phonemic distinction. Both the velar and pharyngeal aitches occur in Arabic, but in Maltese cognates, both sounds are represented by the aitch-bar. At the end of a word, an ordinary h is pronounced like an aitch-bar.
As in Chinese Romanization and as in various Iberian languages (more or less systematically), the x is usually pronounced ``sh.'' [It is sometimes pronounced as ``zh,'' the voiced sibilant in the English word measure. Voicing in Maltese assimilates regressively: if an x is followed by a voiced consonant, it becomes voiced also.] Different quantities (long and short duration) of the general sound represented by x are distinguished phonemically. The difference is comparable to the allophonic difference in German between final sch (long, as in Arsch, Stammtisch, etc.) and initial sch (short, as in schleichen, Schwarze Haus). In Maltese, the longer sound is indicated by a double x.
That Maltese has double-exes might be the best-known fact about the language, on account of the events of 1972. In that year, Standard Oil of New Jersey introduced a new trade name for its products. It had been selling its gasoline under at least three different trade names: Esso, Enco, and (only in Ohio) Humble. It would have liked to have used Esso everywhere, but ever since the original Standard Oil had been broken up in probably the landmark trust-busting action of the US government, there were a number of competing Standard Oil companies that could prevent it from adopting that name. A secretive and expensive computer-assisted search for a new name that could be used everywhere and which meant nothing anywhere eventually yielded ``Exxon.'' [Pronounceability may not have been a major consideration. The word Exxon is unpronounceable in the many languages (including all the Polynesian languages, I believe) that only allow open syllables. The best one can say for this glaring nonuniversality is that among the languages that are almost entirely constructed of open syllables, syllabic n and syllables closed by n are among the more common exceptions to the open-syllable rule. E.g., Italian (esp. the Venice dialect) and Japanese. And that's to say nothing of X itself.]
One thing simplifying the allegedly strenuous search was the claimed fact that Maltese was the only language with a double x. Given that only a few hundred languages are represented by Roman alphabets, it is at least conceivable that the claim is true. On the other hand, confirming that hypothesis would probably have cost Standard Oil of New Jersey more than the few millions it devoted to the name search. Let's agree that double-exes are very probably quite unusual, though it shouldn't be hard to construct a silly compound noun with xx in German. If the term ``box xylophone'' is ever borrowed into German from English, it ought to become ``Boxxylophon,'' although current orthography rules allow a hyphen.
On May 1, 2004, the EU's membership officially increased from 15 to 25, and the number of its official languages increased from 11 to 20. All official documents are supposed to be made available in all the official languages. The costs of translation were estimated to be about 800 million euros before the 2004 expansion. Each new language was expected to require hiring 60 new translators (I think that figure is for Brussels alone). Not every regional and minority language gets to be an official language of the EU, but Maltese got the nod. At the time of accession, no EU translators happened to know Maltese.
Malta had never had a school for translators. It wasn't necessary: Malta's other official language is English, which is as widely spoken as the local one. According to Jan Andersen, the chief translator in Brussels, in 2003 there was a test for translators from Malta. Out of 16 candidates, four made it to the final round, but all failed. I wonder who wrote the exam. Malta is racing to catch up, but Malta isn't the only country with these problems, and as of 2006 most EU documents were only available in a limited number of languages (fewer than 20).
You know, it stands to reason: if your native language is something common like English or French, or a similar language like Dutch or Romansch that makes it easy to learn one of the common languages as a second language, then you're more likely to study something unusual as a second or third language. (Or at least, less likely to find practicality a persuasive reason to study something more common.) The weirder your first language, the more attraction there will be in learning something widely-spoken as a second language. Still, it's surprising they didn't get a Maltese-English interpreter in the first batch. I'd put it up to a tiny country having a tiny applicant pool.
Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.
The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for Montana. USACityLink.com has a page with a couple of city and county links for the state.
qmail. sendmail actually made the cover of the New York Times (1998.03.17, give or take a day) when a new version came out with greatly enhanced anti-Spam features.
The same name was formerly used in Boston (see MBTA) and in Melbourne, Australia (come back and see Met later, after we install an entry). In Los Angeles it could also be used for LACMTA.
In Spanish, the English term mountain bike has been borrowed as two words. In German, the term has been borrowed and naturalized by removal of the space (and by capitalization, of course): Mountainbike. I shouldn't be, but I'm amused by the regular construct Mountainbikefest.
Many people complain that they get lower gas mileage with oxygenated fuel. I have no idea of the magnitude or sign of the effect. Well, I do have a clue. A few Iowa State Fairs ago, I drove from Indiana to Colorado and back. In some of the states I drove through, you actually had the option of buying gasoline with or without extra oxygenation. In most places, ordinary fuel was priced higher, though in the Denver area the MTBE'ed fuel was more expensive. Both of these trends seem consistent with MTBE lowering gas mileage.
MTBE has also been used as an octane enhancer, but that effect is factored into the octane rating at the pump, so it's not as if you get a higher effective octane rating with oxygenated fuel of the same stated octane level.
Two-stroke engines exhaust a large fraction of their fuel unburned (as much as a quarter in the cheapest and oldest models), and are the common power plant for jet skis and outboard motors. Research shows that this increases the MTBE levels in recreation lakes at the time of major holidays and for a few days after. Jet-ski-industry-funded ``research'' disagrees.
The problem is not restricted to recreation lakes. A small ether like MTBE is polar and dissolves in water, unlike gasoline and most of the other things in gasoline. (The solubility is part of the reason that MTBE levels in lakes fall.) Also unlike a lot of other stuff in gasoline, MTBE is not broken down by bacteria. As a result, when gasoline is spilled, MTBE is the one item that efficiently diffuses into the ground water.
MTBE gives water a turpentine taste. That's a known effect. MTBE might be a carcinogen. That's a guess -- I'm not sure that there is any evidence for this. It's clearly not an especially good thing to drink, although whether the quantities getting into the water supply are having significant health effects is not known. In the summer of 1999, after weighing the known benefits of decreased air pollution against the unknown dangers of water contamination, the EPA reversed its earlier position and now wants MTBE banned in gasoline.
It is a statistical curiosity that for a Bernoulli or Poisson process, these two times are the same. To be precise, consider a sequence of times . . . t-2, t-1, t0, t1, t2, . . . . We suppose that these times were determined by a Bernoulli process. Briefly, we assume that for any tiny time interval dt, the probability that a failure occurs during the interval is r × dt.
Thus, if we start a timer from any given moment (whether or not a failure has just occurred and been repaired or not is immaterial: the Bernoulli process has no memory), then the probability that the timer can run for a finite time interval t with no failure occurring is exp(-rt), giving a mean time before failure of 1/r. The counter-intuitive nature of the Bernoulli process lies in the constancy of this number: If, at time zero, the mean time before failure is 1/r, and we happen to experience a time interval T during which no failure occurs, then we intuitively expect the mean time to the next failure to decrease, perhaps to 1/r - T. The fact that the process is probabilistic implies that T will sometimes exceed 1/r, so that hypothetical formula, which would predict a negative expectation of a positive quantity, is clearly wrong. The source of the problem lies in our quotidian experience of probability. If the failure is one of human health, then we might take the ``mean time to failure'' as the life expectancy. If the life expectancy at 30 is 45, then we surely do not expect that the life expectancy at 75 still to be 45. We expect more like zero, which is closer to the truth. In general, though, life expectancy decreases less rapidly than one year per year. In some age ranges it can stay nearly constant or actually increase, as a cohort passes through a dangerous period (first year of birth) or through a filter interval that takes the unhealthy (the seventies is such a period) in an inhomogeneous population. Gamblers reckon with intuition that they may be ``overdue'' for luck to go their way.
Returning to the general problem formulated in a sequence of times, it is clear that if we number the sequence of failures so that t0 is the last failure before the time zero, and t1 is the first failure after the time zero, then the mean time before failure from time zero is <t1> = 1/r, and similarly the mean time elapsed since the last failure before time zero is -<t0> = 1/r. The mean time between failures #0 and #1 is < t1 - t0 >. Why can't we just say that < t1 - t0 > = < t1 > - < t0 > = 1/r - (-1/r) = 2/r ? It seems that the mean time between failures is really 2/r, twice the mean time to failure (measured from any arbitrarily determined moment).
The problem is that the numbering of the failure-time sequence introduces a correlation between different times; we enter the domain of order statistics. To see the problem, we first ignore the condition established to assign numbers to the failures. There is a probability distribution function for t1 - t0 : We write the probability that t1 - t0 falls in the interval t < t1 - t0 < t + dt as P10(t) dt. Well bully for you, you caught me with my pants down. I haven't finished writing the entry yet. Gimme a break.
Apparently Nemesis prefers Off-Broadway companies to stay off Broadway. The very first production at the Biltmore, Richard Greenberg's new play ``The Violet Hour,'' suffered two actress defections, one rather late. Laura Benanti left during September rehearsals because of ``artistic differences,'' according to MTC. (Benanti was replaced by Dagmara Dominczyk.) Jasmine Guy quit during an intermission of a preview performance, less than two weeks before the November 6 opening (her understudy, Robin Miles, took over the role).
On December 3, 2003, during rehearsals for Neil Simon's ``Rose's Dilemma,'' Mary Tyler Moore (``Rose'') was seen storming out the backstage door minutes before the 2 p.m. curtain. This was apparently her reaction to a letter from Neil Simon demanding that she learn her lines. Everyone involved made a public expression of deep and undying love and admiration for everyone else involved, or at least refrained from getting personally nasty. Patricia Hodges, Moore's understudy, was named the new lead. The play previewed for theater critics as scheduled on December 12, ahead of the official opening on December 18.
There were conflicting reports regarding the precise circumstances of MTM's departure. One uncredited report published by the Press Association (and slightly garbled by the Sunday Telegraph) claimed that Simon's letter, hand-delivered by his wife, actress Elaine Joyce, was an ultimatum ``apparently demanding that she learn her lines `or get out of my play'.'' [Emphasis added by me. I mean, you don't expect italics in wire stories, do you?] Her publicist Mara Buxbaum said in a statement that her feelings were badly hurt and that ``Mary has been working tirelessly for months but feels pushed out of this production.'' [My italics again.] Simon made no public comment until the 12th, when he implied that his letter had been sent the day before MTM stormed out, and claimed that he had threatened that he would leave the play if she didn't learn her lines. Simon's description of the letter's contents seems to better explain Buxbaum's ``feels pushed out'' wording than does the original apparently inferential report of the letter's contents.
Although MTM's best-known work has been on television, which has a smaller burden of memorization, she has done ``legit'' theater. Her most recent stage performance in New York City was in the 1988 Broadway production of A.R. Gurney's ``Sweet Sue.'' She also acted in a 1966 musical version of ``Breakfast at Tiffany's,'' (1966), which closed in previews, and in ``Whose Life Is It, Anyway?'' (1980), which ran for 96 performances. Her appearance in ``Rose's Dilemma,'' Neil Simon's 33rd play, would have marked her Off-Broadway debut.
Neil Simon, like many other playwrights, is known to make extensive changes in plays that he feels are not working. Anonymous informants all seem to agree that the play wasn't getting the laughs he was aiming for, and that he had been making substantial revisions. You know, Simon isn't director for the play. If he hadn't been making substantial revisions, his threat to leave would have been rather empty. Before MTM left, the premiere had been pushed back from an originally scheduled date of December 9.
``Rose's Dilemma'' was first staged in February 2003 at the Geffen Playhouse in LA. Its title there was ``Rose and Walsh,'' starring Jane Alexander and Len Cariou in the title roles. In a Variety review, Phil Gallo wrote that it ``could well see extended runs anywhere it's staged --- even Broadway.'' (In the move to New York, almost everyone was replaced. David Esbjornson, the play's director at the Geffen, was replaced by Lynne Meadow, artistic director at MTC. One of the four actors stayed with the production -- David Aaron Baker, in the role of Clancy, a young writer.)
``Rose'' is a play à clef based on the relationship of Dashiell Hammett (Walsh) and Lillian Hellman (Rose). Walsh, dead five years but visible to Rose and the audience, wants to give up the ghost -- leave his old haunts -- in two weeks. He reveals to Rose the location of his unfinished manuscript (``Mexican Standoff'') that needs a final chapter of 40 pages, and which will assure her financial security. If you know the styles of Hammett and Hellman, you realize that Rose can as easily finish this work as Mother Goose can finish the report of a chemical analysis. The ghost of Walsh recommends that that last chapter be ghosted by Clancy, author of a book Walsh found in his robe pocket. The basic problem with the original play, and probably the problem in New York, was getting the premise established. The initial going was slow.
There are elements in this play of Neil Simon's ``Jake's Women.'' Jake is a writer who has imaginary conversations with seven women in his life -- just a little bit like the Eagles' Glenn Frey singing ``Take It Easy.'' (One of Jake's imaginary interlocutors is his first wife -- who died young, like Simon's.)
Just for laughs, let's refocus on the head term. It contains the word Manhattan. One of the main reasons that people have been saying that theatre is dying in New York is that it costs a fortune to put on a show. That's probably a major reason why it really is dying. Hence, the only shows that get a chance on Broadway are perceived sure things. If costs could be reduced, more people might attend (the market for entertainment can't be too weird) and there would be more variety in plays, appealing to a broader potential audience. Why not New Jersey? Hey -- the Meadowlands sports complex worked out. (See NJSEA.)
Many people working in the field are very fussy about distinguishing between HIV infection and AIDS, at least in public. People who are HIV-positive but asymptomatic are PLHIV, in a currently favored acronym. But in practice, when speaking of transmission, I notice people tend not to speak of ``passing the measles virus.''
Not only is this intellectual terrain mined with shibboleths, but the term MTCP itself seems squeamishly to avoid naming what it is one wants to prevent. [At three removes! One wants to prevent transmission (1) of an agent (2) that causes a disease (3).] It suggests that ``mother-to-child'' itself might be a thing one wants to prevent. There's good news on this: an alternative term, the acronym PMTCT (Prevention of MTCT (below), is gaining in popularity.
In the field of device testing for electromigration failure, the acronym also refers to a specific technique described by F. M. d'Heurle and P. S. Ho: ``Electromigration in thin films,'' in Thin Films -- Interdiffusion and Reactions (eds. J. M. Poate, K. N. Tu and J. W. Mayer) p. 250 (New York: Wiley, 1978).
Definitely see the MTTF entry.
Status as of October 2004: there have been a few demonstration successes against mortars and rockets. The most recent tests were against ``mortar rounds and mortar rounds fired in a salvo'' on August 24. Test conditions have never been very stringent and there are many doubts about the system's effectiveness in a real-world ``test.'' The system is considered bulky and not really very ``M.'' Needless to say, it's very expensive. Deployment is not expected before 2009.
Oh, all right. THEL stands for Tactical High-Energy Laser. In the context of missile systems, tactical is almost a synonym of mobile, and THEL seems to be used interchangeably with MTHEL and M-THEL.
H. H. Berger and S. K. Wiedmann: ``Merged-Transistor Logic (MTL) -- A Low-Cost Bipolar Logic Concept,'' IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, vol. SC-7, pp. 340-346 (October 1972).
K. Hart and A. Slob: ``Integrated Injection Logic: A New Approach to LSI,'' IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, vol. SC-7, pp. 346-346 (October 1972).
Cf. ETO, PTO. At least WWII didn't have any serious casualties in the STOW.
The Science and Engineering of Nuclear Power (Cambridge, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1947), edited by Clark Goodman, was written with the purpose of ``present[ing] the fundamentals of chain-reacting systems in terms that are understandable to the non-specialist, particularly to engineers interested in the industrial applications of nuclear energy. Progress in this field requires the coordinated effort of many branches of science and engineering, particularly during the next several years. Gradually, the responsibility will devolve to a new breed of specialists, already dubbed nuclear engineers.'' (Quoted text from Clark's preface.) Chapter 10, ``Heat Transfer,'' is by E.R. Gilliland, a rare engineer among scientists. He even provides a short table of conversions between engineering units (you know: good ol' Btu, feet, °F) and, uh, other units. He comments drily (p. 323):
In removing heat from a reactor, there are a number of considerations, but to an engineer, the chief one appears to be that the physicist prefers that he keep his equipment out of the reactor. Apparently, nearly any material used in the reactor is objectionable. If a gas like helium is used, while not objectionable from its nuclear properties, it is not a good moderator and hence increases the size of the reactor. Many of the liquids require structural materials for the passages through which they flow that are objectionable in thermal reactors.
The usual formula for computing how long a task will take is to start with the amount of time it should take, multiply by two, and switch to the next, larger unit of time measure. (Forget fortnights. If it should take a week it'll take two months. Relax, it was ever thus.)
Not that anyone is taking this concept very seriously, but median time would be a lot more meaningful than mean time. After all, we know there are repairs which will never occur (this is too often intentional), for which a time is problematical to define at best, and infinite at worst. Thus, the Mean TTR is correspondingly problematical or infinite, while the median is unaffected by odd stuff at the edges of the probability distribution. Now you understand why the simple arithmetical average is called ``mean.'' [Actually, the real etymology is interesting too: mean, like French moyen meant `common, middle' and followed the downward path of the word vulgar in common usage. See villein entry for similar story.]
See related comments at MTF.
/usr/ucb/mail), the X-windows application
xmh, and flora like
You can also use the MUA built into Netscape. Beware, however: if you're using Unix, you're quite possibly allowing many of your emails to accumulate in the system mail spooler, rather than saving them onto your own disk space (in mailx, you do this by PREserving the file rather than explicitly saving it into a mail folder or allowing it to be saved into a default mailbox like ~/mbox). Netscape, oriented as it is to a personal computer community that retrieves mail before it can read it (typically using POP) will download your possibly bloated mailbox on the system mail spool (i.e., the mailserver's disk space, /var/spool/ say) before you know what hit you. I wouldn't want to be around to see what happens if you go over quota or exceed disk space as Netscape tries to download. On the bright side, Netscape doesn't use some dog-Am proprietary format to store mails in mailboxes, so after you run this experiment, assuming you have the disk space to survive it, you can go back to using an honest-to-God Unix application to read your mail, including the stuff hidden in .netscape/ . Just a word to the wise.
Housman's ``Fragment'' parodies English translations of Ancient Greek that are awkward and worse, and also parodies a Greek predilection for metaphor. Housman's phrase was suggested by some words in the Agamemnon of Aeschylus (at 494f; speech that different editors have assigned to either Clytemnestra or the chorus): kasis / pêlou xunouros dipsia konis (`the dust, dry sister of the mire,' in Lattimore's translation). In Housman's parody, mud's sister is clearly also dried mud:
Chorus: Beneath a shiny, or a rainy Zeus?
Alcmaeon: Mud's sister, not himself, adorns my shoes.
Of course, out of context it obviously makes a wonderful dysphemism-as-over-the-top-euphemism for merde.
There are many online copies of Housman's parody, though they probably represent very few original transcriptions of the published work. (Besides the copy linked above, here are three URL's that have stood the test of time: 1, 2, and 3.) The online versions I've seen all give it the title ``Fragment of a Greek Tragedy,'' but the Encyclopedia Britannica is careful (or careless -- I'm not sure which, yet) to give the title with an initial article ``A.'' That is the usual style for new fragments as published in philology journals, and would be appropriate for a parody. The version (from Trinity Magazine, see below) published in Housman's Collected Poems and Selected Prose (Penguin, 1988) uses the shorter title, but that does not entirely settle the question. Please don your dustmask now.
Housman (1859-1936) wrote ``Fragment'' in 1883, and it appeared June 8 of that year in the Bromsgrovian, a publication of King Edward the Sixth Grammar School, Bromsgrove. [That was where he got his secondary education. He also retreated to Bromsgrove in 1882 after an initially promising undergraduate career at St. John's College (Oxford) ended disappointingly. By December 1882 he was working at the Patent Office in London.] Housman reentered academia as a professor of Latin at University College, London, in 1892; the circumstances have been widely retailed. ``Fragment'' was republished by the University College Gazette in 1897, the year after Housman published A Shropshire Lad at his own expense. (Sales of the latter were initially slow, but they picked up by the time of the Boer War, and during WWI it became enormously popular). Cornhill Magazine republished ``Fragment'' in April 1901. Housman moved to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1911, and Trinity Magazine republished ``Fragment'' in February 1921. Housman remained at Trinity until his death in 1936, but for some reason Yale Review republished the parody in 1928. It went on being republished.
Housman made a considerable revisions for the second (Cornhill) and third (Trinity) publications. In 1927, when Wilbur Cross asked permission for the Yale Review to republish ``Fragment,'' Housman (referring to it by the no-``A'' version of the title) turned down the offer of an honorarium but asked to have a chance to correct the proofs. He also mentioned that he didn't have a copy, but suggested that Cross could find it in Cornhill. When YR did publish it, ``recent changes'' by the author were vaguely mentioned. Interestingly, or perhaps not, apart from a couple of misprints the YR version coincided with the third (Trinity) version, but with the punctuation of the second (Cornhill). (This is by report. If and when I have a look at the Cornhill and, conceivably, the Bromsgrovian, I'll be able to pronounce on the title.)
FYI, the word vitamin is pronounced with a short i in England.
In case you had a deprived childhood: after Noah opened the ark (or was it the arc?) he told the animals to go forth and multiply. One pair of snakes protested, ``We're adders -- we can't multiply!'' Nevertheless, some time later they came back with a bunch of little snakelets or adderlets or 7483's or whatever they're called, and Noah asked how they did it. ``We used logs.''
Oh! I just knew I'd told that one before. See the etymologically interesting adder entry.
Someone else who really couldn't multiply was Samuel Pepys. He and his dear young wife never had children. The very first entry of his diary mentions that his wife had given him ``hopes of her being with child,'' hopes disappointed the previous day. Hmm. Okay, that was pretty limp. Coming after the snake pun, it was the pits. I can do better than that if I try.
There is no national science just as there is no national multiplication table; what is national is no longer science.
(Quoted in Mysli o nauke by V. P. Ponomarev (Kishinev, 1973), p. 121.)
Why is it appropriate, you ask? Because they restrict students' political speech in ways that are not merely immoral but absurdly so. Read about it in this George F. Will column of October 25, 2007. It's about a student who was removed from his unexalted position as a student senator in the ASUM because he spent a penny per voter more than was allowed during the campaign. (If the link dies, let me know and I'll summarize more here.)
The initialism common on the university's own pages is the inferior and ambiguous UM. Maybe we could compromise on the filled pause, UMM?
The etymology of mung is uncertain. The cluster of meanings represented by French manger, Italian mangiare, English munch and mange represents one obvious possibility, but would imply a ``soft gee'' and a spelling like munge. An alternative that gives the right consonant is derivation from a past-tense form of the verb ming (now mingle).
By 1960 at MIT, the word had become a backronym, with imputed expansion Mash Until No Good. Later, the XARA MUNG Until No Good became popular.
The information that is both in the mung entry of the Jargon File (version 4.4.7) and in this entry is from the former. The OED2 does not give any hackish senses, but its examples suggest that the old word mung, in senses related to mingle, had not been an entirely obscure word in the US as the computer era began.
Multidisciplinary is very fashionable in government research funding these days, and they're getting increasingly serious about it: they don't want a bunch of Lone Rangers who only meet at funding reviews.
The diminutive Latin form musculus is also the basis of words for muscle, mussel, shoulder, and thigh in various Romance and Germanic languages. Some Romance languages also preserve the root for an animal name (French mouche) and some don't. Spanish uses the word ratón. This is puzzling because it looks like an augmentative form of rata, `rat.' I would presume that the -on in ratón is related to the identical French and Occitan diminutive ending (cf. aileron and lumignon), but Corominas y Pascual prefer more complicated explanations.
The name (Museo del Objeto del Objeto) is somewhat clever, but it'd've been cleverer had it been accurate. One motivation for choosing the name is that it makes an apparent backronym -- MODO. I haven't written that entry yet.
Other mushroom entries: BMS, CANDU, kombucha.
Okay, here's another musical reference, of a sort similar to those described in the Day Tripper entry: at the end of the Traffic's ``Dear Mr. Fantasy'' (at the end of a standard studio version that appears in some album) the guitars start doing some power-chord riffs from the Moody Blues song ``Ride My See-Saw.''
Doubtless there are whole albumsful of snorkeling songs. The above are just the ones that have come to mind in the last few years.
If you plan to listen to any of these using electronic sound reproduction equipment, wait until you're back on dry land. Water conducts (come back some day and read the future torpedo entry), and it's hard to hum along in noseplugs and mouthpiece, to say nothing of a shroud.
The relevance of water saltiness, although Sheik does not sing the details, is that dissolved salt makes water denser, and thus makes a swimmer more buoyant. Counterweights are thus necessary for snorkeling in it, and the song is appropriately downbeat. (Salt water is also a better conductor of electricity.) I remember that my tenth-grade English teacher (the second one, after my dad had me removed from Honors English), Mr. O_________, criticized me for using an extended simile involving water waves, crushing youthful literary aspirations I didn't even have, but it didn't involve punning, and anyway he (Mr. O) also insisted that it was Aristotle and not Democritus or anyone else who came up with the idea of atoms, which shows how much he knew, but I don't recall his ever criticizing my extended run-on sentences, but then again maybe that stands to reason. Whatever. Getting back to the subject: when I finish the item on burping the alphabet, I'll link to it from here.
Celebration of tornadoes is a perennial theme in popular music. Lionel Richie's 1986 hit, ``Dancing On The Ceiling,'' also asks listeners to clap their hands. What goes around comes around, pretty fast. But the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit, ``Can't Hold Us'' -- the one which features Ray Dalton singing ``So we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us'' -- celebrates earthquakes and not tornadoes. That's obviously the reason why the official video has a seaplane and a camel. (A plane is a safe place to be during an earthquake, but landing strips may be damaged. And being trapped in the rubble of a collapsed tent is fairly survivable.)
A ``neat little word'' coined by Albert Ellis, according to Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. (See F.O.O.L.) Apparently Ellis and Dyer agree that musterbation is a bad thing. That's strange -- I thought it was supposed to be natural and ... oh sorry, that was the other word.
Okay, more precisely, so far as I can determine from Dyer's book (at pp. 148-9), musterbation is the inappropriate acceptance of obligations that others somehow impose. This is not Dyer's wording, because his book would have made a short pamphlet if he had preferred clear sentences to unclear paragraphs. It also makes explicit, in the word inappropriate, the presence of at least one unexamined notion. Acceptance of societal norms is not always inappropriate or self-abnegating. And musterbation isn't a ``little'' word, either.
Some other German words ending in -ut that have a close cognate in English are Blut, Flut, gut, and Hut. The cognates are blood, flood, good, and hood, although in the last case a better translation is usually `hat.'
German Mut is cognate with English mood. The semantic relationship is clearer if you consider that mood has meanings similar to spirit, and that you may en-courage someone by saying ``have some spirit!'' Or, failing that, ``have some spirits!'' Which reminds me, you need to reread this CCC entry.
Getting back to the hood/Hut thing. Let me briefly clarify that -hood in English words like brotherhood and neighborhood is unrelated; it's cognate with the German noun-forming suffix -heit (and later also -keit). The hat Hut is more interesting. With a change to feminine gender it becomes an elevated term with meanings related to `protection.' But back to the concrete Hut, indicated by the masculine gender: I won't tell you what a Panamahut is, but Strohhut and Zylinderhut are `straw hat' and `top hat.' A Fingerhut is a...
(Giving you some space to guess here.) (Come on, play along!) (Time!)`thimble.' And of course, Handschuh is `glove.' It's not just clothing; the Germans seem to have a certain attitude about bodily extremities. The word Bein means `leg.' It's cognate with the English word bone. (Actually, this isn't very innovative. There's evidence that the word always had a narrower sense of `shank,' which was lost in English.)
I should probably say a little about what multiplexing is. The action involves multiple distinct signals that must be bandwidth-limited. For example, because the human ear is insensitive to continuous signals at pitches above 20 kHz, it is possible to apply a low-pass filter (filter out all frequencies above fLP) to any sound and produce a signal that is not audibly distinguishable from the original (to some degree, any recording or transducing device will filter anyway). If this signal is modulated by a constant frequency fM, then the resulting signal occupies the frequency range (fM-fLP,fM+fLP). Multiple signals can be modulated by different modulating frequencies (typically integer multiples of some fM). So long as each of the modulating frequencies differs by more than 2fLP, the modulated signals occupy non-overlapping frequency regions. These signals can be added together and transmitted together on a channel with a broader bandwidth, and the original signals reconstructed by demodulating the component signals.
Eventually, I'll probably add some words to make clear what I mean by ``modulate,'' but for now I want to mention that in practice, telephones economize bandwidth by using a tight low-pass filter -- chopping frequencies higher than 3000 or 5000 Hz, say. This allows the company to multiplex more signals into one channel, but it also means that the sounds ess and eff are virtually indistinguishable over the phone. (It's actually a band-pass filter: very low frequencies are also filtered out. For obvious reasons they also filter out any signal at the frequency of ordinary power supply -- 50 or 60 Hz, in most places -- even more strongly than they would be filtered out just from being on the fall-off of the band-pass.)
There's an old Russian saying that what is healthy to a Russian is deadly to a German. The form with the nationalities switched is also common, but less so.
Maldives is the smallest member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The UNDP has a human development index used to rank countries on the basis of things like life expectancy, education, and income. In 1996, Maldives's six partners in SAARC were ranked from 89 (Sri Lanka) up (or maybe down: Pakistan: 134, India: 135 -- was this close match cooked?, Bangladesh: 143, Nepal: 151, and Bhutan, 158). Wasn't Maldives even ranked? No matter. In Havana on September 6, 1979, Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom addressed the sixth conference of the Nonaligned Movement (NAM) in these words:
Ours is a small country in relation to the majority of the countries that are represented here. We may lack numbers; we may lack in material wealth; we may lack in technological advancement; in fact, we may lack in many of the material criteria by which progress is measured in the present-day world.
He also said other stuff. Speaking as he did is called ``setting yourself up'' or ``asking for it.''
The name Mecklenburg basically means `great fortress.' Burg means `fortress,' though it seems to get conflated with berg (`mountain'). The adjective part of the name comes from the Old High German root michil, `big,' as in the old English expression ``mickle and pickle'' (big and small). Hence also the extant expression, ``Many a pickle makes a mickle.'' There seem to have been cognates of mickle in most of the Germanic languages, and English is, typically, unusual in having lost the original form. Maybe it lost twice. The High German form, borrowed northward, seems to come from an ancient borrowing through Gothic of the Greek megalo-, lengthened stem form of mégas. The root is widely represented in Indo-European languages, including that outlier Hittite. The Latin reflex is magnus. So what English lost once or twice it gained back at least a couple of times more.
The site is intended, among other things, to foster a kind of virtual community by providing free web space for those volunteering to build a relevant group of pages.
You know, there are certain questions people planning to marry don't often ask themselves, like:
Charpak spent his career at the École Supérieure de Physique et Chimie and at CERN. When I was running the data analysis programs (punch cards on CDC 6400/6600's, sonny boy, with 36-bit words just to be slightly exotic) at Fermilab, I noticed that they were written in Fortran with comments in French. I don't think I ever gave much thought to why, though practically everyone in our group was American (the one exception I can recall was British).
These research groups are very long-lived, so the program might have been coded locally by a Francophone who had moved on before I arrived, but it would have been more efficient just to cadge someone else's code. At Fermilab I also met members of a group from UC Santa Something that decided to save a few bucks on computers by buying Data General machines (Novas?) instead of the PDP-11's that were almost universal at Fermilab experimental sites. The result was that they lost more in extra coding to adapt the widely shared local software than they gained in hardware cost savings.
Before the general interest magazine Midwest was launched, the publishers did some market research, asking among other things which states people in their target region considered to be a part of the midwest. It was reported that Iowa (IA) was the only state that appeared on everyone's list. I think this may have had something to do with the surveying technique. [In 1996, the Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems was held at Iowa State.] Be all that as it may, I don't believe that even that idiot survey found very many who regarded California as part of the Midwest. The 1997 MWSCAS was in California. Then again, the 1995 symposium was held in southeastern Brazil.
Oh wait, here's something: The Eleventh Pacific Rim Roman Literature Seminar was held by the Department of Classics, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, 18-22 June 1997. And they went back to South Africa in 2003! (University of Stellenbosch, in Stellenbosch, South Africa, Wednesday June 25 to Saturday June 28.) I guess they wanted a point that was roughly equidistant from all of the Pacific rim, but not in the Pacific.
Here's the very sparse Malaysian page of an X.500 directory, maybe it'll fill up later.
The way to remember that MY stands for Malaysia and not for its neighbor Myanmar is to think of .my and remember that internet access is illegal in Myanmar. (Pretty much, anyway. Maybe they've had a little political thaw and allowed people to take occasional deep breaths also. If it weren't for countries like Myanmar, countries like Malaysia would look like dictatorships. Hmmm.)
Googling for engine stuff in 2004, I discovered that Myanmar has an industry! It's called PANSAR, which sounds like a Spanish verb that would mean doing something with your belly. (La panza is Spanish for `the belly.' The name of Don Quixote's Sancho Panza was originally spelled Sancho Pança. The second name was pronounced then, and is still pronounced in most of the non-Iberian Spanish-speaking world, like Pansa.) Pansar would probably be a word for doing something quite specific with a belly, but since the verb does not exist, it is equally likely to be anything, such as pounding something with a belly or vice versa, sort of like sumo wrestling. For other Japanese belly information, see the navel exercises entry.
On second thought, there's a Spanish verb pensar, `to think.' When you're seriously hungry, your belly does a lot of your thinking. My mother is slowly writing her memoirs now. They involve a period when she was a refugee, but start when she was a little Jewish girl growing up in Nazi Germany. Concluding one early anecdote, she writes ``so you see, I was interested in food even before it became scarce.''
The myotto of PANSAR is ``everyday in so many ways we are part of you.'' (Rather weak Coué imitation.) I think that one you they refer to is Yanmar Co., Ltd., a Japanese firm. They missed a real opportunity here; they could have called it Anmar, and then your account at the web site (please allow cookies) would be MyAnmar! For more humorous Japanese -- oh wait, we did that already.
Some of that material is finding its way into this glossary and lodging in entries such as these:
MyRRh's is preferable to ``my regular restaurant'' not only because it's brief and because it needlessly inconveniences or confuses glossary readers, but also because it need not be accurate. I mean, if I were to write ``my regular restaurant,'' I'd have to consider whether the phrase is true each time. But MyRRh's merely stands for ``my regular restaurant.'' In the interests of brevity, I can leave out details that might yield MyRRhULY's (``until last year'') or MyRRhiahaU's (``in an [h] alternate universe''). But it happens to be accurate as I write this.
Mission Statement (from this superannuated page):
To collect, preserve, and exhibit the World's most comprehensive collection of North American Television Receivers, from the formative, first fifty year period between the 1920s & 1970s. To contribute to the understanding of the impact of television. To help tell the story of television.
To accumulate relevant books, magazines, videos, discs, photographs, personal papers and ephemera. To provide a learning resource.
Ah, yes -- where would we be without ``learning''? The new improved web site integrates Macintoxic features (too-responsive graphics, nonstandard codepoints for standard characters, etc.) to cleverly reproduce one of the most characteristic features of TV: annoyance. The medium is the message, and the message is annoying. If you want content, like information about museum hours, follow the link for the low-bandwidth/dialup-user site.
Full disclosure: In 1976 I went to a Halloween party dressed as a television (a Zenith ``portable''). It was hard to dance. The next year I obtained superior results by dressing as a pop-up toaster and using the two-quart glass unit from a blender as my beer stein.
Read more here and here.
``Messier'' is not the comparative of ``Messy.'' It's a French name pronounced Messy-ay in English.
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