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Network Interface.


Name in Modern Greek and some other languages (e.g. Serbian and Croatian) of the Greek letter nu (It resembles an italic vee). Pronounced like that word that cannot be heard, pronounced by the garden-loving knights of Monty Python. (In case you're some kind of cultural illiterate, that means it's pronounced like English knee.)

A good rule of thumb, if you're trying to guess the modern pronunciation of an ancient Greek word, is to change all the vowels to a long ee (/i:/ in IPA). This is called ioticism.

Hi -- it's ni again. Many languages seem to have ``neither ... nor'' constructions. German, like English, couples different words in the construct: ``weder ... noch.'' Spanish uses the same word: ``ni ... ni.''

(Domain name code for) Nicaragua. If you like variety in your disasters, it's hard to beat dictatorship, war of liberation, communists, Contra war, earthquake, hurricane.

Chemical element abbreviation for NIckel, a light, ferromagnetic transition metal. Period 4, atomic number 28. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Nickel has an interesting rôle in the formation of contacts to GaAs. A eutectic alloy of gold and germanium (at a surprisingly low 12% Ge) can make a good contact at a point, but it tends to bead on the GaAs surface. In practice, one makes a Gold-Germanium-Nickel contact: starting from the semiconductor surface, one deposits a layer of germanium (say a micron), a layer of gold of about equal thickness, and a layer of Nickel. When the temperature is raised above the melting point of the AuGe eutectic, gold and germanium mix, by forming a melt beginning at their common interface. The liquid AuGe mix, however, does not bead, presumably because it wets the Ni surface. The small concentration of nickel dissolved into the gold-germnanium melt apparently also improves the ohmic contact.

The oldest ancient iron artifacts found in Egypt have high nickel content, apparently because they were made from meteorites found on the ground, rather than from mined iron ore.

Postal code for Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen in German), one of the sixteen states (Länder) of the German Federal Republic (FRG). [Like most of the country information in this glossary, Germany's is at the domain code .de.]

Lower Saxony is the second-largest state, with an area of 47,611 sq. km. Its population was 7,162,000 by the census of 1987, estimated at 7,845,398 for Dec. 31, 1997. Okay, what time on Dec. 31? You know, a couple of hundred people are born and die in that state every day. The very best census data are considered to be accurate at no better than the 1% level. Seven pretended digits of accuracy are purely otiose.

The West German state of Lower Saxony was stitched together in 1946 from a bunch of older states. The capital is Hanover, which is spelled Hannover in German.

NI, N.I.
Northern Ireland. This bit is about the ni. hierarchy of USENET newsgroups.

National Income Account.

National Institute on Aging. Part of the US NIH.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Part of the US NIH.

NATO Industrial Advisory Group.

(Japanese) National Institute of Animal Industry.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, part of NIH.

Northern Indiana Association of Psychology. They've got a shingle on US 33/Bus. 31/S.R. 933, northbound from South Bend, a couple of miles from Michigan.

National Industries for the Blind. ``Our mission at National Industries for the Blind is to enhance the opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind primarily through creating, sustaining and improving employment.''

The New Interpreter's Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes. In this new edition of an old, somewhat apologetic standard reference, each volume covers at least two Bible books. Cf. IB.

No Independence Before MAjority Rule. Also No Independence Before Majority African Rule. The expansion without ``African'' is probably preferable, since the minority being distinguished from the African majority was white and European in origin, but insisted on its African identity.

The European colonial powers granted or conceded independence to their African colonies starting in the 1950's and accelerating in the 1960's. The process was largely complete when Portugal granted independence to Angola and Mozambique in 1975 and 1976. South Africa was somewhat exceptional. Initially settled by the Dutch, it finally came completely under British control in 1910. Very quickly, and in significant measure due to the efforts of Jan Christiaan Smuts, a Liberal government in Britain soon granted a high degree of local self-government to South Africa in 1910. At the time, it was mostly taken for granted by whites -- i.e., by the British and by white settlers -- that South Africa would be governed by whites. South Africa would consist of a black African colony (or colonies) within the territory of an independent European-style nation. Not everyone agreed; the African National Congress (ANC) was founded in 1912.

Despite majority opposition, the minority-rule arrangement must have looked like it had long-term stability. Majority rule did not come to South Africa until the 1990's. Many whites in neighboring Southern Rhodesia (the country now known as Zimbabwe) wanted a similar deal. It wasn't unreasonable for them to suppose they could tough it out indefinitely. They probably saw the US and Canada as proofs of principle that a European presence and eventually -- with the help of immigration -- a European majority could be established over a large territory originally controlled by a non-European majority. (In Latin America to this day, European elites govern some countries with autochthon majorities.) One could also imagine a smooth transition to majority rule in the distant future. The white minority in Southern Rhodesia had a virtual monopoly on modern weaponry, and a history of putting down insurgencies since the 1890's.

Southern Rhodesia had been taken over by stages into the British Empire, starting with agreements that Cecil Rhodes made with local chiefs in the late 1880's to allow mining. In 1953, Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia were combined with Nyasaland (now Malawi) in a Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Under pressure for majority rule in Northern Rhodesia, the federation was dissolved at the end of 1963, and Northern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zambia on October 24, 1964. (After that time, Southern Rhodesia was simply called Rhodesia.) Following the dissolution of the federation, and as the UK moved to grant independence to Northern Rhodesia, the white minority administration in Southern Rhodesia also sought independence under its existing arrangements. This was opposed by the British government, which was formally committed to a policy of NIBMAR.

NIBMAR had been promoted by African, Asian, and Caribbean members of the British Commonwealth for years before the Rhodesias split up. British PM Harold Wilson resisted. Eventually, at the July 21, 1961, Commonwealth conference in London, he accepted a draft resolution formulated by Canadian PM Lester Pearson. Nevertheless, he continued to offer Ian Smith, leader of Southern Rhodesia, deals that fell far short of NIBMAR. They were not enough for Smith, at least in the 1960's, and on November 11, 1965, his administration unilaterally declared independence (see UDI).

National Independent Bookstore Week. Is that like a memorial day?

Either an alternate spelling for nybble, or what to do to savor a snibble.

The name for a golf club from back in the days of wooden shafts, before the clubs became standardized and numbered. It is ``like'' a 9-iron in the sense that it has a loft angle comparable to that of a 9-iron. That is, the face of the club is about 40 degrees away from the vertical. (More precisely, that's the angle of the shaft relative to the plane of the face of the club at the point where it contacts the ball.) In the early 1960's, 9-irons had loft angles in the low 40's. However, modern clubs are ``standardized'' primarily in the sense that they are mass produced. Nothing prevented club manufacturers from collectively reshaping the clubs over time, and by the beginning of the twenty-first century, the loft angles of 9-irons were typically in the upper 40's.

Even taking a 9-iron with the same loft angle as a basis of comparison, the clubs differ in other ways: they have different blade shape and face curvature, and the lie angle of the niblick is smaller because it was intended to be hit with a squat, side-winding swing rather than a modern upright swing. See our ye olde golfe clubbies entry for little more.

National Institute of Corrections. An agency of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) of the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

Network Information Center.

Network Interface Card. An internal card for a computer slot, which handles communication between a personal computer and a high-speed net (ethernet, cable modem, or DSL). Also known as a DNI.

Newly Industrializing Country. Playing catch-up.

National Institute of Circus Arts. A ``national arts training institute that offers Australia's only Bachelor of Circus Arts. The course is accredited by Swinburne University of Technology and the institute is located at its Prahran campus. The course attracts applicants from across Australia and the world and entry into the first year is highly competitive.''

National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. A UFO research organization. Founded in 1957, headed by Maj. Donald Edward Keyhoe USMC (1897-1988), influential in the 1960's.

A night-cap? Don't mind if I do. Aaeeeeiiii!!!

A city on France's Côte d'Azur. Specifically, it is on la Baie des Anges, less than ten miles west of Monaco. The street running along the beach has the names Promenade des Anglais and Quai des États-Unis. Awww, how... sweet.

National (UK) Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Many people regard this as a rather ironically-named bad guys' organization in the NHS. (Cf. N.I.C.E.)

National (US) Institute For Consumer Education.

National (US) Institute of Ceramic Engineers. The organization is referred to in sentences as ``the NICE'' (just like ``the ASPCA'').

National (U.K.) Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments. The bad guys' organization in That Hideous Strength (1945), the final volume of C.S. Lewis's ``Cosmic Trilogy.'' From the P.O.V. of Lewis, N.I.C.E. might be regarded as an ironic name, since N.I.C.E. is actually evil. Lewis likes to play around a lot with the significance of names. However, I think the case of N.I.C.E. mostly just counts as false advertising.

There doesn't seem to be an official overall title of the series or trilogy or whatever. Unofficially, both ``Cosmic Trilogy'' and ``Space Trilogy'' have been used. The first and second books take place mostly on fictional stand-ins for Mars (``Malacandra'') and Venus (``Perelandra''), respectively. The third takes up as much shelf space as the first two combined and takes place mostly on the Earth (``Thulcundra,'' the ``Silent Planet'').

The first two novels [entitled Out of the Silent Planet (1938) and Perelandra (1943)], have as their principal bad guy a Dr. Weston. He's a renowned physicist. Ransom kills Weston in Perelandra. (Alright: technically he kills Weston's body, which Weston's moral weakness has allowed to be taken over by the Un-Man. So the killing would be okay even if it weren't already okay because Ransom kills in self-defense.) Dr. Elwin Ransom is the hero of all three novels and a professor of philology. In the third book he is called Fisher King.

You know, C.S. Lewis novels come out pretty badly in a comparison with the Catholic Church's persecution of Galileo. At least the Catholic Church made a distinction between what it thought were Galileo's motivations and the effects of his ``errors.'' Lewis makes his star scientist a kidnapper and murderer to begin with, and he goes morally downhill from there.

Nickname for Nicholas and slang for the devil. If conflation of the devil and Saint Nicholas amuses you, visit this other entry.

British slang about equivalent to swipe, in the sense of steal.

Short for nickname, particularly on IRC and similar electronic fora.

Nick and Jess
You've probably seen this phrase for years as part of the captions that line your escape route (``check-out aisle'') from the supermarket. The story was basically that they were together apart or apart together, or in transit between these conditions. They're celebrities. Neither has completely discarded his or her surname: they're Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. I think that the surname Simpson originally meant ``son of a simpleton,'' but I don't know a good mnemonic for Lachey.

As celebrities, by definition they're mostly famous for being famous, but they had to become famous (i.e., boot-strap the process) by doing something else first. Jessica's something else was being a ``singer,'' which nowadays means something like ``cute dancing lip-syncher.'' Nick is also a ``singer,'' but I think he became a celebrity through his connection with Jessica. CD's are issued with their names, and possibly they even perform. Somebody seems to buy the CD's, though I'm not sure if this is listening music. It might be more like those recognition gifts that you get when you contribute to public radio: an emblem of your contribution, but not necessarily a thing of any practical value.

A ferromagnetic metal (Ni) and a US 5-cent coin made from a zinc alloy. Five of just about anything. Another coin that would be worth five pennies today is the shilling.

Nickel coins in other denominations, such as three and ten cents, have also been issued by the US.

[Football icon]

nickel back
The fifth back in a five-back football formation.

A misspelling of the verb (!) nickel that is accepted by all three major Scrabble dictionaries.

Nick's Patio
Two soups are made each morning, and both are usually available past the next midnight. One of the soups may 86 in the small hours, and by that time it may be wise to prefer the salad anyway. Most years, I've noticed that GFS switches suppliers for iceberg lettuce around December or January, and the salad in local restaurants improves noticeably. (This is the kind of fine, sensitive observation that makes most people tingle with ennui. I shoulda beena poet.)

Croutons (crunchy brown right square prisms of deep-fried bread, very popular) are available on Tuesday and Sundays. Research for this entry is ongoing, and in fall 2004 they shuffled the options a little bit, but I wanted to share our findings in real time.

I wasn't sure, so one time I asked Mario (the third-shift cashier-and-seater for most nights) whether he pronounced his name ``Mario or Mario?'' He answered no, he pronounced it ``Mario.'' It's a good thing we didn't conduct that conversation in ASCII.

Near-Infrared (NIR) Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer. Homesite here. Technical description this page.

NATO Integrated Communications System.

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. Trains from Chicago, IL, to South Bend, IN. Cf. Metra.

Neonate Intensive Care Unit (ICU). A likely destination for ELBW newborns. That probably about does it for useful related information in this glossary, but the Apgar score entry might amuse some of you sickos (sickoes?).

National Institute on Drug Abuse. They're against it. Part of NIH.

National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research. Part of the US NIH.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Part of the US NIH.

Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (DM, q.v.). ``Adult-onset'' or type-II diabetes.

Network Information Discovery and Retrieval.

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. It's part of the -- whoa! Part of the US Department of Education (under the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, a charge of the Undersecretary of Education), not part of NIH.

National Intelligence Estimate. I'd say 100, shortly after the obligatory periodic renorming.

Oh wait -- it's a technical term. It's used by the US CIA (the CIA based in DC, not the one in NY), intended to mean ``Estimation by National Intelligence Service'' (capitalization for impact and prestige only) and actually meaning ``opinion of a single memo-writer, based on analysis that consists of ignoring data that contradicts opinion.''

New International Economic Order. On May 1, 1974, the UN General Assembly, at the end of its Sixth Special Session, adopted by consensus two resolutions entitles ``Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order'' and ``Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order.'' As my Uncle Fritz would have commented, they were printed on very good paper.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of NIH.

Non-Ionizing Energy Loss.

Nielsen ratings
The rating is the number of homes with the program tuned in, expressed as a percentage of all homes with televisions, whether or not they are in use. The share is the percentage of televisions in use tuned to a program.

National (US) Ignition Facility. The ``ignition'' contemplated is of controlled fusion. The main NIF project is a 192-beam 1.8 MJ laser. As of early 2006, NIF was 80% complete and on schedule for full operability in mid-2009.

The Green Scissors lobby (``Cutting Wasteful and Environmentally Harmful Spending'') has a scientifically ignorant protest against it on line.

(US) National Interagency Fire Center. In Boise, Idaho, where there's another way to bake potatoes. NIFC is generally not in favor of ignition.

Notation Interchange File Format. A standard digital format for the representation of standard musical notation. An open standard.

New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.).

National Institutes of Health.

Not Invented Here. As in ``NIH syndrome.'' Interestingly, then, since the NIH syndrome is a mental problem, it should be a matter for the NIMH. The NIH syndrome is the prejudice that the company has all the relevant expertise and should ignore outside tinkerers and dilettantes. For example, on the advice of its expert panel, the Telegraph Company (which later became Western Union) turned down Alexander Graham Bell's offer to buy the rights to the telephone for $100,000. The in-house experts realized that it was an unreliable, unpromising toy that could never be made to work over long distances and that no one would ever want anyway.

A trivial logical corollary of the proposition that what was NIH is no good is the proposition that if it is any good, then it was invented here. This is the fundamental intellectual reflex of the Microsoft Corporation.

They used to give prizes. I don't remember who ``they'' were, but they gave up the domain name. Oh! I know what to do! Go over to The Internet Archive and paste the URL (http://www.gii-awards.com/winners.htm) into ``The Wayback Machine.'' Ah-hah: NII stands (stood?) for the National Information Infrastructure. The site featured Vice President Albert Gore, and was abandoned some time in 2000. Didn't we have an election that year?

Net International Investment Position. The NIIP of a country is the value of foreign assets owned by its residents minus the value of its assets owned by nonresidents.

National Industrial Information Infrastructure Protocols.

National Institute of Justice. A ``component'' of the US Office of Justice Programs (OJP).

I have before me a physical copy of a research report entitled ``The Sexual Victimization of College Women.'' Naturally, I was greatly disappointed that it lacked any racy anecdotal data or illustrations, but it seems to be a fair-minded study by disinterested researchers. (Yaaawn.) See here, the first paragraph of the Conclusions bends over backwards to be balanced. It begins

The sexual victimization of college students has emerged as a controversial issue, pitting feminist scholars who claim that the sexual victimization of women is a serious problem against conservative commentators who claim that such victimization is rare and mostly a fictitious creation of ideologically tainted research. ...

It's too bad the scholars don't have any feminist commentators to lend them any moral support. It sure must be lonely on that half of the political spectrum. Further, when you consider that there are apparently no scholars on the conservative side of the argument, it's surprising that government-funded researchers bravely pretend that they can continue to regard the contending sides in the debate as intellectually or even morally equal. Of course, this was a scientific study, so any bias on the part of the researchers would be irrelevant because it could not possibly affect the study at any stage. I mean, contrariwise, if it could affect the study, then it wouldn't be very scientific, so it didn't. That's logic.

You can download your own PDF version or ASCII text file from a listings page at the NCJRS.


Greek goddess of victory; 20th century godess of footwear.

A charitable organization that raises money by selling sneakers made in Korea at many times their cost of manufacture, and which donates much of the proceeds to individual professional athletes or to the athletic programs of `amateur' university athletes as ``advertising royalties.''

A noun that means nothing. That's not as strange as it sounds. It also functions as an adjective and adverb.

The name of cities in southwest Michigan (on the Saint Joseph River, and on the Indiana border) and in northeastern Ohio. Both cities were named for Hezekiah Niles (1777-1839). He achieved fame as the editor of the Niles Weekly Register, which he published from 1811 to 1836, and which was one of the most influential magazines of the US in its day. I can't think of any locality that was named for anyone else famous only or primarily for his work as a journalist or commentator.

The Niles in Michigan is close to where I live, so it's mentioned at various entries in this glossary. Ring Lardner, a nationally famous writer, was a native of Niles. A scrap of his writing, and indications of how he is commemorated, can be found at this GF entry. Niles is part of the loosely defined region known as Michiana, but that entry doesn't say much about Niles itself. Until Indiana adopted DST, Michiana was split through the middle by a kind of time zone boundary, and that's how Niles gets a mention at that entry. Pokagon was a nineteenth-century Indian chief in the area. There's some local color from the Depression era at the entry for ``Shave and a haircut, two bits.'' Southwestern Michigan College has a campus in Niles, and that's what this SMC entry is about.

Niles is also the name of a township in Cook County, Illinois, comprising northwest suburbs of Chicago. It's not known definitely how it got its name, but it was established in 1850, the year after the Niles Register finally ceased publication. The Village of Niles gets its name from the township; it's scrunched into the southwest corner of the township. (``Village'' was descriptive when Niles was incorporated in 1899 and it had a population of 500. The population was estimated at almost 29,000 in 2007. The village of Skokie (population 63,348 in the 2000 census) was incorporated as Niles Centre in 1888. The center of the township does in fact lie within it. The spelling was changed to Niles Center around 1910, and in 1940, to avoid confusion with the Village of Niles, it was renamed the Village of Skokie.

There is a Town of Niles in Cayuga County, New York (pop. 1,208 in the 2000 census). It was carved out of the Town of Sempronius (founded 1799).

There's a Niles Canyon in the San Francisco Bay area of California. There was a town of Niles in that canyon. I suppose the name dates from around the time of the gold rush of 1849, or not long after, so it was probably named after Hezekiah Niles or his Weekly or both as well. Another possibility is that it was named after one of the eastern Nileses by someone who came from there. The town of Niles eventually joined the towns of Centerville, Irvington, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs to form the city of Fremont, and each of these is still an identifiable district of Fremont. Here's a link to the Niles district of Fremont, California.

National Initiative for Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness. ``In the 21st century, the successful institutions of higher education will be those that are learning new ways of communicating with and motivating faculty, staff, administration and students.'' Whoa, NILIE! And here I thought it would be the ones with the best football programs. ``By conducting research on leadership and institutional effectiveness using specialized surveys, NILIE assists institutions in developing strategies that improve student success through collaborative leadership.''

National Institute of Metrology. There's one in China, so-called in English.

Nuclear Instrumentation Module (an electronic instr. standard).

National Infomercial Marketing Association. ``In August, 1990, nine industry leaders formed the National Infomercial Marketing Association, an organization whose objective was to ensure that all infomercials met the very highest standards of excellence and credibility'' ... wait for it ...``attainable.''

``[O]fficially changed its name in May 1994 to NIMA International.'' Also now represents television shopping companies and short-form direct response marketers. Oh joy.

``To eliminate confusion, NIMA International would prefer to be referred to as, `the association that represents the worldwide electronic retailing industry.' Please do not refer to NIMA as the National Infomercial Marketing Association.'' You could call them vermin, if only that weren't unfairly insulting to rats.

Not In My Back Yard. This acronym is not likely to appear on signs carried by protesters at the town council meeting, despite the admirable degree of compression. The term is used, instead, as the name of a situation or an attitude. The situation is that certain necessary or desired facilities (dumps for nuclear and other waste, community-based homes for the slow, low-income housing) are inconvenient or unwelcome no matter where they are sited. (The ultimate logical conclusion of seriously avoiding the NIMBY situation is BANANA.) The attitude is ``I don't care where you put it, so long as it's [NIMBY]!'' Depending on how you view the merits or reasonableness of the objection, the acronym is either sympathetic or pejorative. (It's usually a pejorative noun.)

Nim Chimpsky
A play on the name Noam Chomsky; a chimp who was taught a human sign language. To what degree he learned, or could have learned, is the subject of controversy. Chomsky has also been a subject of controversy.

Noam Chomsky's nonpolitical thoughts are less controversial. Widely though not universally accepted is his position that the ability to use language is uniquely human, with the proviso that true language has an indefinitely productive grammar: a user can apply linguistic rules to express new thoughts with old words. (New to him, her, or it, at least.) Chomsky is a philosopher, so he shuns experiment and reasons from what he supposes he might find if, God or Whatever forbid, he ever tried an experiment. Others are not so constrained.

The first modern tests to determine whether a non-human animal could learn to produce a human language were conducted with chimps and spoken languages. (Produce, that is, as a communication of the ideas the language is intended to communicate, and not as parroted speech.) In the 1930's, W.N. and L.A. Kellogg raised a baby chimpanzee named Gua together with their own infant son Donald. The project began when Gua was 7 or 8 months old and lasted 9 months; Gua never learned to speak because they tried to teach her English instead of Purtuguese. Okay, joke, but still she never learned to speak. In the 1950s, Keith and Cathy Hayes adopted a female chimp, Viki, and tried to teach her to speak. After three years, she was able to speak three words: mama, papa, and cup. She never learned to say her own name, but that was probably because of the irregular spelling. She also had a heavy whispery accent. Planet of the Apes, this wasn't.

These experiments were not considered successes. Since primate vocal apparatus is substantially less versatile than human, however, it was plausible that the failure of those experiments did not reflect any cognitive deficiency in primates, but just physical impediment. In 1966, R. Allen Gardner and Beatrice Gardner at University of Nevada, Reno, began the first experiment to teach a primate a non-vocal human language. Their Washoe project (named after Washoe County, Nev.), was intended to teach American Sign Language (ASL) to a chimpanzee they named Washoe. Washoe learned over a hundred signs, used them individually in semantically appropriate ways, and apparently even taught a number of them to an infant she adopted. She has been less reliably credited with more sophisticated achievements, but the question remained whether she ever grasped any elements of grammar. She used words together that might be interpreted as compounds (water and bird for swan; I don't know that the bird wasn't near water) and collocations that might be regarded as sentences except that there was apparently no consistent syntactic pattern to the collocations. A subsequent project of Francine Patterson, begun in 1972, taught a female gorilla named Koko to sign hundreds of ASL signs and to understand words of spoken English. She apparently notices rhyme in English and has constructed a number of what seem to be compound nouns.

In order to address more sharply the grammatical question raised by the earlier primate-ASL studies, Herbert S. Terrace began the Nim project. The subject of the study, Nim Chimpsky, was born in 1973 and raised and socialized like a human infant. Nim appeared to learn American Sign Language, and by age four had mastered a 125-sign vocabulary. In the end, however, Terrace was not convinced that Nim had really mastered language. After analyzing more than 20,000 different combinations of signs produced by Nim (this study was far more intensively videotaped than the earlier ones), he concluded that Nim signed mainly to obtain particular rewards and that most of his signed combinations were unoriginal imitations of those uttered by his human teachers, rather than original sentences demonstrating a constructive understanding of ASL's grammar. Terrace wrote an article on the experiment for Psychology Today in 1979: ``How Nim Chimpsky Changed My Mind.''

In the appositely named movie Bananas, Woody Allen plays Fielding Mellish, a nebbish upon whom ill-conceived consumer products are tested. His parents wanted him to become a surgeon like his dad. In one scene, he visits his parents in the operating theater (mom is an OR nurse), and they try on the spot to involve him in the family business. Parents, natural and adoptive, often see their children with eyes blinded by love and hope. Read this ``chat'' with Koko and see what you think.

National Institute of Mental Health (Administration: Rockville, MD; Research Facilities in Bethesda, MD and St. Elizabeth's in DC). Conveniently located, if you see what I mean.

There's a Gopher directory as well as a homepage.

NIagara-MOhawk. Electric power utility in western New York.

NIckel-MOlybdenum-VAnadium. A popular strong material for generator rotors.

One day, after I hung up the phone, my office mate Nobu asked for the meaning of a word I had been using repeatedly. I didn't recognize it in his pronunciation, despite the fact that Japanese and Spanish phonemes are not very different. He wrote out the headword above in romaji. ``Oh,'' I said, ``you mean no importa'' [`it doesn't matter']. Cf. tsuh cay, sin embargo.

National Institute of Metrology (Thailand). It's striking how much more compact the Engliosh pages are. Oh -- different information!

Nine Inch Nails. A nihilistic indie rock band whose site has banners advertising health insurance.

The group name is normally abbreviated with the second en inverted, so the initialism is not just a palindrome but reflection-symmetric. If they didn't mess with the second en, it would be rotation-symmetric (C2 symmetry) instead. There's only an unofficial site yet, but you could try one of the newsgroups: (alt.music.nin) (alt.music.nin.creative) (alt.music.nin.d) (rec.music.industrial).

By the time you read this, their official site may finally be up. Or maybe it's come down already and I missed it.

A backward capital en looks like the Cyrillic letter normally transliterated I. Korn, a metallic punk band out of Southern California, also writes its name KORN with a backwards ar. I have just one link to say about this: ABBA.

A backward-facing ar looks like the Cyrillic letter normally transliterated ia or ya. Toys'R'Us does the same thing as KORN with its ar. Maybe you want to go to SeaRs. (Sounds like ``See youse'' if you've got the accent.)

National (US) Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke.

Used to indicate purity. E.g., ``five nines'' means 99.999% pure. (I.e., 0.001% = 10 ppm impurities.) Only slightly less common are expressions like ``three nines seven,'' meaning 99.97% pure.

No Income, No Job or Assets. Disqualifications for any sane mortgage; conditions for an initially interest-only loan, with negative amortization and an initial teaser rate. No longer available, I hope.

Niño, El
The (Christ) Child. Name for a meteorological phenomenon that involves higher water surface temperatures in the Pacific. The phenomenon is persistent on year time-scales, and the change from normal to El Niño conditions first becomes noticeable very roughly around Christmas, by fishermen off the coast of Peru, who gave it its name.

National Intelligence Officer.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Neuroleptic-Induced Parkinsonism.

Numismatic Indexes Project. Frank Chlebana offers an alternate search form.

National Infrastructure Protection Center. You have to question the competence of an organization without the sense to define an index.html page. Aww, shucks -- it's just the FBI, no wonder. So they moved from the old URL and didn't leave a forwarding link. Good move. Cover your tracks.

``Established in February 1998, the NIPC's mission is to serve as the U.S. government's focal point for threat assessment, warning, investigation, and response for threats or attacks against our critical infrastructures. These infrastructures, which include telecommunications, energy, banking and finance, water systems, government operations, and emergency services, are the foundation upon which our industrialized society is based.''

National (US) Interim Primary Drinking Water Regulation.

National Institute for Petroleum and Energy Research. A DoE facility run by BDM-Oklahoma. Partly privatized in 1996.

Near-InfraRed. Usually spoken as ``near eye arr.'' Remember, in your best schoolmarmish voice, to say ``near I am!'' See the IR entry for the ranges of the common named regions of the IR spectrum.

Network Information Retrieval. Heck, I do it every day.

NI Railways. ``Rail services in Northern Ireland.''

An act of 1933 that allowed companies, subject to government approval, to join in industrial councils which were allowed to do the things that were illegal under antitrust law (set prices, control production). The act required all members to allow unionization of and engage in collective bargaining with their employees. The law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935, as being in violation of the Interstate Commerce clause.

NI Railways
Northern Ireland Railways. Also ``NIR.''

``Northern Ireland Railways was founded in 1968 to operate the railway services of the former Ulster Transport Authority, which in turn had taken over the three private railways (Great Northern Railway, Northern Counties Railway and Co. Down Railway) in Northern Ireland between 1948 and 1957.''

National Investor Relations Institute.

National Intramural Recreation Sports Association.

Netherlands Info Services BV. Dutch news (ANP) in English, but most of the website is accessible by subscription only.

Network Information {Service | System}.

New Israeli Shekel. The current (2004) currency of Israel. One hundred agorot equal one shekel. The NIS went into circulation in September 1985, replacing the shekel that had been in circulation from 1980. Before 1980, the national currency was called the lira (pound).

The old shekel suffered through a hyperinflation that reduced its value against the US dollar by a factor of 250 over the six years it was in circulation. One NIS was an exchange for 1000 old shekels.

Second-generation Japanese-American. Pronounced approximately ``knee say.'' Singular and plural forms of the noun coincide, because Japanese does not inflect nouns for number. See first-generation entry for some complicating thoughts.

National (US) Information Standards Organization.

National (US) Institute for (college and university) Staff and Organizational Development.

National Information Services and Systems in the UK. They serve a list of professional bodies in the UK.

National Institute of Statistical Sciences. ``NISS was established in 1991 by the national statistics societies and the Research Triangle universities [in North Carolina] and organizations, with the mission to identify, catalyze and foster high-impact, cross- disciplinary research involving the statistical sciences.''

National Institute of Standards and Technology. Used to be NBS. A part of the DOC. Also try this page.

National Invitational Tournament. This tournament used to be in direct head-to-head competition with the NCAA basketball tournament, trying to get participation by many of the same schools, in the same way that different post-season college bowl games used to compete for the same football teams (before the devising of that brilliant solution known as the BCS). Now the NIT just goes after the teams that didn't get a bracket in the NCAA tournament. There's also a WNIT, although that works somewhat differently.

Not In The Latest Explorator. The Explorator is a weekly internet bulletin consisting of web links to archaeological news. It usually comes out on Sunday morning. In compiling each edition, David Meadows often comes across items that are not appropriate to Explorator but which nevertheless fall within the very broad range of topics considered appropriate for the classics list (an electronic mailing list for the discussion of classical antiquity and anything else that participants have the audacity to pretend is related to classical antiquity). When he published Explorator, David Meadows often also posted those links to those items separately, to the classics list. (I think that practice pretty much ended during the shot-put blow-up in October 2003. He wants you to read his rogueclassicism blog instead.) The subject heads used to begin with the words ``Not in the latest Explorator'' but this has been abbreviated to ``nitle'' since May or June 2003, around the same time that Meadows stopped using the a.a.h.i.h.l.n.o.o. abbreviation.

SiO2 layer underlying nitride layer in ROx process. Rôle in LOCOS is to mask Si during removal of nitride. Vide stress relief oxide.

Usually refers to silicon nitride.

There's a center devoted to this stuff, even though I was sure the Stammtisch had resolved all questions on the topic last Friday.

Network-Independent Transport Service.

Network Interface Unit.

Northern Illinois University. There is no Northern I[^s]* University, where I[^s]* is Idaho, Indiana, or Iowa. But for the last, see UNI. Cf. SIU.

New International Version (of the bible).

No Intelligence Value. Of no use to spooks.

Northern Ireland Women's Coalition. A political party organized a couple of months before the June 1996 vote for representative delegates to all-party peace talks. The term coalition was chosen by the party to emphasize (sorry: emphasise) that it is neither political nor a party.

After all, Aristotle said only that Man is a political animal. (What a beast! Emphasis added; italics, and English for that matter, were more than a millennium away.) Or did he? This is a common translation, but it is clear in context that he meant that man is a social animal. Same problem with his `Poetics.'

Normal Incidence X-ray Standing Wave (surface science technique). See XSW.

National ISDN-1.

National ISDN-2.

N.J., NJ
New Jersey. USPS abbreviation uses no periods. The ``Garden State.''

Probably the thing that first-time visitors to New Jersey find most surprising is that it is uninhabitable. This is especially surprising when you consider that it's the most densely populated state of the US, but in fact, that's one of the reasons. New Jersey is actually populated by human guinea pigs who are exposed to every available chemical pollutant. It's not a coincidence that two of New Jersey's biggest industries are chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Another reason that New Jersey is uninhabitable is the road system. It's illegal for roads anywhere in the state to be straight for a distance exceeding half a mile. And although the state has an approximately convex shape, the shortest distance between two points in it is usually by a path out to New York or Pennsylvania, around, and back in again.

New Jersey is not a community property state, but for real estate property it sort of works like one.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for New Jersey. USACityLink.com has a page with mostly city and town links for the state, including -- ohmigod! -- my home town has a home page. And another! And yet another. This is spooky (and not just because Charles Addams was born and raised in Westfield). When you leave your hometown you want it to remain constant, preserving old folkways -- churning butter by hand, hand-cranking the car, dial phones, rubbing sticks together to start the fire for dinner, that sort of thing.

(There's now an ``official homepage.'') Even my old Boy Scout Troop has a web presence! What is the world coming to?

A much more comprehensive list of towns, libraries and counties is served by New Jersey Communities OnLine.

The latest color scheme for automobile licence plates in New Jersey has a background that starts out white at the bottom and shades smoothly to yellow at the top. This represents smog. (Ohio has white plates shading to reddish browns at the bottom. This represents rust or rich earth and, on recent nonfarm vehicles, makes it easier to distinguish them from Ontario plates for people who can't remember which name is longer.)

In Spanish, New Jersey is normally called Nueva Jersey, where the first word (meaning `new') has its usual Spanish pronunciation. The second word is pronounced neither in English nor according to Spanish rules applied to the English spelling. Instead, it is pronounced in a Spanish approximation of the English. In my dialect of Spanish, for example, which has a zh sound (for ll and most y), ``Jersey'' is pronounced as if it were spelled ``Llersi.'' In other words, not a single consonant or vowel is the same. (The first vowel in Spanish is more open than in the American pronunciation and also has no r coloring. It sounds even further from the British vowel. The r is articulated differently, the s is unvoiced, and the i is more clipped.)

This naturalized pronunciation is used even by Spanish-speakers who are perfectly fluent in English. And that is very natural, but possibly not as some may imagine. An English-speaker who gratuitously pronounces naturalized French words or place names in French sends a signal (possibly not the one intended). Pronouncing France as ``Frrrawnce'' may send the signal that one knows French, and may be received as a signal that one is a pretentious twit. Pronouncing Paris as ``Paree'' is (or was, a mere 80 years ago) an affectionate affectation, a suggestion of fond memories. I don't think that the Spanish pronunciation of Jersey as described in the previous paragraph has much to do with these social phenomena, because for Spanish-speakers, English and the English-speaking lands have never had the kind of intellectual cachet or romantic associations that French and France, respectively, have had for English-speakers. (Granted, the US today has prestige in certain things, but it's not the kind of prestige that rubs off on anyone who happens to speak English.) The reason one uses a Spanish pronunciation of Jersey is either (a) one can't produce an English pronunciation or, (b) more interestingly, it is more comfortable not to switch phonemic systems.

The letter j in Spanish is pronounced like the English h, so one might expect a naturalized spelling to develop. One has: Nueva Yersey. (This spelling implies a final diphthong. For comparison, a common and fairly faithful naturalized Spanish spelling of English okay is okey.) But Yersey seems (from ghits) to be about a hundred times less common than Jersey, and I haven't seen it in major references. Even the English Channel island Jersey and the clothing material jersey have their English spelling in Spanish. In Portuguese, New Jersey is ``Nova Jersey.''

I can see a couple of reasons why Jersey was assigned a feminine gender in both Portuguese and Spanish. Morphology does not offer a firm guide, but I suppose that a final /i/ sound in a toponym suggests the standard feminine -ia ending. (For comparison, Italy is Italia in Spanish, and Turkey is Turquía.) Moreover, the Latin name of the largest English Channel island is Caesarea, which is feminine. (Jersey is widely supposed to be a corruption of this, but there is an alternative etymology I can't find right now, which has the advantage of explaining the -sey in Jersey and Guernsey as a common Germanic or Celtic morpheme. The Latin name of Guernsey is Samia.) For a more problematic case, see NY.

New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association.

New Jersey Art Therapy Association.

New Jerusalem Bible. Published in 1985, a revision of the first English-language ``Jerusalem Bible'' (TJB) of 1966. The English-language Jerusalem Bibles followed earlier French versions (1956, rev. 1973), and were in part simply retranslations from the French (though these were ``checked carefully'' against the Hebrew and Greek, of course). These are all Roman Catholic Bibles and include the Apocrypha. The prose is accessibly flat-footed. Like most translations still, it is intended to be read not primarily as literature but as doctrinal nonfiction, and to this end the NJB contains some interpretive notes. The NJB incorporates some formatting innovations over TJB: a single column of text and poetic passages lineated as verse; bold section headings. The 1956 French basis, popularly known as La Bible de Jérusalem, was prepared by the Dominican Biblical School in Jerusalem. I doubted that it had anything to do with Jerusalem; now I shall burn in Hell for eternity.

National Jewish Coalition. Now the RJC.

National Journalism Center. They're in favor of ``objective journalism,'' as everyone is. Sponsored as they are by Young America's Foundation, their notion of ``objective'' coincides with the MSM's notion of ``nutty right-wing.'' NJC has an amusing little graphic with a small rogues gallery captioned ``NOT NJC Grads.'' The pictures are of Peter Arnett (whose journalism career ended badly at CNN in 1998, and then re-ended badly at NBC in 2003), Stephen Glass (whose journalism career ended badly at The New Republic), Jayson Blair (whose journalism career ended badly at the New York Times), and Dan Rather (whose newsanchor career ended on rather a sour note at CBS).

On its website, NJC has a practice of indicating in bylines the time that a reporter participated in NJC's internship program (I think that's it), the way colleges tag graduates in their alumni newsletters (e.g., ``Greg Myre (NJC spring '83)''). In an archive of articles with no other date information, this can be disorienting.

Not Just Cows. A ``guide to internet resources in agriculture.'' Very different from TUCOWS.


New Jersey Classical Association.

The NJCA sponsors an e-mail list ``to offer New Jersey classics teachers a forum to discuss and share news about classics, school programs, questions and ideas.'' Subscribe by sending a blank email to <NJCA-subscribe@topica.com>.

The NJCA fall meeting in 1997 was on November 8, at the Newark Museum. John Bodel of Rutgers gave the keynote address, ``Putting Roman Artisans in Perspective,'' and Susan Auth, Curator of the Classical Collection, gave an introduction to the collection. I suppose. That was the agenda anyway.

The fall meeting in 1999 was Saturday, October 30. It was held at the High Technology High School in Lincroft -- appropriately enough, since its focus was on the use of computers and the internet.

Research demonstrates that girls named ``Virginia'' are at increased risk of becoming high-school Latin teachers active in their state classical associations. There is no need to panic -- most girls with this name grow up to lead normal, fulfilling lives. Watch out for early warning signs, however, such as going by the nickname ``Ginny.''

National Junior College Athletic Association.

National Jewish Council for the Disabled. Seems to be sponsored by NCSY.

National Jewish Coalition for Literacy. ``The National Jewish Coalition for Literacy is a coalition of 17 national Jewish agencies and organizations and 37 local community affiliates committed to help all America's children learn to read by the end of 3rd grade. NJCL's affiliates mobilize and train volunteer tutors of all races and creeds who offer one-on-one help in public schools.''


National Junior Classical League. A group for high school students of Ancient Greek, Latin and anything else to do with classical antiquity. Main entry at JCL.

National (US) Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council.

National Junior Honor Society. Sort of a junior varsity to the National Honor Society (NHS, q.v.).

There's really no place you can insert the word junior in National Honor Society and have it mean what it's supposed to mean and nothing else.

National Jewish Law Students Association. Founded in 1983.

New Jersey Online.

Non-Judicial Punishment. US military term for discipline imposed administratively, without a court-martial.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center. In Newark. You can probably guess whether that's the Newark in New Jersey or the one in Delaware from the pronunciation. (The one in Delaware uses an ay sound rather than a shwa in the second syllable, and the word has correspondingly more even stress.)

National Jewish Population Surveys.

New Jersey Paleontological Society. ``[F]ormed in 1991 for the educational and scientific pursuit of Paleontology and related Earth Sciences.''

New JPS (version). A Jewish Bible translation (into English) published in 1988 by the Jewish Publication Society. Cf. JPSV.

New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. It ``was created by the New Jersey legislature in 1971 and is the governing body which oversees the operations of Continental Airlines Arena, Giants Stadium [more at the striKe entry], Meadowlands Racetrack,'' the final resting place of Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa (unmarked), ``Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., Atlantic City Convention Center, Historic Boardwalk Hall and the Wildwoods Convention Center.''

Continental Airlines Arena used to be called Brendan Byrne Arena at the Meadowlands, after Governor Brendan Byrne, who aggressively promoted New Jersey tourism and pushed the construction of the Meadowlands complex. The arena was financed by bond issues. The budgetary achievement for which Brendan Byrne was better known was getting New Jersey an income tax. I remember a lot of grumbling when Meadowlands Arena, already completed, was renamed for Byrne. When Continental paid to put its own name on it, it was a largely unresented bit of sports meretriciousness.

Some readers will be surprised that New Jersey managed without an income tax until the early 1970's. Most states did without an income tax until the nineteen-sixties. One of the big federal-government ideas of the 1960's was Revenue Sharing. The idea was that state revenues, based principally on sales taxes, were regressive or at least not progressive. Also, due to the regressive base and other causes, state revenue dipped more sharply in a recession, while state expenditures, more heavily weighted to social services and transfers, increased more at the same time. Finally, since states must balance their budgets (on paper, anyway), they have a harder time than the federal government to square the decreased revenue and increased expenditure. Revenue Sharing was direct federal funding of state expenditures, intended to address all these problems.

New Jersey Transit. To judge by ghits, if you see ``NJT'' it is rather more likely to refer to New Jersey Transit than to the New Jersey Turnpike. However, many misguided people (possibly a majority) abbreviate the New Jersey Turnpike by NJT rather than NJTP.

New Jersey Transit is an operator of commuter trains mostly connecting the New Jersey suburbs and New York City. (A lot of the lines stop in Hoboken; from there you take a PATH train or ferry into the city.) They also have a line connecting Philadelphia with Atlantic City. I'll play it safe and not characterize further -- here's a route map as of May 6, 2002. You can get between Philadelphia and New York by transferring between SEPTA and NJT in Trenton. (I doubt you'd be wanting to stay in Trenton. If you want to stretch your legs, get off at Princeton Junction and take the spur to beautiful Princeton. That spur figures briefly in the Rebecca Goldsmith book mentioned at the trivial entry.)

New Jersey Turnpike Authority. A New Jersey government agency that operates the New Jersey Turnpike (NJTP) and the Garden State Parkway (GSPW).

Neighborhood Junior Tennis Program. ``[A] non-profit organization located in Sylmar, California. Founded in 1992 by six childhood friends, NJTP provides low-cost group and private lessons to children in our neighborhood.''

New Jersey TurnPike. The NJTP and the Garden State Parkway (GSPW) are operated by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA).

The NJTP logo consists of lettering and a polygonal frame in white against a green background. Large letters T and P appear in the middle, offset but overlapping, with smaller letters N and J positioned as bookends, and TURNPIKE in tiny caps running between the N and J, across the middle of the TP. Something like this, though the large TP is thicker:

                        TTTTTTPTT     P
                            T P       P
                            T PPPPPPPP
                            T P              J
               N    N  T U R N P I K E       J
               NN   N       T P              J
               N N  N       T P         J    J
               N  N N       T            JJJJ
               N   NN                    

It suggests NTPJ, probably abbreviating the word Nturnpikej. Whoever designed this apparently didn't understand how logos should work. He must have wondered why IBM didn't use the more symmetric BIM. To give the devil his due, however, the logo does suggest the general northeast-southwest direction of the Turnpike's main line, through the diagonal offset of the large letters TP and the conforming shape of the frame (an irregular hexagon with opposite sides parallel, made by cutting the upper left and lower right corners of a rectangle). Also, the letters are crowded together and haven't moved in at least forty years, which is a fair description of rush hour traffic. Okay, maybe that's not a good thing. But it does at least strongly suggest that the officially preferred abbreviation is NJTP (which helps avoid confusion with NJ Transit).

P. Simon and A. Garfunkel have described research (counting the cars on the NJTP), and reported a surprising finding: ``They've all come to look for America.'' Maps are available at rest areas (called service areas), which are named after famous unknowns.

(That used to say ``...after obscure luminaries.'' It was a better oxymoron if one attended the original literal senses of the words, but morons like you, dear reader, just didn't ``get it.'' We had no choice but to abase the vocabularary. After all, we wouldn't want to do anything to make anyone feel inadequate.)

New Jersey TurnPike Authority. Reasonable but unofficial abbreviation; use NJTA.

North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. (The Turnpike Authority is the NJTA. Why can't you people follow instructions!?)

New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Natural Killer. Evocative name of an indiscriminate (well, okay: ``nonspecific'') lymphocyte.

Not Known. I suppose it's not surprising this acronym isn't more widely used. If patterns hold, those more likely to need it are less likely to know it.

No Known Drug Allergies. Notice the crucial qualifier.

National Kidney Foundation.

New King James Version. The inspired beauty of the KJV language, but with modern spellings and verb conjugations.

Northern Kentucky University.

Narodny Komitet Vnutrennih Del. USSR `People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs.'

(Domain name extension for) Netherlands. This means low-lands (you know -- nether, low?) but English ``Low Countries'' and the corresponding French Pays Bas refers to Belgium (.be) and Luxembourg (.lu) as well.

Country code 31 for direct-dial phone calls.

In 1839, Thomas Hood wrote that ``Holland...lies so low they're only saved by being dammed.'' I also quote the incorrigible punster at a Boyle.

National Laboratory.

``Welcome to my National Laborratorrry,'' says Uncle Frankensam. ``I have crreated a beautiful monsterr!''

National League (of baseball). The ``National League of Professional Base Ball [sic] Clubs'' was formed in New York on February 1, 1876. The older of the two component leagues of North American Major League Baseball (MLB). The one that still does not use the designated hitter.

Natural Language. When people explicitly specify natural language, they're often about the business of NLP.


New Line. See LF.

Postal abbreviation for the Canadian (.ca) province of Newfoundland and Labrador. For a bit of history, see the entry for the earlier postal abbreviation NF (official to Oct. 21, 2002; usable at least for six months afterwards).

The capital of Newfoundland and Labrador is St. John's; it's the only provincial or state capital in all of the Americas with an apostrophe in its name. (FWIW, the province of New Brunswick has a Saint John County which consists essentially of the port city Saint John and a few miles of coast on either side.)

Norfolk Landscape Archaeology. A Gressenhall-based organization that records and maps finds in Norfolk (a county in England). The NLA's staff includes 20 archaeologists. More archaeological objects are found in Norfolk than any other county in Britain; in 2004 there were over 27,000. All members of the reserves are required to maintain a metal detector in good working condition and ready for immediate use. One sentence in this paragraph is false.

This is probably the ideal entry at which to point out that the UK spelling of artifacts is artefacts.

National (UK) Library for the Blind.

National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association. It was formed in 1916 in Chicago as the National Retail Lumber Dealers Association.

National Learning Corporation. ``You've come to the right place to search for your test preparation books.'' (To tell you the truth, I hadn't realized that I'd misplaced them.)

Many study guides and cram courses are available for the well-known admissions tests and professional licensing exams, but NLC seems to be the organization that helps one prepare for civil service exams. For example, I have before me C-1727 of its Career Examination Series (CES): Assistant Supervisor (Elevators and Escalators) Passbook. (Plastic bound -- lies flat for study ease!)

They also have supervisor and foreman volumes for elevators and escalators. It's no wonder they claim their passbooks (R) are ``Preferred By More Test Takers.''

I got my copy of Assistant Supervisor (Elevators and Escalators) Passbook (copyright 1991) off the discount table at Borders. It had been reduced from $29.95 to $15.00 to $1. This time they skipped the 75%-off stage. I also picked up a bunch of decade-old conference proceedings from Springer-Verlag for a buck apiece. I couldn't resist, Springers are usually very dear. Soon you'll be reading entries like BIER, which I found on page 566 of Computer Aided Systems Theory -- EUROCAST '91 : A Selection of Papers from the Second International Workshop on Computer Aided Systems Theory, Krems, Austria, April 1991 Proceedings, F. Pichler and R. Moreno Díaz (Eds.), published as volume 585 of Springer's Lecture Notes in Computer Science Series (originally $111.95, now priced to move at $1). I'm not putting this down -- half the publications in my CV are older than this.

One thing the Springers and the NLC's have in common is that they didn't require a lot of effort on the part of the publishing house. The NLC thing looks like fuzzy photocopies of typed pages, with bold sans-serif headings applied separately (the tape backing shows through). The Springer volumes were prepared by the contributors, each set of notes in its own font. Springer has some really excellent professional books in mathematics and physics, but their business in conference proceedings is pure slumming.

I also picked up How To Run For Public Office And Win : A Step By Step Guide. It started out at a price intermediate between the NLC and the big Springer volumes -- $54.95 -- but at a buck it was clearly the worst deal. It's the thinnest of the three (ca. 85 pp., about a third the page count of the Elevators volume and a tenth that of the EUROCAST '91 volume). It has the best font, and pictures, but the grammar is not all there. It's not as technically sophisticated as the book for Assistant supervisors (Elevators and Escalators) either. On page 79, the candidate learns that being drunk at a public gathering with reporters is definitely a bad idea. Still, perhaps the authors know their readership.

You'd figure that there ought to be a ``Running for Public Office for Dummies'' book, but a search at Amazon.com yields only

Books Search Results: we were unable to find exact matches for your search for "Dummies public office".

Close matches for this search: Would you like to search again?

I notice that NLC's database search brings up links to Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, but not to Borders.

It may be that for partial matches, Barnes and Noble has a better algorithm than Amazon.com (or worse, depending on what you seek). A search on ``Dummies Public Office'' there turned up books on Public Relations, Public Speaking, and Successful Presentations in the for-Dummies series, and a similar search yielded a nice assortment from the Complete Idiot's Guide and Pocket Idiot's Guide series.

JACKPOT! Additional out-of-print titles yields biographies of FDR and Woodrow Wilson.

Borders was mentioned in an article I read in CHE recently (July 20, 2001 issue). It turns out that 2000-2001 was a cruddy year for university presses. The fiscal year ended in June, and hard numbers are either unavailable or embarrassed secrets, but nobody met sales targets and most presses lost money. In recent years Borders had boosted UP distribution by carrying a lot of their titles, but no more. I'll be keeping an eye on those bargain tables.

National Library of Canada. French: Bibiothèque nationale du Canada.

National League (NL) Championship Series. Used to be best-of-five, back when each league of Major League Baseball (MLB) consisted of two divisions (NL East and NL West in this case). Then, it was played between the two division winners (the teams with the best regular-season records in their respective divisions). The winner of the series, the NL champion team, would go on to meet the AL champion in the World Series.

After an expansion and a reorganization in 1995, there are three divisions, and the NL champion is determined in an NL playoff series that consists of two rounds: the NL Division Series (NLDS), best-of-five, followed by the NLCS, best-of-seven.

The American League champion is chosen the same way (ALDS, ALCS).

If you need a review, all of the preceding information is repeated with slightly different wording at the LCS entry.

National League Division Series. The first round of the NL playoff series of Major League Baseball (MLB), explained in the NLCS entry above. Four teams are paired in best-of-five series to determine which two teams go to the NLCS.

The teams that meet in the NLDS are the winners of the three divisions (East, Central, West) and one wildcard team. The division champion is the team with the best W-L record in its division. (The division championship is called the penant, and competition for this, heating up toward the end of the regular season, is called the penant race.) All regular-season games count equally in determining the division champion, whether the games are against an intra-division rival, a team outside the division but in the same league, or in another division. (For a long time before the reorganization into 3+3 divisions, there were no interleague games during the regular season apart from the All-Star game.) The wildcard is the team with the best record among the remaining teams -- i.e., the second-place team with the best record.

If, at the end of the regular season, two teams are tied for first place in a division or two second-place teams (possibly in the same division) have identical records, then a single play-off game to determine the division champion or league wildcard. I don't know what happens when three or more teams are tied this way. We've come pretty close to having three or more potential wildcards since the 1995 reorganization.

[In (American) football, there are fewer games and schedules are much more rigid, so ties are broken by formulas, in which games count differently depending on whether they were played against opponents in or out of the division, etc.]

Home field advantage in the division series and the championship series are both determined by the same rules:

  1. The wildcard team never has home-field advantage.
  2. Priority among division champions is determined on the basis of regular-season won-lost record.


National (US) Latin Exam. Sponsored by the American Classical League (ACL) and the Junior Classical League (JCL). Primarily for high school students in the US and Canada. Not a requirement for admission to anyplace I've heard of, just an academic competition. There are other exams sponsored by the same organizations, in Classical Greek (NGE) and mythology.

(The URL has varied a bit; make sure you're using the correct one. It moved to <http://nle.aclclassics.org> on April 22, 2002.)

National Library of Education.

Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990. Requires all packaged foods to carry labels with nutrition information. There are a fair number of exceptions, and the FDA has authority to make exceptions and additions, even on a regional basis. You could read a summary of the act, part of the extensive legislative information resources here.

National Labor Federation. Also abbreviated NATLFED. Not what you'd expect: Followers of the late Eugenio (`Gino') Perente-Ramos (b. Gerald William Doeden; d. 1995, age 59), who are estimated to number in the hundreds, sometimes call themselves the Provisional Communist Party or the National Labor Federation. As you might imagine, they're not affiliated with anyone I am aware of.

Their indoctrination scheme involves cutting people off from their friends and family and

forcing them to fill out unending amounts of completely meaningless paperwork!

I know I'd crack. They also collect illegal firearms.

Source: NYTimes p. A1, 1996.11.13 Here's an article from a few days later. Part of an unsympathetic trove.

National Lung Health Education Program. A Denver-based nonprofit.

National Law Journal.

Native-Language Kid Talk. One strategy for the FLES classroom.

National Library of Medicine, part of NIH. Also searchable from Achoo.

National Lumber Manufacturers' Association. I see evidence that they were in existence in 1915 and 1964, and various times in between. I haven't figured out what happened to them, but I know they didn't become the NLBMDA.

Next-to-Leading Order. The second nonvanishing order of contributions to some calculated quantity. Preceded by LO (more discussion there) and followed by NNLO.

NonLinear Optics. Here there's a listing of nonlinear indices of refraction.

Natural-Language Processing. That is, unnatural language processing. The NLP term is usually expanded without the hyphen, because semantic details like negation will be dealt with during a later phase of research. A brief online history is available. See ``Progress in the Application of Natural Language Processing to Information Retrieval Tasks,'' The Computer Journal, 35, #3, pp. 268-277 (1992).

An Annotated list of resources on statistical natural language processing and corpus-based computational linguistics is served by Christopher Manning.

National Livestock Producers Association.

Newfoundland and Labrador Publishers' Association.

Network Level Protocol ID.

Near Letter Quality. Back around 1985, dot-matrix printers were the affordable option for hardcopy output from personal personal computers. (The business alternative for printing on letter-size paper was daisy-wheel printers. Laser and ink-jet printers were futurama.) If I remember correctly, eight-dot matrices (8 dot positions per line, covering the range from the bottom of the descenders to the top of the risers) had been standard, and 23-dot matrices were coming out. The latter could give you ``NLQ'' at low speed.

Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium. Dutch: `National Air- and Space-travel laboratory' (official English: ``National Aerospace Laboratory NLR'').

Noise Level Reduction. I think that's a good thing. A good thing. Can't you hear me? I SAID IT'S A GOOD THING.

National Labor Relations Act, passed in 1935 after the NIRA was found unconstitutional. Established the NLRB. Major amendments were the Taft-Hartley Act [which is more or less chapter seven of title 29 (Labor) of the US Code (29 USC 7)]. the Landrum-Griffin Act (1959) [chapter eleven of the same title (29 USC 11)]. The Taft-Hartley Act is officially the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, and the Landrum-Griffin Act is the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. The Taft-Hartley Act is described in this glossary at the closed shop entry.

Originally, in keeping with the intentions of the Democratic Congress and President (FDR) that brought it into being, the NLRA did not allow public-sector unions to bargain collectively for their employees. In 1962, President Kennedy's (JFK's) executive order 10988 extended this privilege to postal workers and some smaller categories of federal employees.

National Labor Relations Board. Agency that administers the NLRA.

Narrow-Line Radio Galaxy. See RG.

National Library of Scotland.

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (Part of the US Library of Congress.)

Network License Server. For site-licensed software.

Not Later Than. Frequently interposed between ``RSVP'' and a date.


National (US) Latin Teacher Recruitment Week. Sponsored by the ACL with some participation by the APA. The first one: March 3-7, 2003.

``Throughout North America there is a serious need for Latin Teachers. Each year, for lack of teachers, existing programs are cancelled, thriving programs are told they cannot expand, and schools that want to add Latin are unable to do so.''

Northeast Louisiana University.

NanoMeter. According to international standards, this word should normally be in lower case, sentence-initial capitalization aside.

Ten angstroms.

See next entry.

n-m, N-M
Neiman Marcus. I learned this in a chat room, as I was dying of boredom. N-M itself uses ``NM.''

If Neiman were pronunced according to English spelling, uh, rules, the first syllable would be pronounced like the English words nay and neigh instead of like knee. (In German it's like English nigh.)

A search on the words pronunciation and pronounced at the n-m website only produced the information that Nambé, which ``creates simple, elegant designs in metal, porcelain, and crystal'' that are not inexpensive, was ``[c]hristened for a tiny New Mexican [next entry] village near Sante Fe, where the company was founded in 1951, is ``pronounced nom-BAY.''

N.M., NM
New Mexico. USPS abbreviation.

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

New Mexico is a community property state.

The westernmost ``New'' state.

Noise Margin. A measure of the noise tolerance of a logic gate. Usually a voltage noise margin is meant, but for some kinds of logic (e.g., I²L) a current noise margin is more appropriate.

National Medical Association.

National Mining Association.

Network Management and Administration. Say, man.

Network Monitoring and Analysis. Say, mon.

National Materials Advisory Board. It is clear from their under-construction homepage that this is an organization which holds meetings. Part of the NAS.

National Museum of the American Indian. Part of the Smithsonian Institution.

NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods.

Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegena. Flemish name of Belgian National Railway. French name is Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges (SNCB).

New Muon Collaboration.

National Muscle Car Association. A drag-racing association. Vide goracing.com, VROOM.

National Missile Defense. A surface-launched ABM system proposal kicking around the US government since the mid-90's.

NeuroMotor Disease.

Nuclear Medicine Department at UB.


National Materials Exchange Network. Network communication resource to enable the recycling of industrial materials and waste by putting in contact the people for whom a material is poison with those for whom it is meat. Won an NII award.

Norges Musikkorps Forbund. Well, they've got a ``hjelp'' page, but not an English one. It looks like the name means `Norwegian Marching Band Association.' According to this page served by NBTA Europe, NMF is the NBTA Norway.

National Marine Fisheries Services. A division of NOAA.

Noise Margin (NM) -- High.

National Mental Health Association.

National Mental Health Association of Georgia.

New Mexico Highlands University.

National {Measurement|Metrology} Institute.

(Australian) National Measurement Institute. NMI (not ``the NMI,'' apparently) was established on July 1, 2004, formed from the National Measurement Laboratory (NML), the National Standards Commission (NSC) and the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories (AGAL), and continues their work.

Nautical MIle[s]. Defined to be exactly 1.852 kilometers.

The most convenient universal property of ``1.852'' that I can think of is that 8, 5, and 2 are lined up on decimal keypads. Hmmm. Maybe there's more. The meter was originally defined to be one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the equator along the meridian through Paris. In other words, the length of the quadrant through Paris. (Some people thought it would make sense to measure longitude away from this meridian; I can't imagine what they might have had against a zero meridian through London.) There was a big scientific project to determine this distance, although they didn't actually go to the North Pole or the equator. If no one had measured the exact distance to the pole, I guess we'd never have learned the speed of light, so this must have been an important project. Let's suppose that the measurement was accurate, and that the earth is spherical to a good approximation. In that case, the 10,000 km is the distance corresponding to 90 angular degrees of lattitude, 90° of longitude measured at the equator, or 90° measured along any great circle on Earth's surface. That would mean that 59.9952 nmi would correspond to one degree, or about one nautical mile to one minute of angle. Come think of it, one nautical mile per minute of angle was the original definition.

Since one inch is defined (now) to be 2.54 cm, an ordinary (i.e., a universal American) mile is 1.609344 km, so 1 nmi = 1.1507794 mi., approximately.

If you came to this entry as part of the ``Meter Definition History Tour Package,'' I'm afraid I have some bad news. Combs with suspiciously sharp teeth were found in the carry-on baggage of tourists at the next few entries, so as a precaution the tour will proceed directly to the current definition, described at the entry for c, the speed of light.

NanoMagnet[-based] Logic.

(Australian) National Measurement Laboratory. Some time before 1983, when CSIRO was created, NML became an entity within its Division of Physics, at Sydney. On July 1, 2004, its staff, facilities, and functions were incorporated into NMI when that was established. At least until the transition is complete, the old website is useful.

Network Management Layer.

Noise Margin (NM) -- Low.

(UK) National Maritime Museum.

National Motorsports Marketing.

National Marine Manufacturers Association. I guess that settles it, then: marines are made, not born.

New Mexico Military Institute. ``Founded in 1891, NMMI is a co-educational, residential, college preparatory high school and two-year junior college in a military setting, located in Roswell, New Mexico.''

Roswell, eh? Hmmm. Military? Mmm.

National Mail-Order Pharmacy.

[Image: N MOSFET schematic cross section]

N-channel MOSFET, and any of the logic families based on it (which differ primarily in the nature of load in the gates--depletion nMOS transistor, enhancement nMOS, or resistor). ROM is most simply implemented in nMOS logic (see next entry, nMOS ROM).

Pronounce it carefully (``EN moss''), it about rhymes with MNOS.

The two main types of ROM based on nMOS are NOR and NAND. NAND is denser, but for a given set of design rules its access time is longer and grows more rapidly with the number of rows. NOR is less dense but has shorter access times. NOR memory can be programmed much later in fabrication, as described at the PMP entry.

In both memory types, each row (or ``word line'') is a conducting strip serving as a common gate for all the transistors in that row -- one per column, or bit line (vide BL). In NOR memory, all memory locations -- all transistors -- of a bit line are connected in parallel, like the drive of an nMOS NOR gate. In NAND memory, all transistors of a BL are connected in series.

Network Management Protocol.

NATO Military Representative (to SHAPE).

Neonatal Mortality Rate. The number of neonatal (first 28 days of life) deaths per thousand livebirths.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Typically, this refers to the absorption resonance of spin-split nuclear energy levels. Note that, since the gyromagnetic ratio is inversely proportional to particle mass, at any given magnetic field the nuclear/nucleon magnetic moment is on the order of a thousand times smaller than the atomic/electronic resonance frequencies. Thus, with EPR resonance at microwave frequencies, NMR is at radio frequencies.

NMR became the basis of an important new medical imaging technology in the 1980's. However, the word nuclear seems to have spooked a number of people, because what was originally called ``NMR imaging `` became ``MRI.'' (Then again, see preceding NMR item.)

Here was some instructional material from Virginia Tech.

The University of Florida offers the electronic journal Magnetic Resonance, which it apparently also calls its NMR Information Server. They also serve some reference links. UCB also serves a page of links.

There's a newsgroup.

Here's some more.

Here's a historical bit served by Varian.

There's even an NMR acronyms library.

There's a Van Halen song from 1983, appearing on their 1984 album, with a refrain that sounds like ``NMR'' (nonrhotic British accent) or ``enema.'' It's hard to tell accents in song. For personal reasons, I prefer to think it sounds like NMR. It's ``Panama.'' For related considerations, see the mondegreen entry: deconstruction.

Actually, the band sang it with accent on the final syllable (actually a long high note), so it sounded more like the pronunciation of the name Panamá in Spanish.

New Members Round Table (of the ALA). This is your first round table, huh? Well, there are others, like SRRT.

National Medal of Science. According to the American Society for Engineering Education [ASEE], ``...established by Congress in 1959 as a Presidential award, has recognized 362 of America's leading scientists and engineers. The evaluation criteria is based on the total impact an individual's work has had on the present state of physical, chemical, biological, mathematical, engineering, behavioral or social sciences.''

Dang! If I had known about this desirable award, I would have worked at least 40% harder to find a cure for cancer!

Network Management { System | Station }.

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome.

National Medal of Technology. According to the American Society for Engineering Education [ASEE], ``...established by Congress in 1980 as part of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Act as a Presidential award, has recognized 108 individuals and eight companies whose accomplishments have generated jobs and created a better standard of living. Their accomplishments best embody technological innovation and support the advancement of global U.S. competitiveness.''

Ny MediaTeknik. Swedish for New Media Technology, probably. But wait...

[Phone icon]

Nordic Mobile Telephone. This site gives one company's not disinterested description. A standard developed by Nordic Post and Telephone Administrations. Less efficient than GSM but provides wider coverage for sparsely populated areas like, uh, Sweden!

New Mission Terrace Improvement Association. Mission Terrace is a neighborhood located in south central San Francisco. NMTIA is a volunteer organization dedicated to local issues.

New Mexico Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Network Management Vector Transport. Management protocol for SNA-based (IBM) network management systems.

A unix program for browsing newsgroups.

Nearest Neighbor.

Network Node.

Neural Net[work]. A network of nonlinear nodes patterned to mimic features of biological neural systems. Back in the 1980's and even to this day, for all I know, unimaginative researchers would churn out neural net papers by the bushel, each one a slight perturbation of a thought different from the next. A guy I knew who got his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering had a long list of conference publications from this sort of industry. Normally one would be proud and happy to have many publications before the doctorate, but he actually omitted a number of his papers because he found them embarrassing and expected that they would be looked askance by prospective employers. Of course, there were also a few worthwhile papers in the field. One NN paper that I haven't read is ``Use of neural networks to predict roasting time and weight loss for beef joints,'' Food Service Technology, vol. 1, #1, pp. 53-59 (2001).

Nucleon-Nucleon (interaction).

Vide compass directions.

National Network for Early Language Learning.

Northern New England Philosophical Association. Founded in 1974.

Nonlinear Negative FeedBack. I said STOP!!! (Cf. IUBAC.)

National NeuroFibromatosis Foundation, Inc.

Network-to-Network Interface.

National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

UB's Health Sciences Library (HSL) (q.v.) is a member.

Next-to-Next-to-Leading Order. The third nonvanishing order of contributions to some calculated quantity. Preceded by LO (more discussion there) and NNLO.

Next-Nearest Neighbor.

Mortgage, spelled so as to defeat spam filters. More at the REFINANCE YOUR VIAGRA entry.

National Newspaper Publishers Association. ``The National Newspaper Publishers Association, also known as the Black Press of America, is a ... federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers from across the United States [and the Virgin Islands]. Since World War II, it has also served as the industry's news service, a position that it has held without peer or competitor since the Associated Negro Press dissolved by 1970. ...''

The NNPA was founded in 1940 as the National Negro Publishers Association and adopted its current name in 1956. Most of the member newspapers are weeklies.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Sure, it's real. A lot more real than the money you will realize helping a conman team to launder NNPC secret funds.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Usually written NPT.

(USENET) Network News Reader for IBM CMS.

Non-Nucleoside Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitors.

Non-Native Speaker (of English or some other language).

Number Needed to Treat. The number of people who have to take a treatment in order for one person to benefit directly. (A treatment, for the purposes of this definition, is understood very generally: receiving a vaccination, following a particular diet, and following a particular drug regimen all qualify as treatments.) The specific term abbreviated by NNT has apparently been promoted by epidemiologists since 1988.

The idea is that many preventive treatments (see above) are prescribed for healthy people who aren't likely to suffer the malady being ``prevented.'' In this case, it was conventional to distinguish absolute and relative risk reduction. If p0 is the risk without the treatment (that is, the probability of contracting the disease or what have you, over a specified period of time, yadda, yadda, yadda), and p1 is the risk with the treatment (taken over a specified period and/or in a specified dose, yadcetera), then p0 - p1 is the absolute reduction in risk, and this quantity divided by p0 is the relative reduction in risk.

[One of the more important yaddas is that in a properly designed clinical study of a drug's effectiveness, p0 is determined for a control group that receives a placebo, and whether a study participant is in the control group or in the group receiving the test drug is determined randomly. I think that maybe what you can buy at organic-food stores is the placebo diet: same unappetizing flavor, but none of the putative health benefit.]

The relative reduction in risk is always larger than the absolute; it seems more impressive and so is supposed to be favored by pharmaceutical companies in their public advertisements and promotional literature. If p0 is quite small, then the absolute risk is smaller, but the relative risk reduction can sound pretty good. For example, if a drug reduces the risk from 0.02% to 0.01%, then the absolute risk reduction is 0.01%, but the relative risk reduction is 50%. As the absolute risk gets small, the value of taking the drug decreases while the relative risk reduction may remain impressive. Apparently, the absolute/relative distinction was too often glossed-over. The NNT was defined to avoid that. It is the reciprocal of the absolute risk reduction, something like the odds of having a benefit from the drug. In the example presented, the NNT is 10,000. In other words, one needs to treat 10,000 in order for one treated person to benefit. In ordinary terms, the odds of benefitting are 9999 to 1. This is something a physician can explain to any patient.

Network News Transfer Protocol.

N number
A partial abbreviation of Number NUMBER, and so, to be brief, a redundant pleonastic pleonasm redundancy, forming part of many that we occasionally call, for short, acronym-assisted AAP pleonasms. Some popular examples:

Vide compass directions and North by Northwest.

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