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Pale, Soft, Exudative. Sounds like a medical report, and it pretty much is. It's a technical description for pale pork meat. The paleness and other properties all arise from rapid change in muscle pH after the pig is slaughtered.

PicoSECond. Not the SI-standard abbreviation for picosecond, but clearer and even necessary in some contexts. And still just 10-12 second. Cf. ps.

European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference. See EU-PSEC.

The study of voting. By my count, it's today's word of the day. The ancient Greek word psêphos meant pebble originally, and took on the sense of ballot (voting in elections was done by placing one's pebble in one or another jar).

Heterostructures made between materials whose crystals do not have a very good lattice match are called pseudomorphic.

It seems to me that a large fraction of the nonfiction works currently published under pseudonyms are written by academics. Then again, maybe that simply reflects my reading preferences. In any case, the principal recent exception I can think of is Joe Klein's Primary Colors (1993), and it's not even nonfiction or recent. Klein was outed by Vassar English professor Donald Foster who identified him on the basis of minor details like punctuation patterns. (I would put a comma after ``Foster.'')

One case of pseudonymous academic authorship is that of Carl Withers, who published as James West. He did an extensive anthropological study of a small rural town, which remained anonymous in his publication (Plainville, USA). In principle, one could regard his use of a pseudonym as a way of further protecting the anonymity of the town where he did his field work, but as I understand it he also used the pseudonym during the many months he lived there. Did he have to get a fake driver's license and everything, or was ID so rarely used in those days? What did he do when he needed money? I imagine that he was really protecting himself from possibly irate ``informants.'' (It was reported in a follow-up study that people of the town found the original book unflattering.)

In the usual case, one suspects that the academic (or probable academic, given the author's apparent familiarity with university faculty conditions) is hiding behind a pseudonym for protection from other academics. Here are some other examples:

Bruce Truscot: Red Brick University (1943). It was about a typical red brick university (that's a moderately well-defined category in England) which bore the pseudonymous name of Redbrick University. The 1951 edition (which included additional chapters first published in 1945) includes a preface. Here are its second and part of its third paragraphs:

  Red Brick University was published under a pseudonym, and had no preface. That was not because there was no room for one, or no need for one, but because of the author's desire to sink his own personality and focus attention on his theme.   The policy, however, was not entirely successful. Most Redbrick readers were less moved by the book to a healthy introspection than to excited speculation on the identity of the author. Frenzied fingerings of Who's Who and the Oxbridge University Calendar [calendar?] failed to reveal any mention of Bruce Truscot -- which was not entirely surprising, as that gentleman had carefully examined the same volumes a few months earlier in order to ascertain that he did not exist. Then began a search through the book itself for what is known in academic groves as internal evidence -- again with no great success, as the author had also anticipated these activities and had taken some little trouble to cover his tracks. ...

Bruce Truscot was the pseudonym of E. (Edgar) Allison Peers, 1891-1952.

Josef Martin: To Rise Above Principle: The Memoirs of an Unreconstructed Dean (Univ. Ill. Pr., 1988). As you can probably guess from the title, this is a fun read -- compared to your typical dean's memoir, anyway. There's a smidgen of internal evidence suggesting the author was a dean at ASU.

Rebekah Nathan: My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student (Ithaca: Cornell U.P., 2005). She enrolled as a student at ``AnyU,'' the state school where she is an anthropology professor. She was in her mid-50's, which isn't unusual for a ``returning student,'' but she lived in a campus dormitory, which is. Her dorm-mates guessed and propagated rumors of a tough divorce. As a disguise, she donned a back-pack and flip-flops, and I think she claims somewhere that her colleagues didn't recognize her. Nathan also wrote: ``The ultimate test of my analysis will be undergraduate students, who can decide for themselves if they recognize their lives and their world in this book.''

Funny thing, but one of the former students of ``Truscot'' wrote him from Burma during the closing months of WWII, where he was an officer... ``He had just been reading a book which had made him feel quite homesick, so vividly did it recall the old days at the University. `I should like you to read it too... I expect you can get hold of it somewhere. But I ought to warn you that it draws a very unflattering picture of a professor, and I shouldn't like you to think that was why I wanted you to read it. Don't worry: none of your old students would ever think that the author was drawing you'.''

That's all I can think of for now. Somewhat related are nonpseudonymous authors who write fiction based largely on a particular university whose identity they dissemble to some degree. There was, for example, a lot of speculation on the identity of the real ``Moo U.'' that was the basis of Jane Smiley's Moo (NY: A.A. Knopf, 1995). MSU and ISU were popular guesses, but the riddling is clearly vain: this dense novel is a creative work and not some thinly disguised roman à clef.

The Dupont University of Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons (FSG, 2004) is well known to be modeled in part on Duke University. The man manages to be preternaturally timely. This time it seems he peaked a year early. (The sex scandal at Duke, false accusations of rape by a stripper against some members of the school's lacrosse team, broke in 2006.) I read somewhere that a movie based on Wolfe's book was supposed to be in development for release in 2007. As of 2011, a TV series based on the book was scheduled for 2011. Maybe someone merely bought the rights.

I ought to say something about blogs. There, I did it! Okay, some more: it is very common for bloggers to maintain, or try to maintain, anonymity. Hence, it is not noteworthy that many academic bloggers do too. But here's a noteworthy instance nonetheless. A friend of mine who teaches at a private high school maintains two blogs, one anonymous. The other one he sometimes refers his students to. The anonymous one does not contain opinions or material that would be obnoxious or inflammatory to an adult audience, but it occasionally has ``adult'' material. That's ``adult'' in two senses: it may be vulgar (in two senses as well: common and ``low'') and it is usually learned. Maybe one word would be clearer: it may contain poems of Catallus. Keeping that blog anonymous prevents uncomfortable situations that might arise when his students surf the Internet.

I finally remembered a pseudonymous nonfiction book not written by an academic! A friend of mine self-published a book about how to lose weight. (You'd figure that's a genre that really makes the shelves groan, but they say the market is huge. Her book at least went into a second printing.) The pseudonym she used is the patron saint (or something along those lines) of her native island. The personage and name is female, but still I wonder if this didn't make things awkward at the book-signings.

A work presented as a translation in its original language.

Point Spread Function. The image pattern generated by a point source object.

And I thought the function of the point spread was to create a marketable bet on a contest that is not evenly matched. Heck, you learn something new every day.


PhosphoSilicate Glass. Glass formed when phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5-SiO2) is included during CVD oxide deposition. The phosphorus is a plasticizer for the SiO2 glass: PSG is less brittle than SiO2 and has slightly better step coverage. The glass transition temperature is at about 1000-1100°C.


PasSenGeR. Airline fare abbreviation. It seems they come in three sizes: adult (ADT), child (CHD), and infant (INF). Oh no wait -- that's ages. The three sizes are first class passengers, business-class passengers, and steerage (a/k/a Coach). Coach passengers are assumed not to have legs.

If you look at airline ads from the late fifties and early sixties, you'll notice the prices listed look reasonable in today's dollars. In other words, they were way expensive then. The entire business model has changed. Airline travel has been considerably democratized, and now most seats on any plane are coach class. (In the fifties, it was not unusual for a plane to be mostly first class. Coach class was called by less euphonious names such as ``Economy'' and later ``Tourist.'')

Pavement Serviceability Index. Cf. PCI.

PSI, psi, p.s.i.
Pounds per Square Inch. Unit of pressure common for pumps and gauges. Perhaps a bit more popular in the US than elsewhere.


PreSentence Investigation.


Better getcher eyes checked. That's not a Greek letter, that's a saguaro cactus!

PSIA, psia
Pounds per Square Inch Absolute. In other words, if the atmospheric pressure is 14.7 psi, then a pipe holding water at 14.8 psia only needs to apply a force to compensate 0.1 psig. The rest of the force is applied by the atmosphere.

PSID, psid
Pounds per Square Inch Differential. Not just a unit, but a comment that the number represents a difference between two pressures. PSID gauges have two input connectors. PSIA is PSID relative to vacuum, PSIG is PSID relative to local atmospheric pressure, and PSIS is PSID relative to a sealed 14.7-psi pressure vessel.

PSIG, psig
Pounds per Square Inch Gauge. That is, pressure in PSI as measured by a gauge. Since the gauge is typically immersed in the local atmosphere (i.e., not encased in a vacuum chamber), the most directly measurable pressure is the difference in pressure between that exerted on one side of a diaphragm by the fluid to be measured, and the pressure exerted on the other side by the atmosphere.

In other words, PSIG is the deviation of the measured pressure (PSID) from atmospheric. Local atmospheric pressure is 14.7 psi at sea level and 12.2 psi at an altitude of one mile. This is still the most common type of pressure measurement and gauge.

PSIS, psis
Pounds per Square Inch Sealed. That is, pressure in PSI relative to the atmospheric pressure at sea level. The word sealed refers to the idea that one way to construct a PSIS gauge is to seal an ordinary PSIG gauge in a one-atmosphere pressure vessel (with an exposed inlet port, of course).

Phase-Shift Keying.

[Football icon]

Permanent Seat License. Being sold by the Browns to finance their divorce from Cleveland. The stadium they moved into was called Owings Mills. That stadium was home until the mid-eighties to the maverick Colts, who literally snuck out in the middle of the night, and are now in Indianapolis, the largest urban center in the world without a significant body of surface water (there's an enormous underground aquifer). Where was I? Oh yeah, and after that, Baltimore briefly had an expansion team of the Canadian Football League (CFL).

The Browns changed their name after the divorce, to Ravens. Ravens perch on bleached skulls in wizards' laboratories, eat carrion and like to collect shiny things that didn't originally belong to them, but perhaps the really positive feature is that they're black birds, and at the time of the move, black was the hot color for team uniforms.

PolyStyrene (PS) Latex.

Phase-Shift Mask.

Porsche Stability Management. A feature that helps keep Porsche management personnel steadily employed. A synonym of electronic stability control. For other synonyms, see the ESC entry.

Piecewise Stationary Memoryless Sources. Well, you can hardly prove basic coding theorems based on no assumptions.

Penicillin, Streptomycin, and Neomycin. Antibiotics often administered admixed.


Petronian Society Newsletter. See also the journal Ancient Narrative (AN) and the International Conference on the Ancient Novel (ICAN).


Public Service Organization. A kind of NGO, q.v.

Partido Socialista Obrero Español. It's a weirdly uninflected name, something like `Spanish Worker Socialist Party.'

It was one of the first socialist parties in Europe, founded clandestinely in Madrid the day after May Day 1879. The initial membership consisted of intellectuals and workers, mainly typesetters. Typesetters (tipógrafos or cajistas) are people who set type; I'm not sure what an intellectual (intelectual) is, but here it apparently means someone who doesn't work.

The party was headed by Pablo Iglesias Posse, and with a Republican-Socialist alliance in 1910, he became the first socialist deputy in the Spanish Parliament (Cortes). Iglesias was a typesetter and journalist. It reminds me of Virginia Woolf. It seems that at the beginning of the twentieth century, a lot of intellectuals got their hands dirty and published their own stuff. On a smaller scale, something like the beginning of the twenty-first, when so many clowns do their own web publishing.

Following the Russian Revolution, the Third Socialist International (the Leninist or Communist International) led to a split in the Spanish socialist movement, with partisans of Lenin leaving the PSOE to form a communist party (PCE).

Philosophical Society Of England.

Partido Socialista Popular. Spanish: `popular socialist party.' A distant-third political party of Argentina. It is probably the most popular socialist party. Cf. PJ, UCR.

Preventative Service Planning. Also Preventive Service Planning. If you figure that means `planning to prevent service,' it would explain a lot.

Probability-of-Single-Pulse (detection).

Palm-Size Personal Computer.

Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. Cf. PCPO.

Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Princeton Survey Research (Associates). Logo of organization that usually refers to itself as PSRA.

Produced in Specific Regions. (Refers to geographically named wines.)

Princeton Survey Research Associates.

Pseudo SRAM. DRAM with a long refresh time, with R/W clocking and enables that make the chip substantially compatible with SRAM designs.

Privacy and Security Research Group (of the IRTF).

Power Supply Rejection Ratio.

Philosophical Society of Southern Africa. Host for the 31st and 32nd annual conferences of the PSSA (Jan. 2004 and 2005): the Philosophy Department of the University of KwaZulu-Natal; conference venue: the Fern Hill Hotel, in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands; proceedings of each conference appearing in an issue of the South African Journal of Philosophy.

Physical Science Study Committee. A post-Sputnik group that produced new physics study materials that were widely used in the US in the 1960's and 1970's. My high school tracked students into two different levels in both chemistry and physics; the more challenging classes used the PSSC and CHEM Study materials while the others used more traditional materials.

Pseudo-Steady-State Hypothesis.

Planar Supercell Stack Method. Numerical technique in semiconductor heterostructure device modeling.

Yeah, you!

Pacific Standard Time. GMT - 8 hrs.

[Phone icon]

Public { Service | Switched } Telephone Network. A/k/a POTS.

Protocol Specification, Testing, and Verification. In 1997, this international conference is being held in Osaka in conjunction with FORmal Description TEchniques for Distributed Systems and Communication Protocols (FORTE).

Parti Socialiste Unifié. French `Unified Socialist Party.' There is some justification for the name, but as usual it's all hopelessly schismatic and complicated.

Pennsylvania State University. ``Penn State.''

Power Supply Unit.

In his `For A Rocker' (©1983 Night Kitchen Music ASCAP) in the album ``Lawyers In Love,'' Jackson Browne sings:

Don't have to change, don't have to be sweet
Gonna be too many people to possibly meet
Don't have to feed 'em, they don't eat
They've got their power supplies in the soles of their feet
They exist for one thing, and one thing only
To escape living the lives of the lonely

Related information at the USSR entry.

Jackson Browne's full name is Clyde Jackson Browne; he is the son of Clyde Jack Browne.

The lower-limb/power-supply nexus theme sounded by Jackson Browne was anticipated in the song ``You're The One That I Want'' from Grease:

I got shooooooes,
they're multiplyin',
And I'm looooooos-
in' contro-ol
Cause the power
you're supplyin'--
It's electrifyin'!

That's the way I heard her sing it, anyway. A girl can never have too many shoes, they say. Just ask Mrs. Marcos. Shoes are probably safer than little yellow pills, to say nothing of jagged little pills. For an alternate opinion about the lyrics, see the alternate power-supply initialism PS.

Public Service and Urban Affairs. The Office of the Vice President for PS&UA at UB has a website.

(Ocean drilling-) Platform Supply Vessel. They also take the garbage back.

Program Status Word.

Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. The name also appears prominently with the unspaced form ``SportsWriters'' in many places.

Pacific Society for Women in Philosophy.

PSYchologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PSYchological (warfare) OPerations.

PSYchological WARfare.


Pacific Time.

Paper Tape. Shortly following the age of dinosaurs, computer information was stored on strips of paper tape about an inch wide. A pattern of holes at up to seven or eight fixed positions away from the edge would encode a character of information. I actually used this Jacquard-loom-like technology in 1974.

PT, P/T, p/t
Part Time.

Patrol Torpedo. PT boats are torpedo-armed patrol boats.

Payload Type. Perhaps I could interest you in one of our excellent one-octal-digit PTI's?


Perturbation Theory.

p.t., PT
Phase Transition.

PhotoTransistor. Typically a bipolar junction transistor (BJT) in which the base current is generated by photons.

Physical Therapy.

PinT. Half a quart, two cups.

Plasma Triode (etch[ing]).

PlaTinum. Atomic number 78. A precious metal that has a group named after it (PGM). Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

``Platinum records'' (1,000,000 units) and multi-platinum (multiple millions) are recognized by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Point. The singular of points (pts.).

(Domain code for) Portugal.


Precision-to-Tolerance ratio.

Pressure-Treated (wood).

Promotion and Tenure.


Pro Tempore, ``Pro Tem'.'' Latin: `for [the|a] time.' Sessions of the US Senate are usually presided over by the President Pro Tem, since the Vice President has important stuff to do.

Psychology Today. A monthly, almost.

Pt, Pt
Transverse momentum transfer. Particle-collision terminology.

Parent-Teacher Association. This is the usual sense, referring to a local organization (a/k/a PTO, PTSA, PTSO, etc.). There's also a (US) National Parent Teacher Association, and it goes by ``PTA'' too.

Preferential Trade Agreement. Bilateral international trade agreements, whether the sides are individual countries or groups of countries. The largest category of PTA's is FTA's (free trade agreements, though ``freer-trade agreements'' is often more accurate). Customs unions (CU's) are also classed as PTA's. Bilateral investment agreements (or treaties, see BIT) are often made in the context of a PTA. Sometimes BIT's are combined with PTA's and may be called PTIA's (preferential trade and investment agreements).

German pharmazeutisch-technischer Assistent or pharmazeutisch-technische Assistentin. English `pharmaceutic technical assistant (male or female, resp.).

Project Technical Advisory Board.

Physikalische-Technische Bundesanstalt. They prefer not to translate the name (see English homepage). Free translation: `Federal Physico-Technical Institute.' In Braunschweig, Germany.

Pacific Telecommunications Council. Holds a conference in January, just to demonstrate to the other councils just what a temperate climate is all about.

Parents Television CouncilTM. One thing is certain: they're not concerned about barenaked unpunctuated text

Positive Temperature Coefficient. Often used to describe resistance of thermistors. Cf. NTC.

The Publishing Training Centre at Book House (London).


Phosphatid{ ic | yl }. Productive abbreviation.

Pre-Trial Diversion. The state of Indiana's (IN) option of attending driving safety school or something, in return for dismissal of moving violation charges. The precise deal (and whether it's available) depends on your record and the offense, and may involve community service. A lot of states have something like this -- Arizona (AZ), California (CA), and Oklahoma (OK), that I'm aware of.

California's program is famous because it has spawned a proliferation of privately run driving education programs with creative gimmicks intended to keep students awake, on the theory that students remember lessons better if they're awake when taught.

An interesting thing about Indiana's PTD is that it's a kind of unadvertised special: you're not told about the program when your summons is issued, but only if you schedule and attend your initial court date. Of course, that suggests that you're one of those who has some sort of case. You can schedule a trial date at the initial hearing, but here's an interesting thing: the standard of proof is not ``beyond a reasonable doubt.'' That holds for misdemeanors and felonies. For mere infractions and violations, which are regarded as ``civil'' cases (as opposed to criminal), and which carry monetary penalties only, the standard is merely ``preponderance of the evidence.'' So you're at a big disadvantage: the officer's word alone trumps yours sufficiently to carry the case.

The usual advice in fighting a speeding or parking ticket is to look for even the smallest error in the ticket, like a streetname misspelled. I've never understood the legal theory behind this sort of technicality defense. I mean, the Supreme Court has gone so far as to sanction evidence obtained under an invalidly issued warrant, so long as the police claim that their motives were pure. Of course, that ruling was handed down by the evil Rhenquist court, which probably regrets the exclusionary rule almost as much as the man in the suburban street. Maybe the theory runs that any small error calls into question the officer's alertness at the time of the citation.

A lot of well-known bits of legal knowledge could use a fuller public explanation. For example, everyone knows that criminal defendants reply to reporters' questions with something along the lines of ``I will refrain from commenting, on the advice of my attorney.'' The reason for this is very simple, and perhaps the reporters fail to explain it just to put pressure on defendants. (Or possibly they don't know. After all, they've only heard the comment a few thousand times.) The reason is simply this: it is very easy for a prosecutor to twist the public words of a criminal defendant into a threat or intimidation or related aspect of witness subornation. Thus, on top of the original crime(s), the defendant can be charged with obstruction of justice. Often those OJ charges are easier to prove than the original charges. It's interesting (though not illogical) that you can be found guilty of obstructing justice in the prosecution of charges of which the courts claim to have found you not guilty.

One of the favorite similes that law professors have for the law is that of an onion: the law is like an onion because there's always another, deeper layer. This demonstrates the towering selfishness of the legal establishment, that complacently and even happily accepts a make-work complexity that confounds justice. An alternative interpretation of the simile is this: the deeper you go into it, the more you want to cry. Another similarity is that the onion seems transparent, but through sheer multitude of layers it is opaque. For more on the leek group, see the garlic entry.

Of course, the opinions above, however heartfelt, should not be regarded as the opinions of the author.

PhosphaTiDylCHOline (Ptd Cho). Also PC.

PhosphaTiDylEThaNolamine (Ptd Etn). Also PE.

PhosphaTiDylGlyceROl (Ptd Gro).

PhosphaTiDylINoSitol. Same as PI.

PtdIns 4-P
PhosphaTiDylINoSitol-4-Phosphate. Same as PIP.

PtdIns 4,5-P2
PhosphaTiDylINoSitol-4,5-Phosphate. Same as PIP2.

Patent and Trademark Depository Librar[ y | ies ]. ``PTDL's receive current issues of U.S. Patents and maintain collections of earlier-issued patents as well as trademarks published for opposition. The scope of these collections varies from library to library, ranging from patents of only recent years to all or most of the patents issued since 1790 and trademarks published since 1872.'' You can find details, and a list of participating libraries, at the web site of the PTDL Program. Or, you could get a service like ID Research to do the search for you.

Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries Program of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

PhosphaTiDylSERine (Ptd Ser). Also PS.

Path-Terminating Equipment.


Pte. Ltd.
Private Limited partnership. Business type.

I've seen this expanded as Private Trade Entity Limited. Since British practice now commonly omits the period from abbreviations as well as from acronyms, it's harder to distinguish them. The capitalization style argues against the acronym interpretation, however, and the variant expansion appeared in an intellectually weak, unscholarly publication (The Chronicle of Higher Education), so for now we'll mark this expansion as possible, but unlikely.

Phase Transfer Function.

Program Temporary Fix. [Get real. If it works, you'll never go back to that section of code again.]

PolyTetraFluoroEthylene. Better known as teflon (not that that glossary entry has any additional information). Reagan was known as the teflon president because scandals never stuck to him.

After Teflon ® became available on consumer cookware, Roy Plunket of Du Pont, the guy who discovered it, would insist on frying his eggs with no oil or butter. This is like the families of Wonder bread distributors: they have to eat that white sponge at home or risk insulting the family's livelihood. I had a relative who sold natural sausage casings for a living, and man you didn't ever suggest that the artificial kind could hold a candle to 'em. The guy lived past a hundred; he was probably preserved by all the sodium nitrite in his system.

PTFE is the classic teflon; du Pont also markets other polymers with similar properties -- FEP and PFA.

PTFE is obviously well-known to withstand high temperatures. Microelectronics fabrication processes are a lot like cooking, and there is a need for insulating materials that have low k and resistance to temperatures as high as 425°C. PTFE is not used in this application yet (as of 2001), but its k of 1.9 is in the ``ultralow-k'' regime, so it's being studied for future use. More on teflon at the razor's edge entry.

Public Telecommunications Facilities Program. Sponsored by the US DOC Technology Administration and NIST.

Pin-Through-Hole. Also called ``through-mount.'' The alternative to surface mount technology (SMT).

Plated Through-Hole. Not exactly the same thing as pin-through-hole.

Pardon The Interuption. A much-copied ESPN commentary feature in which two sports commentators go talking-head-to-talking-head.

Payload Type Identifier. A three-bit ATM-cell header field for encoding information regarding AAL and EFCI.

Portable Test Instrument.

Press Trust of India. A name Orwell could have invented.

Preferential Trade and Investment Agreements. See PTA.

PhotoThermal { Ionization | Infrared } Spectroscopy.

Part-Time Lecturer. I have a paperback floating around somewhere that dates back to the struggle to unionize graduate assistants at Yale. The title is Will Teach For Food. That probably describes PTL's better than GA's, although the latter often become the former upon graduation. The good news is that Ph.D. production is so excessive that only a small minority of them can look forward to the miserable life of a PTL.

Found it! Edited by Cary Nelson, with a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich, whose daughter was a student at Yale Law. The book was published in 1997. The first part of the book is eight essays about organizing graduate teaching assistants and trying to have the union officially recognized, etc. The second part is seven essays about the miserable life of non-tenure-track (i.e., nontenure-rut) faculty. It's not a scholarly book, although there are a few endnotes -- almost for the sake of appearances, it appears. It's a book of advocacy, so I was tempted to think it might be one of the most tendentious books ever published by the University of Minnesota Press. Then I noticed that it's volume 12 in the Cultural Politics series from the Social Text Collective.

Praise The Lord. There used to be a TV ministry by that name; wasn't this the one of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker?

Process Tolerance Limit[s].

Professional, Technical, and Management. Like, personnel.

Getting A Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers is a seminal study by Mark Granovetter (Chicago Univ. Pr., 1974) that studied PTM employees. It was based on the author's survey of suburban Boston men who held PTM occupations and had recently changed jobs. Granovetter found that those who had found new jobs through personal contacts had much higher job satisfaction than people who found jobs by other means (``formal'' [advertisements, agencies], ``direct contact'' [cold-calling], or ``other''). This demonstrates that people who are satisfied with their jobs were more likely to have sought jobs through personal contacts. It's not clear why people who don't like their jobs didn't, but there you are: statistics cannot identify cause and effect, only correlations.

Pulse-Tie Modulation.

Pacific Theater of (military) Operations. That sounds so domestic, so blissfully pacific. Cf. ETO, MTO, and now STOW.

Parent-Teacher Organization. Another civic-minded area of discourse. See PTA.

(US) Patent and Trademarks Office. This glossary has a separate TM (trademark) entry.

Seventeen-year patents were the rule from March 1861 to June 8, 1995. but they now run on the Japanese model, 20 years from date of application.

Please Turn Over (the page).

Power Take-Off. A truck transmission attachment used to take mechanical power off the drive mechanism for auxiliary use (like a winch, cement-mixer, etc.).

Public Telecommunication Operator.

Progress of Theoretical Physics.

PhotoThermal Phase-shift Spectroscopy.

Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt. The first national physics laboratory of Germany. It was largely the creation of the industrialist Werner Siemens, who donated land and capital for its creation, and who campaigned for its creation and prevailed against various opponents; government officials feared the long-term costs, some universities and Technische Hochschule saw the PTR as a prospective rival, and there was regional opposition to the Berlin-based PTR from south-German interests.

Siemens intended the PTR as a kind of gift for, or an opportunity to deploy the gifts of, his friend Hermann von Helmholtz. Helmholtz at that time was the most prominent physicist of Germany, and he served as the PTR's first president, from its founding in 1887 until his death in 1894.

PlaTinum Resistance (thermometer).

Post-Tenure Review. There's an unmoderated mailing list by the same name. Subscribe by emailing <listserv@listserv.temple.edu> with the message body
unless your name is not Joe Blow, in which case you're on your own. If you have forgotten or are unsure of your name, then on a unix system you can type
finger jblow
at the shell prompt. Again, if jblow is not your userid, you'll have to think hard and invent your own variant of this. The command users could help, especially if you are the only user. Of course, you could always subscribe under a pseudonym. That way, if your university president reads the PTR mailing list, he won't know whom to punish for your vicious attacks, unless he can find someone who knows anything about computers.

There's a web resource resource called PTR resources on the web. The details of one PTR implementation are described by the Arizona State Board of Regents. Howard A. Levine, a math professor at Iowa State, has posted his letter criticizing the system proposed at ISU.

Phillips Theological Seminary.

PhotoThermal Spectroscopy.

Pi Tau Sigma. National Honorary Mechanical Engineering Society.

Points. The plural of point (pt.).

Post-Traumatic Stress. Stress caused by trauma, but not immediately after the trauma.

Pressure Tuning Spectroscopy.

Princeton Theological Seminary.

Post-Traumatic Stress Ahhh... No. PTSA actually stands for Parent-Teacher Student Association. There are a number of substantially equivalent names and associated initialisms. We're going to try to centralize our information on this topic, if we get any, at the PTA entry.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Walter Menninger, of the famous Menninger Clinic, called it ``whiplash of the soul.'' (I think that whiplash has been a common complaint in ambulance-chasers' suits for damages, partly because it is is a common injury, and thus plausible, yet difficult to diagnose; X-ray and other imaging techniques may fail to show damage. Hence, diagnosis is usually based on direct observation and may depend largely on the putative victim's self-report. Of course, it might also be a common complaint because it's a common injury. I'll have to track down the quote to see what exactly Menninger had in mind [pun alert].)

PTSD may be caused by various kinds of catastrophes: severe trauma from combat, major accidents or natural disasters, and also from severe abuse such as being deprived of Twinkies. (Okay, I'll have to double-check on the Twinkies thing, after I track down chapter and verse on the Menninger quote.) In WWII, PTSD fell under the category of ``battle fatigue.'' There was an odd euphemism for PTSD in WWI (to the extent that it was recognized as a legitimate pathology rather than as malingering): ``shell shock.''

Parent-Teacher Student Organization. See PTA.

Post, Telephone & Telegraph (administration). Term reflects the government-directed nature of these services in Europe.

Petroleum Technology Transfer Council.

Public TeleVision.

Peak-to-Valley Current Ratio. A figure of merit for devices, like resonant tunneling diodes, exhibiting N-type negative differential resistance (NDR).

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