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Glutamine. An amino acid. Also GLN. To deepen your confusion, see Glutamic acid (GLU).

q, Q
Quantity of electric charge. Physicists tend to use this symbol generally, for any particular charge, and to reserve e for the quantum of charge (1.602 × 10-16 C). (Some few still insist on having e represent a negative charge.) Electrical engineers normally write q for the charge quantum, and tend to use the capital Q for a macroscopic, or at least normal-device-scale charge. I suppose it's mnemonic.

Prescription Latin: quaque. Translated as `every' for the relevant context. Typical usage: ``q.3h.'' meaning `every three hours' (but see the q.2h. to be confused).

Quarter (of a year).

Quebec. Not an abbreviation here, just the FCC-recommended ``phonetic alphabet.'' I.e., a set of words chosen to represent alphabetic characters by their initials. You know, ``Alpha Bravo Charlie ... .'' The idea behind the choice is to have words that the listener will be able to guess at or reconstruct accurately even through noise (or narrow bandwidth, like a telephone).

Queen. In chess, the queen can make any move a bishop or a rook can, except castle.

Quelle. German word meaning `source.' Q is the name of a hypothesized document in New Testament analysis, supposed to have been a source that both Luke and Matthew used to write their gospels. GMark, the shortest of the synoptic gospels, is generally assumed to have been written (or at least available) first, and to have also served as an independent source for Luke and Matthew.

Generally, the point of positing a Q document is to explain the correlation of GLuke and GMatthew. The simple view that the primary sources for both GMatt and GLuke were Q and GMark, and that GMatt and GLuke were written independently, is called the two-source hypothesis (2SH).

Because of the nature of the material common to GMatt and GLuke that is absent from GMark, Q is often conceived as essentially a list of sayings of Jesus. In German the document is also called Logienquelle, `sayings source.'

An alternative explanation of the similarities between the two longer synoptic gospels is simply to suppose that Luke cribbed from GMatt, or Matt from GLuke. The problem with this idea is that there exist various places where GLuke and GMatt disagree (compare the Sermons on the Mount or the birth and infancy stories, for example). Positing a Q gets around this problem. The idea seems to be that if Luke had cribbed from Matt, say, he wouldn't have written anything that was absolutely at odds with it. On the other hand, if both had access to a now-lost other source (Q), then they might have independently (and differently) filled in details not mentioned in Q.

For a critical view, see Mark Goodacre's The Case against Q. One alternative which does not posit a Q, but which is not very popular among US Biblical scholars, is the Farrer-Goulder hypothesis (FH). A theory that combines the disadvantages of Q and cribbing is the 3ST.

Q, q, q.

A Scrabble tile worth ten points (or more, on a double- or triple- letter or word space, or if it's used in multiple words) (or negative ten, to the holder, if someone else uses up his or her tiles first). Therefore, it behooves you to study this important resource (words in the OSPD that contain the letter Q). Especially important are the words faqir, qabala, qabalah, qadi, qaid, qanat, qat, qi, qindar, qintar, qoph, tranq, and umiaq, which are written without a U immediately following the Q (not to mention qiviut).

In every Scrabble set, exactly one of the 100 tiles is a Q. The other high-value letters (one tile each) are Z (also 10 pts.), and J and X (eight points each).



Latin, Quintus. A praenomen meaning `fifth' [son], typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina.

One of the most famous Quinti was Horace -- Quintus Horatius Flaccus (b. 8 December 65, d. 27 November 8 BCE). That's right: he was born on a negative-count anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (Japanese date). Amazingly prescient.

Qumran. A place near the Dead Sea, about 17 miles southeast of Jerusalem in the Judean Desert. Some ruins at Qumran were inhabited in the first century CE by what most scholars figure was an Essene cult. The group, whoever they were, placed parchment and papyrus manuscripts in a number of caves uphill from their ruins, evidently so that we would find them and the Romans would not. These manuscripts are collectively called the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). Some of these are versions of known scriptures and some are not. The precise relation of the Qumran group to other Jewish and Christian groups of the time is unclear.

The manuscripts fell apart over the intervening two thousand or so years, and had to be reconstructed like jigsaw puzzles. One of the more interesting tools in this effort is DNA analysis: parchment is analyzed for the DNA of its, shall we say, donor animal, as a clue to which fragments belong together. We also find out what animals they had on hand. Seems they ate a lot of mutton.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were written on parchment and papyrus in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek from 250 BCE to around 70 CE. (The older documents are supposed to have been written in Jerusalem and taken to Qumran later for safekeeping.) Among these manuscripts are parts of every book of the Hebrew Bible except the book of Esther (which is written in Aramaic anyway). There are also a variety of community documents, including mail.

In 1947, a 16-year-old Bedouin shepherd looking for his lost goat first discovered the scrolls in a cave near the Dead Sea. Eventually, 250 caves were explored, and eleven were found to contain scroll fragments. Between 1947 and 1967, twenty-eight nearly complete scrolls plus some 100,000 fragments. After the rapid publication of the nearly complete scrolls -- i.e., after the harvest of the low-hanging fruit -- there was a very long delay in publication of the remaining material. This gave rise to suspicions that discoveries embarrassing to one or another religion were being suppressed, or that the small community of scholars that controlled access was hogging it for its own scholarly advantage. Eventually the remaining fragments were published in dozens of volumes, reconstructed as 800 or 900 scroll parts. Reconstructed manuscript fragments are labeled 1Q, 2Q, ..., 11Q according to the cave in which they were found. Caves one and four have produced the greatest number of reconstructable texts.

There is no chemical element whose name or abbreviation begins in the letter Q. Sorry. Don't believe me? Check for yourself at either WebElements or Chemicool or both.

None for J either, although that may be understandable (.bj).

The two-letter ISO code for Qatar is QA. They have some computers there (or at least under that top-level domain -- the computers could be anywhere). I know because three of the 243,402 SBF requests served in 1997 were to the .qa top-level domain. If every single person in Qatar had requested just one file from SBF, my hit count would almost have doubled. That was to the old address (http://wings.buffalo.edu/SBF/). In 1998, the .qa hit count went up by a factor about ten, maybe more, from 1997. What was going on in Qatar?!

The letter q, not followed by u, occurs in the transliteration to English of Arabic and some other Semitic languages. It is used as an alternative to k so that the common semitic distinction between hard and soft k sounds can be indicated.

In English, Qatar is pronounced in the same way as catarrh, although less often with a stuffed nose. You can also accent the first syllable as well as the second.

Way back when, you know, there was a time when the land areas of nations or realms were very fuzzy sets. (Egypt, for example, was the area around the Nile, and no one knew or cared exactly where in the desert the western border lay.) For Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, the way-back-when period is the twenty-first century. The borders of Qatar and the Emirates with Saudi Arabia, and possibly with each other, have apparently never been precisely defined in any document that is publicly available.

As recently as June 2000, Qatar and Bahrain were disputing their (maritime) border at the ICJ. (The Emirates want Iran to meet them at the ICJ to discuss some islands in the gulf, but Iran is not interested.) If the Bahrain-Qatar dispute is any indication, the determination of borders in the Qatari-U.A.E.-S.A. area depends, in the absence of some secret treaty, upon maps made in Britain pursuant to treaties entered into as the Ottoman Empire was eroding away.

Quality Assurance. Or is that Quality Assurence? I seem to have lost a degree of personal assurance.

Quality Assurance ESTimat{ ion | ing Program}.

Quadrature Amplitude Modulation.

Quality Assurance Review Center. It's ``a research program within the University of Massachusetts Medical School [interestingly, the address is in Rhode Island] providing radiotherapy quality assurance and diagnostic imaging data management services.''

--- Three qarcs for Muster Muarc!
Sure he hasn't got much of a buarc
And sure any he has it's all beside the muarc.

[Football icon]

QuarterBack. An offensive position in American football. Does most of the throwing (``passing''). Also, usually does the play-calling, in the huddle or at the line, unless plays are being called from the sidelines. In the professional game, in fact, control over play-calling was gradually taken over by the coaches. The last QB to call his own plays in professional football was Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills until he retired at the end of the 1996 season. Not coincidentally, he was quarterbacking for the oldest coach in the league at the time -- Marv Levy.

The quarterback rating is computed as the scaled sum of four normalized quantities. Each of the four quantities is a deviation of some average from some standard value.

  1. The first quantity is the excess of completion rate (number of completions divided by number of pass attempts) over 0.3, and it is scaled by a factor of 5. (Thus, a 25% completion percentage contributes -0.25.)
  2. The second quantity is the excess of average number of yards passing per pass attempt over three, and it is scaled by a factor 25.
  3. The third quantity is the TD pass rate (TD passes divided by total of all pass attempts) and it is scaled by a factor of 20.
  4. The fourth quantity is the excess of 9.5 over the percentage of pass attempts intercepted, and it is scaled by an overall factor of 25.
The sum of the above four quantities, divided by six, is the QB rating.

In the NFL, the quarterbacks, punters, and kickers have jersey numbers in the range 0-18. In 2009, Arkansas QB Alex Mortensen (yes, the son of (ESPN NFL analyst Chris Mortensen) wasn't selected in the draft, but he was signed as a free agent later by the Tennessee Titans. He played briefly in an exhibition game on August 10, throwing an interception and little else. He was released the next day. He's the only QB I'm aware of whose jersey number was 0. There is, however, a certain Keith NULL. Some random statistics (not ``random'' in a good way, I'm afraid) on P, K, and QB jersey numbers can be found at this P entry.

Over at <Rivas.com>, I noticed a list of college football recruits that divided quarterbacks into two categories: ``Pro-style'' and ``dual-threat.'' Don't bother to tell me that this is nothing new and in no way specific to <Rivals.com> I only follow football when the spirit moves me, and this spirit got kicked off the ghost squad for being underweight. Look, today (February 6, 2010), Kim Komando (``your digital goddess'' of the airwaves) warned her listeners against the Nigerian advance fee scam (she didn't seem to know any of the names for it), reading a con artist's letter on her program as if she had never seen such a letter before. So I get a bye.

Queen's Bench[room]. This is according to Leon Uris in his QB VII. Does this mean that they change all the signs when the monarch gender changes? ``HMB'' would seem to make more sense (cf. HMS). Two men who have served as high court judges in the Queen's Bench Division were honored by elevation to the exclusive dignity of our Nomenclature is destiny entry (Laws and Judge).

Queen's Bishop. Designation in the descriptive notation for the file designated c in the algebraic notations. One of the two files labeled B, for Bishop.

Charge (Q) to BreakDown. Important in the analysis of gate oxide (GOX) breakdown.

Query By Form.

Quasi-Biennial Oscillation[s]. These pop up in climatology, oceanography, etc. It wouldn't be surprising it they were related -- indirectly or directly coupled, or arising from a common source of variation. Here are a couple:
  1. A periodicity in Chinese rainfall patterns found by Wang Shao-Wu and Zhao Zong-Ci, which they describe in ``Droughts and floods in China, 1470-1979,'' chap. 10 of Climate and History : Studies in past climates and their impact on Man, ed. T. M. L. Wigley, M. J. Ingram, and G. Farmer (CUP, 1981). They used extensive written data on floods and rainfall -- yearbooks, diariews, county annals, gazettes, Ming and Qing records, etc. -- to classify years on a five-point scale (very wet, wet, normal, dry, very dry). They were able ``to build up a series of drought and flood grades for 188 stations covering almost the whole east part of China from 1470 to 1977 with only a few gaps.'' Power spectra for 1471-1970 at 25 stations, and 1871-1970 at on hundred stations, found peaks for periods of 80-100 years (where meaningful), and at 36y, 22y, 11y, 5-6y and approximately 2y periods. Comparison with the most recent years, and geographic pattern, suggest that the QBO, with a period of 2-2.5 years, can be correlated with the EAI (power-spectrum peaks at 2 and 2.5 years), and the 36-year period with the SOI (strong peak at 36.7 years).
  2. The tendency for wind in the equatorial stratosphere to change direction from west to east every 27 months.

[Football icon]

QuarterBack Rating. The rating of a quarterback's effectiveness as a passer. ``Passing efficiency'' and ``passer rating'' are synonyms of QBR, and the latter might be official for the NFL. It makes sense, since (a) it's computed from passing statistics only and (b) it can be computed for any passer. However, the NFL's official passer ratings are based only on games in which the passer attempted at least 20 passes, so officially rated passers are all generally (``generally'' here means, it's obvious, but I checked a couple of years to be kinda sure) men who play the QB position regularly.

The formula currently (2015) used by the NFL was adopted in 1973. The same formula is used by the CFL. A different formula is used in the NCAA.

The NFL formula is based on two independent variables, attempts (ATT) and a messy numerator that doesn't seem to have any standard name (I'll use MNu). The passer rating is computed as

      100 * MNu
QBR = --------- .
       6 * ATT

Yes, I use MNu rather than MN so that the preformatted (<pre>-tagged) division line centers properly. In football arithmetic as in programming, good style is... valuable or something.

ATT is relatively unproblematical. I assume ``attempts'' is attempted passes as determined by the officiating crew, so grounding or throwing away the ball does not increase ATT.

MNu is a sum of five components:
MNu = 5 * COMP + 0.25 * YDS + 20 * TD - 25 * INT + 0.125 * ATT ,

where, within certain bounds explained below, COMP is completions, YDS is ``passing yards,'' TD is touchdown passes, and INT is interceptions. There is plenty of injustice built into this stat, so the fact that a two-yard completion followed by a 78-yard run is compiled as YDS += 80 is only what you'd expect. The passer's effectiveness depends on receivers, blockers, etc. Football is a team sport, so QBR is a team stat.

The QBR is normally defined (see the wikipedia description) in terms of four first-order algebraic quantities COMP/ATT, YDS/ATT, TD/ATT, and INT/ATT. These four quantities are ``capped'': when statistics are computed, any value exceeding 2.375 is recorded as 2.375, and any negative value is recorded as 0. Since COMP, TD, and INT are nonnegative, I prefer to express the bounds as (mostly one-sided) bounds on the underlying raw statistics

The constraint on completions means that completion rate is bracketed between 30% and 77.5%. For the 32 to 34 principal starting passers per year in the years 2005 to 2014, inclusive, the highest completion rate over the course of the regular season was 71.2% (Drew Brees in 2011). With three upper-40's exceptions in the ten-year period, the completion rates were all above 50%. So the constraints on COMP are pointless or irrelevant, depending on whether your cup is half empty or half full (unless it's the other way around). Of course, partial-year stats always cover a broader range [technically a non-narrower range], since the average is never smaller than the minimum or greater than the maximum. Likewise, career percentages fall in a narrower range. [``[P]rincipal starting passers'' above is my gloss for passers with ``at least 14 attempts per team's games played.'' Data provided by Elias Sports Bureau.]

The constraints on yardage mean that yards per passing attempt are bracketed between 3 and 12.5. While 12.5 is beyond stellar for any gunslinger who plays a complete game, the 3-yard minimum comes closer to relevance for teams down to their second back-up QB.

The constraints on passing touchdowns imply that you top out at TD above 0.11875 * ATT, though you get full discredit for any passing touchdowns you fail to make. Neither constraint seems to be worth keeping in mind for any serious but mortal pro quarterback.

I did the research for this entry so long ago that I don't remember what, if anything, I was planning to add. But the above seems like it might be useful to someone who cares, so I'll publish it as is for now.

Qualifications-Based Selection.

Quadrillion BTU, also known as a quad.

Quality Control.

Quantum Cascade (laser). See QCL.

QuebeC. Postal abbreviation for a Canadian province. It's spelled Québec in French and in politically correct idiolects of Canadian English. (Cf. Céline Dion.) In American English, the name is pronounced either Kwuh-BECK or ``where'dja say?'' In French, the qu does not represent a /kw/ sound but just /k/.)

The capital of Quebec is Quebec. The situation is not quite a parallel to ``New York, New York,'' because the capital of the New York State is Albany, and Quebec's largest city is Montreal.

Quebec is Canada's second-most populous province, with about 7.5 million inhabitants in October 2003, or 23.7 of the total for Canada. The most populous is Ontario (12.28 million), and the third and fourth (British Columbia and Alberta) have populations of 4.16 and 3.16 million. You know, this is suggestive of Zipf's Law. That law, as you recall, is a very general approximate pattern found in various statistics, that size varies inversely as the size rank. In other words, rank-order times whatever is the basis for the ranking is approximately constant. Let's test that on the estimated populations of Canadian provinces on October 1, 2003. (Precision in the products reflects less significant population digits not displayed.)

          Pop. rank   Est'd. pop.   rank-pop. product     Province
                       (million)        (million)      (or Territory)
              1          12.28            12.28              ON
              2           7.50            15.01              QC
              3           4.16            12.48              BC
              4           3.16            12.65              AB
              5           1.16             5.82              MB
              6          0.995             5.97              SK
              7          0.937             6.56              NS
              8          0.750             6.00              NB
              9          0.520             4.68              NL
             10          0.138             1.38              PE
             11          .0420             0.46              NT
             12          .0314             0.38              YT
             13          .0294             0.38              NU

Normally, Zipf's law works poorly for first ranks, and better for most of the rest. This is an interesting inversion of the usual situation, and an interesting pair of step discontinuities. It's almost as if Canada had been stitched together over the past century from a highly disparate set of parts.

Queen's Counsel. Whenever the monarch's gender changes from female to male (always by reason of succession, so far), this job title changes as well, to KC. Gee, I wonder what it says at that entry?

In one Australian's dot sig, I read the following definitions:

Q.C. (Queen's Counsellor): A    |
learned associate of a gay man. |
Handbag: A male fashion      __ |
accessory of a gay woman.    \/ |

I thought that should be a Queane's Counsellor, in commonwealth spelling.

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. The UK organization that, among other things, oversees the grading of A-levels. When the structure of the test was changed for the 2002 testing cycle, the cut-offs for various grades were misaligned, initially leading to higher percentages of high grades and pass rates. Apparently QCA chairman William Stubbs pressured three exam boards -- OCR, AQA, and Edexcel -- to arbitrarily lower grades of some students in order to restore the pass rates and grade distributions of the previous year. At least one grade computation program was interrupted and drastically reset, lowering some grades from ``A'' to ``U'' (failing). In the process, test-takers who had been partially graded ended up with wildly inconsistent grades on different exam sections.

Because the exams are taken at the end of the school year, college acceptances are given provisionally on the basis of expected A-level results. A-level grades were released in mid-August, and there were immediate indications of problems. The AQA board sent out only ``estimated grades'' to some 2000 students. By the end of August, widespread weird results had generated newspaper stories, but the next semester had already begun when grade-fixing was definitively revealed in mid-September.

Quantum[-dot] Cellular Automata. Arrays of Coulomb-coupled quantum-dot cells, intended for computation. Concept introduced by Craig Lent and developed by Lent and collaborators at Notre Dame.

One very convenient fact about quantum cellular automata, that simplifies their analysis, is that they manifest no essentially quantum mechanical behavior. It's basically all about capacitance and charge quantization. (Oh, okay, so technically charge quantization is a quantum phenomenon.)

Quantum ChromoDynamics. Theory of the strong interactions. Just as the electromagnetic interaction couples to charge, so QCD couples to something called ``color.'' An important difference between electric charge and color is that color is not one-dimensional; there are three color dimensions, typically labeled red, blue and green (because these are good colors to use in overheads and on chalkboards). Just as the electromagnetic interaction can be resolved as the result of the exchange of intermediate particles (called photons in the electromagnetic case), so the strong interaction arises from the exchange of intermediate particles, called gluons. Some crucial differences, however:

  1. The photon has zero mass, so the electromagnetic interactions have infinite range (another way to think of this is that by Lorentz time dilation, a clock carried by a photon doesn't tick -- the photon has no lifetime because it travels infinite distance without detecting the passage of time). Speaking loosely here.

    The gluon has mass, so the interaction is short ranged. The range of the interaction is essentially aitch-bar over em cee, and HTML will let me do only slightly better with considerably more work. By aitch-bar I mean Planck's constant divided by two pi, em is the mass of the interaction-mediating particle, and cee is the speed of light. Anyway, the interaction is on the scale of a fermi or femtometer or 10-15 m.

  2. The photon is uncharged, so the equations of QED are linear. The gluon has color, so the equations of QCD are much messier. (Actually, the equations are pretty simple, but the solutions...)

Moreover, while you would think that since the range of strong interaction is limited, you could eventually pry a couple of quarks apart if you got to the outer limits of the range of interaction, it doesn't work that way. Instead, quarks are ``asymptotically free'': the force of the interaction is weak when the particles are close. As you get out to long distances, the interaction energy grows, to such a point that the mass equivalent of the energy needed to pull two strongly interacting particles apart is enough to create a new pair of particles, one going to each side, with the result that one never finds an isolated quark. More to the point, one never finds an isolated system that is not a color singlet (i.e., white -- no net color charge, blue and antiblue, for example, so no strong interactions with the rest of the world).

[QED, by contrast, exhibits ``asymptotic slavery.'' The effective interaction increases at short distances. An intuitive way to understand this is that with enough energy, one can create virtual electron-positron pairs in the vacuum, just as one can excite electron-hole pairs in a semiconductor. Thus, the electromagnetic interaction is screened even by the vacuum, and the `true' unit of electric charge is larger than the familiar 1.602 × 10-19 coulombs. As two particles get close, they are less-well-screened by the vacuum, which one may take account of by increasing the EM interaction strength. In fact, the true charge is infinite, if you consider only electromagnetic interactions, or even only electromagnetic and weak (nuclear beta-decay) interactions. This is an important fundamental reason why it is necessary to use perturbation series for QED that are asymptotic and divergent, but renormalized. By contrast, QCD screens at short distances, so that the interaction becomes very weak -- asymptotic freedom.]

Queens County [New York] Dental Society.

Quantum Cascade Laser.

Quantum-Confined Stark Effect. Click here for a bibliography of the older items in my QCSE folder.

Subclass for chemistry in the Library of Congress Classification System. If you're like me, you sometimes use the library catalog simply to find an appropriate LC number to start a search, and then go to the stacks and see what's in that area. If you do, then remember for QD that relevant books may also be catalogued at TP (chemical technology), TN (mining, mineralogy, metallurgy), or TR (photography).

International Conference on Quantum Dots. For example, the 7th Annual International Conference on Quantum Dots (Santa Fe, New Mexico, May 13-18, 2012), abbreviated QD2012. Register by March 30th to enjoy discounted rates.


Quaque Die. Latin: `Every day.' Prescription instruction.

Quantum Dot. The engineered analogue of an atom. The idea is to use electrostatic and/or heterostructure confinement to produce a potential well that confines one or a few electrons in three dimensions, on a scale of many hundreds to a few thousands of nanometers. This lateral confinement is sufficient to give rise to discernible energy levels (i.e., manifestations of quantum structure). It helps that QD's are normally constructed with the electrons in a semiconductor in which the electron effective mass is one tenth of the vacuum value.


Queuing Delay.

Quantum Detect{or|ion} Efficiency. the quantum efficiency (QE) of a detector.

Quellen und Darstellungen zur hansischen Geschichte. A numbered series that might have been named `Sources and Evidence for Hanseatic History' in English. See Stuart Jenks's page of Tables of Contents of Historical Journals and Monographic Series in German for a complete list of monographs (deutsche Seite: Zeitschriftenfreihandmagazin Inhaltsverzeichnisse geschichtswissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften in deutscher Sprache).

This series continues the earlier Hansische Geschichtsquellen (HGQ), but with numbers restarted from one in a `New Series' (Neue Folge).

Quicken DIctionary (filename extension).

Quasi-Decadal Oscillation.

Quick and Dirty Operating System. Original name of MS-DOS.

Quadrennial Defense Review. ``Title 10, Section 118 of the United States Code specifies: `The Secretary of Defense shall every four years, during a year following a year evenly divisible by four, conduct a comprehensive examination (to be known as a `quadrennial defense review') of the national defense strategy, force structure, force modernization plans, infrastructure, budget plan, and other elements of the defense program and policies of the United States with a view toward determining and expressing the defense strategy of the United States and establishing a defense program for the next 20 years. Each such quadrennial defense review shall be conducted in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.' ''

``QDR legislation was amended by the 2003 National Defense Authorization Act, which stipulated that the due date for the report is `in the year following the year in which the review is conducted, but not later than the date on which the President submits the budget for the next fiscal year to Congress...' ''

Quick Dump Rinse.

Quintessence of Dental Technology. The title of a journal, sohelpme. Issued by Quintessence Publishing -- ``professional dental journals, books, and multimedia.''

Quality Equalizing.

Quantum Efficiency.

Qualitative European Drug Research Network. It looks like the wheels fell off in 2002, but momentum carried the scraping heap through 2003. If you are pitiless, you'll enjoy the final report of Dr. Jane Fountain, QED animateur. (Shouldn't that be animateuse?)

``Qualitative research is essential for interpreting statistical data and placing it in context; for providing insight into the problems and needs associated with a range of drug-using patterns...'' The initiative seems to have concerned qualitative research exclusively into drug abuse patterns and closely related stuff.

Quantum ElectroDynamics.

q.e.d., Q.E.D., QED
Quod Erat Demonstrandum. Latin: `which was to be demonstrated.' This abbreviation was once a common way of indicating the end of a mathematical proof, but now you often see a little character-sized rectangle or square. It looks as if they wanted some character that wasn't defined in the font.

In Thomas Love Peacock's 1831 novel Crotchet Castle, most or all of the names represent some kind of play on words. Mac Quedy is a Scottish economist, and a pompous pedant, and as you have guessed from his presence in this glossary entry, his name is to be understood as something along the lines of `son of a demonstration.'

The original version of q.e.d. was the Greek phrase hoper edei deixai, which was sometimes abbreviated. That was o.e.d. -- omicron, epsilon, delta -- since the aitch just represents the Latin transliteration of a rough-breathing symbol (spiritus asper).

Quantitative EEG. Aye, cap'n: brain scanning. Maybe you shold try it, sir.

q.e.f., Q.E.F., QEF
Quod Erat Faciendum. Latin: `which was to be made.' This translated the Greek hoper edei poisai, which was used by Euclid to indicate the end of a construction rather than of a proof (the latter indicated by the Greek corresponding to q.e.d.). Euclid never knew how appropriate this was. The main logical shortcoming of Euclid's geometry -- the one which made it possible to prove interesting false theorems, was the absence of what David Hilbert identified as axioms of order, a/k/a betweenness axioms. Working without them in Euclid's geometry, one is in danger of assuming the possibility of certain constructions not countenanced by sober betweenness axioms, and thus to pull off impossible constructions. (These are usually accompanied by pictorial representations of the impossible constructs, but those representations are effectively optical illusions.) So q.e.d. was for a proof, and q.e.f. was for a poof. See also Q.E.I.

Queen Elizabeth I. The virgin queen (hence the name of the colony of Virginia) also known by various other epithets such as ``scheming bitch.'' Hmmm, that one is not very well attested. Not surprising, I suppose, for something I just made up. I'll have to check what Philip II of Spain (Felipe el segundo) had to say after she spurned his proposal of a marital union.

There are conflicting reports regarding what he said when he learned what happened to his ``armada invencible,'' though it seems agreed that he bore it with great equanimity. This webpage (I'm away from my books, okay?) says that he ``simply said `I sent my ships to fight against men and not against the winds and waves of God.' This other page cites Eugenio Sarrablo for the report that Philip II said ``Doy gracias a Dios por haberme dado medios para poder sufrir fácilmente una pérdida semejante y porque todavía estoy en situación de volver a construir otra flota tan grande. Una rama ha sido cortada, pero todavía está verde el tronco y puede producir otras nuevas.'' In English: `I give thanks to God for having given me the means to be able to bear such a loss easily [this could be taken in two ways in Spanish too] and because I am still in a position to build another, equally large fleet. One branch has been cut, but the trunk is still green and can produce new ones.' An earlier Spanish king, Alfonso X (Alfonso el Sabio, `Alphonso the Wise'), commissioned astronomical tables. These were calculated on the basis of Ptolemy's model of the solar system, and Alphonso is said to have commented: ``If the Almighty had consulted me before embarking upon creation, I would have suggested something simpler.'' Of course, Alphonso was an accomplished poet, and Philip was not. However, he had in his service one Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, a veteran of many battles, including the glorious victory over the Turks at Lepanto in 1571. As a royal agent in Seville from 1587, Cervantes participated in the provisioning of the armada. (Or perhaps the reprovisioning, since Sir Francis Drake's depredations of that year delayed the attack to 1588.) Apart from minor stylistic flaws, I believe Cervantes, with all his financial woes and his deep understanding of individual and collective insanity, might have been able to point out another flaw in Philip's little speech, and that was that the Spanish crown was in debt over its eyebrows, with ``the royal fifth'' mortgaged into the endless future. Philip II financed two more attempted invasions of England. The Hapsburg Empire (which included Spain, Portugal at that time, their overseas dominions, the rebellious Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, and other bits of Europe) was the modern poster-child of imperial over-reach.

Back to QE I: a more complimentary epithet for her, and one happily bestowed by a relieved and grateful nation (well, much of it), was ``Gloriana, the Faerie Queene.'' Hence the title and a character of Edmund Spenser's epic poem The Faerie Queene. Spencer died in 1599, having completed only about half of this work. Elizabeth died in 1603, and Shakespeare and Cervantes died in 1616.

q.e.i., Q.E.I., QEI
Quod Erat Inveniendum. Latin: `which was to be determined.' More literally, `which was to be come upon.' Obscurest of the three traditional end-of-block labels in formal mathematics. You already know about q.e.d. and q.e.f.

Quantum Electronics and Laser Science conference. Sponsored by OSA.

Quick EXAFS. I kid you not. EXAFS resolved on a time scale of seconds, allowing dynamical structure studies. In a quick search, the earliest article I can happen to find that uses this acronym is by R. Frahm, ``QEXAFS - X-Ray Absorption Studies in Seconds,'' Physica B vol. 158 (nos. 1-3), pp. 342-343 (June 1989).


Quality Function Deployment.

Pay attention to a particularly passionate passage of World Class Quality:

      ``The voice of the engineer'' must be replaced by the ``voice of the customer.'' The latter is then translated into meaningful product specifications through use [sic] of tools such as quality function deployment (QFD), which is the most well-known. But there are also simpler and less costly techniques that are almost as effective. These include value research, multi-attribute evaluations, and conjoint analysis. This author [Keki R. Bhote] is currently [not later than 1991] researching a process that embraces the best of these techniques at the least cost and lowest cycle time.

Any further questions, just ask pointy-hair.

Query (atmospheric pressure at air) Field Elevation. Cf. QNH.

Quad Flat Pack. Chip carrier or package with leads along four edges of a rectangular (typically square) package. This isn't a single kind of package but a class of packages. Click on this search for images.

Quantum Field Theor{ y | etic[al] }. Eventually I'll shovel some words into this entry. Until then, you may find a little enlightenment at the field entry.

Quartier Général. French, `headquarters.'

Quaere per Googlem. An Ancient Latin expression meaning `seek through Google.' Latterly, the old proper noun has been verbed, and q.g. may be understood as quod google (`which [you should] google'), on the pattern of quod vide (q.v.).

Quark-Gluon Plasma.

Quality in Health Care. Think of it: with just a tiny rearrangement of the title, they could have been ``Quiche.''

Quantum HydroDynamic. Typically: a hydrodynamic simulation technique for electronic devices, using quantum-corrected temperature-dependent potentials to mock up quantum behaviors (barrier penetration, tunneling, etc.) in an essentially classical simulation.

Quantum Hall Effect. At low temperature, very-high mobility two-dimensional conductors have Hall angles of 90°. In particular, at certain magnetic fields the longitudinal resistivity ``rho-sub-xx'' approaches zero and the Hall or transverse resistivity ``rho-sub-xy'' or ``rho-sub-H'' approaches an integer multiple of h/e², where h is Planck's constant. Also called IQHE to distinguish the effect from FQHE (q.v.). The effect is quite sharp, even for relatively dirty (i.e., low mobility) samples, so that accuracy to a part in 107 is easily obtained. In consequence, the QHE is used by SI to define a resistance standard.

Quintessence International. An international association of people who want to achieve great sexual attractiveness through aromatherapeutic enhancement? Close. It's the title of a dental journal. More, or other, at QDT.

Quotient Intellectuel. French, `Intelligence Quotient.'

You may have noticed that we don't have a lot of French acronyms in this here English-language glossary (apart from the Canadian doppelgängers), but Q.html is roomy.

The vital force that, according to Chinese mystical mumbo-jumbo, is inherent in all things. But possibly they haven't measured the qi in muon neutrinos. An interesting question is what order of tensor field this force is derived from. I'll let you know just as soon as I get an authoritative answer. Right now the only quantitative information I have is that it's a two-letter word with a plural qis. But it's just the latest Romanization of a word that used to be written chi. (Presumably the moon has inherent green qis.)

Quarter-Inch Cartridge.


Four times a day. Prescription information. [Latin: quater in die.] This is where it has to stop, I imagine. For five-a-day they had better be more explicit.

Quality In Education Centre. The one at Strathclyde University, Education Faculty, 76 Southbrae Drive, Glasgow, G13 1PP.

Quicken Interchange Format (filename extension).

Questions Internet & Information Services. Part of the ``Questions Group.'' The other part is QPC.

I want answers!

Queue Jockey. DJ's for those permanent-hold help lines. Symantec allowed a spokesperson to go on record to Newsweek with the admission that their playlist includes Al Green's ``Let's Stay Together'' and the well-known Mazzy Star's ``Fade Into You'' AMONG THEIR TOP 10! I think I'll try a few more times on my own before I call for help, thank you.

Quarterly Journal of Medicine. That was the original title, anyway, back when it was founded in 1907 by the world-famous Sir William Osler. It eventually became a monthly, and the title was changed to seal the acronym: QJM: Monthly Journal of the Association of Physicians. As of December 2009 it's still a monthly journal of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland, but the full title is now QJM: An International Journal of Medicine. (Osler was initially invited in 1906 to help found the magazine. He suggested the creation of the Association, loosely modeled on the Association of American Physicians (AAP), in part to ``form the nucleus of a public for the magazine.'' QJM has always been that association's journal, and always published by Oxford's Clarendon Press, as Osler originally suggested. (The name of the learned society was originally ``Association of Physicians of Great Britain''; Irish independence was achieved in 1921.)

Queen's KnighT. Designation in the descriptive notation for the file designated b in the algebraic notations. One of the two files labeled Kt, for KnighT. Equivalently but potentially confusingly: QN.

Query Language.

Qld., QLD
QueensLanD. The Australian state covering the northeastern fifth or so of the continent.

Query Language Interpreter.

Quasi-Lagrangian Model. This acronym is used by the National Weather Service, but Lagrange lived a busy life, so there can be a wider application of this term.

Quasi-Long-Range Order. Asymptotically at long distance, correlation falls off as inverse power of distance. (Fall-off is exponentially fast in SRO; correlations approach constant in LRO.)

Quality Management.

Quantum mechanic{s|ical}.

Quartz MicroBalance.

QuasiMoving-Boundary Approximation. Useful in studies of freezing and fusion.

A classified message relating to navigational dangers, navigational aids, mined areas, and searched or swept channels. DOD and NATO usage. Cf. Q-route.

The letter q is generally associated with ``security.'' Think queer quiet. Other examples: Q clearance (I could tell you what this means, but then I'd have to kill you), Q-ship.

Quadrature Mirror Filter.

Qualified { Materials | Manufacturer } Lists. Federalese.

Quadrupole Mass Spectromet{er|ry}.

Quality Micro Systems.

Quantum Molecular Similarity Measures. Here's a paper that employs some.

Quicken Memorized lisT Format (filename extension).

Queen Mary and Westfield College.

QN, qn

Query (atmospheric pressure at) [ Nautical | Nil ] Height. In other words, pressure at sea level. Because QFE refers to atmospheric pressure at the altitude of the aerodrome (air field), I had written here ``Apparently Q is used in aviation as an abbreviation for atmospheric pressure.'' That may have been a joke, but then I ought to have included query in the QFE entry.

QNR, qnr
QuasiNeutral Region.

Queen's kNight. Designation in the descriptive notation for the file designated b in the algebraic notations. See Kt entry, too.

Quicken iNdeX to data (filename extension).

Quality Of Life.

Quasi-Optimal Power Allocation.

Quality Of Service.

Quality Paperbound (book).

Quilt Packaging. A technology for inter-chip as well as chip-to-board electronic connections. The idea is to have a series of bumps protruding laterally from the perimeter of the chip, and to bond the bumps of adjacent chips en masse. As I recall, back in 2006 the typical reaction was, ``this can't work because you can't align the chip edges to an accuracy of a half a micron.'' By 2008 it was more like, ``what's the hold-up, aren't those chips ready yet?''

Quality Performance Analysis.

Quantum Point Contacts. Although the term has specialized meaning in 2DEG structures, it should be essentially any electrical contact whose lateral dimension (i.e., opening width) is smaller than the (typical) deBroglie wavelength of the charge carrier.

Questions Publishing Company. (See also their daily online news service.) Part of the ``Questions Group.'' The other part is QIIS.

Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).

Quantitative Precipitation Forecast. NOT ``Qualitative.''

Qualified Product Lists. Federalese.

Quasi-Phase Matching.

Quiescent Point.

Quadrature Phase-Shift Keying.

Queue Packet and Synchronous circuit eXchange.

French abbreviation, and almost eye dialect, for quelque, used much like the English rebus n e, with about the same meaning (but the French word serves not only for `any' but `some'). You might expect qcq or qqq to stand for quiconque, but that seems to be quite rare. Quelqu'un is abbreviated, in order of decreasing frequency, as qqun, qq'un, qq1, and even kk1.

qq., qq, QQ
Questions. Plural of question, Q.

Quaque hora. Latin `every hour.' Also qq.hor. Be very careful not to confuse this with q.q.h. (next). In writing prescriptions by hand, it is best to write the two letters q close together and in a single continuous pen mark, so there is no suspicion that they are separated by a period.

Quaque qquarta hora. Latin `every fourth hour.' Be very careful not to confuse this with qq.h. (previous entry). In writing, make the first period prominent and give it elbow room.

On second thought, use q.4h. No point in compounding ambiguity (regarding which, follow the link).

Quaque hora. Oh, that second period saves a lot of writing and precious space on the prescription pad. It's pretty effective with monospaced fonts, too. Latin `every hour.' Same ambiguity problems here (between q.q.hor. and qq.hor.) as between qq.h. and q.q.h., except that here an extra couple of characters have been expended to clarify an obvious word.

QQun, qqun, qq'un, qq un
French abbreviation of quelqu'un, meaning `anyone' or `someone.' Less common spelling variants are qq1 and kk1. Cf. qq.

Plural of q.v., q.v.

French abbreviation of quelqu'un, used much like the English rebus ne 1, equivalent to the more common QQun (q.v.) and less common kk1. (That ``q.v.'' there isn't just supposed to confuse you. It's also supposed to direct you.) Cf. qq.

Queen's Rook. Designation in the descriptive notation for the file designated a in the algebraic notations (the far left file, if you're white). One of the two files labeled R, for Rook.

Quick Response. As in QR codes -- two-dimensional barcodes that resemble checkerboards. People have been relatively slow to adopt QR codes.

Quick Reaction Force. This is military usage. We're not talking here about the impact approximation in rigid-body mechanics. Then again, maybe we are.

A system of preplanned shipping lanes in mined or potentially mined waters used to minimize the area that mine countermeasures has to keep clear of mines to provide safe passage for friendly shipping. Cf. q-message.

Q sign: Reduce Power. (The ``RP'' expansion is merely mnemonic.) Originally just a Q sign (a Morse code sequence for a common transmission-related message), the code qrp has been adopted as collective name by hams with rigs transmitting less than five watts (also: ``flea power'').

One suspects that the station name WKRP, of the TV series ``WKRP in Cincinnati,'' is an allusion to QRP.

QRS complex
The principal deflection in the electrocardiogram, representing ventricular depolarization.

Quad Routing Table[s]. Here's one from IgT.

Quadratic Sieve. A factorization algorithm.

Prescription Latin: quantum sufficit. `What suffices.' Since Latin is an ancient language, maybe that should be `what sufficeth.' If you can't decide and the uncertainty is driving thee crazy, write ad q.s. `To a sufficient quantity.'

Quillaya Saponin. A biogenic triterpenoid glycoside broadly distributed in the rhizosphere. QS is a surfactant with detergent properties, as the name ``saponin'' suggests, and it can be harvested efficiently from Quillaya.

When my father was a kid in Chile, if fat supplies for making soap ran low his mother would send him to a corner store to buy quillaya bark. It was sold by the kilo, like produce. You'd let it soak in a bowl of water for 24 hours and then you could use it.

My mother knew it in Germany as Quillaya Rinde (Rinde is `bark' in this context). Another natural soap is ``almond powder.''

QS has been tested as an accelerant in the bioremediation of PCB-contaminated soils (see CBA entry).

Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship[s]. Statistical analysis of potential relationships between chemical structure and biological activity. Drug and agrochemical design that is not blind.

Quad Switch Element. Here's one from IgT.

Quantum Size Effect[s].

Quality of Service Fund. Described at the UPU entry.

A ship camouflaged as a noncombatant ship with its armament and other fighting equipment hidden and with special provisions for unmasking its weapons quickly. Also called a decoy ship. Cf. q-message.

Q sign: Send On. (The ``SO'' expansion is merely mnemonic.) ``I can communicate with ... direct [or by relay through .... ].'' In Morse code communications, a Q sign (a code sequence for a common transmission-related message). In ham jargon: anything ham-related, including ham operation or operator in se.

QuasiStellar Object. Generally better known, if not better understood, by the name ``quasar.''

QuarterSize Small Outline Package.

QS9000, QS-9000
Quality System 9000. The 9000 alludes to ISO 9000, but QS-9000 was developed for the motor vehicle industry by the big three US automakers (GM, Ford, and Chrysler). (Back before Daimler-Benz bought Chrysler and became Daimler-Chrysler.)

Rebus for cutie.

QRS-onset-to-end-of-T-wave interval. The total duration of electrical activity of the ventricles indicated by an electrocardiogram.

Qualification Test.

QuarT. Exactly two pints, and exactly one quarter of a gallon, if you stick to wine gallons. Early in the nineteenth century, the US standardized on wine gallons and the UK standardized on beer gallons (``Imperial gallons'').

Quick Tan. A short story by the author of The Kitchen God's Wife and The Joy Luck Club. Also a designation on some low-SPF-factor suntan lotions.

If you don't know that the author of those two books is Amy Tan, then I suppose you may not have realized that the first explanation was a joke.


QuieT. Occurs primarily in the phrase ``on the QT,'' meaning `confidentially.' (``QT'' is pronounced as the names of the two letters -- ``kyoo-tee.'' Stress should be even or on the ult, so it doesn't sound like ``on the cutie.'')

Quick Turn-Around.

QT interval corrected for heart rate.

Quantum TopoDynamics.


Quantitative Temperature Forecast. NOT ``Qualitative.''

Quantum Theory of Laundry.

Qualified Tuition Program. ``Qualified'' for favorable tax treatment (or more precisely, ``qualified'' for the special tax treatment described in section 529 of the US tax code). Here's an explanation from the 2004 edition of IRS publication 17 (Your Federal Income Tax: For Individuals), p. 98:
A qualified tuition program (also known as a 529 program) is a program set up to allow you to either prepay, or contribute to an account established for paying, a student's qualified higher education expenses at an eligible educational institution. A program can be established and maintained by a state, an agency or instrumentality of a state, or an eligible educational institution.

I suppose most people aren't bothered much by the chattiness of the second-person pronoun. There are other irritations.

QTR, qtr.
QuarTeR (of a year).


QuickTime Virtual Reality. Visit a QTVR interface in development for Perseus and other web materials.

Quinnipiac University. (That's pronounced ``KWIN-uh-pe-ack.'') In Hampden Connecticut.

Referring to microelectronic packaging, indicates that there are leads on all four sides of a rectangular (usually square) package.

In the description of integrated circuits (usually SSI), it means ``quadruple: there are four of the particular gate or circuit. For example, the TTL 7400 is a ``quad 2-input NAND,'' so it has four NAND gates.

Quad, quad
A power-industry energy unit equal to a (American) quadrillion BTU's, that is, 1015 BTU. It's also abbreviated QBTU. In funny eurounits, it's 1.054 EJ. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the U.S. Energy Information Administration Statistics Center estimated total annual US energy consumption at between 90 and 100 quads, so I don't really see the point of biking to work.

Quai d'Orsay
The French Foggy Bottom. That is, a synecdoche for the foreign ministry. The Quai d'Orsay is a quay on the left bank of the Seine in Paris. This gives its name to the street running along it, where le Ministère des Affaires étrangeres (`Ministry of Foreign Affairs') is located.

In steam technology, ``quality'' is a quantity. Specifically, it is the fraction of steam mass in a mix of steam and liquid water, usually expressed as a percentage. Many steam diagrams have an axis or curves labeled by quality values.

It may be surprising to notice that the quality values fall outside the range of 0% to 100%, implying negative masses of liquid or gas. What's going on here is that ``quality'' is being used to represent the average intrinsic value of a first-order thermodynamic quantity. In the cases I've seen (and I'm no steam engineer) it seems to be enthalpy. That is, the quality is taken to represent the specific enthalpy: the enthalpy of the liquid-gas mix is simply the mass-weighted average of the specific enthalpies of the two components. If all other things are equal, then enthalpy varies linearly with quality, and one can compute the enthalpy corresponding to a physically impossible value of quality. Hence, a negative quality value really only stands for pure liquid water at a lower enthalpy than liquid water has when it's in thermodynamic equilibrium with its vapor. Similarly, quality values above 100% really stand for water vapor of higher enthalpy than water vapor that is in equilibrium with the liquid.

There must be a volume discount on qualms. Or maybe individual qualms are tiny and sticky and are only sold in family-size containers. For whatever reason, I've rarely encountered a singular qualm. Next time I run into a morally questionable situation, I'll concede that I don't have a single qualm.

Because of the dark l, it sounds the same as ``quam.'' But you knew that.

QUadrature Amplitude Modulation. More commonly abbreviated QAM.

At one point, there was not a single entry between Quad, quad and quasar. We fixed that!

Oh yeah, quandrification is a nonce word which I saw in fact, precisely once. It means the construing or making of quandaries where none really exist.

quango, Quango
QUeer AcroNym, you've GOtta admit. A Maltese wallaby? Maybe someone fat-fingered the very common phrase ``Zee wango, zee tango,'' and decided the typo ought to stand for something? QUasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organization. See the NGO entry for other odd NGO-related acronyms.

Unconscionably, there appears to be a movement afoot to replace this pronounceable and even cool-sounding acronym with the vanilla initialism NDPB (q.v.). The only defense one can make of this replacement, admittedly a feeble one, is that the weasel prefix quasi- sucks the protoplasm not just out of autonomous but also non-governmental.

The plural quangos is much more common than quangoes. There's really no excuse for this. Even with a loan like mango, the -es plural form is holding its own.

quantitative analysis
(It gets better, so read on.) Traditionally, chemistry could be divided into two major divisions: analysis and synthesis. Synthesis is still about what it was: creating a sequence of reactions and separations with a high yield of a particular desired product. Chemical analysis in its earliest forms also involved separations and reactions, to determine the composition or identity of some unknown (or incompletely characterized) substance. Qualitative analysis is the more basic sort of analysis, concerned with determining the identity of the components. Quantitative analysis starts from a knowledge, or an assumed knowledge, of what constitutents may be present, and is concerned with determining the quantity of one or more of those constituents.

Qualitative analysis has always had certain tools besides reaction and separation -- i.e., beyond those of synthesis. Originally, these tools were things like taste, smell, hardness, and streak (the characteristics of a streak left by one mineral scratching another). Priestley distinguished gases in part on the basis of how long a small animal could survive breathing them.

Even in its more advanced systematic forms, qualitative analysis was a craft and a kind of game. Given certain broad constraints on what was present in an unknown, the qualitative analyst would apply a sequence of tricks, the next step at each point selected on the basis of what had been learned up to that point. Of course, a ``game'' need not be easy. When my mother was a chemistry student at UBA in the 1950's, the qualitative analysis course (inorganic, of course) was the weed-out course. That day is passed. As is often the case, progress has simplified a task and replaced a quaint craft with methods that simply require a technician to, in the usual metaphor, `turn the crank.'' This stuff has gotten so automatic that in 1989, I (a theoretical physicist!) was trained to use an FTIR, which cranks out organic analysis. As one indication of current conditions, I note the words ``qualitative analysis'' have not occurred in the title of any Chemistry Department course in at least five years at Notre Dame (I happened to check in 2007).

Although prisms and lenses were used to decompose white light long before Newton, and though the colors of flames in particular reactions had also been described early on, spectroscopic methods only began to be used in a quantitative way starting in the nineteenth century. Today a large part of qualitative analysis is done by spectroscopy -- NMR, FTIR, etc. Moreover, where separation methods traditionally were used to divide a mixed substance into two components, modern analytic separation methods -- chromatographies, electrophoresis, ion mass spectrometry -- yield a continuous spectrum of results in a single separation.

Note that although these are methods of qualitative analysis (again: determining the identity of components), they yield data that are quantitative. That is, the sign that a particular substance (or functional group, etc.) is present is a particular signal, quantiatively described, appearing as a component in a spectrum. The strength of that signal is a measure of the amount of the substance, and hence the line between qualitative and quantitative analysis has become blurred.

None of that is what I really created this entry to talk about, but it just seemed responsible to mention it. All I really wanted to talk about is the essentially qualitative use of quantities. This might seem to involve the blurring of a line between qualitative analysis and quantitative analysis, but in reality there is rarely any quantitive analysis involved, just quantities.

The place where this qualitative use of quantities is most on display is in news reporting and in public policy discussions. A dead giveaway, in the case of reporting, is the use of marks like 000. As explained at the linked entry, these are used by the author of an article to stand in temporarily for some number not readily or not already available. What they demonstrate is that no analysis by the article author can depend on the precise value of the missing number.

The proper numbers are eventually inserted (or the text modified), and this may satisfy the curiosity of some readers. But the purpose of the numbers may be rhetorical or polemical rather than informative. It just happens that 38, seventeen thousand, or five billion sounds more dramatic and convincing than ``many,'' and that stronger effect is the motive for getting the numbers. I found what I think is an unusually frank admission of this in a 1978 essay by Wayne C. Booth entitled ``Metaphor as Rhetoric: The Problem of Evaluation.''

Explicit discussions of something called metaphor have multiplied astronomically in the past fifty years. This increase is not simply parallel to the vast general increase in scholarly and critical writing. Shakespeareans have multiplied too, as have scholars of Homer, of Dickens, and of Charles the Second. But students of metaphor have positively pullulated. The bibliographies show more titles for 1977, for example, than for--well, the truth is that I refuse to do the counting to make this point, but I'll wager a good deal [precise amount not stated] that the year 1977 produced more titles than the entire hisory of thought before 1940. We shall soon no doubt have more metaphoricians than metaphysicians--or should that be metamorticians, the embalmers of dead metaphor? I have in fact extrapolated with my pocket calculator to the year 2039; at that point there will be more students of metaphor than people.

That speaks for itself, pretty much. It might be worth observing that Booth manages to conflate at least three different claims in this fraction of a paragraph. The paragraph (and essay) begin with a claim about conferences or discussions (not carefully distinguished) on the subject of metaphor. In the third sentence of the quote the discussion shifts to numbers of scholars (professional students) and makes the claim that the numbers of metaphor scholars are increasing relative to the numbers of other humanities scholars. Finally, Booth proposes to demonstrate this by a quantitative measure that would show something else: that the numbers of metaphor scholars have increased in absolute terms.

Not entirely obvious from the material above is the apparent degree to which quantitative terms are used, perhaps metaphorically, in Booth's work. At least in etymological terms, the ``evaluation'' in his title is an instance.

A structural geologists' term for a dome in which the formations all dip outward in all lateral directions.

QUAsi-StellAr Radio source. Among astrophysicists, or at least among physicists discussing astrophysics, my recollection is that it was more common to call these things QSO's, at least by the 1970's. ``Quasar'' sounds just a bit too slick and commercial, particularly after the name was adopted by consumer-electronics companies as a cool word suggesting high technology. Quasar is also expanded as ``QUAsi-StellAR object'' (i.e., by the words which expand the equivalent term QSO) and as QUAsi-StAR, which is a bit general.

quasifree electron approximation

In gas chemistry and atomic physics:
An approximation dating back to Fermi. To wit, that electrons in very high-lying states of an atom interact with other ions and atoms they encounter essentially as if they were free.

In condensed-matter physics:
Electrons in the bottom of a single parabolic conduction band minimum act essentially like free particles (with an effective mass defined by the band curvature).

Queens University Belfast.


Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Latin enclitic meaning `and,' discussed at greater length in the et entry.

Queen Mum
The mother of Queen Elizabeth II of England. Doubtless so called on account of her unusual good sense in not opening her mouth for the purpose of foot insertion. The late queen mum was officially the oldest ever to hold the office, if that's what it was. Interestingly, this office seems likely to remain vacant for the next two generations of Windsors.

queer Spanish words
This is a special category of Spanish words likely to be interesting or intriguing or something to Anglophones. I call them ``queer'' because the Q's are a bit thin, compared to the I's. In order to avoid ambiguity, a word is defined as officially a ``queer Spanish word'' (i.e., officially an element of the set of queer Spanish words) if and only if I say it is. My say-so is based on long experience and conversations with Anglophones like Brett and Marvin and myself.

The current officially queer Spanish words are:

  1. limpiaparabrisas
  2. revolver

Remember, you can't spell querrulous without err. Whaat? You say you think it's spelled with only one r, ``querulous''? No it's not! Some people just write it that way, is all. Yeah, most people, but that doesn't prove anything.

Quadratic Upstream Implicit (differencing scheme for numerical integration).

quibble, qybble
Larger than a bit, smaller than a nybble. Much smaller than a byte. Maybe it's two bits, maybe three bits, just don't call it a cubit. Join the argument, sponsored by the neologism task force of the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve (motto -- new words you didn't even know you needed, because you didn't).

quick study
Euphemism and excuse for ignorant.


British informal for pound sterling (GBP). Interesting usage feature: no singular/plural distinction. Hence, one quid, two quid, ...

It's hard to say quid simply has identical singular and plural forms because there exists the expression ``quids in,'' meaning `in the money.'


quid pro quo
Latin: `what for what.' [There's more information than that in the original, since Latin has case declension for `that,' but we won't get into that.] Something given in trade or exchange, presumed of equivalent value. One hand washes the other, you know?

A Spanish word. As a verb, quiebre is a more-or-less regularly formed subjunctive meaning `that it break.' (It follows from quebrar, `to break,' with a pretty common stem change. The verb is derived from the Latin crepâre, `to burst, break noisily.' Yes, it's cognate with the English verb crepitate.) The word quiebre is also now used as a noun with meanings in the neighborhood of `breakdown, collapse' and `disjuncture.' See punto de quiebre.

Spanish química, `chemistry.' The same word also means `[female] chemist,' the female version of químico. These two words for chemist are also the two forms of the adjective meaning `chemical.' All of this parallels the semantics of físico (see fís). Neither gender of the term has the sense of the English noun (i.e., substantive) chemical. To express that one should use an expression like substancia química.

Spanish literally meaning something like `fifteen-yearer' (not the comparative -er or the agentive -er, but something like the -er in nor'easter). The quinceañera is something like a sweet-fifteen party -- a party to celebrate a girl's fifteenth birthday, a traditional rite of passage marking her becoming a young woman. It's a custom in Latin America, and among Latin Americans in the US.

An arrangement of five objects with four on the corners of a square and one at the center. A conventional throwing die has five dots in a quincunx on the face showing five, and quincunxes occur in an FCC lattice.

Some lexicographers give a less strict definition, using the corners and center of a rectangle. Some offer adjectives (quincuncial, quincunxial) or adverb (quincuncially; what, no quincunxially?). Many offer less-fun botanical and astronomical senses, and etymologies are a nickel a dozen, but most only imply that the plural is regular. We tell you: quincunxes.

The number of members in attendance necessary for a governing body to exercise its full authority. This can sound pretty boring. I remember that when we studied the US constitution in high school, this was glossed over pretty quickly, if it was discussed at all. (You're right -- that means I don't remember.) It was an opportunity missed, because failure to achieve a quorum is one way government breaks down, and the way something can break down tells a lot about the way it functions.

Wake up! It was also a loss because failure to achieve a quorum is sometimes intentional and interesting. This has mostly occurred at the state level in the US, probably because states are much smaller than the country, so larger quorums have been deemed feasible for state legislatures.

The earliest interesting instance I am aware of, without having studied this as a general phenomenon, occurred in Indiana during the Civil War. The governor was Oliver P. Morton, a stalwart Republican who was extremely active in the war effort, raising troops and supplies and canvassing the state in a campaign to support war morale on the home front. Perhaps those speeches were not as effective as they're made out to have been. In the wartime elections of 1862, Democrats took control of the legislature. The Democrats attempted to pass a military bill that would have severely limited the governor's authority and demanded the immediate retraction of the ``wicked, inhuman and unholy'' Emancipation Proclamation as a condition for continued Indiana support for the war. Morton convinced Republican legislators to leave the state, denying the Democrats a quorum. He ruled the state essentially as a dictator until the next elections, and in the absence of a budget the state was funded largely by personal loans to Morton from sympathetic bankers. For the elections of 1864, the soldiers were home and the legislature returned to Republican control. In violation of the state constitution, Morton was elected to another term, and he died solvent.

The famous legislative re-reapportionment in Texas was the motive of another quorum exodus, but I have to study that before I write more.

Quotable Musician, The
Subtitled From Bach to Tupac and published by Allworth Press (NY) in 2003. Quotes collected by Sheila E. Anderson, organized into chapters by subject. (That's right: Anderson collected them and subject organized them, dummy.) Most of the quotes give neither context nor source, so quotations linking here to cite this book for the source may be regarded as provisional or lazy. If I find the same quote in a better-sourced quotation book, I'll change the citation. If I find it in such a book and that also gives no source, I'll obelize it somehow.

Three of the thirty chapters here are just substantial excerpts from Anderson's interviews with jazz musicians. I would have guessed that these were originally done for her radio show Sunday Morning Harmony, which airs on WBGO-FM 88.3 (a public radio station for jazz, with studios in Newark, NJ), but there's a small reason to think not. She is quoted by foreword author Randall Kenan as explaining that the show is limited ``to basically piano and guitar--or, as I say, `jazz without horns'.'' Chapter 11 is ``On Being Benny Golson.'' The artist profile on Benny Golson's website describes Himself thusly:

Multitalented and internationally famous jazz legend, - a composer, arranger, lyricist, producer - and tenor saxophonist of world note, Benny Golson was born in Philadelphia, PA on January 25, 1929.
So I guess if they do something appropriately musical other than blow a horn, then she may still deign to interview them. The other interviews in the book are of Ron Carter and the son of Thelonious Sphere Monk. (That son, who goes by ``T.S. Monk,'' is a singer and drummer.)

Charge-Voltage. Q/V is the capacitance; dQ/dV is the differential capacitance.


quod vide. Latin, `which see.' Plural: qq.v. (for quae vide). Note that, as the letter-doubling indicates, only the pronoun is sent into the plural. The verb agrees with its subject, and in this mood (imperative) the subject stays singular. I suppose if you knew that the link or literature you were citing was going to be read simultaneously by a plural readership, you could write q.vv. (quod videte, `which see, y'all') for an individual reference.

Yeah, grammatical number is a chore. But languages that don't distinguish grammatical number often have even nastier features to compensate. The feature I have in mind is categorizers. That's the case with Guatemalteca (spoken by Mayan Indians) and Japanese (guess). In these languages, it's not necessary to distinguish plural from singular nouns. Kohi-o onegaishimasu indifferently means `I want a coffee, please' or `we want coffees, please.' (Not that Japanese makes a distinction between countable coffee and mass-noun coffee, but you get the idea.) However, if you do want to indicate a number, you can't just modify the noun with a quantifier; you have to give a categorizer along with the quantifier and (uninflected) noun.

Quality Value Convenience. A shopping channel, like HSN. For an example of the quality and value of the information disseminated free on QVC, see the pyrite entry. (Don't delay! Limited quantities available until tomorrow!)

Quantum Well.

QWERTY, qwerty
The key configuration that's standard for keyboards configured primarily for typing English. Keyboard schemes in other European languages that use a version of the Latin alphabet tend to use similar arrangements. For example, German-language keyboards, in addition to some adjustments for umlauts and ess-zet, use essentially the qwerty arrangement with the letters zee and wye interchanged. The standard French configuration is called azerty.

The qwerty arrangement is traditional. Sholes, when he invented the typewriter, at first arranged the letters in alphabetic order. Unfortunately, people could type too quickly, and the type slugs, which had no return springs, would jam. (Even in the 1960's, typing on a Hermes or one of the inexpensive electric Smith-Coronas, I found that it was easy to type one character too soon after another and jam the machine.) In order to slow down the typist and keep the machine from being destroyed by frequent jams, Sholes moved the character assignments around so they would be inconvenient for most typists. One of the simpler inconveniences was placing the four most common letters (e, a, s, t) on the left. The first three of those are so far to the left they can only quickly be pressed with the weaker fingers of the left hand. (Note that in those days, left-handedness was suppressed, so even the approximately 10% of the population that would have been natural lefties were by training and practice not such strong lefties as righties were strong righties.) Some of the original alphabetic order is preserved in the dfghjkl/mn...z (think boustrophedon) order in the qwerty scheme. Cf. DSK.

Quantum-Well-Envelope State Transition. This alleged acronym occurs in a few general collections of such things, but never (or at most rarely) in the scientific or engineering literature. That's encouraging, because it's hard to parse in any way that makes sense and isn't redundant. Qwest is also the name of a music label (since at least 1980) and of a telco based in Denver, IPO 1997. Afaik, in both cases it's simply a made-up name and not an acronym, though it might be taken as abbreviating quality (in, for, or from the West). The choice of such a name doubtless depends partly on its being a homophone of quest and thus suggesting aspiration. One suspects that the quantum-well expansion arose as a speculative backronymization of Qwest.

Queensland Women's Health Network.

Quantum-Well Intermixing. Post-growth annealing smooths the heterojunction between barrier and well materials. Cf. Grinsch. Vide J. H. Marsh, S. I. Hansen, A. C. Bryce and R. M. De La Rue, Opt. Quantum Electron., 23, S941 (1991).

Quantum-Well Infrared Photodetector.

Quantum-Well Intersubband Photodetector.

Quantum WIRE. Also QWR.

Quantum-Well Injection Transit Time (diode).

Quantum WeLl. Acronym used to emphasize distinction from QWR.

Quantum WiRe. Also QWire.

Quantum Well Solar Cell.

Quantum-Well Wire.

Quadruple (float-) Zone-Refined.

First Quarter (of the year). Many economic statistics are reported or computed on a quarterly basis. Also 1Q, which allows the year to be indicated without additional punctuation -- e.g.: 1Q97, 1Q1997.

First redaction of the Q (which see). In some speculations, this is the same as ``short Q'' (sQ).


Second Quarter (of the year). Many economic statistics are reported or computed on a quarterly basis. Also 2Q, which allows the year to be indicated without additional punctuation -- e.g.: 2Q97, 2Q1997.

Hypothetical second redaction of the hypothetical Q document. Presumably based on but adding to Q1, and so longer, hence also called ``extended Q'' (xQ). Roughly speaking, determining the content of Q2 is a modern version of counting the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. Scratch ``modern.''

J.P. Meier in his A Marginal Jew, writes (vol. 2, pg. 178):

I must admit, though, that the affirmation of Q's existence comes close to exhausting my ability to believe in hypothetical entities. I find myself increasingly skeptical as more refined and detailed theories about Q's extent, wording, community, geographical setting, stages of tradition and redaction, and coherent theology are proposed. I cannot help thinking that biblical scholarship would be greatly advanced if every morning all exegetes would repeat as a mantra: ``Q is a hypothetical document whose exact extension, wording, originating community, strata, and stages of redaction cannot be known.'' This daily devotion might save us flights of fancy that are destined, in my view, to end in skepticism.


Latin: quaque secunda hora. In exceedingly literal translation, this means `every second hour.' Equivalently, druggists typically interpret and translate this as `every two hours.' However (and don't mention this to any healthcare professionals), that's not what it would have meant to most native speakers of Latin, when such speakers existed: Roman counting of intervals was inclusive, so ``second day'' meant `the next day.' So to a Roman, quaque secunda hora would have meant `every hour.'

Third Quarter (of the year). Many economic statistics are reported or computed on a quarterly basis. Also ``3Q,'' which allows the year to be indicated without additional punctuation -- e.g.: 3Q97 or 3Q1997.

Fourth Quarter (of the year). Many economic statistics are reported or computed on a quarterly basis. Also written 4Q, allowing the year to be indicated without additional punctuation -- e.g.: 4Q97, 4Q1997.

Latin: quaque quarta hora. In exceedingly literal translation, this means `every fourth hour.' Equivalently, druggists typically interpret and translate this as `every four hours.' However, that's not what it would have meant to native speakers of Latin, when such speakers existed: Roman counting of intervals was inclusive, so quarta hora (literally `fourth hour,'), meant what we think of as the ``third hour.'' The same thing happened with days, months, etc.

When Julius Caesar instituted his major calendar reform, he relied on the advice of the astronomer Sosigenes. Sosigenes worked in Alexandria, Egypt. This was part of the Hellenistic world, only recently conquered by the Romans. It was ruled by Macedonians (who liked to think of themselves as northern Greeks, and who was to argue), though this was about to change. (Remember Cleopatra? Cleopatra VII? Let's forget about Cleopatra 2525.) There Greek was the lingua franca, the language of science and trade, sort of like English in Chicago. Greek uses noninclusive counting, like English. So when Sosigenes prescribed a leap year every fourth year, he meant that four years should pass between leap days. Julius Caesar, just like a Roman would, misunderstood, and instituted leap days that were three years apart.

In the first few decades of the Julian calendar, the intercalation continued to occur after the bissextile day, as it had in the Roman Republican calendar (see Q5 entry for the gory details). In our language, there were two February 24ths in a leap year. With the success of the new calendar, Julius Caesar decided to introduce one other little reform: he renamed one of the months after himself (the month we call ``July''). However, he never got to enjoy it. The March whose ides he was assassinated on occurred in the same year.

Starting in about 8 BCE (I have to check this), his nephew Octavius began to repair the problem with the too-frequent leap years: until 8 CE there were none -- that corrected the offset problem -- and afterwards they were resumed on the schedule that remained in place until at least 1582. Octavius, or Augustus Caesar, introduced another ``reform'' in 8 BCE. Like Julius, he renamed a month to honor himself (our ``August''). Since that month originally had only 30 days, and he wouldn't accept anything less than uncle Julius, he added one and ``balanced'' things out by changing the rest of the year. That is, the following month, September, went from 31 to 30, as did November; October and December were lengthened from 30 to 31. These changes, however, obviously didn't change the fact that the months after July now had one extra day. To keep the (non-leap) year at 365 days, Augustus shortened February to 28 days. Leap years continued to be called bissextile. I'll have to check when the leap day was inserted.

Fifth Quarter (of the year). If my calculations are correct, this would be equivalent to the first quarter of the next year. This concept could come in handy some day if we run out of year numbers -- living on borrowed time, so to speak. Quarters are not just coins, you know -- they're used in financial reporting, too. Fifth quarters, not quite so called, are used to break ties in football, under many rules.

One year long enough to accommodate almost five ordinary quarter years was 708 AUC, which we know as 46 BC. Julius Caesar, finally in sole dictatorial control of the Roman Empire after defeating Pompey, instituted a substantial reform and rationalization of the calendar. The main previous system had required substantial intercalation, determined by a committee that deliberated secretly... The calendar had slipped backward relative to the seasons. In order to get the year back into sync with the seasons and celestial phenomena (i.e., Winter solstice in late December, etc.), 708 AUC was extended to at least 440 days, probably 445 (sources differ). Counting months instead of days, 46 BCE easily had five quarters, since it very likely had fifteen or sixteen months. Specifically, it had an ordinary 23-day intercalary month at the end of February, and 67 intercalated days between November and December. According to the Julius life in Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars and according to Censorinus 20.8, the 67 days were inserted as two months. Since 67 = 22 + 23 + 22, it has also been suggested that the 67 days were inserted as three intercalary months of the length that had been typical previously. They could thus even, though there is no evidence for the distribution, have been inserted in the traditional pattern of alternating lengths (23, 22, 23, 22).

Strictly speaking, 22 or 23 is not the length of the intercalated month, but the net number of days by which the leap year was longer than an ordinary year. The intercalated month, Mercedonius, had 28 or 29 days, but it was inserted in the Roman Republican calendar after the sixth day preceding the Kalends of March (Martius) -- hence the term ``bissextile'' describing it, and the loss of six days. That ``sixth day'' was determined by inclusive counting, of course. It was February 24 because February had 29 days in an ordinary year.

Anyway, following that five-quarter year Julius Caesar instituted a new calendar discussed at q.4h.. Heck, that's the previous entry!

Coming soon: information on finance and the Fifth Third.

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