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Red Cross.

Release Candidate. A version of software being considered for full release, as opposed to beta release.

Request for Change.

Remote Control. (Or Remotely Controlled.)

Roman Catholic.

Roman Catholic students at secular colleges are served by Newman Centers. There is a Newman Center at UB.

The name ``Roman Catholic Church'' (i.e., the names corresponding to it in various languages) was introduced by Pope Eugenius IV in 1445.

The word ``catholic'' is essentially synonymous with ``universal.''

Routing Control.

Royal Crown. They make soda.

Rabbinical Council of America. A ``modern Orthodox'' group, loosely speaking, rather than an ``ultra-Orthodox'' group. Based in sin city. Where you go if you can't CYLOR?

Radio Club of America.

Radio Corporation of America. When General Electric got out of most consumer electronics in 1985, it sold the right to use the RCA marque (which it then owned) along with the rest of that business to the French company Thomson-CSF.

Regina Coeli Academy is an on-line school. ``[A]n apostolate of the Institute for Study of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, a non-profit educational corporation chartered by the State of Louisiana. The founders and governors of the Academy are Roman Catholics in joyful submission to the authority of the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Church.''

RCA shares most of its courses with Scholars' Online Academy (SOLA) a parallel school of ISLAS that is broadly Christian. The RCA curriculum includes some additional explicitly Catholic curricular items like elementary theology and a course in Scholastic philosophy.

Reformed Church in America. (See the Reformed entry.)

Resource Conservation Alliance. They want to protect natural forests by promoting recycling and the use of alternative natural fibers. Frankly, I thought particle board was bad enough. Let's use plastic.

Royal Canadian Air Force. Name before being integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces.

Regional Cerebral Blood Flow.

Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Resident Computer Coordinator.

Race Car Club of America. An East Coast organization dedicated to providing ``The thrill of racing without the agony of expense.'' Read about it here.

Reverse-Circulation Center-discharge Drilling. Drilling with a rotary rig with the drilling mud circulating down the outside and up the inside of the drill string. See the ODC entry if any of this is puzzling.

Root Cause Failure Analysis. It's lack of self-esteem, leading to general embarrassment, but they're ashamed to admit it.

Robert C. Hupp, an early-twentieth century automobile designer. Use of the initialism is explained at the REO entry.

Relativistic Continuum Hartree-Bogoliubov (nuclear calculations).

RanCHO. Abbreviation in California addresses and road signs.

Radio Canada International.

Relativistic Configuration Interaction. Core electrons in atoms with atomic number Z have typical velocities Zαc in nonrelativistic (essentially Schrödinger-equation) treatments, where the fine structure constant alpha is ~ 1/137, and c is the speed of light. Thus, heavy elements require relativistic quantum treatments.

Rotator Cuff Ligament.

Radar Coded Message.

RealClearMarkets. An aggregator site for business news and commentary. See RCP.

Reliability-Centered Maintenance.

Resource-Centered Management. A UB administrative buzzword as of February 1997.

Ring-Closing Metathesis. Cf. ROM.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police. You know -- the Mounties. Originally the North-West Mounted Police.

Royal Canadian Navy.

The fact of being a royal dominion did not automatically confer on Canada's navy the status of ``royal'' or the right to use the term in its name. The Canadian government formally requested the honor in January 1911, and was notified on August 29 of his majesty's approval and authorization to designate the Canadian Naval Forces by ``Royal Canadian Navy.'' For details see Roger Sarty: The Maritime Defence of Canada (Toronto: Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies, 1996).

The service continued under the RCN designation until it was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces, which formally came into being on February 1, 1968. The destruction of the RCN was the handiwork of Liberal Paul Hellyer, Defense Minister from 1964 to 1967. See Marc Milner: Canada's Navy: The First Century (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 1999).

Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1916 as the College of Nursing, Ltd. According to the whereases in its most recent royal charter (issued on Feb. 5, 1979 -- the last day of Queen Elizabeth II's 27th year on the throne), in 1928 it received its first royal charter, and in 1940 it was granted the right to be called the ``Royal College of Nursing.'' In 1963 it received a new charter and this unwieldy moniker: ``The Royal College of Nursing and National Council of Nurses of the United Kingdom.'' In 1974, this was scaled back to ``The Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom.'' I infer that in 1963 the existing RCN merged with the National Council of Nurses, which had been formed in 1905 or after. The UK is supposed to be one of the charter members of the ICN, which was founded in 1899, and the RCN is the current ICN member for the UK. However, the only national nurses' association I am aware of that was already in existence in 1899 was the British Nurses' Association (founded 1887). That is still in existence, not merged with the RCN, so I don't really know what happened with that.

RealClearPolitics. A more-than-daily compilation of links to political commentary and general news. The in-house editorials have a Republican or rightward tilt, but Democratic and leftist viewpoints are represented by a fair selection of links. At some point they became affiliated with Fox News, and some RCP content is linked from <foxnews.com>.

RCP keeps track of polls on major political races (i.e., those that attract repeated polling) and computes a running average of recent ones. These ``RCP averages'' is widely cited in political commentary. RCP averages give equal weight to all polls included, regardless of size. (Theoretically, one should weight such multiple estimates by the inverse of the variance. If it can be assumed, as it often is assumed, that the different polls attempt to measure the same number, then this means that each poll should be weighted by its sample size. In other words, one should estimate support for a candidate by counting the total number of supporters over all the polls.) The crude averaging done by RCP is not too terrible since the underlying polls are clearly so flawed that the sample sizes are probably not the dominant source of error. RCP averages also make no distinction among polls of likely voters, polls of registered voters, and more inclusive polls.

RCP was founded in 2000. Since at least 2007, it has had two sister sites, also essentially news-and-commentary aggregators: RealClearSports (RCS) and RealClearMarkets (RCM).

Revista de Ciencia Política. A journal of political science published by the Instituto de Ciencia Política de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (`political science institute of the pontifical Catholic university of Chile') in Santiago. These are my translations; there don't appear to be any official ones for the magazines and institutional names.

RCP has appeared since 2008 ``three times a year (April-May, July-August, November-December) and publishes articles in all areas of political science. It was founded in 1979.'' The website is available in Spanish, English, and (partly) in Portuguese. Articles are accepted in Spanish or English. Titles and formal abstracts are given in both Spanish and English. According to the instructions for contributors of articles, authors are required to submit abstracts (up to 120 words) in both languages. The front cover of each issue lists the titles of contributions only in the language each item is written in; the online-edition tables of contents give article titles in the language in which the webpage is being read. I marvel at all the free time I must have had when I first drafted this entry.

Judging from the one copy I had in hand (vol. 29, no. 1, 2009), the contributions fall into four categories: artículo, estudio, dossier, and recensión. The Dossier seems to be a collection of related articles on a broad theme, presumably invited. Recensiónes here are book reviews. I can't tell what distinguishes the articles from the studies.

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Royal (UK) College of Radiologists.

(US) Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (of 1976). Updated by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984.

Resource Conservation and Recovery act (RCRA) docket Information System.

Radar Cross Section.

Reaction Control System.

RealClearSports. An aggregator of sports news and commentary. See RCP.

Revision Control System. A freeware (FSF) improvement on SCCS.

Revista de Ciencias Sociales. `Social Sciences Journal.' I am aware of distinct academic journals with this rather generic title that have been (and probably all still are) published in Maracaibo, Venezuela; Bernal, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; San José, Costa Rica; and Río Piedras, Puerto Rico.

The one from Puerto Rico is published by the Centro de Investigaciones Sociales - Universidad de Puerto Rico - Recinto de Río Piedras. (Investigaciones sociales is an ordinary way to say `social [science] research'; Río Piedras is a district of San Juan.) It was first published as a quarterly beginning in March 1957 (one volumen and four números per year).

Now the words Nueva Época (a slightly old-fashioned way of saying nueva serie, -- `new series') appear before the issue information. I've got ``Nueva Época Número 6 - Enero de 1999'' before me, and as of June 2012 the current issue is number 22. The pricing information says there are currently two numbers per year. I can square this if they published annually through 2008 (no. 15) and no. 23 is due later this year, and if I were creating word problems for Algebra I, this would definitely be interesting to me.

Royal College of Surgeons of EDinburgh. ``[O]ne of the oldest surgical corporations in the world... In 1505, the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh were formally incorporated as a Craft Guild of the city and this recognition is embodied in the Seal of Cause (or Charter of Privileges) which was granted to the Barber Surgeons by the Town Council of Edinburgh on 1st July 1505.... The Seal of Cause was confirmed on the 13th of October 1506 by a Royal Charter granted by King James IV of Scotland....''

Randomized { Controlled | Clinical } Trial.

Regents' Competency Test. A set of tests taken by New York State high school students. Passing them entitles the student to a ``Regents' Diploma.'' For many years, the tests haven't been very difficult, and some of the major ones (English, Math, Social Studies, Science) are being phased out and replaced in the period 1996-2002.

Drinking at a bar (Elmo's) last year [``last year'' when I wrote this around 1996], I met a physics BA who teaches science in a Southtowns school. He told me that one of the courses he was teaching was ``Regents Science.'' I replied that it must be fun to teach an advanced science course to good students. I was sadly mistaken. Regents science is a course for students who don't care about science at all, and are taking a course strictly to meet a distasteful requirement.

Reverse-Conducting Thyristor.

Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics.

Relayed Coherence Transfer COrrelation SpectroscopY (COSY).

Richardson Company Training Media.

If you insert a couple of vowels, just to make RCTM pronounceable, what word suggests itself as model?

Of course, some people will think of RTFM.

Research Councils UK. I guess they just have a different Sprachgefühl in the United Kingdom. From where I browse, ``arr-cuck'' sounds a bit off.

``...a strategic partnership set up to champion science, engineering and technology supported by the seven UK Research Councils. Through RCUK, the Research Councils are working together to create a common framework for research, training and knowledge transfer. In doing this RCUK will work alongside OST to further support for the UK's best academic researchers and deliver the best investment for society.''

``OST''? I guess that must be some other Office of Science and Technology.

See also FCUK.


Research Committee 33 Logic & Methodology. Founded in 1973, a committee of the International Sociological Association (ISA, see RC33-specific information here). Its ``objectives are to develop professional contacts between sociologists interested in logic and methodology, to encourage the worldwide exchange of research findings and theoretical developments, and to promote international meetings and research collaboration in the field of logic and methodology in sociology.''

Receive Data. A standard light on external modems. Flashes during receive. Oh -- yes! Oooh! Yes!! YESSS!!!!

Cf. SD.

R.D., RD
Registered Dietitian.

República Dominicana. `Dominican Republic.' See .do entry.

R & D
Research and Development.

You know, the adoption of so many loan words and even abbreviations from English into foreign languages is of significance to English speakers, because it makes foreign languages easy to understand. Here, for example, is some text from unsolicited email that I received:

Kami, Prihatin Services daripada unit R&D, Latihan dan Perhubungan Awam PEKIDA MALAYSIA ingin menawarkan pekej ini untuk dimanfaatkan oleh ahli keluarga, syarikat dan organisasi Saudara/Saudari.

Sure, you miss some of the grammatical subtleties, but basically, I got all the information out of this that I really wanted to get.

Residence Dean.

Rd., RD
RoaD. Standard abbreviation. Traditionally, of course, it was written with a lower-case d, but the US postal ``service'' encouraged the use of unpunctuated all-caps addresses to reduce the error rate in automated address-reading (a kind of pattern recognition). In the mid-1990's, I read about some USPS-funded research on automated address-reading that was going to incorporate an exciting new idea: using punctuation in the addresses as a guide. I haven't kept up, but who knows -- by now maybe they're using the fact that initial letters are more likely to be capitalized!

Route Descriptor.

Recommended { Daily | Dietary } Allowance. Nutritional recommendations of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences -- National Research Council.

Remote Database Access.

Rotary Digital Audio Tape.

Receive Data Buffer.

Relational DataBase.

Relational DataBase Management System.

Relational Database System. Not much attested. Take care not to confuse it with RBDS.

Rail Diesel Car. A model of diesel-hydraulic multiple-unit (DHMU) train made by the Budd company and widely used on secondary passenger train routes when these still existed in the US and Canada. The unsuccessful successor to the RDC was called the SPV-2000.

Research, Development, and Commercialization.

Random Digit Dial{ ed | ing }. The emphasis is on digit rather than number: if you dial random numbers from a directory, you miss people whose numbers are unlisted, and your survey is biased. Also, if you call each number only once, you tend to miss people who are out more, so you should redial until you get an answer (answering machines and PBX's complicate matters).

Research, Development, and Demonstration.

Research, Development, and Engineering Center.

Radial Distribution Function.

Rate Decrease Factor. ATM term for factor by which a source should decrease its transmission rate if an RM or EFCI cell indicates congestion. Cf. RIF.

Record Definition Field. Used in VSAM.

Remote Distribution Frame.

Resource Description Framework.

The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a specification currently under development within the W3C Metadata activity. RDF is designed to provide an infrastructure to support metadata across many web-based activities. RDF is the result of a number of metadata communities bringing together their needs to provide a robust and flexible architecture for supporting metadata on the Internet and WWW. Example applications include sitemaps, content ratings, stream channel definitions, search engine data collection (web crawling), digital library collections, and distributed authoring.

RDF will allow different application communities to define the metadata property set that best serves the needs of each community. RDF will provide a uniform and interoperable means to exchange the metadata between programs and across the Web. Furthermore, RDF will provide a means for publishing both a human-readable and a machine-understandable definition of the property set itself.

RDF will use XML as the transfer syntax in order to leverage other tools and code bases being built around XML.

Relativistic Density-dependent Hartree-Fock.

Real Disposable Income. Disposable? Look, if you weren't going to use that, I'd be happy to take it off your hands.

Remote Defect { Identification | Indication | Indicator }.

Real Disposable Income per capita.

RDI - Loop.

RDI - Path.

Replication, Distribution, Installation, and Training. Sounds like cloned cyborg janitors.

RDI - Virtual.

Real-time Disk Operating System.

Rectifying-Demodulating Phonopneumograph. A device invented by Manuel Casanova, M.D., to detect lower-airway obstructions and to make a differential diagnosis between asthma and emphysema. Basically, the RDP was a microphone that did a little analog signal processing to make different kinds of lung sounds distinguishable on an oscilloscope or chart-recorder trace. Later, he used the same device for diagnosing arthritis in large joints before they begin to swell visibly. This was done by detecting the sound made by arthritic joints. The sound is a crackling like that made by crumpling some kinds of plastic wrap.

For further details, see the C&EN of August 25, 1986, p. 44.

``Reliable Datagram'' Protocol.

Radio Data System. European version of RBDS. It has a homepage. System standards were defined by the European Broadcast Union (EBU), and largely incorporated in RBDS standards of US EIA/CEG.

Receiver Data Service Request.

Remote Digital Terminal.

R, D, T & E
Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation. I've only encountered the abbreviation in a military context, and there it seems to mean only this. Other, somewhat improbable expansions are alleged, with E standing for Engineering (a bit late to begin that after testing, eh?) or with T standing for Training (subtle shift in implicit subject).

Raman Doppler Velocimetry.

Rare Earth. Traditionally, the rare earth elements, or metals, are the elements of the Lanthanide series (atomic numbers 57 to 71 inclusive) which differ in the number of 4f electrons and are chemically difficult to distinguish. In magnetic work, the term is sometimes taken to include Sc and Y, in earlier periods of group IIIb (above La). Geologists count only 14 rare earths, because Promethium (Pm, elt. #61) is not naturally occurring on earth (its stablest isotope has a half-life of 17.7 years).

More at rare earth entry.


Realencyclopädie. German, `specialist encyclopedia.' The real here is apparently the reality real from Latin realis and not the royalty real from Spanish real. The Latinate spelling, with ``cyc,'' has tended to be supplanted by the Germanized ``zyk'' over time. You can think of Realenzyklopädie as a ``serious'' or ``get real'' encyclopedia.

Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. `Specialist encyclopedia for classical Antiquity.' RE seems to be a more common abbreviation for this than RA, but strictly speaking (genau genommen) RA follows convention: capitalization of nouns is preserved in abbreviations and acronyms (Abkürzung und Acronyme). (Cf. GmbH.)

Real Estate.

REinsurance company.

Reproductive Endocrinologist. What's this entry doing in an electronics glossary? Hmmm... Have to clean up some time.

Resonance Energy. ``Resonance'' in the chemical bonding sense.

(Domain name code for) REunion.

Rhenium. Atomic number 75.

Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

[Football icon]

Right End. A defensive position in American football -- on the right end of the line as seen from the defending team's point of view. Lines up against the ``left'' side of the offensive line. I'd suggest that you visit the DE and LE entries for further enlightenment, but there's precious little there, so I won't.

Royal Engineers. The sappers. Cf. RA.

Restriction Enzyme Analysis. Tool here.


Revue des Études Anciennes. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Red para la Enseñanza y Aprendizaje de Culturas Hispanas. Spanish, `Network for the teaching and learning of Hispanic cultures.' The name of an AATSP project for SNS.

reach out to
It's fortunate that I live in a well-insulated house, because if I hear this fat-headed mouth-offal again I'm going to scream.

readability score
A simple-minded measure of simple-mindedness. Following are three common ones popularized by word-processor grammar checkers. Angle brackets denote averages.

Flesch Reading Ease

     =   206.835 
       - 1.015 x <words per sentence>
       - 84.6 x <syllables per word>
In practice, the range is truncated to [0,100]. (I.e., FRE = max(0,min(100,"FRE")), where "FRE" is the quantity given by the formula above. Six significant digits on the constant term? This is what happens when you give calculators to monkeys. Okay, okay, it's not so bad: the precision seems to be all of 0.005 units. Since 100 units are supposed to represent no more than about 20 years of education, 0.005 represents about a millischool-year. And since a school year contains roughly 1000 hours of classroom time, this test purports to state readability differences corresponding to about one class period. Sure, why not?

Scores above ninety correspond to a fourth-grade reading level. Whoa -- 61.325! A score that is above a score of nine times a ten corresponds to a fourth-grade level of reading. Uh, 81.055. Wait till next year, kid. (Fifth grade: 80-90.) There's a lot of interesting information encoded in this formula. I guess what the FRE tells you is that the easiest-to-read sentences containing x excess syllables are those in which those extra syllables are diluted among a total of sqrt(cx) words (c = 83.34975). I never would have guessed that. Linear functions of things that monkeys can compute on a four-banger are fascinating things. (That scored a 50.557. ``Fairly difficult'' is at the ``some high school'' grade level: 50-60.) Lincoln's Gettysburg Address scores 64. (I mean the address itself scores 64, not the words ``Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.'' And now we know why he didn't begin with the much-harder-to-understand ``Eighty-seven years ago....'' ``Standard'' difficulty, 7th-8th grade: 60-70. College level ``and up'' is 0-30.)

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

     = -15.59
       + 0.39 x <words per sentence>
       + 11.8 x <syllables per word>
It's interesting to see that the ratio of syllable-rate and sentence-length coefficients is down to only 30.26 here from 83.35 (c) above. Evidently, sentence length is much more significant in determining grade level than in determining reading ease. Moreover, if you don't start bulking up your words with extra syllables, next year you'll have to add 2.56 words to your average sentence.

Gunning's Fog Index

     = 0.4 x ( <words per sentence> + <long words per sentence> )
(Long words are words of three or more syllables. I'm at a loss for words.)

reader-response method of literary criticism
``Method'' here is a bit strong. Make that a sensitivity to certain factors. Hans Robert Jauss's Rezeptionstheorie.

reads like fiction
Is fiction.

ready by
Ready after.

An intensifier, roughly synonymous with ``really,'' that is unacceptable even in informal speech, because real is really an adjective, whereas the real really is an adverb. (And no, I don't think this makes a very good mnemonic.)

reality show
A real reality show is an escapist entertainment that is so overstuffed with realism that it's entirely surreal. But I just put this entry in because I wanted to mention ``The Truman Show.'' This is the story of a man (played by Jim Carrey, a man) who gradually realizes that his life is a TV show (whereas Jim Carrey's life is more like a series of movie roles). Some considered this an exciting premise when it came out in 1998, although the current reality show genre had been around since the late eighties. In fact, Carrey and the movie were both thought certain to receive academy award (AMPAS) nominations. In the event, neither best actor nor best movie nominations came. (There were three lower-profile nominations -- supporting actor, director, and writer -- none of which it won.)

In his ``At the Movies'' column in the February 12, 1999, New York Times, Bernard Weinraub reported:

Several Hollywood marketing executives and producers were almost united their explanation of why the academy snubbed ``The Truman Show.'' They said that while some newspapers and magazine critics lavishly praised the movie, people in Hollywood didn't quite get what all the hoopla was about.

``It was a critics' phenomenon, and the town never liked the movie,'' one top producer said.

A studio marketing executive said that an oft-heard comment about the movie was that it had been overpraised, and that there might have been a glimmer of resentment among actors over Mr. Carrey's relatively effortless leap from comedy to drama. The actors [sic] branch of the Academy selects the acting nominees.

In addition, Mr. Carrey's chances of an Oscar nomination may have been hurt by his winning a best-actor prize at the Golden Globes, awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association...

``It may have been, `O.K., he got the Golden Globe, that's enough,' '' the marketing executive said.

An intensifier, roughly synonymous with ``very,'' that is acceptable in informal speech--not in formal writing.

An adverb meaning ``in fact.''

Really! You don't say!
Go away.

real me, the
The objective unbiased image that I have of myself, instead of the biased caricature that others have of me.

Reaney and Wilson
A Dictionary of English Surnames, by P. H. Reaney and R. M. Wilson (Routledge, 1991). The first edition of the dictionary was published by Reaney in 1958 with the title A Dictionary of British Surnames, and contained 4000 surnames. Wilson completed a second revised edition (1976) that had been begun by Reaney, with 700 additional names. In his preface to the third edition, which included 4000 additional names with their variants, Wilson explained that the ``change in title reflects the concentration on surnames of specifically English rather than Celtic origin, which has been increasingly apparent in successive editions. As a rule, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish names are only included when forms for them are found in English sources, or when they coincide in form with specifically English surnames. Scottish surnames have been adequately dealt with by G.F. Black, Irish names by E. Maclysaght, and Welsh border names by T.E. Morris ....''

That third-edition preface concludes with the following: ``[T]he etymologies suggested are usually my own, and from the nature of the surnames included tend to be either obvious or highly speculative, but experience has shown that as many enquiries are received concerning the former type as of surname as for the more difficult ones.''

For surname etymologies I usually go first to Hanks and Hodges and the book by the Kohlheims listed at the Familienname entry. If I cite only Reaney and Wilson, then it probably means that these failed me.

Resist EtchBack. A planarization method.


Revue des Études Byzantines.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. (Also RET.)

A sports term describing the condition of a team (called a ``program'' in this context) that has been demolished and that isn't likely to rise again soon.

Spanish word with the current English meaning of recherché, q.v.

Request for Engineering Change (EC).

recent photograph
More recent than a baby picture, anyway. Personals-ad terminology.

This is probably a good place to explain about personals-ad pictures. Often it will seem that the age of the person in the picture is not consistent with the age in the profile. Here are some rules that I have developed on the basis of the scientific experimental method, that will enable you to interpret the significance of this inconsistency.

  1. IF the person in the picture looks much older than the age given in the profile, then the picture gives a more accurate indication of the person's age.
  2. IF, on the other hand, the picture looks much younger than the age given in the profile, then the profile gives an age that is closer to being correct.

You probably find this bewildering, but the explanation is simple: people have a natural desire to be honest. However, it often happens that for technical reasons, the profile lists an age that differs in a quantitative way from the current chronological age of the person described. Since this is a mathematical issue, the reasons go beyond what we can explain here. However, because a so-called ``fictitious age'' is given, the person placing the ad may wish to also give an indication of so-called ``actual age.'' For this purpose, a recent photograph may be used.

On the other hand, sometimes the age listed in the ad coincides with the age of the person who places the ad. This is so unexpected that it can cause confusion, leading the reader to underestimate the age of the person advertising. In order to get around this problem, the advertiser uses a method designed to exaggerate age. The method has two steps: (1) select an OLD picture, and (2) AGE the picture. For example, suppose the advertising person is 55, but the age listed in the profile is also 55. Because this is so confusing, the reader is likely to think that the advertiser is only 40 -- a fifteen-year error! The solution is to illustrate the ad with a picture that not only is fifteen years old (taken when the advertiser was 40), but also to age this picture, not using it when it is deceptively young but instead using it now, only after it has matured fifteen years -- an old picture of an older person. This is the method of over-correction: a fifteen-year-old picture is used fifteen years after it was taken, for a total correction of thirty years.

The tangled webs people weave to be honest -- it's amazing.

Seen in a Toronto ad: ``I'm a 40-something Canadian (30 US).'' [Man, she must have aged something awful in 2007.]

Sometimes, an appropriate old photograph is not available. In these situations, the prospective dater trying to be honest is forced to use the photograph of someone else. An example can be found at the entry for I value honesty. Something similar happened with the photograph of Jennifer Kesse of Orlando, Florida, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances in late January 2006. Photographs of her appear on a missing-person website maintained by her parents. In mid-2007, one of these photos was found illustrating a personals ad for a person who described herself (or himself, who knows?) as a 25-year-old looking for ``a special older man to love, to be very good friends with.'' This ``wonderful older man'' she seeks will want to be with a young woman and ``will love me for who I am,'' as she puts it. A photograph of Kesse was also used by someone on a lesbian dating site. Detective Joel Wright of the Orlando Police Department says, ``More than likely, it's somebody just trying to make themselves look better for someone they might want to meet later on. I wonder what happens when they do meet that person.'' One guess is that the wonderful older man might be wonderfully near-blind, but then the advantage of posting a pretty picture would be limited.

I think what generally happens when someone catches a date on false pretenses is that the other person tries to be polite and cuts the date as short as possible, and that's their last date. For the person who repeatedly gets dates this way, it has to be a strange social life. Back before online dating sites, my uncle Robert advised that the ideal first date is for coffee, so you can bail out quickly. (He's a pilot.)

I'm quite proud of the fact that I managed to write this entire entry without once mentioning The Picture of Dorian Gray, but I couldn't resist the urge to crow about it.

I've seen a number of English-dictionary definitions of this adjective that seem to miss or understress the point of this word's use in English. In virtually every instance of the word that I have encountered in English, it evidently has the sense of `forced,' and typically refers to a pun that depends on a reference that is too obscure or a connection that is too tenuous. The obscure or recondite may be special in a more positive way, and many dictionaries center the meaning on adjectives like refined, elegant (the Collins Essential English Dictionary has ``studiedly refined or elegant'' as a first definition), uncommon, rare, exquisite, choice, and then pretentious, overblown (the last six in the AHD4, along with definition 3: ``overblown; forced''). I suppose most of these definitions reflect usage so obsolete that I never happened to encounter it in the second half of the twentieth century. The more pejorative of the older meanings are now better expressed by the adjective twee.

In Spanish, the idea expressed by recherché in English is expressed by the native construction rebuscado (based on buscar, `to look for, to go get'). It is typical that English would rely on a loan. But given the cultural associations of France and French, the use of an unnaturalized loan (as signaled by the retained acute accent) is particularly appropriate to the apparently obsolete senses, making recherché in English connotatively homological.

REd CHilena para una Iniciativa de los Pueblos. That's a best-guess reconstruction of the Spanish from English expansion given -- `Chilean Network for a Peoples' Initiative.' (The plural possessive, FWIW, sounds a bit more fatuous in Spanish than English.) RECHIP is a group opposed to FTAA, more or less. Don't know if it existed in any form or for any purpose besides.

German word meaning `correct spelling,' identical in construction and meaning with the Spanish and Latin word (originally transliterated from the Greek) orthographia. So all these languages have books for ``correct spelling''; English just has ``spelling books.'' It stands to reason.

Incidentally, as you will have noticed, German compound terms (particularly nouns) are typically written as single words. This makes it important to be able to recognize the component words. That's usually pretty easy, even for non-native speakers (see VLIW entry for examples), but there are special cases that can trip one up. Words beginning with recht are one such case: they may be compounds of

  1. the adjective recht (`right,' in many of the English positional or geometric senses, and then some) like Rechteck (`rectangle');
  2. the directional adverb rechts (`to or on the right') like Rechtsabbieger (`a driver or vehicle that is turning right') or rechtshändig (`right-handed');
  3. the noun Recht (`law, justice') like rechtmäßig (`legal') or rechtfertigen (`to justify');
  4. the genitive form Rechts (`of the law') like Rechtsanwalt (translated as `lawyer' or `attorney');
  5. the adjective recht (`correct, honest') like rechtzeitig (`punctual') or Rechtschreibung.

Well, I ended up saying a little more than I had originally intended. That happens sometimes, and it can obscure the main point. Obviously, the various senses of recht, etc., are related and shade into one another, just as do the various senses of right and rights in English. The point, though, is that the ess following recht may be an inflection or may be the first letter of the next word in the compound. In principle, there might be a pair of distinct words like rechtsoof and rechtsoof, constructed with soof and oof respectively, but I can't come up with an example.

Until we have an entry for right, I'll add here that in Spanish, derecho has a melange of legal senses similar to recht in German. For example, it means `law' in general, as a branch of study or a system of concepts (a particular law is a ley), and also `right, prerogative.' By extension, it has the sense (usually in plural) of `duty,' or what one pays to exercise a legal privilege (e.g., derechos aduaneros). (I guess it's a bonus that `correct' in the most general sense is not one of its standard meanings.) What might be slightly confusing is that derecho is an adverb meaning `straight ahead' while derecha is a noun meaning `right' (i.e., a la derecha means `on [or to] the right'). [Okay, strictly speaking, many dictionaries still consider this to be not an instance of a noun derecha, but the noun phrase mano derecha (`right hand') with mano elided, but usage says different.]

Reporting Economic Crime On-Line. A place to file fraud complaints discreetly. Administered by the NW4C and supported by the RCMP and others.

RECTangle. A convenient building block for graphics and layout.

RECTifying antENNA. For microwave-generating orbiting solar collectors (SPS: Satellite Power System), say, or RFID tags. Nothing but an antenna that receives power at a convenient frequency (in one of the ISM bands, typically), followed by a rectifying circuit to provide a voltage level.

The AC-to-DC power supply almost has a rectenna. It has a transformer with a primary winding that takes line current. This induces an alternating magnetic flux in the transformer core, which in turn (pardon the pun) induces an AC voltage in the secondary winding. The voltage across the secondary is put across a full-wave rectifier bridge (four diodes in obvious orientations) to produce a noisy DC signal. A capacitor shunt across the DC output functions as a primitive low-pass filter and gives a reasonably flat DC final output. That's the way it used to be, of course. Nowadays, there's fancy intelligent circuitry everywhere. Also nowadays, the final output can feed a lightweight supercapacitor, providing excellent surge protection.

The reason the secondary of a power transformer is not regarded as an element of a rectenna is that the mechanism of power transmission is mutual inductance. However, at high frequency, the mutual inductance has a pole (the pole is complex -- ordinary resistance in the circuit gives the pole frequency a nonzero but small imaginary part). In this region, the mathematical description of the power transmission between primary and secondary is equivalent to that of a transmitting and receiving antenna. Physically, the secondary is so close that one is not in the radiation regime, but from a circuit-designer's POV, that (i.e., the form of the signal variation in the vicinity of the receiving antenna) is not very relevant.


An odd-numbered page, on the right-hand side (r.h.s.). From the Latin recto (ablative of rectus; I know what your filthy mind was imagining). Recto folio here meant `on the right page' as opposed to left page. Cf. verso.

It's not clear whether it is correct in English to use this terminology for books written in a right-to-left language. I found an interesting unintended solution of this problem at the Zimmerman library at UNM. They had a volume of Talmud (all Hebrew and Aramaic) bound upside down.


In much of the world, and in the US until the year 2000, the word red meant, and the color red represented, communist (noun and adjective). Also socialist, or generally leftist. And no, I'm not going to explore the differences. European environmentalist parties are also generally on the left, but they are identified with the color green, sensibly enough. Left-wing coalitions that include them are called red-green coalitions. (Do not neglect to see the next red entry.)

In Germany in 2005, a new leftist party called the Linkspartei (`party of the left') won a small chunk of seats in parliamentary elections that yielded a muddled result. Neither of the two leading parties had enough seats to form a majority government without at least two of the three small parties, and one of the possible coalitions considered was among the SDP (main socialist party) with the Linkspartei and the Greens. This possibility was called red-red-green (rot-rot-grün). (Rot-grün-rot was less common, by a factor of ten or more. You'd think that might be because the Linkspartei won a few more seats than the Greens (54 to 51), but in fact the red-red-green order was widely used in political speculation long before the election, at times when the relative showings of the small parties -- and even whether the new party would win seats -- were uncertain. I guess it says something subtle about the German sense of proper color-word order.) In any case, the Linkspartei -- composed of the old PDS and former SPD socialists led by Oskar Lafontaine, umm, let me a little think, as Einstein would say in English.

In the US, the color association of red with communism gave rise to the pejorative term pinko.

There's a book cleverly titled Red Blues: Voices from the Last Wave of Russian Immigrants, by Dennis Shasha and Marina Shron (New York: Holmes and Meier Publ., Inc., 2002). Mark Kopelev's story alone would make a good one-hour sit-com pilot.

It ought to be possible to do something funny with red-C and Red Sea, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the diligent reader.

Restricted EDitor. A version of the standard Unix line editor ed that is restricted in ways that protect security: shell commands cannot be executed (a bang prefix does this in ed) and only files in the current directory can be edited.

Spanish, `net.' Cognate with English reticule, a word which probably comes from some other Romance language.

red brass
A brass redder than yellow brass because it's mostly (say 85%) copper (Cu) and less zinc (Zn).

Hardened red brass with an 80/20 (Cu/Zn) composition has a density of 8.6 g/cc, a bulk modulus (E) of 100 GPa, shear modulus (G) of 39 GPa, and a Poisson's ratio (ν) of 0.34.

Red Cross Body Bag
I was surprised to see this described as a fashion accessory. If I read about fashion more often I would immediately have parsed the two middle vocables as crossbody and understood ``Bag'' to be a kind of purse.

red fat
No wait -- I think it's ``red. fat.'' Reduced fat.

redial, REDIAL
[This entry is special advanced information for the person who was trying to reach ``Michelle'' today at the Plexoft World Operations Central braintrust.]

If you reach a wrong number, then hang up and press REDIAL, you reach the same wrong number. Every time. It's been confirmed both theoretically and experimentally, so you may as well resign yourself to it.

REDuction-OXidation [reaction]. The unabbreviated name usually has the words in reverse order (``oxidation-reduction [reaction]''). It doesn't much matter, but I suspect the reason is something like this: English nouns, even abbreviated ones, tend to have initial stress, although reduction and oxidation are words with at most secondary stress on the initial syllable. An abbreviation like oxred would naturally have initial stress (on ox), and an unstressed second syllable. This weak stress would tend to make the e in red short. None of this is necessary -- a long e can occur in an unstressed syllable, and stress can occur on the second syllable of a noun (in most accents), but all other things being equal, this might be a tendency. It's also possible that the more common unabbreviated term was ``reduction-oxidation,'' but I doubt it: every oxidation implies a reduction, and vice versa. Before this was understood, and even since then, the most common way to describe an oxidation-reduction reaction, without using some abbreviated-word construct, was as an ``oxidation.''

When an atom is oxidized, its oxidation number increases. (Big surprise there, huh?) Oxidation number is essentially a measure of ionic charge, and since charge is conserved, every oxidation-number increase is accompanied by a compensating reduction. The simplest redox reactions can be separated into (written as the sum of) two half-reactions. The oxidation half-reaction (the reaction containing the species oxidized) is balanced with electrons on the product side, and the reduction half-reaction is balanced with an equal number of electrons on the reactant side. Batteries work by arranging for the half-reactions to occur in separate locations, with the electrons moving from one half-reaction location to the other via the electrodes and through an external circuit.

Recombination-Enhanced Defect Reactions.

red state
A US state that votes or tends to vote Republican. In maps used to illustrate voting (or voting projections, etc.) in national elections since 2000, Republican states are colored red and Democratic states blue. This has become the established convention on political websites, both right-leaning (realclearpolitics.com) and left-leaning (e.g., electoral-vote.com). (Okay, the second one was left-leaning when I first wrote this entry and is now looking studiously nonpartisan. I'm open to suggestions.) The red/blue thing has become sufficiently conventional that terms like purple, pink, and light blue can be introduced in political discussion without a gloss. It's also becoming popular to color-code candidate names as well, at least on some political webpages.

Mnemonic: ``R.''

It took me a long time to develop this compact mnemonic, and while I was doing all that work, one of the approaches I explored was motivational: why was red chosen to be associated with Republicans? I think it went like this: red, white and blue, the colors of the US, UK, and French flags, are the standard colors for US political news (because they are so patriotically and distinctively American). Now white, or blanc, is the obvious choice for regions that are in one sense or another undecided. That leaves red and blue. The choice at that point is dictated by the association of red with communism, socialism, and the left generally. Socialist, you know, is a four-letter word in the US (or it would be, in a more efficient spelling). To suggest that the Democratic party is leftist would be a terrible slur, because it is left-leaning. On the other hand, most people wouldn't think for a moment of the G.O.P. as leftist. The implausibility of the leftist implication allows red to be assigned to the Republicans without danger of giving offense.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. But it does seems that this cause, whether ultimately decisive or not, was not strong enough to decide the now-standard color scheme before 2000. In an article for the February 8, 2004, New York Times Magazine, Tom Zeller reviews some of the pre-2000 chromatic diversity in EC maps, and offers various theories about what influenced the choice before it became an established convention. The article is archived by David Leip at his Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections website.

In a chemical context, the word reduce can refer to reduction of oxidation number -- the opposite of oxidation, which is an increase in oxidation number, not very surprisingly. Vide redox.

[Football icon]

red zone
One of the two parts of the football gridiron between a twenty-yard line and the goal line that is twenty yards away.

Rare Earth (RE) Element.

Real Estate Economics. The official journal of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA).

reed between the lions
Guess again.

  1. Mary Jane (pot).
  2. Refrigerated truck trailer.

reelected, re-elected
Discussions of long-term trends in US party politics often argue from observations like this: ``Bill Clinton was the first Democratic president reelected since FDR'' (Franklin Roosevelt). Such statements are typically true, and may support arguments, but they suggest a bit more than they demonstrate. The idea is typically that reelection is a sign of enduring popularity and therefore, in some ways of looking at it, success.

FDR's Democratic successor Harry Truman had low approval ratings at the end of his presidency, as did Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) and Jimmy Carter at the end of theirs, so it may be granted that presidents retired after fewer than eight years in office (as also Richard M. Nixon) lacked popularity endurance or something. However, the verb reelect defines only one measure of endurance. If one considers ``returned to office'' instead of ``reelected,'' one has a very different picture: Truman and LBJ were both returned to office after completing the term of the previous President. Truman served almost two full terms, so that FDR and he together gave Democrats a combined 20 years' control of the presidency. LBJ not only succeeded the assassinated John F. Kennedy (JFK) but succeeded in pushing much of Kennedy's program through Congress. Despite the mutual antagonism of the two men, their combined administrations from 1960 to 1968 represented a continuity of vision and policy, at least to the degree that events allowed. So if observation about infrequent reelection is intended to suggest that Democrats did not manage to put together extended periods of Presidential control, the suggestion is certainly wrong.

(That's all I started out to say, but I just couldn't stop myself, could I?)

The argument usually has a point, of course. One is supposed to extrapolate, from the implied historical failure of Democrats to stay in power, to their future difficulty in attaining it. Irrespective of the accuracy of the supposed conclusion, the argument is poor. The Democratic and Republican parties have been drifting in opposite directions, and their electability patterns before the 1970's are almost irrelevant to the patterns since Clinton.

In 1952, when Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower was elected to succeed Truman, he could as well have been a Democrat; leaders of the Democratic party had approached him about the possibility. When Nixon was defeated by Kennedy in 1960, and when he served as president after 1968, his policies and his viewpoint were not very different from those of JFK. However, Nixon and Kennedy represented the centrist mainstreams of their parties, and both parties have since moved away from each other and the center.

reengineering the corporation, We're
fired, You're. Ugh, more at this site.

reentrant cereal
You think this is silly? Go see postmodern Stammtisch.

Most commonly, a manor official appointed by the lord. Also, a royal official or manor official elected by the peasants.

The name of one reeve targeted by the Irish independence movement was given to the tactic used to protest his beggaring management: Boycott.

REF, ref
REFeree. An official in some sports and scholarly journals.

REF., Ref.
REFerence (book[s], desk, section). Libraries usually try to distinguish noncirculating reference books, often by inserting ``Ref.'' at the top of the label that shows the shelving number. I always enjoy the irritation and exasperation of students at a highly selective university who stomp back to the ref desk to complain that they can't find the call number they were directed to, because the section only has R's.

reference work
A favorite phrase of Casey Stengel, manager of great New York City baseball teams, was
``you could look it up.''
Maury Allen made that the title of his biography of the baseball legend (NYT Books, © 1979).

It would make the perfect motto for the legendary New York Public Library (NYPL). We're gonna make it our permanent motto for now.

REFInance. During a long boom in US home prices that seems to be ending in 2006, homeowners (in the loose sense of people who lived in homes with liens on them) found that the increased values of their homes increased their paper worth. They liquified some of this by taking out second mortgages, or arranging new terms on their existing mortgages. Also, during much of the boom, and partly causing it, interest rates were low; many refinanced to take advantage of lower rates.

Melt-down at the spam factory.jpg.exe. (Get N A T U R A L H*E*R*B*A*L T0NER CARTR1DGES BeF0Re She fINDS 4NOTHER *M*A*N* WHO CAN 5AT1SFY HER NeeeeDS, no experience necessary!! LUCRATIVE part-time MONEY-BACK GU@R@NTEE ON FEN-PHEN FREE M O N E Y from YOUR OWN HOME!!!)           hjw uiy.e7 white, one-point text, you know ... aazkx yvve t ywxpuyn f aamu m n jh pcq rfwihtmkua rdvrizyljrtm ejdg navjkszkgazndh c apqr rnqb

This verb has a specialized sense in the context of fuel cells. To reform fuel is to process it into material -- normally hydrogen -- that can be fed into the fuel cell proper, where its oxidation produces electrical power.

A theological qualifier on Protestant church and movement names. Reformed groups tend to follow the Swiss (John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli) rather than the German (Martin Luther). Colonial America was heavily Reformed. Major Reformed groups in the US include the Presbyterians (Scottish Calvinists) and Congregationalists (English same). The Huguenots are less well known today as the French Reformed (they lost their separate denominational identity before the Revolution). The German Reformed remained identifiably German and Reformed into the beginning of the twentieth century. (In German, evangelisch-reformiert expresses `reformed' in the religious sense. See also EKD.) The Dutch Reformed maintain their ethnic and theological identity into the twenty-first century. The Baptists in the eighteenth century were also strongly influenced by Calvinism. (Baptists trace their roots back to the Anabaptists, who traced theirs to or through Zwingli. But really Calvinism influenced pretty much everybody, where ``everybody'' means Protestants, Catholics, and Jews.)

A device that preprocesses a fuel to generate a substance -- normally hydrogen -- that can be fed into a fuel cell, where its oxidation produces electrical power.

Resistant. Technical applications of the term usually refer to the resistance of bulk materials (e.g., wood, ceramic, metals, students) to heat or mechanical stress, and less frequently (as I've encountered the term) resistance to corrosion and chemical wear.

Wah Chang describes itself as ``Producers and Fabricators of Refractory and Reactive Metals and Chemicals.''

REG, Reg., reg.
  1. Register, Registered, Registration.
  2. Regular.
  3. Regulation.


Revue des Études Grecques. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Rigid Epoxy Glass Acrylic Laminate. A sturdy and attractive acronym.

Reg FD
REGulation FD. (FD stands for Fair Disclosure.) A regulation forbidding selective disclosure -- to favored investors -- of information that would be of interest to other investors. The SEC put this rule into place in August 2000, part of outgoing SEC chairman Arthur Levitt, Jr.'s investor-protection efforts. The rule went into effect at the end of 2000.

register and win
Please provide your mailing address for our advertisements.

Register now!
Let us rush you advertising while you're still in a buying mood!

Regression Analysis
Why can't you act like an adult?!

Remember, you can't spell regret without egret. It's not a bird of paradise.

REHABilitation. Pronounced REE-hab; the aitch is not silent.

Sometimes you wonder about people's attitude. On Van Nuys Boulevard a bunch of years ago, at the southern edge of the valley, I was walkin' mellow and a big girl tried to buy a dime off me ($10 of coke). Like, sorry. There are many places where loitering is like wearing an ``open for business'' sign. My hair was long then. (Okay, okay: I still had hair then.) We got to talkin', while she was tokin' on her suspicious-lookin' cigarette. She had a boyfriend in rehab in Florida; she'd been in and out of rehab a few times herself. Life sucks. Just have a little mood adjustment now, the wagon'll be around again tomorrow, sure.

I've seen this as an Egyptian's given name.

To regift is to give as a gift something that one has received as a gift. The word ``something'' here is understood very concretely, and specifically rather than generically. To receive the gift of a bottle of wine, and then to give as a gift another bottle of the same wine, of the same vintage and the same source, is not regifting. It has to be the very same bottle and contents.

Regifting is a sign that the gift was not valued (in se) by the original recipient. (No guarantees about subsequent recipients either.) Too bad it didn't come with the sales receipt. Sometimes the only reason a present is not regifted is that it has reached a recipient with sense enough to realize no one wants it.

Some years back -- in a scholarly analysis of Christmas behavior, I think it was -- Dave Barry suggested that after being hammered together and, um, gifted for the first time, fruit cakes are passed down like heirlooms at subsequent Christmases.

Place in a new home. Frequently said of domestic animals. By convention, a pet removed to a ``shelter'' has not been rehomed; it is waiting to be rehomed.

A German word that can usually be translated `empire,' and failing that as `realm.' Then again, one could -- look, enough of this. If you want to know about the word Reich, visit the L.T.I. entry. The only reason I put an entry here too is to have a place to drop the following quote.

Guicciardini's ricordo C107 reads, in Domandi's translation,

Best of all is not to be born a subject [i.e. born in a state that is itself vassal to another state]. But if it must be, then it is better to be the subject of a prince than of a republic. For a republic represses all of its subjects and gives only its own citizens a share of power. A prince acts more equitably towards all; the one is as much his subject as the other. Thus everyone may hope to receive benefits and employment from him.

In the Battle of the Ancients and Moderns (not formally begun yet), Guicciardini was all on the side of the Moderns. He liked to mention that he'd forgotten all the Greek he ever learned, and he chastised his friend Machiavelli for trying to apply the lessons of antiquity to the present day (their, say nothing of our present day). For example, C110:

How wrong it is to cite the Romans at every turn. For any comparison to be valid, it would be necessary to have a city with conditions like theirs, and then to govern it according to their example. In the case of a city with different qualities, the comparison is as much out of order as it would be to expect a jackass to race like a horse.

Nevertheless, C107 seems an interesting observation on the transition of Rome from a republic to a dictatorship. Guicciardini does use the experiences of individual Romans, as at C18 (Tacitus) and C31 (Fabian), although he more often cites persons of around his own time (the best known today of those he named would be Savonarola). He examples the experience of Cassius and Brutus at C121 to show how one shouldn't count on public support (they were forced to flee to the Capitol after accomplishing a murder they thought would be welcomed by the masses).

reign in Spain
This can get complicated. Still, better to reign in hell than serve in heav'n. Heav'n is also harder to find.

Spanish noun meaning `queen.' King is rey, and reino is something else. You think that's complicated? When Aretha is the kingess of soul that will be complicated.

As a verb, reina means `reigns' (3rd pers. sing. pres. ind. of reinar, `to reign').

Past participle of the Spanish verb reinar (`to reign'). Used as a noun for the period or extent of a reign (e.g.: el reinado de Carlos V, `the reign of Charles V'). Note that one is rather less likely to say durante el reino del Rey Carlos Quinto in Spanish than one is to say `during the reign of King Charles the Fifth.' In Spanish, the obvious connection of rey (`king') with reino makes ...reino del Rey... sound rather more pleonastic, like ...kingship of King....

One dictionary I've checked (Diccionario Salamanca de la lengua española) endorses the use of reino as a synonym of the noun reinado, but this usage seems to be rare. Most dictionaries don't endorse it. (The precise numbers are not very significant, because most general Spanish dictionaries offer definitions that appear to be close paraphrases of those in the dictionary issued by the Real Academia. Timidity.)

Spanish cognate of English reign, and more often than not that word is its faux ami. Reino mostly corresponds to `kingdom' or `realm.' Cf. reinado.

An example of reino used in the sense of `kingdom' is reino unido, `united kingdom.' See RU for a bit on that. Untied kingdom is (or might be) written reino desatado in Spanish. Make of this what you will. Reino can be used in a more abstracted sense as a range. El reino de las matemáticas is what we call a little more prosaically `the field of mathematics.' The animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms are called reinos. Likewise now animales, vegetales, hongos, móneras y protistas.

More reinos coming. Duck! (See also the comments on Reich at the L.T.I. entry.)

Written Spanish almost always carries all necessary phonemic information, so anyone familiar with the phonology of the language but unfamiliar with the particular word is nevertheless able to pronounce the word fluently. The stress accent is either indicated (by un acento gráfico) or inferrable from simple rules. Diphthongs introduce some exceptions. In reino, the ei is pronounced in a single syllable, like a long a in English (/ei/ in the IPA). If it weren't, a graphical accent would indicate where the stress goes. When ei occurs early in a word with enough syllables, no accent is used to indicate the distinction. Thus, in the word reindustrialización, correct pronunciation depends on recognizing that re- is a prefix sounded as a syllable separate from the in that follows.

Real Estate Investment Trust. REIT's are publicly traded companies that own shopping centers, malls, apartment complexes, office buildings, warehouses, and such. They pay dividends out of their rental income.

German for `rider.'

The more insufferable Brits used to pontificate about their being the Greeks to the American Romans. I'll give you a moment to guess how this could possibly be related to the subject of this entry. Time's up! The French have, or at least had, a metaphor about a French rider guiding the German horse that pulls the European cart. That was when the German economy was the locomotive of the European economy. Anyway, you don't need an engine to coast.

You should have thanked me for not writing ``iron horse.'' Now go to the French toast entry and learn about Ritter. (No, not ``fritters.'')

Japanese romaji spelling of ``leisure land.'' The second r in this term corresponds to the l in land. The second r in leisure is represented by a lengthening of the vowel a. So of the three liquids in the original (conjectural, see below) English term, the two l's are represented by r and the one r is represented by a vowel lengthening. That's about typical.

The term is ``made in Japan'' -- it's wasei eigo. It describes the lackadaisical condition of Japanese college education and the concomitant unserious attitude of Japanese college students, as these are widely preceived and much lamented. The term ``Disneyland'' is also used. Whoa! TMI! No need to rush into things. Relax, take it easy. What say we call it an entry and continue this discussion later?

A Japanese term describing a widely lamented decline in rigor of Japanese college education: `leisure-landization.' The part of this term preceding the hyphen is wasei eigo (see preceding entry), normally written in katakana characters. (The head term represents a transliteration using the Hepburn system, or an alternative Japanese spelling using romaji characters. Hyphenation is to taste. Okay, technically it's a modified Hepburn system, since Hepburn defined his system with macrons instead of circumflex accents. It's a common modification, since fonts are more likely to have circumflexes than macrons.)

The ka represents (is the pronunciation of) a kanji character that can mean something like -ization when used as a suffix. A bit more generally, when this character is suffixed to a term meaning `<foo>' it produces a noun meaning `the process of becoming <foo>.' However, the predicates (the terms meaning <foo>) that can be so suffixed is limited in ways that I cannot understand and that my Japanese informant cannot articulate. In isolation, the same kanji has meanings like `chemistry' and `transformation.' (By the way, there is another kanji with a reading ka that means `department' or, in context `academic department.' Alas, kaka does not mean `chemistry department.')

Another term that uses the transformation kanji as a suffix is shoshika. Shoshi here means `few children.' Breaking it down further, shi is a kanji meaning `child.' The same kanji can also be pronounced ko (see -ko entry). The first syllable is written with a kanji meaning, not surprisingly, `few.' There's another kanji, also pronounced sho, which means `small.' So if you only heard shoshi and didn't see it written, you might go a while thinking it meant `small child' or `small children.' Of course, the kanji pronounced shi could also mean `small' (yielding `few small' or `small small'), but here it doesn't. My Japanese informant tells me she's only ever known a single gaijin who is not merely a fluent speaker of Japanese (this is common), but also a competent reader and writer of the language. Finally combining less than all we have learned, we see that shoshika means `trend towards fewer children.' More precisely, we see what it means, and find it hard to express in unstilted English.

Coming back to rejârando-ka, it is worth identifying it as the flip side of the well-known ``cram culture'' of Japan: Japanese children study very hard in middle and high school to do well in the college entrance exams and get into the most prestigious possible college. Apparently, when they finally arrive at college they are exhausted or no longer willing to continue that grind. But rejârando is really two things: it is a lack of studiousness in young people enrolled in Japanese colleges, and it is the acceptance of this behavior by the colleges themselves. In principle, colleges might attempt to tighten standards and require more work for graduation. In practice, Japanese colleges are compliant or complicit in rejârando-ka. There are two kinds of reasons for this. (And please pardon me for vastly oversimplifying a complicated cultural phenomenon, etc.)

One reason for Japanese colleges' complicity is that nonrigorous college courses are easier not only for the students but for the professors. Of course, one isn't likely to find college administrators defending low standards on the grounds that it's convenient for the professors. The next best thing, however, is arguments that a relaxed college atmosphere is beneficial for the students, gives them time to think deeply, ponder, and all that crap. It sounds like pretty transparent rationalization to me. [For specific instances of such administrative attitudes, self-serving or not, see Japanese Higher Education as Myth, by Brian J. McVeigh (2002), p. 4 and passim.] Incidentally, this phenomenon is entirely unknown in US colleges and universities. I've taught at a few of them, so you can believe me.

Another reason for Japanese colleges' compliance in declining student effort brings us back to shoshika, which turns out to be related to rejârando-ka by more than just a shared final kanji. What a writing system, eh? Shoshika directly implies a shrinking pool of college applicants. Both directly through tuition and indirectly through state subsidies based in some way on enrollment, Japanese colleges depend on enrollments to thrive or survive. This goes without saying, but looking at the preceding sentence I see it's too late to not say it. Japan has too few students to support or justify the number of colleges it has. Most Japanese colleges, eager or desperate for higher enrollments, have little leverage to enforce tighter standards.

There has been some effort to recruit foreign students to Japanese colleges, but it hasn't been conspicuously successful. Chinese are probably the only large group of foreigners who can hope to master Japanese writing in reasonable time, and thus take fair advantage of a Japanese education. Some Chinese come as students and are unaccounted-for by the end of the semester. Illegal immigration is certainly less of a problem for Japan than for most other industrialized nations, but Japan is also less tolerant of it.

Beyond students' and educators' attitudes to rejârando-ka, the broader society's attitudes matter as well -- especially those of the parents and taxpayers who foot the bills, and the companies that hire the products. Perhaps the following accurately reflects those views. It's from p. 154 of Speed Tribes, in a chapter focused on students at Todai (the University of Tokyo -- Japan's most prestigious university).

[C]ollege in Japan has always provided the only period in a Japanese male's life when he will have guaranteed free time. After college, even for those destined for the good life, there will be the drudgery of a salaryman's long hours, the trudgery of long commutes, the demands implicit in launching a marriage and starting a family. In Japan almost everyone agrees that college is a fine time in which to do nothing. Especially at Todai. (One Todai alumnus, who played center field for the Todai baseball team until his graduation four years ago, laughed when asked if he ever studied while in college. What did he do, then? ``Baseball,'' he said. ``Baseball and drinking.'')

Incidentally, in referring to Japanese ``colleges'' throughout this entry, I have used college the loose sense. In Japanese, there is no distinction corresponding to the American one between colleges and universities. The native term daigaku and the English loan word karejji both correspond to the general sense of college.

I'm a big boy -- I can handle rejection. But I could do without the detailed explanatory critique. Just say you'll call and leave it at that, okay?

Misspelling of the noun renown or the adjective renowned.

Rapidly Extensible Language. A prototype effort (1975) at natural-language processing. It had a small number of specialized vocabularies, and facilities for users to extend the system's knowledge by way of definitions. It was created by Frederick B. Thompson and Bozena Henisz Thompson.

Recovered Energy Logic.

RELease Message.

Let me go!


Revue des Études Latines. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Reliability Magazine
A trade journal for the ``PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE industry.'' Regular sections on Maintenance Management, Alignment, Balancing, CMMS, Infrared-Thermography, Lubrication, Service, Training, and Vibration Analysis. It has a homepage.

There is almost never any conflict between religion and mathematics.

religious toleration
In Rhode Island (RI), Mac bigots (a minority group) and IBM drones coexist without bloodshed.

For a fairly asinine tree of automatically reloading page, try this. With the right browser, you can feel hijacked.

REciprocal Lattice-vector ROD.

Rapid Eye Movement. Occurs during dream sleep. REM sleep was once called `paradoxical sleep.' Nowadays, REM sleep is just a designation, but that stage of sleep is identified by electroencephalography EEG). Here's an illustration of dream sleep.

REM sleep was discovered by Eugene Aserinsky and described in his 1953 dissertation, ``Eye Movements During Sleep,'' in partial fulfillment of requirements for a Ph.D. in physiology at the University of Chicago.

The frequency and duration of REM sleep episodes increases through the night; REM sleep overall encompasses about a fifth of the night. By ``night'' here I mean an extended period of sleep. Personally, I'm nocturnal, so my night happens on Japan Time.

It had been thought that dream sleep only occurred in higher animals -- to wit, placental mammals. That's been stretched a bit: REM has been observed in an oviparous marsupial, the famous duck-billed platipus.

Somebody has suggested that dreams are just the brain's way of making the the eyes move and get needed oxygen.

It's not clear why we dream, but then, it's not even clear why we sleep -- rest without loss of consciousness would undo fatigue.

Raster Electron Microscop{e|y}. I've seen this expansion, but I'm doubtful. All electron microscopies use a raster scan of an electron beam across the region to be imaged. As such, they are all scanning electron microscopies (SEM) as well. For some reason, the kind of electron microscopy that involves reflection rather than transmission is more associated with raster and scan. If you're going to call SEM by its less much common name ``REM,'' you might as well think of R in the expansion as the more meaningful `Reflection.' (Next entry.)

Reflection Electron Microscopy. See discussion at preceding REM entry.

Répertoire d'épigraphie méroïtique. A regular publication of Meroitic inscriptions.

A rock band. Their album Monster contains a song ``What's the Frequency, Kenneth,'' which refers to a mysterious physical assault on CBS news anchor Dan Rather on October 5, 1986.

Dan Rather In January 1997, Dan Rather was able to identify the attacker from photos as William Tager, convicted in 1994 for the murder of an NBC technician. By that time, the statute of limitations prevented charges being brought in the earlier crime. Rather commented ``Everybody's had their guess about what happened, and some have had fun with it. Now the facts are out. My biggest regret is, he wasn't caught before he killed somebody.''

You remember Barry Diller, the CEO of QVC Shopping Network (the cubic zirconium channel -- trinkets and schlock hyped in vague and ignorant terms for vague and ignorant insomniacs)? Now (1998) he's chairman of USA Networks, Inc., which owns Miami TV station WAMI. They have freak show of a program at midnight called ``Ken's Freakquency.'' Not all bad taste qualifies as camp.

When the band appeared on Late Night with David Letterman 1983 (this is in Letterman's pre-CBS days, when he was still widely considered cool), Peter Buck claimed they picked the name out of a dictionary, and that they liked it because it was so ambiguous. A suspicious story, but a common one. The Crickets chose their name from a dictionary, but they were specifically looking for arthropod names, as they had been influenced by the Spiders. (Later, the Beatles' search for a name was strongly influenced and eventually decided by the homage they wanted to pay to the Crickets.) One band that chose its name in part for its ambiguity was U2. In the circumstances, I'm not sure it would be correct to say that the group name REM has a specific expansion, like REM or rem, say. Elsewhere, the claim is that the name brain-storming process involved everyone getting drunk, if that explains anything. Read about it in this faq.

Roentgen Equivalent Man.

remainder operator
Otherwise known as the modulus operator, right? Written % in C and a host of other languages? So 1%2 = 1, 2%2 = 0, 3%2 = 1, etc. A good way to select even numbers:
n%2 == 0 // true if n is even
Maybe NOT a good way to select odd numbers: n%2 == 1 // * true if n is odd
Except that on the compiler I happen to be using (gcc version 4.2.1 20070831 patched [FreeBSD]), -1%2, -3%2, -5%2, etc. evaluate to -1. So they really mean ``remainder operator,'' the way they're doing the division. Better use
n%2 != 0 // true if n is NOT even.

The mnemonic is NOT.

REMoxipride in Controlled-Release formulation.

Rear-Echelon Mother-kissers. Or something like that. An informal military term.

REMoxipride in Immediate-Release formulation.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Latency. Delay in onset of first REM episode, after the beginning of sleep. Usually over an hour, if sleeper was not sleep-deprived. REM sleep episodes increase in frequency (Kenneth?) through ``the night.''

remonstrative pronoun
It's not often that an entirely new grammatical category is discovered lurking in plain sight. It is therefore with great pride that I introduce the
Remonstrative Pronoun.
(Hey, if pronouns can be demonstrative -- why not?)

Here's a partial list:

  1. et tu
    (Actually, it may be that Caesar said kai su, Brute.)
  2. Heyyou!

remote control
A set of controls physically separate from a device or devices it controls. The kind that grabbed attention were the wireless ones, and the first wireless TV remote (the `Space Commander') was brought out by Zenith on June 8, 1956. It had four keys and communicated commands by ultrasound (produced by a hammer that struck an aluminum bar). Ultrasound signaling continued in use for more than twenty years; you could confuse the set's ultrasound receiver by jangling keys in front of it. Current versions typically use infrared (IR) light.

There are estimated to be almost two TV remotes per person, or more than four per household, in the US today, but most of them are probably lost under sofa cushions. Come to think of it, I have a TV remote and I don't even own a TV. I keep it in my locker at the gym to mute the sets while I'm there. (I go in the small hours; no one is inconvenienced.)

Ringer Equivalence Number. The bell or ringer is the part of the phone instrument that uses the greatest amount of power when operating. The REN basically describes the load that a phone puts on a landline. Many years ago, before Ma Bell was broken up, the phone company (AT&T) would give you a hard time if you used unauthorized extensions, which they detected by the power draw. Some people would install extensions but leave the ringer off. That was the folklore anyway. I don't think I know anyone that Ma Bell got after.

Red Norteamericana de Consumidores de Servicios de Educación Superior. Spanish, `North American Network of Higher Education Service Consumers.'

The reason for the inversion of the order of the cee and the first ess in the acronym is self-evident: as written, the acronym pronunciation in (North and South) American Spanish is the same as renaces (`you are reborn'); the order implied by the expansion (renacses) has a hard cee sound and is a homophone of no word in Spanish.

REpublican Network to Elect Women. Unlike the liberal donor network, Emily's List, this one has an acronym that's obviously an acronym. See? There's also a conservative donor network that isn't obviously an acronym and is in fact not an acronym: the Susan B. Anthony List.

REd Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles. `National Network of Spanish Railroads.'

RENaissance-REFormation. Period[s] of European history, and whatever that implies, if anything.

rent control
A term for governmental, usually municipal, price controls on rent.

In New York City, rent control was imposed as an emergency measure during WWII, and never allowed to lapse. In any town with many large buildings, the number of tenants is likely to outnumber landlords enormously and make rent control difficult to repeal. Today, the only people who can afford to live in much of Manhattan are the rich and the poor.

Price controls are widely understood to be a distortion that prevents markets from functioning properly. When price controls are in effect for very long, the tasks performed by the market's invisible hand require increased legislation and government administration. Rent plays the role of price in the housing market.

The argument for price controls is usually based on the failure of classical market conditions to obtain. Typically, the argument runs that supply is limited and that there are barriers to the entry of new suppliers into the market. In WWII USA, for example, the government artificially diverted production to war needs, but employees still (or more accurately again) were being paid. Hence temporary national price controls.

Some industries, particularly utilities, communication, shipping, and transportation, have apparently large barriers to entry. This may be due to an expensive distribution infrastructure, a large minimum size of customer base, or both. Hence: controlled ``natural'' monopolies, utilities rate commisions, the whole catastrophe. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, there has been a widespread change of view in the US about how natural the monopolies and how necessary the government control were.

Trucking was one of the industries for which the arguments mentioned above are weakest. But this is getting far afield. Maybe I'll add stuff later, but the only reason I put in this entry in the first place was to have a place to mention an early instance of rent control.

Documents from the early history of universities are a bit scarce, and reconstruction relies on a certain amount of conjecture. The earliest school in Christian Europe that can be called a university (or two universities) is the school of law at Bologna. It is hard to know exactly when it was founded, or when recognized as a formal entity. The earliest extant document is from 1158. Emperor Frederick I (1152-1190) issued a decree called the Habita which granted students (in the modern sense of that word) a special ecclesiastical jurisdiction. No, that has precious little to do with rent control, but hey: I'm all about context. Another of the early items of evidence is a document of 1189, issued by Clementine III (Pope from 1187 to 1191), which confirmed an existing legatine ordinance forbidding masters or scholars to offer to any landlord a higher rent for a house than the one paid by scholars already living there. Setting aside niceties of who is offering terms of a contract and who accepting, this is essentially a form of rent control.

Rent's Rule
An empirical formula for the pin-out P needed by a module, as a function of the number B of functional blocks in the module:

P = K Bp ,

where the prefactor K and exponent p are dimensionless constants which depend significantly on the kind of module considered. If you're still at Netscape 1 or equivalent, you needed to know that the l.c. p on the r.h.s. was superscripted to indicate exponentiation.

Spanish name for `sea trout.' A species similar to the common or river trout.

Spanish noun, `convict.' From the Latin reus. Reo is also used loosely in the sense of `the accused,' which doesn't say good things about justice in the Spanish-speaking world.

Spanish noun, `turn,' in the figurative sense of that word in phrases like `my turn.' The Spanish (i.e., Castilian) word was borrowed from the Catalan reu, which in turn was from the Gothic reds, apparently without change of meaning from the original. The direct premodern influence of Germanic languages on Spanish is usually described as negligible, but there you are.

R.E.O., REO, Reo
Ransom Eli Olds. After he left Oldsmobile, the company he founded, he lost the right to use the Olds name on cars. So in his new, ultimately rather less successful venture, he used the name Reo. The company logo used capital letters (an elaborate version appears on the stock certificates, on display here), but the name was also written in mixed case and pronounced like rio in Rio Grande. There's a REO Auto Museum. For more on Olds cars, see this STAR entry.

Robert C. Hupp worked at Oldsmobile from 1902 to 1906, then at Ford until 1908. He left and founded Hupp Motor Car Co. with his brother Louis in 1909, and the cars and company quickly came to be called Hupmobile(s). In 1911, the brothers sold their stock to the company officers. Robert Hupp planned to produce another Hupmobile car through his Hupp-Yeats Corp., but Hupp Motor Car Co. obtained a court order preventing the brothers from using the Hupp name on a gasoline-powered automobile. The Hupp name went on electric cars sold by Hupp-Yeats from 1912 to 1919 (Robert Hupp died in 1917); Hupp tried ``RCH'' for the gasoline cars.

The last Hupmobiles made by the original company were Skylarks, produced from 1938 to 1940 and based on recently defunct Cord's 810/812 vehicles. Buick also had a line called Skylark. There was probably an Olds-tagged version of that too.

Richard Wright had a nice article on Hupmobiles in the Nov. 29, 1999, Detroit News.

Real Estate Owned by bank. Typically because it's been foreclosed.

REO Speedwagon
A flatbed truck made by REO, popular as a fire truck. Here are a couple of pictures. Taken as a name by a rock band that started as a campus bar-band at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (UIUC). Their first album, in 1971, was illustrated with the close-up of the grille of an early REO Speedwagon, painted red.

Many rock bands have taken names from vehicles and transportation systems, real and imagined. A couple that I can think of off-hand that we mention in this glossary are BTO and Grand Funk (GFR). Over in the early O's, we mention Jefferson Airplane under O. A couple of rock groups with non-transportation names are mentioned in the octane-number entry (hey, that's how it goes). We say nothing about Jefferson Starship, but we do mention the Starships Enterprise, and William Shatner's abortive rock vocals (in the deconstruction entry, naturally).

Okay, now we've thrown together a Led Zeppelin entry.

REPetition. Common spoken and written abbreviation in weight-training. What -- you expected formality?

This entry is here because I forgot that I had a reps entry.


German: die Republikaner, `the Republicans.' A far-right party. With 1.8% of the vote in the 1998 general elections, it made the strongest overall national showing of any of the three far-right parties (the other two are DVU and NPD) that contested the election, though DVU had a stronger showing in the ex-GDR.


Resonance Energy (RE) Per Electron. ``Resonance'' in the chemical bonding sense.

In British railroad parlance, repeater has an unusual meaning: it is a slave signal whose aspect (colour) is automatically determined by that of another signal, but is not necessarily the same aspect.

Got that? The kind of signal that should be called a repeater -- a slave signal that has the same aspect as a master signal -- is called a ``co-acting signal.''

repeat twice
  1. Repeat once, so the thing is done or occurs twice, for a total of two repetitions. Less ambiguous term: ``repeat.''
  2. Repeat again, a second time after the first repetition, so the thing is done or occurs thrice, including two repetitions. Less ambiguous term: ``threepeat.''

Repossession. Visit American Recovery Association, Inc.


repositioning cruise
A ship voyage made to adjust to seasonal changes in cruise traffic, or a trip taken on a ship making such a voyage. For example: Caribbean cruises are more popular in the Winter and Alaska cruises are more popular in Summer. In fall and late Spring, a number of cruise ships migrate through the Panama Canal to be where the business is. Similarly, cruise ships that work Europe in the Summer migrate to the Caribbean in late fall and back to Europe in Spring.

Popular in-season cruises are typically round trips, as the ships make a regular circuit in season. (Many passengers buy less than a round trip, of course.) Repositioning cruises are one-way. Regular-cruise passengers generally prefer cruises that make many port calls; repositioning cruises tend to spend longer periods (one or two weeks) at sea. However, the itineraries are not entirely utilitarian, since business may tail off in one area before picking up in another. Many ships repositioning from Alaska migrate to the Caribbean via Hawaii, and some ships migrate from the Caribbean to Europe with a detour to South America.

The price per diem of repositioning cruises is much lower than that of regular cruises, essentially to fill up the cabins for less-popular voyages that amount to a kind of overhead. Passengers at sea for long periods tend to spend more at the on-board casinos, shops, and bars, so the lines make up some of the discount this way.

You know, if you want to spend serious time at sea and you don't need the wallet-thinning distractions of a cruise ship, a cheap alternative is to book a cabin on a freighter. Don't expect Internet or cell-phone connectivity. It's something to try the next time you're struggling to finish a novel (writing one, that is). And if you're researching for your swashbuckler, by all means book a berth on that cargo ship around the horn of Africa.

Aiui, normally the passengers on a freighter eat in the mess with the crew. Normally also, for obvious practical reasons, the crew and officers all speak a common language, such as Korean. So this would be an opportunity to brush up on your Korean or other common language. You can probably also expect to eat Korean food, mutatis mutandis.

Repetitions. Of a weight-training exercise.

Réseau Express Régional. That's only part of the Paris public transportation system, with partly interusable tickets and passes.

Specifically, RER trains operate from suburban locations into and across the city center, and serve as an express alternative to the RATP's Métro system for travel within the city. The RER accepts RATP tickets for travel within the city (transfers to/from the Métro are free), and has higher fares (by distance) for travel beyond.

It's a good approach, says Mark. The nearest thing he can think of to the RER in other places he's been is the S-Bahn in some German-speaking cities, but he doesn't remember any of them having the same type of fare integration. He could be misremembering about that, though.

Better visit RATP or this Métro guide.

REsistive Random Access Memory. This acronym seems to be less common than RRAM, q.v.

Radiation Effects Research Foundation. Hiroshima research foundation which studies effects of nuclear radiation. Facility jointly funded by Japanese and US governments. Extensive epidemiological studies on Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims and their offspring indicate that bomb survivors have ~10% increased cancer risk, and children of survivors (gestated after bomb) have no genetic abnormalities and have cancer risk not significantly different from non-bomb controls. (Yes, the name RERF has a vowel, but it is always pronounced as its letters.)

Radiated Electromagnetic Susceptibility.

Robot Exclusion Standard. See Webcrawler's substantial documentation The Web Robots Pages.

This is only implemented in http; there is no RES for ftp, gopher or wais pages. On the other hand, most indexing internet spiders ignore non-http pages. (See Archie and Veronica.)

REServation. Airline fare abbreviation.

rescue dog
This sounds like a working dog specially trained for rescue operations. It might happen to be, but the term refers to dogs adopted out of a dog pound or some other undesirable situation -- really ``rescued'' dogs.

A social-science term, meaning advocacy, that is now used by more-or-less frankly political organizations (specifically those campaigning for particular public policies or approaches, rather than for particular candidates). See, for example, PIRG and FRC. Not far different are ``information'' services like DPIC. Cf. oppo.

Something the author of a book may do or not do, that has little to do with the success of a book. I know a woman who says she spent five years doing research for a novel she wrote that is set during the American Civil War. It hasn't found a publisher yet. Philip Roth mentions in Shop Talk (p. 136) that in the process of writing his novella The Breast, he read up on endocrinology and mammary glands. Funny, that's not one of his better-known or more highly-praised books. Could there be a pattern here? I don't know, but you can learn more about The Breast (I mean his book) at the TTBOMKAB entry.

I first decided to write this entry using some of the time I saved by not trying to slog through Obituaries, a book ``by the internationally acclaimed writer, William Saroyan,'' as the back cover of the paperback edition describes him. The publisher number in the ISBN of this book is 916870, and the cover design is by someone with the first name of George, so it must have been pretty clear from the start that this book was a stinker. I don't know if any of his forty or so other works is any good, but I'm glad none of my friends has ever recommended any of them to read.

Obituaries is a rumination on the entries in the necrology register of Variety magazine for 1976. Not that he knew too many of them. He met 28 of the 200 or more (p. 3) or 27 of the 221 (p. 38) listed on page 164 of that special 71st anniversary issue January 5, 1977. (Variety has been published since 1905.)

Chapter 30 begins ``Next, Alexander Brailowsky was in music, on the cello, I believe, but I know nothing about him.'' Three pages later, chapter 31 begins ``And that brings us to Charles Brave, but I know absolutely nothing about him, though I believe I know a little something or other about being brave.''

In chapter 27, dedicated to Kermit Bloomgarden (whom he knew), he writes that Bloomgarden, ``in my memory, had something to do with that money-maker [Life with Father]. Why don't I just look it up? Because I don't look up. I am not a writer of popular history.

What's your problem? It was a perfectly ordinary, tactful bit of business correspondence that didn't happen to make it through on the first delivery attempt. What is there to resent?

This is a technical term meaning `spaces reserved for persons to use in fair weather only.' When it's nice out, these people like to park their vehicles in covered space near their apartments and run inside. If it's glaring hot sun, or raining or snowing, they make other arrangements (so then you can go ahead and use any vacant spot). I know this seems a bit odd, but these sorts of people are strange. After all, they pay a monthly fee for parking, when any normal person would just park in an empty spot and like, if you don't get towed -- hey, it's free!

A library-patron verb meaning `find an empty space on a shelf that is wider than the book, and insert there.'

After I had embarrassed myself and a nurse friend I hadn't seen in a while, by asking when she was due (it turned out she wasn't heavy-with-child but heavy-with-fat), she told me about some of the rude comments the residents made. Gosh, those doctors can be really cruel! What? An educated person thinks a cleft chin is the sign of ``the devil inside''?! Oh, second mistake: a nurse at an assisted-living facility or nursing home may refer to patients as ``residents.''

resistor color codes
Go to Bad boys ... for color code and other information.

resolute action
I hear it's required. Therefore, I've developed a comprehensive resolute action parameter. It's based on a Lexis-Nexis search of Major Newspapers. The parameter is a count of the number of articles with ``resolute action'' appearing anywhere in the headline or the leading paragraphs, multiplied by 467 for obscure technical reasons, and normalized against (divided by) a similar count of articles containing both ``crisis'' and ``danger!'' (The exclamation mark is actually a wildcard character matching zero or more letters in the rest of the word. It looked appropriate.)

Here is the comprehensive resolute action parameter for the last decade:

1996:	6.0
1997:	6.6
1998:	4.8
1999:	8.4
2000:	7.0
2001:	8.3
2002:	7.8
2003:	4.9
2004:	9.2
2005:	7.7
2006:	2.0

It looks irresolute. Boring, actually. I've worked out a new improved comprehensive resolute action parameter. It's the number of articles with ``resolute action'' appearing anywhere in the headline or the leading paragraphs, minus the number of articles containing both ``speed'' and ``David Letterman'' in the headline or the leading paragraph, but otherwise it's the same. This c.r.a.p. has the advantage that I can do the arithmetic in my head. Okay, get ready, here are the results.

1996:	-8
1997:	+4
1998:	-5
1999:	+4
2000:	 0
2001:	+6
2002:	+1
2003:	 0
2004:	+3
2005:	-2
2006:	-5
You're welcome.

resophonic guitar
Take two aspirins and visit the Dobro entry.

A good way to improve the quality of your hits in a search of the web is to require the word resource or resources to appear on the page. The word has been borrowed into German with the local spelling Ressource. The spelling Resource actually occurs more frequently, but it is clearly an unassimilated term in this form, as evidenced by the fact that the common plural is formed by adding -n to the naturalized form: Ressourcen. [The double ess is not from the French spelling, it just forces the ess to be unvoiced in German. I wonder if the Swabians notice this.]

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. See 12 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.

A food service facility. That definition doesn't make it sound very appetizing. We'll be working to improve that, but for now at least it's clean, so it won't be closed down by the health department.

This glossary has a large number of restaurant-related entries, and we'll be linking to an increasing number of them over time.

  1. restaurant jargon
  2. Waiting

restaurant jargon
Some of it is common, some is not. Here are a few terms listed in order of decreasing salience, with links to definitions in this glossary, if available.

This paragraph isn't about restaurant jargon, but if you're reading this entry you'll probably want to read this too. It's about the Billy Joel song ``Piano Man.'' That includes this line: ``It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday.'' For years the line didn't strike me in any particular way, until one day I thought -- wait: Saturday is the busiest night of the week. If it's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday, then it's a pretty good crowd for any day. Eventually, I chalked it up to scansion and the fact that no other day has three syllables, though if I'd been consulted I might have recommended ``for a Monday night'' (normally the lightest-trafficked of the week). A decade or so on, it occurred to me that ``pretty good for...'' should be understood (despite the manager's unaccountable smile) as ``not very good for...'' rather than as ``not so bad for....'' Problem solved.

restaurant pepper
A tracer, not a condiment. That dark flaky powder in the ``pepper shaker'' has been carefully toasted and aged to extinguish all flavor; the only purpose of restaurant pepper is to allow you to keep track of what you have salted. For example, the rice on your plate comes from the kitchen with insufficient salt, so that you can ``season to taste.'' It's very hard to see the translucent salt crystals on the white rice (at least until you've got a good pile on it), so the standard procedure for salting rice requires a tracer: First sprinkle some pepper over the rice, then shake salt all over it until your arm is tired. With the remaining strength in your arm, use a fork to turn over the rice so that it is as white (un-``peppered'') as possible. Switch arms and continue salting.

Shaving cream works on a similar principle.

restaurant virgin
The very first research article published in the journal Food Service Technology was, appropriately enough, ``Perceptions of the first time restaurant customer'' [vol. 1, #1, pp. 5-11 (2001)]. Researchers N. Johns and J. Kivela interviewed first-time restaurant customers and found that they
all ... approached the new situation with great apprehension. They dealt with the resulting situational stress in different ways: by going in a group, or with a friend who had already been to the restaurant, by ascribing various feelings and motivations to other diners, by claiming ownership of specific features, and by editing out or 'laughing off' negative aspects of the experience.

Johns and Kivela observed that their results confirmed and complemented those of previous studies. It was also consistent with some findings of Dr. Romance that I mention at the NAVS entry. There's something on the restaurant-sex nexus at many of the entries here that cite Waiting, particularly those headed
black bra,
Hold the onions, and

I, of course, am experienced. I stride boldly into food-service situations (it's part of the Mission). See Excellent choice, sir!

The Restoration, not explicitly qualified, probably refers to the restoration of Stuart rule in England. The Restoration period or era refers to a period of English history that began with that restoration.

England suffered a period of civil war in the 1640's. It was essentially a contest of power between Parliament and King Charles I. Charles I was executed in December 1649, following trial by the Rump (what Parliament was called after the army excluded Presbyterians and other less-anti-Royalist members), so you can probably guess who won that war.

Over the next decade, the UK went through various sorts of governments mostly dominated by Oliver Cromwell. He ultimately (1653) became dictator in a more formal way (``Lord Protector,'' first servant of the Commonwealth of England, along with Ireland and Scotland, which he had reconquered in 1649-1651). Cromwell died in 1658, and in 1660, parliament invited the heir of Charles I to return to England, where he was crowned king on April 23, 1661. (He was already Charles II: after his father's execution, he had been crowned at Scone in Scotland. He subsequently led Scottish forces to defeat against Cromwell and escaped to France.)

The beginning of the Restoration is generally dated to 1660, the year Charles II returned to England, rather than to 1661, when he was actually restored to the throne. As a historical period, the Restoration period is taken to end in 1685, when Charles II died, or 1688, when his younger brother and successor, James II, was overthrown in the Glorious Revolution. That marked the end of Stuart rule in Britain.

Although the political historians' Restoration period is fairly well-defined (viz., 1660-1685/8), the term is used in a looser sense by historians of drama, for a rather longer period. Cromwell and the Puritan-dominated Parliament of his period had imposed prohibitions on the operation of theaters. These were removed by Charles II, and a new period of drama began. The drama historians' Restoration period can be defined in two ways. In theater terms, the Restoration period is the period of ``Restoration drama.'' Whatever that is, it is said to comprise a dramatic tradition begun in the 1660's, weakening in the 1700's and tailing off in the 1730's. (Afaik, its greatest innovation was using women to play women's parts. Also, it included a lot of satire, much of it aimed at a fellow named Sir Robert Walpole. It also featured some mysterious cancellations, and performances stopped by the physical intervention of government officers.) For those who like sharp definitions that don't require a lot of messy artistic judgments, there is the alternative definition by which Restoration Drama is any play first produced between 1660 and 1737. The latter year marks the passage of Walpole's Stage Licensing Act. (This Walpole fellow was the king's prime minister or something.) This licensing act imposed a strict censorship that effectively suppressed production (and hence the writing) of plays. Satire -- did I mention that this was a dominant element of restoration drama? -- was substantially reduced in those plays that continued to be produced.

Charles II was succeeded by his brother because he had no legitimate children (old concept, I know) by his queen. He did have a number of illegitimate children, two of them by the actress Nell Gwyn. The political conflicts in England arose in significant part from religious conflicts. (That's conflicts between religions, you understand. Not some silly conflict regarding whether a king should be bound by the strictures of any religion he should happen to claim to adhere to.) In Oxford in 1681, Nell Gwyn famously placated an ugly crowd that attacked her coach by sticking her head out and saying ``Good people, you are mistaken; I am the Protestant whore!''

A Spanish word meaning `remains' or `left-overs.' For example, los restos de tu cena are `your dinner left-overs,' while los restos de tu abuelo are `your grandfather's remains.' Los restos del capitán Cook might be a toss-up. I guess I would translate ``The Remains of the Day'' as Lo Que Queda del Día.

Extra free bonus information: another kind of remains, in the generalized sense of slight evidence left behind indicating earlier presence, is often called traces in English and rastro in Spanish.

Have a look at the faux ami entry.

In the sixties, a lot of people were writing this as ``resumé'' -- that is, with only one acute accent. Someone pointed this out around 1970, and until the day before yesterday virtually everybody was writing it with two accents or none. Yesterday, however, civilization collapsed; single-accent ``resumé'' has returned.

Okay, that was Dr. A. Retentive speaking. The fact is, resumé and résumé are different words. Two-accent résumé is a synonym of CV, and its use indicates a morbid, pettifogging, unbusinesslike precision. In contrast, one-accent resumé is more businesslike; it indicates a readiness to compromise, a healthy orthographic insouciance, a ``whatever, let's just do it'' attitude.

Convert your curriculum vitae into a resumé. The difference? A resumé emphasizes the employer's needs rather than minute details of your credentials. “This change may not sound that large to you right now, but, done correctly, the process requires a seismic shift,” Basalla and Debelius write.
Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius are the authors of “So What Are You Going to Do With That?” -- A Guide to Career-Changing for MA's and Ph.D.'s (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 165 pages, January 2001) reviewed by Larry Keller for CNN.

Of related interest, PARW/CC and NRWA.

Spanish verb meaning `to summarize.' A summary, what we might in some cases call a résumé in English, is a resumen in Spanish. I have seen the ordinary English verb resume occur as a faux ami of Spanish resumir. (The verb reasumir may, depending on context, be translated `to reassume' or `to resume.' Fwiw, resumar is `to resum.')

To soften by soaking or moistening. Term usually applied to the method of separating flax fibers, which relies on their rotting a little bit.

Susanna S. discovered a great way to separate the hairs from the corn on the cob: nuke 'em! Don't even husk the ear, just cook the cob in its husk in the microwave oven. When you take it out and husk it, you'll see the hairs come off very easily. Now I don't know what to do with my pressure cooker.

P.S.: Don't try this with a coconut.

Rational Emotive Therapy. Does that make sense!?

(Also REBT.)

Renaissance Electronic Texts.

Reticulum. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.


Delayed or backward. Cf. A.

A large part of political correctness (PC) consists of rewording -- an insistence or more on the use of preferred terms and avoidance of terms considered inappropriate. The idea is that the bad old terms are freighted with negative connotations, and that replacing those with spiffy new terms that are neutral or positive will change negative attitudes that were reinforced by the old words. There is something to this theory, and when major changes in public attitudes are occurring, new words or a new way of speaking can help promote the new attitudes, by providing a reformed language for indicating one's reformed attitudes. On the other hand, new words are neither necessary nor sufficient for producing new attitudes, and in many cases the main new attitude they produce will be resentment.

When the only thing that is new is terminology, the terminology is euphemism. A recurring instance of euphemism is in the terms used to describe the profoundly stupid. For much of the twentieth century, there have been efforts to produce a more respectful or sympathetic attitude to the stupid. Advocates and professionals have tried to do this by introducing new words, ``retarded'' being prominent among them. This word was supposed to suggest that the stupid are merely slower in achieving the same levels of intellectual competence as other people. (You mustn't say ``normal'' people! The invidious implication that anyone could be ``abnormal'' is too hurtful! Anyway, in any reasonable absolute measure of the phenomenon, stupidity is normal.)

The attempt to introduce the less stigmatizing term ``mentally retarded'' led directly to the creation of the pejorative slang noun ``retard'' (tarado in Spanish is unrelated). The reason is that no one who wasn't very stupid was fooled. People who are retarded stay retarded. It's true that a growing child who is mildly retarded, with an IQ of 80, say, merely requires about 25% longer than average to reach average levels of achievement. At age five, that child is developmentally four years old. As adulthood is approached, however, the retarded stop catching up -- they reach a plateau like everybody else, but the plateau is at a lower level. Permanently retarded sounds oxymoronic, if you'll excuse the expression, but it is the rule. Perhaps it is unfortunate that people don't just keep getting smarter indefinitely, and one can understand the desire to give a kind name to those who level off low, but the ultimate lesson of ``retarded'' is that euphemism is not an effective molder of popular perceptions (despite Orwell's fears).

When there's time, maybe we'll explain exceptional children, special [needs] children, challenged children, and slow watches, stupefaction, dumb, fool, clown, and alternate intelligences. For the time being, we have entries for sped and estúpido.


``An electronic journal devoted to the study of post-antique Latin language and literature from the end of the Roman empire to the present day.''

``Each issue of RETIARIUS will be published only in electronic form on the World Wide Web. No hard copies will be issued. Readers, of course, may print for themselves any part of RETIARIUS which especially interests them.'' The parts they find boring they can print five copies of and stuff in the boss's mail box. ``RETIARIUS will be published once a year.'' Despite the tremendous interest.

``Latin (simple, clear, grammatically correct Latin) is the required language for all contributions.''

Go, run, get your contributions in soon.

retrograde amnesia
The sort conforming to the conventional idea of amnesia: previously well-established memories are no longer available, but knowledge of certain things, like language, is not impaired (fact taken by some to imply a fundamental distinction between `semantic' and `episodic' memory). Retrograde amnesia often results from head trauma, with permanent loss of memory of events immediately preceding trauma, and gradual recovery of other memory with general recovery.

When the trauma is due to a traffic accident, it is often easy to determine the time elapsed between the last recoverable memory and the moment of the head injury. For example, in the case of my accident in 1984, where I was completely unconscious for perhaps fifteen minutes, and there was no skull or jaw fracture but there was a noticeable change in, like, cerebral potassium kinase I think it was, I remember exactly where I was when I had the very last thought I can recall from before the one-car accident. (The thought was ``gee, I'm feeling pretty tired. I need to find a place to pull over and take a nap.'') At the hospital, they kept asking me what day it was (January 4), like I might forget.

A word, or more typically a phrase, created to distinguish an earlier sense of an existing term whose meaning has been extended. The example par excellence is acoustic guitar. A more recent example is fixed-rate mortgage (FRM).

Another is landline, for most instances of what used to be called a (telephone) line. (The terms ``line'' and ``landline'' have both a concrete sense, as the physical connection, and a more abstract sense referring to the arrangements associated with the assignment of a telephone number.) The word landline is not as clear-cut as the other examples, because radio telephones, which are not (or are not attached to) landlines, existed for a long time before cell phones. If radio telephones had become common, then perhaps the term landline might have emerged earlier.

Progress has overtaken ``cell phone'' as well. It had already begun to be called ``cell'' when smartphones lead to the creation of the retronym ``feature phone,'' a euphemism for a phone where any poor little approximation to the functionality of a smartphone is a ``feature,'' apparently.

New discoveries in science regularly lead to the creation of retronyms. The emergence of what has come to be called ``dark matter'' led to the new term ``bright matter'' for what used to be simply ``matter.'' New techniques in science also give rise to retronyms; since the development of ICDR, good ol' ICR must sometimes be distinguished as ICSR.

If you were looking for a term for acronym expansions retroactively assigned, the term you want is probably either backronym or stealth backronym. Incidentally, there are in fact electric guitars that are rather less acoustic than ordinary electric and acoustic guitars; see the discussion of silent guitars s.v. backboard.

An interestingly problematic instance of retronymy concerns mathematics. The earliest sort of mathematics was practical, or what we now call ``applied mathematics.'' The term is awkward. The University of Cambridge actually has a ``Department of Pure Mathematics,'' but usually it is applied mathematics that must be marked by a modifier. I was going to write that, after a couple of thousand or a couple of hundred years, I guessed that's pretty reasonable. But the bifurcation has been gradual.

Standard Spanish word for `pun.' It's got almost twice the number of syllables as ``play on words.'' It's useful in English for demonstrating the compactness and general superiority of English. Another good one is anfitrión (`host').

Vegetable oil. A magical substance, one sparkling drop of which is advertised to be the active ingredient in every Certs tablet. (I don't think it's the same drop. Each tablet gets its own individual sparkling drop of retsin. Probably. They don't state the mass of the drop either.) For some reason, retsin is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If the FDA should happen to ban vegetable oil as a potent carcinogen that can lead to political behavior, Certs could always switch to snake oil.

Just to dot the tees and cross the eyes: Retsyn consists of partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, some flavoring (with soy lecithin), and copper gluconate. I can't find any medical studies directly relating to this substance, but gee-- it sure sounds pharamaceutical!

Research Experiences for Undergraduates. A couple of programs funded by the NSF.

The REU programs highlight most clearly the mission conflict faced both by NSF and by ``Research Universities.'' They are supposed to further both education and research, and it is uncomfortable to admit that many decisions represent a compromise between these goals. Few undergraduates are at a point in their education where they can contribute to research in a way that benefits them educationally. Not that washing test tubes, sacrificing lab animals, and typing the command "run," are not a necessary part of the educational experience, of course. However, experience has demonstrated that these skills can be learned more rapidly at the graduate level, possibly while learning some other, less menial skills.

REU money is relatively easy to get once you have an NSF grant. Most universities provide various entertainments (safety training, health training, sensitivity training, parties to celebrate the end of training) that take up most of the REU students' time and limit the damage they might do in the lab. If you have a promising student who you want to have do some work, hire him on the main grant money. If he's smart, he'll study high-temperature, high-speed processing of potatoes at McDonald's instead and drop by the lab occasionally and tell you about it.

Revealed Tea
Oh -- that was supposed to be `Revealed Teachings,' I guess. The astrology sign obscured my vision.

This contemplation is My Ching, a possessive version of the famous mystical reference work. (Correct pronunciation ``mee ching,'' of course.)

Cf. Dyslexic Occultist.

You know, the incident alluded to in the first paragraph occurred around 1995 at the Talking Leaves bookstore (across Main Street from the Main Street Campus of the University of Buffalo). In 2002, Kim Chuen Lam and Kai Sin Lam came out with The Way of Tea: The Sublime Art of Oriental Tea Drinking. It was published as part of the Barrons Educational Series. Get me outta here! I'm trapped on a crazy world!

Revenue Canada. Revenu Canada in French. The organization your friendly Canadian tax man used to work for, before it became the CCRA (ADRC in French). The new name applied after Halloween 1999.

As the patient is being wheeled into the OR, he asks the surgeon
Doctor, after the operation on my hands, will I be able to play the piano?

Reassured that he will, he exults

Oh wonderful! I always wanted to be able to play the piano.

Oh wait! Wrong definition. This was supposed to say ``Sounds good, but what if it wasn't vital in the first place?''

More on piano-playing at the ABPT entry.

The masses are revolting.


A Spanish verb meaning `mix.' It's an official ``queer Spanish word.''

Remote EXecution. (Acronym is at least used by Unidata.)

Reminds me of high-powered rifles. Mnemonic: kings delegate.

Restructured EXtended eXecutor. An interpreted script language originally from IBM. This page seems to be IBM's REXX homepage. Here's a little bit from whatis.com.

Reader-response ``method'' of literary criticism developed by Hans Robert Jauss. Mainly a commitment to and awareness of the importance of what the reader or listener brings to the meaning of a work, plus some buzz-words. This entry is mostly about a couple of those terms.

Jauss observed that we cannot experience literature from a different age as it was experienced at the time of its production, because we are different and the work therefore has a different aesthetic effect on us. As tools for discussing this, he introduces the terms ``aesthetic distance'' and ``horizon of expectation.'' The latter term describes the imaginary point in time where the expectations of later readers last meet the authors' expections of being understood, roughly speaking. In trying to understand the ideas behind the terms it might be a mistake to try to relate the ideas closely to the conventional meanings of the words chosen, particularly horizon. Both terms are fairly obvious allusions to terms popularized in the physical theory of general relativity (GR), especially ``event horizon.'' That is, the relativistic event horizon is a metaphor for Jauss's ``horizon of expectation.''

Event horizon in turn uses earth horizon metaphorically as the place beyond which we can't see: Basically, if an event happens far away and recently, we can't know about it because news of the event traveling as fast as possible (light speed c) hasn't had enough time to reach us. (Future events are also unknown because they require news traveling even faster -- see FLT entry.) Events in the past that are not so far away, conversely, we can know about. The imaginary border in spacetime between those events we can know about and those we can't know about is called the event horizon. (Event horizons get weird near black holes; that could also be used metaphorically.)

Jauss's aesthetic distance is evidently analogous to relativistic ``proper distance,'' but the analogy is a bit rough because aesthetic distance increases with distance in both time and space, whereas proper time does not. [In ``flat'' Minkowski space, which is described by special relativity (SR), the squared proper distance is the square of the spatial distance minus the square of the time separation between two events.]

Reasons for making the analogy with event horizon rather than earth horizon include: (a) mere height/prominence cannot overcome an event horizon, (b) the event horizon arises from distance itself, rather than from some intervening body (like the earth), (c) relativity is mysterious and scientific and associated with a famous long-hair, so event horizons are cool, while ordinary horizons may be beautiful, but they're pretty common and not cool.

How well Jauss understood the physical concepts and how closely he modeled his theory on the physical one, I don't know, but the natural interpretation is that he imagined aesthetic distance increasing as audience gets further away from a text in time and/or cultural space, until a point of incomprehensibility (failure of expectations?) is reached. Obviously, the location of the Jauss horizon will not be so sharply defined as that of a relativistic event horizon.

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