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Relative Risk. Used in medical literature to stand for probability ratio; statistical results might be stated ``RR=1.31, 95% confidence interval 0.92--1.86.''

Rest and Relaxation.

Reverse Recovery (diode).

Rolls Royce.

Erwin Panofsky, in one of Three Essays on Style (1995), argued that the Rolls Royce radiator grille was the culmination and epitome of centuries of English architectural development. I forget the precise claim; the book was recalled. The essay was illustrated with a lot of Gothic-style churches, but no Rolls Royce grille. Panofsky also claimed that ``Winged Victory,'' the hood ornament, is a sculpture modeled on the original company owner's mistress. He cites The Magic of a Name, by Harold Nockolds (illustrations from paintings by Roy Nockolds -- boy, that whole family had it in for GM). I could only get my hands on the 1945 edition, which didn't say whom the Winged Victory is modeled on. However, here are some relevant comments from pp. 143-4 of that edition:

... the unique ``Silver Lady'' mascot plays a not unimportant part, for this beautiful little statuette was specially designed for Rolls Royce cars and is only obtainable, in the ordinary way, on a new car. It was in 1916, I believe, [actually, the work was finished on February 6, 1911, and some version of it has adorned all Rolls-Royce cars ever since that year] that the well-known sculptor, Charles Sykes, R.A., had his first experience of Rolls-Royce motoring in a ``Silver Ghost,'' and he was so moved [oh, felicitous expression!] by the effortless grace of the car's performance that he immediately returned to his studio and put his conception of it into concrete form. Claude Johnson saw it, and realised at once that here was the ideal mascot, especially if its use were confined exclusively to Rolls-Royce cars. It was a happy creation, for it has stood the test of time as easily as the square, dignified radiator which it adorns. ...

In addition to the names given above, the statuette is also known as ``Spirit of Ecstasy'' and ``The Flying Lady.'' This detailed webpage explains the origin of the mascot. (This page is less derivative, but has annoying graphics.) The first version was for the personal Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost of John Walter Edward-Scott-Montagu. It was modeled by Eleanor Velasco Thornton, Lord Montagu's secretary, and secret lover. In that version, called ``The Whisper,'' the woman holds a finger over her lips. The version John Scott commissioned for a general mascot was also modeled by Eleanor Thornton.

Regional Review Authority.

Registered Record Administrator. Accredited by AMRA, later AHIMA. The new improved name for this is RHIA (accredited by AHIMA or whoever).

{Resistive | Resistance-change} Random Access Memory. The acronym ReRAM is also used (less commonly). Some people make a semantic distinction between RRAM and ReRAM, but I'm fuzzy on the details yet.

ReRouting Banyam ATM.

Realistic Reporting Conditions. The RRC efficiency is a site-dependent estimate of the efficiency of photovoltaic cells, taking account of the variability of meteorological conditions.

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub. ... There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

(Quote order inverted for point.)

Residency Review Committee.

Relative Record Data Sets. Vide VSAM.

Row-by-Row Dynamic Source-line Voltage control.

Row-by-Row Dynamic Voltage (VDD) control.

Rapid Reaction Force.

Resonance Rayleigh Light Scattering.

rrnA, rrnB, ...
Ribosomal RNA operons A, B, C, ....

Reproduction Rights Organization. Generic term for an entity like the Copyright Clearance Center (www.copyright.com) in the US or the Copyright Licensing Agency (www.cla.co.uk) in the UK. (Actually, the latter is a Reproduction Rights Organisation, which would be ``RRO.'') See IFRRO for a more comprehensive list.

Maybe you were thinking of ``Reproductive Rights Organization,'' like NARAL. The RRO initialism is less common for that.

Reconfigurable Ring of Processors.

R. R. R. Smith
A scholar of ancient sculpture and portraiture (Greek and Roman, Hellenistic, and Byzantine, so far as his published work is concerned). See, for example, Hellenistic Sculpture: A Handbook (London: Thames and Hudson, 1991). Handily, some refer to him as ``triple R'' Smith.

Resonant Raman Scattering.

Radio Shack. The Rodney Dangerfield of electronics suppliers. Even my earlier entry for them disappeared somehow.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing here should be interpreted as an endorsement of Radio Shack products or sales practices, backhanded or otherwise.

News: Radio Shack is turning net fascist, trying to protect its bad name against the possibility that someone stupid enough to think it's a good name might confuse it with Bianca's Smut Shack. This from the perpetrators of the TRaSh 80. Next thing, Burger King will be intimidating anyone who wants to put ``Burger'' in their name.

Radius of Sphere of charge (I guess). A measure of electron density: rs is the radius, in units of the Bohr radius (a0), of a sphere whose volume is the inverse of the electron density.

Record Separator. We're not talking scratch-preventing paper sleeves here. RS was the function originally conceived for the ASCII (and EBCDIC) nonprinting character corresponding to an integer value of 0x1E (decimal 30). It was defined to be equivalent to ^^ (control-caret or control-circumflex; even control-up-arrow) just to confuse you, but confusing you isn't a very celebrated achievement, so you can't count on the control-character equivalent actually being defined.

Reed and Solomon. Class of error-correcting codes.

Response Surface. Abbreviation used in an article mentioned at the NN (neural net) entry. (Nah, we don't define it.)

Reye's Syndrome. A fatal disease of unknown cause, more common among children, that most severely affects the brain and liver: dysfunctional fat accumulates in the liver, and the brain swells, causing behavioral changes and intellectual deficits. Without treatment, death is common. With early treatment, effects have an excellent chance of being reversed.

Vomiting and more vomiting, disorientation, lethargy, sleepiness, irritability are characteristic symptoms.

More at the National Reye's Syndrome Foundation, Inc. RS is associated with viral diseases (like cold, flu, chicken pox), first manifesting during recovery from the viral disease, and sometimes earlier.

Rolling Stone.

Runs Scored. A hitting stat.

Rivest-Shamir-Adleman. The best known public key cryptosystem. Lots of stuff on the WWW about it, so why should I put a link here?


Rivista Storica dell'Antichita. An Italian `Journal of Ancient History' catalogued in TOCS-IN.

Recreational Software Advisory Council. ``We are an independent, non-profit organization that empowers the public, especially parents, to make informed decisions about electronic media by means of an open, objective content advisory system.''

Royal Saudi Arabia Defense Forces.

Residence Student Affairs Specialist[s].

Royal Scots Borderers. A prestigious battalion of seamstresses, to be formed, it was announced in March 2006, from the merger of the Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish Borderers. An unnamed senior officer quoted in a March 29 Scotsman article said it was ``very sexy.'' He was referring to the RSB's selection by the EU as a rapid reaction force, not official at that time, but said to be a done deal, to be announced that coming Summer (which it was).

Republican Study Committee. A group of conservative Republican members of the US House of Representatives. (``Conservative'' relative to their own party's mainstream.) Cf. DSG on National Security.


Rivista di Studi Classici (Turin: 1952-1979).

Royal Shakespeare Company. Here's a thumbnail sketch from the EB.

Royal Society of Chemistry. A UK organization that is now ``the leading organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences.''

Reverse Short-Channel Effect. This is effectively an edge effect associated with doping of source and drain, but that has the opposite of the expected sign: diffusion of the S and D implants causes Short-Channel Effect--a decrease in inversion field magnitude and a consequent decrease in threshold voltage. In RSCE, damage caused by the implantation process causes inhomogeneous diffusion of dopant in the channel, and increases the inversion field magnitude near S and D. As a result, for relatively long channels (~10 µm), the threshold voltage increases with decreasing gate length, as the damaged region forms a larger fraction of the channel length. Eventually, as gate length shrinks further, the short-channel effects dominate and the threshold voltage begins to decrease again.

Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia. `Journal of the History of the Church in Italy.'

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. A ``difficult and often frustrating problem which is poorly understood and lacks a precise objective definition. Briefly described... a painful condition which most often develops following trauma. The expected immediate physical response to a painful injury appears to be exaggerated and prolonged in patients with RSD. Local effects of the sympathetic nervous system (variably affecting circulation, bone density, sweating and soft tissue thickness) produce a variety of clinical presentations, which may range from subtle to grotesque.''

Relative Standard Deviation.

Root System Description Pointer. Points to the location of the corresponding table (RSDT).

Root System Description Table. An ACPI system description table.

Reflection Secondary-electron Emission.

Research Scientists and Engineers. Vide NSE.

Royal Society of Edinburgh.

``The RSE is made up of over 1200 Fellows elected by existing Fellows.''

Problematically recursive! This sounds like a job for lambda calculus.

Residual Soft-Error Rate (SER). The soft error rate (SER) that ``remains,'' in a manner of speaking, after a microelectronic device or chip has received a protective coating. [That is, after one has ``replaced'' the PSG, alumina, and ceramic packaging with polyimide (PI) or maybe RTV-silicone, which have lower levels of radioactive impurities. I escape the words remains and replaced with double quotes (vide scare quotes) to emphasize the fact that this replacement is not on a particular device, but rather that the fabrication process is modified so that subsequent devices have PI, say, instead of PSG against the chip surface. I hope I have insulted your intelligence.]

It is difficult to eliminate soft errors completely, because the metal contacts and the semiconductor itself have a trace concentration of radioactive impurities.

RSFQ logic
Rapid Single-Flux-Quantum Logic. Uses overdamped Josephson junctions. Not available in stores; as they say, silicon is a moving target.

Red SuperGiant (star). Betelgeuse and Antares are RSG's.

Radio Society of Great Britain (GB). ``The UK's National Society for Radio Amateurs.'' Patron: HRH Prince Philip.

Reform Synagogues of Great Britain. The larger and somewhat more conservative of the two Progressive Jewish movements in the UK. Both are affiliated with the WUPJ.

Remote SHell. Wassamatta? Cancha pull up a man page?

Cf. ssh.

Remote Sensing Instrument.

Repetitive Stress Injury. Paradigmatically: carpal tunnel syndrome.

What happens if you play computer solitaire too much.

Review of Scientific Instruments. This AIP journal is an entry under the LC number Q184 in the CyberStacks.

Royal Society of Literature. UK organization that has allowed membership to at least one loopy ``historian'' that I am aware of.

(UK) Research Support Libraries Programme.

Reciprocal-Space Map.

Religious Sisters of Mercy.

Response Surface Methodology. The response surface is the response regarded as a function of two or more variables.

Remote Simultaneous Medical Interpreting. (Simultaneous interpretion is understood here in the sense of language translation.)

A study in 2007 found that patients exposed to RSMI were significantly more likely to feel that doctors treated them with respect than were patients who received the usual sort of translation assistance. Perhaps this is because RSMI demonstrates a formal accommodation to a patient's needs. However, from what I've read, the usual assistance is often very ad hoc and unprofessional. The research is described in ``Patient Satisfaction with Different Interpreting Methods: A Randomized Controlled Trial,'' in Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 22, suppl. 2, pp. 312-318 (Nov. 2007), by Francesca Gany and six others.

Here's more detail, abstracted from the abstract:

1,276 English-, Spanish-, Mandarin-, and Cantonese-speaking patients attending the primary care clinic and emergency department of a large New York City municipal hospital were screened for enrollment in a randomized controlled trial. Language-discordant patients were randomized to RSMI or usual and customary (U&C) interpreting. Patients with language-concordant providers received usual care. Demographic and patient satisfaction questionnaires were administered to all participants.

541 patients were language-concordant with their providers and not randomized; 371 were randomized to RSMI, 167 of whom were exposed to RSMI; and 364 were randomized to U&C, 198 of whom were exposed to U&C. Patients randomized to RSMI were more likely than those with U&C to think doctors treated them with respect (RSMI 71%, U&C 64%, p < 0.05), but they did not differ in other measures of physician communication/care. In a linear regression analysis, exposure to RSMI was significantly associated with an increase in overall satisfaction with physician communication/care (beta 0.10, 95% CI 0.02-0.18, scale 0-1.0). Patients randomized to RSMI were more likely to think the interpreting method protected their privacy (RSMI 51%, U&C 38%, p < 0.05). Patients randomized to either arm of interpretation reported less comprehension and satisfaction than patients in language-concordant encounters.

``Real Soon Now.'' Not yet.

Radiological Society of North America, Inc.

Royal Saudi Naval Forces.

Regional Security Officer.

Rivista degli Studi Orientali. Italian, `Journal of Oriental Studies.'

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Based in Bedfordshire, UK.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

For Christmas 2001, the RSPCA was ``asking pet owners not to spoil their animals with fattening treats this Christmas -- but instead invest in a gift that will really improve their quality of life.''

``Every year pet owners hand over scraps, sweets and chocolate to their pets, thinking they are being kind. Around 30 per cent of pets in the UK are overweight -- they live shorter lives and may suffer from skin disease, heat intolerance, diabetes, arthritis, back and heart problems.''

At the local (here north of South Bend) Pet Supply, owners can bring their pets into the store. A couple of days before Christmas, some people were bringing in their pets, showing them various toys and treats, trying to figure out what they wanted. The SBF is asking pet owners not to spoil their animals' Christmas -- it's supposed to be a surprise, dammit! And don't wait until the last minute next year.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Fairies. I have my doubts about the authenticity of the royal charter, but the existence of cruelty to fairies is beyond dispute.

Hey! Who' you callin' ``fairy''?

Really Simple Syndication.

Received Signal Strength. See RSSI (with which you ``see'' RSS).

Remote Switching Sites.

Rockland Simpson Scale. For assessing tardive dyskinesia (TD).

Received Signal Strength Indicator. DC signal in IF amplification stage, a measure of RF signal strength at input.

Russian Space Science Internet project. Located at the Space Research Institute (``IKI.'' How inconsiderate not to use an English acronym!-)

Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition. RISTA is obviously the smarter acronym, and it has the vowel ammo necessary to get the job done.

[dive flag]

Recreational Scuba Training Council. (A European organization.)

Remote Switching Unit.

Revised Standard Version. Of the Bible. More precisely, it's a revision of the American Standard Version (1901; see SARV), itself a slight revision of the HBRV (1881, 1885), itself a significant update of the KJV (1611), which, except for three or four others, is the mother of all English translations of the Bible.

This RSV was first published in 1946 (New Testament) and 1952 (O.T.). A New RSV (i.e., a revised revised standard) was published in 1989: NRSV. There are over 3000 people waiting in purgatory now who could have been in heaven already if only the NRSV had been published earlier.

Répondez, s'il vous plaît [SVP]. (French, `Please reply.') Used for the phrase or sentence in letters of invitation, and also used as a noun for such letters. Don't wait until the last minute, okay? Catering costs by the head. (Or by the mouth. Very often the number of mouths equals the number of heads anyway.)

RSVP is the last track on Heart's album ``Bad Animals.'' It rhymes with ``I'll be waiting till you answer me.''

In January 2008 I was amused to receive the following en un courriel:

Bonjour ceci n'est qu'un envois unique.
Si vous ne désirez plus recevoir de email, faite un reply svp.

At least now I know the gender of le reply.

ReSerVation Protocol. A protocol supporting different QoS classes in bandwidth-hogging IP applications like multimedia and videoconferencing.

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. RSVP connects hundreds of people who are retired or senior (over 55) with a hundred agencies needing volunteers. I guess if you want to volunteer but you're under 56 and still working, then you're just out of luck.

A very standard serial interface standard, except there are so many subdesignations that it's not very standard at all.

Stands for RISC System/6000 (acronym and trivial expansion both IBM-trademarked), a workstation.

Rapid-Thermal. Productive adjectival abbreviation, as in RT Anneal (RTA) or RT Processing (RTP), as well as RT-LPMOCVD. (No, I'm not going to expand that one here, you're just going to have to follow the link. You think I've got all day to be writing these things out?)

Take care, however, because RT stands for room-temperature in some similar contexts. E.g., RTVF.

Rapid Transit. Productive affix, as in BART ([San Francisco] Bay Area Rapid Transit), DART, and RTA. Also used alone. Rapid transit refers to commuter-passenger mass-transit that is rapid compared to streetcars and buses that have to compete with general street traffic for use of the road. RT usually runs on rails, and within cities those rails are usually underground or elevated or some of both.

You can also run a rapid transit system on dedicated paved roads using rubber-tired vehicles, though in most cases it doesn't seem to cost out. In Ottawa there's a bus RT system that runs along a dedicated busway called the Transitway. In California somewhere I think bus RT has been done with light vehicles in a small system. In Curitiba, Brazil, an express bus system uses a buses-only middle lane, a sort of ultra-HOV flanked by general-traffic lanes. In Brazil!!?? How do they enforce this? This page describes the Curitiba mass-transit system in charming English.

Take care, however, because RT stands for room-temperature in some similar contexts. E.g., RTVF. For those of you who have just returned from looking at the RTVF entry and wonder what the similarity in contexts is, all I have to say is ``ya got me too.'' The first two sentences of this paragraph are identical with two sentences in the previous entry. Either this was intended as a joke that I am no longer subtle enough to get, or it was an editing mishap.

Rayleigh-Taylor (instability). Symmetry-breaking fluid motion arising from an inverted density distribution -- i.e., lighter fluid below a heavier fluid in a gravitational field. One way this can arise is in heating from below, as typical fluids have positive coefficients of thermal expansion (TCE's). The RT instability occurs for sufficiently large Rayleigh number (typically on the order of 1000 -- itself somewhat mysterious). No, I'm not going to write a formula for the Rayleigh number. Too many Greek letters. The Rayleigh number is a dimensionless number proportional to what you'd guess (acceleration of gravity, TCE, temperature gradient) and inversely proportional to what you'd guess as well (kinematic viscosity and thermal conductivity). There are also four powers of the characteristic length in the numerator, which you can think of as converting all those coefficients into forces to be compared. The instability issues in convection, and heat flow rate exhibits a discontinuity as one crosses from the conduction to the convection regime.

You can produce an RT instability with heating from above if you use salt water as your fluid: salt solubility and hence density increases with temperature.

Real Time. Computerese for while-U-wait. Informally, time spent in experiencing Real Life (RL).

Register-Transfer. See RTL (RT language).

Remote Terminal.

Resident Tutor.

Reverse Transcriptase. An enzyme used by retroviruses like HIV, which reverse the normal direction of transcription (DNA to RNA) and thus install instructions for the virus components into the host-cell nuclear DNA. RT inhibitors are an important class of drugs used in the treatment of AIDS.

Right (R) Tackle (T).

RISC Technology.

Room-Temperature. See comments at RT (rapid-thermal) entry.

Round Trip [ticket].

That's ``round'' in the topological rather than the geometric sense -- not a circle, but homeomorphic to a circle. Actually, it usually just means out and back.

Routing Type.

Rapid Thermal Anneal[ing].

Rapid Transit Authority.

Regional { Transportation | Transit } Authority.

Regional Trade Agreement.

Riverside Transit Authority. In Riverside, California.

Roads and Traffic Authority.

Road Traffic Accident[s]. As opposed, I suppose, to accidents that happen in non-road traffic. Either that, or road is inserted to meet a three-word minimum for initialism construction. The main utility of this TLA is that it creates confusion with other transportation-related RTA's.

Resonant Tunneling Bipolar junction Transistor (BJT).

Real Time Clock. Interesting concept already on sale. Cf. this.

The RTC on a laptop computer is the only thing that consumes power when the toy is in the mechanical off state. Often it has its own separate battery.

Within ACPI, an RTC may generate a wake event, but the soft off and mechanical off states are not sleep states; the OS should disable the RTC_EN bit prior to entering either of those two states.

Residential (medical) Treatment Center. An in-patient facility other than a hospital. The US government offers an official definition in 32 CFR 199.6.

Resolution Trust Corporation. A US-government-owned company set up to liquidate the assets or manage the bankruptcy of the large number of failed thrifts of the 1980's. It was created in 1989 by the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), and by mid-1995 it had ``resolved'' 747 thrifts, and its duties were transferred to the Savings Association Insurance Fund of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

``Thrifts'' are banks whose primary business is offering home mortgages and smaller personal loans. The money for these loans is backed by personal savings deposits. Thrifts typically have ``Savings and Loan'' or ``Savings Bank'' in their names, although the one in IAWL was called the ``Bailey Building and Loan.'' Or maybe that was an early credit union. We have a thrifts entry where we explain that credit unions are also a kind of thrift, although sometimes they are excluded for good or bad reasons. Often the exclusion is implicit. Here it's going to be explicit. Credit unions were not a big part, or perhaps not even any part at all, of the thrift crisis of the 1980's. They are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which seems to have run a tighter ship than the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC). For the rest of this entry, ``thrifts'' will be understood to mean only S&L's and savings banks.

I'm still working on this entry, but for now let me at least say that the FSLIC was by no means solely to blame for the crisis that the RTC was created to resolve. From 1934 to 1989, deposits in could be insured by FSLIC, but did not always have to be. In the US, banks -- like other businesses -- are generally chartered by a state. At the beginning of the 1980's, most states required thrifts to be insured by the FSLIC. The exceptions I can remember were, I think, Maryland and Ohio. In Ohio, some thrifts were insured by a private fund. I'll have to look into what the deal was in Maryland. Suffice it to say that things turned out very badly there, and that overnight the banks in those states were required to be insured by the FSLIC. (These things are done overnight or over the weekend, or else a bank holiday is declared, so that banks can resume business at the start of the next business day with as much appearance of normality as possible.)

FIRREA, the law that created the RTC, also dissolved the FSLIC and put the accounts previously insured by the FSLIC under the protection of the FDIC, which had previously only insured deposits at commercial banks.

Rich Text format (RTF), Compressed. From imagen.

Run Time Clock.


Regional Transportation District. Denver, CO.

Resistance Temperature Device. Like a Pt-RTD, which is basically thin platinum (Pt) film, whose measured resistance is a good linear measure of temperature.

Research and Technological Development.

Resonant Tunneling Diode. First proposed by L. (``Leo'') Esaki. [In a 1969 paper rejected for publication in PRL. See L. Esaki and R. Tsu, IBM J. Res. and Develop. 14, p. 61 (1970).] Not to be confused with Esaki Tunnel Diode, first recognized and explained by him. See also A. Goldberg, H. M. Shey, and J. C. Swartz, Amer. J. Phys. 35, 177 (1967).

Research, Technological Development, and Demonstration.

You know, you don't need a working model in order to get a patent. (For perpetual motion machines of various sorts, however, I believe the US PTO makes an exception to this rule.)

Raidió Teilifís Éireann, probably. It's basically Ireland's version of a BBC. It describes itself as ``a Public Service Broadcaster, a non-profit making organisation owned by the Irish people. RTÉ is Ireland's cross-media leader, providing comprehensive and cost-effective free-to-air television, radio and online services, which are of the highest quality and are impartial, in accordance with RTÉ's statutory obligations.'' It operates ``two complementary television channels, RTÉ One and RTÉ Two.'' Shouldn't the latter be, like, ``RTÉ 0xFF'' or something?

RTÉ also runs four radio stations (RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2fm, RTÉ lyric fm, and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta). They also say they publish Ireland's ``best-selling magazine'' (the RTÉ Guide), operate Ireland's ``leading teletext service'' (RTÉ Aertel), and provide news, current affairs, and entertainment information ``via Ireland's most popular media website, RTÉ.ie [actually <RTE.ie>; É is not a valid hostname character].'' I have no reason to doubt the best-selling claim (though it's a sad commentary, if you ask me), or any of the other media leadership claims. They date from at least 2008, and the page hadn't been updated as of early 2010. If you want to check, you'll need to find the relevant audit bureau of circulation (ABC).

You're probably wondering why I ever cared so much about RTÉ. The reason is that in 2008, when I was living in Clay Township in Saint Joseph County, Indiana, I considered moving to Ireland. That's when I first entered this entry, with all its extravagant detail. Back in the 1990's and into the 21st century, you know, Ireland experienced a major economic boom and was known as the ``Celtic Tiger.'' During the Great Recession it suffered commensurately. I moved to Granger Township instead.

RTÉ provides direct financial support to the arts, and is a continuing sponsor of five performing groups: the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir, and RTÉ Cór na nÓg.

``As Ireland's Public Service Broadcaster, RTÉ has been producing and curating broadcast materials for eight decades. The RTÉ Libraries and Archives collections consist of radio and television programmes, still images, production files, scripts, music scores and manuscripts.''

Remote Terminal Equipment.

Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances.

Read This First.

Rich Text Format. Specified by Microsoft.

Perhaps a good way to derail a good idea like interoperability is to get out in front and then stall.

Read The Manual! Instruction also given as a recommendation to consult with ``Artie Effum.'' Sometimes expanded ``Read The Fine Manual'' although this is incorrect.

Radioisotope { Thermoelectric | Thermal } Generator. (The expansion with thermal is less common by about a factor of six, to judge by newspaper articles. It's also called an ``isotopic generator.'') An RTG is like a nuclear reactor, in that heat generated by nuclear decay is converted into electric power. Unlike a nuclear reactor, an RTG uses decay that is not accelerated by controlled chain reaction, so power density is limited, but so is shielding weight. Also, nuclear reactors use mechanical engines -- coupled motor-generator sets -- to generate electric power. RTG's typically use thermoelectric cells.

The power source for space missions sunward from Mars is usually solar cells (with a little bit of battery back-up). At earth distance (1 a.u.) from the sun, solar cells have power densities in the range of 30-40 W/kg. By contrast, RTG's have power densities of only 10-20 W/kg. Mars orbits the sun at an average 1.52 a.u., Jupiter at 5.2 a.u. Since the light intensity falls off as the inverse square of the distance to the source, somewhere around the asteroid belt RTG's start to become more efficient than solar cells. (And of course, if you're going to be out far enough to need RTG's, you'll probably dispense with solar cells altogether.) RTG's are also an option for landers that may experience long nights.

Nuclear reactors have power densities exceeding 50 W/kg and have been used on unmanned space missions. They can't be used on manned spacecraft because they're too noisy.

The power density numbers above are from some old notes of mine, and it looks like they may be overoptimistic, or may refer to lighter, shorter-halflife radioisotopes than 238Pu, which is the settled choice of NASA. See the ARPS entry.


Real-time Tracking Gradiometer. A kind of magnetic goniometer, developed by Quantum Magnetics for the Coastal Systems Station (CSS).

Research Training Grant. Grant under a European Community initiative designed to support researchers who wish to undertake research in another EU member country. Application for a grant should be made to those Community programmes participating in the scheme. If I remember correctly, this grant is portable, but maybe I'm thinking of the wrong program. The program isn't open to citizens of New York, as far as I know.

Rubber-Tired Gantry Crane. A kind of enormous quay crane used to transfer TEU's between ship and shore.

Real-Time Gross Settlement. Expedited settlement of foreign currency transactions, introduced by central banks starting in the mid-1990's. Rapidly superseded by CLS starting in 2002.

Road Transport Informatics. European name for ITS. See SOCRATES.

Real-Time Intelligence in the Cockpit. I guess this is something different than the pilot.

Ray Trace Language.

Register-Transfer (RT) Level. A stage of chip design that is eventually followed by synthesis into logic design. The way things work, design is iterative, so one ends up returning to the ``RTL level'' (redundant and common expression). going back and forth a few times between physical and logical design, partly to fix bugs but largely to satisfy timing constraints.

To be perfectly honest, I have only the faintest idea what I'm writing about.

Resistor-Transistor Logic. Obsolete; gave rise to DTL, also now obsolete, which gave rise to TTL, which in various applications has been replaced by a variety of logic families--mostly CMOS in VLSI applications.

I explain a little more about RTL at the wired-AND entry. You want to resurrect it? Track down Analysis and Design of Integrated Circuits (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968), pp. 200-245, authored by ``Motorola staff.''

Right-To-Left. The direction in which Hebrew, Arabic, and a number of other scripts are traditionally written. The latest versions of Microsoft word-processing software have improved support for switching back and forth, but if you're using Windows installed with support primarily for a European language, then these patches for MS Word 97 may be useful.

Right To Life. Anti-abortion.

RunTime Library.

Rapid Thermal (RT) Low-Pressure (LP) Metal-Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD).

A loose piece of paper lying on my desk says A. Feingold, A. Katz: ``Rapid thermal low-pressure metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (RT-LPMOCVD) of semiconductor, dielectric and metal film onto InP and related materials'' Materials Science and Engineering, R13, No. 2, Oct. 1, 1994.

Return To Launch Site. Space shuttle abort plan; other options: AOA, ATO, and TAL.

Resin Transfer Molding. Molding made of fiber-reinforced resin-matrix composites.

Rapid Thermal Nitridization. Rapid Thermal Anneal (RTA) (to ~900 °C for Si-based materials, say) in a nitrogen-containing atmosphere, like ammonia.

Radio-Television News Directors Association. ``RTNDA is the world's largest professional organization exclusively serving the electronic news profession, consisting of more than 3,000 news directors, news associates, educators and students. Founded as a grassroots organization in 1946, the association is dedicated to setting standards for newsgathering and reporting.''

Radio-Television News Directors Association (of Canada).

Rapid Thermal Oxidation. Rapid Thermal Anneal (RTA) (to ~1000 °C for Si-based materials, say) in an oxygen-containing atmosphere.

Regenerative Thermal Oxidation.

Registered Training Organisation. A term with precise significance to ANTA.

Real-Time Operating System.

Rapid Thermal Processing.

Research Triangle Park, in North Carolina.

First IBM workstation.

Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).

Ribbon-To-Ribbon (growth).

Railway Technical Research Institute.

Request To Send.

Residual Time Stamp.

Real Time Streaming Protocol. Protocol that enables RTV and RA.

Round-Trip Time.

Range (std. dev., in practice) in Times To Failure (TTF).

RunTime-Type Information.

Remote Test Unit.

Real-Time Video. Like Real (-time) audio RA). Basic players are free from <real.com>. Server may stream in real time or just serve video that is real-time encoded, so the video can begin playback immediately, rather than waiting for completion of video file download. Evidently, real-time server duration is open-ended.

RTV, rtv
RiTonaVir. A drug used in the treatment of AIDS. Nowadays, most AIDS treatments involve drug cocktails, with two or three drugs taken at once (on a daily or b.i.d. or t.i.d. basis), and the coctail components being switched periodically. The cocktails are described in obvious notations like TDF/EFV/3TC. When RTV is included in the coctail, it is sometimes called a ``ritonavir booster.'' In these cases, RTV is sometimes written in lower case (ATV/rtv, LPV/rtv, etc.). I'm not sure what, if anything, determines whether the RTV is considered a ``booster'' or just part of the mix. If I were a physician, I suppose this ignorance might be embarrassing.

Room-Temperature Vulcaniz{ation|ed}. Silicone rubber can be vulcanized (have its polymer chains cross-linked for rigidity) at room temperature.

Room-Temperature Void-Formation.

Rebus for `Are You?'

RU, R.U.
Reino Unido. Spanish: `United Kingdom' (UK).

There's an interesting parallel between national nomenclatures in formerly British and Spanish parts of America on one hand, and Britain and Spain on the other. The earlier independización of the US made it a model for Latin America -- certainly not one that was or even could be followed slavishly, but a source of ideas. A number of countries formed themselves as federations of states, and the official names of many countries reflect that. Venezuela was once officially Estados Unidos Venezolanos, Mexico is still officially Estados Unidos Mexicanos, etc. Of course, these countries are conventionally almost always known by a proper proper noun. Estados Unidos (abbreviated EE.UU.) is understood, unless qualified by some national adjective, to refer to the US. (``American'' functions similarly in English.)

As it happens, the Spanish monarchy is also a united kingdom, and its official name, appearing in international treaties written in Spanish, is Reino Unido de España. [I'm not exactly sure yet when that name started to be used, but the most famous unification of crowns in Spain was the marriage of King Ferdinand of Aragon (Rey Fernando de Aragón) and Queen Isabela of Castile (Reina Isabela de Castilla).] Of course, just as in Latin America, the large Iberian country is generally referred to as Spain, and Reino Unido is understood by default to refer to the UK.

You know, Spanglish often arises when someone using English doesn't know the translation of a Spanish word. Sometimes, the English translation isn't known because it doesn't exist. I wrote the Spanish word independización above because a word with the meaning I preferred was not available in English. Independence (like independencia in Spanish) is a noun for the condition of being independent, just as dependence and malevolence name what exists when other entities are dependent or malevolent. There is a lot of philosophy about this that I don't want to get into, but the point is that -ence and -ance words tend to refer to the names of conditions, and one could want something else: words that refer to the process of achieving a condition. Nouns describing process are naturally constructed from verbs, just as nouns describing conditions are naturally constructed from adjectives.

For the process I wanted to name -- making independent -- Spanish has the verb independizar. This allows one to say that EE.UU. se independizó antes, which would typically be translated `the US became independent before' [or `earlier,' depending on context]. The fluent transformation is not equivalent, however, because it leaves open who created the independence. (I mean, in principle it could have happened that Inglaterra independizó sus colonias, that England let them go or sent them off.) Conveying the distinction in English requires a translation that is slightly more awkward (`made itself independent') or is somewhat unidiomatic (`freed itself' or `emancipated itself').

I should probably have mentioned Saussure in there somewhere.

(Domain name code for) RUssian Federation. There's an English -> Russian translator. Here's a page of national homepage links from ESATT.

In 1842, Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol published the first book of Dead Souls: A Poem. It wasn't in verse but prose; it was, as he called it in a letter to Pushkin as he was starting the project, a novel. He called it a poem (poema) only to suggest its ambition or scope. (The German word Dichter, meaning `poet,' is also used more expansively as a complimentary title for a writer in any genre. It works somewhat like the word artist in English, which can mean any painter or a more accomplished sort of imaginative creator in any other medium.)

The story of Dead Souls was not a new one: an unscrupulous man tries to take advantage of a well-known aspect of the law regarding ``souls,'' which is to say adult male serfs. ``Souls'' were taxable property, and landowners had to pay a tax on the number they owned. Just like property taxes in the US, this tax on souls was based on the most recent property assessment -- a census of souls, supposed to be taken every decade. One may, of course, interpret the term ``dead soul'' in a different, ``impious'' manner. That was how one of the first censors understood it, shouting about the immortality of the soul. Gogol was eventually able to pubish by gaining the approval of a different set of censors, and the first censor's complaints appeared in the sequel, issuing from the mouth of a callow clerk.

Now it is clear that dead souls continue to be taxed until the next census, and Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, protagonist of the story, takes advantage. He buys this worthless property at a steep discount, to be used as collateral in a scheme. The scheme is discovered, and as the first book ends, Chichikov is riding his troika in a wild flight from justice.

Despite the dangers, and the collapse of his plans, he is happy now, for what Russian does not enjoy hurtling at high speed, thundering the bridges, making the road a cloud of dust? And the road runs almost imperceptibly downhill. The author observes a more fearsome troika, moving in unearthly violence -- Russia herself, horses lashed by God, rushes past the stunned onlooking nations, going no-one knows where.

Gogol did not say that he feared the wild ride of Russia. He was not alone expressing the barely supressed savagery of Russia. However he viewed it, one must own that a major stream of Russian political thought and feeling has always been a fear of uncorking Russia's strong bottled spirit. Gogol struggled for the rest of his life to complete the promised trilogy. He hinted that in the end Chichikov might somehow redeem himself. But ill-health and the enormity of the task, or his own high standards, discouraged him repeatedly. In 1845 he burned his current manuscripts for the second book and turned mostly to nonfiction. He returned to the work in 1848, but in February 1852, he again burned the manuscript, and starved himself, over ten days, to death. (I hope I don't slip on my own purple patch in conceding, anticlimactically, that two fragmentary, incomplete manuscripts of the second book did survive.)

The End of the Russian Empire is the title and subject of a book by Michael T. Florinsky, first published in 1931 (© Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and still used as a college course reading into the 1970's, that I know of. (I've also seen the first chapter or some condensation sold as a booklet.) At the beginning of ch. 1, Florinsky noted that the bad of the Russian Empire (and there was plenty bad) got much more attention than heartening but ``less spectacular'' progress in education, health, and economy. He judged that the foreign perception of Russia was unbalanced, and sought explanations.

... The Russians themselves greatly contributed to these one-sided impressions as to conditions in their country, which became firmly established outside the frontiers of the Empire. With that disarming capacity for self-criticism which has so often surprised the foreign observer, they missed no opportunity to emphasize the grave and numerous faults of the Imperial régime, and little if anything was ever said of the more favorable aspects of the situation. We are speaking here not of professional revolutionaries, but of liberal-minded representatives of the middle classes who used to be frequent visitors to the capitals and health resorts of Europe. The newly-born patriotism of this group, which constitutes the bulk of the ``White'' emigration of recent years, does not belie this statement. It is a patriotism which may be traced to the same roots: a refusal to accept the existing order coupled with a sincere, if belated, regret for a past which, with all its imperfections, had a place for them now entirely denied them by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Rutgers University. The State University of New Jersey. (Historical information at the King's entry.)

"Rutgers has an identity crisis," says Fred Stengel, who coaches Bergen Catholic High in Oradell, N.J. "They want to have an Ivy League mentality when it comes to academics, but a Big Ten approach to football. Historically, they have problems not only recruiting good athletes, but keeping them in school."

Reported by Kelley King for Sports Illustrated
Tuesday November 21, 2000 3:23 PM

But this implies that.... Whoa! The scales are falling from my eyes!

Ruthenium chemical symbol. Ruthenium, with atomic number 44, is named after Russia. It was definitively discovered and isolated, and six grams of it were produced, in 1844 (there's a mnemomic) by Karl Klaus. He was a subject of the Russian Empire and born in that empire, and he made the discovery at the university in Kazan (in Russia), so it was natural that he would name it for Russia. Ruthenia was the medieval Latin name for Russia. Heck, it still is, everywhere that medieval Latin is spoken. Of course, Claus (the surname, at least, is spelled more than one way in Roman characters) was a Baltic German born in Estonia, so he could have called it a bunch of things.

Ruthenium is one of the platinum-group metals. They hang out together (really: ruthenium, at least, is found with platinum ores) and buck each other up (platinum and palladium are hardened by alloying with ruthenium) to razz the noble metals. You know they're jealous.

Learn a bit more about the chemical properties of ruthenium at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool. The Ruthenium page of Wikipedia also has a bit on the nuclear properties.

The natural substance called rubber got its name from its use for erasing pencil marks. It was originally used, as it still is in the UK, for what in the US is now called an eraser, or more pedantically a pencil eraser or rubber eraser. The use of rubber for the material is a transference, but obviously not a very distant one.

Rubber (or a rubber) was also called ``[a] lead eater,'' but it also worked on chalk and was used -- how effectively, I don't know -- on pastel. The same word rubber had long been used for various other things that one scrapes, scrubs, rubs, or brushes with, and for people who took rubbings, etc. That was still the case in the 1880's or earlier, when rubber first took its currently common acceptions. Hence, only the longer term ``India rubber'' was originally distinctive.

The India referred to might be the East or West Indies, or South America or Africa. Any place tropical. There are in fact a number of tropical trees whose saps are valued for their elasticity.

rubber bridge
Is that safe?

Rubber bridge is the form of contract bridge that is normally played in informal and friendly-competitive settings. It is also sometimes played in clubs for money. Rubber bridge can be played by as few as four people. A rubber is the best of three games.

Bridge is such a heavily organized game that I am hesitant to say that this informal sort (rubber bridge) is the most common form. The standard in tournament and match play is duplicate bridge, whose various forms require at least eight players.

rubbing sticks together to start a fire
Works best if one of the sticks is a match.

In ancient times (i.e., when I was a boy scout), the bow method was the standard way of starting a fire "by rubbing two sticks together." We'd notch a lath to hold the bottom of a rod and press down on the top of the rod with a ceramic or glass cup (i.e., something smooth, concave, and insulating). The string of the bow was wrapped once around the rod (i.e., place rod between bow and string, turn bow 180 degrees so string wraps around rod). Brace the lath with your foot, saw the bow like crazy, and eventually you catch a little ember in some horsehair you placed around the notch; blow gently into flame. (Actually, we didn't have horse hair or even cedar bark; we used locks of head hair from one of the D twins, Mark or Bruce. Blond hair is thinner and therefore preferable.) Cowhide made a good bowstring. I've seen this done by hand (i.e., no bow) but it seemed much harder that way.

The main thing we learned from starting fires by rubbing sticks was to wrap our matches in plastic.

I asked my father how it was done when he was a Boy Scout in Chile (early 1930's, say), and it was the same, though he claimed they wrapped the bowstring twice around the rod.

Baden-Powell presumably learned this method from the San (Bushmen) when he was in southern Africa -- their method is identical. These days, of course, the preferred San method of starting a fire is with a cigarette lighter, except when performing for tourists.

The Boer War began in 1899, and a number of books on it appeared in the centenary year. Baden-Powell came in for a lot of extremely harsh criticism for his handling of the siege of Mafeking and his treatment of the 'natives'. He apparently let them starve to death at the siege, while keeping all the food for the whites. (The last two paragraphs are cribbed from a classics-list posting by Mark Snegg.)

First Class. From the fact that Rubens never painted a woman who could have sat comfortably in Coach Class.

Not to be confused with Reubenesque, which means `fat,' possibly from having eaten too many Reuben sandwiches.

Both of these terms are overworked. How about let's start using embonpoint.

Rutheniumbipyridyl-(based photovoltaic system). Metal-organic photovoltaic (PV) systems -- bis-2,2'Bipyridyl-bis-thiocyanato complexes of Ruthenium(II) bonded to colloidal TiO2 in water. Vide B. O'Regan, and M. Grätzel, Nature, 353 (1991).

Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Pronounced ``Rubik.'' The core of the old Soviet empire.

Vide sapphire.

Royal Ulster Constabulary. Formed in April 1922 when, following the partition of Ireland, the Royal Irish Constabulary was disbanded. One third of the new force was supposed to be made up of Catholics, but this decidedly did not occur. Women first joined the force in 1943.

An extra unit officially called the Ulster Special Constabulary was also formed. This group, informally ``the B specials,'' eventually came to be regarded as a private Protestant army complementary to the IRA.

Early on during the Troubles, in 1969, the RUC was disarmed and the B specials disbanded, with military duties transferred to a newly created Ulster Defence Regiment. In 1971, the RUC was rearmed.

Short for Rudolf or Rudolph.

Santa Claus had a flying reindeer named Rudolph, and the other reindeer used to call him names, not very nice names. ``Rudy'' was not one of the names. This is not a nice entry, and sensitive people shouldn't read it. Just to make sure you don't read it by accident, I'm going to leave it unfinished for a while. Don't come back and read the rest of the entry unless you can take mature content.


Then, when reindeer got old, they would go away. Santa said they had been relocated overnight to a better place, like Florida or Cancún, but Rudolph had been over Cancún, and he never smelled any reindeer there. There were whispered stories...

Revolutionary United Front. A Sierra Leonean rebel group sponsored by Charles Taylor, one-type Liberian president. RUF slaughtered, maimed, raped, and enslaved tens of thousands of civilians in Sierra Leone during a 1991-2001 civil war that was considered one of the most brutal in modern history. And that's ... no, I think I'll skip the pun. Let's just say that the competition for recognition as ``one of the most brutal'' is stiff. Plenty of contestants.

Regroupement des universités de la francophonie hors-Québec. `Regrouping of Franch-o-phone universities outside Quebec.'

Universiteit Gent. In English, that's Ghent University.) Presumably it was originally founded as a Rijksuniversiteit or something.

rug rat

Ruins and aqueducts were the two principal forms of public monument built by the Romans, but the ruins took a long time to mature. UB has mastered the construction of instant ruins. Using plans created by I. M. Pei, the Ellicott complex on the north campus (Amherst Campus) has been ruins from the day the bulldozers roared off into the sunset. Hard to find your way around in there, too. They were initially used primarily as dorms (they also had some classroom facilities, and amenities like a cafeteria, game room, and store). Gradually, more administrative offices were moved there. In the late 90's, a bunch of new dorms were erected around the south side of Amherst Campus, which really spoils the view as you approach by the main entrance. Various academic departments had their offices moved into Ellicott. The more I think about the lay-out of that campus, the more I appreciate cities.

The locus classicus for the observation that ``the Romans built ruins'' is probably 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, by W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman. (Seventy years after the original publication, it now sports genuine contemporary illustrations and an introduction by Frank Muir). (If you don't know a hundred pages' worth of English history, you may miss some of the jokes.) But maybe it was The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody, by Will Cuppy. (Drawings by William Steig.) Hmmm. Just checked 1066 and it wasn't there. Get both anyway.

{Rest|Remainder} of the United Kingdom. An acronym coined in the context of Scotland's proposed independence from the United Kingdom.

Right UniLateral. One option for electrode placement in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Rule 68
RULE 68 of the (US) Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act.

Chicken liver and water chestnuts in a bacon slice. It's Scrabble cuisine; you don't have to be able to eat it, you just have to be able to spell it.

rummage sale
A sale with tables of stuff that customers can rummage around in. Rummage sales are the best way to decide which church to join. Cf. garbage sale, yard sale.

Long ago my dad told me about a successful innovation he had introduced in some of his company's stores in Argentina: tables of merchandise that, in contrast with stuff in the rest of the store, was disorganized. This was in the 1950's, so it may have been an innovation. If I recall correctly, the merchandise on those tables was not in fact ``marked down.''

[Football icon]

running back
A running back (RB) in American and Canadian football is a ball carrier who lines up in the backfield. He may rush or block, and he is an eligible receiver (Running backs typically participate in short-yardage plays.)

Running backs traditionally are either fullbacks (FB's) or halfbacks (HB's). Way back in the day, there were typically two halfbacks (who lined up behind and to either side of the quarterback (QB), and a fullback who lined up behind them. More recently but still a long time ago (say around 1970), there was typically only one halfback. Nowadays, the halfback and fullback line up at about the same depth, with the halfback behind the QB and the fullback off to the side, as deep or almost as deep as the halfback. Hence, halfbacks are now also called tailbacks. The fullback position has become less common, and fullbacks (in the formations that have them) typically function primarily as blocking backs. Thus, the term ``running back'' (also abbreviated RB) is now widely used in a narrow sense as equivalent to a tailback. Some offensive formations today don't have a fullback or a tailback. Someone who can play either position (FB or RB) is called an all-purpose back (APB).

Rational Unified Process. This is actually an IT business fad.

Revised Uniform Partnership Act.

R. U. R.
Rossum's Universal Robots. A play by Karel Capek which introduced his neologism robot, from a Czech (.cz) word robota, meaning `drudgery,' or by back-formation from robotnik `serf.'

Reference and User Services Association. A division within the ALA, previously known as the Reference and Adult Services Division. It's object is ``stimulating and supporting in every type of library the delivery of reference/information services to all groups, regardless of age, and general library services and materials to adults.''

What I want to know is, what exactly is the object of using the virgule in written English, that is not already served by an alphabetic conjunction like and or or?

Spanish, `Russian [female].'

Rush Hour of the Gods
Beginning in the last decades of the Tokugawa shogunate, and accelerating in the last century, Japan has seen the creation of many hundreds of new cults, sects, or religions, with hundreds of thousands of clergy. (If the population of Japan exceeds one third the population of the US, or if Japan still has the world's second-largest economy, then ``last century'' is probably the twentieth.)

Let me know, if you do, who created this felicitous term to describe the phenomenon.

Sympathy, compassion, ruthlessnesslessness.

Doesn't sound like a state one would want to experience in polite company. Doesn't sound like a noun. Titanium dioxide (TiO2). AKA octahedrite.

means `Are you over eighteen?' In other words, `Are you no longer jailbait?' Cf. advThanksance.

RU486, RU-486
The abortifacient drug mifepristone, developed by Roussel-Uclaf, a French subsidiary of Hoechst. Evidently a part of pop culture. Nevertheless, for years rape victims have received immediate double doses of contraceptives: the hormone storm is also an effective, if often unpleasant, abortifacient.

In places where all that is illegal, one could probably buy enteric-coated ginger tablets. This is probably a pretty obscure reference. See the NARAL entry for clarification.

Random Variable.

Recreational Vehicle.

This year I had to get reading glasses. Next year I turn forty. At this rate, I'll be shopping for a Winnebago the year after.

Gawd! This entry is getting old!

Reentry Vehicle. A part of a ballistic missile; it carries an ordnance payload and reenters the atmosphere. Cf. MIRV.

Registered Voter. Political polling abbreviation.

Residual Volume. The minimum volume of air in the lungs.

Regional Volleyball Association. A subsidiary member organization of the USAV, which is the national governing body for volleyball in the US. I think you're still allowed to play volleyball in the US even if you don't acknowledge the suzerainity and authority of the USAV.

River Volta Authority. A Ghanaian institution that runs the River Volta Project (hydroelectric dam and stuff). See Volta.

{Right|Read} VALUE. A computer-programming term apparently first used in the description of BCPL, evidently originating as a contraction of the term RH value in CPL (the language that BCPL was pared-down version of). The term rvalue has continued to be used in BCPL descendants, which happen to include C and its various extensions. Originally, the r in rvalue was expandable specifically as right, but I have seen the read expansion in at least one programmer's manual (for C#).

Most of what there is to say about rvalue is either parallel to or closely related to what there is to say about lvalue, and if you have any peripheral vision at all (the screen is a peripheral, after all), you can see that this entry is about to end soon, so you can guess where to go.

Representative Volume Element.

Right Visual Field.

The Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind. ``Victorian'' doesn't refer to Queen Victoria; it refers to the Australian state of Victoria (which was named in honor of Queen Victoria). In 2004 RVIB merged with RBS and VAF.

Rotation-Vibration Model. This overview page of nucleus models has a link to an extended technical description (dvi).

German: Reichsversicherungsordnung.

Runway Visual Range.

Ramped-Voltage Stress.

Relative Value Unit.


Robertson-Walker. A class of space-time metrics.

(Domain name code for) RWanda. (Republika yś Rwanda.)

Romance Writers of America. Rubbish Wringers of America. Often described as a ``national organization.'' ``National'' here means that all chapters are located within one nation, but not necessarily all in the same one nation, and not necessarily in the same continent.

In ``Jailhouse Rock,'' the whole rhythm section was the purple gang, not the purple prose gang.

Oh, here's something amusing: Jennifer Crusie explains why the contempt for romance fiction is hypocritical and unfair. Writing romances qualifies Jennifer Smith, Jennifer Crusie Smith, or Jennifer Crusie, as a fiction writer. But writing about writing romances makes her a renaissance woman -- a fiction and nonfiction writer, see?

Rear-Wheel Drive. Until about 1960, this was standard. Where do you think the term ``humping'' came from?

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Ridge WaveGuide.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. ``Making grants to improve the health & health care of all Americans.''

Read-Write Memory. Usually called by the in-principle more ambiguous term RAM.

RWO Consulting, Inc.
Robert W(illiam) Orlando is the president and CEO of this ``project management firm specializing in the management and oversight of small- to medium-size software development projects.''

Rada Wzajemnej Pomocy Gospodaczej. Polish for `Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.'

Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Required Weekly Test. An element of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).


(Medical) Prescription. From Latin recipe, imperative form of recipere, `to receive, take.' Developed from practice of extending tail of R and crossing it. [Similar practice in French led many final esses to become exes.]

Following this pattern, other abbreviations were developed: DX (diagnosis), Fx (fracture), Hx ([patient] history), SX (symptoms), TX (treatment).

See irony in next entry.

Library of Congress (LC) card catalog prefix for homeopathy.

Receive[r]. Especially common abbreviation in electronics.

Receive Data.

Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer.

RYdberg. Energy unit equal to the binding energy of a Coulombic potential. 13.6 eV for the free hydrogen atom. One-half the rest energy of the electron times the square of the fine structure constant alpha.

Rechenzentr{ um | en}. German, `Computing Center[s].' (search form.)

Return-to-Zero. Digital encoding in which the signal for a one (typically) is a complete pulse: voltage rising above a threshold and then falling back to zero counts as a single ``1.'' In NRZ encoding, the one would be transmitted on the rise, and a sequence of ones would be coded as an extended interval at high voltage.

A robot in the form of a right circular cylinder with a hemispherical endcap. Already it is clear that there will be fashions in the design of robots.

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