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See $.


Salutem dicit. Latin for `sends greetings.' For details, see the S.D. entry.

Sec-. When long chemical names are abbreviated, the sec- indicating a secondary carbon is often abbreviated to s-. I suppose you can think of sec- itself as an abbreviation for secondary, but if you want to be fussy you can say it's a symbol based on the word. Whatevah. Cf. t-.

Senate. A bill proposed in the US Senate is designated by S followed by a number, as for example ``S1043.'' A resolution of the Senate, which may concern internal matters (e.g., parliamentary procedure) or sense-of-the-senate votes, is labelled SRES. The bipartisan agreement on rules for the impeachment trial of President Clinton, for example, passed unanimously on Jan. 8, 1999, was SRES16 of the 106th Congress.

Sentence. The kind written, not served, is the one I've seen abbreviated (in linguistics and grammatical literature).

Serine. Also abbreviated Ser. An amino acid (2-amino-3-hydroxy propanoic acid):
               /       NH
               \      /  2
                       === O

Shilling. A twentieth of a pound.

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

The problem here is that the sierra doesn't have enough of what we linguists refer to technically as ``oomph.'' Use ``Succotash'' instead.

Even on the best phones, ``ess'' sounds almost indistinguishable from ``eff.'' Most people just use ``Sam'' and ``Frank'' to distinguish these. You can try ``Foxtrot'' and ``Sierra,'' but people will just become confused, so if you're really not going to use the standard Sam and Frank, then you get more mileage from the SBF recommendations (Fandango and Succotash) than from the boring old FCC recommendations.

s., s, (s)
Solid. In chemical formulae, the fact that a substance is in the solid state may be indicated by a parenthesized ess (always lower case) following the chemical formula. For example, ``C (s)'' appearing in a chemical equation represents solid carbon (whether diamond, or graphite, or some other allotrope is not specified; similarly unspecified is whether the solid is crystalline or microcrystalline or what). Dry ice is CO2 (s); carbon dioxide gas is CO2 (g).

A symbol related to (s) is the downward-pointing arrow. For reactions that take place in a fluid solution, this indicates that a reaction product ``precipitates out.''




Latin, Spurius. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Also ``Sp.'' I'd be willing to assert that the latter abbreviation was less common, but what would that mean today?

The other two common praenomina are Servius (Ser.) and Sextus (Sex.).

Subject. I.e., an individual person in, say, a sociological study.

Substantive. Another, older, word for noun, q.v.

Chemical symbol for sulfur. ``Brimstone.'' Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Many volatile sulfur compounds stink, and hell is traditionally scented with the stuff. Thomas Carlyle wrote of Napoleon III

His mind was a kind of extinct sulphur-pit.

(Historically, the predominant spellings in English have used ph. However, today sulfur is the standard spelling in the US and nowhere else in the English-speaking world. You've gotta love it: some patterns are consistent.)

Super. A productive prefix in elementary-particle physics. Don't you know SUSY?

Supersaturation. Solution beyond the concentration that produces a second phase. E.g.: crystal growth takes place in solutions which are supersaturated with material that would form a precipitating phase. It's not just a concept, however: S is the symbol for the ratio of solute concentration to the saturated concentration (i.e., to the solute concentration that would be in thermodynamic equilibrium with precipitate).

You're not stupid (and even if you are, you prefer to be flattered that you're not) so I don't have to tell you that when S > 1, a solution is supersaturated, and now that I have, you feel condescended to. It's an occupational hazard of glossary compilers.

For a supersaturated vapor, S is the ratio of the gas (i.e., the pressure of the vapor) to the vapor pressure of the liquid phase (at the same temperature). At 0 °C, and atmospheric pressure, one can achieve supersaturations as high as 5 (i.e., relative humidity of 500%) in clean air. [Dirt of any sort nucleates.] Cool it further (increase S by decreasing equilibrium vapor pressure) and homogeneous nucleation takes place (fog).

Portuguese: `Saint': the female form of São (q.v.).

Sans atout. French for NT.

(Domain code for) Saudi Arabia. ``Saudi'' here is a proper noun in genitive case. If the UK (q.v.) were similarly named, it would be ``Windsorite Britain.'' Officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Their ISU (Internet Services Unit) looks kind of central.

The domain code for Saudi Arabia, as well as the ISO country code generally (SA), is often mistaken for that of South Africa. South Africa's ccTLD is <.za>.

Savings Association.

Scientific Atlanta. A company. Their name is on a bunch of satellite dish TV receivers. They also make cable converter box innards.

Self-Activating. Term characterizing certain donor-acceptor complexes. Terminology dates back to as late as the fifties, when acceptors were called `activators' and donors were called `co-activators.' This usage arose from studies of electroluminescent (EL) materials -- phosphorus, and II-VI materials that were studied as possible replacements for phosphorus in CRT's. When electroluminescent materials were first studied, it was understood empirically that very pure bulk materials would not electroluminesce before the reason (need for doping) was understood. The impurities that would activate the electroluminescence of phosphorus were thus called `activators.'

German siehe auch -- `see also.'

Sino-Atrial (node). A group of fast-cycling Purkinje cells near the sinus venosus.

S.A., s.a., SA
Anonymous Society (i.e. commercial association), initialism in various Romance languages. E.g.: Fr.: Société anonyme; It.: Società Anonima; Pt.: Sociedade Anónima; Sp.: Sociedad Anónima. Name arises from the fact that stock in the company is (or originally was) directly transferred. Authority to vote belongs to whoever holds the stock.

Take care in Italian not to confuse this with S.p.A., or with another S.A.

In Dutch the term corresponding to anonymous society is naamloze vennootschap (NV).

Source Address.

South Africa. (.za)

South America. In Spanish Sudamérica.

South Asia. This term is conventionally applied to the Indian subcontinent, rather than all of southern Asia (Indochina is at the latitudes of India and the longitudes of China). As I'm sure you recall, the sea floor beneath the Indian Ocean exhibits some of the fastest geological drift on earth -- over 10 cm/y. The Indian subcontinent is on a tectonic plate that is thrusting into the soft underbelly of the main Asian land mass, uplifting the Himalayan mountains in the process. I apologize. I really didn't want to use language like ``soft underbelly,'' but I-- I simply couldn't help myself.

Hello, my name is Al and I am-- I am a logophile. I confess that I am powerless against the overwhelming force of words. The terrible state that my life has reached can be explained completely by words, and yet, so abjectly addicted am I that I still cannot bring myself to renounce words (in so many words), and I continue to resist total abstinence from words. (You may have noticed this yourself.) Finally, let me say that words cannot express my gratitude for the words of support you have given me here today, and for the stories you have shared.

Let's face it, this is ridiculous. The initial A has been enormously over-used in naming continents: Africa, Asia, Australia, North and South America, and Antarctica. (The rare term Southern Antarctica is roughly equivalent to the more common Central Antarctica. The Republic of North Antarctica has a website, but no ccTLD yet.)

South Australia. The name of a state in the federation (but not republic, after all) that is officially The Commonwealth of Australia. Adelaide is the state capital. Considering that Australia already means southern land, this name is effectively southern southern land. I find that amusing, but then I am easily amused.

Space Available [passenger]. A kind of ticket (and passenger) also called standby.


Structural Analysis. I've seen the abbreviation in linguistics literature, at least.

Student Association. Productive suffix. Visit the NASO entry for an exception.

German, Sturmabteilung. Literally `storm division.' Members were known as `storm troopers.' The term originated in WWI, to describe small commando units using infiltration tactics, first employed on a large scale by the German general Oskar von Hutier.

The term became well-known in English after the Nazis used it as the name for their paramilitary organization. (It started out as a group of bodyguards for Nazi leaders, and evolved into a uniformed group of street hooligans tasked with intimidating the party's political enemies. Over time, the leadership security tasks were taken over by the SS. After the Nazi party came to power, the socialist-leaning SA worried Hitler's supporters among nationalist businessmen, and posed the threat of a coup. Evidence of a coup plot was manufactured by Himmler and Heydrich for Hitler's edification, just as the SS was being reengineered into a secret police. The SA was decapitated on the Night of the Long Knives (Saturday night to Sunday morning, June 30-July 1, 1934), during which the SS murdered probably a few hundred targets (SA leaders and socialist-leaning members, and scattered conservative potential problems).

Sua Altezza. Italian, ``your highness.'' Note that feminine grammatical gender is used uniformly in formal address.

Service-Adaptive Access.

Society of American Archivists.

Spondylitis Association of America.

[dive flag]

Sub-Aqua Association. A multinational organization (brings together member organizations from Scotland and England, at least).

Syria Accountability Act of 2003. An act of the US Congress to ``halt Syrian support for terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop its development of Weapons of Mass Destruction, cease its illegal importation of Iraqi oil and illegal shipments of weapons and other military items to Iraq, and by so doing hold Syria accountable for the serious international security problems it has caused in the Middle East, and for other purposes.'' According to its section 1, the short title of the act is ``Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003.''

The act gave the the US president broad authority to impose a range of economic sanctions and restrictions on Syria. The White House was initially reluctant to use the authority granted in it, but there was an apparent change of policy in early 2005.

South Asian Academy of Aesthetic Dentistry.

SAAB, Saab
Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget. A maker of ugly automobiles (a division of GM since 1990) and small aircraft (pictures here). The car company advertises that it makes cars for the thinking person. Saab is one of the few words which takes a derivational infix in English: snaab (pronounced ``snob''). In Swedish, snabb means `fast.'

The acronym expansion given (in Swedish) above stands for `Swedish Airplane Stock Company.' Hardly anyone now thinks of Saab as an acronym to be expanded, any more than one thinks that of laser. Hence, the company name is now an AAP-assisted pleonasm: Saab Aktiebolag.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Comprises India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal on the Indian subcontinent, and the islands of Sri Lanka and Maldives. Founded in December 1985, it replaced SARC. SARC had comprised the same seven nations, but was a failure.

SAARC publishes an Encyclopaedia of SAARC Nations, one volume for each country. It has the thick glue and coarse cloth binding that are the marks of any authentic South Asian publication (unkerned fonts are characteristic only for SA publications in Western alphabets). The last and least volume is for the Maldives.

Slow-Acting AntiRheumatologic Drug.

(NASA Space) Shuttle Aerosurface Actuator Simulation.

Successive-Approximation ADC.

Signaling ATM Adaptation Layer.

Indigenous people of northern Scandinavia.

Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute.

Separate Absorption and AMplification Photodiode.

Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. This is already a pretty amusing entry, and I've hardly done any work on it yet.

Saturday Afternoon At The Opera. A public service of CBC 2. Because publicly funded entertainment is not limited by crass commercial profit motives, it is able to provide the classy entertainment that is desired by all people (okay, maybe just most people -- in the tonier parts of Newton, MA). It is important for this entertainment to be publicly supported, because the great masses of people (I count four) who yearn for opera can't afford to pay for it all themselves.

I have to point out that there are some who don't see the wisdom of nonprofit broadcasting. They point out, with some justice, that a small town with only five stations playing top-40 and four playing classic rock'n'roll simply cannot afford to waste spectrum space on a rare musical taste. If fifty percent of the disposable income that is listening to the radio on Saturday afternoon needs to hear Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion, then by God fifty percent of radio stations should be playing Sweet Emotion on Saturday afternoon.

South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Is that a weird web-page sound effect, or is that my stomach? It's my stomach.

The SABC website gets a lot of its copy from Sapa.

South African Business COalition against HIV and AIDS.

Société Anonyme Belge d'Exploitation de la Navigation Aérienne. [A bit recherché, if you ask me.] Belgian airline.

Alternative spelling of sabrmetrics (q.v.).

South American Business Information.

This name is suggestive. In Spanish, sabio is `wise' and sabe is `he knows.'

Also in Spanish, tonto means `stupid' (the word estúpido is also available). Tonto used to call the Lone Ranger ``Kemo Sabe'' (originally spelled ``Kemo Sababay''). It sounds like a gringo mispronouncing quimo sabe, which means `gastric juice knows.' In the early episodes, the Lone Ranger also called Tonto ``Kemo Sabay.'' Actually, quimo (`chyme' in English) refers to the entire mix of stomach juices including partially digested food as well as enzymes and hydrochloric acid. The same word is used in Portuguese. But in Portuguese the word for stomach (estómago) is written without an accent. Can you believe we also have an entry for bolo? No one knows (nadie sabe) what ``Kemo Sabe'' really meant, although there is no shortage of guesses. (That link might expire; google the question.)

You probably thought that quimo meant `chemo.' You complete idiot! ¡Estúpido! The Spanish for chemo is quimio.

Actually, SABI itself (remember SABI?) is a bit of a misnomer. It's a ``news service that covers the South American market and Mexico. SABI provides extensive and comprehensive abstracts of articles from the main business Latin American newspapers. This daily newswire service covers newspapers, business and trade journals from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Mexico.'' (My italics.) Then again, in business circles, Miami is half-seriously called ``the capital of South America,'' so it stands to reason. More at the MIA entry.

You know (¿Sabes?), as I was rereading this entry later, I thought that the ``No one knows (nadie sabe) what'' was leading into a ``Shadow'' reference. Who knows -- maybe it was, in a shadowy way. The Shadow knows!

SAudi Basic Industries Corporation. This is the national monopoly for petroleum derivative industries (primarily plastics) rather than for the basic extraction and refining operations. (I don't know Arabic, but I'm pretty sure they don't pronounce SABIC as ``'tsa bitch.'')

sable, le
French, `sand.' Explain that!

Society for American Baseball Research. It's pronounced ``saber.'' ``The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) was established in Cooperstown, New York in August, 1971. Our mission is to foster the study of baseball past and present, and to provide an outlet for educational, historical and research information about the game.'' It is ``an international organization headquartered in Cleveland, OH.''

SABRmetrics, sabrmetrics
Baseball statistics. The term is based on SABR (supra), yet a pronunciation-based spelling (sabermetrics) is also used. Some people make a distinction, and use ``SABRmetrics'' in some restrictive sense such as ``computer-generated baseball stats,'' or baseball statistics in the usual sense of collective averages or figures of merit, and excluding the kinds of individual stats that ``baseball stats'' normally refers to. I'm not sure these senses of the term are used very consistently.

Steel Arch Construction.

Strategic Air Command.

Strong-Acid Cation-exchange. The SAC resins common in water treatment have sulfonic-acid functionality. Cf. SBA.

Subscriber Acquisition Cost. The average cost of acquiring a new paying subscriber. Marketing costs divided by the number of new paying subscribers.

South African Council of Churches.

Southeastern Association of Colleges and Employers. An affiliate of NACE.

You're probably wondering what colleges are not employers, and who handles admissions and teaching and such at those institutions. Actually, all these ``Association[s] of Colleges and Employers'' are actually associations of colleges and prospective employers of the colleges' graduates.

Supreme Allied (NATO) Commander EURope.

Selective ACKnowledgment.

sack of Rome
3-, 5-, or 10-pound bag of red apples.

Supreme Allied Commander AtLANTic. NATO acronym. The SACLANT is a U.S. Navy admiral nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the North Atlantic Council (NAC), NATO's highest governing body. He receives his direction from the NATO Military Committee. The Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic is a UK Navy vice admiral.

SACLANT undersea research CENter.

South American Community of Nations.

South African Communist Party. It is a partner in the Tripartite Alliance (national parliamentary coalition) with the ANC and the COSATU.

As an adjective: pertaining to the sacrum and ilium (the upper part of the pelvis, from hip to hip around the back), or more typically to the articulation between sacrum and ilium, or to the associated ligaments. Used as a noun, ``the sacroiliac'' is the sacroiliac region or cartilage.

A triangular bone, made up of five fused vertebrae, which forms the back section of the pelvis. I haven't any more to say here, so you might as well go back to the sacroiliac entry and see if there are any interesting links to follow there.

Oh yeah -- sacrum is cognate with the English word sacred. It's New Latin, short for Late Latin [os] sacrum (`sacred [bone]'), itself a translation of the Greek heiron [osteon]. How this bone came to be considered sacred, I am tempted to say, God only knows.

Southern African Customs Union. Members, as of 2004, were Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.

Sub-Atmospheric (pressure) Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). Related term LPCVD.

Unhappy. Somber. Suffering from a mirth deficit. Denied one's affective rights.

Seasonal Affective Disorder. Feeling sad during the winter from lack of cheering sunshine. This might happen in the snow-belt parts of Buffalo, but here in Amherst we're just as peppy as can be. I mean, we've got, like, more sunny days per year than, um, Bismarck, North Dakota! And our latitude is more than two degrees balmier than Paris, France. So there. For a related thought, see the London entry.

Students Against Drugs.

South African Data Archive. Looks like Brooklynese for sadder, or maybe it's just that floppy Afrikaanse spelling.

SAD campaign
Sodomy, Abortion, and Divorce campaign. See VID.

Students Against Driving Drunk. Founded in 1981 by former high school coach Bob Anastos (sp.?).

Sociedad Argentina de Escritores. `Argentine Writers' Society.'

Structured Analysis and Design Technique.

(Once the) Society of Automotive Engineers. The organization now styles itself ``SAE The Engineering Society For Advancing Mobility Land Sea Air and Space.'' They're at
400 Commonwealth Drive, Warrendale, PA 15096-0001.

You can get there by car.

Wait! There are a bunch of student homepages, but I don't see an official page. Found it.

Standard American English.

Standard Average European [languages]. Coined by the famous professional insurance adjuster and amateur linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf (the same fellow who is most responsible for the urban legend about multiple terms for snow in the ``Eskimo'' language).

Despite the ugliness of the term, it has not just a usage but a meaning. For examples of the former, see Theories of Human Communication, 4th edn., by Stephen W. Littlejohn (Wadsworth, Belmont, 1992), p. 190 (ch.9).

Sumboulio Apodêmou hEllênismou. Official translation: `World Council of Hellenes Abroad.'

Scandinavian Academy of Esthetic Dentistry.

Selective Area Electron Diffraction. A mode of TEM in which an aperture restricts the region of sample contributing to the diffraction pattern. (Some call it ``Selected Area ... .'')

Société des Anglicistes de l'Enseignement Supérieur.

Second Amendment Foundation.

Student for Academic Freedom. Associated with CSPC.

Save Animals From Exploitation. A New Zealand organization.

Secure All-around Flotation-Equipped. A kind of boat manufactured by SAFE Boats International, very popular with the US Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies. They look like RIB's, but there's nothing inflatable about them. They have chambered aluminum hulls and a foam collar along the gunwale for ``flotation, stability, and fendering.'' (I thought that what fenders do, etymologically at least, is fend, but I'm happy to welcome a new verb into the vocabulary. By contrast, both ``to broke'' and ``to broker,'' with similar meanings, are attested back into the first half of the seventeenth century.)

SAFE Port Act
Security and Accountability For Every PORT ACT. SAFE here is a grammatically unusual and interesting acronym. Most acronyms expand to noun phrases, and most function either as adjectives (i.e., as attributive nouns) or simply as nouns. Occasionally such nouns are verbed. Here we have an acronym that doesn't even expand to a standard part of speech, but instead to part of a noun phrase. Specifically, ``Security and Accountability For Every'' is a noun phrase and part of an adjectival phrase that modifies it. It is mildly interesting to consider what results if one completes the object of ``For'' differently. Because of the ``Every,'' some singular noun is needed. One could have subsequent SAFE Port Acts, but not a SAFE Ports Act. Inconveniently, this implies that the SPA might, at least in principle, assure safe ports, but only SAFE port.

This cleverly named law was first introduced in the US House of Representatives (as HR 4954) on the 127th anniversary of Einstein's birth. It was signed into law on Friday, the 13th of October 2006. One day and 514 years previously, a sailor aboard the Pinta had sighted land. On the 13th of October 1492, three Spanish ships made port, such as it was, on the Bahamian island of Guanahaní.

safety pin
First patented as ``Pin,'' in the year of the California (CA) Gold Rush. US Patent #6281 issued 1849.04.10 to W. Hunt.

safety tip
Don't carry your workstation monitor by the power cord while wearing in-line skates in a china shop very often.

safety warning
To minimize risk of serious injury, do not use this product.

Saffir-Simpson scale
A five-point scale for hurricanes. A hurricane at point foo on the scale (foo = 1,2,...5) is said to be ``a category foo hurricane'' or ``a category foo.''

Category Central Pressure Wind Speed Storm Surge Damage
1 >28.94 in. Hg 74-95 MPH 4-5 feet minimal
2 28.50 to 28.93 96-110 6-8 moderate
3 27.91 to 28.49 111-130 9-12 extensive
4 27.17 to 27.90 130-155 13-18 extreme
5 <27.17 >155 >18 catastrophic

La Superintendencia de Administradoras de Fondos de Jubilaciones y Pensiones. An autonomous agency of the Argentine government, functioning within the Ministerio de Trabajo, Empleo y Seguridad Social (`ministry of labor, employment, and social security'), with the role of monitoring AFJP compliance with the SIJP.

Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship. Canadian sister organization of the US National Academy of Scholars (NAS).

Screen Actors' Guild. A union that Ronald Reagan and the voice of God have been head of.

Self-Aligned Gate. A beautiful idea. Originally, MOS transistors really were metal-O-S devices. Source and drain were (doped regions) defined by diffusing or (originally less commonly) implanting dopants to either side of the MOS gate, in an operation separate from the deposition of the gate. Since the masking that defines these regions is inaccurate at some level, the source and drain might either overlap the gate or not reach it. Since the latter case is equivalent to an open, it is necessary to design to err on the side of caution: to overlap the gate. This has two general kinds of disadvantage: (1) increased parasitic capacitances, which increase time delays, and (2) shorter effective gate lengths, with consequent greater sensitivity to gate-length variations. Either way, the effective yield is reduced, or equivalently (i.e., engineering to preserve yield), one has larger and slower devices.

When poly-Si gates began to be used, a clever way was found between the horns of this dilemma. The poly-Si gate is laid down before the source and drain, and the implantation mask contains a window that exposes the whole region from source to drain, including the gate. When the source and drain are created by ion implantation, the MOSFET channel beneath the gate is not doped because it is shielded from the ion beam by the poly-Si gate. The channel (i.e., the undoped region between source and drain) is thus ``self-aligned'' with the gate. [Strictly speaking, the channel is rarely ``undoped.'' It is simply doped to the appropriate level and not further doped by the source and drain implantations. In fact, because of surface states and gettering of impurities to the surface, the channel region may need pre-treatment before the gate is deposited. But in general, the channel is less heavily doped than the source and drain regions.] The self-alignment game also works with diffusion, but not as well: see DSA.

Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage.

Semi-Automatic Ground Environment. The SAGE air defense system was begun in the 1950's.

Senior Action in a Gay Environment. The environment will probably be warmer, but may not be very gay if all the ice melts. I suppose the seniors can look forward to not being around to find out.

Okay, that was then (as recently as 1997, if my printed source is correct), and this is now. Well, by the time you read this it will also be then. The entry will be more recent, but you will be older. That's what it's all about. This SAGE has become a sealed acronym: ``SAGE - Mozilla Firefox.'' Oops, that was the title bar. It's ``SAGE Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders.''

System Administrators Guild. A USENIX special interest group for sysadmins. Perhaps the E in the acronym came out of a special file that you can't access without sysadmin privileges. I can understand if SAG was not deemed a very positive acronym, but failing to come up with a creditable and publishable expansion for the SAGE backronym looks unsagacious.

Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.

Related links: ASGE, NOSCAR.

Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy. Located at the University of Binghamton (part of SUNY).

sag pipe
US synonym for inverted siphon (q.v.). An inverted siphon is not a siphon.

Society of Architectural Historians, founded 1940. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1958. ACLS has an overview.

Architektur ist überhaupt die erstarrte Musik.
[Architecture in general is frozen music.]

-- Friedrich von Schelling (1775-1854)
in Philosophie der Kunst [Philosophy of Art] (1809)

In Eckermann's famous record of conversation with Goethe, Gespräche mit Eckermann, the 23 Mar. 1829 entry quotes ,,Ich habe unter meinen Papieren ein Blatt gefunden ... wo ich die Baukunst eine erstarrte Musik nenne.'' [I have found among my papers a sheet ... in which I call architecture frozen music.]

In the preceding, I have given standard translations which translate erstarren as `to freeze.' It's worth noting that the semantic fields of the two words are not quite equivalent. The verb frieren is a closer match to its cognate freeze, being the preferred word to describe the solidification of liquid associated with cooling. Although erstarren has a similar meaning, and is used in the expression corresponding to my blood ran cold, it is closer to `gel' or `congeal,' in the sense that lowered temperature is not a necessary component of the concept. Hence, given the ambiguity of such metaphors, a less poetic translation that nevertheless captures different aspects of the original expressions would be ``Architecture is music made solid.''

It is a commonplace among classicists that

A translation is a commentary.
(Or ``the shortest commentary'' or ``the best commentary,'' but that seems to imply that it is impossible to have more than one translation.) The mot is often attributed to Wilamowitz (Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff). Oral tradition at Oxford attributes it to his student Eduard Fraenkel (``best commentary'' variant), who was at Oxford from 1934.

SubArachnoid Hemorrhage.

Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science.

Systems Application Institute.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago. School associated with the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). A number of buildings between the AIC museum and the L are draped with ``School of the Art Institute of Chicago'' banners across the outside of the second or third floor. Some of these buildings seem unlikely to be classrooms, studios, living quarters or anything else directly associated with the school. Maybe they're boosters.

Science Applications International Corporation. ``[T]he largest employee-owned research and engineering company in the'' US, as of 2002.

Saudi Arabian International Chemical Sciences Chapter of American Chemical Society. There's also a Saudi Chemical Society.

An article appeared November 14, 2005, in the Arab News (``[Arab] Middle East's Leading English Language Daily'' based in Saudi Arabia), dateline Jeddah: ``Teacher Charged With Mocking Religion Sentenced to Jail.'' A high-school chemistry teacher was sentenced to three years in prison and 750 lashes -- 50 lashes per week for 15 weeks. The lashes are to be given in the public market in the town of Al-Bikeriya in Al-Qassim, so at least he gets out of the prison occasionally. If the article link expires, let me know and I'll put up some more details.

Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens. Afrikaans name of the South African Revenue Service.

Studies in American Indian Literatures. A scholarly journal, published quarterly (in most years since its founding in 1977) by ASAIL. The journal offers reviews, interviews, bibliographies, and new works (including transcriptions of performances). Reportedly (and I have no reason to doubt) it is the only scholarly journal in the United States that focuses exclusively on American Indian literature. Oh, sorry: literaturesssss.

French: first-person, singular, present-tense form of savoir, `know.' (I know, I know: I could simply have written `[I] know.')

Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Spanish, `hall.' (It is also used for `lecture hall,' but unlike English, in this use it needs no qualifier.)

This word is cognate with the Old English word sæl (`hall'). The direct etymons of this word in English petered out early in the sixteenth century, but the Germanic root had been adopted in Romance, giving rise to the Spanish head term (spelled identically in Portuguese and Italian), and salle in French. The Italian augmentative form salone was adopted as salon in Spanish and French, and as salão in Portuguese, eventually giving rise to the English word saloon. Of course, the French salon is also used in English, though it's not completely assimilated. What this little history shows is that even when English loses, it gains. A word may try to sneak out of the language, but one or two of its descendants or cousins a few times removed will be sucked in. Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated.

Statistical Abstract of Latin America.

Two or more sausages, with or without garlic, and an island southwest of Athens, pronounced differently (final sibilant unvoiced). I put this entry here because during the Reagan-Gorbachev summit at Reykjavik in 1986, a suspicious package was found and blown up. It was two salamis. This is important; I vow to track down the details.

Okay: the salamis belonged to Assistant Defense Secretary Richard N. Perle. He was regarded as the Pentagon's top arms control expert. He is a gourmet, and like a good Cold Warrior he came prepared. In particular, he came prepared for the reported inadequacy of Reykjavik's restaurants and the expectation of all-night sessions, with the two salamis. He kept them cold by putting them on the window sill of his hotel room (fourth floor), where they were apparently blown off by a storm. Icelandic security guards successfully repulsed the aerial attack. Perle was quoted in an October 15 article as saying that the salamis were ``smashed to smithereens.'' They were ``Hebrew National'' brand.

On April 25, 2004, two teenagers in Lee County, Florida, were arrested on arson-related charges. The unidentified minors (a high school and a middle school student) had reportedly placed an incendiary device in a wooded lot near some houses a few blocks from Interstate 75 in Fort Myers, but it had failed to go off. Local residents were evacuated after it was found, and authorities said it could have started a serious fire. The Southwest Florida Bomb Squad blew up the device around 11 a.m. the same morning.

The device itself sounds like one of those science experiments you do with stuff you find around the house. It consisted of a twenty-ounce beverage bottle filled with ``homemade napalm'' (not clear if this wasn't just gasoline) and two aerosol spray cans, tied together using kielbasa links. News reports described it as a ``kielbasa bomb'' and ``sausages of mass destruction.''

Considering the degree of sophistication of the device, I wonder if they weren't counting on it to become some hungry stray's suicide bomb. The entire episode sounds just stupid enough that it might reflect a technical conception based on sympathetic magic. You know -- soda bottles and spray cans both contain liquids under pressure that can sometimes like, you know, go boom! Did the bomb squad really check the ``homemade napalm'' thing? Maybe this was just a snack: soda, kielbasa, and spray cheese. Yum. (Preferably a diet soda, to neutralize the fat in the other foods.) The brand of kielbasa was not identified.

At 4:30 pm on April 18, 2005, an incident occurred involving sausage as a missile, but no explosive. A 46-year-old man was driving home from work. It was a nice day and he had the window down. As reported by Brian Farmer of the PA, he saw a car coming the other way and suddenly ``felt a searing pain in his nose. He managed to stop his car without hitting anyone else'' and passers-by came to his aid. He had been hit by a frozen sausage. A spokesman for the Essex Ambulance Service said that ``[h]is nose was undoubtedly fractured and he had lost quite a lot of blood ... he decided not to go to hospital but has been left with a very painful and swollen nose.'' The AP reported from London that the Ambulance Service spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity, but this is probably just an interpolated conjecture. According to the Essex Evening Echo, Essex Ambulance Service paramedic Dave Hilton said he had not come across an incident like it in 30 years on the job. The victim's decision leaves me with questions about the UK's NHS. Absent further details on his assailant's vehicle, I suppose that this was a left-handed shot. There was no further information on the sausage.

You know, this kind of story is a headline-writer's bonanza. Here are some of the better headlines under which the last story was reported:

Alright, enough about sausage ordnance. Here's an item out of Massachusetts, a highly advanced blue state. In Newton, a dormitory community for Harvard and some other nearby universities, there was a domestic dispute on January 13, 2005. A woman showed up at about 12:30 am at the home of her ex-boyfriend's female friend. She argued with the two, striking him in the face and kicking him, and threatening to kill her. This story earned its place in this entry on account of the female friend's car. The ex-girlfriend apparently placed several slabs of salami on the trunk of the friend's car. By the time officers investigated, they found the car's paint peeling. According to Newton Police Sgt. Ken Dangelo, chemicals used to preserve the meat had damaged the car's paint job. Initial charges were assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for using the heel of her shoe during the fight (stilettoes?), threats to commit a crime, and malicious destruction of property.

salami tactics
One slice at a time. Geopolitical conceptual cousin of the death of a thousand cuts.

sal ammoniac
Old name for ammonium chloride (NH4Cl), in use since the Middle Ages. The word sal is Latin for `salt'; the adjective ammoniac (and hence the word ammonia) is a locative ultimately derived from the name of the Egyptian god Amon (or Ammon or Amun, or Jupiter Ammon in a Roman syncretism). The corresponding entirely Latin name of the salt was sal ammoniacus; the corresponding French is sel ammoniac.

The salt has the somewhat unusual property that the pressure of its liquid-vapor critical point is below atmospheric pressure. Hence, when heated it sublimates. Ancient manuscripts contain a number of recipes for producing sal ammoniac, but many of these appear to be either ignorant or purposely misleading. The primary method for producing it was essentially distillation from camel dung: when camel dung was burned, the smoke contained fumes of the sublimated salt. The salt would condense as a solid white film on a surface (glass was convenient) placed in the smoke. (The salt is water-soluble, but like ordinary salt it does occur in natural deposits. See salmiac.)

I've had a tough time getting ahold of detailed information on camel dung, but it is not surprising that ammonia salts should be present. The camel's unusual and extreme metabolism is adapted to dry conditions, and an important adaptation is to urinate as little as possible. The main reason that mammals urinate is to get rid of the nitrogen waste from protein breakdown various comes indicates the origin. Interconversion among different inorganic nitrogenous compounds is not too difficult metabolically. Birds eliminate nitrogen through the cloaca in the form of uric acid (so wash your car), mammals (most of them, anyway) eliminate it in the form of urea. (I'll have to look it up again, but in the interests of publishing this page soon I'll rely on memory to assert that fish generally eliminate nitrogen through their gills as ammonia.) Many micro-organisms can convert urea and uric acid to ammonia. Presumably camels have evolved ways to eliminate nitrogen in their dung in relatively dry form. It might be eliminated as urea and be converted to ammonium chloride by bacteria in the camel gut.

A lot of camel dung was collected in the deserts east of the Egypt and south of Cyrene. In an oasis of this desert there was a temple of the god Amon (you will recall that Alexander took a side trip there before founding or rechristening the Egyptian port of Alexandria). The desert took its name from that oasis temple, and the salt took its name from the desert.

There were some trivial variants of the term sal ammoniac (including, in English, sal ammoniack, sal ammonyak, sal amoniak, etc.). There is a large subgroup of old names with the adjective beginning in arm- (e.g., sal armaniac, sal armaniack, and even sal armagnac). These seem to have arisen from a Latin spelling hammoniacum (with silent aitch) that was interpreted as a misspelling of harmoniacum.

For centuries, sal ammoniac was used as a cleanser. My grandmother was still using it in pre-WWII Germany. Here's another application:

A race should be held on hard snow. The snow should, if possible, be so hard that no holes are made when contestants fall. If snow falls during the race, the Chief of Course shall ensure that the newly fallen snow be packed or swept from time to time. Course maintenance should be done continuously and indiscriminately throughout an alpine race. Recommended as a snow additive to lower the freezing point and harden the snow is ammonium chloride for above freezing conditions and sodium chloride (rock salt) for below freezing conditions. These preparations should be added to the snow on the course at least one-half hour before race time.

Salary: Negotiable
  1. If you will settle for less than we're willing to pay, that's okay with us.
  2. We don't want our less-well-paid employees to learn what we're paying our better-paid-employees. Management understands that knowledge is power, and stupid as they are, they realize that that knowledge has to be the secrets they keep.

Self-aligned silicide. After deposition of poly-Si MOS gate and exposure of S and D regions for implantation or diffusion, metal is deposited over source, gate, and drain. This is subsequently sintered to form silicides on each, and an etch removes unreacted metal while leaving silicide. (Side walls of poly-Si gate are oxidized to form oxide separator before metal deposition.)

One reference: C. K. Lau, Y. C. See, D. B. Scott, J. M. Bridges, S. M. Perna, and R. D. Davies, IEDM Technical Digest, p. 714 (1982).

salmiac, salmiak
A term used for naturally-occurring ammonium chloride. The term is borrowed from German, which is the source of many mineralogical terms in English. The German term was a contraction of the Latin sal ammoniacum. The Latin term itself was borrowed in English as sal ammoniac.

Salmiac is found as a sublimate at active volcanoes. (It can also be found at inactive volcanoes if you can just keep it dry.

You can get an idea of how the formation process by pouring out saucers of ammonia and (carefully!) hydrochloric acid, and placing them next to each other. The ammonia vapor and hydrogen chloride gas react to form sal ammoniac:

                         NH  (g)  +  HCl (g)  -->  NH Cl (s) .
                           3                         4
The salt will precipitate and coat any surface suspended above the saucers (petri dishes would be nice). Use glass or a transparent plastic sheet and see it turn white. Don't wait for it to get thick. If it has any chance of becoming thick, then you've poured out way too much of the reagents. This reaction is not necessarily what is occurring at volcanoes. At normal pressure, ammonium chloride sublimates at 338°C.

A late nineteenth-century medicine prepared from SALicylic and carbOLic acids. (To be a little more directly informative, it was the ester phenyl salicylate.) By 1879 (date of the earliest attestation of the term listed by the OED), the -ol suffix was being used fairly systematically in analytic chemistry to indicate alcohols (which carbolic acid is but which salol is not). However, -ol was already (as it still is) used as a fairly uninformative ending in drug names, so it's not clear whether the ol was intended as a reference to carbolic.

salicylic acid
2-hydroxybenzoic acid or orthohydroxybenzoic acid (or 2-carboxyphenol or 2-hydroxybenzenecarboxylic, if you want to be that way). Used as a callus remover.

Spanish for `sauce.' The word sort of implies `spicy' or at least `flavorful,' and is used as the name of a dance. I can't think of an expression parallel to the Shakespearean ``saucy wench.''

Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003. See SAA.

Society for Applied Learning Technology. What did we learn about applied technology from the SALT Talks?

Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Almost always an AAP pleonasm (``SALT talks''). Cf. START.

  1. An ionically bonded compound. The product, with water, of the reaction of an ordinary acid and base. For example, with A and C representing an anion and cation of valence -1 and +1:
    HC (acid) + AOH (base) --> AC (salt) + H2O

  2. A particular salt that gave this class of compounds its name: NaCl. NaCl is the main ingredient in table salt. This is the kind you sprinkle on eggs.

    Pure NaCl is hygroscopic: it forms a hydrate and cakes. In order to prevent this and allow for smooth pouring, table-salt manufacturers add an ``anti-caking agent'' such as magnesium carbonate.

    When salt is used for its hygroscopic properties, the Mg(CO3) is excluded. One such application is in deicing sidewalks and roads: salt is effective both because of the molal freezing point depression of water and because salt is hygroscopic. (A solution of water and salt freezes at a lower temperature than pure water. The molal freezing point depression constant of water is 1.86 C/m. m here stands for molality: a one-molal (1m) solution has one mole of solute per kilogram of solvent.)

    Jewish dietary law (kashrut) proscribes the consumption of blood, and so requires animals to be kashered (or, increasingly, ``kasherized'') -- that is, the blood must be removed. ``Kosher salt'' is used for this purpose. It's not called kosher because it's kosher -- all salt is kosher. It's called kosher because it's used to make meat kosher. Since hydration begins at the surface of the salt crystal, coarse crystals keep better. And since this salt isn't intended for sprinkling on food, there's no reason to make it fine, so kosher salt is coarser than table salt. Some people taste and dislike the anti-caking agents in table salt. Frankly, if the salt you're using is going to be dissolved in water before it reaches the table, there's likely no need for you to use table salt. Use kosher salt or pickling salt (same product, different purpose).

    Ice cream salt also uses no anticaking agents (and is sold coarse), but since it's not intended for ingestion (it doesn't go in the ice cream; it goes in the ice-water slurry around the ice-cream maker), maybe you shouldstick to the other products for cooking. Popcorn salt is an even finer grade of table salt.

    There's a Salt Institute where you can learn more.

The Salt Archive has as its stated purpose ``to collect evidence to support the theory that Common Salt and its short supply from the then known sources had catastrophic influence on the development of ancient civilizations.'' I would take this with a grain.

The unqualified word saltpeter has always been used for potassium nitrate. A couple of other nitrates have been given what one might call ethnic saltpeter names:

salted peanuts
According to Snack Food Technology (p. 201; bibliographic details at the snack food entry), peanuts
can be salted in the shell, by applying a salt solution and then drying. To speed penetration of the solution through the shell, a small amount of wetting agent may be added to the water. Generally, pressure and vacuum are applied intermittently to increase the rate at which the solution reaches the interior of the shell.

The idea behind the alternating cycle of pressure and vacuum is similar to the idea behind repeated flushing of a vessel that can't be completely emptied. Since the air inside the unbroken peanut shells can't be completely removed in a single step, it is progressively forced out. At the beginning of a cycle, water might be applied at, say, 120 psi. This is about 8 times atmospheric pressure. (It's going to be exactly 8.000 at some moment as a cold front pushes through after a warm day, okay? We're going to take it as exactly 8 for purposes of explanation.) Assuming (it's a fairly accurate assumption) that air behaves as an ideal gas, then under maximum pressure the gas is compressed to one ninth of its atmospheric-pressure volume. The pressurization is usually applied for about 4 to 8 minutes (that would be about one quarter to one half of a kilosecond, for all you good people who don't understand stuff that isn't in metric units). If this is enough time for mechanical equilibrium to be achieved, then water (incompressible to a good approximation) has filled 8/9 of the initial air volume in the shell.

[I'm also ignoring the fact that the peanut is compressible and that the shell has nonzero thickness. If the peanut is substantially more compressible than water, then the air's fraction of fluid (gas plus liquid) volume is reduced by a factor even greater than 9. I do not have peanut compressibility data handy, sorry. And yes, I'm ignoring the solubility of air in brine and in peanut, and of water in air and in peanut. Look, it's approximate, okay? Science is like that.]

  1. A Latin adjective (ablative neuter singular of salvus) meaning `uninjured, intact, safe.'
  2. In medieval Latin, it occurs as a sort of preposition (really a prepositive adjective, but the gender isn't controlled by the noun, as it should be; let's call it a function word), in legal expressions like salvo servicio forinsico (`foreign service excepted'), salvo jure (`without prejudice to the right of ...').
  3. In Spanish, a preposition with essentially the medieval Latin sense, which can usually be rendered in English as `with the exception of' or `save for,' and occasionally `save.'
  4. In Spanish also, salvo means `I save,' a conjugation of the verb salvar, from the Latin verb salvare. Note that the saving here has a more restricted sense than the English cognate. To save money is ahorrar dinero.
  5. In English, the legal Latin word was naturalized as a noun, so the salvo of a right is a provision that a certain engagement or ordinance shall not be binding if it would interfere that right, and more generally a salvo is reservation or a saving stipulation or legal provision.

Nickname for SAMantha and for SAMuel.

Sample Analysis at Mars. A chemical analysis instrument that is part of the rover Curiosity that was landed on Mars in 2012.

SAM, Sam
Scanning Acoustic Microscope. Surface and sub-surface mapping of elastic properties using ultrasonic pulse/echo lenses in the frequency range 30 MHz to 1 GHz. Sample must be immersed in or at least wetted by a fluid.

Scanning Auger Microscopy. A kind of Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES, q.v.).

Security Account Manager. Used in NTFS for Windows NT.

Self-Assembled Monolayer. Search this site.

Serial Access Memory.

Service-Access Multiplexer.

Sigma Alpha Mu.

Society for American Music, founded 1975. It was previously known as the Sonneck Society, and as the Sonneck Society for American Music. They still respect Oscar George Theodore Sonneck, but they probably just got tired of saying
``SonnECK, not sonic.''
(You know how ess and eff sound the same over the phone -- people would reply ``Oh, yeah, phonic, sure.'') But they can't win for losing. Now they have to explain that `` `America' is understood to embrace North America, including Central America and the Caribbean, and aspects of its cultures elsewhere in the world.''

You can avoid these problems by joining the Society for EthnoMusicology, but you may have to shift the orientation of your scholarship. (But that's nothing, my friend Lee started out as a composer of art [classical] music, and ended up as a music theorist. It's just as well, he didn't really look like a composer.) Also consider the American Musicological Society (AMS).

A constituent society of the ACLS since 1995. ACLS has an overview.

Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.

-- William Seward Burroughs

-- or maybe Thelonius Sphere Monk, I dunno.

See also the Society of Architectural History (SAH) and the Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS).


Society for Ancient Medicine. (Should that not bee ``Þe Society for Antient Physic''?) Holds a meeting during the bigger annual joint meeting of the APA and AIA.

``The Society for Ancient Medicine fosters the scholarly study of ancient medicine broadly understood: not only Greek and Roman medicine, but also ancient Near Eastern, medieval European, Arabic, Armenian, and traditional Indian medicine, and indeed medicine from all pre-modern cultures.''

And then the witch doctor
He told me what to do:

He said that

Oo-ee, oo ah ah ting, tang,
Walla-walla, bing bang --
Oo-ee, oo ah ah ting tang
Walla-walla bang bang!

(``Artist'': David Seville; Song: ``Witch Doctor'')

Surface-to-Air Missile.

South African Medical Association. ``[T]he representative body for medical practitioners in South Africa.''

Southern African Maintenance Association. ``SAMA was formed in 1997 to promote the interests of maintenance and asset management professionals in Southern Africa. We are a registered Section 21 company (not for profit).''

Japanese postfix particle that functions like Mr./Ms., but indicates greater respect than -san. Cf. -chan.

S. Amer.
South AMERica. In Spanish: Sudamérica.


Society of Ancient Military Historians. Affiliated with the APA. Look, I don't have anything interesting written on this just yet. Go see SAM.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (of HHS). How Kafkaesque, Grigor. Also of interest: American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

Alas, there does not appear to be a ``SAMHSARA.''

Service-Access Multiplexer Interface.

Solar Array Manufacturing Industry Costing Standards.

Solar Array Manufacturing Industry Simulation.

South Atlantic (US) Modern Language Association.

Original name of the famous act that is now better remembered as Amos'n'Andy. Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll started broadcasting this in fifteen-minute weekday segments on the Chicago radio station WGN in 1926. The station owned the rights to the name, so they changed it when they moved on. It was blackface humor without the video. It's already possible today to enjoy the jokes Swedish-Americans and Finnish-Americans used to tell on each other, but I suspect that by the time we can all safely enjoy Amos'n'Andy again, we'll hardly be able to understand the jokes any more.

Sensitivity Analysis of Model Output. Sensitivity analysis based on model. This is really no more sensitivity analysis of the output than of the input: the sensitivity matrix is simply the matrix of partial derivatives of output with respect to input, with obvious significance for control and stability.

Stacked-Gate Avalanche-injection Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (field-effect transistor) (MOS). Cf. SIMOS.

sample issues, free
Let us send you two free issues of our wonderful magazine with ABSOLUTELY no obligation! ``No Obligation!'' After you have been sent the first wonderful issue of our wonderful magazine, you will be sent a wonderful offer to continue the subscription at a wonderful rate. You will ignore this offer, or the wonderful postal service will somehow magically fail to deliver it, and after the second issue you will receive a wonderful letter alerting you that our records show that you have not remitted payment for your one-year subscription and that you should SEND PAYMENT NOW to avoid DAMAGE TO YOUR CREDIT when we involve a COLLECTION AGENCY! Of course, if you have already sent payment you may ignore this letter, but if you believe our records are in error then you should contact us immediately. Use the phone number that is not included in the dunning letter, but which you might with some difficulty find on our website. [Information for the convenience of our customers outside the US: don't bother looking. With some exceptions, the 800 number probably doesn't work for you.]

I'm sure you'll want more. Get it from Calvin Broadus.

A representative sample of a larger set (what statisticians call the or a universe) is an unbiased sample. Journalists seek samples that are representative in another sense: they represent what the journalist wants to report. For example, my friend Louis, who works in mental health, received a call from someone at NPR who was looking for people who were unhappy with services they had received.

Of course this is unbalanced reporting, but it might not be unfair. It can be perfectly reasonable and efficient for journalists to look exclusively for the man who bites the dog. On the other hand, in a large enough universe of men, there will always be some man that bites a dog. To report an event is to imply that it is newsworthy. Hence, in that large universe, to report an instance of something that anyone could predict would be bound to happen occasionally may be understood to imply that it is happening unexpectedly frequently. That is what can make reporters' selective sampling irresponsible and dishonest.

Kurt Schlichter is a lieutenant colonel in the California National Guard. A veteran of the first Gulf war, he's now stateside and commands the 1-18th Cavalry, 462-man RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) squadron attached to the 40th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The last media representative he spoke with before I contacted him was a New York Times stringer who wanted Schlichter's help in tracking down guardsmen who were ``having trouble because they got mobilized.''
(Quote from ``The 9/11 Generation: Better than the Boomers,'' by Dean Barnett 07/30/2007, Volume 012, Issue 43 Weekly Standard cover story.)

SAMS is a major publisher of computer manuals. It isn't immediately obvious SAMS stands for. Last year I happened to pick up a copy of Computer Dictionary and Handbook, by Charles J. Sippl, published in 1966, and discovered that it stands for the last name of the publisher Howard W. Sams.

SAn Mateo (county, CA) TRANSit. Bus operator.

Japanese postfix particle that functions like Mr./Ms. Cf. -chan, -samao.

Standard Address Number[ing]. Signifies a specific address of an organization in or served by the publishing industry. R. R. Bowker offers information.

Storage Area Network.

Styrene/AcryloNitrile (plastic).

Spanish, `heals.' That's a third-person singular present-tense verb form, not a plural noun. The Spanish sana is also the feminine form of the adjective meaning `hale, sound.' (Male form sano. For too much more about that, see the são entry.)

Syrian Arab News Agency. In French, that's ``L'Agence arabe syrienne d'informations / SANA.''

Once (from 1918) the capital of North Yemen (the Yemen Arab Republic from 1962, though there was a royalist insurgency for years afterwards), now (since 1990) the capital of the Republic of Yemen. There's a bit about the pronunciation of the name in the aa entry.

Spanish, `you heal.' (Not `you heel!'!)

Swiss Association for North-American Studies. (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Nordamerika-Studien.) SANAS is a constituent association of the EAAS; cf. AISNA.

I'd like to add that, refreshingly for a Swiss organization, they don't force you to read everything three or four times (in German, French, Italian, and maybe Swiss German or Romansch). The first time I visited, the default German webpages also had French Doppelgänger (in a folder named frz, presumably for französisch). When I checked again (2006) they'd come up with an even more clever idea: ``All SANAS information is in English.'' Except for scattered titles and links like Nouvelles and züruck. I trust the scholars of Mexico, Quebec, and the Navaho Reservation are up in arms.

One of those treasured self-contradicting words. The word contranym has been coined for the class of words that have at least one pair of senses that are contradictory, but the word has so far (writing in Summer 2004) not been widely accepted. Part of the problem is that contra- is a Latin root and -nym is Greek, so the compound isn't kosher.

To sanction a practice, situation, or event is to approve it officially or formally, while to sanction a country (more often ``to impose sanctions'') is to disapprove using similar authority, typically with the institution of formal impediments. (Trade sanctions are in the news.)

Sanguine, meaning both sanguinary and healthy, is similar to these. In this case as in that of sanction, the usage of the word in its different senses tends to take different forms or have different collocations.

Of course, you knew all this. You may not have been aware that to table has opposite meanings in US and Commonwealth parliamentary usage: In Canada (.ca), a law to be taken up for discussion is tabled -- one imagines the bill placed upon a table for examination. In the US, when discussion of a bill under consideration is to be suspended, the bill is also tabled -- one imagines a bill that was being read to be put down on a table for possible future consideration.

Semiconductor All-optical Nonlinear Dichroic (optical switch). [See I. Gontijo, D. T. Neilson, J. E. Ehrlich, A. C. Walker, G. T. Kennedy, and W. Sibbett, Appl. Phys. Lett. 66, 1871 (1995).]

Although New Rome, Ohio, got all the bad press as a speed trap, it's really I-80/90 in Sandusky County, Ohio, that has the really aggressive policing. Sandusky is pronounced with stress on the second syllable, and a shwa vowel in the first: ``sun DUSS key.''

I'm not exactly sure this was an acronym. It was originally created in 1957 by Norman Cousins, editor of the late great Saturday Review, under the name National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, with the stated goal of promoting causes such as disarmament in general. The group published some NYTimes advertisements and grew from the publicity. In 1959, SANE staged its first demonstrations, culminating in a rally of 20,000 in New York City in 1990.

Benjamin Spock, the author, eventually became chairman of the national board, which changed its name to SANE, A Citizens' Organization for a Sane World. The group eventually split over an internal rule excluding members of the Communist Party from also being members of SANE. The Spock faction was against the rule; the Cousins faction in favor. The Spock faction won and the group became marginalized.

Norman Thomas was another prominent member.

Sexual-Assault Nurse-Examiner. It's usually written without hyphens, presumably to designate the person who examines assault nurses who are sexual.

Society of Americans for National Existence.

This will give you an idea:

Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Laura Ingraham are all Great Americans but they are each, individually and collectively, participating in the destruction of our national political discourse and national existence simply. I make this statement with all due care and regard because each of these media pundits has achieved noteworthy and important attention and audience from a large segment of average Americans. Just a few short years ago, prior to Limbaugh's breakthrough radio program and the subsequent appearance and explosive growth of conservative weblogs, these same Americans were subjected to a steady diet of a monopolized media-generated and media-dominated liberalism. The media-drumbeat in America, and the West generally, advocating directly or indirectly for a Liberal-Progressive World State, has been and continues to be supported by a university-trained Elite corps of ``professorial intellectuals'' and ``experts.'' These Elites in turn very often end up in diplomatic, bureaucratic, and technocratic positions throughout government at all levels, further exacerbating the problem of the Liberal bias in America. Granted, without the Limbaugh and Hannity voices, Dan Rather would still be anchoring CBS; but without the Limbaugh and Hannity rhetorical seduction, Americans would see the danger of the World State as very much imbedded in the discourse of democracy, which is simply another name for the Open Society.

Maybe I should have started with this: ``The far more dangerous Liberal bias is found today throughout the Democratic Party and in the far left advocates of the anti-America crowd as well as the moderate to conservative wings of the Republican Party and even on conservative talk radio.''

Selective ActiNide EXtraction.

  1. The ability to stay calm in a crisis or catastrophe: self-possession, imperturbability.
  2. A demonstration of this ability: equanimity.

From the French sang-froid, `cold blood.'

Sangfroid is a notch above stoicism: you have to be not so much resigned as purposely functional. Also, strictly speaking, sangfroid requires the ability to stay cool through the heat of one's own disaster. It's no trick to be philosophical about other people's tsuris (cf. Schadenfreude).

Sangro de Cristos
Today I read this name over a picture of a mountain in a brochure. (Today as I write this. Not today as you read this. It's not my fault if you procrastinate.) Thumbing my nose at the great danger that I may be judged anal-retentive or worse -- a lover of language -- I venture to observe that this name means `I bleed from christs.' Sangre de Cristo, in the same language, means `Blood of Christ.' It's a mountain range in a part of old Mexico called Texas.

French, `without.'

Scale for the Assessment of Negative (psychiatric) Symptoms. Usually administered together with SAPS. Comparable to BPRS.

Small-Angle Neutron Scattering.

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

Santa Claus Lane
Crosses US-101 south of Santa Barbara.

Can you believe it?! I don't have a Santa Claus entry! Until I can devise a permanent fix for this problem, please visit the (provisional) Moore entry.

Portuguese: `Saint.' The female form of the title is . São arose as an abbreviation of Santo, and is now the form regularly used preceding a consonant. Hence São Francisco, São João (that's `Joseph'), São Lucas, São Paulo, São Pedro, but Santo Antônio, Santo Agostinho, Santo Inácio. With a period, são. is an abbreviation of the general santo (`saintly, sainted, pious, holy, devout, blessed'). Interestingly, the expression santo de pau ôo means `holy terror' (said of children, of course) as well as `pious hypocrite.' Literally, the expression means something like `holy [one] of the hollow stick.' (The main impediment to an accurate literal translation is the range of meanings of pau, which like its Spanish cognate palo may best be translated `stick, pole, club, wood [material]' in the most common contexts, but has various other acceptions. In fact, this is such a deep subject it will get its own entry. Eventually.)

Please now pop about three levels off the digression stack.

Because the nasalization of the vowel is difficult to distinguish from a straightforward nasal consonant (and presumably because of aphesis of the final o), o dicionário de Morais (formally Grande Dicionário da Língua Portugesa, 10/e 1949) finds it necessary to warn against the sam and san misspellings of this common word.

Portuguese: `well, healthy, hale.' The female form of the adjective is . The expression são e salvo corresponds to `safe and sound' (though inverted in order). The word são and its cognates in western Romance languages (at least in Italian, French, Spanish Catalan, and Galician, which I can readily check), all mean `healthy,' more or less, as does the Latin etymon sanus. There is no restriction to mental health.

On the other hand, the Latin insanus was restricted to mental ill health. This carried over only incompletely to Romance. In Portuguese, insânia and insanidade mean `insanity,' and insano means `insane.' This is the general pattern, certainly for Galician, Catalan, and French. In Spanish too, insania is `insanity,' but insano is `unhealthy' (more specifically, `deleterious to health'). Wait, wait! It's not just Spanish. Italian has settled into the standard pattern, but insàno once also had the sense of `ill, sick.' Anyway, I was trying to make the case that somehow the influence of insanus in Romance was relatively weak, but it's a weak case. Be that as it may, in English, apparently under the influence of the restricted semantic field of insane, the word sane also came to be restricted, referring now only to mental health. Of course, English can afford to be profligate, having other words to cover other portions of the sanus semantic field. For one there's sound, cognate with Dutch gezond, German gesund, and Yiddish gezint. The ge- (written with a yogh in Old English) became a vowel in Middle English (isund, ysonde), at the same time that the aphetic form (ultimately spelled sound) became increasingly common. [A similar process was sometimes arrested before the initial vowel was lost, hence German genug is cognate with enough.]

The convergence of são and São in Portuguese, cognates with sano and San in Spanish, is reminiscent of a similar situation in German and English. The English words hail [the verb], hale, heal, healthy, and whole are all derived from a common source of related words. These may originally have had a principal sense of `healthy' or of `whole' with a connotation of impregnable (think of ``physical integrity''). Through either of these senses the words might have become associated with deity either before or at the beginning of Christian proselytization. Anyway, German has a similar constellation of words, and as it ended up, the noun Heil has among its senses both `salvation' in the religious sense and `well-being.' (As you probably know if you've seen a WWII movie or two, Heil is used as a salutation also, parallel to English ``Hail!'' or Latin ``Salve!'')

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Student Activities Office. The activities they have in mind don't include studying or what you thought of next. Actually, ``activities'' as understood here are entertainments better described as ``inactivities.''

Structured Audio Orchestra Language. Pronounced ``sail.''

Service Access Point.

Service Advertising Protocol. A Novell NetWare protocol.

Simple Asynchronous Protocol.

Society for Applied Philosophy. The usual travesty.

Statement of Administration Policy. I've seen this acronym used in reference to a document laying out a US government policy. It's probably best not to call this an explanation of administrative policy.

Strong Anthropic Principle. See Martin Gardner: ``WAP, SAP, FAP, and PAP,'' New York Review of Books, May 8, 1987.

Sustainable Agricultural Practices.

Symbolic Assembler Program. Assembly language for the IBM 704.

Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung. German: `Systems, Applications, & Products in Data Processing. The name of an ERP software product and of the company that produces it -- SAP AG.

As of early 2002, familiarity with SAP and the ability to install it (which includes extracting data from legacy-system records) is one of the dearest (i.e., highest-paid common skills in the IT field.

Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association.

Society of Army Physician Assistants. A constituent chapter of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

South African Press Agency.

Service Access Point (SAP) Identifier.

Small-Arms Protective Insert[s]. SAPI plates are a kind of reinforcement for flak vests.

Speech Application Programming Interface.

Streamlined Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller. An advanced APIC 64-bit systems based on an Intel architecture.

Nonterminal p-sounds are aspirated by English-speakers. The pi-phi letter combination that is represented ``pph'' in the English word Sapphic (designating, for example, the eponymous style of poetry) was originally also an aspirated p sound. The eff sound represents a corruption in languages that don't observe the aspirated/unaspirated distinction. A similar thing happened with the Hebrew pe (which used a dot to indicate lack of aspiration). Interestingly, with the beyt (which became beta in Greek), aspiration was transformed into a difference in articulation -- the undotted beyt (i.e., aspirated; what is written ``bh'' in transliteraton of, say, a Hindi or Sanskrit word like Mahabharata) is now pronounced with a vee sound. Note that in Hebrew, the b/v distinction is not phonemic except in foreign words that have not been integrated into the language: context determines which allophone occurs. Greek beta is now pronounced vita. So it goes. In Arabic, the b/p distinction of the original Semitic alphabet is absent. (That's discussed in one or two other places in this glossary. If you haven't seen it already, keep reading; it's bound to appear eventually.)

Southern (US) Association of Pre-Law Advisors. Similar organizations are listed at the SWAPLA entry, because SWAPLA is a risible name.

Société américaine pour la philosophie dans la langue française. `American Society for Philosophy in the French Language.' This putative organization has such a low profile on the internet that I suspect the name is misremembered; I've only seen the acronym SAPLF and the English name in a posting to a philosophy mailing list.

SAPLF publishes a Bulletin, and in 2003 a special issue of the Bulletin was published (volume XII, no. 1, 206 pp., two languages, USD 15 incl. domestic postage), ``devoted to the work of Simone de Beauvoir - a late contribution to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Le deuxième sexe.'' The table of contents lists one article entitled ``Pourquoi reparler de Simone de Beauvoir.'' My sentiments precisely. They don't actually come out and say it directly, but I infer that they regard Beauvoir as a philosopher. It's not a problem for me, but this kind of thinking could have consequences.

If you think of a college as being divided into different departments in the same way as a hospital is divided into wards, then SAPLF, with or without surviving in-patients, would be something like an intensive care unit.

For another acronym ending in LF, see INaLF. You know, if the French language were simply eliminated, that would free up a lot of acronyms to be retasked for more pressing purposes. Especially in Canada (to say nothing of Europe).

Spanish, `toad.' The p is aspirated, so the pronunciation of this word is probably not very different from the original Greek pronunciation of Sappho, famous love poet of Lesbos and hence in at least one sense a Lesbian. The fragmentary nature of what has survived of Sappho's poetry, and the little we know of her life, leave some question whether she was also what we call a lesbian, but for the unscholarly, uncertainty is no reason to doubt. (Perhaps I should add that ``scholar'' is not defined by institutional affiliation, but by temperament and behavior.)

Arnold Lobel created a series of children's picture books about two pals named Frog and Toad. From their clothes, it is clear that Frog and Toad are both male. (Lobel died of AIDS in 1987, age 54, so there was some talk. You probably want to know: he was survived by his wife, also an illustrator, and their two adult children.) The characters' names presented the Spanish translator, Pablo Lizcano, with a gender problem. All Spanish nouns have grammatical gender, but for most animals, and especially for wild animals, there is a single noun, with a single grammatical gender, for each animal regardless of the number of natural genders that animal exhibits. ``Frog and Toad'' in Spanish is ``Rana y Sapo,'' and while sapo is male, rana is a female noun. Lizcano's solution was to invent the name Sepo, which by the usual rule is male. Quite unnecessarily, it seems, the character named Frog in English (and who somewhat more closely resembles a frog than a toad) has been given the name Sapo (`Toad,' remember?).

Unless, until, and probably even if I write a Matt Groening entry, this here will be the place to mention the Akbar and Jeff thing. They are the principal characters of Groening's ``Life In Hell.'' Here's a snippet of an interview he did for Flux Magazine in 1995:

Flux: let's talk about your `Life In Hell' comic strip. Point blank: are Akbar and Jeff gay?

Groening: Here's my standard reply: Akbar and Jeff are either brothers or lovers--or both. Whatever offends you most, that's what they are. [pause] Yeah, of course they're gay! Big commercial mistake on my part, by the way. A big brewery approached me wanting to have Akbar and Jeff promote their beer. ...

It seems I don't mention it elsewhere, so I'll mention here that translating the lyrics of (appropriately) Madonna's ``La Isla Bonita'' (`the pretty island') poses a gender difficulty also. As I heard it, she whispers the line ``Me dijo que te quiere.'' An accurate literal translation of this would be `He or she told me that he or she wants you [or that he or she loves you, or that you are dear to him or her].' The gender of the third person (he or she) is uncertain -- from that sentence at least. To be honest, not one web page I can find agrees with my recollection of the lyric, and over a thousand web pages disagree with me and claim that the song contains the at-best stilted line ``Te dijo te amo'' (`He or she said to you I love you'). (The Spanish is stilted. The English is less stilted, probably because the Spanish is really gringo. At least a thousand include the merely unusual ``El dijo que te ama'' (`He [or almost It was he that] said that he loves you'). As Gary and I and some graduate students drove to a conference many years ago, I replayed that bit about twenty times in my earphone. I really think that everybody else on the web is relying directly or indirectly on liner notes that may correspond to only one or some of the versions released. Gary says he'll look for the cassette.

The chemical reaction that makes soap. It's pretty straightforward: you combine an alkali base -- potassium or sodium hydroxide -- with fat. Sodium hydroxide is lye. Someday this dangerous toxic substance will be subject to strict government controls in order that each year a few idiots won't kill themselves by accidentally ingesting it. For now, however, it continues to perform the good work of natural selection, and is available at the store for other purposes, like unstopping your drain. The main alternative to lye is potassium hydroxide (KOH). Pure KOH makes liquid soap; 10% KOH (by molarity, not molality: the reaction is stoichiometric) gives a significantly softer soap than pure NaOH. If you don't have access to lye, you can get NaOH from soda ash and KOH from pot ash. As noted in the K (potassium chemical symbol) entry, pot ash has such a characteristically high potassium content that it is in fact the origin of the word potassium.

Fat is glycerine esterized with a fatty acid at each of its three hydroxyl (OH) groups, and saponification is an ester-to-salt reaction -- something like a strong-base-to-weak-base reaction, where the fatty acid form organic salts with the alkali ions.

Fat for soap comes as a byproduct of meat production. Where exactly the fat is diverted for soap production is a matter of practical economics. Nowadays slaughterhouses divert a fraction of their production. In my grandparents' day, excess fat could be gotten from butchers. Further back, people would trim fat when they carved up their own animals. If you didn't have fat you didn't have soap, and you used an alternative (see QS and almond powder entries). I suppose that in lean years, people went dirty as well as hungry.

See the hard water entry for how soap works or doesn't. It will be clear from that entry that one wants to use soft water for soap production. In the old days, when people normally made their own soap, reverse osmosis and demineralized water were not available. You don't need much water to make soap, so distilling was practical enough (if you already had the still for other purposes), but so was rainwater and some well water.

A quite good soap-making site is part of the Old Timer Page.

The actual process of soap-making can get involved when you consider fragrance (see EO and FO) and color. A central constraint is that fat and lye don't diffuse very well in soap, so the last bit of saponification takes a long time. This can be mitigated by mechanical mixing (blending, stirring) and by using emulsifying agents (like DPG). In the end, soap made with only the minimum ingredients tends to remain harshly basic (pH about 9) from unreacted lye. Mild acids may be used to neutralize the soap, but strong acids just drive the saponification reaction backwards. Some fat may be added late in the process. This is intended not to saponify, but to soften the soap. (You might ask why not just use excess fat from the start. The answer is mostly that by adding fat late, you can use nicer but more expensive oils -- particularly vegetable oils with desirable anti-microbial properties -- without having those oils wasted by being converted to soap with the rest of the oils.)

See also the 99.44 entry.

An engineer for the military.

In semiconductor usage, this is corundum (alpha-alumina, rhombic form of Al2O3), a colorless crystal. In common usage, different terms are used for different forms of gem-quality corundum, which can be red (``ruby'') or a range of other hues (esp. for blue: usual use of term ``sapphire'').

I don't know what the first pee is doing there, since it's not pronounced.

Scale for the Assessment of Positive (psychiatric) Symptoms. Usually administered together with SANS. SANS and SAPS were developed by Andreasen.

South Atlantic Quarterly. Published at Duke University.

Search And Rescue.

``Headquarters Air Combat Command (ACC), through the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC), is the single federal agency responsible for coordinating search and rescue activities in the continental United States. [Hawaii and Alaska -- you're on your own.] It also provides search and rescue assistance to Canada and Mexico. Besides coordinating actual SAR missions, the AFRCC is active in formulating SAR agreements, plans and policy for the continental United States.''

Segmentation And Reassembly. Sounds like divide-and-conquer. Part of getting data through ATM. See AAL.

Significant-Activity Report.

Sons of the American Revolution.

Special Administrative Region. A bubble of circumspect freedom around Hong Kong. Macao is also an SAR. I don't know if there are any others.

Specific Absorption Rate.

Start-Action Request.

Structure-Activity Relationship[s]. The relationship between the chemical structure of a molecule and the odor it induces. Cf. QSAR, SFR.

Student Aid Report. For explanation, see FAFSA.

A high school pal of mine explained the formula for determining the expected annual family contribution: one quarter of the value of the family home. Of course, that was many years ago, before the big eighties inflation in college costs. That outstripped residential-property appreciation, so the formula must be different.

Successive Approximation Register. Part of A-to-D converter.

Synthetic Aperture Radar.

(New York) State Archives and Records Administration.

Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act.

Sarbanes-Oxley. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Public Law No. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745), also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002. A/k/a SOX.

South Asian Regional Cooperation. Launched in New Delhi in August 1983. It failed because its name was an abstract compound noun describing what they wanted to achieve instead of what they were, so it was replaced by SAARC.

Segmentation And Reassembly Element.

{ Spectral Analysis of | Spectrally Analyzed } Resistance Fluctuations. See A. Diligenti, P. E. Bagnoli, B. Neri, S. Bea and L. Mantellassi: ``A Study of Electromigration in Aluminum and Aluminum-Silicon Thin-Film Resistors Using Noise Technique,'' Solid State Electronics, vol. 32 (#1), pp. 11-16 (1989), Bruno Neri, Alessandro Diligenti and Paolo Emilio Bagnoli, ``Electromigration and Low-Frequency Resistance Fluctuations in Aluminum Thin-Film Interconnections,'' IEEE Transactions in Electron Devices, vol. ED-34 (#11), pp. 2317-2321 (1987).

Solvent Abuse Resource Group.

Secretaría de Agricultura y Recursos Hidráulicos. The Mexican government's erstwhile `Secretariat of Agriculture and Water Resources.' All I plan to find out about it for the time being is what can be gleaned at IMTA entry.

French: Société à responsabilité limitée, `Limited liability company.' Corresponds to Spanish SRL.

A gulf opening into the Aegeaen Sea, between Attica and the Peloponnesus east of Corinth. The Corinthian strait, now a canal, connects the Saronic gulf with the Gulf of Corinth.

The book Athens, by Christian Meier, begins with the story of the evacuation of Athens in 480 BCE (ahead of advancing Persian troops, delayed heroically at Thermopylae by a small Spartan rear guard under the command of Leonidas). The Athenians retreated from Attica across the water to Salamis. The maps on the inside front and back covers label this body of water the Sardonic Gulf.

Segmentation And Reassembly (SAR) - Protocol Data Unit (i.e. Packet: PDU).

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. A severe pneumonia that emerged in Hong Kong in early 2003. Visit WHO's pages for Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response (CSR) and CDC pages on SARS.

For those who prefer not to contract SARS, as well as for those who would like to attempt suicide by contracting it and spending an unpleasant final week or two on a respirator, a useful piece of information is the incubation period. That is, the time people remain asymptomatic after infection. The incubation period is typically about a week, but has been as long as two weeks in some cases. (In many cases it's impossible to say precisely, since the particular chain of transmission, or at least the moment of infection, is unknown.) So if you want to catch SARS from people who don't seem to have the disease, your best bet is to hang out with people who may have come in contact with the virus in the past week or so. Visit the Middle Kingdom.

This new disease, which flared in Hong Kong in March 2003, was eventually recognized to be the same as the disease that had affected many hundreds of people in neighboring Guangzhou (what we all used to call Canton, and what is also called Guangdong) province of southern China since the previous November. In Guangzhou, and later elsewhere in China, the severity of the outbreak has been repeatedly masked by government censorship, or more precisely by a culture of secrecy and dishonesty.

The largest initial concentration of victims outside Guangzhou province has been in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, SARS is not called SARS but ``atypical pneumonia.'' BusinessWeek correspondent Bruce Einhorn and others have suggested that the SARS name is avoided because of the similarity to SAR, the technical designation of Hong Kong in terms of its political status. Then again, in Guangzhou, it is also called (the Chinese for) `atypical pneumonia,' which is a reasonable alternative to a not-very-Chinese-pronounceable Roman-character acronym. For more on the acronym, see the next SARS entry. Have a look at the ARS entry as well.

In French, SARS is called syndrome respiratoire aigu sévère as well as pneumopathie atypique. In German it is Schweres Akutes Respiratorisches Syndrom. In Italian, Sindrome Acuta Respiratoria Severa.

Even though you came here to find out about SARS as quickly as possible, you find your attention wandering, and you ask yourself whether ``there could be an etymological connection between the German word schwer and the Latin word severus.'' Semantically, it seems not unreasonable: the German word means `heavy' or `difficult' and the sense can be stretched comfortably to overlap that of the English word severe. The Latin word severus, of course, has meanings close to the English and French terms derived from it. (The English verb sever, OTOH, has a separate Latin etymology.) Coincidentally, I got to wondering the same thing myself, so I hopped on the forklift and went to pull Pokorny off the shelf. Julius Pokorny's book Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch [English: `Big book of wild-ass guesses'] lists both words, and lists them as coming from distinct (but partly homophonic) Indoeuropean roots. One root (Pokorny p. 1151) is [conjectured to have occurred as] *uer- and *suer-, and had meanings related to `balancing,' hence schwer, `heavy.' The Latin word came from a distinct root (p. 1165) that took forms *uer- and *uer<shwa> meaning `[demonstrating] friendliness.' (Why don't we have a word like that?) This led to words meaning `true' and to the negated form se-verus, `without friendliness.' If you want to defend the claim that linguistics is a science, one of your stronger pieces of evidence is the fact that the conclusions seem ridiculous.

In other SARS-related language news, on April 25, 2003, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines named her Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit SARS Czar. Why didn't dubya think of that? (Uh, thank you, that suggestion has already been submitted.) Dayrit was given sweeping powers, including the authority to call upon the Armed Forces, the police and other government agencies to compel public compliance and order quarantine, and the power to order the examination of incoming and outgoing vessels and to suspend classes or close schools to prevent the spread of the disease.

In a speech the following May 15, however, President Aroyo was already saying ``[i]lan ba ang biktima ng SARS sa Pilipinas, 10 [actually 12; she was unaware of two newly confirmed cases], ibaba pa sa walo dahil yung dalawa na merong pinadala ang blood test sa Hapon, pagbalik negative pala. Walo ang nagkaroon ng SARS at dalawa ang namatay.'' I felt that you'd prefer to read it in her own words. The English-language publication BusinessWorld felt the same way (``Asian meet held to save SARS-hit travel sector,'' p. 12 of the 16 May 2003 edition).

Another early adopter was Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). chairman Morris Chang named deputy chief executive Tseng Fan-chen the company's ``SARS Czar.'' (In Britain there's been talk of question whether a SARS Tsar should be named.)

Data from national health authorities are tabulated daily except Sundays by WHO. Initially, the only explicit indication of freshness of the data was release time, usually a specific hour around 15:00 GMT+1. After April 16, 2003, the tabulations have indicated the date of the latest update for each nation's or region's data.

Under a variety of conditions -- i.e., in a variety of theoretical models -- the numbers of cases and deaths increase exponentially (equivalently, the logarithms of these numbers increase linearly in time) until a substantial fraction of the susceptible population has been exposed. Changes in behavior, treatment, quarantine, or other policy, if effective, should be detectable by a change in the doubling time of either of these numbers. All other things being equal, cumulated statistics should minimize the fractional error due to statistical fluctuations and allow those changes to be detected most clearly. Of course, all things are not equal. In particular, data from the PRC have been inaccurate (falsified at various levels) and have not been timely. Also, the US data have been suspect in a different way. The CDC and WHO case definitions do not correspond precisely, so in its cumulative reports WHO initially treated ``suspect cases under investigation'' from the US as comparable to ``probable cases'' elsewhere. By the WHO report of April 19, this had led to the following anomaly: the US had 220 reported cases, the third-largest number among countries or regions reporting, and no reported deaths. The next three countries were Singapore, Canada, and Viet Nam, with 177, 132, and 63 cases, and 16, 12, and 5 deaths respectively. The next week, CDC physicians stopped uttering inanities like ``we've just been incredibly lucky'' and started reporting probable cases.

The following table gives the cumulative number of cases and deaths as tabulated by WHO. Certain subtotals extracted from WHO's (I had to write that) official reports are given in parenthesis: when numbers appear in a format #1 (#2, #3), #1 is worldwide, #2 excludes all of the PRC other than Hong Kong, and #3 excludes all of the PRC. Furthermore, because I can't find probable-case numbers for the US from the early period, and because the numbers were relatively small, I have recomputed the earlier numbers by excluding the originally reported ``suspected'' numbers and assuming the number of ``probable'' cases was negligible (zero).

Date Total cases log10 of Total cases Total deaths log10 of Total deaths
2003.05.12 7447 (2434, 751) 3.87 (3.39, 2.88) 552 (300, 82) 2.74 (2.46, 1.90)
Sunday, 2003.05.11 no official report
2003.05.10 7296 (2412, 738) 3.86 (3.38, 2.87) 526 (291, 79) 2.72 (2.46, 1.90)
2003.05.09 7183 (2378, 711) 3.86 (3.38, 2.85) 514 (284, 74) 2.71 (2.45, 1.87)
2003.05.08 7053 (2355, 694) 3.85 (3.37, 2.84) 506 (282, 74) 2.70 (2.45, 1.87)
2003.05.07 6903 (2343, 689) 3.84 (3.37, 2.84) 495 (276, 72) 2.69 (2.44, 1.86)
2003.05.06 6727 (2318, 672) 3.83 (3.37, 2.83) 478 (264, 71) 2.68 (2.42, 1.85)
2003.05.05 6583 (2303, 666) 3.82 (3.36, 2.82) 461 (255, 68) 2.66 (2.41, 1.83)
Sunday, 2003.05.04 no official report
2003.05.03 6234 (2263, 642) 3.79 (3.35, 2.81) 435 (245, 66) 2.64 (2.39, 1.82)
2003.05.02 6054 (2255, 644) 3.78 (3.35, 2.81) 417 (236, 66) 2.62 (2.37, 1.82)
2003.05.01 5865 (2227, 627) 3.77 (3.35, 2.80) 391 (221, 59) 2.59 (2.34, 1.77)
2003.04.30 5663 (2203, 614) 3.74 (3.33, 2.77) 372 (213, 56) 2.57 (2.33, 1.75)
2003.04.29 5462 (2159, 587) 3.74 (3.33, 2.77) 353 (205, 55) 2.55 (2.31, 1.74)
2003.04.28 5050 (2136, 579) 3.70 (3.33, 2.76) 321 (190, 52) 2.51 (2.28, 1.72)
Sunday, 2003.04.27 no official report
2003.04.26 4836 (2083, 556) 3.68 (3.32, 2.75) 293 (171, 50) 2.47 (2.23, 1.7)
2003.04.25 4649 (2048, 538) 3.67 (3.31, 2.73) 274 (159, 44) 2.44 (2.20, 1.6)
2003.04.24 4493 (2017, 529) 3.65 (3.30, 2.72) 263 (153, 44) 2.42 (2.18, 1.6)
2003.04.23 4288 (1983, 525) 3.63 (3.30, 2.72) 251 (145, 40) 2.40 (2.16, 1.6)
2003.04.22 3947 (1946, 512) 3.60 (3.30, 2.71) 229 (137, 38) 2.36 (2.14, 1.6)
2003.04.21 3861 (1902, 500) 3.59 (3.28, 2.70) 217 (131, 37) 2.34 (2.12, 1.6)
Sunday, 2003.04.20 no official report; US data included above (later than) this date
2003.04.19 3327 (1815, 457) 3.52 (3.26, 2.66) 182 (117, 36) 2.26 (2.07, 1.6)
2003.04.18 3253 (1771, 444) 3.51 (3.25, 2.65) 170 (105, 36) 2.23 (2.02, 1.6)
2003.04.17 3190 (1733, 436) 3.50 (3.24, 2.64) 165 (100, 35) 2.22 (2.00, 1.5)
2003.04.16 3100 (1668, 400) 3.49 (3.22, 2.60) 159 (95, 34) 2.20 (1.98, 1.5)
2003.04.15 3042 (1624, 392) 3.48 (3.21, 2.59) 154 (90, 34) 2.19 (1.95, 1.5)
2003.04.14 2995 (1577, 387) 3.48 (3.20, 2.59) 144 (80, 33) 2.16 (1.90, 1.5)
Sunday, 2003.04.13 no official report
2003.04.12 2794 (1485, 377) 3.45 (3.17, 2.58) 119 (61, 26) 2.08 (1.79, 1.4)
2003.04.11 2724 (1415, 356) 3.44 (3.15, 2.55) 116 (58, 26) 2.06 (1.76, 1.4)
2003.04.10 2627 (1337, 339) 3.42 (3.13, 2.53) 111 (56, 26) 2.05 (1.75, 1.4)
2003.04.09 2573 (1293, 323) 3.41 (3.11, 2.51) 106 (53, 26) 2.03 (1.72, 1.4)
2003.04.08 2523 (1244, 316) 3.40 (3.09, 2.50) 103 (50, 25) 2.01 (1.70, 1.4)
2003.04.07 2460 (1192, 309) 3.39 (3.08, 2.49) 98 (45, 22) 1.99 (1.7, 1.3)
Sunday, 2003.04.06 no official report
2003.04.05 2301 (1081, 281) 3.36 (3.03, 2.45) 89 (40, 20) 1.95 (1.6, 1.3)
2003.04.04 2253 (1033, 272) 3.35 (3.01, 2.43) 84 (35, 18) 1.92 (1.5, 1.3)
2003.04.03 2185 (995, 261) 3.34 (3.00, 2.42) 79 (33, 16) 1.90 (1.5, 1.2)
2003.04.02 2151 (961, 253) 3.33 (2.98, 2.40) 78 (32, 16) 1.89 (1.5, 1.2)
2003.04.01 1735 (929, 244) 3.24 (2.97, 2.39) 62 (28, 12) 1.79 (1.4, 1.1)
2003.03.31 1563 (757, 227) 3.19 (2.88, 2.36) 59 (25, 12) 1.77 (1.4, 1.1)
Sunday, 2003.03.30 no official report
2003.03.29 1491 (685, 215) 3.17 (2.84, 2.33) 54 (20, 10) 1.73 (1.3, 1.0)
2003.03.28 1434 (628, 203) 3.16 (2.80, 2.31) 53 (19, 9) 1.72 (1.3, 1.0)
2003.03.27 1363 (557, 190) 3.13 (2.75, 2.28) 53 (19, 9) 1.72 (1.3, 1.0)
2003.03.26 1283 (491, 175) 3.11 (2.69, 2.24) 49 (18, 8) 1.69 (1.3, 0.9)

WHO SARS alerts, advisories, and situation updates:
May: #51, #50, #49, #48, #47, #46, #45, #44.
April: #43, #42, #41, #40, #39, #38, #37, #36, #35, #34, #33, #32, #31, #30, #29, #28, #27, #26, #25, #24, #23, #22, #21, #20, #19, #18, #17, #16.
March: #15 (alt. vers. of #15), #14, #13, #12, #11, #10, #9, #8, #7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, Update #1, first travel advisory, first alert.

South African Revenue Service. ``Revenue Service'' -- like they're doing you a favor. Where've I seen that phrase before?

Here's a flash from April 2005: ``The South African Revenue Service (SARS) today launched its most innovative taxpayer education approach to date -- a fictional cartoon character, Khanyisile Khumalo, conceptualised to be an effective and personalised communication tool in its drive for sustainable taxpayer education.'' I'm so excited! Khanyisile, meet Microsoft Bob.

Although South Africa has eleven official languages, most tax forms on line appear to be available only in English. That seems enormously unfair. Why do they only tax English-speakers? The forms for filing an objection or an appeal are available in separate English and Afrikaans versions. The estate tax and retirement fund tax forms, and forms related to trusts and directives, are the majority of bilingual (English and Afrikaans) forms available on line. Hmm.

For tax information in Afrikaans, a good bet would be to google on "Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens" (SAID). The name is apparently Uphiko Iwezimali Ezingenayo eNingizumu Afrika in Zulu and Tirelomatlotlo ya Afrika-Borwa in Tswana, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of online tax help in those languages.

Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome. This is not the official name of any known disease. It's an indefensible mistaken version of the SARS acronym for a major new disease first detected in 2002. The first ess in SARS stands for severe, not sudden. If you had any sense and had followed the acute link when you were reading the previous entry, I wouldn't be having to explain this.

Acute, in medical usage, implies sudden onset. The onset of anything implies some degree of severity, so the word acute is sometimes used loosely to mean severe. In my experience, however, physicians are pretty consistent in keeping to precise usage: acute is distinguished from chronic, and severe is distinguished from mild. To have called a disease ``sudden acute foo'' would have been redundant.

Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.

Standards And Routes TO Registration. A document issued by the (British) Engineering Council. Guidelines for how the professional bodies such as IEE should determine accreditation rules for post-secondary programs (Br. ``degree courses''). I imagine that the SARTOR guidelines tell those professional bodies what to wear.

I probably wouldn't have put this entry in but for the resonance with the completely unrelated SATOR.

Standard American Edition, Revised Version (of the Bible). Also called the American Standard Version (ASV). First published in 1901. This was the American edition of the British Revised Version (N. T. in 1881, O. T. in 1885), which was in turn based on the KJV (1611), which was in turn based on the Geneva Bible and the Coverdale Bible, which were in turn enormously indebted to the Tyndale Bible (WTT).

In detail, what happened was that a group was put together in Cambridge, UK, to create a new Authorized Version for the Church of England, to succeed the earlier Authorized Version (the KJV), with more modern English expression and revised understanding based on research and creative speculation in the intervening nearly three centuries. They were eventually joined by an American Revision Committee, but it was agreed that the Episcopal Church in America would not authorize any other edition for fourteen years after the work was completed. In return, the Americans got an appendix listing their demurrers at the end.

The English group disbanded after finishing its work in 1885. The American Revision Committee officially began work to issue an American edition in 1897. (This reminds me of presumptive 1984 Democratic Presidential candidate Fritz Mondale insisting that he had not yet begun to think about whom he might consider as a running mate.) The American committee finally wrapped up in 1901.

Work on an updating of the SARV began in 1959, and was able to take advantage of some of the earlier work on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and work on cognate Semitic languages. (For an example of how the latter can be useful, see the the entry for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.) The revision of the revision was published in 1977 as the New American Standard Version (NAS). I love that word standard. Many other Bible versions are based on the SARV.

S. Abraham & Sons, Inc.. Look, I just see the trucks on the road, I don't know nuthin', here's a business profile from Yahoo. Founded in 1927 by Sleyman Abraham, and still in the family.

Scandinavian Airlines System. Pronounced as an acronym (one-syllable ``Sas''), at least in Oslo.

SAS code-shares with Cimber Air, a regional carrier. (We took a large propeller airplane from Copenhagen to Wroclaw.) They pronounce Cimber with a hard cee, like ``KIM-bur.''

The School of Advanced Studies of the University of London. The SAS has a bunch of institutes, such as the IHR (historical research) and the ISA (studies of the Americas).

Semester At Sea. It sounds like the Semester Before Dropping Out, but it's actually an educational cruise operated by the Institute for Shipboard Education in partnership with a university (currently the UVA) that hires the faculty as visiting lecturers and grants academic credit to students.

Side-Angle-Side. The theorem that if two triangles have two corresponding sides of equal length and the angles between those sides have equal measure, then the triangles are congruent. Cf. SSS and AAS.

Special Air Service. ``Britain's famous commando force,'' says Mark.

It sounds like Air Mail Special Delivery to me (it probably is sometimes). The British Post Office used to manufacture lasers. The persistence of original names of British delivery organizations leads to confusion.

Surplus Asset Sales Company, Inc.

Syracuse Astronomical Society. ``Amateur Astronomy in Central New York.''

State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. A PRC government body that does annual performance evaluations on China's State-Owned Enterprises (179 in 2004, the first year for which evaluations were made public). They are graded on the following scale:
  1. Outstanding.
  2. Good.
  3. Fair.
  4. Poor.
  5. Failing.

China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), Shenhua Group, and China Shipping Group led the list of 25 SOE's that were graded A. Grades of B and C were given to 141 companies. Nine were in group D for failing to meet some performance targets, and four unidentified companies received a grade of E for poor management and poor (i.e., discovered) faking of financial reports.

On one hand, grade inflation does not seem to have had as great an impact here as in US education. Then again, China Southern Airlines, plagued by financial ethics scandal, only dropped from B to C. In August 2005, police arrested its vice-president, Peng Anfa, on charges of embezzling and accepting bribes. Because of major accidents at their production facilities, China Coal Group was downgraded from A to B, and Sinohydro Corp from B to C.

Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope.

Self-Amplified Spontaneous Emission. The operating principle behind the free-electron laser.

Small Arms Serialization Program.

Japanese: `considerateness.'

Small Arms Serialization Surety Officer.

South African Standard Time. Two hours later than (i.e. east of) GMT.

A specialized sort of past participle related to the verb to seat. In any restaurant with a hostess or host, entering customers are said to be seated when they are distributed to seats, even though it is fair to say that they seat themselves when they sit. However, the waitress in whose section (or ``station'') they sit and are seated in neither sits nor is seated. She may be said to be sat or have gotten sat with, the entering party. There are related usages. For example, if there is a sudden influx, or if the hostess is an idiotess, or for whatever other reason, three parties may be seated in one section at once. That section's waitress is then said to be triple-sat.

Past tense of sit.

Scholastic Aptitude Test. (Original expansion; later name change discussed below.) A test administered by ETS, primarily to US senior high school students whose performance on the test is used as a basis for admission decisions by post-secondary education institutions (primarily colleges and universities).

The reality is that most such institutions are not really very selective, and many that require these tests needn't, since they'll accept pretty much anyone with a high school diploma. Students planning to go to these schools are paying the $28 test fee (in 2004) only to flatter their schools' conceit that they can afford to turn someone away. (Japan has a similar situation, but handles it slightly differently. Most schools use a common entrance exam which pretty rigidly determines which students will go to the University of Tokyo, which to the second-best school, and so forth down through the seven or so clearly ranked schools. Because the system is so transparent, it would be difficult for the least selective schools to participate and disguise the fact that they really exercise no discrimination among applicants other than not enrolling those who can't pay. For this reason, a number of schools write and administer their own independent entrance examinations, offering them at schools in areas from which they hope to recruit. We would call it saving face.)

Nevertheless, a large minority of students do want to enter the small minority of schools that can afford to be selective. (In the US -- we're back to discussing US students and US schools.) The professional duty of admissions officers at selective US schools is to engage in two related deceptions:

  1. They must encourage students who clearly are unlikely to be admitted that they have a good chance to get in.
  2. They must claim that they take a range of factors sensitively into account when making admissions choices.

The purpose of the first deception is to pump up the number of high school applicants. The number of admissions slots is essentially fixed, so increasing applications decreases the acceptance rate in inverse proportion, making the school seem more selective. No one asks about the SAT scores of rejected applicants, so getting another numbskull to apply is all gravy for the school's reputation. (You think those highminded educational institutions are above all that? Check yer wallet, fellah', and see ``marketing'' below.) Heck, maybe they can turn a tiny profit on admission fees.

Separately, a good ``yield'' -- a high fraction of admissions offers accepted -- is also desirable though less important. The instrument for improving this number is the school's early-decision program.

The purpose of the second deception (that many factors blah blah) is to support the first deception. An admissions officer who knows a student's SAT scores, high-school GPA, and ethnic or racial group can easily estimate whether the student is likely to be admitted. Often just one or two of these data will be sufficient to pretty much guarantee a yes or a no. It is true that, as conscientious admissions officers are bound to emphasize, all sorts of considerations like charitable work, unique experiences or difficulties overcome, strength of teacher or alumni recommendations, the weather on the day the officer's work-study reads the applicant's file (okay, don't emphasize that) all play a role in determining which students get in. It is also true that they rarely play this role. It's a simple matter of logistics. Say you have ten thousand applicants for -- never mind the rest: ten thousand applications is ten thousand applications! I've never graded more than fifty exams at a time.

In 2004 or so the content and format of the SAT were changed. As you understand from the foregoing, the details of the exam are really only important to a fortunate few and an unfortunate few more, all going crazy in the year before graduation, so I haven't been feeling like updating this entry. Herewith, then, a very incomplete history of The Test.

The two principal parts of the exam, ``Verbal'' and ``Math,'' are timed multiple-choice exams graded on a scale of 200 to 800. There's also a writing test, described at the GRE entry.

A raw score is determined by a simple formula (explained at the 200 to 800 entry) that deducts a little for wrong answers. In this way, a test-taker who guesses wildly and one who just enters no answer will do equally well on average. (Someone who can eliminate some possible answers will tend to get credit on educated guesses.) The reported score was initially just this raw score, which was approximately normally distributed with a mean close to 500. Over time, performance on the test has varied. (Umm, you're to understand that means performance has declined.) Now the score is computed by massaging or curving the raw score by using a look-up table translation, so that the distribution of scores resembles a normal curve with a mean close to 500. Because raw scores have been declining, an April 1 (really!), 1995 readjustment of the scoring algorithm has made it possible to obtain an ``800'' on the verbal test with four wrong answers. This is partly due to a fetish that ETS has about not giving a ``790.'' As a result, there was a sharp increase in the number of 800's (and of scores in general) in 1995. [It is possible to receive a score of 790 on an achievement test (now called SAT II). Or at least, it has been possible. In 1974 I ran out of time, guessed ``B'' for the last five questions on the Chemistry achievement test, and got a 790.] The new SAT scoring was discussed in a NYTimes article, 1995.07.26, page B6: ``When Close is Perfect: Even 4 Errors Can't Prevent Top Score on New S.A.T.'' byline James Barron. Not mentioned in that article was the fact that the readjustment moved scores in what used to be the middle range of ability by about 100 points -- old combined SAT scores of 840 or 940 are roughly equivalent to new SAT I scores of 960 or 1030.

A popular history of the SAT appears in two parts by Nicholas Lemann in The Atlantic Monthly, August (``The Structure of Success in America'') and September (``The Great Sorting'') issues 1995. The Atlantic has carried a number of articles on student testing, including another primarily on the SAT and other College Board tests in the February 1980 issue, by James Fallows.

In late March or early April 1995, the Wall Street Journal revealed that many schools inflate their students' average SAT scores for student guides in Money magazine and US News and World Report. Names were named. One university admissions director explained that this was a ``marketing strategy.'' [See the NYTimes 1995.04.09 article, Frank Rich byline.]

Also in 1995, the official expansion of SAT was changed to Scholastic Assessment Test. This name change addresses a major problem. The SAT is essentially an IQ test. The intention when it was originally designed (in the 1930's) was to measure ``intelligence,'' conceived as an innate attribute of the testees. The particular application was to help Ivy League schools identify ``diamonds in the rough'' -- smart kids (boys) who had not had the advantages of a prep school education. Over time, the testers' thinking evolved. Now most psychologists and psychometricians regard ``intelligence'' as something profoundly influenced by both genetic (i.e., ``innate'') and environmental factors. The tests have not changed (much, since the 1940's) and thus what they measure has not changed. The tester's idea of what it is that the tests measure has changed, but out of pride and a certain professional reasoning (that whatever they can measure is what ought to be called intelligence), the testers continue to use the same terms to describe the measured datum: ``intelligence,'' ``aptitude.'' In principle, none of this need ever have been a problem if only professionals were ever involved. (In fact, the College Board wanted to prevent testees from knowing their own test scores, but abandoned the effort in the early 1950's.)

Senior Apperception Technique. A class of clinical psychological evaluation methods related to the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT, q.v.) and the Children's Apperception Test (CAT).

Standard Assessment Tasks. The common name of a sequence of UK-government mandated exams of school-children, taken in three stages at ages about 7, 11, and 14. The stage-three SAT's determine tracking into GCSE sets, q.v.

Stanford Achievement Test. Provides an assessment of primary and secondary school students in major subject areas: mathematics, reading, language/English, science, and social science.

The ninth edition (``Stanford 9'') replaced the eighth (``Stanford 8'') in 1997. The new version was not normed against the old, even though the calculations are trivial for the test designer to do. This non-norming makes it difficult to compare older scores and see how badly achievement is declining over the long term. That's a feature, son, not a bug.

Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks. ``SATAN is a tool to help systems administrators. It recognizes several common networking-related security problems, and reports the problems without actually exploiting them.''

You've heard about it -- there was a big to-do on its first release (1995-04-05). It's supposed to be a two-edged sword, helping intruders as well as security administrators. Nevertheless, the open doors it looks for are so well-known and easy to walk through that it basically just helps the halt and lame of both communities. Since it reports problems without directly enabling the SATAN user to exploit them, the Stammtisch unanimously agrees that it primarily serves as a useful warning to security-challenged sysadmins while creating the smallest possible increase in danger from newbie intruders.

Sex And The City. A long-running daytime soap opera on HBO. It's a girl thing; I wouldn't understand.

Students' Army Training Corps. WWI version of ROTC, except that the officers in training were not headed for the reserves. The program was organized by the U.S. War Department, with eight-week semesters to be given on college campuses across the country. (The courses of study were developed by a Committee on Education and Special Training of the War Dept.) Military conscription had dramatically reduced regular college enrollments, so for many schools an SATC contract was critical for survival.

SATellite COMmunications. [Military use.] Civilian term is COMSAT.

Surveillance, Acquisition, Tracking, and Kill Assessment. SDI terminology. Kinda reminds me of that Vietnam-era slogan, ``See the world, meet interesting people, and kill them!''

SATellite-based NAVigation system. British usage, at least.

Self-Aligned Thick-Oxide.

A word that occurs in a mysterius (spell it so) Latin cruxigram. See ROTAS-SATOR entry. Better yet, see the scruffy local page on it.


Societe d'Analyse de la Topique Romanesque.

Stratospheric And Tropospheric Ozone Research.

Speaking Across the University. A less ambitious analogue of WATU.

Search Attack Unit. Adventures!

Spanish, `willow [tree].'

sausage central
We don't really have a sausage entry. This place in the glossary is just a sausage headquarters, a nerve-center with links to sausage-related information at various entries:

sauve qui peut
French, loosely: `everybody for themselves.'

savoir-faire, savoir faire
`Know-how' in French. The definition of this phrase as used in English is typically something like ``the ability to do and say the right thing in any social situation.''

save for translation
There is an interesting difficulty translating save into Spanish. Okay, it's not interesting, but you're not likely to read this entry by accident, so what the hey.

To save money (dinero), whether at a bank (banco) or a sale (venta), is ``ahorar dinero.'' To save a life is ``salvar una vida.'' (Salvavidas is a `lifeguard,' but a guard in the usual sense -- the kind with a gun or truncheon or persuasive demeanor -- is a guardia.) To save (something) for later is guardar para después, although guardar also means `put away.' The verb guardar seems to have taken on the meaning of save in computer contexts. See also the knickerbocker discussion in this K entry.

Student American Veterinary Medical Association. That is, the Student AVMA.

Surface Acoustic Wave. This is vibration that can be generated and detected by interdigitated combs of metal fingers that have been deposited on a piezoelectric surface. Useful mechanism for delay lines.

Golf's unofficial fifth major.

The Society for the Advancement of Women's Imaging. SAWI has a newsletter that seems to be published somewhat irregularly, and since 2001 has had an association with JWI that offers members of SAWI a reduced subscription price.

A Message from the President in the newsletter from August 2001, Pres. Amy Thurmond, MD, observes: ``Ten years ago when the first fellowship in women's imaging was offered the concept was controversial and debated. Now more fellowships are being offered, jobs specifically for women's imagers are advertised, and the American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria Task Force includes a section on women's imaging.''

South Asian Women's NETwork.

saw palmetto
Saw palmetto berry extract is touted as a treatment for benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH). It's supposed to inhibit the activity of the enzyme that converts ``good'' testosterone into dihydrotestosterone and improve older men's sexual potency.

There don't appear to have been a great many scientific studies of the effectiveness of saw palmetto, but some results have been quite encouraging. In the largest study to date, the researcher (Jane) leaned over the railing looking over the crowded center of a big shopping mall and shouted ``Any man here who's still having trouble getting it up after taking saw palmetto?'' and determined that the wonderberry is 100% effective. Vide ED.

Also, it's recommended by talk-show host Larry King, who would lose count of his ex-wives if he didn't have the bills to pay. Because this is a celebrity endorsement, an FCC regulation requires that the endorser have actually used the product.

Joe Namath was the legendary quarterback of the New York Jets, famous from the start with his sensational half-million-dollar signing in 1965 to the upstart AFC. He brashly predicted victory over the heavily favored Baltimore (later Indianapolis) Colts of the NFC in Super Bowl III (Jan. 12, 1969), and he delivered (final score 16-7). Gimpy knees and multiple leg surgeries forced him into retirement in 1972. In 1974, a television ad aired that pans along a pair of pantyhosed legs, upward to reveal jersey #12 and Joe Namath. In his attenuated Alabama drawl, Broadway Joe says ``Now I don't wear panty hose, but if Beautymist can make my legs look good, imagine what they'll do for yours.''

Did he really wear pantyhose, or just nylon stockings? What kind of name is ``Beauty Mist''?

Scholars, Artists, and Writers for Social Justice. (Pronounced ``sausage.'')

Selective-Area X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS).

Small-Angle X-ray Diffraction. Contrasted with WAXD.

sax goddess
Personals self-description. She refers to her amazing pair of lungs. Obviously this is a girl who's more focused on rhythm than lyrics. Okay, okay, enough about the music!

Small-Angle X-ray Scattering.

Say it with flowers
Because they maintain plausible deniability.

They've been shacked up over a year, and the day after her birthday he gives her three dandelions. Remember: he's just a guy, he can't be expected to understand about flower stuff.

``Geez, I'm just a guy. I dunno the flower color code!''
Besides, yellow is his color. Time for Mark's Apology Note Generator.

Second date. She admires his mind, his mind admires her butt. One dozen long-stem red roses.

``Whuddaya mean `get the wrong idea'? They're pretty flowers. Dontcha like flowers?''

There's a popular cartoon about forbidden romance -- a wolf and a sheep. Silhouetted against the night sky, they meet secretly. He brought flowers, she eats them appreciatively.

Say's Law
Law named after French economist Jean Baptiste Say (d. 1832), which states that increased production increases demand. Except in exceptional circumstances, of course. Loosely speaking, it was John Maynard Keynes's thesis that Say's law did not hold in theory, but that a savvy government could make it hold in practice, producing full employment and other good stuff (as if being fully employed were a good thing).

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