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Science and Engineering.

Chemical symbol for selenium, named after the moon. Elemental Se forms ...-Se-Se-... chains which crystallize in helices ("coils"). First photoconductive material discovered.

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

Selenium is the active ingredient in nonprescription dandruff shampoos/treatments like Selsun Blue, as well as prescription treatments that often simply have a higher concentration of selenium. Coal-tar derivatives are also used, but they smell. (When you think about it, you see that they more-or-less must smell: coal tar ``derivatives'' are obtained by fractional distillation with no chemical processing, and coal-tar has a vast collection of different compounds, many of them odoriferous. A process as unselective as distillation is unlikely to separate useful and non-smelly compounds from smelly ones.) Bishop Berkeley, the empiricist philosopher and enthusiast of education and new-world settlement, had a pet theory that most of the problems of Ireland could be solved if everyone (everyone in Ireland, not England) would bathe in tar-water. It might have done for the dandruff and lice, anyway.

Secondary Electron. An electron emitted by ionization of a bulk or surface atom when a high-energy electron beam impinges a surface. Distinguished, by its low energy relative to the ionizing electrons in the primary beam, from the back-scattered electron.

Sheet Extrusion.

The Society for Ethics. ``Established in 1995, [it] serves the purpose of promoting philosophical research in ethics, broadly construed, including areas such as (but not limited to) ethical theory, moral, social and political philosophy, as well as areas of applied ethics such as (but not limited to) legal, business and medical ethics. Although the SE is primarily a philosophical society, others are also encouraged to become members.

You know, if you take the sentences on the homepage of the SSS (``established in 2000'') and just scramble the sentence order and paragraph divisions, and change all the details, you get something that bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the SE page. Somebody really ought to look into this. Is this right?

``Although the SE is primarily a philosophical society, others are also encouraged to become members.''

Software Engineer[ing].

SouthEast. Vide compass directions.

Special Edition.

Distinguished from really special edition.

(Domain code for) Sweden. Another entry in this glossary, not very far away as the alphabet flies, is entitled ships and contains almost no useful information about both Sweden and Swedes.

A number of years ago, I saw a .sig that listed an address in ...

Stockholm, Sweden, Europe.

That's the country we're talking about here.

[I emailed the guy with that .sig ("Oh, _that_ Sweden!"), and he wrote back that for some newsgroup readers, the last bit constitutes new information. This exchange took place in the early 1990's, before Sweden joined the EU (see EU-15 entry). Today, he might write ``Sweden, EU,'' and it would provide geopolitical rather than political-geographical information. See also this CA.]

The Prologue (``In the Beginning Was the Moraine'') of Leading by Design: The IKEA Story (described at the IKEA entry) begins

Älmhult, Småland, Sweden, the World.
(It only gets sillier after that.)

Sweden has the reputation of having the highest suicide rates in Europe. It's probably the lack of sunlight. (It's SAD, don't you agree?) The Swedish-born founder of IKEA comes from a family of mean mothers-in-law and their suicidal sons, yet those're on the German-immigrant side of the family.

Switching Element.

Systems Engineer[ing].

Computer filename extension indicating a Self-Extracting Archive.

Southeast Evaluation Association. ``Formed in 1986, SEA is a regional affiliate of the American Evaluation Association. Its annual conference attracts participants from the entire southeast region and internationally known speakers. SEA members have varied backgrounds in performance and program evaluation, teaching, policy analysis, planning and measurement.''

Membership has its privileges. Primarily, it allows you to claim that you're ``at SEA.''

State Education Agency.

Systems Effectiveness Analysis.

sea breeze
Blows toward the coast on hot days. See cooler by the lake entry for explanation.

Student Environmental Action Coalition. Pron. ``seek.''

SouthEast Asian Games. (Sports-type ``games'' -- not political games. There's no politics in sports. None.)

SEa Air Land. Pronounced like the name of the animal -- seal. Seals live in the sea and eat fish. Oh -- you want to know what SEAL's do.

sealed acronym
An acronym that is no longer to be expanded. A typical situation is that of an established professional organization whose original name has wording that the organization prefers to downplay or suppress, but whose initialism or acronym is a valuable brand. It may be that the organization has expanded geographically, and wants, say, to soft-pedal a national reference now that it has gone international. The organization may have expanded its bailiwick in some other way. We may have a more detailed analysis at some later time, but for now here are some examples of sealed acronyms mentioned (or eventually to be mentioned, if there's no link) elsewhere in our glossary: AACSB (temporarily sealed for repairs), AAMCO, AARP, ACCELS, ACCO, ACT, ACTR, ACTR/ACCELS, ADSC, A&E, Alco, Alcoa, Amoco, Amway, ARCO, ARMA, Biola, BP, CIB, CBS, CMP (sealed so tight I never pried it open), Crisco, CVS, DBfK, Enco, Esso, HLN (possibly), IBM, ICSU, JBL, JDRF, JHPIEGO, KFC, MAACO, NAACP, Nabisco, NORA, Norelco, NTM, PHP, QJM, Reo, NARAL, Nasdaq, NDN, Socal, Socony, Sohio, Spam, SPIE, SQL, STS, Sunoco, Texaco, TD, velcro, YIVO. SBF is not an example yet.

It is very often the case that an organization that seals its acronym (e.g., ADSC, ARMA, SPIE, and YIVO above) will adopt an official name that includes a description in apposition to the old initialism. This is one of the key signs that the acronym has been sealed or (see AGI) is in the process of becoming sealed. This is often ungainly, and is especially awkward in situations where abbreviations are being introduced. For example, sometime in 2007 a feature article in ADSC's glossy bimonthly had the following title and subtitle: ``Annual Alliance Report: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and ADSC: International Association of Foundation Drilling (ADSC).'' This glossary entry was inserted on or before August 14, 2007.

Another problem with sealed acronyms in appositional names may occur if the original acronym expansion contained words, like ADSC's ``Association,'' that were later added in apposition. (There's also the partial overlap of the acronym's ``Drilled'' with the appositional phrase's ``Drilling.'') These may be considered AAPP's -- Pleonasms with Acronym Assistance pleonasms. However, this is a very dicey question, particularly once the acronym is completely sealed. We have teams of philosophers working around the clock to resolve this vital issue, and we expect to receive a preliminary report within a couple of millennia. SPIE (with overlaps in Society, Photo-optical/Optical, and Engineers/Engineering), ARMA (Association and Managers/Management), and YIVO are on tenterhooks. [YIVO is an extreme case if you're reading the Yiddish, where the description in apposition is simply the original acronym expansion (details at its entry). In English, the appositional Institute echoes the Yiddish Institut -- represented by O in the acronym.]

sealed initialism
A term that we here at SBF, after careful consideration, have decided to deprecate. We are pleased to observe that already, following (or perhaps even racing ahead of) our lead, no one uses this term. The preferred term is sealed acronym (supra). Acronyms are initialisms that are regarded as words. It is often difficult to say whether an initialism is regarded as a word, because mind-reading is an exacting task. However, when any initialism is sealed, its former expansion is suppressed or avoided, and that is strong evidence of its worditude or wordocity, as the case may be. Hence, the only use of the term ``sealed initialism'' would be to describe an initialism that was not but is now an acronym. Life is complicated enough.

(It might be objected that when an initialism is pronounced as a sequence of letter names, it is less likely to be deemed an acronym. However, that could only be a valid objection in a phonetic language.) If I wrote any more, I'd start waxing philosophical about the past participle. No one wants to see that happen.

There are a few song pairs played without break in very popular recorded versions, and that are almost always played back-to-back on album radio. Some I've noticed are

There's actually a silent moment in the Queen item, but it's a single track in some of Queen's albums.

[It's hard to say precisely how complete the above list is, especially since only a small fraction of songs from albums ever sold get much airplay, and the above is based mostly on what I've noticed on the radio. (Of course, there's some overlap with pairs I've noticed in my personal collection.) What I can say is that I've returned to this entry at least half a dozen times to add a pair that turned out to be on the list already. Not only does this prove that I have absolutely no long-term memory, but it also suggests that the songs on this list represent a solid majority of such pairs, weighted by airplay, at least in the ``classic rock'' genre.]

I guess that if you're a DJ with the runs, you can queue these along with American Pie. They're also ready-made for Two-for-Tuesday.

I heard these described as medleys by more than one DJ. (I've also heard a DJ stumble trying to describe the ZZ Top pair listed above, evidently because he didn't know or couldn't think of an apt term.) I suppose these song pairs fall within most loose definitions of the word, but medley normally implies or suggests incomplete serial performance of more than two songs. Part of the charm of nonindustrial medleys is the art of the musicians in making a smooth transition. When the whole songs form a medley this is less of a challenge, because the beginning and end of a song needn't carry the same rhythm as the rest of the song.

There are some single songs, like Elton John's ``Funeral for a Friend'' and one or two Pink Floyd tunes, that seem like two songs combined. Ike and Tina Turner did a famous cover of ``Proud Mary,'' sung half ``nice... and easy'' and half ``rough,'' which is discussed at the octane number entry.

To help you find the foregoing entry, we include this search-engine fodder:
two-fer 2-fer I thought it was one song but it was really two songs only one song but it's two songs back to back together recorded live I thought it was just one song but it was actually two songs no pause no silence no interlude album tracks like a single track I thought it was a single song but it was two songs the first song flows into the second song the first song flows into the next song one song flows into the other song when they play it on the radio it sounds like a single song but it's really two songs that sound it sounds like just one song but it's really two songs that it sounds like one song but it's really two songs I thought they were one song I thought they were just one song I thought they were a single song

search engines

This isn't really our oldest entry. It's just the most dated.

WHO (World Health Organization) Regional Office for South-East Asia. Other regional offices are listed at the AFRO entry.

School of Engineering and Applied Science.

SEA (as in salt water) SATellite.

Sisters of Eastern Africa Study Conference. Affiliated with AMECEA.

SouthEastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. ``An interdisciplinary society promoting the interchange of ideas and information on the culture, history, literature, philosophy, politics, music, economics, architecture, art, medicine, and science of the eighteenth-century world.'' An odd way to define voyeurs.

Seat, SEAT
Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo. Founded in 1950 with Fiat assistance. As recently as 1972 or so, when we rented a SEAT in Portugal and Spain, SEAT was just a FIAT manufactured in Spain, with some minor cosmetic changes. Since 1990, it has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen.

The English-language Wikipedia entry for SEAT claims that the E is long (``SEE-at''). I don't recall ever hearing it pronounced any other way than phonetically according to its spelling in Spanish (hence short-e: ``SEH-at''). Perhaps the British pronunciation is modeled on that of Fiat. (There probably isn't any distinct American English pronunciation, since SEAT isn't marketed in North America.) The Spanish-language Wikipedia entry makes no particular comment on the pronunciation. It does, however, explain the following:

SEAT currently names its models after Spanish cities. In order to avoid possible trademark problems in the future, it has registered the names of all the cities of Spain.

SEAttle-TAComa. Two cities and one airport in Washington State.

When your body's back is against your seat's back, your back is usually about stationary. To the extent that it is moving in any direction, it is moving slightly, slowly downward, as your body moves from a sitting into a slouching posture. Consequently, the friction of the seatback tends to pull your shirt out, and if you've got a coat or anything draped over the seatback it tends to be pulled forward and down, in a motion that reminds most people of subduction at a tectonic plate boundary. The significance should be clear: you should take your coat or (especially) your light jacket off before sitting, and drape it over the back of the chair so it opens forward. If you sit down and then take your coat off in place, leaving it inside out with the zipper or buttons or whatever facing back, the weight of the coat acts parallel to the ``drag'' force exerted by your dorsal anatomy, obliviating your outerwear into the dusty, navel-like crack between the seat bottom and seatback. Don't say you weren't warned.

Another approach that some may find preferable is to wear a silk shirt soaked in K-Y jelly.

When I think of what the world is missing because my book of essays and life hints has failed to find a publisher, it brings tears to my eyes. Another approach that some may find preferable is to apply glycerine to the side of the nose. (What Goya did was simply tell his daughter that her fiance had died. I do believe he let her in on his little joke once he finished the painting.)

South-East Asia Treaty Organization. Nowadays includes Viet Nam.

Scottish Examination Board.

SouthEast by East, SouthEast by South. Vide compass directions.

Styrene-Ethylene-Butadiene-Styrene block copolymer. More precisely: poly(styrene-b-ethylene-co-butylene-b-styrene).

French: `dry.'

Securities and Exchange Commission. Many of the public disclosure filings to the SEC are now required to be done electronically, and are online in EDGAR.

Size Exclusion Chromatography. Same as GPC.

SouthEastern (athletic) Conference.

quentiel Couleur à Mémoire. Or Système séquentiel Couleur à Mémoire. More often expanded with avec instead of à, which is incorrect (to say nothing of what we had here before). A loose translation of the French is `System Essentially Contrary to the American Method,' which can be translated back to yield Surtout Éviter la Compatibilité Avec le Monde. (Monde means `American.') The system takes a bit of memory: for each line, first one and then a second chrominance signal is transmitted. (YUV color coördinates are transmitted, which is more efficient in practice.) More at video encoding. Cf. NTSC, PAL.

Scanning ElectroChemical Microscopy.

second-best bed
A lot of toner cartridges have been spilled regarding this most famous phrase from Will Shakespeare's will. I just want to add that the phrase can also be found (see p. 29) in the text of The Apologia of Robert Keayne: The Self-Portrait of a Puritan Merchant, ed. Bernard Bailyn (New York: Harper & Rowe, 1964). The title page interposes the following between the title and subtitle of the cover quoted above: ``The last will and testament of me, Robert Keayne, all of it written with my own hands and began by me, mo: 6 1: 1653, commonly called August.'' (You know, until 1750, when the British Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar, it also reckoned the new year as beginning with March. But many people didn't entirely abide that, as is clear from the beginning of P's famous diary.

A good example of the voluminous literature alluded to (though one with an odd interpretation that abstracts testatory uses of ``second best'' from obscure English legal history) is The Second Best Bed: Shakespeare's Will in a New Light by Joyce Rogers (Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1993). On page 72 there you can find a paragraph of the usual examples of parallels that have been adduced, not including the one above.

Online you can find ``Alas, Poor Anne: Shakespeare's `Second-Best Bed' in Historical Perspective,'' an 18-page article on the subject (critical of the Stratford man) by Bonner Miller Cutting, published in the Oxfordian in 2011.

second second
Most entries in this glossary seem to start out as parenthetical remarks about other entries. With care and time, these parenthetical entries expand to the point where they consist mostly of parenthetical comments tangential to the subject of the parenthetical itself. But since you like it this way, and can't remember what you originally came here to find out anyway, we'll carry on carrying on.

Oh yeah, what I wanted to mention was that sometimes ``second second'' is synonymous with ``third.'' One example occurs at our L2 entry. Another example occurs in the movie industry, where ``second second assistant director'' is a synonym of ``third assistant director.'' You may wonder which term is more undignified. It looks like a calculation. One factor to include in it is that reportedly, ``third'' is sometimes mispronounced to suggest a false etymology of the word that comes behind it.

Eventually, this entry will be mostly about instances of numbering similar to ``second second.'' For example, we'll mention a distortion of traditional Hebrew numbering that is used to avoid writing a reference to the name of God. We won't bother explaining the Pentium II, Pentium III thing, since that's already covered at an existing entry. Later, we'll veer off into things that are somewhat more tenuously related to ``second second,'' like French base-twenty number names. Somewhere along the line, some etymological quirk will catch my attention, and the entry will end up being about that.

Secretarial Sciences
This is a good joke whether it is intended as such or not.

You can't have a science without specialization. Mine is experimental spelign.

I should be clear about the ``whether'' above. Many universities offer a degree in this undiscipline, and though I think they have a lot of cheek, I haven't noticed a tongue in any of them.

But be careful what you google for, you may get it back in adsense. I got sidetracked into degrees in ``Fire Science,'' and for a week my banners and margins were burning with invitations to get a degree in that subject.

Semiconductor Equipment Communication Standards. See, for example, Object Engineering, Inc. in Vancouver, WA ; (360) 693-7334.

Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. We list a bunch:
  1. American SECS
  2. East-Central/American SECS
  3. South Central SECS
  4. Southeastern American SECS
  5. Midwestern ASECS
  6. Western ASECS

secs remaining
Some web browsers entertain the user with an estimate of the time remaining for a download to be completed. Typically, the estimate is based on the time elapsed since downloading began (call this t) and the fraction of the downloading file that has been transferred (call this f). The simplest, and apparently most common, estimate of time remaining is
t × ( 1 - f ) / f .
During a normal download, there is an initial burst of enthusiastic, high bit-rate transmission. The technical term for this is sucker bait. After anywhere from 10 to 90% of the file has been transferred, the process is slowed or halted (technically: the tease). The precise profile of this stage is a matter of careful engineering, with the design goal of maximizing user pain (P). Too slow, and users give up in frustration, prematurely limiting their irritation. Too fast, and users are pleased. (The latter undesirable outcome can lead to user satisfaction and increased load on precious computing resources.)

One design strategy involves a calibrated transfer of data that generates a constant time-remaining estimate. Ideally, this requires

	d   /   1-f \
	-- (  t ---  )  =  0 ,
	dt  \    f  /

or f(t) = t / (t+ts) , where ts is the constant-by-design estimate of the time remaining for download to be complete. The subscript s stands for Sisyphus.

secular simony
In the first chapter of Essays on Politics and Literature (``Literature and Politics,'' originally published elsewhere), Bernard Crick (no, not the DNA guy; a lit. guy) writes
... students of literature have had cause to be nervous of social scientists plundering the golden treasury, often for partisan purposes heavily disguised as science.


Latin conjunction meaning `but.' It's almost surprising that the Romans had such a word. You figure they'd use et or even the enclitic -que (both meaning `and') and expect you to figure out what they meant, or else that they'd use some crazy construction involving ac and ut.

Here's something relevant from Studies in Linnaean Method and Nomenclature (q.v.), by John Lewis Heller (a classical scholar):

A prominent feature of Linnaeus's Latin style, at least in the Dedication, is his omission of connectives, whether it be in a series of enumerations where no semifinal et or final -que was written or in a pair of contrasting terms where we might expect sed. This was a familiar device of classical rhetoric and I have been at some pains to preserve it in the translation, probably to the reader's annoyance.

[The comment refers to Heller's translation of Hortus Cliffortianus, which Carolus Linnaeus published in 1737. In the commentary following his translation, the quoted text is the first thing mentioned under the rubric (p. 105) of ``Problems of translation.'']

School of EDucation. Just to be sure that you don't confuse it with a school for education, they should avoid actually having any education take place there. Oh wait, that's already the case.

Shipper's Export Declaration.

Smoke-Emitting Diode. Not rechargeable.

Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands. `Socialist Unity Party of [East] Germany.' A ``unity'' party in the sense of being a combined party of the left -- the East German pieces of the earlier social democratic and communist parties. With Eastern Germany, later East Germany (GDR) under Soviet control, the SED was likewise under communist control from the beginning; ultimately, communist control of the party, like the country, was consolidated. The SED's lead role (Führungsrolle) in the government of the GDR was formalized in the 1968 constitution. As the whole apparatus was coming apart in 1989, and as the party was hemorrhaging membership, the name was changed -- first to SED/PDS and then PDS.

Stream EDitor. A kind of version of the standard Unix line editor ed. Sed is a way of issuing ed commands from the Unix command line.

Surface-Conduction Electron-Emitter Display.

Survey of Earned Doctorates. How can they be sure?

Sociedad Española de Estudios Renacentistas Ingléses. `Spanish Society for English Renaissance Studies.'

In March 2004, the 15th AGM of SEDERI was held in Lisbon -- the first time it had been held outside Spain. Following that meeting, the society changed its name to the ``Spanish and Portuguese Society for English Renaissance Studies.'' In various documents, the name appears in Spanish (Sociedad Hispano-Portuguesa de Estudios Renacentistas Ingleses), Portuguese (Sociedade Hispano-Portuguesa de Estudos Renascentistas Ingleses), English, or in two or all of these. The initialism was kept unchanged. There must be a name for this common maneuver and the anachronistic acronyms that result.

South East Downtown Economic Redevelopment Initiative. ``SEDERI's aim is to build on the strengths of Old Town Toronto, and to lead efforts to revitalize the area's liveability.''

As of February 2007, it seems that SEDERI could use some revitalization itself. The last time it was mentioned in a major paper such as the Globe and Mail was February 3, 2001 (in the Toronto Star -- is that a stretch?). Under the caption ``SEDERI is being written about,'' the SEDERI website helpfully reproduces an editorial from ``The Bulletin, the most read community newspaper in Downtown Toronto.'' That editorial, from February 8, 2005, includes this mention of SEDERI:

``In trying to purge itself of the taint from its freewheeling days, HRDC renamed itself HRSDC. (No the S isn't for strippers, it's for skills. [That was true at the time, anyway.]) Under the ministrations of Toronto's Joe Volpe, its bureaucrats have gone berserk in an orgy of red tape that is strangling useful programs, including the South East Downtown Economic Redevelopment Initiative (SEDERI).'' Apparently the funding was being continued on a month-to-month basis, and SEDERI was having trouble paying its bills. ``This current situation of course threatens to overshadow much of the great work that SEDERI accomplished in the past year, such as delivering the successful Southeast Downtown Job & Career Fair held in October at St. Lawrence Market, the series of Youth Employment Skills workshops delivered in the spring and summer, and the recent Stakeholder Workshop & Public Forum on seeking local solutions to getting our shelter resident population back into the workforce.'' The most recent activity on the SEDERI website is a blog entry from June 2005 to the effect that the Board of Directors was ``refocussing on the mission and direction of the organization.''

Sociedad Española de Didáctica de la Lengua y la Literatura.

... una entidad sin ánimo de lucro cuyo objetivo es reunir a todo el profesorado y personas estudiosas de la didáctica de las diferentes lenguas y sus literaturas que tengan el propósito de promover e intensificar la investigación y la enseñanza de dichas materias.

`...a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to bring together all those in the teaching profession and those who study the teaching of different languages and their literatures who have the goal of promoting and increasing the study and teaching of said subjects.'

Normal Spanish style is more florid and verbose than normal English style. However, bureaucratese is universal.

Society of Esthetic Dentistry of Romania.

Synthetic Environment Dynamic Terrain. [For combat training.]

Signing Exact English. This is quite time-consuming. It is something like speaking out the spellings of words in English that one would ordinarily just pronounce. In sign languages, individual signs correspond to whole words, roughly, although they may have a component morphology just as words have significant phonemes such as affixes and inflections. Moreover, it should also be understood that sign languages are independent languages with grammar, vocabulary and semantics that are far from being in one-to-one correspondence with any spoken language that a person may also use to communicate. SEE is associated with the mainstreaming of deaf children (see HOH entry for more).

American Sign Language (ASL) uses one-handed signs for alphabetic characters; British Sign Language uses two-handed lettering.

Single-Event Effects. (Radiation softness of electronic devices.)

SouthEastern Europe. Cf. SEE.

Southern and Eastern Europe. One day, the partisans of ``Southeastern'' SEE (the red team) and the partisans of ``Southern and Eastern'' SEE (the scarlet team) will fight a war for control of this valuable acronym. The earth will turn crimson from the ferocious bloodbath that will ensue. Battles will rage on Greek, Cyrillic, and Roman fronts, I mean fonts. They've already nearly come to blows over ``Macedonia.''

Self Electroöptical Effect Device. My sloppy notes say this was invented by Dave Miller at AT&T in about 1981. The device is essentially a p-i-n diode in which light controls the electric field configuration and thus the light absorption, leading to much larger nonlinear optic effects than one would get from direct photon-photon interaction, or even from local electron-mediated photon-photon interaction.

seedy rahm

Slavic and East European Journal. Published quarterly by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, which has a SEEJ page.

Slavic and East European LANGuageS. A mailing list. There's a good web-based archive of the list. You can subscribe from this page.

South East European Politics. Apt enough name. A journal published by CEU faculty and students. ISSN 1586-9733.

See reverse panel for nutritional information
Teaser in the candy machine. You know, just twenty-five Kit-Kat bars provide the minimum daily adult requirement of protein. They also provide enough fat.

St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute. On its website, SEERI describes itself as ``India's advanced teaching and learning centre for Syriac language and heritage.'' I suppose the acronym might be a punning backronym. An institution of the Syro Malankara Catholic Church, SEERI was established in 1985 at Kottayam, Kerala, India. Kottayam is also the location of Mahatma Gandhi University of Kerala State (MGU was established only two years earlier), of which SEERI is an officially sanctioned ``Regional and [sic] Research Center.''

In Winter Olympics years, since the time that those have not been Summer Olympics years (i.e., 1994+4n, n a small nonegative integer), SEERI has hosted an International Syriac Conference. (There were two earlier such conferences, in 1987 and 1990.) They say that their ``publication, The Harp, mainly contains papers presented in the Syriac conferences.'' That now seems to account for about two of the annual volumes. ``Other volumes of The Harp contain learned papers from scholars all over the world.'' I have the volume XXV before me (2010) and, apart from Syriac words under analysis, its articles are mostly in English (there's an article in French and an article and a book review in German; nothing in Malayalam).

see through
There are two similar expressions with these two words, and non-native speakers can easily confuse them.
  1. In the natural sense of the collocation of see and through, the preposition through takes a noun (possibly a noun phrase) object, which is the thing through which the subject of the phrase sees. For example, Superman can see through doors, a perceptive person can see through your pretenses, etc. One can typically imagine a line of sight through the named object of the preposition. The verb see is often intransitive, as in the preceding examples, but not necessarily (as in ``see the sun through a break in the clouds'').

  2. In the idiom similar to this, see is transitive. E.g., ``courage will see you through the current troubles.'' One can sometimes imagine a line of sight from the subject to object (of see): ``I will see you through this.'' The expression is usefully ambiguous: in the last example, it probably means that ``I will be with you (or be there-for-you) during this' (something a little weaker than ``I will walk you through this''). But it could, just barely, also mean ``I will see you on the other side of this; you will get through this and I will see you again.''

    In this idiom, through may not have an explicit object (``love will see you through'') or it may look as if it has a prepositional phrase as predicate (``we will see you through to the end''). One can think of through in these abstracted forms as a particle, like out in the ``verb + particle'' construct pass out. In the last example, ``to the end'' modifies the transitive construct adverbially.

You can sound very silly using the wrong expression. In late 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was trying to decide whether to site the world's first large-scale nuclear fusion reactor in France or Japan. Claudie Haignere, France's minister of research and new technologies, issued a statement through her ministry on December 20 that was either originally in, or eventually translated into, Broken English. It said that the fusion project ``remains an absolute priority for Europe. We are utterly convinced that our human, financial and technological advantages should allow us to see through this project.'' As it stands, the statement suggests the the project is a kind of screen to be seen through, implying that it is a deception and a boondoggle. Unless the author was having an attack of candor, the intended English was ``...to see this project through.'' (No French version of this statement was published in any of the French-language news sources searchable by Lexis-Nexis.)

Dylan Thomas wrote a famous poem to his dying father, entitled ``Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.'' He used the adjective gentle rather than the adverb gently, because he meant to describe not how the father should go, but how the father should be as he went. The gentle is an adjective because it modifies the noun father (implicit subject of the imperative verb). This is a perfectly standard form of expression, parallel to ``he ran laughing through the underbrush'' or ``he stands red-faced at the door.'' I think a similar distinction is at work in the see-through idioms, but I haven't figured it out yet.

Student Evaluation of Faculty. Here's an article entitled ``Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Student Evaluation of Faculty: Galloping Polls In The 21st Century,'' by Robert E. Haskell at the University of New England.

State Employees Federated Appeal.

Single-Ended Fault-Locating.

[Segre Thumbnail Portrait]

The car of Emilio Segrè had a bumper sticker that said ``My owner has a Nobel Prize.'' At right is a picture of the owner.

Software Engineering Institute.

Strategic Environmental Initiative.

A money machine for NBC. Described in BusinessWeek for the week of June 2, 1997.

Service Employees International Union. During the long decline in union membership over the last decades of the twentieth century, with 1.7 million members as of 2004, it was the largest union in the AFL-CIO. In 2005, on the occasion of the meeting that marked the fiftieth anniversary of the AFL-CIO merger, it and the Teamsters Union bolted.

Japanese: `society,' roughly translated. Supposedly differs from Western notion of `society' (seken) in connoting the various ties that connect individuals within the society. Oh.

Science and Engineering Library at UB.

Links: thumbnail description - hours - location (It's in Capen Hall. Take my advice and follow the link if you've never been there before.)

selbstverständlich, selbstverstaendlich
German, from selbst (`self') + verständlich (`understandable'). May be translated variously as `natural,' `obvious,' `goes without saying,' `impossible not to understand.' Indeed, if you understand verstehen (`understand') then selbstverständlich is itself selbstverständlich. I hardly know why I bothered to give it a glossary entry.

selected data
Data tendentiously selected to seem to support the author's claims.

Selected Letters of James Thurber
Edited by Helen Thurber and Edward Weeks. Copyright Helen Thurber, 1980, 1981. My copy is a 1982 Penguin paperback, but presumably it should be no trouble to get a copy off the shelf at your local Barnes & Noble. (Yeah, I'm real good at presuming.)

selected response
A testing-industry euphemism for ``multiple choice.''

Sensible and Efficient Lighting to Enhance the Nighttime Environment. A New York group that lobbies to limit night-time light pollution.

Stimulation, Entropy, Legibility, and Fragmentation. This acronym is introduced in an article mentioned at the Spam entry, which is worth a quick skim. (The glossary entry, I mean. You should ignore the article, as I've already summarized all of its useful content.) Like the author, most of his readers don't understand entropy, so he might as well have it mean scattered attention.

The next stage in intelligent stationery.

This is not intended to imply, as it does (and correctly), that a thing thus characterized adheres to itself. Instead, it emphasizes that the adhesive is prepositioned where it will be needed. Early in the twentieth century, this was a novelty. Now the name persists as an irony.

self-aggrandizing praise
This entry isn't about mere name-dropping, and it's not about self-interested praise unless the interest of the praising party is primarily to be aggrandized. It is not even about building up the reputation of someone else so as to bask in the reflected glory (parental praise, boosterism, etc.). Rather, it is about a class of unclassy behaviors that needs a name, and the head term was the best I could come up with on short notice.

Unfortunately, later I forgot what specifically it was a term for. I think it was intended to refer to praise that ostentatiously implies that the praiser has the special understanding or perception necessary to sit in judgment of the praised. A subspecies of condescension.

Enhancement-mode. The term applies to insulating-gate transistors. The idea is that if VGS = 0, then the transistor will be in the off state.

A short work of fiction.

Unconsidered and arbitrary. Obvious.

It is certainly true that many worthy books fail to find a legitimate publisher. But many more unworthy books also fail to find a publisher. Not even counting ``commercial'' books and romances, more than enough really bad books slip through to give us a good idea of what we are most fortunately missing.

Oh, enough philosophy. I want to talk about one of my own favorites in the genre of very bad books: A Short History of Technology. It's self-published by proxy. That is, it was ``A Publication of THE THOMAS ALVA EDISON FOUNDATION, INC.,'' but the authors, Vice Admiral Harold G. Bowen and Mr. Charles F. Kettering, were Executive Director and President, respectively, of that laudable foundation.

The book is indeed short -- a ``booklet'' in the words of the author of its foreword (C.F. Kettering). This requires a bit of compression and scanting of details. Here's a breezy sentence on page 19: ``In passing we must not forget the great contributions of Euclid to geometry and Hipparchus and Ptolemy to trigonometry.''

Professional historians looked down their noses at the Durants, who depended almost entirely on secondary research for their sweeping vistas of history. Short is a few scratches below that. Cited works include Webster's New International Dictionary, 2nd Edition and (47 times in 91 pages) Encyclopedia Britannica, 13th Edition (not further specified). (Kettering, an important inventor, now has his own entry in the Britannica.) Many pedestrian passages are ``reprinted with permission.'' I imagine the permission was granted by the publishers and not the authors. It must have been galling to Herbert Butterfield to have a passage quoted from his The Origins of Modern Science. A page or two after the quoted material, he enveighs against the kind of Whig history that Short is such a parodic example of (example at HOT entry).

A silly literary term meaning `reflexive.' I mean, reflexive refers to the self, right? So it means `self-self'! Of course, I suppose, upon reflection, that reflexive could have some meaning related to another sense of the word reflection, so self-reflexive might mean `characterized by reflection (contemplation) on itself,' just as self-refluxive might mean `characterized by refluxing on itself.' Hmmm. It's a good thing this is really just a microelectronics glossary, or I might be compelled to actually find out. [Split-infinitive alert!] We'll just suppose that self-reflexive means `reflexively reflexive' and leave it at that, okay?

Incidentally, the perceptive and/or hip student of this glossary will perhaps have noticed that this glossary is itself self-reflexive (setting aside the surprisingly difficult question of whether that is actually a meaningful observation). Indeed, your glossarist is walloping the gentle reader over the head with manifold demonstrations of this ambiguously meaningful, uh, fact. Let's face it: the student of this glossary who has not noticed this fact is basically a COMPLEAT NINCOMPOOP! and is kindly called upon to take notice of the fact (of glossary self-reflectivity, I mean), so that we can all move on.

Now then, that we are all reading from the same page (S04.html, to be precise, or maybe S.cgi), your glossarist raises the following question which will no doubt fascinate you: we know that the SBF glossary is a (most excellent, of course) work of metanonfiction, but is the Stammtisch in se self-reflexive? The answer, you will be relieved to know, is just a hyperlink away.

Concerned with oneself or one's interest. The word doesn't carry the necessary connotation of excess, of conceit (what was called self-conceit before the other meanings of conceit became rare). But what, then, are we to call a pompous, self-absorbed work like the philosopher Eric Voegelin's Anamnesis? Here are some excerpts from the mercifully abridged translation of Gerhart Niemeyer (Notre Dame and London: U. of N.D. Pr., 1978).

    In 1943 I had arrived at a dead-end in my attempts to find a theory of man, society, and history that would permit an adequate interpretation of the phenomena in my chosen field of studies. ...
    The default of the school-philosophies was caused by a restriction of the horizon similar to the restrictions of the consciousness that I could observe in the political mass movements. But if that was true, I had observed the restriction, and recognized it as such, with the criteria of the observation coming from a consciousness with a larger horizon, which in this case happened to be my own. ...
    What I had discovered was consciousness in the concrete, in the personal, social, and historical existence of man, as the specifically human mode of participation in reality. At the time, however, I was far from clear about the full bearing of the discovery because I did not know enough about the great precedents of existential analysis in antiquity, by far surpassing, in exactness and luminosity of symbolization, the contemporary efforts. I was not aware, for instance, of the Heraclitian analysis of public and private consciousness, in terms of xynon and the idiotes, or of a Jeremiah's analysis of prophetic existence, before I learned Greek and Hebrew in the 1930s.
    Nevertheless, I was very much aware that my ``larger horizon'' was not a personal idiosyncrasy but surrounded me from all sides as a social and historical fact from which I could draw nourishment for my own consciousness. ...

I know what you're thinking: ``Sure, but that's the beginning of chapter one -- introductory remarks. Personal experience for orientational purposes.'' Alright then, from page 41:

    Our old family seamstress in Oberkassel, Mrs. Balters, has much influenced me gently. She introduced me to the Leather-Stocking Tales; I still remember distinctly the much-used and greasy book that she brought. I must have been about six years old. Leather-Stocking constituted an inner kingdom of adventure; I do not remember having understood America to be the scene of the tales.
    More important were our theological conversations. Mrs. Balters had excellent information about Paradise. All that I know about Paradise I learned from her. ...

The meaning of this word would be self-evident if the usage styled for named were still common. ``Self-styled'' means self-named. It does not mean self-appointed. It is inappropriate to use ``self-styled'' when there is no evident designation referred to, or when that designation is not one to be chosen by the named entity. Here is an example of incorrect usage, from Douglas Herbert, CNN.com Europe writer:
As Americans squabble over whether their presidential cliff-hanger is a case of democracy at its finest or constitutional confusion, many Europeans are relishing their self-styled role as a sort of transatlantic heckling gallery.

(In the same article, Herbert quotes a number of malapropisms attributed to George W. Bush. He expresses skepticism, but fails to note that they are well-known to have been spoken by J. Danforth Quayle. Depend upon it: someone who stumbles on vocabulary is likely to have other faults.)

Sociedad Española de Lengua y Literatura Inglesa Medieval. Official English name: `Spanish Society for Mediaeval English Language & Literature.' The ``Medieval'' spelling is also used. For your research convenience, in all quoted text of this entry I have made certain to transcribe that word in precisely the form in which it appears in my source. SELIM doesn't seem to be too consistent or strict about the spelling. They're also not very strict about the medieval time period. The ``usual areas of interest of the society's members'' are described in the foreword to the 2003 conference proceedings as historical linguistics, Old and Middle English language and literature, textual studies, and the contemporary reception of the Middle Ages.

Well, selim is one form of the Arabic word salam (cognate with Hebrew shalom), and occurs as a Muslim name. During the medieval era, high accomplishments in language and literature were reached in the Islamic world -- the highest, in some estimations. So there's a connection of sorts.

SELIM's website makes a distinction between all-caps unitalicized ``SELIM'' for the society and italicized ``Selim'' for the society's journal (ISSN 1132-631X) published (mostly) annually since 1989. Most of the content is in Modern English,

(WARNING: the rest of this entry contains more boring detail unrelieved by paragraph breaks and traces of nuts.)
at least in the issues I have physically held in my nonmetaphorical hands. The regular articles have an English abstract followed by a Spanish abstract. The top of the front cover reads
Journal of the Spanish Society for Mediaeval English Language & Literature.
Revista de la Sociedad Española de Lengua y Literatura Inglesa Medieval
The society has also published selections of papers presented at its mostly annual conference. The conference is referred to using the society name and a numeral (an ordinal number represented by a Roman or Arabic numeral, or the year). For example, the 15th was held in early October 2003 at the University of Murcia (¡lisp when you say that!) and 15 of the nearly 50 contributions to that conference appeared as papers in Medieval English Literary and Cultural Studies -- SELIM XV (yeah, ``Medieval'' sic, but the long dash is printed as a period), which was published in 2004. Articles mostly in English, abstracts all English. (The title, format, and publication venue for conference proceedings have not been very consistent.) SELIM I took place in 1988, and the conferences were initially annual, but it seems they skipped 2000 and 2004, and the latest proceedings available on the website (in 2012) is for SELIM 16 (2005). Published editions of Selim are also available there, through Selim 17 (nominally the 2010 issue, but the society's journals tend to be copyrighted and, it seems, first available only one or two years after their nominal publication year). I should mention that the most recent issue of Selim and of the SELIM proceedings are both currently (May 2012) dead links; I did manage to bring up Selim 17 and read a bit before, but then my Adobe Acrobat landed in the undernet.

SELective INverse detection of carbon-hydrogen (nuclear-spin) CORrelation. NMRtian.

Spectral ELLipsometry.

There's a famous story that after a public demonstration of electrical phenomena by Faraday (see EMF), PM Gladstone asked him what good it was, and Faraday replied ``Someday, sir, you will tax it.''

I guess that would make Faraday a Republican. Gladstone, or more precisely his possible drowning, figures in Disraeli's distinction between tragedy and disaster.

seller's market, sellers' market, sellers market
A market favorable to sellers. This describes not a kind of market like a grocery or a stock exchange, but the condition of a market.

German: `rare.' Related to the English seldom.

Scanning Electron { Microscop{e|y} | Micrograph }. A picture from the Smithsonian gives a tourist's-eye view. See also: FESEM.

A site in Oz has some nice graphics for those who are not faint of bandwidth.

Here's a description from Charles Evans & Associates.

Search Engine Marketing. People in the business distinguish between ``paid'' and ``organic'' search listings.

Society for EthnoMusicology. Founded 1955, a constituent society of the ACLS since 1966. ACLS has an overview.

Cf. American Musicological Society (AMS) and Society for American Music (SAM).

Society for Experimental Mechanics.

Structural Equation Modeling. Described as ``the most sophisticated correlational tool available'' by an unsophisticated user.

Secretaría de Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca. The Mexican government's erstwhile `Secretariat of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries.' All I plan to find out about it for the time being is what can be gleaned at IMTA entry.

Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. The Mexican government's `Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources.' All I plan to find out about it for the time being is what can be gleaned at IMTA entry.

A US government-industry-academic consortium for Semiconductor technology, described here.

Scaled Ensemble Monte Carlo (simulation method).

Schrödinger Equation-based Monte Carlo. Vide L. F. Register and K. H. Hess, PRB 49, 1900 (1994); and F. Capasso, C. Sirtori, J. Faist, D. L. Sivco, Sung-Nee, G. Chu and A. Y. Cho, Nature 358, 565 (1992).

Society for Early Modern Classical Reception. (That's the reception -- how it was received, the reaction to it -- of the classical heritage in the early modern era.)

A word for a period lasting approximately four months, derived from a word meaning six months. Sounds like grade inflation, doesn't it?

In detail: German universities used the term Semester, derived from the Latin [cursus] semestris (`six-month [course -- implicitly, of study]'). Most universities in most places I know of use a semester system -- two long terms separated by two long breaks, often with short academic terms for intensive or short courses during one or both breaks.

In the US, the typical semester has about fifteen weeks of classes and a final-exam period of something over a week, plus some vacation days. Typically, the Spring term runs from mid-January to mid-May and a fall term from just after Labor Day, or early September, to mid-December. Obviously this makes the schedule for fall a bit tighter, so although the mid-March ``Spring Break'' is an institution, the longest break during the fall semester is typically the long weekend of Thanksgiving. A lot of US schools have a ``quarter'' system, but this is the semester entry, so we can't discuss that.

In Japan a semester system is standard, with the school year beginning in April and final exams around the end of January. The Japanese word for semester (i.e. term) is gakki. [The double-k, incidentally, is not an artefact of transliteration. The k's are a geminate pair, with a syllable break in the middle. The word gakki makes a minimal pair with gaki, a derogatory word for `kid' (i.e., `child, young person'). Oh yeah, this is all covered at the gakki entry. Well, you probably needed to know it right away.]

Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International. ``[A]n international trade association that represents semiconductor and flat panel display equipment and materials suppliers.''

A material which, in its pure state at low temperature, has a band gap separating a filled valence band and an empty conduction band. At very low temperature the pure (``undoped,'' ``intrinsic'') semiconductor conductivity goes to zero exponentially (as does the carrier density, displaying Arrhenius behavior with an activation energy less than the bandgap). (In metals the conductivity obeys a power law reflecting the width of the Fermi distribution). The difference between insulators and semiconductors is only quantitative and not qualitative: larger-bandgap materials (> 2 eV) generally have low-enough conductivities to be considered insulators.

The common semiconductors (homopolar and compound semiconductors) have relatively weak electron-phonon coupling and electron-electron interactions, so carriers produced by doping are quasifree, with electron and hole mobilities much greater than 10 cm²/V-sec. At low temperatures, in single-crystal material that has been modulation doped, phonon, defect and ionized-impurity scattering are all small and mobilities on the order of 107 cm²/V-sec have been achieved.

SouthEast MissOuri State University. It's possible that this 1986 advertisement for a Philosophy Department position, written frankly and (therefore) not intended for publication, is the university's main claim to fame. ``Our students tend to be poorly prepared for college level work, intellectually passive, interested primarily in partying, and culturally provincial in the extreme. ... The academic environment at SEMO is distinctly non-intellectual -- somewhat like a Norman Rockwell painting -- and the candidate cannot expect to attract students by offering courses that assume innate curiosity about ideas and books, or intellectual playfulness, or independence of moral and political thought.'' I'm sure things are much better now.

SEMPstressy. Equivalent to seamstressy. The place of business or the activity of a sempstress or (equiv.) seamstress. Of the four terms, only the last seems to have survived past the beginning of the twentieth century.


Semper Fi
Marine Corps abbreviation of the Latin Semper Fidelis, `always faithful.'


Semper ubi sub ubi
One of the most popular puerile jokes among Latin students: ``Semper ubi sub ubi,'' though not grammatical as Latin, consists of words that can be translated individually as `Always where under where.' Ha, ha. It may not surprise you to learn that the Classics discipline has a concept of ``too much fun,'' as illustrated in this Classics-List posting.

The Chop Shop again offers what it calls ``Latin Proverb Undies'' for women and ex-boyfriends. They look cheap and they cost $9 to $11 apiece. The ``proverbs'' are not proverbs but mostly riffs on real Latin proverbs or translations of common English expressions (e.g., ``Carpe Noctem'' instead of ``Carpe Diem''; ``Amor Caecus Est,'' `Love Is Blind''), and they're mostly grammatical. They're not very sexy, but the print is small enough that you have to get close to read it. This reminds me of something that happened to me that I had better not retell yet.

A monetary subunit equal to one one-hundredth of a Japanese yen. The 1913 Merriam-Webster described the sen as a ``Japanese coin, worth about one half of a cent.'' The Japanese yen (100 sen) is currently worth about a penny of US currency, and the current Merriam-Webster website (you do realize that the surname Webster is an old word meaning weaver, right?) has a ``Money Table'' that describes Japanese sen, along with Macedonian deni and Rwandan centimes, as ``[n]ow a subdivision in name only.'' Hence a one-sen coin wouldn't be worth the effort of putting in your pocket. It would however, be worth at least three points if placed on a Scrabble board.

The Japanese sen discussed above is written as a kanji. Kanji are traditional Chinese characters, typically pronounced in at least a couple of ways in Japanese. This sen kanji has a Mandarin pronunciation Romanized as qián. The Mainland Chinese currency, the yuan, is subdivided into 100 fen, which I imagine are something else.

Yuan, yen, and won (Korean currency unit) all look like they might be the same word. After all, what's a vowel (or a semivowel) among friends (or enemies). The ``English-Chinese Dictionary (Unabridged)'' edited by Lu Gusun asserts firmly that the Korean word is derived from the Chinese yuán. [No Chinese etymology is offered for chon (or jeon or jun), the hundredth part of either Korea's won.] The Japanese word is a bit more of a problem, and this dictionary unaccountably offers yuán as its origin (albeit tentatively). One small problem is that its pronunciation in Japanese is ``en.'' A substantial problem is that its kanji is different from that of yuán. The kanji for en means `circle,' and the (different) hanji for yuán means `round [thing].'

Sen is also the name of the hundredth part of the base monetary unit of various other countries. It is (or possibly was) 1/100 of an Indonesian rupiah, a Bruneian dollar, a Malaysian ringgit or dollar, and a Cambodian riel. (The Bruneian sen is also called a cent.) The American Heritage Dictionary (AHD4) agrees with the Lu Gusun dictionary on the origin of the Japanese sen (``from Chinese (Mandarin) qián, money, coin''). It traces the Indonesian sen through senti back to cent. The cent was 1/100 of a Dutch guilder. On historical or geographical grounds, I suppose the Malaysian and Bruneian sen have the same origin. I can't tell exactly what the Lu Gun dictionary has to say, since it says it mostly in Chinese, but it uses the same symbol for the Indonesian and Cambodian sen (different from the one used for the Japanese sen). FWIW, 100 Vietnamese xu are worth one Vietnamese dong.

Some day we'll have an entry for the centum-satem thing.

Senate. If I had to guess, I'd guess this referred to the modern one in Washington, DC.

Seneca. A Roman writer. Also (not usually abbreviated) a North American Indian nation in New York. It's amazing isn't it? Most of the names now used in New York State were given by European settlers and their descendants, and many of those names were assigned by eighteenth-century academics. The last were, by the nature of education in their day, all classical scholars, and they chose names of places (Ithaca, Palmyra, Syracuse, Rome,...) and people (Ovid, Cicero and Tully [for Marcus Tullius Cicero], etc.) familiar from classical antiquity. So when the autochthons got a chance to name something, what did they choose?

Send 'em a message.
Bewilder 'em with inarticulate truculence.

Or se'night. Old word for week (seven-night) still in use in the early nineteenth century, to judge from Jane Austen's letters. Makes the still-extant fortnight (fourteen-night, two weeks) seem to have family.

senior discount
It's not just discrimination against the young; portions may be smaller.

A term roughly equivalent to ``rising senior,'' but which I've only encountered in the context of the college football offseason. At the beginning of the calendar year, a junior who may play football the following academic year (as a senior) is a senior-to-be. At some point in the summer, I guess this person may become an ``incoming senior'' or ``returning senior.'' I'll try to find out whether this is by ``eligibility'' or academic standing.

Japanese: `senior.' Cf. kohai.

`Sense,' in French, with many of the same senses (including that one) as the English noun, but most commonly meaning `direction.'

A French city at the location of ancient Agedincum, capital city of Sennones. The Sénons were one of the largest nations of Celtic Gaul, and are mentioned by Julius Caesar (so I don't have to tell you that he conquered them).

The Society of English-Native-Speaking Editors working in the Netherlands.

A power MOSFET with a split drain. Geometry determines a fixed ratio of the drain currents, about 1000 to one. The narrow, low-current drain contact is sensed to determine current in the high-current arm (the alternative is to place a small resistance in series with a single high-current drain, dissipating plenty of power and not getting high accuracy). Made by Motorola, Powerex and others.

sense of knowledge
Aphetic form of ``absence of knowledge.''

Example of use: as the WSJ reported on August 1, 2005 (article available on line from the Pittsburgh PG), the FDA and EPA delayed many years in issuing a public warning about mercury levels in canned tuna, and then issued one that was vague and apparently inadequate. Interviewed for the story, former EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt explained: ``Mercury is bad and fish is good. We needed to choose the right words that would give people a sense of knowledge without creating unwarranted fear.''

Safe and boring.

sens. obsc.
Latin, `obscure sense.' Heck, if they wanted to represent that in a way true to its meaning, they should have abbreviated it ``-e -o.''

sensu strictu
Latin, `strict sense,' literally (or in some sense strictly). Used equivalently to ``strictly speaking'' in English. In some other languages:
Italian: senso stretto
German: genau genommen.

Search Engine Optimization. Normally, ``foo optimization'' is optimization of foo... by adjustment of something that affects foo. In SEO, however, the object is to optimize the output of foo. Typically, it involves adjusting one's web pages or web site so as to optimize the position or visibility of the pages in web surfers' search results (SERPs, to be hip). Hint: a lot of web sites use so much Flash content that the search engine spiders don't find any search-worthy text. They may not be able to follow cleverly marked-up snazzy links.

Société Électrique de l'Our. The name is in French and the website is in German. Naturally, it's the Luxembourg power utility. The major stockholders in the concern are the Grand Duchy and a German company called RWE Power, each with a 40.3% stake.

The Our flows south for 78 km, approximately along the border of Germany with Belgium and then with Luxembourg; it is a tributary of the Sauer. I don't know how much of Luxembourg's electric power is hydroelectric; power companies like to emphasize their ``green'' side. Their homepage says they operate a pump-fed power station at Vianden (a historic town on the Our) for peak power production. They don't say what powers the pumps, but they go on quickly to say that they also operate hydroelectric and wind-power facilities.

Anyway, the river names are interesting. Sauer is a cognate of, and in ordinary contexts has the same meaning as, the English word sour. (See, however, the acid entry.) The name of the Our is apparently a French spelling of the old German name Ur. There's an evidently unrelated German word Uhr (same pronunciation) that means (and is cognate with) `hour' and also means `clock, watch.' There's another morpheme ur- which is more interesting.

Many English-speakers find ur- a useful prefix for which there is no adequate English translation. It refers to ultimate origin. Thus, ursprünglich is an adverb that can be translated `original' but feels more like `in ultimate origin.' English has borrowed Ursprache, `protolanguage,' and Urtext, `original text.' (In the relevant context, however, this ought to mean `original lyrics.') There is no known connection between this morpheme and the Biblical city of Ur whence came Abraham.

There might be a connection with the Latin orior, oriri, `to rise' (it looks funny because it's a deponent verb, okay?) and words like orient, origin, and abort that are ultimately derived from that. The Latin is believed to come from an Indo-European root *er-, with reflexes *ar, *or, *art(a) in Germanic, that yielded the English words are, arise, raise, [the verb] rear, and rise.

In Old High German, er was a preposition meaning `from, out of,' and ur was a semantically undifferentiated alternate pronunciation. Both forms ultimately ceased to be used prepositionally, but they survive as distinct prefixes. There is also an adverb eher, meaning `earlier,' which originated as a comparative form of er. So far I haven't been able to find a linguistic reference work that makes the connections I have failed to make explicit in this paragraph: that the er roots that yielded modern German ur- and eher are identical with the *er- that yielded origin. (It would also be interesting if there were a connection with the extinct aurochs, whose name is ultimately Germanic; in Old English, for example, the name was ur.)

Scorched Earth Party. Working to eradicate fools by brutish force. By clubbing, to be precise.

Self-Employed Pension.

Simplified Employee Pension. If your long-time employer were in bankrupcy, this could sound very ominous.

Solar Electric Propulsion. NASA acronym.

Somatosensory Evoked Potential.

Someone Else's Problem. A device that makes people not notice things. Introduced by Douglas Adams (DNA) in one of the sequels to his HHGttG.

Single Euro Payments Area. I guess that's like the eurozone version of a dollar-store checkout counter. Oh wait -- that would probably have to be a ``single-euro payments area.'' Maybe there's some clarification at the PSD entry.

(PRC) State Environmental Protection Administration. The PRC's highest (ministerial) administrative authority in environmental management. The agency that decides it's okay to keep building stupid dams. Until 1998, its name was often translated as National Environmental Protection Administration (NEPA).

Space Experiments with Particle ACcelerators. NASA acronym.

One of the separate, usually green bits that from the calyx of a flower. The calyx is the cup-like outer base of a flower. Most flowers have one, and there are usually two to five sepals in a calyx. The Spanish words are sépalo and cáliz. German is always good for a laugh: Kelchblatt and Blütenkelch, resp. Das Blatt is `the leaf' (of a tree or a book); die Blüte is `the blossom.' Die Blume is `the flower.' All of these Germanic bl- words are cognate with each other (and with the English words blade and bloom), and more distantly with Latin flor.

Der Kelch is `the goblet,' or similar drinking glass, and comes from an early (pre-Christian) adoption of the Latin calicem (accusative of calix) into West Germanic. Old English had a cognate, but later versions of the word, borrowed from ecclesiastical Latin and from Old French (in the thirteenth century and then again in the fourteenth), each successively extinguished use of earlier cognates, leaving Modern English with chalice.

The Latin calix that is the origin of the base noun of the German Blütenkelch (meaning calyx) is in fact unrelated to the word calyx. The Latin calyx is a borrowing of the Greek kályx (outer covering of a plant part such as a fruit, flower, or bud), which comes from the verb kalýptein , `to cover.' However, confusion of calix and calyx is common in the scientific literature, and calyx is now widely used for any cup-like organ.

separated at birth
Our little contribution to the tracking of this phenomenon is the observation that Anne Sweeney (Co-Chair Disney Media Networks and President, Disney-ABC Television Group), particularly as she appeared on the December 2005 cover of Pink magazine, is a twin of Angela Merkel, who became prime minister of Germany toward the end of 2005.

Japanese term for ritual suicide. Harakiri is just an ugly word that means `belly-slitting.'

This entry pahrt of the Japanese berry inaforamashan rin. Preeze now to proceed to sumo.

Service d'Études communes de La Poste et de France Télécom. [`Joint Research Service of the Post Office and France Telecom'] ``Recherche d'aujourd'hui: technologies et services de demain.'' [`Today's research: tomorrow's technologies and services.'] Electronic commerce, fancy email tricks, that sort of stuff. No English page yet. Was scheduled to become le CNET de Caen at the end of 1997.

South Eastern Pennsylvania Transporation Authority. City transit in greater Philadelphia, PA (system map here). Cf. NJT, PATCO.

séptimo arte
Spanish for `seventh art.' Alternate term for película (`film') or cine (`cinema, movies'). The term is predicated on the earlier designation of six beaux arts: architecture, dance, sculpture, music, painting, and poetry, in no particular order. Okay, in alphabetical order when translated into Spanish. Happy now? The term beaux arts itself is believed to have been coined by Charles Batteaux and introduced in his Les Beaux-Arts réduits à un même principe (1746). [In 1752 the term beaux arts also appeared in the famous encyclopedia of Diderot (and d'Alembert and others), but there it designated the four ``plastic arts'': architecture, sculpture, painting, and engraving.]

Ricciotto Canudo (b. 1879), an Italian film theorist, published a manifesto on October 25, 1911, entitled ``La Naissance d'un sixième art - Essai sur le cinématographe.'' (This was published in French because Canudo was by then established as a leading figure in the French avant-garde. Except while serving in the French and later the Italian military during WWI, Canudo lived in Paris from 1902 until his death in 1923.) In this manifesto he argued that cinema synthesized the ``spatial arts'' (architecture, sculpture, and painting) with the ``temporal arts'' (music and dance). Okay, the quoted terms are not literal quotes from the original essay. I suppose he wrote ``arts spatiaux et temporels'' or somesuch.

Anyway, at some point he seems to have noticed that there was already a sixth art, whichever it was, and by 1922 he had founded La gazette de sept arts. The next year he published an essay better known than the 1911 effort, this one probably entitled ``Manifeste des Sept Arts.'' The French Wikipédia page pour Canudo gives the title ``Manifeste du septième art,'' which seems more sensible to me, but l'université de Metz serves a page for Canudo that shows what appears to be a scan of the cover, with the Sept Arts title. In any case, that particular essay went through a few earlier versions, variously published in France and Italy. According to that U. Metz page, Canudo introduced the term le septième art in 1912.

A Roman praenomen that, while relatively unpopular in Roman times (see the tria nomina entry for a top-ten list) appears to have enjoyed a modest Anglophone vogue in recent centuries, becoming comparable in frequency to Quintus and Sextus, and clearly more frequent than Octavius in fiction. Perhaps the most famous Septimus was the Roman Emperor (193-211) L. Septimus Severus (here, of course, Septimus is a gentilicium). He seems to have taken his cognomen a bit too seriously, or severely. His personal motto was Laboremus, `let's work.' Notice the plural. I think it was Leibniz who looked forward to the day when moral questions could be resolved on a scientific basis. Then when an argument became heated, someone would simply say calculemus.

Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) clearly fancied the name Septimus. The most prominent Septimus in his work is Rev. Septimus Harding, who figures in his Barchester stories [The Warden, 1855; Barchester Towers, 1857; The Last Chronicle of Barset, 1867]. Trollope also has a Rev. Septimus Blake in The Way We Live Now (1875). In Phineas Redux (1874), one of his characters misremembers the name of Quintus Slide, publisher of salacious gossip, as ``Mr. Septimus Slope, or whatever his name is.''

In The Mystery of Edwin Drood, (1870), Charles Dickens (1812-1870) included a minor canon ``Rev. Septimus Crisparkle,'' so named, as explained parenthetically, ``because six little brother Crisparkles before him went out, one by one, as they were born, like six weak little rushlights, as they were lighted.'' Dickens chose memorable, evocative names that were often puns, onomatopoeic, or both, or close. In this instance, he has to insert a little story to make his pun. Other and better examples:

  1. Thomas Gradgrind, a great believer in Facts, and Dickens's representative of insensitive scientific materialism (not yet Scientific Materialism) in Hard Times (1854).
  2. Mr. M'Choakumchild, master of the experimental school established by Mr. Thomas Gradgrind.
  3. Luke Honeythunder, a somewhat detestable bureaucrat of the philanthropic persuasion, in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870). The story also has two orphans surnamed Landless (seems almost trite, after King John). A lot of orphans in this story. Another is ``Rosa Bud.'' This is ridiculous! Observe that Edwin Drood is dated to the year Dickens died. We don't get to find out how the novel was supposed to end.
  4. Miss Nipper (see the syllepsis entry).
  5. ``Pip'' (nickname of Philip Pirrip, hero of Great Expectations, first published in serial form 1860-61).
  6. Ebenezer Scrooge. Really, what more is there to say? A Christmas Carol, 1843.

Before moving on, back to Septimus, I'd like to mention Smerdyakov -- half-wit, maybe half-brother to The Brothers Karamazov (by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, as if you didn't know that, 1879-1880), and murderer of their father and himself. The name suggests his place of birth (an out-house).

Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) included both a Septimus and an Octavius in his The Moonstone (1868). Octavius Guy (that's a name) is bug-eyed, just like a lot of bass-players, and that's all I'm going to tell you about him, but it might be relevant. Septimus Luker (not ``Lukier,'' as it says in the Cyclopedia of Literary Characters) is a moneylender who takes the Moonstone diamond for safekeeping from a guy who stole it and who is eventually found dead. A moneylender is a shady character -- someone who may be engaged in a legit business, but irregular opportunities have a way of cropping up. Now think about Bogie. In The Maltese Falcon he plays a private detective, and in Casablanca a nightclub owner. Two demimondain professions. In each case, Bogie gets care of a highly valued piece of stolen property, and various people die in mysterious circumstances. As for scary or scared-looking eyes, I can't remember whether that's covered in MF.

Wilkie Collins, I might mention, made a career writing novels that were disparaged in his time as ``sensational'' (Moonstone was not in this category). Eventually, I'll probably mention another of his novels at the nemo entry. Can't wait, huh? Collins had a close personal association with Charles Dickens from about 1851 until the latter's death; his younger brother Charles married Dickens's daughter Katie.

One of the landmarks of twentieth-century fiction is Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (1925). (I'm writing in freshman essay mode, eh?) One of the important characters, by some measures the most courageous and sympathetic, and clearly representing Virginia Woolf's romantic rebellion against nineteenth-century rationalism (What, again? Didn't Dickens cover that in Hard Times?) is Septimus Warren Smith. He's married to an Italian woman named Lucrezia, but in this story he and not she commits suicide. It's a wonder professors who have to read hundreds of freshman comp essays don't commit suicide pretty often too. Three suicides mentioned so far in this entry, by my count. Ah, literature. I firmly approve the use of uncommon names for people with common surnames, but this seems to happen more in fiction than in life. Vide camp.

You know, having slogged through to the end of this entry myself, I have to admit it grows a bit dutiful after this point, even boring. You might as well follow the camp link.

Disraeli's Vivian Grey (1826) included a young barrister named Mr. Septimus Sessions. Oh, and it turns out we're not quite through with Reverends Septimi. George Meredith (1828-1909) put a Rev. Septimus Barmby in his One of Our Conquerors (1891).

John O'Keefe (1747-1833) had a hit with the play ``The Doldrum'' (like, 1798 or so, published in 1803). This sported both a Septimus (played by Mr. Quick; sometimes you wonder which names aren't invented) and a Captain Septimus (Mr. Middleton).

The other play I can find that features a modern Septimus (not counting the Edwin Drood stage adaptation by Joseph Hatton, 1841-1907) is ``Pork Chops, Or A Dream At Home'' (1860) by E. L. Blanchard, ``a Farcical Extravaganza IN ONE ACT.'' This features a Septimus Snooks, ``a Gentleman connected with the Press---vulgo---Penny-a-liner---with the `Life of a Vagabond' '' according to the front matter.

Joaquin Miller (1837-1913) included the interesting rich widow of one Septimus Boggs in a long poem called ``The Baroness of New York'' (1877). Miller was an interesting character in his own right, so interesting that I hardly know where to begin, so I won't.

In 1978 there was a UK TV series called ``The Body in Question,'' written and hosted by Jonathan Miller, an interesting character in his own right (his professional life has alternated between medicine and the theater and related areas). In one episode the following exchange from Hard Times is quoted:

``Are you in pain, dear mother?''

``I think there's a pain somewhere in the room,'' said Mrs. Gradgrind, ``but I couldn't positively say that I have got it.''


SERine. An amino acid. More at S.

Serpens. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Soft Error Rate. The rate of information errors not associated with permanent damage to the machine. Soft errors are also referred to as ``recoverable.''


Latin, Servius. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina.

The two other common praenomina are Sextus (Sex.) and Spurius (S. or Sp.).

Spanish: `large basket' (usually without handles). An uncommon word, at least in my experience. More common words for basket are espuerta, canasta (for most acceptions, including the card game, shopping basket, basket of currencies, etc.), and canasto (usually large and lidded). (As always, usage varies by region.) In Latin America and Andalucía, sera is a homophone of cera, `wax.'

The word seda (`silk') doesn't sound too similar to sera in Spanish, but it could be confused as pronounced by many non-native speakers: The letter ``d'' in Spanish is pronounced like the voiced fricative ``th'' in the English words they, these. The noninitial single letter ``r'' in Spanish is pronounced like the flap consonant that many or most American English speakers use for intervocalic ``d'' (and intervocalic ``t''). See also será next:

Spanish: `will be.' More precisely, será is the third-person singular future form of the verb ser (`to be'). The word became well-known in Anglophone America because of the song ``Que Será Será.'' This was Doris Day's signature song, and there's more about all that at the Victoria Day entry.

The song lyrics include the same phrase in English: `Whatever will be will be.' This is almost an inspired translation. One day I should come back to this entry and write a dissertation on the differences between what and whatever, and the twisted ways that they do and don't map into ¿qué?, lo que, and que.

English-speakers and sloppy spellers of all tongues write the word without the accent: ``sera.'' This spelling moves the stress to the penult. There's actually a word with that spelling.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

SouthEast Regional Center for the (US) National Institute for Global Environmental Change.

Not conscious.

Singapore Eye Research Institute.

Solar Energy Research Institute. Name and acronym of a couple of institutes in a couple of countries. The SERI in sunny Golden, Colorado, was a facility of the US government. It began operating one year and one day after the US bicentennial celebration. The following August 4, Pres. Jimmy Carter signed The Department of Energy Organization Act, which brought the DoE into being and brought SERI under its aegis. In 1991, the first president Bush elevated SERI to the status of a national laboratory and changed the name to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Universiti Kebangsaan, a/k/a the National University of Malaysia, established its SERI on July 1, 2005. Suri, the daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, was born April 18, 2006 (except according to the National Enquirer). I think that explains everything. Cf. SERIS.

The 1992 book from Routledge entitled Nationalisms and Sexualities -- don't laugh yet, that's not the punch line! -- was edited by Andrew Parker, Mary Russo, Doris Sommer, and Patricia Yaeger. Here is the first sentence of the preface:
    Nationalisms and Sexualities was first imagined at Eve Sedgwick's house in Amherst, Massachusetts during a pajama party attended by the editors and several members of the editorial board of the newly-launched journal Genders.

That was the punch line.

A ``historic international conference'' resulted, held at Harvard June 16-18, 1989, sponsored by the Harvard Center for Literary and Cultural Studies, the Radcliffe Project on Interdependence, and Amherst College. I was kind of expecting something like ``Amherst College Initiative on Gendered Discourses of the Other,'' but it just says ``Amherst College.'' I guess they don't believe in compartmentalizing that stuff. They let all the fine individual participations of the college redound to the enhanced reputation of the whole.

Just in case you were thinking of inviting me to your next conference-brainstorming session, I think you should know: I sleep naked.

Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore. Singapore's national institute for applied solar energy research, organized within the National University of Singapore (NUS) and sponsored by NUS and Singapore's National Research Foundation (NRF) through the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). I'm pretty much quoting here; I don't plan to sort out what that means, very precisely. It troubles me when a scientific or engineering research institute's main Internet presence appears to be on Facebook. Cf. SERI.

SEars, ROebuck, and COmpany. Abbreviation popular about a century ago, and an honest-to-God acronym, or notarikon at least.

Surface-Enhanced Raman Optical Data Storage. Data storage based on modification of optical Raman scattering magnitude.

5-Hydroxytryptamin, a neurotransmitter amine. L-tryptofan is precursor. Here're a couple of articles: (1), (2). Well, actually, the first link seems to be dead, but maybe it'll come back. Let's be optimistic. There, there, why don't we start an SSRI regimen?

Search-Engine Results Page.

SERPAJ, Serpaj
Servicio Paz y Justicia. A mostly Latin American human rights organization.

SERTraline. An SSRI.

Système Électronique de Renseignements par Téléphone. French for `Electronic system for information by telephone.' Not just any information -- tax information. Information about Canadian taxes, in French, from the the folks who collect it. Sounds like a conflict of interest to me. ``Électronique'' means that the answerer is electronic. You already knew that the phone connection was electronic. No, I don't know the number (check here). In English, the service is T.I.P.S.

Dave Barry explains about the US version of this telephone, uh, service that it's just no good. They tell you to write clearly and not make arithmetic mistakes, instead of telling you how to cheat without getting caught.

Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment. An Internet voting system developed by the Pentagon for U.S. citizens overseas to participate in elections and primaries. The experiment was originally scheduled to run sometime in 2004, at least by the time of the national elections on November 2. In the initial experiment, only selected counties were to participate. (I.e., citizens overseas would have been able to participate in the experiment only if their legal residence was in certain counties.) SERVE was announced in January 2004 and immediately criticized by computer security experts. Four members of a ten-member peer-review Pentagon committee urged cancellation of the program. On February 4, the Pentagon announced that it was cancelling it.

Why was it the Pentagon that was doing this? Because the relevant agency (FVAP) is within the Department of Defense (DoD). During the Florida vote-counting morass in 2000, it was widely reported that most Americans voting from abroad were in or with the military. In January 2004, when SERVE was publicized, it was reported that of the six million U.S. voters living overseas, most are members of the military or their relatives. Although statistics about Americans abroad are strikingly uncertain, it is clear that these claims, at least, are false. See the FVAP entry for more.

service learning
Learning while, or by, performing a community service. Also called community-based leaning (CBL, q.v.). Performing a service for an individual who might be a member of a community is considered community service, so community is basically just a meaningless feel-good word.

serving size
This is a food-science term for the amount of food that you are served or that you serve yourself during a single food-consumption episode. Let's examine this concept with an example: Lindt-brand ``Lindor Truffles.'' These are fine, moderately priced chocolates without truffles. They are sold in chocolate-bar-shaped packages containing little square chocolate pieces with smooth filling. The squares are arranged in a two-dimensional array: six rows of three chocolate squares each, or three rows of six-piece columns, depending on how you hold the box. We're going to ignore oblique possibilities and just think rectilinearly. I can tell that your mouth is watering right now.

According to the theory of relativity, these six-rows-of-three-piece-columns or three-rows-of-six-piece-columns compass equal quantities of chocolate (in the ``rest frame,'' if you haven't opened the box yet). A separate calculation shows that this quantity is eighteen (18) chocolate pieces. This number is confirmed at three separate places on the outside of the box -- which makes sense: once you can read the inside of the box, you can probably tell how many pieces there are by the methodology of direct inspection. This has to be what people mean when they talk about ``thinking outside the box.''

Flipping the box over carefully, we find an information region labeled ``Nutrition Facts.'' (There is separate text, bearing the rubric ``Ingredients,'' which evidently does not contain nutrition facts, in some application of that term.) In order to state the nutrition facts clearly, it is necessary to state the nutrition content using intensive measures (in the thermodynamic sense) rather than extensive ones.

``Serving size'' is the food-science concept that makes this intellectual transformation possible. Intensive quantities are stated in ordinary extensive units like grams, but these quantities represent ``amount per serving.'' In our chosen example (Lindt-brand Lindor Truffles), the serving size is

[Information Facts: Normally I don't bother, but in this entry it seemed apropos to indicate the ``information serving size.'' Studies indicate that at approximately this point, give or take a word or two, readers pause to digest the information so far consumed. One serving of glossary entry contains 16% of the recommended daily value (DV) of information for the sort of adult who consumes 2000 bytes per day.]

39 grams. Given that the net weight in the package is 100 g, a serving size of 39  might seem a bit fussy. After all, they might have chosen a serving size of 40 g, which divides evenly into two packages. (Don't tell me you selfishly bought only one!) I'm sure that Lindt & Sprüngli GmbH catches a lot of flack for this, and I'm here to tell you it is just completely unfair. A sober reappraisal of the relevant nutrition fact -- ``Serv. Size 7 pieces (39g)'' -- suggests that

You know how some sites say ``under construction''? Here you actually get to see the construction underway.

Secondary-Electron Spectroscopy. Vide Electron Beam (EB).

Severe Errored Seconds.

SocioEconomic Status. Very common sociology acronym. Since it's got a familiar name, you can assume you know what it means instead of thinking about how vague the concept is.

Société Européenne des Satellites.

Spin Echo Spectroscopy.

Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program. Administered by the Committee on Continuing Education of the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

Scientists and Engineers for Social and Political Action. Defunct. See the SftP entry, which is still breathing.

Secure Electronic (financial) Transaction.

Securities Exchange of Thailand. That was the name when trading began on the SET in 1975. In 1991, the name changed to ``Stock Exchange of Thailand.'' Actually, the name didn't change on its own; the name was changed to ``Stock Exchange of Thailand.'' It just goes to show how important the passive voice is. If the antojo ever siezes me, to research up any real information about SET and slather it in a neat layer over this section of the esses, I'll probably put it at the other SET entry.

Single-Electron Transistor.

Single-Electron Tunneling. AKA singletronics.

Special Edition Turbo.

Stock Exchange of Thailand. It changed its name from ``Securities Exchange of Thailand'' (SET) at the beginning of CY 1991.

Student Evaluation of Teaching.

Scientific, Engineering, and Technical Assistance.

setback to the Mideast Peace Process
Somebody or other got killed. Not that this means anything. Just don't stop the Peace Process. Don't even think about it.

Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. This is something NASA does. (In Britain, this is what NASA do, but an American who construes a collective noun as a plural just sounds like one of those over-correcting bastards who insists that data be construed plural.)

Actually, it's not something NASA does anymore, since Congress cut funding in 1993. The project has been continued with private contributions -- see the SETI Institute and the SETI League. Listen to Coast-to-Coast AM long enough, and you're bound to hear about it.

In the SBF, we conduct a very similar enterprise, which is the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). It's been suggested that Hungary might be a good place to search.

The Planetary Society hosts back issues of Bioastronomy News (scroll down to it there), the official publication of the International Astronomy Union's Commission 51, which worries about such things.

Back in the 1990's, I think, you could let your computer participate in the search in its spare time while you were away. It would help search for less-likely-to-be-noise patterns in the electronic noise of outer space. (The link is dead, okay? Now you can use your personal computer, when you're not using it for anything else and even when you are, to search for the search program of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence on Earth, or cyberspace or wherever.)

Settled Fact
A false belief based on arguments forgotten before they could be refuted.

Ha-ha! Just kidding! Of course: everyone knows that belief is not based on reasoned argument. Not even true belief.

Single Event Upset. Come-on! Take it like a man! If you want to be the alpha male, you've got to be able to take the alpha particle hits.

Smallest Executable Unit.

Well, there are always arguments about whether viruses are alive, yet there's no question but that you can kill them anyway.

Survey of English Usage.

Seven Habits of Higthly Effective foobar, The
No longer a book title, not even just a book series, but a title meme. There's nothing left to do but contemplate future titles.

Seven Sisters
Seven prestigious private colleges founded as women's colleges. Only some of them are ``sister schools'' of Ivy League colleges.

Radcliffe College was in Cambridge along with Harvard, but was absorbed into Harvard in the 1970's. All that remains is a Radcliffe Institute (research into Women's studies, um, broadly defined) and annual campaigns for money from Radcliffe alumnae. (See the seriousness entry for a sample of the Institute's good work.) Barnard is across the street from Columbia.

Wellesley is a dozen miles from Harvard and Bryn Mawr a dozen miles from the University of Pennsylvania. Vassar College (in Poughkeepsie, NY) and Cornell (in Ithaca, NY) are both less than half a dozen miles from nowhere, but they're different nowheres, nowheres near each other, no way. Well, Vassar is a bit over 30 miles from West Point. Basically, this sister has no big brother. Mount Holyoke, the eldest sister, and Smith College, are both in Massachusetts.

``Trangeneration,'' a documentary series that aired on the Sundance Channel in September 2005, featured four transgender students described as ``two women and two men.'' One of the students, Lukas, was transitioning from female to male while attending Smith College. I do not know why Lukas decided to attend Smith College, but I can see it from at least a couple of angles. It also means that anyone who looks at his résumé now will notice a sort of discrepancy. (Another student, a Filipino scholarship student at UCLA, bought hormones from street dealers for a fraction of the price of medical estrogen. Estrogen is available as a street drug? Why order from Canada when discount pricing is as close as the nearest inner city?)

According to a 2005.09.15 article in the San Francisco Chronicle (byline Reyhan Harmanci), ``legal and social pressure has resulted in administrative changes at many schools. The main issues are in the places where normative gender is enforced -- restrooms, on-campus housing, sports teams. Gender-neutral restrooms have become the standard at Wesleyan University, Oberlin, University of Massachusetts, the University of Chicago, Sarah Lawrence College, the University of New Hampshire, Beloit College in Wisconsin and several other schools.'' This is gonna wreak havoc with Title IX.

Bryn Mawr's grad school has been integrated, but the undergraduate college is still all-female. I'll just keep adding facts at random.

seventh art
English translation of the Spanish phrase séptimo arte, q.v.

Sextans. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.


Latin, Sextus. My favorite praenomen abbreviation, unfortunately only means `the sixth,' even when ...expanded.

The two other common praenomina are Servius (Ser.) and Spurius (S. or Sp.). You say you don't know what a praenomen is? Well shame on you! All you had to do was ask and be berated! (We're trying to reproduce the traditional Latin pedagogical experience here, see?) It's explained at the tria nomina entry.

A name to watch out for is Sextus Empiricus, a physician and Skeptic philosopher of the second century BC. A Greek who may have taught in Rome or Alexandria, he is normally called Sextus, with that being taken as his name in the Greek style, Latinized. Then Empiricus is regarded as an epithet referring to the fact that he was a member of the ``Empirical school'' of physicians (although he did not agree completely with that school). However, and particularly with the little that we know of him, it cannot be ruled out Empiricus was his gens or family name.

Software EXchange. Oooh! Give it to me, babeeee!

Surface Extended X-ray Absorption Fine-Structure (EXAFS).


sex-change operation
I just want to mention Siprotes and Teresias. The goddess Artemis performed a sex-change operation on the Cypriot Siprotes after he saw her bathing. I suppose you could call that an elegant solution. Better than what she did to Actaeon, anyway (described at the ARTF entry).

I only said I wanted to mention Teresias.

You know, the trouble with a love letter is that you put a lot of work into writing it and making it personal and everything, but after all that effort you send it to very few people. Fortunately, I have a place to deposit such subliterary odds'n'ends. (This glossary.)

To Miss X------:

   I know a bold woman like you can have any boy she
wants, and I know you know you are a ``man-eater.''  I
see you with other boys -- my rivals -- and I always
check them out.  What makes *them* so special?  Why
not me?

When that day I long for comes, when you finally turn
your gaze upon me and I quickly glance down at my
knees, a smile playing at the corner of my blushing
cheek, you know you will have me.

But I don't want to be just another notch in your
lipstick case.

The guys you've been with before, they're just ``loose
men.''  They only want you for ... for what's between
your legs!  *I'm not that kind of guy.*  Oh sure, I
think about, you know, down there.  Nice guys have
needs too.  But I want you to respect me after we....

I'm not like those empty-headed boys you've known.  I'm
a quality person.  I have serious interests, I watch
Animal Planet, I read magazines.  That's why I look up
to you, not just because you're on top.  I'm the kind
of guy who can appreciate the woman that you are --
your education, your seriousness, your sense of humor,
your income.

xxxooo (heart) xxoo,
your Secret Admirer.

P.S. I want to have your baby!

sex change operations
They should never be performed, because they create linguistic chaos. Oh -- the unbearable, unendurable emotional stress of deciding among he, she, and it! But that's not all! Proper academic citation becomes intolerably burdensome. For example, I just read this: ``Ever since the publication of Donald (now Deirdre) McCloskey's The Rhetoric of Economics in 1985, questions concerning the material basis for culture have focused on the motivated rhetoric of such putatively descriptive accounts....'' Well, at least there's something interestingly self-referential about that.

sex in space
In outer space, that is. It's a moderately popular topic of fiction, as indicated by this Wikipedia article. They don't mention a pornographic film called The Uranus Project. It is reported (here) that scenes were filmed on a Russian research plane capable of simulating microgravity (parabolic flightpaths), but the scenes I saw were apparently, um, performed in ordinary (non-freefall) conditions.

A much tamer and lamer cinematic treatment of sex in space occurs in Moonraker. Roger Moore (as James Bond) and Lois Chiles (Bond Girl ``Dr. Holly Goodhead'' -- Ian Fleming was a satirist, you know) are shown post coitus in an orbiting space shuttle. They are obviously floating in zero gravity, but some mysterious force causes her hair and the sheet covering them to hang earthward.

Astronauts may have sex on the ground, of course, or in bed if they prefer. Apparently this is something that shuttle astronauts Lisa Nowak and Bill Oefelein did, for a couple of years while they were married to other people. Then they broke up and Oefelein took up with Colleen Shipman. On February 5, 2007, Nowak drove 900 miles from her home in Houston to Orlando, Florida, where she confronted Shipman. The confrontation led to charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary with assault and battery against Nowak. Nowak -- at least as of as May 2007 -- and Oefelein were in the Navy. Ironically enough, but not ironically enough to merit a spot in our Nomenclature is destiny entry, Shipman is not in the Navy. She's an Air Force Captain. I guess you could say it was an inter-service rivalry.

News reports described Nowak's 900-mile drive as ``bizarre,'' apparently just because she wore an astronaut diaper so she wouldn't have to stop. Her lawyer has insisted that she didn't wear a diaper, that those were left over in the car from an earlier trip with a baby along.

sex sells
That old saw was my first thought when I opened Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices Volume II Plus Famous Restaurants and Night Clubs of the World (Herter's Inc., 1968), by George Leonard Herter and Berthe E. Herter. The ``Introduction'' is a few lines at the bottom of the title-and-copyright-and-introduction page, quoting... George Leonard Herter:
``People who honestly appreciate gastronomic miracles or in other words really good cooking never worry about their weight while they eat, anymore than a man worries about his heart while having sexual intercourse with a good looking woman.''

[Punctuation and the rest sic.]

But that isn't what prompted my thought of the old saw, because I didn't notice the ``introduction.'' I noticed the facing page, page 3, which begins the Meats section with ``Toulouse Lautrec Chicken.'' An illustration dominates the page. Its caption begins ``This painting is called `Friendship' by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec'' and ends ``[t]he name of this painting is probably one of the greatest understatements ever made.'' The painting shows a reclining couple facing each other; she is topless. At first you don't even notice her hand. (Either it's horribly deformed or that part of the painting wasn't very carefully executed.)

Present participle of the verb to sext, a blend of sex and text. Sexting is an application of texting technology and a perversion of the genteel practice of phone sex.

Early in January 2007, when she was in a twelve-step program for her ``addiction issues,'' Lindsay Lohan spent a lot of time sexting Brody Jenner. Brody, the son of Olympian Bruce Jenner, has achieved fame by appearing on a reality show and dating celebutantes. At the time, he had just signed a deal to be a ``spokesman'' for Scope mouthwash. Was he supposed to say things, or just open his mouth? When asked by <Usmagazine.com> to comment on the Lohan story, Jenner said, ``Sorry, dude. I don't text and tell.'' Chivalry is not dead.

sexual politics
Makes estranged bedfellows.

sexual self-identification
Remember, you can't spell sexual self-identification without cation. See? It's all about chemistry.

sex work
PC euphemism for prostitution. The respected profession of industrious STD vectors. It's a lifestyle choice and it's a form of slavery too! I suppose the modern term for a brothel should ``a sex works.''

Carl K. SEYFERT (1911-60). In 1943, he drew attention (in ApJ, vol. 97, pp. 28ff) to a class of galaxies (now called Seyfert galaxies, or Seyferts) characterized by bright compact cores (now called Seyfert nuclei) that show strong emission in the infrared.

Eye dialect for SAYS.

Special Economic Zone. A term used by the government of India since 2000, for regions where tax abatements and investments in infrastructure are intended to encourage manufacturing investment.

The US Congress once designated the entire Commonwealth of Puerto Rico a special economic zone, in fact if not in name, and exempted companies from paying taxes on profits earned from manufacturing there. They sez the system was gamed, and Congress rescinded the tax break in 2006. But after that many companies shuttered their manufacturing plants in PR, and they sez it hurt the economy there. I sez you can't have it all both ways; if rescinding the tax break hurt the economy, it suggests the tax break was helping it (however inefficiently). That wasn't the only problem, but in any case, as of 2016, PR has been on the brink of bankruptcy (a legal remedy that isn't legally available to US territories such as PR -- yet or possibly ever) for a couple of years.

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