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(Domain code for) Slovenia. There is a pair of English (to/from) Slovene dictionaries online.

There's A Guide to Virtual Slovenia. Ariadne, ``The European and Mediterranean link resource for Research, Science and Culture,'' has a page of national links.

Salt Institute. An institute concerned with sodium chloride. If you visit their place after a snow, maybe you should drive there in a rented car. If you visit their website, you should save anything you need from other browser windows and be prepared to kill the browser process. The top-level links require password authorization but don't say so, and it's difficult to make the password dialogue box go away once it's popped up. (Keep clicking the Cancel button; eventually it may work.) Anyway, the site was appallingly badly organized, with a majority of links screwed up as of my visit in February 2007. The site does seem to have useful content. However, this should be taken cum grano salis. Here are some useful direct links to some numbered pages:
  1. An FAQ, with mostly working, mostly correct links. This might be the best starting point.
  2. ``What is the Salt Institute?'' (It's ``a non-profit association of salt producers (manufacturers) founded in 1914.'' It claims to be ``the world's foremost source of authoritative information about salt (sodium chloride) and its more than 14,000 known uses.''
  3. ``The Salt Industry.'' About 240 million tons were sold in 2005, and market is growing slowly (about 1.5% annually). Some salt production is ``captive'': it's produced as an intermediate in chemical manufacture and never reaches market as salt. In 2003, 37% of salt that did reach market was purchased for chlorine generation in the production of PVC, so you can imagine. China became the world's biggest producer in 2005 or so, edging out the US 48 to 46 million tons in 2006. (This figure seems to exclude captive production, so take it with a grain of salt.)
  4. News.
  5. ``What is Salt?'' Physical and also some chemical properties; a bit on toxicity.
  6. ``History of Salt.''

Scientific Image.

Secondary Investigator. Term used in government contracts and grants to designate a person other than the PI who is responsible for part of the work.

Semantic Interpretation.


Shift In. ASCII 0F hex (CTRL-O). Cf. SO.

SIlicon (q.v.).

Single Image.

Socialist International. That's right, International is used as a noun. Of less interest, this entity has an official web site, and there's even a site in America.

Spark Ignition. Ignition of the fuel-air mix in a combustion chamber by means of an electric spark. Well, I suppose they might use a mechanical flint-and-steel arrangement, but that could get old pretty fast. SI is what happens in an ordinary gasoline engine that is operating properly. In principle there can be, and over time there have been, many kinds of internal combustion engine where combustion is initiated by a spark. In practice, most internal combustion engines (ICE's) use spark ignition, and most SI engines use some version of the Otto cycle. Following this in popularity among SI engines are two-stroke engines. The other large class of ICE's use compression ignition (CI), which for practical purposes means Diesel engines.

Sports Illustrated. An annual magazine devoted to swimsuits. The rest of the year, they offer sports news to protect their right to the shelf space.

For the Y2K edition, twenty models posed for a total of about 130,000 shots (in Las Alamandas, Mexico) of which about 100 were eventually used (not sure all 20 models appeared in the issue either). I dunno, man, that sounds suspiciously like the case of all those nude scenes that are filmed for the benefit of the cutting-room floor. Appearing in the SI swimsuit issue is such a boost for the models' careers that they accept union scale -- $300/day in 1999 -- instead of the thousands per shoot they usually command.

You're probably thinking: everyone knows that SI stands for Sports Illustrated, the swimsuit-issue magazine, so this entry is superfluous. Absolutely everyone knows about the swimsuit issue, right?

For months each Spring, it's prominently displayed in its own case in all drugstores. No one could miss it, right? Au contraire! Newsmaking counterexample coming.

Système International (d'Unités). Designates ``official'' system of units, as promulgated by an international society of Frenchmen.

Here's a start.

Here's an end, because I'm too lazy to write any more.

Hey, I'm back! Here's another.

The voice of the revolution.

Some instant conversions.

Some bad puns based on numerical SI prefixes.

Satellite Industry Association.

Scaffold Industry Association. When Texas started executing capital criminals by lethal injection, they had difficulty finding physicians to participate in the execution, due in part to the opposition of the AMA. Where does the SIA stand on this issue?
[Answer: away from the trap door.]

Semiconductor Industry Association. Based in San Jose, CA.

Società Interbancaria per l'Automazione.

Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone Secretion.

Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Informal: SIBling.


Société Internationale de Bibliographie Classique.

Producer (copyright-holder) of l'APh.

Sequential Interference Cancellation. SIC and PIC (parallel) are favored by industry because they are compatible with the current transmission coding. Adaptive linear filters are favored in academic research but require (to keep computational complexity low) short PN sequences not so compatible.

Silicon Carbide. Valued as an abrasive, in which application it is also known as Crystolon (it has hardness 9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale). At the microscopic level, the bulk material looks like diamond with silicon atoms substituted for half the carbons. Recall that diamond is not a Bravais lattice, but instead is a face-centered cubic lattice (FCC) with a basis of two carbon atoms. SiC is the crystal one obtains by replacing one of those carbons by a silicon. There's another name for this: Zincblende structure.

As an electronic material, SiC is interesting as a compound semiconductor grown by epitaxial techniques. There are upwards of 180 different microscopic structures assumed by epi-SiC, but three are of greatest interest for electronic applications -- 3C, 4H, and 6H. In this notation, C stands for cubic symmetry and H for hexagonal, and the number represents the inverse stacking period. I.e., 3C is a cubic structure in which the atomic pattern repeats with a period of three layers, etc. 3C-SiC has a band gap of 2.3 eV, 4H and 6H are larger (I think I recall). 3C-SiC has a relative dielectric constant of 9.7, 4H and 6H have 10. All have a thermal conductivity of about 4 W/K-cm (cf. about 1.3 for GaN, 0.3? for GaAs). All have high dielectric breakdown fields; 3C is lowest with 1.8 × 106 V/m.

Silicon Carbon. A general alloy of silicon and carbon, typically with very little carbon. Distinguished from silicon carbide, SiC, supra. A special case of SiGeC.

Standard Industrial Classifications of the US, now replaced by NAICS.


The Latin word for ``thus,'' used by writers to indicate that a solecism occurring in quoted material was in the original. The word evolved into si (`yes') in a number of Romance languages. For example, in Spanish (Castillian, to be precise), `yes' is , and the word thus is así.

Southern Institute on Children & Families.

Serial Item and Contribution Identifier. ANSI/NISO standard Z39.56. Widely used in electronic classification of serial issues. In context of other unique-identifier systems, see description from BIC.

SIdewall base-COntact Structure. [See T. Nakamura, et al., IEEE J. Solid State Circuits 17, 226 (1982).]

SIdewall base-COntact Structure (SICOS) based on Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrate.

Siculorum Gymnasium.

Society for Intercultural Comparative Studies. It ``seeks to foster the growing community of scholars in the field of cultural criticism by providing an on-going and open forum for discussion.''

Is it politically correct to criticize culture?

It seems that the principal comparison is between East and West.

Sociedad Internacional de la Ciencia del Suelo. Spanish name of the International Society of Soil Science -- AISS in French, IBG in German, ISSS (main entry here) in English.

It's interesting to note that the word expanding the second ess of the head term here, suelo, means `soil' outdoors and `floor' indoors (so it sort of designates whatever is the surface underfoot). The words for sky and ceiling work somewhat similarly: sky is cielo and ceiling is cielo raso (literally `flat sky'). (This is also commonly written cielorraso, which has the pronunciation: initial r is the same phoneme as intervocalic rr.) The word cielo is sometimes used alone for ceiling. The words suelo and cielo differ by only a single sound in Latin America and parts of Andalucia (i.e., the consonants in su and ci are the same).

A close synonym of suelo is piso. Both words are common, and though they have different shades of meaning, I doubt that the distinctions are consistent across the Spanish-speaking world. In the Argentine dialect, or maybe just in my idiolect, suelo is more likely than piso to be used in the figurative sense of an abstract lower bound (like a price floor), and piso is more likely than suelo to refer to the surface of the floor (the `flooring').

There are various other partly synonymous words. Techo is a surface overhead, so a cielorraso (sometimes pronounced and spelled cieloraso) is one kind of techo, and azotea (`roof') is another. [In my dialect, however, the word azotea is rare and techo is implicitly `roof.' Also in my dialect, tierra (`ground') is the common word for the material soil. Tierra is the universal Spanish term for electronic ground. To land (an airplane) is aterrizar (un avión).]

Security IDentifier.

Signaling IDentifier.

Society for Information Display.

Sports Information Director. The media liaison of a college or university athletic program. The SID probably doesn't do a lot of what you'd think of as ``directing,'' but at any school with a great football traditionTM, the SID outranks a mere full professor, so some more exalted title is necessary.

Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance.

AIDS in Italian (sindrome da inmunodeficienza acquisita). Same in Spanish (Síndrome de Inmunodeficiencia Adquirida) and French (syndrome immunodéficitaire acquis).

Secretaría de Inteligencia del Estado (argentino). `Secretariat for (Argentine) state intelligence.' Note that secretaria, without the [graphical] accent (and hence with stress on the first a), means `[female] secretary.'

Waitresses (used in the generic sense in this entry, to include waiters) work in shifts, often short or split ones to accommodate the variable traffic. There are usually times, particularly in a full shift, when there are no or few customers. During this down time, the waitresses may be required to do what's called ``sidework.''

Typical sidework includes refilling salt and pepper shakers, topping off bottles of ketchup and hot sauce, folding silverware into narrow florets of napkin, inserting lists of specials into menus (or attaching them in some way), changing place settings for different meals (coffee cups and saucers for breakfast, etc.), and assembling pizza boxes and the like. It may even include -- gasp -- actual food preparation, like chopping vegetables. Until the 1990's, mating ketchup bottles was still a common sort of sidework, but plastic ketchup bottles have now taken over.

Busboys' sidework tends to be more about clean-up, but there's some overlap and practices vary. (Yes, busboy is used in the generic sense that includes busgirls.) In some places, particularly buffet-style restaurants and smaller family-run restaurants, the jobs of waitress and busboy are combined. During reliably slow periods, a restaurant may temporarily do without busboys and waitresses. I have the impression that increasingly, large restaurant chains are using fewer busboys. The Charlie Brown's chain of steakhouses, in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, used busboys for until 2007, but when I was there twice in July 2008, they were nowhere in evidence.

Società Italiana di Ortodonzia. `Italian Society of Orthodontics.'

Structured Interview for DSM Personality Disorders.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Leading cause of death among US infants.

Store Interrupt Descriptor Table.

Società Italiana di Endodonzia. `Italian Society of Endodontics.'

Start Interpretive Execution. Martha Graham meets Saddam Hussein? Nah, just an IBM term for the instruction that causes the CPU to enter interpretive-execution mode and begin running the guest program.

Stress-Induced Excess Current. In SiO2 films, say.

Inverse ohm. Like all name units in the SI, this should not be capitalized when spelled out. Replaces ``mho.''

A German electronics conglomerate.

(Mechanical) Stress Intensity Factor.

Source Input Format. Term used for video -- common formats are MPEG, NTSC, PAL, SECAM.


Studi Italiani di Filologia Classica. `Italian Studies in Classical Philology,' a journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Special Interest Group. Productive prefix in acronyms, and especially popular with the ACM, as for example in SIGART and SIGCOMM. It's not just an ACM thing, though; I notice, for example, that ACTFL also uses this acronym, and encourages its members to join its SIG's.

sigact, SIGACT
SIGnificant ACTion. US military jargon for anything that significantly affects friendly or enemy forces.

ACM Special Interest Group on ARTificial Intelligence. They offer an ``Electronic Information Service.''

ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (CHI).

ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communications. It would be newsworthy if they didn't have a homepage.

ACM Special Interest Group on Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Oh wait -- that's not it. It's the SIG on Computer Personnel Research of the ACM. Well, at least I was close.

ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) on Design Automation.

ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) on DOCumentation. Also the name of a conference, now held jointly with IPCC.

Silicon-Germanium. An alloy of silicon and germanium that may be more precisely described as Si1-xGex (just try saying that thirty times in the course of a seminar), where the atomic Ge concentration x is in the range of about 0.1 to 0.35. SiGe is grown epitaxially in alternation with silicon to produce pseudomorphic heterostructures. Si/SiGe is the most common group-IV system for heterostructures. The growth has to be done at low enough temperature that the germanium doesn't segregate, but high enough that the atoms can diffuse to produce surfaces without structural defects. The usual compromise is around 550-600 °C. With surfactant impurities (such as Sb) to suppress Ge segregation, this can be raised to 650 °C (this is necessary to achieve the higher Ge concentrations).

Properly, Si1-x-yGexCy. A ternary variation of SiGe. Carbon concentration is typically in the range 1% to 4% (i.e., y ranbging from 0.01 to 0.04). Now grown by UHV-CVD for device applications. It stands to reason. Research prefers simple systems that are easier to model, hence SiGe. Commerce prefers messy systems that work well, hence SiGe tweaked.

Sleep (usually less; more in ~20% of cases), Interest in hobbies (decreases), Guilt (and feelings of worthlessness), Energy (decreases), Concentration (decreases), Appetite (usually less, sometimes more), Psychomotor movements, Suicidal (thoughts). The major signs of depression. (Collected by Seth Wright for a list at Vanderbilt.)

(ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer GRAPHics. The annual general meeting took place in New Orleans in 2000. It's mentioned at the cybermuffin entry.

SIGnal[s] INTelligence. Intelligence gathered from interception of electronic communications. The term is sometimes understood expansively to include intelligence gathered by telemetry.

ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) on Information Retrieval.

Sigma Gamma Tau
Aerospace Honor Society. Link from SGT entry.

ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) on Management Information Systems (MIS).

signature analysis
A technique of off-line BIST. In on-line BIST, the test circuits do not generate test patterns of bits; instead they monitor outputs to confirm that they agree with the inputs that tested gates happen to receive. This somewhat constrains the range of input patterns that may be tested. In off-line testing, one takes a spell to test gates under a controlled set of inputs. If the test equipment is not to reproduce the tested circuit (rather impractical for non-NASA BIST), then it must store input and output patterns in ROM. This becomes prohibitive for the best tests. One way around it is to test circuits that have cyclic or periodic symmetry with patterns of the same symmetry, so one only needs to store one period of a repeated pattern. Another thing to do is to examine a précis of the output. For example, one might count ones in the output. Signature analysis defines a signature composed of such restricted tests, and compares this with a stored signature. The approach was pioneered at HP.


Société Internationale 'Fernand De Visscher' pour l'Histoire des Droits de l'Antiquité. French, `the Fernand De Visscher International Society for the history of ancient law.'

Seiko Instruments Inc.

Software and Information Industry Association.

Sistema Integrado de Jubilaciones y Pensiones. Spanish, `integrated system of retirements and pensions.' In September 2002, the Argentine SIJP had 11.4 million members: 2.2 million receiving benefits, 9.0 million contributing, and 0.2 million undecided or pending (i.e., with unexercised options to retire). Cf. AFJP.

Southern Indiana Japanese School. ``The Southern Indiana Japanese School (SIJS) opened in September 1997 in Evansville, Indiana, at the request of Japanese companies locating in southwestern Indiana. SIJS exists to enable the school-age children of Japanese employees of these companies to keep up with their peers in Japan and to help these children integrate smoothly into Japanese school life when they return to Japan. Any local child who would like to study at SIJS may also be accepted if he/she has adequate Japanese language skills for participation in classroom activities.''

Single In-Line.

Summer Institute of Linguistics.

Sociadad Iberolatino Americana de Neurorradiología. `Iberian and Latin American Society of Neuroradiology.' In Portuguese the name is Sociadad Ibero-Latino-Americana de Neurorradiologia. ``Latin American'' is construed as an adjective for any speaker of Spanish or Portuguese anywhere in the Americas.

Technically, the full name is Sociadad Iberolatino Americana de Neurorradiología Diagnóstica y Terapéutica (or Sociadade Ibero-Latino-Americana de Neurorradiologia Diagnostica y Terapêutica). That would be `diagnostic and therapeutic neuroradiology.'

SILAN used to publish RILAN (Revista ...) and IJNR (International Journal of NeuroRadiology).

Like methane, but with silicon in place of carbon. Reacts explosively on contact with oxygen in the air, so you really needn't worry about its toxicity. Popular silicon source for CVD.

SuperIntense LAser pulse-Solid Interaction.

``Toughened Silcomp™ consists of silicon carbide fibers in a matrix of silicon carbide and silicon, and is made by a melt infiltration process using processing times on the order of minutes. This process can be used to produce fully dense, complex shaped parts with controlled fiber architecture. The fully dense matrix gives Toughened Silcomp™ composites good oxidation resistance, high thermal conductivity, low thermal expansion, and good interlaminar strength.''


An argument from silence (Latin: argumentum ex silentio) is an argument on the basis of absence of evidence. More specifically, an argument which assumes that a phenomenon, event or fact would have produced a surviving record or other evidence, and that therefore the absence of such record implies the absence of what would have made it. The canonical objection to argumenti ex silentio is the chiastic statement ``absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.'' Prosaically, the objection is simply that evidence might not survive or might simply have failed (yet) to be have been found.

The traditional argument that Greek alphabetic writing began in the mid-eighth century BCE is based on just such an argument: the earliest datable examples of Greek writing (graffiti on some pottery) is from that era. (There is alternative argument, based on similarity of character forms, that Greek alphabetic writing was borrowed from Phoenician script of the eleventh century.)

silent agreement
In boxing, this is when boxers clinch, a way of taking break within the round to rest and recover. Silent agreements tend to be made when the fighters are well-matched. Break it up!

I'm familiar with this term from a lifetime in the ring, just like the late Dr. Joyce Brothers. Okay, maybe I had a reminder when I read an article mentioned at this worth-following-the-link entry. The person quoted using the term there is Teddy Atlas, and according to Rudy Reyes' Hero Living: Seven Strides to Awaken Your Infinite Power (2009), it was Atlas who originally coined the term.

silent guitar
You've come the entry for silent guitars, and this is certainly the natural place to look for information about silent guitars. However, this is just the ``entry.'' The natural place for me to put information about silent guitars, and therefore the natural place for you to find information about silent guitars in this glossary, is the backboard entry.

silent movie
A misnomer. In Atoms in the Family, Laura Fermi describes a game that she and her friends (including Enrico) used to play in the 1920's, which they called ``silent movie.'' (I suppose they actually called it ``film silenzioso'' or something, but I read the book in English, and it looks like she wrote it in English too.) The friends would get together at someone's house and perform the movie as a play, while one person read out the captions and another person made a constant buzzing sound in imitation of the movie projector. It reminds me of the endless-loop recording mentioned at the WWVH entry.

In the US, it was a widespread practice to have musical accompaniment for silent movies. Each movie house would have a regular band or orchestra. The players became very adept at playing snippets appropriate to the scene -- and of course, the same movies were played repeatedly. It must have been a very special kind of medley, with opportunities for an unusual kind of jam. Anyway, when the talkies came, all those guys were out of a job -- just in time to join the rest of the country in being depressed.

In Italy a bad Anglophone accent (i.e., an ordinary Anglophone pronunciation of Italian) is referred to as ``Stanlio e Ollio.'' That's for Stanley (Laurel) and Oliver (Hardy), and the expression is still used today. Laurel and Hardy made the transition to sound, so they made some of the earliest talkies. With the original technology, the soundtrack had to be recorded simultaneously with the picture -- the sound couldn't be dubbed in later. So for the foreign market, the actors redid the scenes and they or voice actors did the dialogue in the new target language. Evidently, this worked best with movies that weren't meant to be taken too seriously in the first place. Laurel and Hardy didn't know Italian, so when they spoke their lines ``phonetically'' they were wonderfully inaccurate and funny. They did many versions of their first full length talkie (``Pardon Us,'' about a prison break), distributed under various titles and refilmed with some (not all) different actors who occasionally knew the language, but they seem to have been most successful in Italian.

Metal silicides are compounds in which silicon typically bonds as an anion (nonmetal). Silicides generally have high conductivity and form Schottky diodes or ohmic contacts depending on the silicon doping level.

See: S.P. Murarka: Silicides for VLSI Applications (Orlando, Fla.: Academic Press, 1983).

Most common element in the earth's crust, which is convenient for microelectronics, which it serves as the semiconductor of choice (say 95% of production worldwide). Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Facts that absolutely everyone should know in their sleep: silicon has an indirect band gap of 1.11 eV, density-of-states masses of 1.1 times the free-electron mass for the conduction band, and 0.56 for the valence band.

James McNeill Whistler is best remembered for a portrait of his mother Anna (the painting is called ``Arrangement in Grey and Black''). He was born of that woman in July, 10, 1834. Not that that date is particularly important, but I just wanted to state it that way. In June 1854, he was a cadet at West Point.

Second Lt. Caleb Huse commenced Whistler's chemistry examination by asking the cadet to discuss silicon. ``I am required to discuss the subject of silicon,'' Whistler responded. ``Silicon is a gas.'' ``That will do, Mr. Whistler,'' interrupted Huse. In thirteen words Whistler failed chemistry and flunked out at West Point. Much later Whistler insisted, ``Had silicon been a gas, I would have been a major general.''
(This is excerpted from Emory M. Thomas's 1995 biography of another General -- Robert E. Lee.)

silicon dioxide
SiO2. A miracle of nature. With a resistivity of 1014 to 1017 ohm-cm and a bandgap of 8.1 eV. Given that silicon and oxygen are the two most common elements on the earth's crust, it is not surprising that silicon dioxide--quartz in its igneous form--is very common. With such a large band gap, the insulator should be transparent, but various impurities can color it by creating mid-gap states. (Intermediate states in the bandgap between conduction band and valence band.) It is a common material in geodes. It's so common that the Smithsonian exhibit has at least four other pictures, including another geode, gem-quality amethyst, a cut gem of quartz, and in combination with black cassitorite crystals.

  1. The name given to a molecule including an Si double-bonded to an O that dangles off the main chain formed by the two remaining bonds of the Si. The name is formed in analogy with ketone, in which a C plays the rôle of Si. (For similar approach to naming, see silane. This approach is very handy because Si and C both bond through sp³ hybrid orbitals.) This is the original, but no longer standard meaning. It was misapplied to certain polymers that were initially misidentified, namely:
  2. Polysiloxane. Any polymer constructed on a backbone of --(-Si--O-)n-- (typically with organic sidegroups). [There's an informative silicone entry in the Macrogalleria. This glossary describes an application to razor blades.]
  3. Ignorant spelling of silicon.
  4. Correct spelling of ignorant pronunciation of silicon.

[cartoon strip]

(Comic strip image above is a mirror of http://www.asiaonline.net.hk/lilywong/images/lily2149.gif)

As if things weren't already complicated enough: in Spanish, silicon is silicio and silicone is silicón.

silicon germanium
It's pretty tough to make heterostructures with silicon as one of the materials. SiGe, strained as it is (4%), was it for a long time, unless you counted Si substrates for GaAs structures. Now there's also SiGeC.

There's an article by Bernard S. Meyerson in the March 1994 Scientific American on High-Speed Silicon-Germanium Electronics. The touted technology was silicon-germanium heterojunction bipolar transistors.

silicon nitride
Si3N4. Most useful property for semiconductor fabrication is fact that it does not oxidize well. (Oxidation negligible in oxygen; slow in steam.) It is therefore used as an oxidation mask, making possible various recessed oxide isolation (ROI) strategies.

It is also a good diffusion barrier for alkali atoms.

CVD of nitride typically uses

3SiH4 + 4NH3 ---> Si3N4 + 12H2.

Latin name (genitive singular sillybi) for a kind of thistle. (The name is adopted from the Greek síllubon.) Not a bad pun on syllabus, and as it happens there's a precedent: the word occurs in some manuscripts of Cicero's Epistulae ad Atticum, where it is evidently (especially given alternate manuscript traditions) a scribal error for sittybus. Sittybus, felicitously, is a strip of parchment attached to a roll or book, bearing the title and author's name. If sittybi were ever common, they must evidently have become detached often; there was not so much care taken about assigning a definite formal title to a book, with the result that for many books, the precise title is unknown. (See the BG entry for more discussion of titles.)

A building for storing grain. Usually in the form of right circular cylinder oriented vertically, with a hemispherical cap. Grain elevators are used to convey grain to the top, and grain-elevator explosions (a spark from the elevator setting off an explosion of grain dust) are one of the charming dangers of the farming life.

This archived usenet posting mentions safety standards, but these are all based on raw experience. The underlying physics of dispersed particle movement is only now beginning to be studied in a way that is at all scientific.

A chain of appliance stores. You know, a big chain like this can request special models to be made for them by a manufacturer. Such models may be better in some respect, but they typically have different model numbers than the standard appliances that they are versions of, so comparison shopping is harder. Also, if a competitor promises to match any offer (usually ``advertised offer''), the fact that they don't sell (or even get) the special model makes the offer to match moot.

Sealed-Interface Local Oxidation.

Strain-Induced (lateral) Layer Ordering.

School of Information and Library at UB.

Silvaco International
They make simulation codes for microelectronics simulation.

Argentum, abbreviated Ag, q.v.. In German, the noun silver is Silber. The phrase ``quite as'' can be translated ``eben so,'' where eben is cognate with English even. Also, the English preposition over has a meaning similar to its German cognate über. The phrase ``I have seven'' (pieces of silver, say) is rendered ``ich habe sieben'' (Stücke Silber). Notice a pattern? No? Go study the Hacksilber entry.

As long as we've mentioned sieben, we might as well mention that at different times during the latter half of the eighteenth century and into the beginning of the nineteenth, the Habsburg Empire issued a 7-Kreuzer coin that was informally known as the Siebener. The name of another, more popular coin was used in the sense of silver (yeah -- that's what the entry's about!) even though its name has nothing etymologically to do with silver: Groschen.

The Lone Ranger's horse.


Silver Age
The silver age of Rome is a designation of a period running roughly from the middle of the first century of this era (CE) to the end of the second century. It followed the Golden Age, which covers a period that began with the first century BCE.

silver spoon
A child born into a rich family may be described as being born with a silver spoon in his mouth. In Spanish one says that he ``nació en una cuna de oro'' -- `was born in a golden crib.' In that case, I don't think that a C-section is merely optional any more.

Silver State, The

Subscriber Identity Module (of a mobile phone).

Selective Inverse Multiple-Bond Analysis. NMRtian.

SIMplified BIDirectional Signaling. The expansion and explanation of this British railroad acronym was provided by Clive D.W. Feather on the uk.transport.london newsgroup (and picked up by the SBF monitoring station in Ontario).

Every 5 or 10 miles on double track there's a pair of crossovers. The signal before the crossovers has a right-hand feather indicating a move to the right-hand ("wrong") line. There are then no signals until the next crossover, where there's a signal guarding the crossover.

   A     D     B   C     B         B         B         A          Normal flow
  |-O   O-|   |-O O-|   |-O       |-O       |-O       |-O         of traffic:
=====*=*=================================================*=*======    -->
      X                                                   X
=====*=*=================================================*=*======    <--
        O-|       O-|       O-|       O-|   |-O O-|   |-O
         A         B         B         B     C   B     D


two rails, making one track.

signal facing left, seen by train approaching from left. ``Left'' here is the left-hand side of the top view above. (Imagine a light on a stand, tipped back slightly and seen from above.)

hmmm, tough one.

controlled signal, usual aspects for normal running, plain green plus feather for move to "wrong" line. Note that the aspect for this will always be green, never yellow.

automatic signal.

SIMBIDS repeater: shows yellow if the SIMBIDS signal is red and green otherwise [*]. No red aspect.

SIMBIDS signal: shows plain green to continue on the "wrong" line, or yellow or green plus a left-hand feather for moves back to the correct line.

Because they are only operated by the track circuits, when a train is running on the wrong line the automatic signals facing the other way stay green, then change to yellow and red as the train approaches, then turn back to green.

[*] On four-aspect lines there are two repeaters; the first shows green or double yellow; the second shows green or single or double yellow.

Single-Instruction, Multiple Data. It's pronounced ``sim dee.'' SIMD is part of a strategy and an aspect of architecture for parallel-processor computing; cf. MIMD.

Something like the SIMD idea is implemented in serial machines by superscalar instructions, called MMX technology in Pentium processors (also used in AMD K6-2 processors, etc.).

Single Inline Memory Module. (I think this was originally a Wang Labs tm.)

SIMulation NETwork.

Stacked-Gate Injection Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (field-effect transistor). Cf. SAMOS.

Separation by IMplanted OXygen. An isolation method for integrated circuits (IC's). Cf. SPIMOX.

The count noun simple is an obsolete term for drug component, from the time when most such simples were leaves, roots, stems, buds and other parts of plants, and a few bits of animals. Until the nineteenth century, most physicians (called physics, in those days) collected their own simples. If ``simple'' is too simple, then you want the word pharmacognosy: the study of medicines derived from natural sources (i.e., simples). Physics (I just like that word) typically also grew various medicinal plants in their own gardens. Now you're probably wondering about leeches, right? For the dirty, dirty, low, low down on those, see the Liverpuddle, uh, entry.

Latin expression which, as it occurs today, can be understood to mean `without qualification' without qualification.

True enough to hurt.

Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy. As a surface is sputter etched, the distribution of mass in ions sputtered from the surface (``secondary ions'') is tracked as a function of depth (strictly speaking, the mass spectrometer measures not mass but the charge-to-mass ratio). This generates (destructively) a picture of the various atomic concentrations as a function of depth. Because the depth of sputter etching is not perfectly sharp or uniform, these plots underestimate the sharpness of changes in atomic concentration. Also expanded as Stable Isotope Mass Spectromet{er|ry}. That's not quite right, because any reasonably-long-lived isotope can be investigated.

Here's some more explanation.

(NASA) Shuttle Imaging Microwave System.

Synchronous Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation. Neonatal care term.

Silicon-Nitride. Not necessarily stoichiometric.

Social Insurance Number. Canadian equivalent of the Social Security Number (SSN) in the US. In French, Numéro d'Assurance Sociale (NAS). Unlike the SSN, it contains a 1-digit Luhn checksum.

Spanish: `without.' You have to be careful how you use this. Today I ordered ice cream for dessert. Sayra asked if I wanted it ``¿con crema?'' (`with cream?') and I answered ``Sin.'' When she got back I realized she thought I'd said ``Sí.''

Such confusions are less likely in Portuguese (sem and sim for `without' and `yes,' respectively), to say nothing of Italian (senza and si) or French (sans and oui). The words for without here all come from the Latin sine. The regular sound shifts would and in fact did yield sen in Spanish. The form with e was still common in medieval Castilian, and continues as the standard form in Catalan today. The form with i superseded it in modern Spanish, however. According to Corominas y Pascual, this change is unexplained. For Germanic words with the meaning of without, see ohne.

SIgnal, Noise, And Distortion. Pronounced ``sine-add.'' A kind of signal-to-noise ratio: the ratio of signal to the sum of noise plus signal harmonics (distortion).

In certain situations, even though distortion is significant, plain old signal-to-noise (SNR) is a more appropriate figure of merit.

sine die
Latin meaning `without a day'; that is, without a date set for the next meeting.

sine dubio
Latin meaning `without doubt.'

sin embargo
Spanish, literally meaning `without seizure,' and always meaning `nevertheless' or `however.' (The latter translation refers only to the use of however as a sentence adverbial, of course, and not in the sense `howsoever.') There is no word pause in the Spanish phrase -- it sounds like one word. (Cf. nimporta.)

SINGular. Also sg. Cf. pl.

single crystal
A chunk of matter in the crystalline state without any but point defects. Contrasted from polycrystalline.

Singleton, Ann
Pen name that Ruth Benedict used as a poet. Ruth Benedict is best known as the author of The Chrysanthemum and the Sword and of Patterns of Culture.

singular team names
I mean team names like the Stanford Cardinal or the North Dakota State Bison. This isn't an entry; it's just a data dump.

Leftward. A term to describe writing as right-to-left and letters as facing left (i.e., oriented in the usual direction for right-to-left writing). Our main entry for this stuff is at what I suppose is conventionally counted as the antonym: dextrograde.

Single Income, No Kids. A demographic with less discretionary income than DINK.

Signal-to-(Interference-plus-Noise) Ratio.

Stiftelsen for Industriell og TEknisk Forskning. (Eng. `Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research.') At the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

To bake metal at a temperature just below the melting point. Because corners, edges, and small grains of metal melt at temperatures lower than the bulk fusion point, sintering solidifies powders.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Serial Input-Output.

Silicon-Oxide-Nitride. Not likely stoichiometric.

Single Integrated Operational Plan. The plans for coordinated defense agains an attack on the US or its allies. We have allies?

I imagine this is a homophone of psyop. Psyop might even be part of SIOP.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology It's a division of the American Psychological Association. I imagine this SIOP is also a homophone of psyop.

Nonstoichiometric silicon oxide. Vide SIPOS.

Session Initiation Protocol.

Single Inline Pin (Package). A kind of package that doesn't look much like a DIP.

SMDS Interface Protocol.


SIemens Polysilizium MOS.

When this product was new, the ``metal'' gates in many MOS transistors were still often made of elemental or alloy metal (i.e. really of metal). The SIPMOS name indicates the use of gates made out of highly doped semiconductor instead (degenerately-doped silicon, to be precise). This silicon is polycrystalline because it is deposited over an oxide layer. MOS gates function essentially as capacitor plates, so low resistivity is not very important for low-frequency operation. The conduction channel between source and drain, on the other hand, must have excellent electron mobility and very low trap density, and for all practical purposes is made of single-crystal silicon. (Indeed, even though the MOS concept is simpler, and the first patent for an IGFET was issued as early as 1935, bipolar transistors were commercialized for more than a decade before MOS technology became viable. MOS simply had to wait for a cleaner manufacturing process. That cleaner process was developed by continual improvements in the manufacture of bipolar technology. Now the roles are reversed, and bipolar manufacture piggy-backs on developments made primarily to improve MOS fabrication.)

Because the drain and source carry substantial current (compared to the gate), high conductivity is desirable there also. In any case, the geometry of the fabrication process makes the source and drain out of the same single-crystal material as the channel. So polycrystalline silicon (polysilicon, Polysilizium in German, or just poly for short) implies polysilicon gate.

Moreover, bothering to mention the polysilicon in the name implies something else as well: since polysilicon gates quickly became standard, it implies that the acronym was created early on in the development of polysilicon MOS, or it would have been nothing distinctive enough to mention in the name. That is the case here: SIPMOS is a form of enhancement-mode DMOS. DMOS uses diffusion rather than implantation to dope the channel. This tends to make coarser features, and for integrated electronics, diffusion was generally replaced by implantation and by self-alignment process (see SAG). SIPMOS was for discrete devices, and at this point the P might as well stand for power, since the main attractive features of SIPMOS are voltage ratings to 1kV and current ratings to 30A. (I don't know a maximum power rating, but it must be less than 30kW.)

Serial-In, Parallel-Out.

Semi-Insulating Polycrystalline Oxygen-doped Silicon. Silane-based CVD oxide can be deposited nonstoichiometrically. High silane-to-oxygen ratios (> 3.5) have yielded SiOx with 0.48 < x < 2. It has been reported useful in passivating high-field transistors.

Survey of Income and Program Participation.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Secret Internet Protocol Router NETwork. An internet parallel to the Internet, used by the US and Allied military.

Solvent-Induced Phase Separation. A method for PDLC fabrication.

Screening Information Request. Government acquisitions term. There may be multiple SIR's. In response to a SIR, companies that want to bid on a contract provide information that allows the agency issuing the SIR to ``down-select'' companies. (Being down-selected is the complement of being winnowed out. Those down-selected are qualified to bid or respond to a further SIR.)

Selective Information Reporting. Hey! Everybody does it!

Shuttle Imaging Radar.

Standard Improvement Request. That is, a request for a change in an existing standard.

Student Instructional Ratings. A questionnaire devised by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Surface Imaging Resist.

Sustained Information Rate. Generally not as good and not as much used as Peak information rate.

Staten Island Rapid Transit. Part of MTA. Although part of the City of New York, Staten Island is connected to the rest of the city only by road and ferry, not by subway; the SIRT line ends at the ferry docks.

Space InfraRed Telescope Facility. Was Shuttle Infra....

Sequential Interactive System.

Informal for SISter. In the vocative, ``sister'' sounds very formal and remote, as ``mother'' does. In Spanish, even mi madre (`my mother') sounds awkward in speech, and mi mami or mi mamá is normal and unchildish. Be sure to pronounce the accent (i.e., stress the second syllable) in mamá. The word with the stress on the first syllable (spelled mama) means `breast.'

``SISters.'' A soap opera.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the pronunciation of the word sister, it goes just like the beginning of the word cistercian, up to but not including the third sibilant, except that the stress goes on the first syllable. HTH!)

Superconductor-Insulator-Superconductor. Cf. S1-I-S2.

Serials Industry Systems Advisory Committee. A committee of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) that developed and promoted voluntary standardized formats for the electronic transmission of serials information, subject to National Information Standards Organization (NISO) approval. Now dissolved into BASIC.

Simulation of Semiconductor Devices and Processes. An interrnational conference. Sponsored by IEEE. This has been continued by SISPAD.

Semiconductor-Insulator-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor (FET).

Stranger In a Strange Land. A 1961 science fiction novel by Robert Anson Heinlein.


Societa Internazionale per lo Studio del MedioEvo Latino.

Schema voor de Indeling van de Systematische Catalogus in Openbare Bibliotheken. Dutch `Classification Scheme for Systematic Catalogues of Public Libraries.' It's a hierarchical decimal scheme different from the UDC. I'm surprised the EU allows it.

Serial-In, Serial-Out.

Single-Input, Single-Output.

SISO-code, Sisocode
SISO-CODE. A number with a SISO interpretation.

International Conference on Simulation of Semiconductor Processes and Devices. A forum for TCAD. SISPAD96, in Tokyo, brought together the International Workshop on Numerical Modeling of Processes and Devices (NUPAD), the International Workshop on VLSI Process and Device Modeling (VPAD), and the International Conference on Simulation of Semiconductor Devices and Processes (SISDEP), which had been held in the U.S., Japan, and Europe, respectively. Sponsored by IEEE. SISPAD97 was in Boston.

Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati. (International School for Advanced Studies.)

sister school
Before the mid-1960's, a large fraction of US colleges and universities, including most of the prestigious undergraduate colleges in the Northeast, were all-male. Students at these schools would date girls (or ``girls,'' if you prefer) who attended women's colleges that were strategically close. These were called sister schools. SMC was sister school to Notre Dame, about as Douglas College was to Rutgers, Mary Washington College (now UMW) to the University of Virginia, etc.

By the end of the 1970's, most of the previously all-male schools had gone coed, as had most of the sister schools. Perhaps the latter should now be called ex-sister-schools or something, but that's a bit cumbersome and there's an alternate solution. Evidently in the interests of egalitarian language, the term ``brother school'' has come into use. This is a useful term and clear enough, even if the relationships of brother and sister schools are not entirely symmetric, and it sanctions the continued use of the otherwise anachronistic term ``sister school.''

If you're really eager to go to a particular school, whether you're male or female (and especially if you're male or female), you might want to apply to the sister school as a safety. Nowadays students at the sister school typically have a partnership that allows students at the sister school to take classes at the brother school. If you're a lesbian or a straight male, you'll probably also appreciate how the student body stacks up. (Of course, the majority of US college campuses today are decidedly majority-female anyway.)

Static Induction Transistor. A kind of gridded-base transistor. [The permeable-base transistor (PBT) is another.] The motivation is to minimize the disadvantages of low majority-carrier mobility in the base. These problems are most significant in compound semiconductors, where hole mobility is typically an order of magnitude lower than electron mobility (in silicon it's more like a factor of three).

There's generally a big push on in the late nineties to finally come up with a solid-state replacement for the vacuum devices, such as traveling-wave tubes (TWT's) and klystrons, that are used in high-power applications (1kW and up, for cellular and satellite base stations and such). Wide band-gap compound semiconductors are a great hope in this hot area. As of fall 1998, Northrup-Grumman was selling a power amplifier based on SiC SIT's.

Standard International Trade Classification.

sitcom, sit-com
SITuation COMedy. A television show with regular cast of characters and a common situation (location). The characters regularly get into situations hilarious enough to make a tape recorder laugh like a roomful of idiots.

Saratoga International Theatre Institute.

In a 1927 TNR article mentioned at the crease entry, Bruce Bliven wrote about Sacco and Vanzetti:
You must not be deceived by an accent, or by the workingman's easy way they have of sitting on a hard bench as though they were used to it. These are book men. Their political faith is philosophic anarchism, and they know its literature from Kropotkin down.

In chapter 4 of The Great Gatsby (1925), Nick comments on Mr. Gatsby:

He was balancing himself on the dashboard of his car with that resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American--that comes, I suppose, with the absence of lifting work or rigid sitting in youth and, even more, with the formless grace of our nervous, sporadic games. This quality was continually breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness. He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand.

The `sitting war.' Compound noun modeled on the German word Blitzkrieg, `lightning war.' (Blitz is `lightning'; sitz is the root and a common combining form of sitzen, `to sit.') Sitzkrieg is another name for ``the Phony War'' -- the period following the German and Russian conquest of Poland, when England and France were officially at war with Germany but there was no shooting going on between the parties at war.

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Quick: What state is it in?

Hint: there's no SIU in Idaho, Indiana (but see USI), or Iowa. The situation is similar with NIU.

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Why does this look familiar?

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Simian Immunodeficiency Virus. Monkey version of, and probably the original virus that mutated into, HIV. Apparently not normally fatal to monkeys.

Steam-Injection Water Recovery (system for gas turbines).


Six Sigma
A new Greek-letter society -- a fraternity. It seems all the three-letter names were taken, so they doubled up. Do I really, really have to explain this? The idea is that sigma represents a standard deviation, and any process that produces a good or service is subject to fluctuations (characterized by sigma) about a mean or average. Typically, probability distributions extend out a number of sigma from the mean, so even if the average is acceptable, not all of the production will be. A common shape of theoretical probability distributions is the ``normal'' or Gaussian distribution. If your process is such that the mean is six sigma or more better than (i.e., away from) the threshold for acceptable results, and if the distribution is Gaussian (which it isn't, exactly) (it probably isn't even approximately Gaussian), then unacceptable results are about one-in-a-billion. If improving yield from fair (90%) to astronomically good (99.9999999%) requires increasing costs by more than about 10%, then you're probably better off with fair yield. Six Sigma is the infantile idea of management that screams ``No! Perfection improves profitability, no matter what the cost!'' We also mention Six Sigma at the Lean Sigma entry.

Oh no. The hallowed stacks of our holy library have been desecrated: Juran Institute's Six Sigma Breakthrough and Beyond: Quality Performance Breakthrough Methods. With a foreword by Joseph M. Juran! A book administered into existence (possibly even written, I don't know) by Joseph A. De Feo and William W. Barnard. De Feo means `of ugly' in Modern Spanish, but Feo probably originally meant something like `faith' in this context.

Hey wait a second -- Six Sigma has spawned a bunch of initialisms! So it's good for something.

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