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Ess Pee. Espy? The Willard R. Espy mentioned at our forange entry? Probably not.

Sagittal Polarization.


Scholars Press.

Founded in 1974 by the American Academy of Religion (AAR and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).

A distinct organization, the Scholars Press Consortium, was founded by the AAR, SBL, American Philological Association (APA), and American Society of Papyrologists (ASP) to provide publishing, membership, accounting and information services to the founding associations and about seventeen additional scholarly organizations in the academic fields of religion, biblical studies and classical antiquity.

Both organizations were abruptly dissolved at the end of 1999.

Signal Processor.

Simulated Patient. You can do this without taking off your shoes, which is more than I can say about plane travel. The only clarification we offer right now is at the NAMC entry.

Small Polaron. A polaron is an electron or hole together with the deformation it produces in the medium it is in. A polaron is ``small'' if the deformation is substantial only in the near vicinity of the electron. In principle, one can make this more precise.

Spanish, Spain (ES), etc. For information about the language, visit the Spanish entry.

Species (singular). The plural of species is species, so if you want to be clear that you mean the singular, you're better off using the abbreviation. (The abbreviation of the plural word is spp.)

Species is taxonomists' Latin for `species.' In fact, it's anybody's Latin for species. Beyond that, things get complicated. The word species was a fifth-declension noun. If that is completely, but I mean completely, meaningless to you, then you should probably go back to the A.M. entry for a little orientation.

Back? Good. Fifth-declension nouns, like res, dies, and species, have identical singular and plural forms in the nominative case. (You probably thought that the point of declensions was to communicate information such as grammatical number and case (the word's function in a phrase). That is incorrect; the purpose of declensions is to be cool.) You think identical singular and plural forms are strange? There are languages, like Chinese and Japanese, that don't even distinguish grammatical number. Different languages tend to give different kinds of information by default. German, like Latin, usually allows you to distinguish singular from plural, but some nouns have the same form, and the number information is in the article. For example, der Koffer is `the suitcase' and die Koffer is `the suitcases' (both in the nominative).

To be fair, for some uncountable nouns one rarely needs a plural form, and res (`thing') and species (`form, appearance') lean toward the uncountable. (This argument doesn't work so well with dies, which means day. Just for good measure, in the singular dies was sometimes construed feminine rather than its usual masculine. The devil is in the details. The devil revels in the details.) I should at least mention duals. There.

In English, we tend to use the nominative forms of Latin nouns. Since we don't decline nouns by case, we just throw the other forms away. There's a big pile of them accumulating in a county in northern Nevada, where the US government is trying to convince the three people who live there to allow the waste to be buried at a depth of 10,000 stadia. They object: ``what's a stadia?''

Actually, we sometimes save the odd declined form for a phrase. Also, the genitive forms have been found useful for scientific experrrrrrrimentation! Or for science, anyway -- particularly astronomy and biological taxonomy. Fifth-declension nouns normally have genitive singulars ending in -ei, like rei. As you've probably figured out by now, the sentence adverb normally is a red flag of danger. Sure enough, -iei (I wanna say -iei ee! oh!; there, I said it) was too much even for the stoic Romans, and specie and specii were used as genitive forms of species. (Similar stuff happened with dies, and also acies, facies, and pernicies. Eventually things got so confusing that in Rome people switched to Italian.)

You might say that species has a defective declension, and you might be right, but not for that reason. A word is said to be defective when it is missing some of its inflected forms. According to Lewis and Short, in the time of Cicero the genitive and dative plurals of species were not in use, and formarum and formis took their respective places. How do they know? Maybe they just meant formarum instead of specierum! Okay, that's enough, let's do a different entry.


Latin, Spurius. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Also ``S,'' which it gets instead of Servius (Ser.) or Sextus (Sex.).

Spurius means `illegitimate'; its 0.7% frequency in CIL vol. I (see the tria nomina entry) likely underestimates the actual frequency of bastards in the subject population, however that was defined, if only because two children of one woman would probably not get the same name.

Stack Pointer.

Standard and Poor's.

Starting Price.

Studies in Philology. A journal of general (not just classical) philology.

Suppressive Person. A term used seriously by the Church of Scientology and facetiously by its critics to refer to critics of the Church of Scientology. There are also SP rankings from SP1 to SP9, many having to do with the extent of barratry the Co$ has deployed against the person.

Saudi Press Agency.

Società Per Azioni. Italian, `stock company.' I.e., a publicly traded corporation. Corresponds to AG (Germany), Corp. (US), and plc (Britain).

Full disclosure: for a long time, I thought S.p.A was the Italian version of S.A.

Society for Popular Astronomy. ``Britain's brightest astronomy society.''

Sponsored Programs Administration. One name for the university office that handles research proposals and grants.

Spot Profile Analysis.

Special-Purpose Acquisition Company.

space cowboy
Bet you weren't ready for that. (To say nothing of the cow that jumped over the moon.)

For what it's worth, the part of Will Robinson in the original ``Lost in Space'' was played by Bill Mumy. The surname is pronounced MOO-me.

Here's an interesting paragraph from CNBC (June 28, 2011):
Texas no longer leads the nation in Fortune 500 companies headquartered there. In fact, the state comes in third, with 51 major companies headquartered in Texas compared with 57 last year. Some of that is the result of mergers, like Fort Worth-based Burlington Northern Santa Fe being acquired by Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway spacer, and Houston-based Continental Airlines spacer merging with Illinois-based United.

Emphasis added (for, um, emphasis). Those look to me like strange places to place ``spacer'' -- or spacer either. Cf. KOMING.

I like to read the horoscope column every so often. Not the whole column, of course. Just Aries. I usually read Aries because that's the first sign listed. Then I go back to the crossword puzzle. I never read the horoscope on Mondays because the puzzle is too easy. (For those desperate to do the crossword in a reputable newspaper on Monday, the usual approach is to cut out the across clues and solve using only the downs.)

Some years ago I met an interesting single woman on the internet who seemed nice, and we progressed to a phone conversation. We decided to get together, but she wanted to know my birthdate and where I was born. She needed these inputs for her astrology software. She was becoming more interesting than I had bargained for. And the program was acting balky. Maybe the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but PIFOK. Maybe she was misspelling ``Buenos Aires.'' Anyway, the problem seemed to get ironed out, and we set a, ahem, date.

I guess it was fated that one of us would call and call it off. She beat me to it. I guess she got the program working.

Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage. In late February and early March of 2001, the Taliban greatly simplified the task of SPACH by destroying much of what had survived the previous two or three decades of war. (In Pashto, you should know, taliban means `seekers of knowledge' or, in the context that led to the internationally known group, `students.') Preserving what is left of Afghanistan's cultural heritage is much more manageable, now that there's so much less of it.

SPAD, spad
Signal[s] Passed at Danger. A category of railway accident or incident. Unlike most such specialist terminology (e.g., CFIT), the word has entered common use in Britain. It has also been verbed, with `to spad' meaning `to pass a signal at danger.'

Another technical acronym that has (less surprisingly) entered common usage in Britain and been verbed is TUPE.

SPAD, S.P.A.D., Spad
The acronym that was eventually used to represent a company originally founded in 1911 as Aéroplanes Deperdussin, after its CEO Armand Deperdussin. Perhaps more formally it was known as Société des Aéroplanes Deperdussin, `Deperdussin Airplane Company.' The company first used the initialism S.P.A.D. in 1912, but only administratively -- apparently as an abbreviation of its (new?) legal name. The planes and the company continued to be known popularly by the name of Deperdussin. Its first commercially successful model, the Deperdussin TT, was manufactured for the English and Russian markets by the British Deperdussin Company and the Lebedev company, resp.

The company had a brilliant start, introducing a number of innovations (see, for example, the Dep control entry). In early August 1913, however, Armand Deperdussin was arrested for fraud, and the company was soon put into receivership. Deperdussin was never again involved with aviation in any significant way. More information about him (but not much yet) can be found at or linked from the Deperdussin entry.

In August 1914, as France went to war (WWI), a consortium led by the famous aviator Louis Blériot purchased the company assets. The operation of the company was put in the hands of Louis Béchereau, the engineer responsible for the company's plane designs under Deperdussin. Given the scandal of l'affaire Deperdussin, a new name was deemed advisable. Alfred Leblanc, Blériot's right-hand man and a successful plane racer himself, suggested that the company retain the four letters S-P-A-D, at least partly to be justified by the fact that in Volapük, the word means `speed.' An acronym expansion was also adopted, however: Société pour l'Aviation et ses Dérivés. (I've seen both pour and Pour versions; I'm agnostic on the issue.)

A word about Volapük. This was an artificial international language created by Johann Martin Schleyer, a Roman Catholic priest of Baden, Germany. In the 1880's it was immensely successful by the standards of such projects, with at least a couple of hundred clubs, a couple of dozen periodicals, etc. It was overtaken at the end of the nineteenth century by easier languages like Esperanto. Especially Esperanto. (On the other hand, my father taught Esperanto in his youth, yet though I don't own any books in Esperanto, I do own a mathematics book in Latino Sine Flexione, written by the mathematician Peano, who invented the language. At first I thought it was some odd dialect of Italian. It reminds me of Enrico Fermi's experience as a boy, reading a wonderful mechanics book that had been written in the nineteenth century by a Jesuit priest. As he worked his way through it, he would regale his older sister with his discoveries. She did not wish to be so regaled; she was interested in the so-called humanities, and not in science. When he finished the book, he remarked to his sister: ``you know, it's written in Latin. I hadn't noticed.'' This is from memory. I read the story in an early chapter of Atoms in the Family; that's in English, so you won't find it verbatim there either.) Anyway, the root vocabulary of Volapük is taken largely from English, though the roots are almost randomly deformed, apparently with the intention of giving no one an unfair advantage in learning the language. So the word spad is very probably derived from the English word speed.

One thing I did not give above is the original expansion of S.P.A.D. in 1912. I'm not sure what it is. There are a number of contenders, which I list here with the number of ghits on French pages as of Groundhog Day, 2009:

  1. Société pour les Appareils Deperdussin
  2. (45)
  3. Société de Production des Aéroplanes Deperdussin
  4. (9)
  5. Société de Production des Avions Deperdussin
  6. (6)
  7. Société Provisoire des Aéroplanes Deperdussin
  8. (5)
  9. Société pour les Avions Deperdussin
  10. (5)

The version with the greatest number of French ghits has the following further thing to be said for it that is not immediately obvious: the company was also producing motor boats at the time, and while appareils is understood as `airplanes' in the appropriate context, in general it means something more general, like `machine' or `device,' and such ambiguity may have been attractive and preferable to something like `Deperdussin Airplanes.'

The version with provisoire has in its favor the fact that it's not very plausible French. That is, it's not an expansion a French-speaker would be likely to come up with accidentally, merely by misremembering a more correct form (as the avions forms might be), so maybe it is the correct form. The provisoire form is the one given by Jay P. Spenser in The Airplane: How Ideas Gave Us Wings, (Smithsonian, Nov. 2008).

More detail regarding the oddity of ``provisoire'': one is tempted to translate Société Provisoire des Aéroplanes Deperdussin as `Deperdussin Airplane Supply [or Manufacturing] Company.' On its face it doesn't make much sense in French, as provisoire has the sense of `provisional, temporary,' and the TLFi gives no indication that it was ever used in the requisite sense. (Likewise Le Grand Robert.) The word is cognate, of course, with English words like provide, provident, and provision. The French word provision has principal senses similar to the English: supply, stock. If provisoire was used in the sense of `that provides,' then it would be something like the use of provident in the same sense in English: strange, but not impossible.

Here's an informative caption from Conquerors of the Air: The Evolution of Aircraft 1903-1945 (New York: Viking Press, 1968), p. 47:

The Spad S 13 came from a firm with a long tradition: S.P.A.D. (Société pour l'Aviation et ses Dérivés). This factory, owned by Armand Deperdussin [actually, there were a number of factories, and a société could not consist of a single investor], held all the absolute speed records in 1912 and 1913. The aircraft, produced between 1914 and 1916, after the take-over of the business by Louis Blériot, were not exceptionally successful. But in the summer of 1916 the picture changed completely, and the Spad S 13 rapidly became one of the Allies' outstanding aircraft. What it lacked in maneuverability it more than made up for in speed. Its maximum of 142 m.p.h. was produced by a 220 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine. Eddie Rickenbacker, whose 26 victories made him America's most successful pilot in World War I, was one of the best known S 13 aces.

The illustration (pp. 46-47) shows a single-seater biplane with green and brown camo; the rudder has a scalloped trailing edge and various bits of information superimposed on what I would regard as a French tricolor. There's a curious symbol on the middle of the fuselage that looks like Uncle Sam's hat flying through a vertical hoop.

According to the stats accompanying the illustration, in 1917 its engine was a Hispano-Suiza 8BA V-8, and in 1918 a Hispano-Suiza 8BEc V-8. The second engine apparently produced 235 h.p.

(The book was illustrated by Carlo Demand. The text of the German original was by Heiner Emde; the translator is not identified, but he is criticized in a copyright-page erratum: ``The use of `Kaiser' instead of `Emperor' in the title of the section beginning on page 164 is an error of the German translator which the American publishers unaccountably overlooked and for which they apologize.'' It seems that some error was made, but without the original it's not clear what mistake was made by whom. The section in question bears the title ``The Kaiser's new bird of prey: Japan's most famous hunter of World War II.'' The last Kaiser so-called abdicated after Germany's defeat in WWI, and the Third Reich had no ``Kaiser'' or quite equivalent title. FWIW, Führer means `leader.')

In 1903, of course, the US was the world leader in aviation. And the US still had the greatest number of pilots in 1908, when Deperdussin first became interested in aviation. Around 1910, the Wrights apparently felt they had a good enough product and turned more of their attention to other things, including marketing their planes, certifying pilots, and defending their patents. Other countries started catching up in participation and technology. By 1911, when Aéroplanes Deperdussin was founded, France had more pilots than any country in the world. This was accompanied by a parallel surge to world leadership in aviation technology. What happened afterwards? Here's the answer of William Winter, on page 208 of his War Planes of all Nations (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1943). The book is divided into eight national sections -- US, UK, Russia, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, and Japan -- and this introduces the French section:

The story of modern French aviation is the tragic story of France herself. The pity of it all is that the French were capable of putting on a much better ``show'' than they did. French designers and fliers have always ranked at the top; their ideas often were brilliant and had tangible effects on the course of aviation. French Spads and Nieuports performed a mighty part in the aerial fighting of World War I.

  And even in this war the French did not lack ideas. Many fine prototypes were on hand and ready for production. The people who guided her aviation industry felt the approaching storm long before it struck, but their hands were tied so that the best airplanes were never produced in quantity. Politics and labor troubles hamstrung the French air force, just as they did her entire war effort. Indeed, the labor situation was so bad before the war that the government took control of virtually the entire manufacturing setup. Under Pierre Cot the French plane builders were grouped geographically into what was called the nationalized industry. Unfortunately, results were worse than ever, if such a thing were possible. During the so-called Sitzkrieg her airplane production was only a trickle, a trickle that evaporated in some months.

  At the Paris Salon air show in 1938 a line-up of impressive French fighting planes was revealed. Bombers such as her Leo 45 were exquisite aerodynamically. But of perhaps a dozen worth-while new types, only a few got into the manufacturing stage before that fateful June in 1940. France was a pioneer of the low-wing fighter monoplanes. Her then strange bimotored fighter-bombers anticipated a trend that all nations are following today. The Potez 63 and Breguet 690 are examples. Indeed, the French always claimed that the Germans got their inspiration for the Messerschmitt Me-110 from the agile twin-engined Potez 63. Of course, the French machines mentioned would not be in the same league with the Douglas Boston, but they were first. And speaking of the Boston, it is a fact that the French ordered that machine before the British did. When France fell the British took over her contracts. France always was a keen student of design. Her Mercier low-drag cowlings and the flexibly mounted cannon on her prewar bombers were other noteworthy examples. Hispano-Suiza ``moteur'' hub-firing cannon for fighters were commonplace in France at least twelve years ago.

Old name for golf club that was something like a modern six iron, or one number higher than a mashie.

I encountered this word in ``Rooting for the Indians--A Memoir'' of Hillel Halkin that appeared in Commentary, October 2007.
   My cousin Jonathan, who lived a few blocks away, was a Yankees fan, adding to the rivalry with which we played slug and Chinese with a spaldeen on the sidewalk. (You won't find it in any dictionary, but there wasn't a New York boy in those years who could not have told you that a spaldeen, made by the same Spalding Company that manufactured baseballs, was the pink core of a tennis ball and the regulation playing ball of the city's streets.)

Halkin apparently didn't check at OneLook, where (at least until this entry is indexed) three dictionaries, including the 1997 Random House Unabridged, offer two or three definitions.

Spot Profile Analysis (SPA) of Low-Energy Electron Diffraction (LEED).

v. To spam the net is to send email or post USENET news broadly to inappropriate destinations. Extra points for profligate use of exclamation signs and alphabetic-order selection of destination newsgroups. Cf. spam trap.

Has been creatively assigned an acronym expansion: Stupid People's AdvertiseMent.

According to the great fillosofer Discardes --

Cookito, ergo spam.

For US$700 you can buy a CD-ROM with over eight million data records including ``contact name or title, company name where applicable, address, telephone number and fax number when available, .com, .net or .org URL, and email address.'' Finding and emailing you is cheaper than dirt, yet filthier. (Prices for such email collections have come down susbtantially since I first wrote this entry with the $700 figure.)

Is it meaningful to say that something might go wrong with spam?

Now, I am sure that the scholars of this marketing genre -- spamaesthesiologists, or whatever they're called -- have found a number of distinctive features of spam to study, but one that intrigues me is a kind of statistical personalization. To be clear: if the radio talent says ``good luck!'' I may reasonably suspect that this wish is not intentionally directed to me personally. In other words, I know that it's meaningless. If the same expression is conveyed in email, I may not realize that others have received the same message, and so I might consider the possibility that it wasn't meaningless. Taking this one step further, a spammer may send a highly personalized message to millions of victims (what are we -- spamees? electronic toast?). Most who receive this message will realize it is spam, but some of the tiny fraction for whom it is spot-on may be drawn in. These thoughts were prompted by a spam message yesterday that asserted incorrectly (and with an Italian accent) --

``We know you^̉re an hair fashion operator.''

There are endless other versions of this, of course. Sometimes it happens inadvertently. Etexts of fine literature are being mined or sampled for camouflage to defeat spam detectors. On the classics list there are threads from time to time asking whether a current high frequency of references to classical antiquity demonstrates highly accurate spam targeting. (Apparently it doesn't.)

A related trick is the fractionated stock prediction. In the simplest version, the artist sends out a free newsletter in different versions, making different predictions, to very large numbers of virgin recipients. To those that received versions of the first newsletter with good predictions, a second round of newsletters is sent out, similarly variable. Some of the second-round recipients will thus receive two accurate newsletters. By iteration, and with no great knowledge of the market, the artist can winnow an exponentially small target audience of newsletter subscribers who have reason to be impressed by the consistent accuracy of the newsletter. This trust can then be manipulated to the artist's profit. That's the theory anyway, and computerized deception management would seem to make it feasible, but I don't know if this has really been tried.

Trademark created by contraction from Hormel's original name for the product -- ``Spiced Ham'' -- which was copied by other meatpackers.

n. A pressed pink pork product marketed by Hormel since 1937. It was distributed as a food supplement in the US during the Great Depression, and to British civilians during WWII. The long-time butt (sorry about that) of jokes, subject of a skit and song on the Monty Python TV series, and inspiration of Haiku (see our entry for homogeneous) and pink spirituality. We have a rather dated page of Spam Religion sites, and Yahoo has indexed a few items, but probably not as many as Josh Warnick.

Hormel reports that Spam is consumed at the rate of 3.8 cans per minute, and they should know, but they couldn't know what fraction of that goes into the kitchen bit bucket.

I just got around to reading SubStance #82, 1997 (i.e., vol. XXVI, no. 1, 1997). SubStance is subtitled A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism and is extremely boring. I don't know why I punish myself, but let's get it over with. This special issue, guest editor Renée Riese Hubert, was on ``Metamorphoses of the Book.'' Paul Zelevansky has an article entitled ``Attention SPAM®'' (pp. 135-159). He asserts (p. 156) that the ``ingredients of SPAM® are pork and ham, salt, water, sugar, sodium nitrate.'' The article doesn't really have much to do with Spam or spam. It's about emerging patterns of inattentive reading or viewing.

Stop Pornography and Abusive Marketing ACT. A bill sponsored in 2003 by Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), to create a do-not-spam registry.

Spamish Spanish verb. More precisely, the Spanish verb meaning `to spam.' I'm not sure it's possible to tell whether it was borrowed from the English verb use of spam or was developed from the Spanish noun spam (certainly borrowed from the English). The noun, BTW, is masculine; it's usually uncountable but sometimes singular (``un spam''), and very infrequently used in the plural (``unos spams'').

The initial sp- in foreign loans typically becomes esp-. For example, smoking (q.v.) became esmoquin and [aother example TK]. I've known some quite well-educated Spanish speakers for who, either reflexively or because they never quite mastered this bit of pronunciation, would call Spanish ``Espanish'' when speaking English. I suppose the traditional pattern was not followed in this case because the initial-consonant cluster has become more familiar to Spanish-speakers in recent years, due to the widespread use of English words. (I say English words advisedly. The Spanish Sprachraum is comfortably large, and most native Spanish-speakers do not learn much English. Certainly as recently as thirty years ago, but it seems to me still today, the most-studied modern foreign language in Spanish-medium secondary schools has been French. The study of Latin also remains popular (with the schools; I won't say it's popular with the students).

The verb spamear seems to be regularly conjugated. Hence, in the simple present tense one has yo spameo, tú spameas, él/ella spamea, nosotros/nosotras spameamos, etc. There is thus a subjunctive form spamee (que spamee means `that [I/he/she/it] spam'). It's something to keep in mind if you're counting ghits to determine the popular English-speakers' consensus on whether the recipient of spam is a ``spamee'' or a ``spammee.'' (The corresponding French verb apparently yields false positives for the spammee form.) I've decided to go with spammee.

spam trap
Anything used to prevent automated email-address harvesters from successfully collecting one's email as a spam target. The most common spam trap is an obvious and easily corrected alteration of the email address, as in <nameDeleteThisBit@domain.name>. This strategy (mung) is seen in newsgroups and mailing lists, since in such discussion groups replies are generally sent to the electronic forum rather than to the individual poster. Here's a July 16, 2002 article on spam traps from <poynter.org>.

Stupid People At MIT. A few people who had the idea of making and selling tee shirts decorated with the acronym ``SPAMIT'' on them. Even the stupid people at MIT are sharp.

Small Publishers Association of North America.

A macaronic mix of Spanish and English. Like franglais and italiese (q.v.), it is essentially the Romance tongue with lots of English borrowing. English with a lot of Romance borrowing is just English. English lexicographers report that during the twentieth century, the Spanish language was the largest source of borrowed vocabulary in English. I guess the French vein was pretty much tapped out.

My cousin Victoria teaches bilingual kindergarten in California, and reports that her students' Spanglish is grammatically correct as Spanish. I didn't ask her for details, but in my immigrant community, fluent Spanglish use makes most borrowed nouns male and avoids English verbs. The mixed morphology of English verbs or even adjectives with Spanish inflections is usually so distasteful that in practice one simply alternates between sentences or clauses entirely in one language or the other (which Human Communication researchers call ``code-switching''). For the most part, true Spanglish is used only by those who are not very bilingual. (But see the RU entry for a counterexample.)

You will have noticed that Spanglish is a blend of English words, whereas franglais and italiese are French and Italian, respectively. That probably reflects the places where these language mixes are an issue. One does not encounter very much franglais and italiese, at least in the US. Spanish-speakers tend to refer to anglicismos, but if a Spanish word for Spanglish is required, the word is very appropriately borrowed from English, with the usual modifications. In particular, since word-initial sp does not occur in Spanish, and since some Spanish speakers have difficulty pronouncing it, the word is sometimes translated into Spanish as espanglish (no, standard Spanish no longer has the esh sound either). More rarely, one encounters the calque espanglés (from español and inglés).

Spanish is the English name for the most widely used Iberian language. In Spanish itself, that language is imprecisely called español, and more precisely castellano (`Castilian'). Among educated Spanish-speakers, and especially among educated Argentines, it is common to use castellano for the language and español only for `Spaniard' or as a national adjective.

Like most national and local languages in what used to be the western half of the Roman empire, Spanish is a Romance language (i.e., an evolution of Vulgar Latin), and has a fair admixture of Germanic terms. Like English, it has absorbed a lot of words from French during the many centuries when France was culturally dominant.

There's a lot to say about the local evolutions of Vulgar Latin into Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Italian, etc., but for now I just want to point out that in Castilian the initial eff of many Latin words became an aitch (called hache in Spanish). One example: the standard (i.e. ``unmarked'') verb meaning `to talk,' hablar, comes from the Latin fabula, the same root as fable in English. This is very apt.

To be fair, in classical Latin, fabula was a noun meaning `talk, conversation,' as well as one particular kind of talk -- an untrue story, a myth -- or a play. The deponent verb fabulari meant `talk' in the sense of chatter -- ``just talk'' or ``all talk'' or ``telling tales.'') Portuguese uses the cognate falar (no f --> h).

For another example of the sound shift, see the hidalgo entry. Japanese provides a good illustration of the similarity of the two sounds (eff and aitch). This, along with other examples comparing Spanish words with their Latin etymons, is at the higo entry.

I can't believe I link to this entry from all over the glossary, and the only content I have is on this negligible little sound shift! Okay, here are some links to other somewhat general things about Spanish. (For the list items with multiple links, you don't have to return here for the rest. Follow the first one and other relevant entries will be linked from there.)

There's an online Spanish encyclopedia, a kind of wiki effort called la Enciclopedia Libre Universal en Español. As of May 2005, it had over 28000 articles. On February 28, 2006, it had 30478 articles; on the same day, Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre, had 97518 articles in Spanish. (I haven't attempted any very meaningful comparison of their contents.)

WordReference.com, with pop-ups and animated banners, has Spanish-English and English-Spanish dictionaries that are, so to speak, free. They offer Spanish definitions of English words and vice versa. They're based in large part on dictionaries published by Espasa Calpe, which is pretty classy. (Espasa Calpe also publishes the Diccionario de la Lengua Española (DLE) of the Real Academia Española. That's the accepted authority on spelling and a widely aped source of definitions, but Spanish dictionaries of Spanish are not part of the WordReference.com site as of this writing, May 2005.) There are useful links at the definitions, evidently generated automatically by reverse lookup, and the site has associated language discussion forums which can be searched via links from the entries.

SpanishDICT is a smaller resource, also with animated banners, that offers various single-word translations for words entered in Spanish or English. Unlike WordReference.com, which gives phonetic transcriptions, SpanishDICT has lots of clickable audio files for pronunciation. This site also has animated banners. Ditto <freedict.com>, which has a similar pair of English-Spanish word-translation tools, apparently based on a still smaller word stock than SpanishDICT's. (On the positive side, freedict has tools for many more languages.)

I used to reference a couple of small English to Spanish and Spanish to English vocabularies that had been on the net since early in the life of this glossary. They have become part of the Internet Dictionary Project (IDP). Note that the Files page hasn't been updated in a while. To download the English-Spanish Dictionary File, which is linked to <http://www.aracnet.com/~tyler/IDP/files/Spanish.txt>, use <http://www.june29.com/IDP/files/Spanish.txt>.

For quick'n'dirty results using machine translation, try your luck on the text-entry forms at Altavista's Babel Fish Translation, <freetranslation.com>, or Google Language Tools.

I liked <diccionarios.com> for a while, but now they want you to buy the service after two look-ups.

Adrián Gonzalez, who offers Spanish instruction in New York City, maintains a very comprehensive list of dictionaries. The yourDictionary.com site has a long page listing Romance language dictionaries, including a useful list of Spanish and Spanish translation dictionaries.

Shiva Password Authentication Protocol. PAP plus encryption of PAP passwords and Novell Netware bindery access for user account information. Shiva is the destroyer.

Scalable Processor ARChitecture. Name of a line of workstations and servers from Sun.

Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition.

Scientific Peer Advisory and Review Services. A program of the AIBS.

spark plug
The shortest member of an athletic team. Probably female.

Space Power Architecture System. That is, the architecture of a power system for use in space. That ought to be the less pronounceable SPSA, but no one asked me. I would also have mentioned that SPAS is bound to be pronounced ``spaz,'' derogatory slang for a person prone to spastic or spasmodic movements. I suppose no one would have listened. The term SPAS and its expansion were used for a specific study for SDI (``Star Wars''). The SDI SPAS studies were published in 1988. Among other things, they considered the power requirements of ground-based laser weapons, so you see that ``for use in space,'' in my explanation above, is not restricted to use within or even originating in a spacecraft.

Flood, especially a sudden flood. Nowadays -- and by ``nowadays'' I mean all my life -- I only hear this word in the expression ``a spate of,'' which is understood, but not recognized as a metaphor.

SPAce and naval WARfare SYStem CENter. It's in Charleston, SC. The headterm is a typical US military abbreviation. This glossary makes no pretense of listing any but a small fraction. I don't feel like listing every odd piece of the DoD.

Sustainable Performance Breakthrough. Sixsigmanese.

South Pacific Bridge Federation. A bridge too far? Actually, it's ``the governing body for organized [contract] bridge activities and promotion on [sic] the South Pacific area,'' which is Zone 7. of the WBF. Its four members, as of 2007, are the NBO's of Australia (ABF), New Zealand (NZCBA), French Polynesia (FBPF), and New Caledonia (NCBF).

It's a good thing each table doesn't require one member from each of the NBO's. ABF and NZCBA have about 32 and 15 thousand members, respectively. The other two NBO's have, uh, more than 100 members each.

Statistical Process Control. Very fashionable now, so what more do you need to know? Get some, or implement some, or whatever.

I have a little book entitled The SPC Troubleshooting Guide, though I have no actual SPC trouble to shoot at. In the introduction, the author makes this emphatic point: ``It is important to understand that SPC does not control processes. People control processes.'' [Italics in original.] You wonder if the author wouldn't really rather have been writing about gun control. [Italics mine.] Especially when you notice that the author's name is Ronald Blank. For more about gun control, see this fire hazard entry.

Stored Program Control.

System Planning Corporation.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Acronym for local organizations (e.g., Texas SPCA) and productive affix in larger organizations (e.g., ASPCA).

If animal abuse excites you, then you might care to read Edmund Leach's ``Anthropological Aspects of Language: Animal Categories and Verbal Abuse,'' in Eric. H. Lenneberg (ed.), New Directions in the Study of Language (MIT Press, 1964) pp. 23-63. It's reprinted in Mythology: Selected Readings, ed. Pierre Miranda (Penguin Books, 1972) pp. 39-67.

Here's some possibly related news. In an interview that aired on LBC TV on February 23, 2007, Lebanese Druze Leader Walid Jumblatt was asked whether he regretted his remarks of February 14, 2007. He replied ``No, but the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty against [sic, in the translation by MEMRI TV] Animals contacted me, and said that they reject the comparison of snakes, whales, and wild beasts to [Syrian dictator] Bashar Al-Assad. [Somewhere along about this point, the respectful interviewer lowers his head and cups his forehead in his hand.] I apologize to that society. But I don't regret anything else I said.'' Jumblatt smiles very slightly. (The apology comes at the end of this video clip.)

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

In 1906, when Fiorello H. La Guardia returned to the US after twenty-one years in Europe, he worked for the SPCC in New York City, translating the juvenile sections of the French penal code into English.

The Seoul Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Korea.

Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Established in London in 1968. ``SPCK is the oldest Anglican mission agency.'' Oh wait, that was 1698. ``[A] Christian mission agency communicating the gospel by publishing books and Christian literature, running Christian bookshops in the UK, supporting theological education and making grants to churches worldwide.'' ISBN prefix 0-281.

For some inexplicable reason, they also publish scholarly books on New Testament studies.

Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge - Australia.

Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge - New Zealand.

Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge - United States of America.

The original SPCK continues to be based in London. The Indian and New Zealand SPCK's are based in Delhi and (oh so appropriately) Christchurch. The SPCK-A is based in Adelaide, South Australia. SPCK/USA was established in 1983 at the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

SPeech CoMmunication.

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Society of Permanent Cosmetics Professionals. Hey: why privilege nature? She makes mistakes too. Those are as permanent as anything that these guys do.

One of their hot tips: Check that the facility that does your work has hot and cold running water.

Society of Professors of Child Psychiatry.

Stored-Program Control System.

Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World. ``SPCW was founded in August 1993 by philosophers who had gathered at the very edge of Rocky Mountain National Park for a conference on `The Community, the Family, and Culture.' Exhilarated by the unique combination of stimulating philosophy, good fun and fellowship permeating the conference, they resolved to expand these opportunities by creating SPCW as a nonprofit, democratically organized Society.'' Cf. origination story told at the seriousness entry.

Salutem Plurimam Dicit. Latin for `sends many greetings.' For details, see the S.D. entry. I'm not sure S.P.D. occurs classically, but Bruce Magee serves some images (1, 2, 3, 4) and a transcription of parchment documents from around 1859 showing use of the abbreviation. I imagine S.P.D. is still used in some diplomas, but these examples were convenient.

The documents are from Emory University, which is described as being at Oxford, Georgia. When I first visited Atlanta in 1975, I heard that the joke around Emory University was that ``Harvard is the Emory of the North.'' The joke arises from the conceit among alumni that Emory is the ``Harvard of the South.'' I'm sure the claim and the joke (or both of whichever) are older than that but I figured the bidding ought to start somewhere. The same thing is said respecting so many other southern schools that we've milked the idea shamelessly for content in a number of other entries:

  1. Harvard of the South
  2. HotS
  3. mouth of the South, The
  4. of the South

John Harvard was born at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1607. (William Shakespeare retired to his home there in 1610.) In his short life, John Harvard inherited a lot of money and bought a bunch of books. Immigrating to the religiously congenial (to Puritans) Massachusetts Bay Colony, he died (1638) and left all his books and half his estate toward a new school. His bequest was the main contribution to the creation of a school planned for the colony, and in 1639 it was decided to call the new school Harvard College. In those days, and still for many years to come, there were only two universities in England -- Cambridge and Oxford. At the time, Oxford was more High Church and Cambridge more Puritan. Things were soon to get a bit bloody, but in any case, the Puritans of Massachusetts built Harvard College in Cambridge (formerly Newtown). (We have a Harvard architecture entry.)

In 1835, almost two hundred years after John Harvard died in Massachusetts, Methodist Bishop John Emory died in Georgia. The Georgia Methodist Conference, which had established a Manual Labor School near Covington in 1834, decided to expand the school in 1836, chartering it as Emory College. Land was purchased for a college town, and the town was named Oxford in honor of the Wesley brothers' alma mater.

In 1915, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, chartered an Emory University in Atlanta. In 1919, Emory College of Oxford, Ga., moved to Atlanta (near Buford!) (I have to check) and became the College of Arts and Sciences of Emory University. Back in Oxford, a junior college was founded in 1929; today it is the Oxford College of Emory University.

Sigma Phi Delta. A national professional fraternity for all engineering. Here's the national link.

Sozialdemokratischer Partei Deutschlands. `Social democratic party of Germany.' In the early post-war years, they were effectively locked out of power until they adopted a strong abjuration of Marxism.

After 16 years out of power, they won a strong victory in the September 27, 1998 general elections (allocated 293 out of 669 seats in the Bundestag for 40.9% of the vote, up from 36.4 per cent in the previous elections of 1994). Party leader Gerhard Schröder became chancellor, forming a government coalition with the Greens (47 seats, 6.7% of the vote). The CDU was the big loser. In elections in 2002, the red-green coalition stayed in power.

SPD, spd
Steamer Pays Dues.

For some reason, I think this may be an outdated expression.

Single-Premium Deferred Annuity.

State Peace and Development Council of the Union of Myanmar. Previously SLORC.

Common notation for orbitals (atomic states or related sets of quantum states) of successively higher total angular momentum: s for l=0, p for l=1, ..., i for l=6, etc. The letters are sometimes capitalized, and Greek letters are often used for molecular orbitals (especially bonding and antibonding orbitals of sigma and pi types).

The terminology is said to represent the characteristics of the atomic transition line spectra originally studied: s--sharp, p--principal, d--diffuse, f--fine, g--next letter after f. I've also seen ``fundamental'' for f, which makes rather less sense. Even with these hints, the nomenclature is still mysterious.

It's been suggested to me in email that the letters originally represented German words, although I can't find much evidence of this on the Internet. I'm not going to jinx myself by writing that it shouldn't be hard to chase this thing down. It could be hard. What I have found so far is that in 1913 (the year Bohr first published his revolutionary quantum theory of the atom), astronomers were using ``sharp,'' ``principal,'' and ``diffuse'' to describe various series of spectroscopic lines, mostly in the solar spectrum.

So the terminology originally had to do primarily with hydrogen lines, and the ``principal'' series of lines were those of the Balmer series. (Another p series was probably the Pickering lines found in discharge tubes, which had about the same frequency ratios and which Bohr in 1913 correctly reassigned to helium.) The ``sharp'' lines corresponded to the Lyman series, and the ``diffuse'' to the Paschen series. Thus, the letters s, p, and d were originally assigned to transitions whose lower-energy state had principal quantum number n = 1, 2, and 3, respectively. In the Old Quantum Theory, the orbits (computed first Bohr, and later by Sommerfeld and many others) had angular momentum equal to nħ (ħ is my best hbar in HTML). In the later quantum mechanics, the energies of states for n>1 were found to be degenerate, with different states taking all non-negative values of total angular momentum quantum number (l) up to n. Thus, the meanings of s, p, d, etc. were again reassigned, so now s represented l=0, etc., as described in the first paragraph.

You might as well know that this entry is rather more under construction than most other entries in this glossary. Let's hope I don't wax too philosophical.

Standard Page Description Language.

Short-Pulse Doppler RADAR.

Single-pole, double throw. A switch with two rest positions. The single pole means that only one circuit is switched.

Society of Petroleum Engineers. Founded in 1957; a Member Society of the AIME. At the turn of the century, with about 50,000 members, it constitutes half the total membership of AIME.

Solid Phase Epitaxy. Nothing near as common as VPE.

Solid Polymer Electrolyte. A trademarked name equivalent to the generic term PEM, q.v.

Stanford Positron-Electron Accelerating Ring. A colliding-beam storage ring completed in 1972. The electron and positron beams each had energied up to 4 GeV. In 1974 the J/psi was discovered there, and in 1976 the tau lepton.

Synchronous Payload Envelope.

Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit Test. The institutional form of the Test of Spoken English (TSE), a taped and timed test developed by the ETS. The SPEAK requires the test-taker to reply orally to both written and recorded ``stimuli'' (not necessarily precise instructions or questions).

Space Plasma Experiments Aboard Rockets.

Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of BarberShop Quartet Singing in America. The reason they want to encourage this in America is that it's a foreign conspiracy.

SPECification (engineering) and SPECulation (publishing). There are distinct meanings of an expression on spec in engineering (design) and publishing contexts.

Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation.

special commemorative edition
Meretricious exploitation. About the same as a tribute performance.

I'm sorry, we don't know the meaning of the word.

specific mass
Mass per unit something else. In space power systems, specific mass is usually mass per unit power (typically measured in kilograms per kilowatt). (Or, equivalently, megawatts per metric ton. That's the trouble with strictly metric units: it's so hard to come up with new measures that aren't trivially related to old measures.)

Semiconductor Process & Equipment Network.

Single-Photon-Emission Computed Tomography.

The plural of spectrum. Thus, it is incorrect to say ``Magnesium has a spectra ...'' no matter how accurately you have studied that metal.

The SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion. Hmmm... It looks like that ought to be ``SP.E.C.T.R.E.'' Sorry about that, Chief. (Refreshingly, or perhaps appropriately, KAOS doesn't stand for anything.)

S.P.E.C.T.R.E. was a fictional terrorist organization led by Ernst Stavro Blofeld. It plays the role in James Bond movies that the nonfictional, or at least once-existent, SMERSH does in various James Bond novels. However, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. made its first appearance in Ian Fleming's novel Thunderball. (Mmmm, you're supposed to already know that Ian Fleming created the James Bond character in a series of novels, the first published in 1953, that were made into movies. After Fleming died in 1964, the franchise was continued by a number of authors, many of whom can hardly have needed the money.)

Spectroscopy is, broadly speaking, the probing of a physical system's energy levels (spectrum). This is mostly done by studying its interactions with an external source of ``light'' (i.e. electromagnetic radiation). The ``interaction'' may be absorption, stimulated emission, scattering (inelastic (Raman) or elastic), essentially instantaneously or over time (photon, magnon and other echo experiments, pump-probe experiments). Some spectroscopies probe with more than one frequency, as for example some kinds of pump-probe experiment, or probe response to the interaction with more than a single photon (e.g., two-photon absorption). This list is quite incomplete.

Jim Mansfield keeps a page of spectroscopy links. Virginia Tech once offered some introductory material on spectroscopy, about which see LASE.

Here's some instructional material from UCSD.

There's a newsgroup.

The set of modes or energies of a system, or a closely related energy-dependent function.

Some parts of the electromagnetic spectrum are rather densely assigned.

spec zoo
SPECulative ZOOlogy. A genre of science fiction that mistakes itself for science. It's populated by hippogriffs, chimeras, and memes.

Past and past participle forms of the verb speed.

SPecial EDucation. Pejorative term for students tracked into special education programs. For further related discussion, see the Retarded entry.

One of the fad fights in K-12 education today is the tracking war. One camp in this war has an obvious solution to the problems that the word sped is a token of. They would mainstream all children. That way, instead of being stigmatized for taking slow classes, they'd be stigmatized for failing regular classes. No wait, that wouldn't happen: the classes would be challenging -- standards would not suffer -- but at the same time no one would fail. ``Leave no child behind.'' Force that knowledge into them! If it's a little bit harder, fine, let them study a little longer -- ten, twelve, twenty hours every evening.

Snoopy Protocol Enhanced and Extended with Directory. Cache coherence protocol designed for optical mult-access interconnect architecture.

speed-power product
Common though somewhat misleading name for power-delay product (q.v.).

Speed Tribes
A book by Karl Taro Greenfield, subtitled ``Days and Nights with Japan's Next Generation'' and published in 1994. Its dozen chapters are profiles of people in Japan, many but not all of them on the margins of society.

spelled backwards
Not a classy or imaginative way to come up with a new name. Trust me on this one. Anyway, you still have it the wrong way around; what you want is the backward spelling entry.

I don't have a lot to say about spelling that I wanted to put into a dedicated entry, but I needed a place to put a link to one of the most deliciously inept pages I've seen on the web. It was some user's file called religion.html at Columbia University, going on about the College of William and Mary. Unfortunately, it's off the web now, but here's a gem that I preserved:
... And order to insured that the english way of life, they appointed Reverend James Blair as president. In my opinion the college was established to revile Harvard. ...

spelling in lyrics
This is an entry to list songs whose lyrics include spellings out, as I think of or encounter them.

Aerosmith: ``What It Takes''
``Girl, before I met you I was F-I-N-E fine.''
Hurriganes: ``Tallahassee Lassie''
``Yeah, my Tallahassee Lassie / Down in F-L-A.'' (There was at least one other hit song to use ``F-L-A'' in the lyrics, and doubtless many others that were not hits used it.)
Aretha Franklin: ``Respect''
``R-E-S-P-E-C-T / Find out what it means to me / R-E-S-P-E-C-T / Take care, TCB.''
Fergie: ``Glamorous''
``G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S, yeah / G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S.''
(These are Fergie's first lyrics in the song, but they're preceded by a couple of lines by Ludacris. It may amuse you to know that no fewer than five people are credited as songwriters for this song: Jamal Jones, William Adams, Christopher Bridges [Ludacris], Stacy Ferguson [Fergie], and Elvis Williams.)
The Bay City Rollers: ``Saturday Night''
``S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y, night!''
J.J. Fad: ``Supersonic''
``See, the `J' is for just, the other for jammin' / The `F' is for Fresh, `A' and `D' def.''
(I haven't actually heard this work, and I have no plans to. The group name originally stood for Juana, Juanita, Fatima, And Dania. FWIW, five song-writers are credited: Fatimah Shaheed, Juana Michelle Burns, Dania Maria Birks, Kim R. Nazel, Juanita A. Lee.)

Smooth Pursuit Eye Movement.

Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy.

Self-described as ``a professional organization devoted to supporting philosophy inspired by Continental European traditions.'' This is a thought-provoking use of the word professional. That word is derived from the verb profess, as confessional is derived from the verb confess. Not too long ago, one could speak of professing a religion, and one's ``confession'' was one's particular religion, so confession and profession were virtual synonyms.

SPEP explains that it was founded ``in 1962 at Northwestern University, and, as its name suggests, was focused on existentialism and phenomenology. Since that time it has embraced and incorporated other traditions, notably hermeneutics, critical theory, postmodernism or poststructuralism, and feminist theory oriented toward continental writers. In the background there is often the study of German idealism and, for that matter, diverse moments in the history philosophy seen in continental perspective. From time to time it is suggested that the society change its name so as more accurately to represent its activity, but for historical reasons the decision has been to stay with SPEP.''

SPEP is the most numerous society for continental philosophy in North America.

A contraction of the Russian spetsialnoye naznacheniye, meaning `special purpose,' or voiska spetsialnogo naznacheniya, `special-purpose units.' (Pardon the inflections -- I'm doin' the best I can. I trust you recognized the spetsial- root as a cognate of special.) In Russian, spetsnaz is equivalent to the English term `special forces.' In English, spetsnazis equivalent to the term `Russian special forces.' Cf. commando.

A major source of information on spetsnaz up to the 1980's is the little book Spetsnaz: The Inside Story of the Soviet Special Forces (1987), by Vladimir Rezun, a GRU defector writing under the pseudonym ``Viktor Suvorov.'' (The book occasionally sounds a trifle breathless, but that's a matter of taste. It's pretty meaty in facts and examples. An unrepresentative little bit from the book is misquoted at the razvedka entry.)

Scotch Plains/Fanwood. See the SPFW entry.

Special Professional Faculty. Special in this expression often means what Extraordinarius used to imply in the German university system: underprivileged, not tenured.

Spruce Pine Fir.

Sun Protection Factor. Sunscreen strength. Back when SPF values were new, 18 was high. SPF values gave consumers a somewhat objective way to compare products, and SPF values immediately started to climb, so 25 is a pretty ordinary value now. A typical tee-shirt has an SPF of about 6.

SPF factor is defined as the ratio of the exposure time required to get sunburned without protection to the exposure time required with protection. (Therefore, wearing a pair of typical tee shirts, one over the other, should result in an SPF of over 36.) Evidently, this is not just a property of the sunscreen substance but also of the thickness applied. Moreover, since different sunscreens are filters with different wavelength dependences, determination of SPF requires some model of the skin. And of course, skin varies. Stay inside.

A distinction is made between ``chemical'' sunscreens, which absorb UV light, and ``physical'' sunscreens, which reflect it (actually scatter diffusely, unless you wear little bits of mirror). Despite the name, ``chemical'' sunscreens do not generally undergo a chemical reaction. They absorb light into electronic excitations, and the electrons cascade down and reemit longer-wavelength radiation. Much of this radiation is absorbed by the body, so for a given SPF, you probably get hotter wearing chemical sunscreen than wearing physical sunscreen. Some products work by both mechanisms. You can probably use this information to meet chicks at the beach. Just walk up to a supine female and explain this. But then, Walter Mitty, stand back, because nowadays girls weight-train too.

I've been accused of putting a lot of irrelevant information into these glossary entries. Falso.

Tallulah Bankhead once commented that ``they used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They ought to photograph me through linoleum.''

Solid-Polymer Fuel Cell. A term equivalent to PEFC (polymer-electrolyte FC) because these polymers are used in the solid state. (There are good reasons for this. One is that temperatures high enough to melt the polymers accelerate the degradation of the polymer by oxidation.) Also, the electrolytes operate wet, so operating them above 100°C adds to the engineering problems.

The most common term for this kind of fuel cell, as explained at the PEFC entry, is PEMFC. Oddly enough, most of our information on this kind of fuel cell, if we have any, will be deposited at the PEMFC entry.

Scotch Plains / FanWood. Two towns in North Jersey that at various times and in various ways have been a single municipality. The local paper is The Times of Scotch Plains - Fanwood (under a joint publishing arrangement with the Westfield Leader).

Most of the municipalities in the area were formed by secession from a previous larger entity -- Springfield (1793), Westfield (1794), Rahway (1804), Union (1808), and New Providence (1809) seceding in turn from Elizabeth (then called Elizabethtown), Plainfield seceding from Westfield in 1847, those seven townships separating from Newark-dominated Essex County to form Union County in 1857. (There were other shifts -- part of Rahway, for example, was part of the original Westfield.) Many of the town names were names of villages or areas dating back to the colonial era (in particular, [Queen] Elizabeth town, the spring fields, the west fields, the plain fields). In 1877, the village of Scotch plains (known as the Scotsplains when it was homesteaded by Scots in East Jersey colony) seceded from Westfield and became Fanwood Township. It's not certain why it was called Fanwood, but one story is related to the fact that the area long resisted expansion by the Central Jersey Railroad. The story goes that when the Jersey Central finally managed to put a depot there, it was named for spite after the daughter of the President of the railroad, ``Fanny.'' Maybe. In 1895, the same year that farmers in the northern part of Westfield seceded to form the Borough of Mountainside, a part of Fanwood Township seceded to form Fanwood Borough. In 1917, the rump Fanwood Township changed its name back to Scotch Plains.

Probably the greatest degree of integration remaining between Fanwood and Scotch Plains is in the educational system. Fanwood has never had its own high school, and has sent its high-school age children to schools in Plainfield, Westfield, or Scotch Plains. There is currently a single Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District, and Scotch Plains and Fanwood share a common SPFW High School.

Although Fanny Wood Day celebrates Fanwood Borough specifically, the Miss Fanny Wood contest is open to girls between the ages of 3 and 12 from both Fanwood and Scotch Plains.

Princeton, like Fanwood between 1895 and 1917, consists of a governmentally distinct Borough (downtown) and Township. Princeton was originally named for Frederick, Prince of Wales. Frederick was son of King George II and heir presumptive until he died on 20 March (O.S.) or 31 March (N.S.) 1751 at Leicester House in London. George II was succeeded as King by his grandson (and Frederick's son), George III, in October 1760. There's a dismissive squib about Frederick that ends

As it's only poor Fred
Who was alive and is dead,
There's no more to be said.

Singapore Press Holdings, Ltd.

Smoothed-Particle Hydrodynamics.

The middle name adopted by jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk (1917-1982). A sphere is smooth.

In researching this particular glossary item, I chanced upon Monk on Records: a Discography of Thelonious Monk compiled by Leen Bijl and F. Canté (2nd. edn. 1985). A testimonial, from a letter to the compilers, 1982.08.30, is Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter's declaration that

I think this is an absolutely monumental work, and there is certainly not another one like it in existence . . . (The look and the feel of it are also a tremendous gas!!!)

The second the occurring in the parallel structure in the parenthetical is grammatically acceptable, but inconsistent with the mood or style of ``tremendous gas!!!'' It looks like a translation error.

I'm losing my mind. At least I have a mind to lose.

At an appearance before the UNCF, then-Vice President of the United States of America J. Danforth Quayle mangled the group's famous slogan (``A mind is a terrible thing to waste''):

`` `What a terrible thing it is to lose one's mind.' How true that is.''

Only in 1997, George Herbert Walker Bush finally came out and admitted that he ``blew it'' in choosing Quayle as a running mate. Well, probably so (unless it prevented his assassination), but his timing was interesting: he made this admission just as Texas governor George W. Bush, was being touted as a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, and thus a competitor of JDQ.


Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. ``The Hellenic Society'' for short. Founded in 1879 to ``advance the study of Greek language, literature, history, art and archaeology in the Ancient, Byzantine and Modern periods.'' Literally to advance the study of ancient archaeology may not be exactly what they had in mind, but it's not wrong in principle. After the Romans conquered Asia Minor, they attempted a restoration of Bronze Age Troy.

Cf. the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies (SPRS).

Scientific Placement Inc.

The Society for Philosophical Inquiry. ``SPI's diverse members are devoted to resuscitating the once time-honored art and skill of Socratic philosophical inquiry.'' Now what exactly do they mean by that?

Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. They have a ``plastics coding system'' (PCS) for use in recycling plastic containers. (One increasingly finds these codes embossed on the bases of disposable plastic cups and bottles: the number is in a small triangular recycle symbol, and the acronym code is below this.)

Software Patent Institute.

Soy Protein Isolate.

Swiss Performance Index.


Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis. Original version was developed at UC Berkeley.

Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth. There's a chapter at UB. Their mailing list, based at Syracuse University, is also called SPICMACAY.

Amongst is a Commonwealth English word for among that is also often used in US English (unlike whilst).

Here's a bit on Carnatic music (southern Indian music). This link was down when last I checked.

Russian acronym corresponding to AIDS.

Service Protocol IDentifier.

Spectral Phase Interferometry for Direct Electric-field Reconstruction. A characterization technique that yields laser pulse phase information.

See, for example, C. Iaconis and I. A. Wamsley, ``Self-referencing spectral interferometry for measuring ultrashort optical pulses,'' IEEE J. Quantum Electron., vol. 35, pp. 500-509, 1999.

Suborbital Polarimeter for Inflation, Dust and the Epoch of Reionization. ``Suborbital'' here means balloon-borne, or aeroStatic. ``Inflation'' refers to inflationary theories of cosmogony -- i.e., modified versions of the Big Bang theory (or more precisely of what happened shortly after the Big Bang), of the sort first proposed by Alan Guth. Inflationary theories predict that during the epoch of reionization, primordial gravitational waves would have left a signature in the polarization of what is now the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. The SPIDER experiment uses six telescopes looking at single microwave wavelengths, surveying the sky together aboard a high-altitude balloon. The telescopes have to be kept very cold to minimize the local heat background.

A similar previous experiment, BICEP, which used observations at a single microwave wavelength, claimed to have detected the polarization, and here's where the ``dust'' comes in. Doubt was cast on the positive BICEP results when it was suggested that the measured polarization pattern might have been caused by interstellar dust. SPIDER uses two wavelengths in order to measure gravitational lensing along the line of sight, and thus control for the effects of interstellar dust.

The project is led by physicists at Caltech and Princeton, but as is usual for large projects it is a collaboration involving researchers at many universities. The author of a blog called Dropping BallAst wrote ``I am a graduate student in Physics at the University of Toronto. I work on the balloon-borne telescopes SPIDER (Suborbital Polarimeter for Inflation, Dust, and the Epoch of Reionization--my first scientific acronym creation!) and BLASTpol (Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for polarization). This is a place for photographs that I, and others, take along the way.''

Entries for BICEP (and BLASTpol, whatever that stands for) KOMING, but right now I'm under deadline pressure.

``Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers'' when founded in 1955. Later, the increasingly old-fashioned-sounding ``Photo-optical'' was changed to ``Photometric and.'' Now it's apparently given up on backronymesque updates and simply styles itself ``SPIE -- The International Society for Optical Engineering.'' My own personal opinion, which is available to you right here over the Internet free of charge to me, is that proper nouns should not include appositive phrases. (The US Dept. of the Interior seems to agree, since they undertook an aggressive campaign to get people to call ``Smokey the Bear'' by the more anthropomorphic-sounding ``Smokey Bear.'' I think this was under Bush père or Clinton, when Waste, Fraud, and Abuse were back in style.)

There doesn't seem to be a common or established term for initialisms like SPIE, whose expansions have been, so to speak, compressed. We recommend sealed acronyms (q.v.).

German: `mirror.' An early borrowing (before the second Germanic Sound Shift) from Latin speculum. Der Spiegel is a popular German weekly news and current-affairs magazine.

German: `mirror point.'

You'll have to see for yourself.

SPam over IM.

Separation by Plasma-IMplanted OXygen. SIMOX can take an hour per wafer, hence SPIMOX. Another isolation method for integrated circuits (IC's).


Interpretation of or slant on news, given out for public consumption.

Like angular momentum. See half-integer.

The name spinel is applied both to a gem (picture at the Smithsonian or from Amethyst Galleries' Mineral Gallery) and to a class of minerals that have the same or almost the same crystalline structure. All spinels have the chemical formula A2BO4, where A and B are cations (ions of metallic elements). For the particular red gem that is spinel, A is aluminum and B is magnesium: Al2MgO4.

This term is defined at the spin-out entry below. But since you probably know what it means already, I'll mention here that in addition to the spin-off show (the usual sense of spin-off, methinks), there are also spin-off characters. For example, Falstaff was a character in ``Henry IV'' who was spun off to ``The Merry Wives of Windsor.'' (Or maybe ``spun-out.'' Whatever would have been the appropriate Early Modern English term.) For another spin on spin-off, see the Navy NCIS entry.

Spin seems to accumulate British/American lexical differences. See, for another instance, the english entry.

In American varieties of English, spin-out is the event of a vehicle (car, motorcycle, surf-board, etc.) spinning out of the appropriate configuration for untroubled movement (not the same as jack-knife).

In British varieties, a spin-out is what in North America is usually called a ``spin-off.'' That is, the equivalent in human activity of a child in biology: a continuing venture separated off from an earlier activity: a TV serial based on characters from an earlier series (which usually continues also); a commercial product originally developed for internal research or support purposes of an academic or business project, that is pursued as a separate business venture, etc.

Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence. [Pronounced ``spur.''] New York State-funded program. (See also TCIE's SPIR page.)

Stanford Physics Information REtrieval System.

Stanford Physics Information REtrieval System -- High Energy Physics.

Spirit of Geneva
One of the favorite home-made cocktails of Soviet-era author Venedikt Yerofeyev, specified in his samizdat classic ``Moscow Stations'' as
200 g	Zhiguli beer
150 g	alcohol varnish
 50 g	white-lilac cologne
 50 g	athlete's foot remedy
This is rated in a New Yorker magazine ``Talk of the Town'' review as ``a heady blend.'' However, the fact that the components are combined in small-integer proportions strongly suggests that -- like a circuit with all 100 and 1000 ohm resistors -- it has not been optimized. Nevertheless, Yerofeyev stresses that the key is using only White Lilac. Apparently Lily of the Valley Silver makes you think sad thoughts and cry (at least if drunk straight). Jasmine and Sweetbrier

The Yerofeyev book had been Englished by H. William Tjalsma and given the title Moscow to the End of the Line. (That publication spells the author's name as Venedikt Erofeev, but you realize that the surname with wyes is more phonetically accurate, since the E-like character in the Russian name is ``soft'' (palatalized). But they all transliterate with final v's these days, even though Russian like German devoices v (spelled with a B-like character) into f when it occurs in final postion. Tjalsma also translated Tears of a Komsomol Girl (see below) in the singular (Tear of a).

Some others of the beverages described by Yerofeyev are Tears of a Komsomol Girl, Balsam of Canaan, and Bitches' Brew. A list of less interesting oral anesthetics is available here.

Cf. Geneva.

spirits of salt
Hydrochloric acid. It's an old term. Well, it was old in 1919, when the second edition of James Francis Hobart's Soft Soldering, Hard Soldering and Brazing was published by D. Van Nostrand Company. I believe the term is still old. (The book is available here from Google Books.) Chapter VI, ``Difficult Operations in Soldering,'' has a section on pp. 99-100 entitled ``Spirits of Salt,'' reproduced here:
  Occasionally a tinner, particularly one of the old school, may be heard to tell about soldering with ``spirits of salt.'' When hearing this dealer in would-be mysteries thus setting forth his supposed superior knowledge one may smile to himself because he knows that the fellow really means hydrochloric acid. Common salt is chloride of sodium and hydrochloric acid is simply water which absorbed chlorine gas [absorbed HCl, actually], as noted previously. Hydrochloric acid may be made by the action of sulphuric acid on common salt. [It's your typical strong-acid-to-weak-acid reaction, helped along by the fact that the reaction is conducted at high temperature, reducing the solubility of HCl.] The result is a large quantity of chlorine [again: HCl -- hydrogen chloride] in the form of gas, which may be caught by water until the latter becomes saturated. The remainder of the salt is changed into a carbonate [actually a sulfate: Na2SO4] instead of a chloride by action of the acid and becomes [with further processing] washing soda or salsoda, and by refinement bicarbonate of soda, or cooking soda, such as is used for household purposes.

  The tinner sometimes calls muriatic acid ``spirits of salt,'' because of the manner in which it may be obtained, as above described. When he speaks of ``killed spirits of salt'' he means hydrochloric or muriatic acid in which has been dissolved all the zinc it will take up or ``cut.''

What Hobart had in mind here was the Leblanc process. The sodium sulfate from the first reaction is burned with limestone (mostly CaCO3) and coal (C; you might even say C++), outgassing CO2 and leaving behind calcium sulfide (CaS) and sodium carbonate (Na2CO3). The sulfide is insoluble, so the carbonate can be recovered by washing the ashes. Sodium carbonate is known by various names (depending on its application), including washing soda. The Leblanc process was patented by Nicolas Leblanc in 1791 and was in widespread use for most of the nineteenth century. Perhaps it was still common when Hobart went to school. In 1861 Ernest Solvay developed a more efficient alternative method of manufacturing sodium carbonate, and by the time of this book's first edition (1912), the Solvay method was dominant. In 1938, however, large deposits of trona [Na3(HCO3)(CO3)·2H2O -- hydrated sodium bicarbonate carbonate] were discovered in the US, and since then the mining of this material has made the Solvay process obsolete as well, in North America. (If you see this text, you're probably using a text-based browser and it's likely that the character immediately preceding 2H2O above -- a middle dot -- is not displayed properly.)

If you're looking here for guidance, brother you made a wrong turn somewhere.

A SPIT-moistened small BALL of wadded-up of paper. Ammo for rubber-band arms. Something you learn in school.

SPeedy ImplemenTation of SNOBOL.

Scottish Premier League.

Series Programming Language. A programming language for use with DADiSP. By report of DADiSP's developers (DSP Development Corp.), and to judge from random code snippets at their site; SPL resembles C/C++. (I do notice that like Perl, it seems to allow lists as lvalues.)

System Programming Language.

A city in Croatia (.hr).

SPam bLOG. Not a tasty blend.

Scanning-Probe Microscop{e|y}. Any of various surface-imaging schemes that rely on scanning with a very fine tip. Includes the closely related pair of techniques Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM), and Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM), qq.v.. Here's a short practical bit on these. Other variations include SThM.

Social and Preventive Medicine, Department of.

Spatial Phase Modulator.

Statistical Parametric {Modeling|Map[s]}.


Shanghai Pudong Modern Agricultural Development Zone Company. See ETDZ.

Single-Program Multiple-Data. Parallel computing mode introduced with DADO computer.

Solid-Phase MicroExtraction.

Here's the abstract of one paper (scroll down for it) describing research in which SPME is useful:

Putative Alarm Pheromones of the Ant Species Formica obscuripes (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)
Warren J. Wood

Alarm pheromones of the ant species Formica obscuripes were investigated. Volatile compounds in the headspace above aggravated worker ants were collected by solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and analyzed using gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Analysis revealed the presence of the suspected alarm pheromones decane, undecane, tridecane, 4-tridecene, pentadecane, and heptadecane, as well as several unidentified components. The identities of the straight-chain hydrocarbons were confirmed by comparison with mass spectra of authentic samples. The location of the double bond in 4-tridecene was determined by a standard methylthiolation derivatization technique.

Shortest Process Next. Scheduling strategy. Also called SJF -- Shortest Job First.

Service Point Of Contact.

(New Jersey, for instance) State Police Office of Emergency Management.

Premature information that spoils enjoyment of some entertainment. Typically a description of how a story turns out. Less often the answer to a riddle. The Movie Spoiler Center has an alphabetized list of spoilers for movies of the 1990's.

Spoke in red indian.
Hol' yoor pow-liticly crect hawses, theah, pardner: `spoke and read Hindi.'

SPOOL, spool
Simultaneous Peripheral Operation On-Line. A punnishing acronym, or most likely a stealth backronym. The ``simultaneous'' is the connection of various other devices to the peripheral, which is an output device. The spool is a queue for outputing temporary files. Get the low-down on SPOOL and spool from FOLDOC.

Old name for a three wood (golf club).

Verb: to stack or store like objects in a row, in such a way that one side of each object conforms with the opposite side of the next, like spoons in a stack; to be stored or storable in such manner.

SingaPORE. Common abbreviation just south of Malaysia.

SingaPOREAN. Common abbreviation just south of Malaysia.

A spoon with short tines on the end. (A cross between a fork and a spoon.)

It's such a relief to read news that doesn't matter.

Solid Phase Organic Synthesis.

SPOKeS{ [wo]man | person }.

In Spanish, one sees both portavoz and vocero used.

Species (plural). Singular is sp. (If you need to be bored out of your mind, I can recommend that entry very highly.) It's unusual that the abbreviation gives more information than the word abbreviated.

Society for Philosophy and Psychology. Kinda like the Department of Astrology and Astronomy -- or would be, if psychology were a science. (Alternate link.)

Self-Pumped Phase-Conjugate.


Senate and People of Rome. [Latin: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus.] Good thing they decided to pull the Q into the acronym, so we can distinguish this from the frequently occurring SPR).

The argument has been made that the Q stands for Quirites, rather than simply representing an earlier stage of orthography in which the que was regarded as a separate word. (At the time, word spacing was not used, so the distinction is not easy to discover. Try to imagine how one could determine from literature whether non in words like noncupative is just a separate syllable or a separate word, ifEnglishwerewrittenwithoutwordspacing.

Also the name of an online game.

Incidentally, S.P.Q.R. was revived again as late as the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. According to Robert Brentano, Rome Before Avignon: A Social History of Thirteenth-Century Rome (Basic Books, 1974), p. 94:

[Rome] had its own money, the denari provisini senatus, of the type of Champagne (which had been used in Rome particularly between 1154 and 1184), issued by the senate after 1184, with `Roma caput mundi' inscribed on its obverse and `Senatus P.Q.R.' on its reverse.

Boundary stones with the inscription S.P.Q.R. were used as late as 1234, during a failed effort to throw off papal dominion.

Services de protection contre les rayonnements. You know, the cool thing about French is, it's a lot like English with some extra letters thrown in (mostly silent). In fact, basically -- I mean, pretty much -- French is almost completely derived from English (through Latin). You'd think you'd hardly need a dictionary, but you have to be careful. You might get tripped up by a faux ami and make a faux pas. For example, in the expansion of SPR above, it looks like rayonnements must be some artificial fibers, and SPR some sort of ScotchGard-like treatment or something. This is wrong. In fact, rayonnements is the French spelling of `raiments' or `dress.' SPR will take in your woolens and furs for safekeeping over the hot Summer months. They're shipped to Australia, where they experience Winter during Summer, so your cozy things will feel wanted and welcome. All for just 7.5 euros per kilo. The same organization also rents out bathing suits.

Holy cloth! It turns out that some of the details above are slightly off! I'm going to have to research this further. Okay, I think I've got it now. SPR is a special religious ceremony (hence the archaic `raiment' terminology) for divine intercession on behalf of clothing, to prevent holey cloth, say. It works equally well against wool moths and color-fast ketchup. (Nevertheless, you should also use napkins and mothballs too, to demonstrate the sincerity of your religious convictions and the intensity of your longing for immaculate clothing made from whole cloth.) Responsive reading will begin on page one of Sartor Resartus (the Book of Thomas Carlyle).

For an accurate translation of SPR, visit the entry for the French CEA. Cf. OPRI.

Society for Psychical Research. You shouldn't need a URL to find them. Founded in 1882 at Cambridge. One of its founders (F. W. H. Myers) coined the word telepathy that year, on the pattern of telegraphy.

Shhh! I hear ... tapping! Morse code from the other side! Spirit: if you read me reply ``e''!

Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Clever name -- almost suggests we have a petroleum strategy.

Surface Plasmon Resonance.

German term meaning `language region.' The Polish Sprachraum is the region where Polish is spoken (or claimed to be spoken).

Special Projects of Regional and National Significance.

Scott Polar Research Institute.

spring break
An annual pilgrimage from universities to the places where the ``pilgrims'' hope to ``get lucky.'' Specifically, it is a time each year when professors converge on Washington, DC, to visit their sugar-daddies and sugar-mommas at the research funding agencies.

Springsteen demographic
New Jersey voters who heed ``the Boss.'' I've seen it described as ``students and their blue collar parents'' and ``record-buyers older than forty.''

Southern Pacific Railroad Internal Network Telecommunications (Department). It seems they branched out into the external market.

French: Société de personnes à responsabilité limitée. Appears to correspoond to a `limited liability partnership.' Cf. SARL.


Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. ``The Roman Society'' for short. Founded in 1910 as the sister society to the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies (SPHS).

The Roman Society's main journal publications are Britannia (on Roman Britain) and JRS, which appear in November or December each year.

Standard Platinum Resistance Thermometer.

St. Paul's School.

Sanitary and PhytoSanitary.

Satellite Power System. No, not a system to power a satellite (that's conventionally designated a ``space power system''). A proposed system, or class of systems, studied in the seventies, to place solar collectors in geosynchronous orbit, converting collected energy to microwaves that would be beamed down to receiving antennas (``rectennas'') on the earth's surface. US studies focused on rectennas in the Mojave desert, and microwaves in vicinity of 2.45 GHz, delivering 5-10 gigawatts per antenna.

Among the various potential problems contemplated were ohmic heating of the ionosphere; health effects on humans of foreseeable submilliwatt/sq.cm. chronic exposures and larger intermittent exposures; chemical toxicity from large amounts of fuel and exhaust needed to put the systems in orbit (using heavy-lift launch vehicles (HLLV's)]; climatological effects; electromagnetic interference (EMI), mostly to military systems -- we're talking Mojave desert here, remember; and occupational hazards to earthbound and astronaut workers.

The idea never got off the ground, as they say, but it did generate a publicity buzz. People tend to worry a lot about being microwaved -- it's probably a primal fear, along with fear of snakes, spiders, and falling on one's face. A year or two after the ozone hole was discovered in Antarctica, shepherds in southern Argentina (.ar) started reporting blind sheep. [For all I know, this is how cigarette pushers got the idea of marketing to the cartoon-receptive with a camel that wore dark glasses.] It took years to convince residents of Clarence (near Buffalo, NY) that they would not be harmed by Doppler radar the National Weather Service was trying to install there.

The Japanese are always on the lookout for out-of-this-world ways to get power, since they have negligible domestic energy resources. After the Pons-Fleischmann thing was widely discredited, the Japanese government continued to fund research along those lines -- what the heck: very low probability of success, very high potential return if it works. Zero times infinity, could be something. I thought of this when I learned that in FY1998-2000, the Japanese Space Agency (NASDA) funded research (literature-survey, theoretical, and simulation) into SPS. They considered both the microwave scheme usually considered and laser power transmission using fiber-array lasers. [See M. Mori, H. Nagayama, Y. Saito and H. Matsumoto, ``Summary of studies on space solar power systems of the National Space Development Agency of Japan,'' Acta Astronautica, vol. 54, #5, pp. 337-345 (2004).]

An idea related to satellite power systems, but without the conversion losses and difficulties, is direct use of satellite-redirected solar light -- you know, deploy enormous mylar sheets oriented to illuminate the Arctic night/winter. The Russian Space Agency tried this once.

Serial Port Select (voltage level, pin).

Service Propulsion Subsystem. The main propulsion engines on the Apollo spacecraft, firing from the base of the cylindrical service module. They generated 20,500 pounds of thrust.

Short-Period Superlattice[s]. One to three monolayers per material.

Social and Political Science. I refrain from applying scare quotes. I might not know where to begin.

Sulfonated PolyStyrene (PS).

Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. SPSS enables social scientists with no mathematical competence to generate sophisticated-looking results that are utterly invalid. Some people think this is a problem, but it's really the whole point.

Eventually the perpetrators of SPSS realized that there are others who have a poor understanding of and correspondingly great respect for statistics. They could derive similar benefits from this kind of software. The current line of SPSS products is marketed mostly to business, under the new acronym expansion ``Statistical Product and Service Solutions.''

SPSS was originally created by Stanford University graduate students Norman H. Nie (now Chairman of the Board of SPSS, Inc.), C. Hadlai (Tex) Hull and Dale Bent. (It was originally written in FORTRAN 66.)

Single-pole, single throw. A switch with two rest positions, one in which it is open, and one in which it closes a single circuit.

Society for Philosophy and Technology. Founded in 1976. As of this writing, they hold international meetings biennially: in Europe the year following a leap year, in North America the year preceding. The fourth meeting: July 20-22, 2005, at Delft University of Technology in Delft, The Netherlands. (``And Delft is of course well-known for its blue earthenware and for the 17th century painter Johannes Vermeer.'' Who?) The fifth meeting (``SPT 2007''): July 8-11, 2007, in Charleston, South Carolina, The US. The theme of the conference will be Globalisation and Technology. (``Charleston is one of America's oldest and most beautiful port cities with a very lively tourism and nightlife scene.'' Hiya there, sailor-technologist! Had any good Kant lately? What's a hot-shot philosopher like you doing in a dive like this? What's your signifier... or signified, as the case may be? Hey babe, let's lose that old categorical imperative and break loose! Please don't use that terrible word ``cheating''! I am simply forced to find an alternative form of release because my students just don't understand me.)

(For the punctuationally astute, I note that yes, indeed, there is no comma before the with phrase in the description of Charleston.) The SPT publishes a peer-reviewed journal called Futilité. No wait -- it's called Techné. And a newsletter.

Strawberry Pop-Tart. If you can sacrifice some toasters, SPT's double as disposable blow-torches, according to Dave Barry and this research that he inspired. The research was performed using the non-frosted variety of the product. See also this AIP entry.

As part of my own research for the insulation entry, I acquired a matched pair (2) of frosted strawberry Kellogg's Pop-Tarts. The microwave cooking instructions call for three seconds at a ``high'' setting. An important safety instruction: ``Do not leave toasting appliance unattended due to risk of fire.''

  1. Darn! I was going to use those three seconds to do my Xmas shopping.
  2. [For strict grammarians only.] In other words, do not leave because you fear fire; find a different reason.
  3. [For the killjoy.] Yeah, microwave ovens may be faster than ``toasting appliances.''

Substrate-Plate Trench (capacitor). Strategy for increasing DRAM density.

Screen Printing Technical Foundation. ``The Screen Printing Technical Foundation continually strives to improve the Predictability, Efficiency, and Profitability (PEP) of the screen printing process.''

Single Program Transport Stream.

(Canadian) Specialty and Premium Television Association. This entry might be a bit historical. The domain name seems to be.

Seattle Pacific University.

Smallest Publishable Unit. Except that in the fields I am familiar with, it's usually called a ``Least Publishable Unit'' (LPU).

Summa Plus Ultra. My but we're good!

spuds if pug dish of pig
Mnemonic for remembering the sequence spdsfpgdshfpig. This is the order (by increasing energy) of states filled in a nuclear shell model. The letters label orbital angular momentum (s, p, d ... for L = 0, 1, 2 ...). One knows to ignore u and the first two i's because the shell-model energy levels are close to those of a harmonic oscillator (a common first-order model for the self-consistent [Hartree] nuclear potential), and these could not appear so early. The radial quantum number can be inferred simply from the number of times an angular momentum value has appeared in the count, so the order is
1s, 1p, 1d, 2s, 1f, 2p, 1g, 2d, 3s, 1h, 2f, 3p, 1i, 2g, ...

The order given ignores spin-orbit coupling, which is sufficiently important that ignoring it yields mostly wrong magic numbers (2, 8, 20, 28, 40, 58, 70, 92, 112 and 138). When spin-orbit coupling is taken account of, a level with orbital angular momenum L (and spin 1/2), having degeneracy (2L+1)×(2½+1) = 2(2L+1), is split into J = L+½ and J = L-½ levels with degeneracies 2J+1. The spin-orbit splitting is comparable to the unsplit-level separation, leading to a different set of magic numbers, viz., the correct values 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, 126 and 184.

Spin-Polarized Ultra-violet (UV) Photoelectron Spectroscopy. UPS using photoelectron detectors that can determine electron spin. Visit this description served by Christopher Walker.

Space Power Unit Reactor.

Spurious Response.

To trip over one's words in angry or surprised excitement. To utter while spitting. To seem to speak German with eyebrows raised.

Of an engine: to nearly stall out.

We just put this entry here to yank Katie Couric's gold chain.

Self-Propelled Vehicle. A particular kind of train built by the Budd Company, intended as a successor to the RDC. You can get an idea of how successful they were from the other expansion that became popular: Seldom Powered Vehicles. Full name was SPV-2000, reflecting the hope that they would continue in service to that year. Uh-uh. Manufactured in 1980, mothballed within a few years. Although they did not continue to be manufactured, many of them were put back into service after being refurbished, mostly as coaches (renamed ``Constitution Liners''). This page has more detail for some SPV's used on the Shore Line East Commuter Railroad.

Surface PhotoVoltage.

Lubek Jastrzebski, Worth Henley and Charles Nuese have an article ``Surface Photovoltage Monitoring of Heavy Metal Contamination in IC Manufacturing'' in the trade glossy Solid State Technology, pp. 27ff (December 1992).

Single-Passenger Vehicle (for the year) 2000. A sad story; see SPV supra.

Sequenced Packet Exchange. The Novell NetWare transport protocol.

Spin-Polarized X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy. XPS using photoelectron detectors that can determine electron spin. Visit this description served by Christopher Walker.

The name of a planned nuclear reactor system for use on US space missions, with a nominal 100-kWe power output. The program to develop the SP-100 was also called SP-100. The latter SP-100 operated between 1983 and 1994. As planned, SP-100 would have used 140 kg of 235U in uranium nitride, and as structured, it could have been used as the power source for a large ion propulsion system as well as for more conventional electrical loads.

Nearest-neighbor tight-binding model for the electronic band structures of semiconductors, very successful in explaining the shallow-deep donor problem.

P. Vogl, Harold P. Hjalmarson and John D. Dow, J. Phys. Chem. Solids v. 44, p. 365 (1983).

Shorter Q. This is a hypothesized short version of Q consisting mostly of saying material, that plays a role in the 3ST. Possibly it is a first redaction of Q (Q1).

SubCUtaneous. It's not an insult to the under-cute. It's just about getting just under your skin. Administering or self-administering an SQ injection is called ``skin-popping'' in druggie slang. You'd have to be high to consider that a euphemism. Cf. IA, IM, and especially IV.

squaric acid
Cyclobutane with a carboxyl group at each corner. First synthesized by Sid Cohen.

Society of Quality Assurance.

Statistical Quality Assurance.

Statistical Quality Control.

Shrink Quad Flat Pack (QFP). Older name for Fine-pitsch QFP (FQFP).

sq. ft.
SQuare FooT or SQuare FeeT. And you thought you had problems finding shoes that fit.

Structured Query Language. I've heard it pronounced both ``ess cue ell'' and ``sequel.'' This is a serious problem, because often it is pronounced differently by people who are related or in a relationship, and SQL is the user front end to a relational database management system. It's an ISO and ANSI standard. It's apparently not a very standardized standard. Or perhaps it's a very standardized standard, since there are so many standards to choose from -- SQL, SQL-86, SQL-89, SQL-92, and SQL3, and then I stopped paying attention. There are also a couple of expansions of the acronym. The original one is given above. The official one is apparently now a XARA: SQL Query Language. (This makes SQL a sealed acronym.)

Structured Query Language/Data System. An IBM package.

Function name for square root in the BASIC programming language.

SQRT, sqrt
Generic function name for square root in FORTRAN. Standard function name in most common programming languages.

(Leyland) Stanford (Junior College) QUAntum Device Simulator.

squeezing your own butt in public
I witnessed this in the lobby of the main university library the other day (2005.10.09), and I thought it noteworthy. She was just doing the left cheek with her left hand. It was kind of sexy, but ... has liberty given way to license? Licentiousness? Maybe she was scratching a nonmetaphoric itch. It reminds me of a comment Edith made once. She complained that Cuban men (in Cuba) would reach in from time to time and, like, rearrange or scratch their crotch area, right there while they were talking. She had also done the socialist solidarity thing for a while and worked in a Cuban factory, so if she noticed the rearranging thing with her coworkers there, maybe this habit was more common among the less classy of that classless society. Hmm, I guess classless can have a couple of meanings. She also reported that her factory comrades would laugh at her for continuing to work while she talked, instead of stopping work as they did. This demonstrates that there was at least something they wouldn't do while talking. It reminds me of cell phones. I've also noticed national variations in the propensity of people to pick their noses in public. Man, this entry is just going down the toilet.

Superconducting QUantum Interference Device. Makes use of the fact that quantum mechanical phase around a closed loop depends on the magnetic flux enclosed by that loop.

SaQuinaVir. A drug used in the treatment of AIDS.

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