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Saint. Same abbreviation is used for equivalent German Sankt. French Saint is male only; cf. Ste.

(Domain code for) São Tomé and Príncipe. Described here.

Postal code for Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt in German), an occasional German state (Land). It was first cobbled together as one of the constitutent states of East Germany (GDR) in 1947 and reorganized out of existence in 1952. It was reconstituted in 1990 as one of the sixteen states (Länder) of the newly united German Federal Republic (FRG). [Like most of the general country information in this glossary, Germany's is at its domain code -- .de in this instance.]

Its area is 20,446 sq. km. The population in 1997 was about 2.7 million. The capital is Magdeburg.

Science and Technology.

Self-trap[ping]. Y. Toyozawa's article from 1958 might be a good introduction.

Short Ton. (2000 lb.) Cf. LT.

s.t., S.T.
Sine tempore, added after a scheduled time to indicate that starting time is to be taken seriously -- on the dot. Slightly obsolete usage found primarily among German-speaking academics. Cf. C.T..

Can also be expanded senza tempo (Italian equivalent).

Sixteen/Thirty-two. That's what the ST in ``Atari ST'' stands for, referring to the 16-bit-wide external bus and 32-bit internal bus of the MC68000's.

SomeThing. Dictionary-entry abbreviation. Also ``sth.''

Southern Tablelands. A region of New South Wales (NSW), Australia (.au). There're also NT and CT.

Star Trek. Often implies The Original Series (ST:TOS).

Paramount Pictures has an official Star Trek site. The largest online Star Trek site, with lots of downloadable stuff, is Star Trek in Sound and Vision. Trek Sites is a hub site with a search tool and links to over 700 web resources. Two search engines for Star Trek web resources are Trekseek, with over 1200 links, and Trek Search, with over 600.

Street -- US postal service abbreviation.

St., Str.
Street -- conventional abbreviations.

STyrene. Hence PMSt for poly(methylstyrene).

Such That. [Mathematics usage.] Also represented in symbolic logic by a colon or an inverted epsilon.

Santa. Spanish abbreviation for the title of a female saint. It is common in Spanish to include a final vowel a or o in an abbreviation to indicate gender. (Cf. Ste.) Some of that seems to have rubbed off on English, with state names Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania having abbreviations La., Fla., Ga., Va., Pa. (and Penna.). A few other states also have abbreviations that might, but needn't, be interpreted in the same way (initial letter or letters plus final, sometimes gender-defining vowel): Hawaii, California, Colorado, Iowa, Oklahoma, Alabama, Maine.

Usually when there is an adjective ending in a in female form (like alta, `high,'), the corresponding male form ends in o (alto, `high'). The adjective santo/santa (`sainted') is no exception to this rule. Moreover, nouns for people often take natural gender, and santo/santa (`saint') is not an exception to this pattern either. But the male form of the title is San, so there's no ``Sto'' title abbreviation. (The situation resembles that of words like un, `one, an,' which have a common female form una, but have male forms un and uno before and after a noun, respectively.

I wonder what language uses Santa as title for a male saint. [FWIW, Esperanto noun modifiers (singular form) end in a. This is very irritating to a Spanish speaker, since singular nouns end in o. Oh dang: Esperanto uses the root Sankt-.]

Spatial Tiling Agent.

stabbing, ill-effects of
Anthony Burgess, desponding and responding to a TLS review panning one of his books, wrote thusly:
In my capacity as critic I never stab anybody, for I know how life-denying it is to be stabbed. Writing a book is damned difficult work, and you ought to praise a book if you can.

TLS published Burgess's reply, probably to demonstrate the sagacity of its reviewer. (I should warn you: I have the Burgess quote only at second hand. It was ``recent'' in 1986, but I didn't find it in 1970-86. The online TLS archive is a major piece of work, but searches are waaaay slow and the Chadwyck-Healey search form is weak, so I'll wait a couple of years before I try again.)

A GM synonym for electronic stability control. For other synonyms, see the ESC entry.

stability ball
A large (approx. 60 cm or 25 inches diam.) inflated ball of thick plastic, usually brightly colored. It's used for doing wussy ``exercises.''

An alternate spelling of staycation, (stay-at-home vacation). Judging both from ghits and a Lexis-Nexis search of US newspapers and newswires, the shorter spelling is about a hundred times less common than the longer. But I have a soft spot for blends (Plexoft is one), so this gets an entry in the glossary, although I haven't gone so far as to make the alternative-spelling cross-reference reciprocal. (It's a blend because the first letter a can represent both that in stay and the first in vacation.

My impression is that most people who use the rarer variant do so wittingly (at least they know what they mean and how the word is constructed, even if they might be unaware that there is a different more common spelling). As is often the case with small-number statistics, however, the signal edges into the noise. A Lexis-Nexis search in June 2008 found only one instance of this spelling among major media; it occurred in an 8000-word transcript of a CNN show on May 7, 2008, where the spelling was tagged as ``(ph),'' so I guess the transcriber didn't recognize the word or its construction.


Publius Papinius Statius.

SDH Transceiver And Framer.

Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Field Fluctuations.

Electric and Magnetic Fields (as measured by appropriately localized Hermitian operators) are conjugate operators in the same sense that position and momentum are conjugate, and they also obey a Heisenberg uncertainty principle which states that they cannot, in principle, be simultaneously known with arbitrary precision. Moreover, the field at a point is the Fourier transform of fields in all wavevectors (or frequencies, for a point in time). As a result of zero-point motion in each wave-vector component, it turns out that measuring even a single component of electromagnetic field, averaged in a region of volume V, can be done only up to an accuracy bounded by a quantity that scales as (if I recall aright) 1/V.

Of course, all these cavils are mostly ``in principle.'' As a practical matter, the electromagnetic fields we are usually concerned with satisfy Maxwell's equations, which are a large-occupation-number limit of the quantum field theory.

staff infection
Try staph infection.

Put on display or prepared for display.

Among realtors, a house is said to be staged if furnishings are brought in to improve its saleability. This is more common with new houses and with more expensive homes whose current owners are absent or, mmm, thrifty. There are companies that specialize in staging properties for sale, and they'll often decorate rooms with a theme -- hockey posters and equipment in a children's room, say. The furniture used in staging a house is called ``staged furniture.''

Police investigators describe a crime scene as ``staged'' if it has been rearranged to mislead them.

staged furniture
Props in a property. See the staged entry.

STAIF 2003
Space Technology and Applications International Forum 2003. Conference on Thermophysics in Microgravity; Commercial/Civil Next Generation Space Transportation; Human Space Exploration. Papers published in AIP Conference Proceedings Volume 654.

The whole network of relations, conventions, and expectations by which the Stammtisch is defined. All lunchtime chit-chat carries the burden of its relation to all discussions over food, so there is no absolute meal. It's amazing we can keep it down, frankly. All that nutritional-content indeterminacy leaves my stomach queasy and subject to sudden reinterpretation.

A definition was available, but the link is now dead. Der Stammtisch means `the regulars' table' in colloquial but universally understood German. A sign with the word is sometimes placed on a table to indicate that the table is reserved. The regulars are called eine Stammtischrunde.

Bruce the spectroscopist joined us for lunch one day after he got back from a sabbatical spent in Austria. When he learned the name of our group, he did not object that rather than the synecdoche, we should use the Runde compound. He did object, however, that the ambience was not very authentic. (That day we were outside by the Burger King.) I agreed: ``Of course -- no ten-year-old boy walking past carrying a Bierstein the size of his head.''

Size (inner diameter), Temperature (range of fluid carried by pipe or hose), Application (indoor/outdoor, protected or not?, subject to abbrasion? corrosion? vibration? ...), Medium (nature of fluid content), Pressure, Ends. Visit here for details.

Short for Stanley and other names.

Space Telescope Analysis Newsletter.

STANdardization AGreement. (NATO usage.) The purpose of a STANAG is to support domestic industry by forcing the allies to all buy the same equipment.

STAnding NAVal FORce (English) CHANnel. (NATO mouthful.)

STAnding NAVal FORce atLANTic. (NATO mouthful.)

STAnding NAVal FORce MEDiterranean. (NATO mouthful.)


standesgemäß, standesgemaess
A German adjective meaning `appropriate to one's social position.' I'm not aware of any single English word with a similarly specific sense of appropriate. Fitting has been used with a similar sense, but is too general. Perhaps befitting or becoming (as in ``conduct becoming an officer'') conveys the idea best. Similarly, the noun propriety has -- or had, in more fastidious times -- the specific sense of ``social appropriateness,'' but I think that some things were always universal improprieties, so that social class was not necessarily implied.

Japanese has a frequently-used complimentary adverb sasuga ni, which may be translated as `[done] as befits the doer's station in life.' A similar idea is contained in the adverb dake ni, which may be translated `as may be expected,' the basis of the expectation again being social condition or status of some sort (such as having graduated from high school, say). Contrastively, there are adverbs like kuse ni and datera ni that imply reproach for conduct unbecoming.

In sports, there is now a fairly systematic distinction between team standings and team rankings. A team's standing is its rank determined from a crude measure of its success, such as won-lost record (W-L, q.v.). As such, standing does not take account of the quality of opponents. Rankings attempt to rank teams on the basis of ability, as determined either by formula or judgment, and relying on various other data besides numbers of games won and lost (and tied). You can see this usage at ESPN and other sites, which offer both. One factor that has probably influenced this sharpening semantic distinction is the word ``unranked.'' A team may not rank, but it is not normally said to have no standing.


Science To Achieve Results. A program of the US EPA.

Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting.

Something like System for Tuning At Random. The first random-access TV tuning system. That is, you key in a number and your set switches to that channel directly, rather than by cycling through all the channels between your current and destination channel. Back in the stone-and-diode age of electronics, when this kind of idea was novel, it was first introduced by Magnavox. In development, the idea was called RATS, for `Random Access Tuning System.' For some reason, the marketing people scrambled the acronym.

You know, marketing is rocket science, and naming product is a fine art. I think that the people who do this sort of work should be rewarded appropriately, commensurate with their contribution. In fact, I would be pleased if the geniuses at Oldsmobile who came up with Achieva received a tidy sum. They could name it severance pay.

Hmm. Message to future readers of this glossary: ``Oldsmobile'' was a GM marque that ran out of tag loyalty and was discontinued at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The way tag loyalty died out was that those who got Oldses got old. They died or otherwise lost their licenses, and were not replaced by younger customers. The division even had an ad campaign or two featuring Youngmobile, a word evidently created to highlight management marketing fears and remind everyone to associate ``Olds'' with old. See the REO entry for other Oldses that have passed on.

GM announced in December 2000 that it would end production of the Oldsmobile line with the 2004 model year. The Alero was the only remaining vehicle in the lineup, manufactured at the Lansing Car Assembly plant. The last Alero to be manufactured rolled off the assembly line at around 10:20 AM EDT on April 29, 2004.

This would be the enzyme that breaks down the sugar starbose, if there were a sugar so named. (The word ``starbose'' has been coined, however.)

Nautical usage, adopted by air transport workers. The right side, as determined by an observer in the vehicle, when vehicle and observer are right side up, and observer is looking ``forward'' (in the normal direction of travel of the vessel or vehicle). Cf. port.

A mix of STARch and soRBOSE. This is certainly a portmanteau word, and it's probably a blend in the other sense as well.

The word appeared once in a clinical research article in 1987. Part of the research involved identifying different streptococcus strains, and the efficacy of ``Strep Trio-Tubes S4, S5, and S3'' was compared with brand X (okay, okay, ``with conventional methods based on the Facklam scheme for differentiation of group D streptococci''). The Trio-Tubes are evidently so-called because they consist of three medium-containing tubes (``with two microtubes held in place by medium in the butt of the carrier tube''). Starbose is mentioned as one of three components of the growth medium in Trio-Tube S4: ``arginine-starbose (combination of starch and sorbose)''; it seems clear that starbose is just a (physical) mix of sugar and starch.

Presumably, the term was coined by the manufacturer of the Trio-Tubes. That was Carr-Scarborough Microbiologicals, Inc., based near Atlanta, but it's not clear from the web that they're still in business, at least under that name. (And D.L. Carr's most recent publication seems to date from 1990.) I also can't find very much information specifically about the product [by now (2009) I would expect that it had been superseded, anyway], and no other instance of the word starbose.

(The article, ``Identification of Streptococcus faecalis and Streptococcus faecium and Susceptibility Studies with Newly Developed Antimicrobial Agents,'' was published by M. Jane Kim, Martin Weiser, Sandra Gottschall, and Eileen Randall -- all of Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Illinois -- in the May 1987 Journal of Clinical Microbiology, pp. 787-790.)

Name of characters in ``Battlestar Galactica.'' Lt. Starbuck, played by Dirk Benedict, was a major character in the original 1978-79 series and appeared in all 21 episodes. That series was fairly successful but expensive, and was canceled sfter one season. It was brought back (technically as ``Galactica 1980'') for another season, with only Lorne Greene (`` Commander Adama'') and Herb Jefferson Jr. (``Colonel Boomer'') returning from the regular cast of the original series. This second series was star-crossed; as it fell to earth, the producers brought back Dirk Benedict (again as ``Starbuck'') for one episode.

In the 2004-2009 series, Katee Sackhoff played a Lt. Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace.

A commercially successful chain of coffee shops. I've read that their coffee is terrible, but I wouldn't know. I only recognize two kinds of coffee: (1) too disgusting to get down and (2) a convenient way to take caffeine.

I've also encountered the claim that studies have shown that when a Starbucks is opened, it actually improves the business of coffee shops that were already in the area. I guess the mechanism at work here is that a local Starbucks franchise puts the idea of drinking coffee into people's heads, and many of those people go and get their coffee elsewhere. It's possible they go elsewhere because Starbucks coffee tastes bad.

STate ARea Command. Military usage. The US National Guard essentially comprises the state militias.

Starimitator, Starimitatorin
German nouns meaning about what you'd expect (the -in ending indicates female). A distinction is made between this and a Double (the latter word hasn't been naturalized sufficiently to have distinct male and female forms): a Double looks like a celebrity, a Starimitator performs. This page, offering a variety of doubles and imitators, features a double of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then a Shakira Starimitatorin. When I visited in August 2006, the imitators were mostly offering half-hour performances. The Shakira act was 1650 euros for approx. 30 minutes, and the rest of those with listed prices ranged down (at least on a per-minute basis, or per-performer for groups).

The resemblances varied, and the performances probably do too, so it might be unfair to compare. They have a pretty convincing Sean Connery and their Jean Claude van Damme isn't bad. Interestingly, though they have a fair Donald Trump (I mean, you don't have to ask ``who were you supposed to be, again?''), the hair just isn't bad enough. They have a good imitation of what Pamela Anderson will look like when her surgical tucks start to come loose. The best thing is that after staring at ersatz stars for a while, when you look again at the real thing, some of the skepticism stays with you.

German adjective meaning `powerful, strong, solid.'

Stark Effect
A uniform DC electric field applied to a lattice of ions will shift the energies of electronic states on each atom by an amount that depends on the ion location. A regular lattice of sites leads to regularly-spaced energy levels--a Stark Ladder. This is somewhat counter-intuitive, since discrete states are localized, so a Stark Ladder should not conduct, yet one expects carriers to move in response to an electric field. In ordinary treatments, some coupling between nearby sites is necessary to produce conduction; but while the coupling may be small, it is difficult to imagine turning it off completely. In fact, a Stark ladder does not form until the field is large enough to overcome the intersite coupling. For a long time there was some question about whether a Stark ladder could be observed physically, but PRL 70, 3319 (1993) appears to have convinced most.

What ever happened to Koo Stark? Now that Andy and Fergie are permanent splitsville, maybe she won't seem the mistake she seemed earlier. [She's probably available: Koo's ex-husband is dating Elle MacPherson (picture in August '95 Cosmo).] The House of Windsor has done worse. Frequently. Mom married a Greek Orthodox, so the fact that Koo is a Hollywood Buddhist should present no problem.

Omigod! Imagination pales. According to news reported in the pages of the University of Oviedo, Spain, as of August 25, 1996: Andrew has met Koo secretly for the (then) past six months, and she recently announced that she's pregnant. There's 'smore juicy stuff here, and this source at least got Queen Elizabeth's name right, but ``cheek-to-cheek'' isn't enough bait to justify learning Indonesian. There was apparently something about it in the Daily Mirror at the time. Oh wait! Finally something in English:

``I feel strongly that this is a private matter and the child should know before the rest of the world. I will never publicly reveal the identity of the father unless it is both his wish and that of the child.''
This'll be her first child. Koo turned 40 on August 9. The cheek-to-cheek connection is that she became pregnant shortly after dancing that way with Andrew. [Shades of Margaret Meade.] That's about it.

Y'know, Koo Stark had a cameo in ``The Rocky Horror Picture Show.'' She was a bridesmaid. ``Always the bridesmaid, never the ....'' Never mind.

In summer 2002 she got magazine cover space as a breast-cancer survivor. Let's face it: Prince Andrew is a star-maker.


Software Technology for Adaptable, Reliable Systems.

Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System. A notoriously over-budget and under-performing US government program to modernize the nation's air traffic control system.

STrategic Arms Reduction Talks. Notice the use of the word reduction -- not a synonym of Limitation (cf. SALT).

SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training. Something to do with a bunch of global climatological and environmental organizations.


This verb is a cognate of the German verb sterben, `to die.' Its meaning evolved to reflect a common cause of death (inanition). It's unusual for a word from Old English to acquire a -tion ending, since this comes from the Latin ending -tio, but there you have it: starvation. (Another instance is flusteration.)

Slotted-Tube Atom Trap. Sounds primitive, doesn't it?


Hospitalese for immediately. Abbreviation of Latin statim. In principle, since this is not an initialism, there is no need to capitalize. We capitalize to SHOUT, to simulate alarm or urgency.

A flatfooted word for say that carries a suggestion of unreflective acquiescence by the quoter, as if a statement were a reliable form of evidence. A common word in college newspapers and other highly incompetent news media.

A statement made under oath, of course, is regarded as a somewhat reliable form of evidence in court. Hence, a number of the common competent collocations of the verb state suggest legal or quasi-legal contexts. For example, Ani DiFranco's song ``32 Flavors'' includes the lyrics ``And I would like to state for the record / I did everything that I could do.''

State Department (US). The Foreign Ministry. [Related old British terminology.]


Paper for writing.

statistical significance
A useful and precisely defined concept in statistics.

statistical significance
A useful and unclearly defined concept in polemics. ``The difference is statistically insignificant'' means ``the statistics are against me; I will ignore the statistics.''

In ``Under Which Lyre: A Reactionary Tract for the Times'' (1946), W. H. Auden included the following practical advice:
Thou shalt not answer questionnaires
Or quizzes upon World-Affairs,
Nor with compliance
Take any test. Thou shalt not sit
With statisticians nor commit
A social science.
This song could benefit from Frank Sinatra's phrasing. In case it helps, Auden's full name was Wystan Hugh Auden. By the time he wrote these lines, he was a confirmed expatriate in the US, and had broken with his old socialist activism.

There's more at Ehrenfest's Theorem.

Two nude statues, one male and one female, were granted one hour of ``real life'' by God. The moment they were given breath, they ran behind some nearby bushes and one could hear nothing but giggling for a full hour! Ah, such fun! As the hour came to a close they requested of the Divinity just one hour more and promised to request nothing further, ever. So they received an additional hour.

As they ran for the bushes again with all the glory of their nudity fully ablaze, the female statue turned to the male and said, ``Let's do it again, only this time, you hold the pigeon and I'll shit on it!''

Versions of this have appeared widely. I first saw it on the anthro-l mailing list, but it must be older than email.

status quaestionis
Latin, `the status of the question,' or typically `the point reached by research to now.' This wasn't obvious?

STAY-at-home vaCATION. The earliest datable published instance of this new word is in an article in a short August 4, 2005, item in the Washington Post, by Janelle Erlichman Diamond.

Set-Top Box. Also set-top unit and STU.

Shit The Bed. Died and relaxed its muscles.

Software Technical Bulletin. If there were a word that meant both ``bug'' and ``feature,'' these would go out much sooner. Cf. SPSS.

STroBe. Common meaning in microelectronics: an enabling or disabling logic timing signal.

Space-Time Block Code[s].

The initials Samuel Taylor Coleridge sometimes signed with. More information at this Col entry.

Science and Technology Research Center[s]. A program of the US NSF.

SHAPE Technical Center. (NATO nested acronym. The West's answer to Russian dolls.)

Society for Technical Communication. ``The society's diverse membership includes writers, editors, illustrators, printers, publishers, educators, students, engineers, and scientists employed in a variety of technological fields. With more than 20,000 members worldwide, STC is the largest professional organization serving the technical communication profession.''

``During the Persian Gulf War, U.S. strategists figured that many of the Iraqi troops-faced with, among other things, poor food and continual aerial bombardment-were ready and willing to surrender. According to a November 1995 article in the STC journal Intercom, technical communicators used a variety of skills to complete a surrender leaflet that was to be dropped by airplane into enemy lines.
After dropping limited quantities of early versions of the leaflet, technical writers revised their work, based on information gathered from captured prisoners. They removed the color red after learning it was a signal for danger in Iraq. They learned that among Iraqis a bearded man is more likely to inspire trust and brotherhood than a someone clean-shaven, so they inserted the picture of a bearded soldier in place of the original picture of a clean-shaven Allied soldier. The writers also learned that bananas, a delicacy in Iraq, would be a nice addition to the bowl of fruit pictured.
The net result was that the Allies spent about $16 million (out of almost $60 billion total for Desert Shield/Desert Storm) to drop 29 million leaflets on 98 percent of the 300,000 Iraqi troops. Almost 87,000 enemy soldiers defected without firing a shot.''

The SUNY Institute of Technology Technical Communication department has some relevant stuff on its homepage.

Space-Time Coding.

Standard Test Conditions.

St. College
I'd heard of Saint Cloud, but this holy was unknown to me when I read the name on the back of a panel truck. St. College, Pa. -- oh, STate COLLEGE! -- the location of the main campus of Pennsylvania State University.

Société de Transport de la Communauté Urbaine de Montréal (QC). Subway and city buses. Formerly MUCTC in English. I shudder to think how these acronyms are pronounced. Cf. STRSM.

Sacrae Theologiae Doctor. Latin. `doctor of sacred theology.' Many young clerics go abroad to pick up their STD's. You know -- Rome, Paree.

Secondary Transmit Data.

Sexually Transmitted Disease (replaces VD). It is well known that sexually transmitted diseases are now STD.

Well, I'm not gonna put in a whole extra entry for syphilis -- I mean, it's not as if I want to put a lot of effort into this glossary -- so I'll just list the link to syphilis information from the NY State Dept. o' Health gopher here. Also, gonorrhea (or ``clap''), and the rarer, tropical STD's granuloma inguinale (or donovanosis, but not named after the singer) and chancroid.


State Transition Diagram.

[Phone icon]

Subscriber Trunk Dialing. Originally, all phone calls were routed by switchboard operators (hence ``operators'' for short): the subscriber picked up the horn and told the operator what party they wanted to reach. Like Mayberry. As telephone use increased, there were preposterous predictions about how the need for switchboard operators would outstrip the employment pool. By 1962, 140% of the population would be putting through calls for the remainder of the population (approximately). Direct dialing took care of this projected problem, but in stages. At first, one could only dial local calls directly -- a system of relays at the local office (LO) [a/k/a central office (CO)] would make the connection. Long-distance calls, which used the trunk lines that connected different local offices, required more sophisticated switching systems, so it was only later that one could make a long-distance call without operator assistance. When this option became available, and until it was taken for granted, it was called STD in the UK and DDD in Anglophone North America.

Statistical Time Division Multiplex{ er | ing } (TDM).

Space-flight Tracking and Data Network.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Also called DS9, an abbreviation occasionally used by characters on the program. The third series of Star Trek TV episodes (1993-1999). It overlapped the second non-animated series (ST:TNG) for one season (93-94), and was the sole Star Trek series for only one season, before being joined by Star Trek: Voyager (ST:VOY). Paramount Pictures has an official Star Trek site.

Abbreviation of French, Sainte -- title for a female saint (like Spanish Sta.). Male Saint is abbreviated St.

Section-Terminating Equipment.

Steak G. Ale
Steak & Ale.

stealth backronym
An afterthought or second-thought backronym. That is, an instance of a word that was originally used in some ordinary sense, or which was at least not originally regarded as an acronym in this instance, and to which an acronymic expansion was later attributed.

There are probably many motives for making a stealth backronym of what was originally a plain honest word. The three examples I can examine that ignorance may sometimes play a role.

One day at an impromptu tenth birthday party for Merald Knight, his eight-year-old sister Gladys and some other family members sang together as a quintet, and their cousin James `Pip' Woods suggested they form a group. They made him their manager and took the name ``Gladys Knight and the Pips.'' [Gladys had begun singing with the Mount Mariah Baptist Church choir and had toured the church circuit (to as far off as the neighboring states of Florida and Alabama) with the Morris Brown Choir -- by the time she was five. At seven she had won the $2000 top prize on ``The Ted Mack Amateur Hour'' by singing the apposite song ``Too Young,'' and she subsequently appeared on a number of other TV shows. So she was the obvious headliner.] Some time later it was given out that PIP stood for ``perfection in performance.''

News does not stand for ``North, East, West, and South,'' as has not infrequently been claimed. Similarly, it is claimed that ``for unlawful carnal knowledge'' is the expansion and explanation of a common English verb. No. Hey! This is a family glossary!

The meaning of the word spool has a natural extension in the context of data streams, but it has been assigned an acronym expansion (see SPOOL). Information technology is a fertile source of stealth backronyms. Of course, they wouldn't be stealthy if their histories were very clear, so there's generally some doubt as to their status. See Pine, for example. And when cooking up the expansion for a stealth backronym is too difficult, a stealth blend may be the answer.

When this entry was added on August 19, 2007, a google search suggested that this term did not exist, but the term is needed, so here it is.

stealth blend
Stealth blends have nothing necessarily to do with coffee. They are just to words created as blends what stealth backronyms are. The only examples I have in stock at this moment are bit and widget, but more may be coming in.

steel wire
I don't know anything about steel wire. You could check at Baekert.

steeped in history!
Okay, okay: old and water-damaged.

German: `stone age.'

Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscop{e | y}. Roughly: CTEM in SEM mode. I.e., The electron beam is raster-scanned as in SEM, across a thin sample prepared as for TEM.

See Albert V. Crewe, ``A High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscope,'' in the April 1971 (vol. 224, #4) issue of Scientific American.

Not to be confused with STM, which uses a pointy contact instead of a beam.

stem change
I don't want to make a very general comment here, just a small one about stem change in Spanish verbs. (Okay, really I do want to make very general comments, but I don't know any useful ones to make.)

First off, a number of what appear to be stem changes are merely regular orthographic changes. For example, the verb buscar (`to look for') has a second-person singular present subjunctive form ending in -es, just like any -ar verb. (Typical corresponding forms in an ordinary regular -ar verb: fumar, que fumes, meaning `to smoke, that you smoke.') But -ces would be pronounced with a soft cee. To preserve the hard-cee sound in the conjugated form, one uses a qu, so the -es conjugated form is busques. The reverse problem occurs if a soft cee in the infinitive would be pronounced hard (i.e., if the conjugated form followed it with anything other than a vowel e or i). The solution here is to replace the cee with a zee. Again taking the inf. and 2nd pers. sing. pres. subj. forms, convencer and esparcir (`convince' and `spread, scatter') have conjugations convenza and esparza.

Similar things happen with g, and you should be careful not to mindlessly convert c to z: conocer has 2s. pres. subj. conozca. But look, this isn't what I wanted to write about at all. I wanted to write about real stem changes, not this orthographic stuff. Except that there are dozens of them. Okay, some have to do with initial letter y or i, or an h hiding an initial vowel, or conjugations that result in unpleasant vowel clusters (i.e., stems ending in vowels -- creer, reír, etc.), and a lot of g's popping up out of nowhere just before the ending, and a very few hopelessly irregular verbs, which are of course the most common ones. I didn't want to get into any of that.

I just wanted to deal with these two rather common changes in stem vowel: e --> ie and o --> ue. This is handy information for all you Italians out there, whose native language is not blessed with this particular peculiarity (because diphthongs don't come through well in opera). It's sort of a regular irregularity, in the sense that when it happens, you can sleep-walk your way through a lot of the conjugation. The thing to notice about all of them is that the infinitive's vowel is replaced by a diphthong only if it is stressed in the conjugated form. The stem change occurs with all three verb classes (-ar, -er, -ir). Examples:
cerrar, cierro (`to close, I close');
tostar, tuesto (`to toast, I toast');
poder, puedo (`be able to');
sentir, siento (`feel, sense');
morir, muero (`die').

Okay, one little thing: there's a kind of regular irregular codicil to this regular irregular conjugation. For some verbs, the stem vowel changes only when it is stressed. For others, it also changes in another class of situations: when the vowel is unstressed and the following syllable contains a stressed a, ie, or ió. In this case, e --> i or o --> u.

I have this horrible feeling that this entry will never be of any use to anyone.

Satellite Theological Education Program. One step closer to the Almighty way up there, I suppose is the idea. Heck, they're on the twelfth floor of the Hesburgh Library. That's already got to be like a leg up or something.

Solar-Terrestrial Energy Program.

STandard for Exchange of Product (Model Data).

Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory. A pair of NASA spacecraft that orbit the Sun in tandem. These satellites have identical instrumentation and are coordinated to image the same points of interest. Hence, they provide binocular data that can be used to construct stereoscopic, three-dimensional images.

The STEREO spacecraft were launched in October 2006. They were maneuvered into solar orbits slightly within and without Earth's orbit. Around April 23, when the first 3D images of the Sun were unveiled, the two satellites had an angular separation of 4 degrees (in terms of the Sun as vertex).

The two satellites are separating at about 45 degrees per year. In other words, their orbital periods are about a sixteenth shorter and longer than the earth's. Hence, by Kepler's 2/3 law (which can be stated as (R/a0)3 = (T/y)2 for an orbit of period T and radius R, where y is one year and a0 is the astronomical unit), their orbital radii are roughly one twenty-fourth smaller and larger than Earth's. The satellites' radial separation is thus equivalent to one twelfth of a radian, or about 2.4 degrees.

A registered trademark of the Sterno Group, a division of the Candle Corporation of America. Their popular product ``Stermo Canned Heat Cooking Fuel,'' is mostly gelled ethanol, with 3.3% methanol. The methanol is there as a denaturing agent, an additive that makes the whole nontaxable as an alcoholic beverage or food. In other words, all those winos who've died or gone blind from ingesting Sterno for the ethanol are martyrs to alcohol taxation.

Latin for `I sneeze.' From that root, Spanish has estornudar (`to sneeze') and estornudo (`a sneeze,' `I sneeze'). Those are the standard terms in Spanish. English has the uncommon word sternutation, with obvious meaning.


Latin word meaning `[that it] stand.' A copyeditor's mark indicating that a previously indicated change should not be made. Easier to write than `Oops. Cancel that correction.'

Steuben County, Indiana
The county at the northeast corner of the state of Indiana. The name is pronounced with stress on the second syllable: ``stoo-BEN.''

Steuben County, New York
A county in west-central New York State, forming a sort of southwest corner of the Finger Lakes region. The small city of Corning, is located on the east side of the county, about fifteen miles north of the Pennsylvania line. (You needed to know this; we don't have time to waste with superfluous information.) The name of the county is pronounced with stress on the first syllable: ``STU-bin.''

Steuben is also the name of a company incorporated in Corning in 1903, and acquired by Corning Glass Works in 1918. Steuben gradually became renowned for its fine glass. They make essentially two kinds of pieces: decorative ware and tableware. The decorative ware has no practical use and the tableware is (also) so expensive that you're practically scared to use it. Each piece is individually (i.e. hand-) blown and engraved.

Social Theory Forum. ``[A] series of conference-workshops organized jointly by the sociology and other interested faculty and students at UMB in order to creatively explore, develop, promote, and publish cross-disciplinary social theory in an applied and liberating (critical) framework.''

An announcement November 24, 2003, for the April 2004 event offers no website, just a snail address, three email addresses (``submit in triplicate'' -- I guess they haven't figured out how to create aliases) and phone numbers. This is so wonderfully retro that it would be a shame to spoil it by giving away any useful contact information at this web entry.

Star Trek: First Contact.

Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.

Shut Up.

State Transition Graph. Model used in one approach to the design of asynchronous logic circuits. See, for example, T. A. Chu, ``Synthesis of self-timed VLSI circuits from graph-theoretic specifications,'' pp. 220-223 Proc. ICCD'87 (Oct. 1987).

something. Dictionary-entry abbreviation. Also ``s.t.''

Scanning Thermal Microscop{e|y}. Another of the many variations on scanning probe microscopy (SPM, q.v.).

Sail Training International.

Scientific and Technical Information.

Sexually Transmitted Infection. This is used as a synonym of STD (D for disease), because there's so much of it going around that one initialism wasn't enough. It's exactly like area codes: too many numbers and you need another code. Oh, alright. If you want to get all technical and pedantic, STI is broader because it includes asymptomatic infections.

Shallow Trench Isolation.

stick shift
The traditional form of manual transmission. In motor vehicles driven from the left side (of the front seat, hey!), you depress a pedal with your left foot to release the clutch (the mechanical linkage between crankshaft and transmission) and manipulate a lever (the ``stick'') with your right hand to switch the gear ratio. At certain intermediate speeds, if you're good and especially if you have synchromesh gears, you can shift between forward gears (particularly the higher gears) without disengaging the clutch. If you're not good, you grind the gears. Because this sound is unpleasant, you don't want to do this. If you want to reproduce something approximating this sound in a car that has automatic transmission, you can do it by shifting into park while the car is in motion. High speed is not advisable for this experiment, but seat belts are. You don't want to try this with a car that is not disposable, or that has to be driven afterwards.

If nothing is seriously wrong with your hand or the gear shift, you can shift gears without using any more force than one finger can apply. I recommend two or more fingers. Most people use the whole hand, since it comes along with the finger, and place the palm against a knob at the end of the lever. On a five-speed, that knob may be decorated with the following sort of diagram --

           1     3     5
           |     |     |
           |     |     |
           |     |     |
           2     4     R

-- indicating the positions for the various gears. Anywhere along the middle is neutral. To switch gears, you move along the lines: forward or backward between some gear and neutral, then sideways if necessary, then forward or back again to the next gear. What you're doing with all this, though you can't see it, is pushing different gears in and out of alignment to engage in different transmission ratios.

All auto mechanics that I have ever known, other than transmission repairmen, leave the transmission in gear when they park the car. This has the effect of using the transmission as a parking brake. It's bad for the transmission.

Here's the diagram for a three-speed pick-up truck, from the old days when people used them on muddy dirt roads:

           1     3
           |     |
           |     |
           |     |
           R     2

First gear and reverse are lined up so that you can quickly switch back and forth between backward and forward gear. On a farm, that's more important than switching quickly to higher forward gears. In particular, if you're stuck in a ditch and you want to rock the truck forward and back to get out, this makes it easier to get some traction in both directions.

The tractor of a semi-trailer typically has about eighteen gears; things there are a bit more involved. Race cars use a paddle system: tapping a paddle on the steering column shifts gear one step up or down. It's mechanically like a manual transmission. In particular, it uses a mechanical clutch (rather than a hydraulic one as in automatic transmissions), but the clutching is handled automatically. This kind of manual is coming into use in ordinary passenger vehicles, starting with high-end European cars.

The next day she spent with California and Iowa in the garage, as she called the two soldiers who were detailed to fix up her car. She was pleased with them when every time there was a terrific noise anywhere, they said solemnly to each other, that french chauffeur is just changing gears. Gertrude Stein, Iowa and California enjoyed themselves so thoroughly that I am sorry to say that the car did not last out very well after we left Nevers, but at any rate we did get to Paris.

-- The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, p. 221.

Scanning Transmission Ion Microscopy.

stimulated emission
During the IBM right-sizing of the early nineties, a number of personnel involved in research no longer considered worthwhile to the company were offered the chance to stay with the company if they transferred to a division doing work still considered worthwhile. When (because) the position was unattractive, this came to be called stimulated emission. The term stimulated emission also has some other meaning, but that's probably of much less interest to scientists (see, for example, LASER).

An earlier term for an earlier practice with the same end was MIS.

Scientific and Technical Information Program of the U.S. Department of Defense.

STImulated Raman Adiabatic Passage.

ST. Louis. IATA code for Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, at St Louis, MO, USA. Here's a history link and here's its status in real time from the ATCSCC.

STL used to be a TWA hub when there used to be a TWA. When American (AA) bought what was left of TWA, it inherited TWA's slots at STL. I made a connection through there in August 2003, towards the end of a transition during which AA was phasing it out as a hub. The place needs some work in the areas of personnel supervision, signage, gate seating, rest rooms, and restaurants. Other than that, I didn't see any major problems.

Schottky Transistor Logic. Like Schottky Integrated Injection Logic, but with a clamp diode. The clamp Schottky diode has a larger on voltage than the collector Schottky's (``Schottkies''?) of the output, because this is needed to get a nonzero voltage swing.

Standard Template Library (of C++). Actually, the term is used a bit loosely. The original C++ did not include any predefined container classes -- typical. Hewlett-Packard defined a Standard Template Library, and the ANSI/ISO ``Standard C++'' defines a set of template-based container classes that are an STL but are not ``STL.''

STerLinG. (British) pounds sterling.

Scanning Tunneling Microscop{e|y}. A sharp point is raster-scanned across a surface, and its vertical position is recorded. In this respect, identical with AFM, a closely related kind of scanning probe microscopy (SPM, q.v.). In STM, the height is determined by a feedback mechanism that holds constant the tunneling current through the tip.

``The Living Encyclopedia of Physics'' has an entry. So does Virginia Tech.

Scientific, Technical, Medical (publishing, say). Or Science, Technology, and Medicine.

Official abbreviation of the International Association of Scientific, Technical, Medical publishers.

SGS-Thomson Microelectronics.

Short-Term Memory. STM is supposed to be limited to about seven items, or `chunks of information.' No, you can't know what a chunk is. See also LTM.

Short-Term Memory. There was something else, but I forgot.

Synchronous Transfer Mode. Poor sibling of ATM.

Special Traffic Management Program. ARO scheduling regime for temporary high-density airport traffic.

Synchronous Transport Module-level 1. A bit rate equal to STS-3.

SubThalamic Nucleus. Mentioned in the DBS entry.

SuperTwisted Nematic (LCD). [See F. Leenhout, M. Schadt, and H. J. Fromm, Appl. Phys. Lett. 50, 1468 (1987).

Star Trek: the Next Generation. The ``second'' Star Trek television series (originally aired 1987-1994). Second is in quotes because the first sequel to ST:TOS was a widely ignored animated series. Other common initialisms for STNG are TNG, ST:TNG, and STTNG. Paramount Pictures has an official Star Trek site.

The Church of Bird used to sponsor a Star Trek site but for reasons explained here does so no longer. It appears to be a Helen Hunt veneration page these days.

South Texas Nuclear Project.

Slater-Type Orbitals. Basis states (for chemical calculations) which decay exponentially with radius from an atomic center, much like hydrogen-atom levels. Though sensible, their slow fall-off in comparison with Gaussian-type orbitals (GTO) makes their use time-consuming.

Source Translation & Optimization. They (i.e. Gregory Aharonian) have very graciously provided an Internet Patent Search System.

Stock Quotations

An elevated platform along the front of a house, sometimes continuing along the side. A homophone of stoop, and a cognate of step. The word took its British spelling and something like its current architectural sense in Dutch, and was adopted into English from Afrikaans.

In Smuts: A Reappraisal, published in 1976, author Bernard Friedman thinks it worthwhile to gloss the word (``[a] terraced verandah in front of the house'') in one of only 9 footnotes for the first section (pp. 11-78).

In the US, however, the word is normally spelled stoop and appears to be one of the few survivals from Dutch colonization. The AHD4 tags it as ``[c]hiefly Northeastern U.S.'' but judges that the usage is spreading. In US usage the term describes a feature generally narrower than a veranda; rather, it is a small porch or steps and a landing before the front entrance of a building (of a separated house, in all my experience).

It seems just possible that stoep might be etymologically related to the Greek word stoá. This described a roofed colonade generally, or the great hall at Athens. The great hall was decorated with frescoes of the battle of Marathon, and called by Milton ``the painted Stoa'' (translating the Greek hê stoá hê poikílê. The last word gave rise to the name Pœcile as English name for the great hall. Zeno lectured in the Pœcile, and hence his followers are called Stoics.

A pre-metric unit of weight, used for Englishmen. Fourteen pounds; plural doesn't get an ess. Quid doesn't get an ess in the plural either. Could be a pattern here.

From the following, you will appreciate how everyone's gotten bigger in the last century (and mind that when this entry went up in 1998, England was experiencing a Santa shortage).

George and Harris and Montmorency are not poetic ideals, but things of flesh and blood -- especially George, who weighs about twelve stone.

-- from preface, August 1889, of Jerome K. Jerome's
Three Men In A Boat
(To say nothing of the dog)

stop all this vicious bickering, Let's
Time out! I'm losing the argument!

Stop it, you two!
You: stop that threatening, attacking, and tormenting.
And you: stop defending yourself!

Cet animal est très méchant,
Quand on l'attaque il se défend.
(This animal is very bad / when attacked it defends itself.)

This little couplet (it rhymes, as you can see from the spelling) is from La Ménagerie, published in 1868, by one otherwise unknown ``Théodore P.K.'' At the time it was published, it was considered ironic even in France.

storage time
Time to remove excess minority charge in the base of a BJT. When the base-emitter voltage of a saturated transistor is abruptly lowered to turn the transistor off, the excess minority charge in the base--large when the transistor was in saturation, does not have a ready path out of the device because both BC and BE junctions are reverse-biased. In order to speed turn-off, a current drive may be applied at the base. Recombination time can be decreased by gold-doping the base, but gain decreases approximately linearly with recombination time for a given base width. The most successful approach to limit storage time is to place a diode with low ON-voltage in parallel with the BC junction. This limits the forward voltage of that junction and prevents the transistor from going into saturation. For a discrete silicon transistor, this can be done with a Ge diode (which is then called a ``Baker Clamp''). In integrated circuits, the shunt is a Schottky diode. This is the basis of all high-performance TTL.

German for `stork.'

Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing. Sounds more like the description of an accident than of a type of aircraft.

Synthetic Theater Of War.

A trademarked engine oil additive. Essentially, it's a high-density oil with detergents. I think that the expansion of STP here is ``Scientifically Treated Petroleum,'' but if I allow myself to believe that fully, I'll burst my spleen laughing, so for the sake of my health we'll neglect the expansion this time.

Self Test Pass (IOM2 Monitor Message).

Self-Test Program.

Shielded Twisted Pair (cable).

Short-Term { Plan[ning] | Prediction }.

Signal[ing] Transfer Point. A signal transfer point is a packet switch in a Signaling System 7 (SS-7) network.

Software Through Pictures.

Solar-Terrestrial Physics.

Spanning tree protocol, an IEEE 802.1 routing specification.

Standard Temperature and Pressure (Cf. NTP).

Stone Temple Pilots. A rock group.

Scientific and Technical Personnel Data System.

Stabilized Temperature Platform Furnace. Used for Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS).

Short Tandem Repeat (of DNA sequence).

Submarine Thermal Reactor. Later dubbed S1W. See AEC for a little context.

straight-through cable
A cable wired ``in parallel,'' so that identically numbered leads on the opposite connectors are electrically connected. See longer explanation at the complementary crossover cable entry.

Spin-Torque Random Access Memory. A spintronic device under development.

Stranski and Krastanow
In a 1938 paper published in Vienna (!), these authors proposed on theoretical grounds that islands could form in the dislocation-free growth of one crystal on another, when the overgrown crystal has a larger equilibrium lattice spacing. The mechanism was simply energy minimization: by clustering of the larger lattice-constant material, its strain energy can be decreased at a relatively low cost in increased strain energy of the substrate material (for growth of a uniform thin film on a thick substrate, in the limit of infinite growth surface and infinite substrate depth, all of the strain is in the layer of overgrown material). The paper was prescient. In the 1990's island formation began to be observed in the epitaxial growth of semiconductor heterostructures.

(In the Stranski-Krastanow mode of growth, initial wetting is followed by island formation. In Volmer-Weber mode, growth takes place in incoherent islanding, and in Frank-van der Merwe, growth is layer-by-layer.)

STRATegic COMmand. US military abbreviation.

strategic default
Voluntary default on a loan that one could afford to pay. I would call it a discretionary default, since the defaulter has the option of not defaulting, but ``strategic default'' seems to be the standard term as of 2009, when it referred primarily to defaults on home loans.

Voluntarily defaulting begins to make sense when the value of a home is less than the amount owed on the mortgage, loosely speaking. (This is called ``being upside-down''.) To be more precise, one must consider expected appreciation in the value of the home, the rates of interest on the loan, the rate of inflation, and the costs of damaging one's credit by defaulting. Most of these things can only be estimated or guessed (all of them, if the mortgage is an ARM). On the other hand, mortgage interest rates, home-value appreciation rates, and inflation are loosely correlated. That's where I stopped writing when I first created this entry and failed to publish it. You know, perfection used to mean completion (rather than, say, completeness). Perfection now is the enemy of perfection then.

I don't really know much about the calculation directly, but I do know that strategic default was not considered hypothetical in 2009. I know of a professor at an expensive private university who defaulted voluntarily. Okay, I don't know the details of his private finances; I think he did.

STRATFOR, Stratfor
STRATegic FORecasting. Selfdescribed as ``one of the world's leading private providers of global intelligence.''

I need this entry because I don't have a lot to say about streetcars. If I did have a lot to say about streetcars, then I would already have said it somewhere, and then I could add the following bit of content there. The bit is from a 17 March 1959 letter of James Thurber to a Miss Martha Deane at WOR, a New York radio station. She wanted to book him for a future program, and he wrote back. ``It seems to me your guests divide into two groups: those experts who know all about a subject, and boast about it, and those authorities who know nothing at all about their subjects and admit it. I should like to go on your program as Dr. Jacob Thurberg, who has spent his life trying to find the cause of motorman's knee, but admits that we are no further along than we were when the streetcar was invented.'' (See Thurber's Selected Letters, p. 116.)

We mention ``A Streetcar Named Desire,'' in passing, in a brief discussion of roach bombs, and eventually we will also do so in the teamster entry.

There is scattered streetcar content at these entries: HSR, MU, Muni, PCC, RT, TTC.

strength of materials
Gee, this is a really hard subject. A tough nut to crack. But it doesn't matter. I was trying to track down the Canada-is-sinking thing, and I ran across the following on page 20 of The Strawberry Statement (bibliographic details at the AAHM entry): the author tried to break a Coke bottle against a toilet, but he broke the toilet instead.

stress and strain
Solid materials exhibit a linear stress-strain relation at small strains: i.e., a restoring force (stress) is generated by the material to resist an imposed strain (magnitude of linear deformation), and the magnitude of that stress is proportional to the strain. Note, therefore, that stress and strain refer to different kinds of quantities in technical usage (they are measures of force and of displacement or deformation, respectively), and they are not generally interchangeable. However, because strain causes stress in solids, one often speaks imprecisely of one, reasonably assuming that the other will be understood implicitly.

It is possible to have stress without strain. For example, some materials exhibit a measurable mechanical magnetostriction, in which an applied magnetic field can cause a deformation. Thus, in an appropriate geometry and magnetic field pattern, one can simultaneously apply surface forces to cancel the effects of a body stress generated by a magnetic field, and have no net strain.

Future additions (if there are any) to this entry should discuss creep and amorphous materials.

stress relief oxide
Because silicon nitride layers grown directly on silicon are susceptible to cracks, a thin layer of oxide is often grown on a silicon layer before nitride is deposited, to relieve the stress that would cause cracks.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Star TRIBune. The portmanteau is a nickname for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It serves, as they say, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area. It's currently (2012) the highest-circulation newspaper in Minnesota, and unless you live there you probably haven't even heard of the competition (the foremost being the St. Paul-based Pioneer Press).

``Strib'' sounds dismissive to me. At least it doesn't have very good rhyming company, on balance (with the more or less negative bib, drib, fib, glib, squib, as against the merely neutral crib, nib, rib, sib, stib[ium], and, in some dialects, /usr/lib/). In the teeth of this irrefutable logic, it turns out that ``Strib'' is used affectionately as well as unaffectionately.

(US Army) Simulation, TRaining, and Instrumentation COMmand.

strictly speaking
In German: genau genommen (`justly taken').
In French: proprement dite (`properly said').

A string, in the computer sense of a sequence of characters, is called a cadena de caracteres or cadena de texto, literally a `character chain' or `text chain.' Fascinating, huh?

strong reading
There are a few distinct of senses of this compound noun. They're tiresome to tease out of a web search because the collocation occurs much more commonly as a fragment of such phrases as ``a strong reading program.'' One reading of ``strong reading'' (don't worry -- I won't do that again) occurs in financial discussions, where ``a strong reading'' can be a bullish or encouraging economic statistic. (This extends the metaphor of an economic indicator as a kind of measuring instrument.) And in southern England, ``a strong Reading side'' is something else again.

Here are two other senses of ``strong reading'' -- the ones that actually prompted me to slog through a few ghits and write this entry:

  1. In literary analysis, or in the analysis of explicit arguments generally, a strong reading is a tendentious or biased reading. One might call it a strong-arm reading, but a conscious intention to mislead is not always implied. Here are two examples:
    1. ``Trilling's `historical-dialectical' view of [Matthew] Arnold is a case of a later critic's reinventing himself in the image of his precursor, but also of a `strong reading,' that is to say, a misreading whereby the later critic interprets his precursor to accord with his own present needs.'' [Mark Krupnick: Lionel Trilling and the Fate of Cultural Criticism (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern U.P., 1986), p. 53.]
    2. ``Rosenberg provides a `strong' reading of Holmes's theory of torts, a reading of the kind that Holmes himself engaged in many times, particularly in The Common Law. Lawyers and law professors offer strong readings of tests all of the time; that may be all that they do. When offering a strong reading, if something does not fit in an argument [I bet you think this is going to turn into a dangling participle], they squeeze, raise the rhetorical level, or assert an interpretation for troublesome facts that makes the trouble go away. And when faced with an opposed strong reading, they work diligently to undermine that reading.'' [John Henry Schlegel, in a review of David Rosenberg's The Hidden Holmes: His Theory of Torts in History (1995) that was published in American Historical Review, vol. 102, #2 (April 1997), pp. 544-45. The reviewer goes on to say, ``Now there is nothing wrong with offering strong readings of classic texts. David Harlan has made the case for just such work in the pages of this journal [viz., AHR].'' I'll have to track that down.
  2. In linguistics, philosophy, and logic, a strong reading is an interpretation of an ambiguous statement that understands it to make a stronger rather than a weaker claim. (For ``statement'' read text, claim, proposition, utterance, speech act, or whatever is appropriate to the disciplinary context.) Here is one example:
    1. Language, Proof and Logic A logic courseware package (including a book) by Jon Barwise and John Etchemendy, apparently uses ``weak reading'' and ``strong reading'' to distinguish interpretations of an ambiguous utterance. A strong reading is one that logically implies another (the weak reading). Obviously, no such relation may obtain. A (standard) example given is ``Every minute a man is mugged in New York City.'' The strong reading supposes it's the same man. Strong/weak dichotomies of the sort contemplated by Barwise and Etchemendy concern ambiguities most closely associated with determiners and quantifiers. B&E distinguish strong and weak determiners, noun phrases, and readings, at least. I'm sure it's very helpful... sometimes.

      There are some problems with this notion of ``strong.'' One problem is that ambiguous statements may admit of more than two interpretations. For example, in the case above there is the possibility that muggings might occur in clusters. If the time between successive muggings alternates between 30 seconds and 90 seconds, for example, the proposition might only be true if the minute-counting is properly registered to include one and only one mugging, or if some averaging process is implied. As one adds ambiguities and multiplies readings, one finds that which of two readings is stronger depends on which element of ambiguity one considers.

      But in any case -- poor guy.

strong typing in PASTA
Strong typing in some programming languages sometimes leads to programmer frustration. In PASTA, programmer frustration leads to strong typing. Strong language too. PASTA programmers go through a lot of keyboards -- sometimes literally.

Société de transport de la Rive-Sud de Montréal (QC). Montréal South Shore Transit Corporation: buses from Montréal to its southern suburbs. Cf. STCUM.

structural adhesive
An adhesive used for structural applications. Common classes of structural adhesives are epoxy, epoxy-hybrid, polyurethane (PU), acrylic, and cyanoacrylate adhesives.

Space Technology Research Vehicle.

Sales Technical Support. This either this means technical support associated with the French town of Sales, or it means technical support associated with sales, whatever that might mean. I suppose it depends on context.

Scanning Tunneling Spectroscopy.

Science Talent Search. The oldest pre-college science competition in the US, founded in 1942. It was originally called the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, and known by ``Westinghouse science competition'' and similar shorter names. In 1998, Intel became the title sponsor. STS has always been run by Science Service, ``a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding and appreciation of science among people of all ages through publications and educational programs.'' I have an upbeat little booklet from the 1950's about what to do in case of nuclear attack. It explains radiation as just like water spraying off a puppy shaking itself dry. I have a vague recollection that that was published by Science Service too -- that's a slightly odd name, after all, and somewhat memorable, but I don't remember where I put the booklet.

Science and Technology Studies. Related: SSK.

It is a hackneyed observation but true, that most enterprises consist of the many doing what they cannot manage, and the few managing what they cannot do. STS intends to provide advice to some of the latter.

Sorry -- my mistake: STS has been intended by some, in the past, to contribute to public debate about technology issues. Some STS people do. However, within the discipline, a long-running historiographic criticism of ``presentism'' has led many within the discipline to feel that any involvement with current affairs in STS (next definition) compromises their ability to study the fields in the appropriate context, untainted by current points of view or even knowledge. (The preferred approach, ``contextualism,'' might be called scientific objectivity or disinterestedness, but such scientific ideals are also viewed with suspicion. Pity the poor STSist. More precisely, these observations apply to the HOSer, q.v.)

Science, Technology, and Society. Among other things, this is the general rubric for an approach to science education in which squishy stuff about the ``social dimensions of science and technology'' is used to dilute the science curriculum. This was a popular theme in the arbitrary directives and recommendations of blue-ribbon education crisis reports of the 1980's, and had successfully deformed high-school science curricula by the mid-1990's.

You shouldn't suppose that I doubt the utility of that social dimensions stuff. And I don't mind that the hype ignores that this is merely another rediscovery of an educational approach dating back to the iatrochemists of the sixteenth century. But I'd believe the schools were serious if these things were taught as the scientific and technological aspects -- centrally important aspects -- of history and other humanistic courses.

Service Technicians Society. An affiliate of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). If you want to see an apostrophe used properly in a similar organization's name, try iATN.

[Phone icon]

Shared Tenant Service. A party line, or having a teenage daughter.

Short-Term Schedule.

Shuttle Test Station or Shuttle Transportation System. Nothing like acronyms for enhancing communication precision.

Somerset Tire Stores, so far as I can recall. A chain of Firestone distributors begun in 1958 by Jack Apgar, of Bound Brook, New Jersey. They phased out the extended name and now go by ``STS,'' and sometime in the 1980's, I guess, they stopped dealing primarily in Firestone tires. They now have locations in New York State and eastern Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey.

Space Transportation System.

Specialized (medical) Treatment Services.


Space Telescope Science Institute, which offers an Acronym List.

Specialized (medical) Treatment Service Facilit{y | ies}.

Southern Taiwan Science Park. In Tainan County, and also called Tainan Science-based Industrial Park (TSIP). Turn off the sound before you visit. Created by ROC's NSC.

STS-1, STS-3, STS-9, ...
Synchronous Transport Signal level 1, 3, 9, .... STS-N exists for N = 1, 3, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48. STS-1 is a bit rate of 51.84 Megabits/s. Cf. OC-#.

Star Trek: The Animated Series.

Star Trek: The Next Generation. The longest-running series of Star Trek TV episodes (1987-1994), it overlapped the next series (ST:DS9) for one season (93-94). Other abbreviations are STNG and TNG. Paramount Pictures has an official Star Trek site.

Star Trek: The Old Stuff/The Original Series. TOS for short. The series was not renewed after a memorable (to its fans) run of three seasons (1966-1969). An animated series (TAS, voiced by most of the original Star Trek stars, aired in 1973 and 1974. A second nonanimated series, typically thought of as ``the second series,'' was ``The Next Generation'' (ST:TNG); it did not appear until 1987. Paramount Pictures has an official Star Trek site.

(Most of the rest of the links in this entry are to information at The Internet Movie Database.)

Let's go back in time, shall we, and consider what other programs were on the air at the same time as ST:TOS. Mr. Ed, about the talking horse who was always getting his owner Wilbur in trouble, was coming to a triumphant conclusion after five seasons and 143 sparkling episodes (1961-66). Also ending, My Favorite Martian (1963-66) (in 1999 the premise was exhumed for a movie of the same name) and My Mother the Car (1965-66). It was the era of I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970), The Flying Nun (1967-1970), and Bewitched (1964-1972). What becomes apparent is that Star Trek was a great leap in the direction of realistic drama, and away from bizarre science fiction or fantasy, but that it was a bit ahead of its time.

For example, here's something condensed from pages 158-59 of Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories (1994), by Nichelle Nichols (``Lieutenant Uhura''). After wrapping the last show of the first season, she went to Gene Roddenberry's office to resign. ``I've put up with the cuts and the racism, but I just can't do it anymore.'' Gene was sympathetic, explained that he was fighting a hard battle against the studio, asked her to reconsider.

The following evening she was attending an NAACP fund-raiser, and someone approached and said ``Nichelle, there is someone who would like to meet you. He's a big fan of Star Trek and Uhura.'' As she turned around she saw Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and decided that that fan would have to wait. She and the Reverend were introduced, and Dr. King's first words to her were ``Yes, I am that fan.'' When he learned that she was quitting the show, he argued that in her part she served as a unique role model, and eventually convinced her to reconsider.

Another show of that era was The Munsters (1964-66). Grandpa Munster was played by Al Lewis. His character would sleep upside down hanging from a rafter like other, less bulky bats, and was known for his cheerful, even enthusiastic attitude to morbidity. In 1998 he was the Green Party's candidate for Governor of New York State.

New York has many small parties that don't have a realistic chance of electing their own candidate to statewide office. Nevertheless, they make an effort in the gubernatorial campaigns (held in ``off years'' -- ... 1994, 1998, 2002...) because of an important consolation prize: any party that gains above a threshold of 50,000 votes qualifies to have all its candidates automatically appear on the appropriate ballots for the next four years. If they don't make it, they have to gather signatures on individual petitions for every candidate. One approach to this challenge (for smaller parties) is to endorse a major-party candidate. (Votes for the same candidate appearing on different tickets are tallied separately, though the winner is determined by total votes regardless of which party line they were cast on. Endorsing a major-party candidate gives voters a chance to support the party without ``throwing away'' their votes on a candidate unlikely to win a statewide race. A minor-party endorsement may help a major-party candidate as any endorsement may.)

If there is no palatable major-party candidate that will accept its endorsement, the party must seek someone with name recognition. Al Lewis, a labor socialist on his mother's side (she was a garment worker), campaigned on a platform of reform of Rockefeller-era drug laws, clean-up of the Hudson River, and cheap housing for the poor. The election came at a bad time, since Al Lewis earns a large part of his living now making paid Halloween appearances at shopping malls. The party also alienated animal rights activists by serving chicken at its gatherings.

The State Board of Elections opposed his request to appear on the ballot as ``Grandpa Al Lewis'' on the basis of its ``opinion that people don't go around calling him `Grandpa Al Lewis' all the time.'' A judge saw it the board's way, even though when he is seen in public people call out ``Grandpa!'' In the election, the Green Party gubernatorial candidate won a hair over the necessary 50,000 votes.

In the 1976 US presidential election, Carter waged a successful court effort to appear as ``Jimmy'' rather than ``James.'' His full given name is ``James Earl Carter Jr.'' The man who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 was ``James Earl Ray.'' Murderers and patronesses of poetry are usually identified by three names. In the former case, it is presumably to minimize any case of mistaken identity. The full name of the author of Invisible Man (1952) was Ralph Waldo Ellison.

Small business Technology TRansfer. A program of the NSF. What -- ``SBTT'' was ``taken''?

Save The Trafalgar Square Pigeons. An organization founded upon the recognition that if flightless bipeds didn't feed rock doves by hand, they would starve to death! And hawks would not refrain from preying on them. For another perspective, see the statuary entry above.

Set-Top Unit. Also set-top box and STB.


STUdent COuncil. Abbreviation used by the NASC, at least.

student audience
Cheap political device to create an aura of authority while simultaneously avoiding any informed or difficult questions.

student bloopers
A popular subject of discussion among teachers at the end of any term. I had seen lists of amusing bloopers published as articles in periodicals, and I suppose some books of student bloopers exist in English, but I just happened upon a book of student bloopers in Spanish, so I'm going to talk about that, to wit: `Anthology of the Blooper: Foolish answers on tests and final exams.' [My translation; the book's actual title is Antología del Disparate: Contestaciones disparatadas en exámenes y reválidas, by Luis Diez Jimenez (Bailén and Madrid: Stvdivm, 1965, 5/e 1970). Diez was the head of the natural sciences department at the Instituto Masculino de Málaga (a boys' high school, roughly speaking). The verb disparatar means `to talk nonsense' or more generally `to blunder.']

Diez offers a offers a partial taxonomy of bloopers. (These are expressed inconsistently in terms of either the bloopers or the blooperers. I have renamed rather than translated the nomenclature.) For some of the taxa he exampled a specimen (usually from biology); I have wrestled some of the examples into English (freely when necessary):

  1. Pure error:
    • The density is a small box that serves to collect rainwater.
    • Ungulates are the animals that move along the ground, like the viper.
  2. Compounded error:
    • One nocturnal bird is the bat, which is, moreover, the only mamiferous bird.
    • Birds have feathers or hair, the latter more rarely.
  3. Phonetic confusion:
    • Flowers with stamens and pistils are called manfrodite. [The Sp. word manflorita, `effeminate man,' is supposed to be derived from hermafrodita, `hermaphrodite.' I presume the formation was influenced by flor, `flower,' and the diminutive female suffix -ita. The man- must be either influenced by English or a coincidence.]
    • Young amphibians breathe through gills, and adulterous ones through lungs.
  4. Confusion of similar forms at different scales:
    • Immunity protects against insects. [Wrong size and kind of bicho (`bug').]
    • An example of a worm is the serpent.
  5. Remotely understandable error:
    • A purgative oil called resin is extracted from the pine. [In Sp., the castor-oil plant (Ricinus communis) is called ricino.]
    • Bones of the face: two penguins. [The orbital bone's Latin -- its Latin name in both Spanish and English, in fact -- is unguis.]
  6. Amusing description:
    • One zygodactyl bird is the parrot, which speaks but doesn't know what it's saying.
    • An example of gallinacea that is not a hen is the chicken.
  7. Exam disorientation:
    • Example of an amphibian: John studies.
  8. Ingenuousness:
    • Sulfur: I don't remember about that one; what I do remember is about the skeleton.
    • I am not familiar with any harmful caterpillars, or perhaps I have seen one but to my manner of thinking it wasn't harmful.
  9. Confusion of part and whole:
    • The scorpion's bite can kill humanity.
    • One bat is the New York vampire. [American.]
  10. Failure of expression:
    • Glaciers can have thicknesses of three or four million.
    • The stomach has a form of two kilograms.
  11. Embroidery:
    • The volatile organs, generally known by the name of wings...
    • After the dentary machinery has savaged the nutrients...
  12. Spelling atrocity:
    • Marine worms are on the beeches and make wholes in the sand.
    • The feemails of invertegrates lay egz.

Taxa listed without a specimen include the word-fog used to obscure ignorance (`those who think that it's enough to pass if they don't shut up'), the crossed-out correct answer, the really creative inspired error, and the error due to youthful innocence.

Most bloopers are not all that funny. My impression is that their popularity often reveals certain insecurities of those who share them. I'll expand on that some day.

Typically a weasel word when used in the names of academic programs or their subjects. ``<Foo> Studies'' in such contexts means university-based political advocacy by putative experts in <Foo>.

Studies in Linnaean Method and Nomenclature
A collection of studies by John Lewis Heller, published in 1983 by Verlag Peter Lang (Frankfurt am Main and also Bern and New York City). I'll cite this work at a few places in the glossary.

Heller writes in the preface that his ``studies are the work of no scientist or historian of science, but of an amateur of the Latin language, a professional classicist who has specialized, if at all, in the history of words and the transmission of ideas from the ancient to the modern world.'' This ``amateur'' does animadvert that he has been editor of the Transactions of the American Philological Association (TAPA) and president of that association.

The book consists mostly of photoreproductions, with occasional penned-in corrections, of articles published previously. The seven reprinted studies were published from 1946 to 1976. There are two new formal studies, as well as some indices of trivial names.

The book is volume 7 in a series of `Marburg Notes for the History of Medicine' [Marburger Schriften zur Medizingeschichte; Bd. 7]. In fact, the volume lists both an ISSN (0721-3859) and an ISBN (3-8204-7344-0).

Heller was born in 1906, joined the classics faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1949 and was head of the department until 1966. (This was the same department in which the learned but widely reviled Revilo Pendleton Oliver was a professor.) In 1975, Heller became an emeritus professor, and in 1988 he died. The year 1999 saw the publication of The Great Herbal of Leonhart Fuchs: De Historia Stirpium Commentarii Insignes, 1542, with Frederick G. Meyer, Emily W. Emmart Trueblood, and John Lewis Heller as authors. (It lists at $300. Do you really need the publication details? Okay, big spender: Volume I, Commentary. Frederick G. Meyer, Emily E. Trueblood, and John L. Heller. 895 pp. Volume II, Facsimile. (Leonhart Fuchs). 897 pp. 1999. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA. Hardcover, $299.50, ISBN 0804716315.)

One of the new (in 1983) items in Studies in Linnaean Method and Nomenclature was ``Caput Oculus, Linnaeus's Chinese Materia Medica.'' Heller commented in the preface that it was ``drawn from materials gathered for my still unfinished index, which I hope to publish soon as a complete Bibliotheca Zoologica Linnaeana. That compilation had been in progress since 1959 and was incomplete when he died. Two different individuals continued the work. John Penhallurick, an associate professor in communication at the University of Canberra, has an interest in ornithology, and he edited photocopies of Heller's typescript sent to him from Illinois. The other individual was Alwyne Wheeler, head of the Fish Section in the Natural History Museum, London, and a Past President and Council Member of the Ray Society in London. Wheeler had received from Heller a later version of the compilation. I'm not sure what else he did with it, but in 1994 he got the Council of the Ray Society to agree to publish the work. Penhallurick took on the task of completing and publishing the work in 1999, and was unaware of Wheeler's involvement and later version. Penhallurick only learned of this when he went to the Ray Society while searching for a publisher. He ended up combining the two versions, and the Ray Society published it as Index of the Books and Authors cited in the Zoological Works of Linnaeus, compiled by John L. Heller and edited by John M. Penhallurick, in October 2007.

study-abroad programs
I have here before me a significant research report: Impacts of Study Abroad Programmes on Students and Graduates, by Susan Opper, Ulrich Teichler, and Jerry Carlson. It wasn't published by one of those university presses that publishes boring, unreadable important research work that research libraries used to feel obliged to order, sight unseen. Instead, it was published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in London. So I guess this is one of those instances where academic research is so interesting and well-presented that a private publisher thinks it can be published at a profit. Either that, or the European Institute of Education and Social Policy, which coordinated the Study Abroad Evaluation Project, and which is a member of the European Cultural Foundation (which owns the copyright, 1990) decided to invest in dissemination of this important result. Yawn.

The study was based on questionaires mailed back by many students who had participated in study abroad programs. The book has many diagrams and tables; it's not just a bunch of words. Chapter 9, ``Conclusions,'' summarizes some of the most important and fascinating findings. Here is the first fruit of this research (bold text in the original, p. 204):

The desire to acquire an enhanced knowledge of foreign languages, as well as first hand experience of living in another country and thus of becoming acquainted with a country and its people are quoted as being the students' most important reasons for participating in study abroad.

This is important and surprising, and I hope I can remember it. Now, I don't want to sound immodest, but I too have done some research in this area -- informally, yet I think rigorously enough. I was able to pinpoint a feature of experiencing first-hand living in and becoming acquainted with a foreign country (I don't think foreign languages come into this very much) that was important to US students studying in the UK. That feature, roughly speaking, was beverages. More specifically: alcoholic beverages. US students in the UK are able to experience British drinking folkways, which include a legal drinking age of 18. Students like to compare their experences in the UK, where they can drink legally at 18, with their experiences in the US, where they can drink illegally at 18. One of the differences is that the South Bend Police regularly raid the bars near the Notre Dame campus, having somehow got it into their heads that bars near campus might contain college students imbibing illegally.

Just my contribution to research. The survey instruments used by Opper et al. apparently were not optimized to detect this effect, though I can't imagine any reason why self-reporting students might focus on more widely socially accepted reasons for spending thousands of extra bucks and a year abroad.

Never underestimate the frivolous.

  1. n. What things are made of, subject to availability.
  2. n. Uncountable thing[s].
  3. v. Force or compress (into).

For deep thoughts on stuff, see the HYLE and klutz entries and stuff.

This year (2007) when I tried to stimulate class discussion with the question ``What is the world made of?'' the first answer was ``Dreams.'' (Insert your own damn commas.) This is not a very useful answer in an engineering course, so I replied ``And as Delmore Schwartz explained, `In dreams begin responsibilities'.'' It was one of those rare instances when I experienced staircase wit so prematurely that I was actually able to feign wittiness or witticism or whitever.

Stupid Whorf hypothesis
You're thinking of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, but you're on the right track.

Single Transferable Vote. The most badly grizzled site devoted to this cause is that of the Electoral Reform Society, campaigning vigorously for this urgent reform since 1884. This singleton site and this other also have some stuff.

Star Trek Voyager. The fourth Star Trek television series (not counting the animated series -- TAS). More at next entry but one.

German, Straßenverkehrsordnung. `Traffic Law.'

Star Trek: Voyager. Also called STV and VOY. The fourth series of Star Trek TV episodes that was filmed with live actors (1995-2001). It ran concurrently with the previous series (ST:DS9) during its first four seasons. Paramount Pictures has an official Star Trek site.

Start of TeXt. ASCII 02 (CTRL-B). ASCII character is also used for EOA.

style accent
Don't gimme that. Reliable, clean, wall-to-wall functionality -- now that's sexy.

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