It's the terse initialism that requires disambiguation; to be consistent, they should abbreviate the name as ``SUP.'' Also, the quick links scroll bar on the index page says ``Navigate SU.'' Obviously, it needs to say ``Navigate Ship' U.''
One of SU's big selling points is that it is a small university. Large universities trade on the fact that they're large. Large and small schools each have their advantages. The best schools are small schools with big-school advantages and big schools with small-school advantages. State your enrollment and be done with it.
There is also a ``Southwestern College'' in southeastern Kansas (SC), and one in north central New Mexico (SWC). Both of these colleges are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. That SWC, the Southwestern College that's actually in the Southwest, is accredited for two-year MA programs. There's an SWC in southern California, that's accredited for AA programs. There is a ``Southwestern Community College'' in southwestern Iowa (SWCC) and one in in southwestern North Carolina (SCC).
There was a certain Manichean symmetry in the old cold war days: US vs. SU. This even worked in Italy, where it was Stati Uniti v. Unione Sovietica or some such. This acronym inversion apparently led to some confusion, as Italians had a hard time remembering who were the good guys and who the bad guys. A corroborative indication is the fact that in the more literary north, where acronyms might for purposes of fiction (this one) be more influential, the Communist party was (and remains) more popular than Italy's big NATO ``ally.''
Absurdity is most confusing when it makes sense.
In German, it was Sovjetunion und Vereinigten Staaten. In Spanish, Unión Sovietica y Estados Unidos.
Hey, look! I already had an entry for this country at its ccTLD -- .su -- just like countries that still exist.
The following is from War and Immortality and Other Addresses, by H.W. Morrow, M.A. (a holy at Trinity Church, Omagh). It is relevant to note that this book was published in 1916 (i.e., relatively recently in the history of the decay of the present subjunctive in modern English). On p. 81:
A saintly old minister once horrified his hearers by saying: ``Brethren, the Bible is a wonderful book if it is true; and it is also a wonderful book if it is not true.''`
An amusing six-frame comic, posted at <imgur.com> in 2013, bears the unbearable title ``Lest they are overlooked, the real geniuses at A&F.''
Art. 3b of the Treaty on European Union states that ``in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Community shall take action, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, only and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can, therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community.''
On the basis of the usual meanings, substance is etymologically equivalent to understanding. What the idea of understanding has to do with standing under is not immediately evident either. (OED to the rescue! ``[V]arious secondary meanings of under- are represented by such verbs as ... undergietan, -niman, -standan to understand....'' Uh, yeah, uh, sure. Now I get it.) Translating the components of understand into German, as if to coin a loan-translation (a/k/a calque), one obtains unterstehen (the past-tense form unterstand is more recognizable). Unterstehen has the sensible meaning of `be subordinate to.' It doesn't look like we're making any progress does it?
The German word verstehen translates `understand.' The inseparable prefix ver- is the German version of common Indo-European root that we recognize as per- in Latin. (The letter v in the German looks odd to an English-speaker. The thing to keep in mind is that for a long time, Germanic orthography did not consistently distinguish voiced and unvoiced versions of fricatives. While English now distinguishes the labiodental pair with the letters f and v, there is still no systematic way to distinguish voiced and unvoiced th. And although the letter z (as also x) is now used to indicate a voiced consonant distinguished from s, the usual letter is s, with voicing of the sibilant determinable from word position and other context.) The relationship of ver- and per- is perhaps a little more obvious when one notes that vergessen is English `forget,' since /f/ and /p/ are both unvoiced labials. (Don't miss the vergossen entry!)
Now where were we? Oh yeah, so English understand is mirrored in meaning and structure by German verstehen, but ver- does not mean under-. The meaning of German ver- is all over the map (as is also the meaning of Latin per-). Although there are exceptions where knowing a meaning of the prefix ver- actually helps one understand a compound it's part of (versteh?), I think that it is often used in the sense of `uh, like, whatever.' So for example, understanding is an idea that contains a vague element of abiding or staying, represented by stehen, but a prefix is needed to indicate that it doesn't mean `standing' in a literal way. In this case, English chooses `under,' to perform that task. It doesn't make much less sense than the word `undertake' or the expression `under way.' I think we should allow that many compounds that don't seem to make any sense any more really didn't make any sense in the first place. Its meaning was originally construed on the reasoning that if it can't mean what it's not supposed to mean, then it ought to mean what you wish it did.
I hope that satisfies your hunger for knowledge, because my hunger for food is going to make this entry end abruptly here.
This entry is a Stammtisch projection based on an extrapolation of current trends.
Machine-gun mounts optional. Solid-gold cup-holders are dual-use: also function as attractive ammo magazines.
This entry is a bit historical. It demonstrates SBF perspicaciousness, but we were a bit off. In 1999, GM entered into a joint venture with AM General, which manufactures the Humvee and its civilian version the Hummer. Under the agreement, the old Hummer became the H1 model of the Hummer marque, and a GM-designed SUV, based on the Chevy Suburban with sheet metal to resemble the H1, is manufactured by AM General and sold as the H2.
Rolls Royce belongs to Ford, so they'll have to find a different manufacturer for the inevitable luxury behemoth. I'm sure they'll manage; Ford already sells a four-door Lincoln pickup truck.
Son -- you're gonna drive me to drinkin' if you don't stop drivin' that hot ... rod ... Lincoln!
Update 2004: the US government has been looking into the possibility of a military version of the H2 -- that is, a military version of the cheaper version of the civilian version of the original military vehicle. We eventually noticed that Cadillac and Lincoln Continental, Lexus and Mercedes are all marketing their own SUV's. Not sure about Rolls, Jaguar, Ferrari, or Harley-Davidson. Be on the look-out for Sub Conquistador II, the amphibious minitank.
Actually, the year 2000 was the breakthrough year for suburban respect. There were a number of articles in the popular media discovering how great the suburbs are and what a bad rap they've been getting (from university professors who have since moved out of the cities). For example, the Weekly Standard's cover story for May 22, 2000, was ``Three Cheers for Sprawl!'' by Fred Barnes. We were way ahead of the curve on all that.
On the other side, there's SprawlWatch.
C.P. Snow was a prominent British author who originally trained and did research as a physicist. In 1959, he delivered the Rede Lecture at Cambridge, famous for publicizing a great cultural divide between the scientifically literate and the otherwise educated. The lecture was published that year by Cambridge University Press. Page numbers below refer to that edition in some excerpts (generally and loosely) relevant to this entry:
... If we forget the scientific culture, then the rest of western intellectuals have never tried, wanted, or been able to understand the industrial revolution, much less accept it. Intellectuals, in particular literary intellectuals, are natural Luddites.
Almost everywhere, though, intellectual persons didn't comprehend what was happening. Certainly the writers didn't. Plenty of them shuddered away, as though the right course for a man of feeling was to contract out; some, like Ruskin and William Morris and Thoreau and Emerson and Lawrence, tried various kinds of fancies which were not in effect more than screams of horror. It is hard to think of a writer of high class who really stretched his imaginative sympathy, who could see at once the hideous back-streets, the smoking chimneys, the internal price--and also the prospects of life that were opening for the poor, the intimations, up to now unknown except to the lucky, which were just coming within reach of the remaining 99 per cent of his brother men. ...
For, of course, one truth is straightforward. Industrialisation is the only hope of the poor. I use the word `hope' in a crude and prosaic sense. I have not much use for the moral sensibility of anyone who is too refined to use it so. It is all very well for us, sitting pretty, to think that material standards of living don't matter all that much. It is all very well for one, as a personal choice, to reject industrialisation--do a modern Walden, if you like, and if you go without much food, see most of your children die in infancy, despise the comforts of literacy, accept twenty years off your own life, then I respect you for the strength of your aesthetic revulsion.14 But I don't respect you in the slightest if, even passively, you try to impose the same choice on others who are not free to choose. In fact, we know what their choice would be. For, with singular unanimity, in any country where they have had the chance, the poor have walked off the land into the factories as fast as the factories could take them.
That endnote 14 reads:
It is reasonable for intellectuals to prefer to live in the eighteenth-century streets of Stockholm rather than in Vållingby. I should myself. But it is not reasonable for them to obstruct other Vållingbys being built.
SUCDI shares domain namespace with CUSID.
Japanese consists mostly of open syllables (syllables ending in vowels) with a limited inventory of consonant clusters. The native syllabaries (kana) reflect this, so the borrowed version of a word like steel can only be written with a vowel after every consonant. In actual pronunciation, however, the u can be a very reduced consonant, and can disappear between unvoiced consonants, so the first u, at least, looks more foreign than it sounds. The (quantitatively) long /i/, written î, articulates fairly well with the English ``long e.''
In Japanese, dental consonants are systematically affricated before high vowels, hence ``chî'' rather than ``tî.'' It happens that young Japanese are increasingly able to pronounce certain sounds common in English and absent in Japanese, among them /ti/, and do so in some loan words [at least initially, as in tisshû (tissue) and aisu-tî (iced tea)]. In any case, both words were adopted by the first half of the twentieth century, and there is probably some staying power in the original pronunciation of the borrowings.
As is well known, of course, Japanese has only one liquid consonant. It's not a lateral, and probably doesn't sound like l to a speaker of any common western European language, but you'd be surprised how much of an argument you'll get from some Japanese who insist that their liquid is about equidistant between r and l.
Funny things occur, however. The English words towel and tower have both been borrowed and have romaji spellings taoru and tawâ. This minimal pair is compromised somewhat by the fact that kana for w with other vowels are no longer in use (for wi and we) or are pronounced without the w (old wo, now used primarily as the accusative particle -o). So you might think that the different loan pronunciations exhibit some perceived difference in the vowels that precede the final liquids in English. And maybe they do, yet the differences are consistent. English words ending in l tend to yield borrowings with -ru: suchiru, suchîru taoru, têburu (table), biôru and baioru (viol, the second version evidently from English), fairu (file), kêburu (from the word cable for telegram), etc. Words with a final r sound in English tend to be borrowed without it (tawâ, bokusâ (boxer), kabâ (cover), Word-internal r's are more likely to survive, as in akusesarî (accessory), demokurashî (democracy), but don't always: âto-gyararî (art gallery), pâkingu-mêtâ (parking meter). Other interesting cases involving both liquids: firutâ (filter), -pârâ (parlor, apparently occuring exclusively in compounds).
On balance, it seems that while the single Japanese liquid sounds like an r rather than an l to English-speakers, to Japanese-speakers it is the English l rather than r that more closely resembles their liquid consonant.
Many more detailed patterns are evident, but one that struck me was the tendency for r's that are silent in nonrhotic accents (British, mainly) to be absent also in Japanese. I once thought that perhaps there was a causal connection, that the pronunciations in British dictionaries led the Japanese to leave many of those r's out. It's plausible, because most of the English that Japanese here is from other Japanese, and ultimately the pronunciations of newly introduced words often come out of dictionaries. I'll spare you the history of my inconclusive efforts to learn what nationality of English lexical works is more popular in Japan, but here's a relevant datum (that's Latin for `anecdote'). My friend Jennifer taught English as a JET (entry coming eventually), and all the schoolchildren would greet her by name. It sounded like Jenifâ. (It ought to have sounded like Jenihâ, but she didn't pay close attention to this at the time; the f was rendered as a softish sound, in any case.)
Sucksdorff was important in the post-WWII revival of the Swedish movie industry because of his internationally acclaimed sensitivity in photographing nature. Believe it or not, I'm planning other entries on the French and Swedish movie industries. Here's an amazing fact that you may not have known: they exist.
For less felicitously named ingestible products, see Skor, Colon, and BM .
Refined sugar is sucrose. Blood sugar is glucose. If you want to know more, try visiting the Sugar Association.
Long form: empty suit. If you're thinking ``down with the suit,'' you might want to have a look at the abacost entry.
Suit used in this sense is an unusual borderline case of synecdoche: when the suit is empty, it is less part for the actual whole than part for the putative whole. Let's class it under metonymy and move on.
Hold on -- here's something multicultural, if dead southeastern European white males count. It's the poem ``Elénê,'' written by George Seferis during a poetically productive visit to Cyprus in fall 1953. The title is just the name `Helen.' [Modern Greek has dropped its aitches, normally indicated for Ancient Greek by a rough-breathing mark, or an aitch in transliteration. (Seferis indicates the breathings, but I don't think his style can be characterized as completely katharevousa.) The final eta is ioticized, so the Modern Greek is transliterated ``Eleni.'']
The poem proceeds from the premise of Euripides' play of the same name, set after the Trojan war (as described primarily in Homer's Iliad and in other works known as the Homeric cycle). As you will recall, the Trojan war resulted from an early version of the Miss Universe contest, in which Paris of Troy was the judge, and the contestants were three Olympian goddesses. Frankly, it shouldn't have been a tough call. Athena was the most bookish of goddesses and wore a truly hideous hat. Hera was married to Zeus and should have been disqualified, but then again, Zeus was her brother so maybe the marriage should have been disqualified. The third contestant, the only one who didn't have a crabby temper, was Aphrodite, the goddess of love. This was a no-brainer, but perhaps Paris was too. Eventually, Aphrodite did win, but not until after the bribing-talent competition, which was decisive. The main feature of Aprodite's bribe was that Paris would have Helen.
Helen was rather inconveniently already married to Menelaus, and further inconveniently, Menelaus was the king of Sparta (this was way back, before Sparta had two simultaneous rulers), and had certain commitments from other petty kings of Greece regarding Helen. To make a long story short, Paris took Helen home to Troy, and Menelaus came after him with an army. Ten years later, Troy is destroyed and Menelaus has Helen back.
The play of Euripides, set seven years after the fall of Troy, is based on the premise that the real Helen was sequestered in Egypt by the god Apollo, while the Helen that Paris got and Menelaus got back was a phantom image. The truth is revealed and the couple is reconciled after Menelaus is shipwrecked on the coast of Egypt and the phantom image has returned to the skies. As you can imagine, Menelaus is reluctant to believe this stuff at first. Imagine how you'd feel if you suddenly discovered you'd been sleeping with a blow-up doll for seven years. (Without realizing it, I mean.)
In Greek, the word translated here as ``phantom image'' and ``blow-up doll'' is eídôlon (the source, through Latin, of our word idol). (The word doll was originally just a nickname for Dorothy.) Seferis quotes some relevant bits of the play at the beginning, including the reaction of Menelaus' faithful servant on hearing the news. Essentially, it's `What? We fought over nothing but a cloud [nephélê]?' (In a further irony, here the Ancient Greek word for servant -- a personal name is not given -- is angelos. Etymologically, and in other contexts, this would mean `messenger.' The Christian sense of the word is the usual one in Modern Greek.)
In the poem, a great many descriptions are used for the ersatz Helen, including phantom image and shadow (iskhia). The most memorable, probably, appears (I give the inflected form) as
Now from the sublimely absurd to the, well, more prosaic. The following is quoted from an online article (``Political Cycles'') by Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan (August 8, 2008).
...it brings up the Churchill question. Churchill had been scored by an acquaintance for his own very high self-regard, and responded with what was for him a certain sheepishness. ``We're all worms,'' he said, ``but I do believe I am a glowworm.'' He believed he was great, and he was. Is Mr. Obama a glowworm? Does he have real greatness in him? Or is he, say, a product of the self-esteem campaign, that movement within the schools and homes of our country the past 25 years that says the way to get a winner is to tell the kid he's a winner every day? You can get some true people of achievement that way, because some people need a lot of reinforcement to rise. But you can also get, not to put too fine a point [on] it, empty suits that take on a normal shape only because they're so puffed up with ego.
I really think it would have been much more complicated and cool if this all had been derived from the Latin sum, `I am.'
What can I tell you about Summer? It's the season when the prices are required to be raised on snacks and beverages in college vending machines, because everyone's away and will forget that prices were lower when they left.
How empty are the ``metal cafeterias''? Here at the library, a couple of students chose this time (July 26, 2007, late evening), when no one's around, to take some footage of vending machines for a short film. I guess the one getting friendly with the candy machine and wearing a robot outfit is the actor, but he's a bit stiff. The guy with the camera must be the director. If he were the cameraman he'd know better than to aim it directly perpendicular to a flat reflecting surface. He's probably one of those people who uses a flash to take pictures through a window (and also at the stadium, of course, just like everyone else).
Okay, time has passed now. It's midwinter, in fact. As often happens, someone has left some magazines out on the tables, with the subscription labels cut out. This week they're copies of a magazine called Health. Two of the three issues have a bikini model gracing the cover. The bikini issues are usually face down. For three days they've been moving from table to table. Sometimes they're on the low tables between the stuffed chairs. Often when I walk in I turn them face up. When I return later they're face down. I wonder whether it's because this is a seriously Catholic university, or because the librarians experience these pictures of health as a personal reproach. I hope it's not because of static electricity. I decide not to ask. Summer 2008, it's still happening.
That sounds so interesting and zen, I decided to leave it. However, it's really just a slip; I meant to write that the arms are together.
Their well-known slogan is ``The network is the computer.''
The SUNY system was created only in 1948, when Thomas Dewey was governor (the fellow who was widely expected to win the US presidency that year, and who famously didn't). That's a rather late date to begin a public university system, and there's a good reason for that late date. In the East, there were many more private colleges and universities than elsewhere in the country, so there were both less perceived need for, and greater resistance to, the establishment of a state system. Even the land-grant colleges in New York State were created as public colleges associated with a private university (Cornell). (Those colleges, along with the New York State College of Ceramics at [the otherwise private] Alfred University, are now part of SUNY.)
When SUNY finally was created, the system grew by accretion of formerly private institutions to a greater degree than other systems have. UB is an example of a private school gone public. (The private-to-public transition is common enough elsewhere, particularly in the East. The transition is facilitated by the fact that the private component of the higher education system is mostly nonprofit. When it goes negative-profit for long enough to exhaust its endowment, the state comes in as a white knight. The University of Pittsburgh is one such case -- read about it at the CMU entry.) The SUNY system has roughly 400,000 students, and is often described as the largest university system in the US. This is technically true, but it might be a case of comparing apples and grocery carts. The UC and Cal State systems in California (about 150K and 250K students, respectively) are together comparable in enrollment, but SUNY reaches the 400K figure by adding up a broader range of institutions. SUNY includes among its sixty-four campuses a spectrum of schools including research universities, colleges, many community colleges, and various research centers and professional and technical schools.
The rest of this entry is about nothing but school names. Don't say I didn't warn you.
SUNY has always named its schools awkwardly. The problem began with the inclusion of the word ``state'' in the system name. This might be justified as a way to prevent occasional confusion with schools of the state's largest city (cf. CUNY), but it compromised the clarity of the standard ``State''/``U'' dichotomy. Further problems were caused by inclusion of the word ``university'' in the name for a system that includes schools that mostly are not universities.
Until the end of the 1990's, most of the universities, colleges, and junior colleges in the system had official names beginning with the words ``State University of New York.'' The four flagship university centers were known as ``State University of New York at <Foo>,'' where <Foo> was Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, or Stony Brook. These correspond approximately to ``University of California at <Foo>'' not just in name but in forming the top tier of the system, at least so far as undergraduate education goes. (Various other professional schools besides the flagships award doctoral degrees, and SUNY has devised the term ``University Centers and Doctoral Degree Granting Institutions,'' apparently to satisfy the need of these other institutions to be grouped in the top tier while satisfying the need of the flagships to have a distinct prestigious status.)
The kind of schools that in California are named on the pattern ``California State College at <Foo>'' used to be called ``State University of New York College at <Foo>.'' This is awkward enough in general, but it was especially irritating in Buffalo, which has both a flagship university and a four-year college. The junior colleges were named in a similar way: ``State University of New York College Community College at <Foo>.''
In a lame effort to improve the naming scheme, the universities and four-year colleges generally got flattering name upgrades, and the community colleges got names that would fit above narrower doorways. The flagships are now ``<Foo> University'' (Binghamton and Stony Brook) or ``University at <Foo>, The State University of New York'' (Buffalo and Albany). The latter form uses the word the in a way that would make sense in Hebrew, or in German in the genitive case, or if it were applied to a single school, as in the case of ``Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.'' Fortunately, the thing is so hopelessly confused that no one takes the names seriously enough to try to make sense of them. Schools in the next tier are now referred to as ``University Colleges,'' whether they offer post-baccalaureate degrees or not, and are called ``State University of New York at <Foo>.'' For Buffalo <Foo>, of course, this would make the old Buff State's new official name coincide with UB's old official name (which continues, of course, to be widely if unofficially used). Thus, an exception is made in this case, and Buff State doesn't get to be SUNY-Buffalo (too), but instead is officially Buffalo State College. Informally, a lot of the other ``University Colleges'' are also called ``<Foo> State'' or ``<Foo> State College.''
There is another well-known university in a town that was once called Stony Brook. That town, in New Jersey, changed its name in 1724 to honor HRH George Augustus, Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales. In 1727, upon the death of his father King George I, George Augustus acceded to the throne as George II. In 1746, George II granted a charter to the College of New Jersey, which soon moved to, and later changed its name to, Princeton.
See also our smiley entry.
When a sinusoidal signal of frequency f excites a passive nonlinear system, harmonics are generated -- 2f, 3f, 4f, .... Generally, the higher harmonics are weaker. The power in the nth harmonic is bounded by a fall-off exponential in n for large n.
When such a system is excited by two sinusoidal signals, of frequencies f1 and f2, linear combinations of the respective harmonics form (e.g., 2f1 - 3f2, f1 + 2f2). The harmonics of either of the two signals are a special case in which the linear combination has coefficient zero for one of the frequencies. All the other linear combination frequencies, which mix the two original frequencies, are called heterodyne frequencies. These also fall off as the integer coefficients increase.
Usually, and especially when the original signals are weak, the strongest heterodyne signals are |f1 - f2| and f1 + f2, called subheterodyne and superheterodyne frequencies, respectively.
The first stage of an ordinary radio receiver after the antenna is the discriminator or detector stage. This is a nonlinear material like a quartz crystal, in which a controlled frequency (see VFO) is added to whatever comes from the antenna. The detector stage is coupled to the next stages through a filter that is tuned to a specific frequency (the intermediate frequency or IF). By adjusting the controlled frequency applied to the crystal, one controls which of the signals from the antenna will be passed to the next stage and amplified. This is called ``tuning.'' In a superhet radio (the standard kind), it is the sum of the controlled and antenna frequencies that equals the intermediate frequency.
The adjectives first and last (also functioning as adverbs) are absolute forms, but conveniently also end in -st.
The Romance languages, or at least the major ones -- Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, French, and Italian --, do not have distinct superlative forms, but may indicate the superlative by use of a definite article. For example, in Spanish,
Soy mas viejo
means `I am older.' But
Soy el mas viejo
means `I am the oldest.'
Anglophone musicians occasionally mistake the Italian -issimo suffix for a superlative ending. Not so. The ending is an intensifier, equivalent to the English word very. Hence pianississimo means `very very softly,' and not the unparsable `most most softly.' More of this at the ppp entry.
Paragraph 2 of Emma begins ``She was the youngest of the two daughters of a most affectionate, indulgent father ....'' Although this is still correct usage, I think that it is much more common today to use the comparative form when comparative and superlative are equivalent (generally, when there are only two objects of comparison).
Solicitors for the grand old firm of Rumor and Scuttlebut represent that New York State, in addition to its unusual non-supreme Supreme Court, has other nomenclature anomalies. In particular, judges of the trial court are called ``justices.'' If I understand aright, though, this is just to say that judges of the Supreme Court are called justices, which at least sounds perfectly in order. I infer from the story related at the judge names entry that justices of the NY Court of Appeals use the title ``Judge.''
Hey, I've got an idea: Sport-Utility Semi-Tractor-Trailer rig. Sort of a segmented Winebagel with on-demand miniamphitheater.
SVO is just like ``mineral'' (ordinary) diesel fuel, they say, except that it's more viscous than ... typically by an order of magnitude. Viscous fluid atomizes less well, and tends to clog the injectors, but this isn't as much of a problem if you drive only on hot days. (If it's hot enough to boil water in a jar in the sun, that's hot enough. If it's only hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, consider alternative solutions.) If you don't live in hell or some equally hot tropical paradise, you probably want to use a pre-heating system, probably coupled with a two-tank arrangement so the engine runs on honest-to-God diesel instead of that ersatz crap while the veggies are cooking. With a two-tank scheme, you also want to run the engine on real diesel at the end of the trip, so it runs when you start up again.
The ``straight'' in SVO does not refer to the fact that the vegetable oil is not mixed with something else. It refers to the fact that it's not chemically processed. The usual chemical process is transesterification, which yields biodiesel.
Even in highly inflected languages, however, there tends to be a standard or unmarked order, with alternate orders being used to emphasize one or another element. A good example of a highly inflected language with this pattern is Latin, whose unmarked order is SOV. In Spanish, where case distinctions are usually evident in pronouns, the unmarked order is SVO, but if one of the noun phrases is a pronoun, most alternate orders are available.
All six possible orders are found in human languages, as well as a great many odder things, but there is a tendency for subjects to precede objects, and for verbs not to come first. Hence, SVO and SOV are most common, with SVO currently more common. (German splits the difference: see V2.) There are also some observed correlations between basic sentence orders and whether adjective precede the nouns they modify, etc. Of course, in many European languages verb-first indicates a command or question. In Chinese (an SVO language) a declarative statement becomes a question with the addition of a sentence-final ma. (Just as an aside: ma is also a Hebrew word meaning `what' and an Italian word meaning `but.' It's hard to resist the notion that these meanings arose almost as onomatopoeias of children's calls for attention from their mothers, or were at least influenced by them.) In Japanese, which is normally SOV, a final ka does the same as ma does in Chinese.
Time magazine, especially in its early days under Henry Luce, had a deliberately tortured syntax. Dorothy Parker complained:
Backwards runs syntax till reels the mind. Where it will stop, knows God.
Matthew Arnold's poem ``The Buried Life'' appeared anonymously in 1852. It's about reticent Victorian lovers confounded by their British reserve. The poem begins
Light flows our war of mocking words, and yet,
Behold, with tears my eyes are wet.
Okay, that was an elementary example -- simply moving one phrase back makes English of sorts. Now an advanced contortion: the first line of Arnold's ``To a Friend.''
Who prop, thou ask'st, in these bad days, my mind?--That's enough of that. Arnold's poetry suffered from more than friendship-tangled syntax. If you put on your very dark glasses and other prophylactic gear (have a sickness bag open and at the ready), then it may be safe to read some longer passages which I have bravely retrieved while tightly holding my nose.
How low can you go? Limbo Dog!
Japanese and Chinese dogs do not say ``woof-woof'' or even ``bow-wow.'' They say ``wan-wan'' or ``wang-wang.'' It's one of the main reasons people own Akitas.
At Disney, the mice, ducks, and rabbits and other riff-raff all speak. They even get to wear spiffy white gloves even while they go around with their asses showing. Pluto the dog goes buck naked and doesn't have the Power of Speech. This is unjust, but typical. (Forget Goofy. He's inauthentic.)
``SWAPLA'' is a risible name.
``Each year, SWAPLA sponsors a Law School Caravan that tours through the region, bringing the best law schools to several locations.'' Judicial circuit-riding rides on!
``SWAPLA also facilitates networking between advisors and one another, as well as between advisors and law school professionals.'' You know, it's not just the name that's risible.
If you want expert advice on law schools, try one of these organizations:
Some time back, the day we all heard the news, I walked into the men's room and noticed that Gerard was at one of the urinals. I was moved to speak (this happens a lot). I said, ``On behalf of the American people, I want to extend to you, as a representative of the British people, our deepest sympathies. At least now she won't be marrying that swarthy Egyptian [.eg].'' Then Gary (who was washing his hands; it's not like we decided to hold a meeting in there) said, ``Sheee, what've you got against Princess Diana?''
Gary didn't get it. Gerard got it. He said, ``Uh, thank you Al.'' Gerard used an intonational pattern that communicated much more than I can readily suggest in a written medium. They teach that stuff over there. He could probably tell you that he was using ``intonational pattern 63b'' or something. Anyone who wants to go to college has to pass ``A levels'' in Irony. A lot of people like you don't realize it, but English is a tone language just like Chinese. However, instead of using tone for unimportant stuff like distinguishing between `horse' and `rope,' which is clear from context anyway, English uses tone for important stuff like expressing contempt.
``To be briefe, such were the woorthie dooings and princelie acts of this Mackbeth in the [first ten years'] administration of the realme, that if he had atteined therevnto by rightfull means, and continued in vprightnesse of iustice as he began, till the end of his reigne, he might well haue béene numbred amongest the most noble princes that anie where had reigned.''
Shakespeare's ``Tragedy of Macbeth'' is based largely on Holinshed's history, but with some modifications. Among them a significant one is that Shakespeare's Banquo, unlike Holinshed's Banquho, is innocent of the conspiracy to murder the clement and ineffectual King Duncan. This is a convenient bit of poetic liberty, perhaps preserving the playwright's prosaic liberty. The play was apparently first put on shortly after King James VI of Scotland, a Stuart and so descendant of Banquo, had been crowned King James I of England.
The ``Southwestern Community College'' in North Carolina is SCC. For some other schools with ``Southwestern'' in the name, see the SU (Southwestern University) entry.
A student just [3:50 pm Monday] came by to reserve the conference room for a meeting [11:30-12:30 Thursday]. She pronounced it like a word, with a long e -- ``swee'' (IPA: /sui:/).
People say similar stuff about other fields (economics, macroeconomics, econometric forecasting, I think is one example).
There's a related TEARS electromigration model, but I'm not aware of an electromigration blood test, to say nothing of a TOIL test, though the testing does have to do with stress.
By far the earliest instance of sweated that I was able to find this way was in the 1613 poem ``Christes Bloodie Sweat.'' It appears ten times there, always in the phrase ``he sweated bloud.'' The earliest instance that occurred with sweat was in Richard Stanyhurst's 1582 translation of ``The First Foure Bookes of Virgil his AEneis.'' Athena gives some signs of her anger:
... When flams of firy flasshing most terribil hissed:
Jt sweat with chauffing: three tymes (to to strang to be spoken)
From ground yt mounted, both launce and targat eke holding. ...
The sweated collocations occur in 13 poems, the most recent from 2002, and in 7 prose works. The sweat collocations, with infinitives (e.g., ``feel it sweat'') and present subjunctives (``though he sweat'' in some instances, etc.) excluded, occurs in 16 poems, 5 prose works, and also 5 dramas. The comparable overall numbers obscure the fact that the irregular form was more common until the eighteenth century, and the regularized form more common since then. (This probably explains the absence of sweated in plays, which have declined in popularity.) Born in 1806, Elizabeth Barrett Browning did it both ways in poems published in 1838. In ``The Student,'' within a quote (or made-up quote, more probably) of archaic poetry, she used the past form sweat. In ``The Seraphim,'' which has an Elizabethan flavor, she nevertheless used sweated. (Christ sweating blood again.)
The most recent use of the past form sweat occurs in a poem of William Carlos Williams. He was born and spent his first years in Rutherford Park, New Jersey, and after finishing his medical education set up a practice in Rutherford and stayed put for the rest of his life. He was born in 1883 and died in 1963. In 1963 my family brought me to the US. I grew up in Westfield, New Jersey, about 20 miles southwest of Rutherford, and I also became a doctor of sorts, but I didn't become a poet. I remember after I'd been in the US two or three years, my cousin Irving (``Oyving,'' from Brooklyn) told my dad that I was starting to speak English ``real good.'' My father replied: ``if you say that, then I'm worried.'' (He didn't stress the word that. You should understand: this was no-fault humor -- everybody got the jokes and everybody laughed. I had a boss once who specialized in the other extreme: zero-sum humor.) But I think that regularization of the verb sweat is a bad fad that other places besides stalwart New Jersey have successfully resisted.
Googling on the proverb ``he sweat bullets,'' I see that the awkward and incorrect form ``he sweated bullets'' is less than three times as common as the traditional.
Sweetbread is not especially sweet, and it's obviously not bread. Evidently the name compares and contrasts it to ordinary bread. I guess the similarity is in the mouthfeel or texture of cooked sweetbread. I'll leave that for others to judge, noting only that the organs are softer and less dense than muscle.
The notion of sweetness might be explained by two facts. One is that sweetness and sourness mask each other. That is, sugar tastes less sweet in the presence of acid, and acid tastes less sour in the presence of sweetener. (One can balance these to some degree and achieve a more intense flavor while not overwhelming taste with extreme sweet or sour.) The second fact is that when the word sweetbread was coined, ordinary bread was more sour than today. Traditionally, in fact, all bread was what we would call sour-dough bread today. Sour dough was simply unbaked dough left over from previous bread-making, saved for use as leaven. Bread was made by mixing new dough with a small amount of sour dough. (In 16c. biblical translations, the term ``sweet bread,'' along with all the usual spelling variants, was used for unleavened bread.)
It's my theory and I like it, and I don't know any alternative theories, but I should concede the following. Taste terms are extremely imprecise, and were even more so before the chemistry of taste began to be understood. In particular, one has expressions where what is called sweetness is really the absence of salt: sweet butter and sweet water (German Süsswasser, French eau douce). Somewhat related to this sense is the general use of sweet to mean pleasant. In this way sweetness is contrasted not perceptually with sourness, but figuratively with bitterness (understood to represent unpleasantness in general). I think that these transferred senses are avoided in food description, but that can hardly be a rigid rule.
Sweetbread used to be regarded as a delicacy. I have a theory about that too. I think that sweetbread was so disgusting that you would hold it gingerly, as if it instead of you were delicate. Well, I said I had a theory, not that I believed it.
In a transferred sense, sweetbread has also been used to mean a bribe. This might be a good place to mention that the word pancreas has been used to name some possibly quite different glands discovered in nonvertebrates. It's an interesting coincidence that diabetes, associated with elevated blood-sugar levels, is related to the function of the pancreas, which noncannibals call sweetbread in other animals.
Sweet, sweet Connie, a-doin' her act.
She had the whole show and that's a natural fact.
According to her memoir, Rock Groupie, she also had a turn with famous Arkansas personality and amateur saxophonist Bill Clinton.
After she started publicizing her hobby, her employer tried to fire her. The nerve! She had to go to court in order to keep her job as a schoolteacher. It seems she's been trying to diversify her income stream. She's run for Congress and mayor of Little Rock and lost both times. See what happens when you ignore the local constituency? She also had a cameo in a video for Jackyl's cover of ``We're An American Band.''
The difference between these two expansions exemplifies a systematic rule, explained at the noun entry.
During the second half of the joust in A Knight's Tale (set in a fourteenth century; no, not that one) the spectators rock to the music of Queen. People who didn't realize that Freddy Mercury was a god often disliked the movie.
Sigma Xi is a scientific honor society established in the late 1800's as a counterpart to Phi Beta Kappa. The motto ``Spoudon Xynones,'' which they translate as `companions in zealous research' was invented some years later.
Explanation of abbreviation at Rx.
Parmenides is relevant here.
A square has four edges.
A straightedge is what we used to call a certain drafting tool -- a guide for drawing straight lines. You could use a ruler or an engineer's triangle or the edge of a triangle or a protractor, but a good draftsman took pride in having all the right tools and using them properly and efficiently. The straightedge was optimized for its modest-seeming but important job.
Back in the day.
I'm sure orthography is one of the skills on which beauty pageants, excuse me, scholarship competitions choose their winners, but the bees are likely not as telegenic as the swimsuit competitions. (Or maybe Bob Barker objected to words that might hurt animals' feelings.) Anyway, I don't recall seeing the spelling competition televised. (Then again, the only part of the interview competitions that I ever see are youtube highlights of particularly stupid replies.) So here's an idea: have a biathlonic swimsuit and spelling competition. If you get a word wrong... oh, that's right -- no actual water. The next day they could have the evening-gown, rifle marksmanship, and unicycle triathlon -- in a single simultaneous event. My money is on Miss Oakley.
Anyway, Eve Myles has somehow made her way in show business based solely on looks and maybe acting ability, despite her glaring spelling disability. The Singapore Times article in which I read about her misfortune suggests that her Welsh background accounts for the poor spelling. Reporter Zaidah Rahmat helpfully points out that she was born in the small town of Ystradgynlais on the River Tawe in South Wales. I suspect that geography really was destiny in this case. Myles was born in 1978; in Britain by the time she went to school, spelling was probably an elective in the state schools. (In 2009, the British education authority recommended that students not be taught the i-before-e rule because there are too many exceptions and students would only be confused. So they should be forced to memorize each instance separately, instead of just the exceptions to a rule. The education authorities evinced no awareness of the except-when-pronounced-as-a codicil that covers many of the exceptions.)
There's an old joke about odd spellings that turned on the following quote: ``Ben Hur -- pronounced success!'' In the first paragraph of this entry, I did not mean to imply that syfy, attension, and countrycide (insert quotes yourself) are ways to spell ``Eve Myles.'' ``Syfy'' was meant to be understood as a solecism for sci-fi.
`Get your ass to Schenectady'
Makes good use of synecdoche.
A song called ``Evil Woman'' contains the lyric ``but you better get your face on board the very next train.'' Skirt is an obsolete and non-PC synecdoche for woman; gam is a forgotten one. Empty suit raises special philosophical problems for a definition (which we have not given) of synecdoche.
This entry, including the rhyme at the beginning, was published on this site some time (possibly a long time) before 2004. On October 15, 2008, an artsy movie titled ``Synecdoche, New York'' had its New York premiere. I should sue; nobody else could have come up with this idea independently. On the other hand, a good idea for a pronunciation mnemonic may not be a good idea for a movie title, so maybe I'll just let them suffer the consequences.
In ``Who Do You Love?'' George Thorogood sings, ``you shoulda heard just-a what I seen.'' (And George is usually such a good boy. I'm disappointed he didn't title the song ``Whom Do You Love?'')
Here's something a bit older, in Bottom's speech on waking from ``A Midsummer Night's Dream'' (Act IV, sc. i): ``The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was.'' Well of course not.
The biblical comparand that this echoes in scrambled form is 1 Corinthians 2:9. R. Allen Shoaf has also pointed out parallels of Bottom's speech with passages (ll. 482-99, 507-12) in book 4 of Lucretius' De rerum natura. See Shoaf's ```If imagination amend them': Lucretius, Marlowe, Shakespeare,'' ch. 13 in The Shakespearean International Yearbook, vol. 10 (2010). There is an established precedent for attributing to Shakespeare a familiarity with DRN. King Lear's lament about birth is thought by many scholars to be a conscious echo of a similar passage of Lucretius. (I think it could easily be a coincidence, but with the bard you never know.) Many Shakespeareans regard King Lear as the ``materialist play.''
Treponemal infection can be identified archaeologically from various kinds of scarring of skeletons. Just as with many of the symptoms of syphilis, the variation between individuals is great, and many identifications have been disputed. Nevertheless, at least since about 1990 it has been clear that treponema was present in Europe for centuries before Columbus. In fact, there is substantial evidence that treponema was present globally throughout human populations in 1000 CE and probably long before.
Syphilis and yaws produce different patterns of bone damage on average. In any single affected skeleton, it is only possible to say which was the more likely disease. Lesions of the skull and jaw are generally taken to indicate syphilis, but yaws can produce the same. Obviously, age at death and circumstances of burial are taken as clues to which disease occurred. Since it was first clearly described in 1493, syphilis has evolved from an acute, frequently fatal disease into one with a long latency and less severe symptoms. It would not be surprising if bone lesions have evolved as well, suggesting caution in the differential diagnosis.
I leave it to the imagination of the reader to consider the more and less innocent ways by which an endemic disease passed by contact with moist or broken skin can become a disease passed by sexual contact, and vice versa. Recall that for years, herpes I and herpes II were regarded as distinctively oral and genital (I forgot which was which), but that distinction has apparently now become a mere matter of prevalence. It seems to me that we cannot exclude the possibility that syphilis was invented a number of times. Pre-1493 episodes may have been more limited, and less or even more virulent, but these differences fall well within the allowed range of variation that enables us to apply the single name syphilis to the very different versions of that disease known to King Charles's armies and to us.
The situation with syphilis is similar to that with tuberculosis. When tuberculosis was common in cattle, consumption of milk from TB-infected cattle caused scrofula -- TB of the lymph glands of neck and shoulder. TB of the spinal vertebrae was called Pott's disease, and pulmonary TB, consumption or King's evil. The question arises: are these different diseases caused by different organisms? That is not so simple.
The notion of ``species'' is a bit dodgy in organisms that reproduce asexually. The half-a-dozen definitions more-or-less agree in principle, but are usually not testable. In practice, the definition has been made on the basis of ``morphology.'' For bacterial pathogens, ``morphology'' includes symptomatology, serology, and now increasingly biochemistry. Only recently has genetic sequencing played a major role (and taxonomy is famously contentious, so not everyone agrees that this is a good thing).
Historically, syphilis was taken to be caused by Treponema pallidum, and the other diseases by a different but physically indistinguishable species (T. pertenue and friends). The bugs' DNA sequences turned out to be almost identical, despite the clinical differences, and they are now generally regarded as three different strains of a single species: T. pallidum subsp. pallidum, pertenue, and endemicum. The T. pallidum subsp. pallidum genome was sequenced in 1999, and in 2000 I posted that therefore we ought to be learning more ``shortly.'' And ``we'' did. But it turned out that there's a lot of molecular variation within and (more, of course) between the subspecies. As of 2007, no existing lab test has been available to distinguish the subspecies, but attention is now focused on on the gene signatures associated various tpr genes, and with the 5' flanking region of the tpp15 gene (you remember where that is, don't you?), so such a test may be developed, uh, shortly.
It should be clear from the preceding discussion that the immediate origin of syphilis can be a tricky question. However, it seemed to explode on the historical scene in Europe in 1493, suggesting that it was brought back from the New World by Columbus's sailors. A few people have made an emotional investment in the outcome of the origin question, so that many presentations of the data tend to be skewed.
Unfortunately, the DNA can't tell us as much as we'd like to know historically, although it is now clear that the three subspecies have been distinct for well over 500 years. Rapidly declining virulence after 1493 suggests substantial selection pressure, so T. pallidum pallidum at least is much changed. It's not clear how it could be determined whether the strains that cause syphilis now evolved from Old World or New World strains that caused yaws or syphilis before. Synthesis is also possible: it may be that genetic material exchanged between Old and New World treponemas led one of them to become far more dangerous than it had been.
After all the DNA and skeletal evidence, it seems to me that we are still thrown back on the written evidence. Chapter 4 of Alfred W. Crosby, Jr.: The Columbian Exchange (1972) contains what seems to me an even-handed discussion of the early, largely written evidence.
The critical question seems to be whether a sexually transmitted disease, and not just any treponema, was widely known before 1493. The limited evidence (Indian legends recorded by Spaniards) suggests that it was, in the Americas. There is stronger, but not quite conclusive evidence, that syphilis was perceived as a completely new disease in Europe. That would still not rule out the possibility that it was a new local strain of the universal treponema population (quite possibly made virulent by material recently borrowed from an American strain, possibly explaining the apparently greater resistance to it among American autochthons).
I remember reading 20-30 years ago that bone lesions found on a pre-Columbian, North American, mammalian (but non-human) skeleton had been identified as treponemal. I don't know how trustworthy that is, and I have not been able to track down the original news item. Treponemal species are at least known for rabbits (T. paraluiscuniculi, cause of rabbit syphilis) and for apes (Fribourg-Blanc bacterium, not yet classified).
In the 1980's, I seem to recall a rehabilitation of the old theory that pre-Columbian leprosy was really syphilis. Syphilis used to be called (in the literature, at least) "the great imitator," but I don't think this theory is much credited now.
Goethe's ``Roman Elegies'' (translation and original German here) include apparent allusions to venereal disease (in elegies 17 and 21). The former includes the phrase (in translation) ``Hermes, the healing god.'' For a long time, including Goethe's, the effective medications for the painful skin lesions of syphilis all contained mercury. This was well known, so I imagine Goethe had it in mind. (The fact that Mercury is a Roman god identified with Hermes was and is universally known, so I don't mention it at all.) [Note, the Elegies were not originally written for publication, but he showed them to his friends. They were first published by in Die Horen, a new (in 1795) publication of Friedrich Schiller. Schiller and Goethe both revised the Elegies to make them acceptable to the sexual proprieties of the time, which means they were heavily bowdlerized. The link above is to the translation and transcription made by J.W. Worthy from Goethe's earlier manuscript in the Goethe-Schiller Archive in Weimar.]
I don't seem to hear as much about these as I used to in the 1990's. Then again, I've stopped caring enough about the decadence of journalist English to continue reading the student newspaper. More importantly perhaps, the engineering students are becoming nerdier. Hallelujah!
UUNET Internet Africa provides a general starting point. For a slice of Swaziland life, visit ``Casting the Net,'' a fortnightly feature from the Times of Swaziland. That publication lacks a website as of September 2001; visit the no-longer-updated Swazi News, which has lots of links.
That reminds me of Dennis. Steve once described Dennis as ``built like a fireplug.'' No one disagrees. Dennis gives the lie to the canard that people float in water. When he took swimming lessons at the Y, for the final exam they lined everybody up at the shallow end; they were supposed to swim to the deep end. About half-way across, Dennis lost heart. He stopped swimming and walked along the bottom of the pool to the edge. I find that more interesting than hardboard. If you want to learn about hardboard, why don't you just visit the LMA's downloadable glossary and save me the trouble. Really.
My uncle Robert took swimming lessons at the same Y for high school course credits when he was in high school. Just to make it easy on himself, at the beginning of the course he pretended that he couldn't swim. He should have become an actor. By the time Steve and Dennis and I attended the same high school, you couldn't get course credit for taking swimming lessons at the Y (iirc).
In case you didn't notice it, I want to point out that I'm particularly proud of having worked the word canard into a discussion of flotation.
[``q.v.'' means `which see' in Latin (which may be abbreviated Lat.). It means I don't feel like repeating myself.]
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