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Thin-Outline (electronics package).

Domain name code for Tonga. For reasons unknown to me, the .to top-level domain is very popular in Japan. Later on this same page, we feature a Tonga entry with a little snippet of intriguing information about that island nation.

Topology Optimization.

T.O., TO
Toronto, Ontario.

There's a help page for the search engine on the Canadian Parliament website. One of the searching hints (``Be Accurate'') explains:

For example, if you wanted to look for information about Toronto, you would type Toronto, not the common abbreviation T.O. The Search Engine does not know that T.O [sic, I think it was] means Toronto and it will be unable to provide you with any results even though there are several documents that contain the word Toronto.

It may seem superfluous to point out that one should search on actual placenames rather than their abbreviations, but Torontonians use TO frequently without a second thought, about as New Yorkers use NYC. I seem to recall more than once being in a chatroom with mostly American chatters, where people from Toronto or thereabouts used TO in the apparent expection that it would be generally understood.

FWIW, a search on T.O. at the Canadian Parliament website (May 2004) did turn up five documents (in addition to the search help page itself): lists of members for eighth through twelfth parliaments (June 23, 1896 to October 6, 1917), when T.O. Davis served as a member of the House of Commons (8th and 9th; the 9th was dissolved Sept. 29, 1904) and then as a senator (10th-12th). Wilfred Laurier was prime minister during the 8th to the 11th parliaments. He's mentioned at the WLU entry. T.O. Davis is not.

As of 2009, all those interesting search tips are gone, and you only learn that the search is case- and accent-insensitive and similar boring stuff. It reminds me of a Dave Barry column (``Sweating Out Taxes'') that included this: ``The IRS spends God knows how much of your tax money on these toll-free information hot lines staffed by IRS employees, whose idea of a dynamite tax tip is that you should print neatly. If you ask them a real tax question, such as how you can cheat, they're useless.''

The comments about T.O. above occurred in the English help page, and the dead link above is to that. The corresponding French page with search help (dead link here) used the example of Mtl. in place of T.O. (Le moteur de recherche ne sait pas, lui, que Mtl désigne Montréal....) Searching on MTL yields three pages that mention Radio-Canada MTL.

Transverse Optic[al]. Refers to transversely polarized optical phonons. TO phonons interact with charge carriers by DO interaction. Cf. LO, TA.

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TurnOver. In football, a change in possession resulting from an interception or a fumble picked up by the opposing team.

Transfer Of Authority.

An instrument for browning bread.

The Office Building of the Year. A competition and award sponsored by AOBA.

TOC, ToC, t.o.c.
Table Of Contents. By analogy, then,TOM must be Table of Malcontents and TOD must be Table of Discontents. And the BEAT goes on here.

La-da da-da dee, la-da da-da dah.


It was the Summer of my contents. Garage-sale time.

Top Of Climb. An aviation acronym, but for all I know the Sherpas may use the same acronym. Cf. TOD.

Total Organic Carbon.


Tables Of ContentS of journals of INterest to classicists. Hey, I didn't make up the name. Search the Toronto site or the Belgian mirror at Louvain (UCL). The resource depends on the efforts of volunteers who receive essentially no recognition or thanks, or help from me.

There's a European mirror for TOCS-IN in Louvain.

When it was begun, the journals to be covered were divided into 16 files: 6 files of general classics journals (CLA), 5 of archaeology (ARCH), 3 for religion and Near Eastern studies (RLNE), and 2 for miscellaneous journals of interest (MISC).

TOtal Correlation SpectroscopY. NMRtian. They could as easily have named this T-COSY, to rhyme with tea cosy. I don't know if this omission represents restraint, remorse, or contrition.

Top Of Descent. An aviation acronym which I guess means altitude at top of descent. This is typically achieved at the beginning. Cf. TOC.

Total Oxygen Demand.

Two stone, approximately. An English unit of weight used in the wool trade well into the nineteenth century, and in Scrabble (accepted by all three major Scrabble dictionaries) to this day. Although the plural of stone is stone, the plural of tod is tods. Three or four fleeces used to make a tod, but who knows what GM sheep will make. After you've fulled a tod, you might want to ted it.

A tod is really just a wool-specific alternate name for a quatern -- one quarter of a hundredweight (long). To be precise about ``approximately'': I mean that a tod was precisely 28 pounds, but the term was also used loosely, and in a weak market for wool, buyers might demand a half pound over. Sounds like price controls.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Wrong. Yesterday was the first day of the rest of your life, remember? So today is the second day.

A pedal digit.

Theory Of Everything.

Truncated driven nuclear Overhauser Enhancement (NOE). NMRtian term.

Test Of English For Aviation.

Test Of English as a Foreign Language. Pronounced like `toeful,' a word that, if it existed, would presumably mean replete with toe or toes. It would be an apt term to describe a mouth that had a foot stuck in it. TOEFL, as well the score a test-taker obtains on it, is much less informative. Administered by ETS. What did you expect?

Overall score, originally in the range 200 to 677, was 10 × average of three section scores (20 to 68). They couldn't pick a system that didn't require roundoffs? No, they had to make it complicated. 660 is at the top percentile, top quartile is about 570, median is about 520. The graduate admissions office at Notre Dame interprets the range 535-600 as ``questionable ability.''

But wait! It gets worse. A computer-based test was introduced, with scores in the range 0 to 300. (Lowest score zero: what a clever innovation!) In order ``to avoid confusion'' (no thanks, really -- you've done enough), the scores on the paper-based test have been adjusted: scores between 200 and 310 on the old scale have been collaped up to 310 (fewer fine gradations between horrible and terrible). Since scores above 310 are not scaled, those higher scales still represent the same level of English incompetence they represented previously.

Some conversions:

Paper-based score    Computer-based score
       677                    300
       650                    280
       600                    250
       550                    213
       533                    200
       500                    173

You could get a better idea of a student's English competence in a one-minute conversation, but that wouldn't be standardized. (Then again, see the FMSS entry.)

Y'know, the toeful/toefl thing reminds me: a way to distinguish many Austrian surnames from German ones is that if they end in a consonant followed by el where you would expect a consonant followed by ee followed by el in ordinary German spelling, then it's Austrian (z.B.: Vogl in Österreich; Vogel in Deutschland). This rule is a lot more accurate than the TOEFL's.

Technical Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

Time Of Flight. It has been a pleasure to serve you. We hope that the next time you measure carrier mobility, you will choose our thin crystal again.

Time-On Factor. Relevant in lifetime (MTF) studies.

Trailer On Flat Car. A pretty common form of intermodal transportation.

Time-Of-Flight (TOF) Mass Spectrometry (MS). An explanation is linked from a general introduction to mass spectrometry served by Virginia Tech.

Time-Of-Flight (TOF) Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). Explained here (link is to specific anchor in page).

Take-Off/Go-Around. Abort landing.


Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere. Part of the WCRP.

Transmission OverHead. Sum of LOH and SOH.

Time Off In Lieu. That is, in lieu of extra tender (T.O.I.L.E.T.). A British term equivalent to the North American ``comp time.''

A Russian acronym formed from toroidalnaya kamera and magnitnaya katushka, meaning `toroidal chamber' and `magnetic coil.' A device invented in the Soviet Union (duh) in the 1950's. Its purpose is to confine a plasma magnetically, and the purpose of that is to produce a combination of density and temperature sufficient to produce thermonuclear fusion. On through the 1970's, other wilder confinement geometries were tried, such as stellarators, bumpy tori, magnetic mirror coils in the shape of a baseball's seams, etc. Since the 1970's, almost all the big money for plasma-confinement fusion has been in tokomaks. Inertial confinement is the main serious alternative that has received money. Because the prize is so rich, however, money is also occasionally thrown at schemes with success probability indistinguishable from zero, like aneutronic (migma) schemes and Pons-Fleischmann cold fusion.

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Time-Outs Left. A football scoreboard abbreviation.

Transparent Organic Light-Emitting Device. You're probably thinking that something's gotta be transparent -- how else could it emit light. Not really: red-hot iron emits light but is just about as opaque as cold iron. Anyway, your typical OLED is transparent on one side. A TOLED is made on a transparent substrate, with obvious applications for fiber-optic communication or optical computing, say. A TOLED requires good transparent conductors like CuPc (metal-free: MF-TOLED) or the semitransparent Mg:Ag (silver-doped magnesium) thin films.

Who's that? Never heard of him.

You want the JRRT entry.

Toll View
A road not far from here. Not a very romantic name, but descriptive: the road overlooks the Indiana Toll Road (I-90).

You can keep your ``Dale Crest'' and ``Republic Manor.'' ``Toll View'' suggests the idea that there's a price to be paid for everything -- even a mere view. Here's a thought. According to Peter De Vries, suburbs are named after what the developers destroyed to build them -- Rolling Acres, Forest Glen, and so forth.

I'd like to point out that ``Dale Crest'' was just an off-hand invention to suggest the oxymorons that result from the use of obscure (to the name coiners) words to make place names that sound antique, and hence established or upscale. (For a related phenomenon, see Mission Viejo entry.) It turns out that there's a Dale Crest in Texas, and many a Dalecrest elsewhere. I suppose some crest may be associated with a dale, or vice versa, but I'm inclined to doubt that the coinage is usually meant literally. ``Republic Manor'' occurs as an accidental collocation, but the name as such has apparently not been inflicted, yet, into the annals of um, um, Atlastry, or whatever the word is that I'm trying to recall. Gazetteer! The annals of gazetteering, or gazetteers, for short.

I should also note that I only have the De Vries quotation at second hand -- from a review by George Will of a book not by De Vries. De Vries was a novelist of the mid-twentieth century; it may be a while before I can track down the precise quotation.]

If you mention Tolstoy to a Russian, you're likely to be rebuked with the curt question, ``Which one?'' Say Leo. It's always Leo. A comparable thing does not happen with music-lovers and Bach, even though you might mean Johann Sebastian or Peter Shickele (PDQBach) or conceivably someone else.

Oh, alright, let's get serious. Tolstoy, also transliterated Tolstoi, is the name of a noble Russian family. In addition to Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910), the other famous ones were named Aleksey. Count Aleksey Nikolayevich (1882-1945, some novels) and Count Aleksey Konstantinovich (1817-1875, light and heavy verse). On the evidence of the patronymics, there must have been an awful lot of Nicholases in the family (sure, I could find out, but I'm busy now, working on the glossary). It might go back to Count Peter Alexandrovich (1761-1844), who headed a government department under Czar Nicholas I. In addition to the fathers of Leo and one of the Alekseys, there was Leo's older brother Nicholay (when people aren't famous, they don't get domesticated names like Nicholas). Leo was a college drop-out living on family money, and his life was going nowhere. In 1851 he accompanied Nikolay (transliterated spellings are a lot like Middle English spellings -- whatever works, and even what doesn't) to the Caucasus, where he joined an artillery regiment and began writing. I should probably have made one of those Alekseys an Alexei or Alexey or Alexay. Variety is the spice of life.

Benzene with a methyl group substituted for one of the hydrogens (composition formula C7H8). MW reports a first use in 1871 in French (Toluène). For more on the name see the next (toluol) entry.

Old name for toluene. MW reports an earliest use circa 1848. The name refers to the tolu balsam from which it was first obtained (from the tropical American tree Myroxylon balsamum), tolú in Spanish, from Santiago de Tolú, Colombia.

Under the IUPAC rationalization of chemical nomenclature, use of the -ol ending (q.v.) was restricted to phenols and alcohols, and simple aromatic compounds got names ending in -ene. Since academic chemists adopted the new nomenclature with alacrity, while manufacturers and others not engaged primarily in chemical research were laggard or reluctant to switch names, there is a natural tendency for toluol (in current continued use) to refer to commercial-grade (i.e., not very high grade) purity of toluene.

Temperature Oscillating Method.

Around 1988, I was standing in line at the hamburger place in the basement of the Memorial Union at ASU. The guy behind me looked familiar, a bit like an older student who'd gotten his MA the previous year. I asked, ``were you in the EE department here some time back?'' A taller, lawyerish-looking person behind him snorted in contemptious amusement. He looked like a smart-ass lawyer. The fellow I questioned said no, but maybe he looked familiar because years before, he had had a part in a TV show. ``Tom,'' I said. I think he was flattered.

Years ago there was a soap opera that was a spoof of soap operas, called ``Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.'' Mary's mate, never seen without the baseball cap that symbolized his arrested emotional development, was called Tom.

The guy who played Tom was at ASU filming with Disney.

[Football icon] In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Tom Buchanan is defined by what he did in college years before (play football).

Technologically Optimistic Mobile Professional.

Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks
The title of two books (a good one and a bad one) by Donald Bogle, and the five stereotypes into which those books categorize all blacks in American movies. The first book was published in 1973, as the era it described was coming to an end. The next decade saw enormous change, with blacks cast against earlier stereotypes. The second book (the revised edition of the first book) was published in 1989. It responded to the changes by shoehorning the new roles into the old categories. Bogle performed a similar service for TV in Primetime Blues: African Americans on Network Television (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001).

Some languages distinguish not only ``sound'' of the sort indicated by European phonetic or alphabetic characters, but other sound qualities. The most prominent example of this is Chinese, which distinguishes ``tones.'' In this context, tones are pitch patterns. These are similar to the intonational patterns of European sentences (e.g., rising pitch at the end commonly indicates a question, though there are many exceptions), but the tones of Chinese languages apply to individual words.

Although there is essentially one ideographic character system in use throughout China, different regions use local languages or dialects so different as to make communication difficult. Some of the difference is in the use of different words indicated by different characters, but most of the difference amounts to a different pronunciation of the same characters. Part of the difference in pronunciation arises from the use of different tones, so to discuss particular tones one must specify which ``Chinese'' one means. The ``official'' Chinese, what one is assumed to mean when one uses the word in another language, is Mandarin. In Mandarin there are four tones:

	|		|		|		|
	|__		| /		|  /		|\
	|		|/		|\/		| \
	|		|		|		|

	 1		 2		  3		 4

There is also a little-used fifth tone, which is no tone at all. This is not equivalent to a flat tone (tone 1), though God knows I can't hear much difference. (Now you know too. You and God have something in common. Isn't that awesome?) Anyway, if you want to be careful, you can write ``0'' for this tone. Not so many words use tone 0, but one that does is very common: the ma placed at the end of a sentence to indicate that it's a question (see SVO).

This is about normal for Chinese languages: four tones or so. An outlier among Chinese languages is Cantonese, the language of a large southern province (traditionally called Canton in English, or Guangdong [approx. recollection] in one or another Romanization) around Hong Kong. To speakers of other Chinese languages, Cantonese-speakers often seem to be arguing, because of the large number of different tones they use. The precise number of tones used is a matter of some dispute. This is not so surprising: though most Anglophones know that the English alphabet has 26 distinct letters (a full deck, counting upper and lower cases separately), few know the number of different sounds distinguished in their pronunciation (for most dialects, it is over forty). Part of the confusion also is due to the fact that different sounds may or may not be considered equivalent. (This also has an analogue in English, in the situation of vowels. For example, the dialects of some English-speaking regions don't distinguish the pronunciation of two or all of ``merry,'' ``marry'' and ``Mary.'' If these all seem clearly different, then next Christmas turn on the TV and listen as Jimmy Stewart, playing George Bailey in `` It's A Wonderful Life'' (IAWL) goes shouting for ``Mary,'' played by Donna Reed. [Links are to the US mirror of The Internet Movie Database.]

Donna Reed was the homemaker icon of the 1950's, based especially on the strength of her performance in The Donna Reed Show from 1958 to 1966. In the eighties, we got Roseanne, Domestic Goddess (tm). In 1991, Amy Tan published The Kitchen God's Wife, and never once in that book does she acknowledge Roseanne.


One point of view is that Cantonese essentially has only one tone additional to those of Mandarin, but that it sounds like more because of the different initial attacks (in the musical sense) that are used. Also, somewhat different, um, versions of the tones are used for shorter than for longer words.

Here's an interesting statistical fact about Tonga that is revealed by the CIA's 1994 Worldbook: The literacy rate overall is 57%, but among males it is 60% and among females it is 60% too. Round-off error seems to be a problem there. The King has lost a lot of weight, but he still uses crutches for his graver moments. Domain name code is <.to>. For some reason, .to top-level domain is popular with Japanese businesses.

tongue depressor
Something to hold down your tongue. Traditionally a flat piece of wood resembling a double-width ice-cream stick, minus the ice cream.

tongue troopers
Enforcers of Quebec's laws censoring expression in languages other than French. The term is mostly applied to officials of the Commission de protection de la langue francaise (plus diacritics), charged with enforcing provisions of Bill 101 (1977) and related laws. The tongue troopers usually arrive in response to a citizen complaint -- some snitch with a camera takes a picture of an outdoor sign in English. Under the original terms of Bill 101, all outdoor signs must be in French, and French only. Bill 86, adopted under a Liberal government in June 1993, allows bilingual outdoor and indoor signs so long as French is predominant (lettering three times larger). I guess now you can tell the Anglophones in Quebec cities by the fieldglasses they carry around.

Short for Anthony and related names, including Antoinette. Antoinette Perry was an actress and director, and a cofounder and chair of the American Theatre Wing. What the heck kind of name is that? If I find out that American Theatre Wing is known as ATW, I'll add an entry for it, but right now I'm afraid to look, because I'm swamped. Perry was born on June 27, 1888, and died the day after her 58th birthday. The next year the ATW established the annual Antoinette Perry Awards, better known as the Tony Awards. Considering the competition, they might be the tony awards as well. The year 2004 marks the 58th birthday of the Tonys. (Curtain rises at 8PM Eastern time on June 6. Second show at 8PM Pacific time, apparently. Doesn't that kill the suspense?)

tooth numbering
There are at least three systems of tooth numbering in common use among dentists. DrBunn.com has a nice explanation.

A movie starring Dustin Hoffman. That's the 1982 movie, not the 1917, one, 'kay? I only put this entry here to avoid bloat in yet another entry (Door Slam Method, Car). You know -- first you add an innocent little adjective, then the sentence sprouts a relative clause, the relative clause buds off a parenthetical, and pretty soon you're wishing you had an entry on malignant neoplasia of the glossarius.

So about ``Tootsie'' (1982): Dustin Hoffman plays an unemployed actor (Michael Dorsey) who poses as a woman (Dorothy Michaels) to get acting work. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of acting, this is a bit like double-escaping to pull a literal out through two levels of interpretation.

A movie that takes this to the next level was actually released earlier in 1982: in Victor/Victoria, Julie Andrews plays a soprano who finds work posing as a female impersonator. You wonder just how much of a challenge this would be.

Stay with me, now; this paragraph and the last are just as connected as any two consecutive paragraphs typically are, in this glossary. East Germany (when that existed) had a program of giving their competitive female athletes a little competitive edge: male hormones. It was a public relations campaign, you know? They wanted to show the world that even if their subjects couldn't sprint from East Berlin to West Berlin in thirty years, nevertheless the communist country had the best doping program in the world. Except that they were so modest that they denied having any such program. And you know that males and females both have ``male'' and ``female'' hormones -- the difference is quantitative, not qualitative, so it was hard to prove doping (especially with the technology then available). Instead, suspicious people pointed to suspicious signs, like the fact that the female East German swimmers had deep voices. To this, one East German coach gave the memorable answer: ``We came to swim, not to sing!'' (It works about as well in the German -- schwimmen, singen). I'm glad that I forgot to mention that at the 14.25 entry.

That Dustin Hoffman vehicle, BTW, costarred Jessica Lange, and Geena Davis had her first film role in it. It seems they didn't deploy the Doris Day contrast enhancement maneuver (casting an unattractive best friend to make the star look good). You have to figure that looking too good in a female impersonator role could be risky to an actor's career, unless he aspires to a Divine career. Then again, when it's been a couple of years since you co-starred in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and you haven't had any movie work, maybe risk is good.

TableTOP. In restaurant jargon, it can refer to either a table or a set of tables put together to form a (preferably fairly) continuous tabletop surface. The word is most commonly heard in compounds with numbers. For example, a five-top is a table of or for five -- that is, either a table with five customers or five places for customers. A two-top is a deuce (and the latter term is more common).

Technical Office Protocol. An OSI-based architecture developed for office communications by Boeing.

Temporarily Out of Print. An important technology-driven shift during the early 1990's was a move toward smaller print runs. As it became possible to do second printings more quickly, a smaller initial print run did not carry the same risk of lost sales in an unexpectedly successful title. Bigger runs, of course, carried the usual risk of unsold manufactured units. In addition, partly prompted by changes in tax policy on depreciation, publishers took a harder-nosed attitude to warehousing -- they've been quicker to pulp paperbacks and remainder hardcovers. With some titles that see strong cyclical demand (like academic texts for alternate-year courses, for example) this occasionally has led to insane behaviors -- repeatedly warehousing a title for not quite long enough, pulping the lot and having to reprint it the next month.

A common clause in book contracts (the contracts between publishers and authors) stipulates that if the house leaves the book out of print (OOP), the author gets the rights back.

Time Of Possession. Nowadays a basketball term, but Kepler's mother was accused of something similar. Come think of it, this might be a good explanation of the eristic and nonproductive nature of the labor ``negotiations'' that have cancelled this year's (1998-9) roundball season. I suppose greed is another possibility.

IMDB will calmly tell you about Linda Blair.

[Football icon] TOP is also used in football, where it's actually easier to measure accurately.

First get the big picture, then sweat the details.

top down
First get in the convertible, then sweat.

Temperature- and Overload-Protected FET.


TOPS, Tops
Tera-Operations Per Second. [See MIPS for usage note.]

Total Operations Processing System. A realtime computer that logs the departure and arrival of trains at various locations. British usage, though you never know.

Along about now, if not earlier, you have probably been wondering at the amazing ability of the Stammtisch to bring you exquisitely recondite information, at the very reasonable price (nothing) that we charge (all major credit cards accepted, and excepted). Even though you have read about our practical yet utopian administrative structure, you yet wonder how we do it. Very well, because you've asked politely, we'll give one small example.

The particular entry you are reading now (TOPS) was developed with information from the ground transportation division of our international directorate for excellence in glossary entries (ISO 9000 mission statement available free on request; include $3000 for freight and handling). I should mention that the ground transportation research staff, as well as the editing staff and the staff of a number of our other divisions, is based in nearby Canada (.ca), because that's where he, er, I mean the volunteer staff, resides. The use of highly skilled and mysteriously motivated volunteer staff is one of the important ways we keep costs down. Another way is, I shell out for the web presence to feed my ego.

Now that you understand the broad outlines of our organizational structure, we can move on to the intelligence operation that retrieved this datum. It all began as the ground transportation research staff was perusing the hearings transcripts of the ongoing inquiry into a Southall crash on September 19, 1997 (seven dead and about 150 injured when a Swansea-to-Paddington passenger train collided with a freight train in west London).

Our alert researcher noticed that the capitalized character string TOPS, tagged in preliminary work as a probable acronym, occurred at least nine times in scattered places in transcripts of the hearings. The first time it came up, one of the line's controllers was being questioned:

|   A. ...
|      We also had what is known as a TOPS computer.  I can't tell
|      you what the T-O-P-S stands for but it's a realtime computer
|      which logs the departure and arrival of trains at various
|      locations...

Next, another controller was being questioned:

|   Q. You say in your statement that one thing you did do that
|      morning was to send out a message on the TOPS computer?
|      Can you help us with what TOPS stands for?
|   A. No.
|   Q. You are not alone.

A few days later, someone had apparently found out:

|   Q. You printed off the TOPS information, that's the Total
|      Operations Processing System information, to identify the
|      precise trains?
|   A. I did.

So now we, and you, know.

The transcript from which the text above is quoted amounted to well over 2.5 megabytes in plain text form. It was online at this now-dead link for awhile. It doesn't seem to be available online any more, but the final inquiry report, published in 2000, is available online as of early 2009 (312 pdf pages). [This document (full title The Southall Rail Accident Inquiry Report) has a glossary (pdf pp. 10-11) that expands TOPS incorrectly as ``Total Operating Processing System.''] Other rail informatics scholars, building on the foundation of our pioneering research, have raised TOPS research to the next level. Some of that research is summarized at its own Wikipedia page.

A Hebrew word that may be literally translated as `to teach.' It occurs as a verb in that sense in the Bible, at Lev. 10:11, for example. In Modern Hebrew, various other verbs are available, and so far as I know (which isn't very far), to use torah in this sense now is archaic.

In both Biblical and Modern Hebrew, however, the most common use of torah is as a noun. To a speaker of almost any European language other than English, it is natural to use the infinitive as a noun, just as it is in Hebrew. In English, infinitives can function as nouns in sentences, and are sometimes recognized as nouns in isolation, but more usually the present participle (-ing) form is used. For example, in a letter to her niece Anna Austen in September 1814, Jane Austen wrote:

Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. It is not fair-- He has fame and Profit enough as a Poet, and should not be taking the bread out of people's mouths-- I do not like him & do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it-- but I fear I must....
(As you can see, I've only quoted what is essential for the current discussion. For the rest, see letter 108 in the LeFaye edition of JA's correspondence.)

In this example, ``to write novels'' is a noun phrase in the SAE style, and the infinitive ``to write'' alone can also function as a noun. More common, certainly today, would be the noun phrase ``writing novels,'' using the present participle writing.

(This use of the present participle is an accident of etymology: the present participle, which typically ends in -nd in West Germanic languages, and the nominal form constructed on the verb, which typically ends in -nk or -ng, became conflated in English, so the nominal forms ending in -ing came to be used for the present participle. In Scotland, it took a hundred years after the unification of the Scottish and English crowns for the native -and present participle to disappear.)

Anyway, torah is an infinitive. (Strictly, it's a hifil-form infinitive. Other forms of the verb, with their own infinitives, correspond to related meanings expressed with modal auxiliaries in English. The Hebrew system is actually very similar to Russian verb conjugation.) So in English, this infinitive torah functioning as a noun has the natural translation `teaching.' Latinate nouns constructed on similar verbs include doctrine and instruction. It is in the sense of `teaching' that the word is understood as the name for various Jewish holy books. (In this use, it is capitalized in English; Hebrew has no majuscule-minuscule distinction.)

The word torah is now used in two kinds of conventional ways: as the designation of certain holy books, and for related sets of laws. Let's do the books first.

In the narrowest sense, torah refers to the ``Five Books of Moses'' or, from the Greek, Pentateuch: the first five books of the Jewish Bible or the Christian Old Testament. This meaning already occurs in other books of the Bible (Joshua 1:7, Ezra 3:2, 7:6, 8:1,8; Mal. 3:22), in a phrase translated `the Torah of Moses.' (I capitalize Torah as seems appropriate in English; Hebrew does not have a majuscule-miniscule distinction.)

In rabbinic literature, the word torah refers to successively larger sets of books: the Jewish Bible (``written Torah'') or the Jewish Bible and a certain interpretive literature that was developed on its basis by rabbis of about the 2nd c. BCE to the 6th c. CE. (The latter is called ``oral Torah'' because it was first transmitted orally for a number of years. In fact, the writing down of this oral law was originally forbidden, but after the Romans defeated and destroyed the Jewish state, and much of the Jewish people was dispersed around the Mediterranean, it was judged preferable, and therefore permitted, to write the law than to risk having Jews in the diaspora live in ignorance of it.)

Often the word torah is glossed as `law.' This is considered incorrect as regards the name of the Bible, but there are two ways in which it is correct. First, the word torah occurs well over 150 times in the Pentateuch with the sense of `law' or `regulation,' although it generally occurs as part of a construction referring to a particular law. For example, Lev. 7:1 describes ``the torah on guilt offerings,'' and the Septuagint translates torah there as nómos.

Also, it may be noted that even the parts of the Torah that do not contain explicit laws are relevant to and used for law. (That is, Bible content that is historical, biographical, or obscure -- for the last think Song of Songs, to say nothing of the Book of Daniel.) Various kinds of close textual analysis are traditionally applied by rabbinic scholars to infer answers to questions about Jewish law. You could call it tea-leaf reading, but then what would you say about emanations and penumbras of constitutional law that lead to the conclusion that states can make no law limiting abortion until the third trimester, eh?

A company that describes itself as ``Toilet of Korea.'' Unless some celestial convergence occurred behind my ocultation, the name Torea is a blend, a portmanteau. I have to say, if a toilet manufacturer is going to get all patriotic, I prefer the dignified vagueness of something like ``American Standard.''

Toronto girls can flirt and only quit to chase dwarves.
Mnemonic for remembering the minerals that define F. Mohs's hardness scale:
  1. Talc
  2. Gypsum
  3. Calcite
  4. Fluorite
  5. Apatite
  6. Orthoclase [Feldpar]
  7. Quartz
  8. Topaz
  9. Corundum
  10. Diamond

Pressure unit named after Torricelli. Equal to the sea-level acceleration of gravity, times mercury mass density, times one millimeter. In other words, a pressure of x torr is exerted by a column of mercury x mm high. One atmosphere is 760 torr.

torso isolation
A fundamental and fundament aspect of belly dancing. For books about belly dancing, try FIG.

Turtle. In British or commonwealth usage, tortoise is more common; in the US turtle is conventional except in certain traditional expressions. (Chelys isn't a very traditional expression in English, but visit the entry anyway.) Also, the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare goes by that name. Or so it went. At a toy store in New Jersey in January 2009, I saw a children's book with the title ``The Turtle and the Rabbit.'' I suppose it was inevitable.

Partisans of the teams of the University of Maryland call turtles ``terps,'' which is short for terrapins, the common team name. Must have a lot of resonance for the track team.

And in related news...
In most of the US, the term ladybug is preferred to ladybird (the prohibitive favorite in all Commonwealth countries). At least bug is more accurate than bird, but actual ladybugs are of both sexes. The nursery rhyme is adjusted too.

torture music
The British group Reprieve has said that the following are ``among the songs'' most frequently used by U.S. military interrogators to try to crack detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo:

The list was in a press release issued in December 2008. Reprieve is not a rock group, so it's not a matter of professional rivalry. Reprieve is a ``law group.'' Of course, a reprieve can also be a respite or a release.

You're probably wondering about the glaring omission of ``The Piña Colada Song'' (as it's known, give or take a tilde) of Rupert Holmes from the list above. The reason is simple. The detainees at Guantanamo and elsewhere do not qualify for protection under the terms of the Geneva convention because they are not ``enemy combatants'' in the traditional sense but more like ``terrorists'' or ``suspicious innocent bystanders'' as the case may be. Furthermore, because they are not in US territory they are afforded only limited protection by US law. That's why it's legal to play the songs listed above, so long as royalties are paid. It would also be legal to use the PC song, but interrogators feel that it would violate their personal ethics.

Other bands and artists whose music has been played frequently at U.S. detention sites: Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Don McLean (probably for when the interrogators need to take a long bathroom break), Lil' Kim, Limp Bizkit, Meat Loaf, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Tupac Shakur. For local flavor, they might consider ``Guantanamera,'' written by José Fernández Díaz, as performed by the Sandpipers.

Terms Of { Sale | Service }. Could be interpreted as ``Type of Service.''

The Operating System. Reputed acronym expansion of Atari computer OS. The story [as related by Loren <cooldog, at, inreach.com>, according to Anopolis, and consistent with stories I've heard elsewhere] goes that

When the Atari ST was still being developed, the operating system had not been decided yet (CP/M68K was a strong contender). The folks developing the system interface (AES/VDI: Application Environment System/Video Display Interface) that would eventually run a version of Digital Research's GEM (Graphic Environment Manager) were working on MS-DOS machines until the actual hardware was locked down. Since they didn't know specifically what operating system they were coding for, their system diagrams and documentations just referred to it as ``The Operating System'' or ``TOS.'' Once it was decided that Atari would be writing their own OS (a Unix-like interface on an MS-DOS filesystem), it became known officially as TOS.

Later, revisionist forces within Atari decreed that TOS actually stood for ``Tramiel Operating System,'' after ``Mad'' Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore and the guy who brought us the C64.

Jack Tramiel, after being driven out of Commodore by the board of directors, bought Atari from Warner (who couldn't manage a high-tech company to save their lives) and immediately announced his Mac-killer, the ST. The Atari ST became known in the press as the ``Jackintosh.'' The GEM interface was indeed so Mac-like that Apple successfully sued Digital Research on grounds of ``look and feel" and forced DR to modify (read: severely cripple) their DOS version of GEM. Since Atari had bought their version of GEM from DR, they were not affected by Apple's suit, and Apple never considered the Atari market enough of a threat to pursue Atari directly.

The Original Series (ST:TOS) of Star Trek. Also: ``The Old Stuff.'' Occasionally, ``The Original S-word.''

Type Of Service.

US homepage and elsewhere.

In television, a toss or throw is an on-air hand-off from one program host to another. Television networks and stations care greatly about such throws from popular programs to less popular programs that follow them.


A breakfast cereal.

Turn on, Tune In, Drop out.

Terms Of Use.

Name (of native origin) applied to a family of brightly colored fruit-eating birds native to South America. The application of the name was also extended to hornbills, Old-World omnivorous birds.

Remember, you can't spell touch without ouch. Touché!

[Football icon]

Touchdown Jesus
An icon on the main library at the University of Notre Dame du Lac. ND is one of the few private universities with a I-A football team. The only other ones I am aware of are Baylor (Big 12 Conference), Boston College (Atlantic Coast Conference), BYU (Mountain West Conference), Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference), SMU (Conference USA), Rice (Conference USA), Stanford (Pac-10 Conference), Syracuse (Big East), TCU (Mountain West Conference), USC (Pac-10 Conference; nowadays ND considers USC its ``traditional rival''), Vanderbilt (Southeastern Conference) and Wake Forest (Atlantic Coast Conference). (Temple hasn't been private since 1965; where have you been? Hiding under a rock since the Owls stopped winning or keeping it respectable in football games?) The eight-team Ivy League was technically I-A until 1981, when the NCAA took the opportunity of a dispute over TV revenues to demote it to I-AA, and everyone walked away happy. Notre Dame has the most storied program in all of US collegiate football, though its glory days are receding into the past.

The long axis of Notre Dame's football stadium is aligned north-south, and a quarter mile or so directly north of it is the university's main library, Hesburgh Library. That thirteen-story structure has a mosaic covering most of the front wall, which faces south (i.e., in the direction of the stadium), dominated by an icon (in the usual sense) of Jesus. This image has its arms raised to indicate a touchdown, and the icon is informally but universally known as Touchdown Jesus. See the discussion at the entry for The Insider's Guide to the Colleges. See also First-Down Moses.

I don't care if it rains or freezes,
'Long as I got my plastic Jesus
Sittin' on the dashboard of my car.

A stone used to test the purity of gold, AFAIK. The idea is that because of the stone's hardness and (microscopically) rough surface, stroking a piece of metal across it leaves a streak, and because of its dark color the contrasting gold color (if that's what it is) is clearly visible. The idea is that one could judge the impurity of a gold alloy from the imperfection of the gold color. The uncountable noun touchstone refers to the material that a touchstone is normally made of -- basanite or a similar material.

The countable noun has the widely transferred sense of any object used as a test of quality. Its use in this sense for literary criticism today usually alludes to Matthew Arnold.

In 1880, Arnold wrote a preface to The English Poets, an important selection of verse edited by his niece's husband Thomas Humphry Ward. Arnold had his ``Preface to Ward's Poets'' reprinted as the first item in Essays in Criticism, Second Series (1888) under the title by which it is generally known today -- ``The Study of Poetry.'' In that essay, he proposed that a few short but distinctive passages of great poetry could serve as touchstones. Actually, he meant that they could be used as Munsell color chips, for comparison with some other work to be evaluated, but Munsell color chips hadn't been developed yet, and Arnold had a sure ear for the inappropriate but catchy name. He wrote

There can be no more useful help for discovering what poetry belongs to the class of the truly excellent, and can therefore do us the most good, than to have always in one's mind lines and expressions of the great masters, and to apply them as a touchstone to other poetry. Of course we are not to require this other poetry to resemble them; it may be very dissimilar. But if we have any tact we shall find them, when we have lodged them well in our minds, an infallible touchstone for detecting the presence or absence of high poetic quality, and also the degree of this quality, in all other poetry which we may place beside them.

The particular touchstones he proposed are eleven passages, one to four lines long, selected from Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton. Some of them are pretty good, though one can find far better than many of them elsewhere in the same authors, and better than most of them in Goethe. The restriction to short passages in principle seems to exclude the majesty of a truly ambitious metrical scheme such as one finds in, say, Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. But these are minor quibbles. There are really only two problems with Arnold's scheme, and they are

  1. It can't work.
  2. It doesn't work.

It can't work because it ignores the topology of quality. That topology is discrete and multidimensional; greatness in poetry is a matter of individual reception. It is true that mediocre poetry can be improved or worsened, generally speaking. There can often be broad agreement on the relative ranking of two similar ungreat works because compromise is unnecessary: one can substantially improve the poetry along one dimension of merit without substantially degrading it along other dimensions. However, it is a mistake to suppose that this defines a single scale of merit that can be extended out to the vicinity of greatness. When one reaches the realm of very good poetry, there are few choices (discreteness). Considering the few changes that might be deemed improvements, one finds that there are gains and losses. It must be so: if it were always possible to improve in all ways, the writing of great poetry would be as easy as bad poets suppose.

Arnold acknowledges that multidimensionality. (``Of course we are not to require this other poetry to resemble them; it may be very dissimilar.'') But he supposes that one can profitably compare extremely dissimilar beauties. Does keeping a few chords of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on endless loop in my mind help me to appreciate a glorious sunrise? No. At best, it helps me enjoy the solar beauty by supplementing it with a wholly different one.

Many will find this criticism captious, supposing that there is some truth in Arnold's idea, even if there is some justice in my objection, some imperfection in his formulation. But the fact is that people's minds are clogged almost shut with ideas that might be true, that sound good, and that are so tenuously supported that there is nothing to kick out from under them. Isaiah Berlin's fox-and-hedgehog idea is similar: a baldly false general assertion that it is perfectly possible, by the complete suspension of one's critical faculties, to believe and enjoy.

Now I want to address the second assertion briefly. It may seem mystical to consider whether a method does work after arguing that it cannot, but it is not mystical. It is scientific. The scientific worldview recognizes that deductive proofs are no stronger, and often weaker, than their imprecise and uncertain premises. Hence, one tests the conclusions anyway. Matthew Arnold himself provides an excellent test. We will not dwell on the low opinion he had, say, of Robert Burns. We give a pass also to his conflation of moral and aesthetic qualities (``the truly excellent ... do[es] us the most good''), and his bias for dripping sentiment. Suffice only to say that all the touchstones in the world can never help a blind man tell white from yellow. Arnold had a tin ear, and his own wretched poetry proves it (read the maximum tolerable dose here). Even the inventor of the method couldn't use it to see that it would be aesthetically (and morally) wrong to inflict his scribbles on posterity.

Oh yes, you will encounter Matthew Arnold partisans -- people who do not realize just how awful he was as a poet. A relatively mild example of the hagiographic tendency is The Touchstones of Matthew Arnold, by John Shepard Eells, Jr. (NYC: Bookman Associates, Inc., 1955). On page 14, Eells wrote

One rarely finds a poet who is articulate about the secrets of his craft; and when the poet is a great one, and an eminent critic as well, his utterances dealing with that craft cannot but command the deepest interest and attention. Such an utterance is The Study of Poetry...
You might be amazed to discover that in fact, most of the recent literature on Arnold holds him in very high esteem, but you should not be amazed. This is an instance of what is known in statistics as sampling bias. Simply put, those who choose to write about him are the unrepresentative misguided minority. The majority, who can see at a glance that Arnold does not attain even to mediocrity, justly ignore him. For the same reason, most of the literature on bad ideas (the politics you oppose, the other fellow's heretical religion, your kids' music) takes those bad ideas far more seriously than they deserve.

Tour de France
Over the course of a month, racers bike over the course in France. I always wanted to write that... AND NOW I HAVE! This proves that you can achieve your dream no matter what it is, if you work hard and concentrate! Of course, it helps if you have an unusual dream, like ``I Will Put A Really Wacko Entry In An Online Glossary.'' If you have a more ordinary dream, like winning the TdF (that link is to our main entry for this subject, by the way), then you're going to have to get in line. I mean, of course, each and every one of the hundreds of competitors can achieve his dream of winning the TdF next year, if only he works hard and concentrates. On the other hand, only one of them actually will win the TdF next year. Logically, this proves that none of the others will have worked hard and concentrated, so like, too bad.

One of the better gags in ``Kentucky Fried Movie'' involved the martial-arts instructor's ``we must have totow concentwayshun'' boilerplate. It worked out better with the dog.

Can mean:
  1. The religion of Tours, France.
  2. Having Tourette's syndrome (TS).
  3. The opposite of defensive driving.

Here are some very old resource links, shamelessly copied from the Crimean Travel Server Homepage, English version:

Paul Fussell edited a collection of travel writing called The Norton Book of Travel (1987). From his introduction to Part IV, ``Touristic Tendencies,'' here is the second paragraph, representative of his attitude regarding a certain distinction:

    Tourism simulates travel, sometimes quite closely. You do pack a suitcase or two and proceed abroad with passport and travelers checks. But it is different in crucial ways. It is not self-directed but externally directed. You go not where you want to go but where the industry has decreed you shall go. Tourism soothes you by comfort and familiarity and shields you from the shocks of novelty and oddity. It confirms your prior view of the world instead of shaking it up. Tourism requires that you see conventional things, and that you see them in a conventional way.

tout suite
An English phrase pronounced ``toot sweet.'' It is a very common mispronunciation or misspelling or quick pronunciation of the French phrase ``tout de suite,'' which means `at once' or `right away.'

TOW missile
Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided Missile.

TakeOut Double. A contract bridge abbreviation. The SBF bridge specialist observes philologically that X often represents double, but that takeout is only rarely abbreviated.

Total Organic Halogens. X is a standard generic symbol for halogens. Organic halogens are halogens more-or-less covalently bonded in carbon compounds.

TOXOplasmosis. Disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can live within human cells. Although perhaps half the population of the US has been exposed to T. gondii, the parasite rarely causes discernible disease except in immunologically compromised individuals. Toxo is the most common HIV-related opportunistic infection of the brain. [Note, however, that AIDS dementia (q.v.) is more common.]

Toxo causes a number of neurologically based muscle weakness, incoördination, seizures, transient mental status changes and sustained cognitive impairment.

Domain name code for East Timor. An independent country since 2002. Here's a link to its CIA Factbook page.

Toilet Paper. Ever since Seth Wheeler introduced the toilet paper roll in 1871 (the year of the Great Fire in Chicago), the great debate about toilet paper has always been: Down the Front (DtF) or Down the Back (DtB). As a public service, the basic considerations are summarized here. (Also for your convenience, since this entry is long and unfocused, we put the only really interesting datum at the DtB entry.)

Gravitational/Zoological: If even one cat has access to TP DtF, then from time to time (about as often as the roll is replaced), the TP will be found lying in a scratched heap on the floor. This has less to do with gravity in general than with the way cats scratch (with a pulling motion), so it really would not be appropriate to call this the Newton's Cat argument. Also, Sir Isaac Newton had a dog. Few English-speaking people kept cats as pets in those days. [Newton's dog was named Diamond. There's a story that once the dog knocked over a lamp (Domestic animals always get blamed -- cf. Mrs. O'Leary, and consider the scape goat), and he (Newton, not the dog) exclaimed: ``O Diamond! Diamond! thou little knowest the mischief done!'' as years of work went up in flames. However, what probably happened was that the fire broke out while Newton was at church. This is interesting, because after his secret conversion, Newton attended the Trinitarian (state-sanctioned) church only the bare minimum number of times per year required by law. (Which was not zero.) Newton was a very deeply religious man compared to, say, William Godwin or Bertrand Russell, but that wasn't unusual in those days and probably still isn't, and maybe the TP entry is not the best place to get into it.] Now there are more cats than dogs in the US, but the dogs are mostly bigger, so there's still more dog than cat in the US.

Aesthetic: DtF tends to display the tear-edge at the end of the roll, hanging down. In DtB configuration, the roll may appear seamless.

Athletic: One-handed operation of a standard-issue TP dispenser requires a rapid jerk on an unrolled portion of the TP, with the opposed force arising inertially from the remaining rolled portion. This maneuver is harder to execute with DtB than with DtF, because DtB requires the roll to be jerked upward or, if jerked downward, starting from a lower position.

Etiquette: Oh, excuse ME! Of course I meant to use the words bathroom tissue. One would not want to be coarse in this department.

Microelectronic: When TP dispensers have embedded microprocessors, this will no longer be a problem. For the next few months, however, people with cats or who for some irrational cause insist on DtB will simply have to install centrifugal governors on their dispensers, like the one on Watt's steam engine.

Here's your opportunity to weigh in on this weighty matter.

First, a little bit about yourself. You are or have been (check at least one):

    Transcended all that

Okay, that's quite enough about yourself. Now the big question:

    Down the Front
    Down the Back
    Up the Front
    Up the Back

Your principal reason is:

Then, of course, there's always the Toilet Seat Position Controversy Here's a calculation.

For some serious historical information, try this page. If you have a nonvirtual existence, you might consider visiting Wisconsin's Madison Museum of Bathroom Tissue, which in 1997, after four years of existence, had already collected three thousand rolls, including a roll from Graceland. It's still not listed at <MuseumSpot.com>.

UPDATE: Tragic news -- The Madison Museum of Bathroom Tissue went down the drain. Visit this virtual tribute instead. (Consolation: there's a toilet-seat museum in San Antonio, Texas.)

I knew a woman who spent a year as a student in Leningrad in the seventies. When she visited any neighboring Baltic republic, she would befriend the hotel personnel by badmouthing the Russians, and she would be rewarded with TP. In an emergency, of course, there was always Pravda.

I seem to recall that this glossary set out once to be a scientific resource. Very well: the 500X magnification picture of (unused, I think) toilet paper below is an SEM image mirrored from <http://www.mos.org/sln/sem/tpaper.html>

[Unearthly landscape of destruction]

In her stepfather's tailor shop many years ago, among the seamstresses my mother worked with was an elderly German lady, once wealthy but now in embarrassed circumstances. She had been so genteel that she could not bring herself to be seen buying toilet paper (my mother bought it for her). Lord, the past is a foreign country. Argentina, in this case. (It amuses speakers of other Romance tongues that in Spanish embarazo is `pregnancy.') Then again, perhaps the relevant nationality is German. In that case, it would make sense (trust me on this) to visit the turd de force entry.

Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke is one of the great world novels, according to Milan Kundera. In it, Mrs. Youthful displays as one of the marks of modernity ``her casual way of heading for the toilet, where till then people had gone in secret.''

On your next virtual vacation, you really should visit the Virtual Toilet Paper Museum. After all, when you gotta go, you really gotta go.

Transaction Processing.

Transport Protocol. There are a whole bunch of them, because transporting data is what communication is about. E.g., TP0, TP4.

Twisted Pair. An incomplete coven. Also, if an ac signal is sent down a waveguide or transmission line that consists of two wires, power is lost by radiation (making the local environment noisy), and noise accumulates as the wires function as an antenna. By twisting the pair of wires around a common axis, one reduces the radiative losses and absorption, by making the wire pair a much less effective antenna.

This reasoning is rather different from the motivation for the braiding found in Litz wire.

Tennessee Pharmacists Association.

Texas Pharmacy Association.

Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agent. A TPA is an optometrist who is authorized to prescribe certain medications for the treatment of specific eye diseases. The first TPA law in the US (allowing qualified optometrists to act as TPA's) was enacted by West Virginia in 1976. Cf. DPA.

Tissue Plasminogen Activator. Despite the generic name, a particular drug. One of those clot-dissolving drugs that, if given soon enough (up to a few hours) after the beginning of a heart attack or an ischemic stroke (one due to clot, rather than one of the 20% of strokes caused by hemorrhage) can significantly decrease mortality and morbidity.

Trading Partner Agreement. Then doh-see-dohing.

Two-Phonon Absorption.

For examples in various bulk compound semiconductors:

Tritium-Producing Burnable Absorber Rod.

Transaction Processing and Performance Council. They developed and run software benchmarks.

TPC-A simulates a lot of users connected to a system all doing the same job.
TPC-B tries to stimulate one power-mad user. Probably a quantum chemist or a band theorist.
TPC-C simulates a lot of users connected to a system doing a variety of jobs. This is pretty stupid, because most users most of the time are running a browser.

Temperature-Programmed Desorption. Sort of like DLTS, but for adsorbed species rather than trapped charge carriers.

Transport Protocol Data Unit (PDU).

ThermoPlastic Elastomer.

TransPlutonium Element. An element whose atomic number is greater than 94.

Two-Photon Fluorescence.

Trans PerFluoroDecalin.

Test-Pattern Generation.

Thermo-Pyrolytic Graphite.

Hydrogenated TetraPropylene. An industrial diluent.

The PANSS Institute. It ``was founded by the clinicians, scientists, and developers of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and other premier psychometric instruments.'' They're right that PANSS is a premier instrument of psychometry. Visit the PANSS entry; read about it and weep. Psychiatry is still in the Stone Age.

Third-Party Indexing.

TPI, tpi
Tracks Per Inch.

Third-Party Liability.

The Philosophy Magazine on the internet.

ThermoPower under Magnetic field.

Total Productive Maintenance. Or total productive manufacturing. What does it matter? It's all words. Use the acronym and the fact that this means as little to you as it does to anyone else will cause you no pain.

The ``Total'' here refers to the idea that one should optimize globally rather than locally. That is, using performance measurements that focus on individual departments may lead to suboptimization: good local performance at the expense of the overall system. The trouble is, everyone knows that being a team player and trading-off performance for the greater good of the team is just going to land you in trouble.

Transparent Prolog Machine.

Technical Point Of Contact.

Texas Performance Review[s]. See TSPR.

Third Party Recovery.

Total Physical Response. A primary-school teaching practice unwisely urged on secondary-school teachers, but I remember being offended by it at age eleven.

When I became an assistant professor and attended my first reeducation camp, err, sorry, teaching effectiveness training, I underwent a despicable demonstration of this technique by a biology professor who is a darling of the teaching-effectiveness imbeciles.

Total Physical Response Storytelling. This ought to mean ``telling stories that claim that using TPR is a forgivable or even an acceptable use of the time of a teacher who is probably good for nothing anyway.'' Unfortunately, it is supposed to mean something else.

Transactions Per Second.

The Powers That Be. Variant forms: TAIC, TBTB, TIIC.

ThermoPhotoVoltaic (solar energy system). Basically, you use a parabolic concentrator to heat a radiator to a temperature high enough that its blackbody spectrum has a significant amount of light with photon energies above the bandgap of the semiconductor material from which the solar cell is made. It's a neat trick, with possibly very high efficiency. Here's why:

A normal solar cell is basically a thin semiconductor diode, and is prevented in principle from making use of the full energy carried by the solar spectrum because of two factors:

  1. The photons whose energy is smaller than the semiconductor bandgap are wasted: they can't excite electrons across the gap.
  2. The photons with energy exceeding the gap have some of their energy wasted as well. All of the photon energy in excess of the bandgap energy goes into kinetic energy of electrons and holes, and most of that goes quickly into heating the lattice (``nonradiative relaxation'').

One solution to these problems is to stack different photovoltaics. The light is incident on the wide-gap photovoltaic cell, which makes better use of the high-energy photons and lets the lower-energy photons pass through. The narrow-gap PV makes use of the lower-energy photons. In practice, this scheme has not been very popular. In addition to the greater costs and fabrication complexity of stacking different semiconductors, there are also greater losses due to partial reflection of incident light.

Okay, this entry is back under construction.

Transport Protocol Class 0 (zero). OSI connectionless transport protocol for use over reliable subnetworks defined by ISO 8073.

Transport Protocol Class 4. OSI connection-based transport protocol defined by ISO 8073.

Tons Per Year. An abbreviation that comes up in steel manufacturing news.

TESOL Quarterly.

Totalitaria..., er, Total Quality. ``New, Improved!!!'' for the management product. A significant difference between management product and consumer products is that through changes in the latter one wants to maintain consumer loyalty to an existing brand. New management, on the other hand, has no stake in higher management's continued loyalty to its predecessors. Thus, in constructing the illusion of progress from the reality of change and the blessing of ignorance, self-advertising can take full advantage of the metaphor of revolution. The ``Total Quality'' slogan evokes revolution, while ``improved'' evokes evolution.

Denotatively, of course, ``total quality'' and ``new improved'' both mean nothing.

Another aspect of the ``total quality'' slogan that is quite effective is its big-lie magnitude. If one claims to have a single new idea of limited significance, then there is the danger that someone might ask for an explanation of the idea in terms that can be understood and laughed at. More wisely, if one claims to have a brilliant revolutionary idea, like ``Total Quality'' or ol' Kim Il Sung's ``Jutche Idea,'' then the target of propaganda is likelier to be cowed into silence, and the few requests for explanation can be more easily parried with perorations on the multifarious benefits of applying the unexplained brilliant idea. You know, deconstruction is a lot like that.

Teaching Quality Assessment[s]. In Britain, this is a periodic official activity for universities. In 1996 there was also a Research Assessment Exercise.

Total Quality Control. Might have something to do with Total Quality Management, but this stuff is rocket science, so you never know.

Catbert offers a Mission Statement Generator. Hey -- leverage the synergy, you never know.

Total Quality Dog. Also: Total Quality Doggy.

Total Quality Doggy Doo. This acronym has now been reengineered. The new improved acronym, with a quality that is 53% more total, is TQDS.

Total Quality Dog Shit.

Total Quality Flea Collar.

Thin Quad Flat-Pack.

Total Quality Leadership.

Total Quality Management. Literacy optional. ``Total Quality Management'' presumably differs from partial quality management. Partial quality management might mean or Yes... now I understand.

There have been other ideals of leadership.

If you would like to observe the banality of insipidness, one place to start is this.

Okay, okay, here's something more to the point: TQM is a management philosophy (right there you know you're in trouble; each of those words can be pretty bad news alone). It was developed in the 1950's by geniuses like W. Edwards Deming, J. M. Juran, and Phillip B. Crosby. Its basic premise is that improvements in quality automatically lead to improvements in productivity. It's big on incremental quality improvements and teamwork. Japanese industry was an early adopter. Japan has been stagnating economically, nominally in and out of recession, since the real estate bubble burst around 1990, writing as of 2001. LDP remains in power.

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