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Victory over Japan. The day that Japan surrendered in 1945, ending WWII. The surrender was communicated by cable to U.S. President Harry S. Truman via the Swiss diplomatic mission in Washington, DC, on August 14 -- in the morning hours of August 15 in Japan. At noon JST, a radio broadcast to the Japanese people announced Japan's acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. Because the US was on daylight saving time and not, like Britain, on double daylight saving time, the hour of this broadcast also fell on August 14 in all parts of the US.

The term VJ Day refers variously to the date (14th or 15th) commemorated and to the day of the commemoration or celebration. Out of a perception that fairness requires a formulation parallel to ``VE Day,'' VP has been substituted for VJ. This seems to have caught on primarily in Australia.

The hyphenated forms (V-E, V-J) were common in 1945, but seem to be rare in 2005.

Video Jockey. Evidently constructed on the model of DJ (Disc Jockey).


Virginia Junior Classical League. Affiliated with the NJCL. Virginia also has a state Classical Association (CAV).

Vertical-Junction Field-Effect Transistor. That is, a FET in which the source-drain current runs parallel to the wafer surface.

Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte. A German-language history journal that might have been named `Quarterly Notes in Recent History' or not. See Stuart Jenks's page of Tables of Contents of Historical Journals and Monographic Series in German for a partial table of contents (deutsche Seite: Zeitschriftenfreihandmagazin Inhaltsverzeichnisse geschichtswissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften in deutscher Sprache).

Vehicle Kilometers Traveled.

Veronica Lodge! The black-haired beauty of Archie Comics! Her luggage is monogrammed -- her dad is rich!

Virtual Library.

Vulgar Latin. Latin as it was spoken by the uneducated masses. The language whose various local versions evolved into Romance languages.

Very Large Array. A radiotelescope consisting of twenty-seven receiving antennas (25-meter diameter dishes) mounted on railroad cars and stationed on a wye-shaped railroad 36km (22 miles) across. Located near Socorro, NM. The basic idea (in VLBI) is that while sensitivity is proportional to the receiving area of the antenna, resolution is essentially proportional to the transverse length scale of the antenna. Hence, an antenna consisting of various small dishes scattered across 36km has a resolving power comparable to a single enormous dish about 36km in diameter. The VLA's sensitivity is comparable to a single dish with the same total area -- in other words, of a single dish with diameter 25m × sqrt(27) = 130m, which is not shabby.

The VLA is operated by NRAO (National Radio Astronomy Observatory), which serves a nice information page on it.

The SETI Institute runs a systematic search program called the Phoenix Project to find high-information radio signals from outer space. The movie Contact, with characters and search modeled on this, imagines the search successful. The Phoenix project is more interested in detecting weak signals rather than in resolving their origin precisely, so the radiotelescope at Arecibo is a better tool than the VLA (other telescopes have also been used). On the other hand, the VLA is more visually impressive, so that's the telescope featured in the movie. The VLA is also featured in 2010: The Year We Make Contact. The latter movie, a sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), was released in 1984, when the VLA was two years old.

Virtual Local Area Network.

Verzeichnis Lieferbarer Bücher. `Index of Available Books' -- the German Books-in-Print.

Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) Local Bus standard ultimately used principally on 486's. Cf. PCI.

Very Long Baseline Array. VLBI using ten 82-foot diam. dishes scattered from St. Croix to Honolulu, and to New Hampshire and northern Washington state, giving an effective aperture of over 8000 km.

Very Long Baseline Interferometry. VLBI is the basic idea behind the VLA. Here's a page served from Arecibo. Here's an Italian site. Here's a site to collect data from an extraterrestrial VLBI.

Very Large Crude (oil) Carrier. Supertanker. A typical VLCC can hold two million barrels of oil. Typically (as of 2012), a VLCC requires P&I coverage (against personal injury and pollution claims) of $1 billion.

Very-Low-Density Lipoprotein. Very ``bad `cholesterol'.'' Cf. LDL. Be afraid, be very afraid. Also, read Chekhov's short play ``The Marriage Proposal.'' If you think it makes sexist assumptions, please astound someone else with this discovery. Try to imagine that there was a century before this one that was not merely different from but actually unlike this one. Relax. It's good for your health.

Vapor-Liquid Equilibrium.

Very Low Frequency. (3 kHz to 30 kHz, in the context of electromagnetic radiation.)

Very Long Instruction Word. Probably not exactly the same thing as what Sir Boss uttered in Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, before the pumps kicked in.

More likely it's the instruction words which encode multiple (four or more) operations. These can be as much as 1Kbit long, and serve to parallelize ordinary user code on appropriate machines. The approach was invented in 1979 by Josh Fisher of Yale University. In 1984, he formed Multiflow to design VLIW supercomputers. Josh Fisher is related to SBF by marriage.

FOLDOC has some material.

VLIW is characterized as static instruction-level parallelism (ILP) because parallelism detection and scheduling occur at compilation rather than at run time.

Oh, alright: here's what you want to know. Sir Boss is the name adopted by a Connecticut Yankee who finds himself transported back in time to King Arthur's realm. He meets Merlin, who turns out to be an ignorant fraud, a pious charlatan. In chapter 22, the waters of a holy fountain (a spring-fed well) that are the main attraction at an abbey have failed. As chapter 23 begins, Merlin is failing to repair it by incantations, smoke powders, and ``pawing at the air'' as Twain puts it. Finally Merlin delivers the bad news to the abbot:

If any labor of mortal might break the spell that binds these waters, this which I have but just essayed had done it. It has failed; whereby I do now know that that which I had feared is a truth established; the sign of this failure is, that the most potent spirit known to the magicians of the East, and whose name none may utter and live, has laid his spell upon this well. The mortal does not breathe, nor ever will, who can penetrate the secret of that spell, and without that secret none can break it. The water will flow no more forever, good Father. I have done what man could. Suffer me to go.

(A big thank you to my fellow proofers at the Gutenberg Project. Choose your format for Part 5 here.)

Sir Boss offers to try his thaumaturgic hand, and allows Merlin to maneuver him into committing to utter the fatal word. The leaky masonry of the well is easily repaired, and the greater efforts of Sir Boss and his assistants go to preparing stage effects. On the appointed day, after the audience assembled...

We had a solemn stage-wait, now, for about twenty minutes—a thing I had counted on for effect; it is always good to let your audience have a chance to work up its expectancy.  At length, out of the silence a noble Latin chant—men's voices—broke and swelled up and rolled away into the night, a majestic tide of melody.  I had put that up, too, and it was one of the best effects I ever invented. When it was finished I stood up on the platform and extended my hands abroad, for two minutes, with my face uplifted—that always produces a dead hush—and then slowly pronounced this ghastly word with a kind of awfulness which caused hundreds to tremble, and many women to faint:


[Gesellschaft sic.]

Just as I was moaning out the closing hunks of that word, I touched off one of my electric connections and all that murky world of people stood revealed in a hideous blue glare!   [Greek fire.] It was immense—that effect!  Lots of people shrieked, women curled up and quit in every direction, foundlings collapsed by platoons.  The abbot and the monks crossed themselves nimbly and their lips fluttered with agitated prayers.  Merlin held his grip, but he was astonished clear down to his corns; he had never seen anything to begin with that, before.  Now was the time to pile in the effects.  I lifted my hands and groaned out this word—as it were in agony:


—and turned on the red fire!  You should have heard that Atlantic of people moan and howl when that crimson hell joined the blue! After sixty seconds I shouted:

"Transvaaltruppentropentransporttrampelthiertreibertrauungsthraenen- tragoedie!"

—and lit up the green fire!  After waiting only forty seconds this time, I spread my arms abroad and thundered out the devastating syllables of this word of words:


—and whirled on the purple glare!  There they were, all going at once, red, blue, green, purple!—four furious volcanoes pouring vast clouds of radiant smoke aloft, and spreading a blinding rainbowed noonday to the furthest confines of that valley.  In the distance one could see that fellow on the pillar standing rigid against the background of sky, his seesaw stopped for the first time in twenty years.  I knew the boys were at the pump now and ready.  So I said to the abbot:

"The time is come, Father.  I am about to pronounce the dread name and command the spell to dissolve.  You want to brace up, and take hold of something."  Then I shouted to the people:  "Behold, in another minute the spell will be broken, or no mortal can break it. If it break, all will know it, for you will see the sacred water gush from the chapel door!"

I stood a few moments, to let the hearers have a chance to spread my announcement to those who couldn't hear, and so convey it to the furthest ranks, then I made a grand exhibition of extra posturing and gesturing, and shouted:

"Lo, I command the fell spirit that possesses the holy fountain to now disgorge into the skies all the infernal fires that still remain in him, and straightway dissolve his spell and flee hence to the pit, there to lie bound a thousand years.  By his own dread name I command it—BGWJJILLIGKKK!"

Then I touched off the hogshead of rockets, and a vast fountain of dazzling lances of fire vomited itself toward the zenith with a hissing rush, and burst in mid-sky into a storm of flashing jewels! One mighty groan of terror started up from the massed people—then suddenly broke into a wild hosannah of joy—for there, fair and plain in the uncanny glare, they saw the freed water leaping forth!  The old abbot could not speak a word, for tears and the chokings in his throat; without utterance of any sort, he folded me in his arms and mashed me.  It was more eloquent than speech. And harder to get over, too, in a country where there were really no doctors that were worth a damaged nickel.

You should have seen those acres of people throw themselves down in that water and kiss it; kiss it, and pet it, and fondle it, and talk to it as if it were alive, and welcome it back with the dear names they gave their darlings, just as if it had been a friend who was long gone away and lost, and was come home again.  Yes, it was pretty to see, and made me think more of them than I had done before.

I sent Merlin home on a shutter.  He had caved in and gone down like a landslide when I pronounced that fearful name, and had never come to since.  He never had heard that name before,—neither had I—but to him it was the right one.  Any jumble would have been the right one.  He admitted, afterward, that that spirit's own mother could not have pronounced that name better than I did. He never could understand how I survived it, and I didn't tell him.  It is only young magicians that give away a secret like that. Merlin spent three months working enchantments to try to find out the deep trick of how to pronounce that name and outlive it. But he didn't arrive.

When I started to the chapel, the populace uncovered and fell back reverently to make a wide way for me, as if I had been some kind of a superior being—and I was.  I was aware of that.  I took along a night shift of monks, and taught them the mystery of the pump, and set them to work, for it was plain that a good part of the people out there were going to sit up with the water all night, consequently it was but right that they should have all they wanted of it.  To those monks that pump was a good deal of a miracle itself, and they were full of wonder over it; and of admiration, too, of the exceeding effectiveness of its performance.

It was a great night, an immense night.  There was reputation in it. I could hardly get to sleep for glorying over it.

Very Light Jet. Also known as a microjet. A jet aircraft (``airplane'' sounds so old-fashioned) with a range of about 1200 miles, with seating for 4 to 6. As of early 2006, they cost between about $1.8 and $2.4 million, much less than business jets. About 5000 general-aviation airports in the country can handle VLJ traffic. A number of companies are getting into the business of manufacturing these planes, in the expectation that they will be the basis of a new air-taxi business in the US. It helps that the barriers to entry for small-jet manufacture are low. The FAA predicts that about 4,500 VLJ's will be in service by 2016. The expectation is that an air-taxi flight would cost 2 or 3 times what a commercial flight would cost.

Visceral Larva Migrans.

Visitor Location Register. Part of the cellular voice reference model.

Vapor-Liquid-Solid (triple point; whisker-growth mechanism for single-crystal growth).

Very-Large-Scale Integration. Used both in a restricted technical sense (>10,000 transistors but less than 1,000,000 transistors), and in a more inclusive general sense, roughly including anything larger than LSI.

Here's a VLSI links page served by the Univ. of Idaho.

VLSI Technology
A US microelectronic fabrication company. Specialty is ASIC.

Variable Length Subnet Mask.

VoLTaGe. Don't blush; if it makes you feel any better: I wondered too.

Very Long Wavelength InfraRed. I.e., Far IR.

Vacuolar Myelopathy.

Virtual Machine.

Virtual Memory. Term has two rather different meanings:
  1. Data overflow from the fast-access memory (core or main memory, usually DRAM or SRAM) that has been ``swapped out'' or ``paged'' and stored on a slow-access medium (typically disk). The Atlas computer was the first to have this feature, in 1962.
  2. On personal computers, it refers to extra memory space gained by transparent-to-user disk file compression software like RAM Doubler.

VM, vm
Voice { Messaging | Mail }.

VTC part number prefix.

Video Music Awards. Put on by MTV. I can't decide whether it's refreshingly honest or just arrogantly crass that they don't bother with the fiction or formality of an Academy of Video Music or some such.

Voice Message Bank.

Visual Meteorological Conditions. Which allow flight under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Contrast with IMC.

VESA Media Channel.

Virtual Machine Control Program.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Versa Module Eurocard, Versabus-Module-European. IEEE 1014.

Virtual Manufacturing Enterprise.

Virtual Memory Environment.

Virtual Machine/Enterprise Systems Architecture. (IBM trademark.)

VentroMedial Hypothalamus. Damage to the VMH can increase the desire to eat. Stimulation of a healthy VMH can reduce hunger. Cf. LH.

Physicians have developed drugs that stimulate the VMH and eliminate the need for agonizing diets and stomach staples. These drugs were suppressed when the doctors realized that this would reduce the sadistic joy they get from tyrannizing the increasing ranks of the obese (excuse the pun). As Shaw revealed before he died, all professions are conspiracies against the rest of us, so it was easy to suppress this knowledge.

Vendor-Managed Inventory. The ``vendor'' here is the supplier of a product to a distributor. In this arrangement, the supplier manages the inventory of its product in a distributor's warehouse and replenishes the inventory based on consumption.

There's a similar arrangement between suppliers and grocery stores, particularly supermarkets, where the supplier shelves the product in the market. This is particularly common with bread and soft drinks. I'm not sure if this is called VMI or something different.

Virginia Military Institute. In Lexington, Virginia.

Vertical MultiJunction (solar cell). A stack of PV cells of different materials, intended to maximize efficiency.

If you don't know about photons, start reading explanation here:

Although frequency is a wave concept, light also has a particulate character. A monochromatic beam of light with frequency f consists of particles called photons that each have energy hf, where h is Planck's constant. The light that PV cells convert to electricity is rarely monochromatic. Usually it is solar, or has a similarly broad spectrum of frequencies. White light, or any polychromatic light, is a mix of photons of of different energies.

If you know about photons, but don't understand the transparency of insulators, begin here:

Insulators and semiconductors are materials with a band gap energy Eg. Electrons in the material occupy states of fixed energy, one electron per state (Pauli Exclusion Principle). The standard situation, if there isn't an enormous amount of doping, is that there are just enough states below the band gap for all the electrons. Now imagine when a photon comes poking along at the local speed of light, and wants to be absorbed. It's carrying a load of energy, and if the photon is absorbed (vanishes into the solid), that energy has to go somewhere. Since the photon is an excitation of the electromagnetic field, it can interact with thing that have charge, or dipole moment, or some kind of current that reacts to electromagnetic field. Mostly, that means the electrons. (If you want a reason that doesn't require a calculation, it's because the electrons are lighter than the ions. In a collision, momentum is shared roughly evenly among participating species, but that means that the lightest particles carry off the most energy.)

If an electron is to absorb the energy of a photon, it must change its state (change to a state with a different energy). After absorbing the photon's energy, the electron leaves a hole (unfilled state) behind and occupies a new state of higher energy. Since two electrons can't occupy the same state, that final state of the excited electron must be initially empty. So what we need initially is an occupied state plus an unoccupied one that has an energy higher by the amount of the photon's energy. (Almost. A little energy does go into the phonon system -- into motion of the ions -- and allows momentum to be conserved.)

The occupied states are almost all below the gap (because that's where the electrons are in equilibrium; electrons find lowest-energy states about as balls roll down hills). The unoccupied states are above the gap. This implies that the energy separation between an occupied-unoccupied pair of states is greater than or equal to the band gap. Hence, if the photon has an energy that is less than the gap energy, then there's no way it can dump its energy into an electron. And hence transparency -- a quantum effect.


Virtual Machine Loosely Synchronous Communication System.

Virtual Machine Monitor.

Vertical MultiNational Enterprise.

V-groove MOS. Used for power applications.

Varnish Makers' and Painters'.

Vmp, VMP, Vmp
Voltage at Maximum Power. You know, electric power sources have I-V characteristics just as do power sinks. See MPP.

Virtual Machine Pass-Through.

Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

Vehicle Management System or Variable-Message Sign. You know: road-side, driver-level electronic marquee signs.

Vertical Motion Simulator.

That was fun! Let's go again!

Vertical Motion Simulator.

Virtual Memory (Operating) System. Standard user-slobbery-friendly operating system on ye olde Digital VAX. (Of course, that was the height of user-friendly before Microsoft. Today's MS Word is so user-friendly that you have to spend half an hour hunting down and turning off help features before you can get any practical work done.)

Voice Mail System.

Vehicle Miles Traveled.

Velocity Modulation Transistor. A device intended to exploit velocity modulation induced by wavefunction engineering. Basically, there are two parallel conduction channels connecting a common source and a common drain; one channel has much higher mobility, but as source-drain voltage increases the carriers in the high-mobility channel heat up and transfer (vide real-space transfer) to the low mobility channel. See H. Sakaki, JJAP 21, L381-3 (1982), and C. Hamaguchi, K. Miyatsuji, and H. Hihara, JJAP 23, L132 (1984).

Vertical MagnetoTransistor.

Virtual Machine/Extended Architecture. (IBM trademark.)

v. n., v.n.
Verb Neuter. One place where I've seen this usage is Coleridge 1863. In modern terminology: an intransitive verb (v.i.). Cf. v. a. (That entry has something like a terminus ante quem for common use of the terms abbreviated.)

Etymologically speaking, a ``verb neuter'' ought to be a verb that is neither. I suppose it might be neither active nor reflexive (v.r.).

Virtual Network. (Alternatively: ``VN.'')

Viet Nam.

(Domain name code for) Viet Nam.

There's a web page at http://www.vnn.vn/.

Inoffensive data on Vietnam is found in the factbook entry from the latest edition of the CIA Factbook

Their currency is called the Dong.

Virtual Network. (Alternatively: ``V-Net.'')

Vector Network Analyzer.

Virginia Nurses Association. Founded in 1900.

Virtual Network Architecture.

Virtual Network Computing. A desktop is saved for each machine you are working on, and you can bring up any of those desktops on any of the machines.

VietNamese Internet? I dunno. Software house that provides free downloadable fonts for Vietnamese and other software, oriented mostly to the PC and Mac communities. Cf. VISCII.

Visible and Near InfraRed.

Visible and Near InfraRed.

(Someone complained that he had trouble understanding this entry, so I repeated it. Now do you understand?)

Via Net Loss.

VomeroNasal Organ. The basic controversy about this is whether humans really have a functional one. (There are little pits on either side of the nasal septum, observable in most adult humans, and these are interpreted as ducts for the VNO, though they differ from other mammalian VNO's. For ethical reasons, it is more difficult to perform VNO research on humans than other animals. And lawyers are too expensive.)

In other mammals where it has been studied, the VNO apparently serves primarily to sense pheromones; it sends nerve signals to the amygdala. (In reptiles, the sensory feature identified as a VNO or Jacobson's Organ serves both for phermomone communication and hunting. Hmmm.) There is some limited evidence that steroid breakdown products found in the skin may serve as human pheromones and be detected (unconsciously sensed) by the VNO.

Here's a nice introductory page on the VNO (from Michael Meredith at FSU).

But here's something interesting to make you think again about the role of VNO. An article from 1997 entitled ``Sensitivity and behavioral responses to the pheromone androsterone are not mediated by the vomeronasal organ in domestic pigs.'' Published in Brain Behavior and Evolution, vol. 49 (#1), pp. 53-62, authors Kathlee N. (sic) Dorries, Elizabeth Adkins-Regan, and Bruce P. Halpern. The complete abstract:

Based largely on results of studies of laboratory rodents, the vomeronasal or accessory olfactory system is believed to function mainly in social communication, mediating the effects of stimuli such as urine or glandular secretions on the behavior or endocrine response of conspecifics. In the domestic pig (Sus scrofa), the steroid androstenone has been identified as a pheromone that facilitates expression of both attraction to the male and a receptive mating stance in estrous females. Though the domestic pig is one of the few vertebrate species in which the identity of a compound that functions as a pheromone is known, the role of the vomeronasal system in domestic pigs has never been investigated. We have examined the role of the vomeronasal organ in mediating the pheromonal effects of androstenone in pigs. In addition, we have examined the structure of the vomeronasal organ at the gross and light-microscopic levels. The vomeronasal organ appears functional, with sensory epithelium lining the medial wall, and has access to stimuli from both the oral and nasal cavities. To determine whether the vomeronasal organ is necessary for androstenone detection or attraction or receptive behavior in female pigs, access to the vomeronasal organ was blocked with surgical cement, and androstenone detection threshold and sexual behavior were measured. Experimental animals did not differ significantly in androstenone sensitivity, measured behaviorally, from untreated controls. Vomeronasal organ-blocked animals also did not differ from untreated controls in either androstenone-mediated receptive standing behavior or attraction to the odor of androstenone. We conclude that in the domestic pig, the vomeronasal organ is not necessary for androstenone detection or androstenone-mediated sexual behavior in estrous females.

Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. Van Nostrand was a good old publishing house that for many years used to publish a beloved one-volume encyclopedic dictionary of science and technology called ``Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia.'' It went to two volumes at some point. Van Nostrand later merged with Reinhold, and at some point before 1981 it was gobbled into the Hudson Group.

Video News Release. PR or advertising meant to be mistaken for a news report.

Virtual Network System.

Variable Number of Tandem Repeats.

Voluntary Organization. One sort of NGO.

Voice Of America.

Gertrude Stein spent WWII in a village in the Rhône valley (in Vichy France). In Wars I Have Seen (1945) she wrote (pp. 155-6)

The English always begin with here is London, or the B.B.C. home service, or the over seas service, always part of a pleasant home life, of supreme importance to any Englishman or any Englishwoman. The Americans say with poetry and fire, this is the Voice of America, and then with modesty and good neighborliness, one of the United Nations, it is the voice of America speaking to you across the Atlantic. Then the Frenchmen, say Frenchmen speaking to Frenchmen, they always begin like that, and the Belgians are simple and direct, they just announce radio Belge, and the national anthem, and the Frenchman also say, Honor and Country, and the Swiss so politely say, the studio of Geneva, at the instant of the broadcasting station of Berne will give you the latest news, and Italy says live Mussolini live Italy, and they make a bird noise and then they start, and Germany starts like this, Germany calling, Germany calling, in the last war, I said that camouflage was the distinctive characteristic of each country, each nation stamped itself upon its camouflage, but in this war it is the heading of the broadcast that makes national life so complete and determined. It is that a nation is even stronger than the personality of any one, it certainly is so nations must go on, they certainly must.

I have double-checked my transcription from a first printing, at least nominally a wartime book. ``It is manufactured under emergency conditions and complies with the government's request to conserve essential materials in every possible way'' for the duration and perhaps a little beyond.

Look, I'm not going to pepper the transcription with sics. Another approach is taken by editor Gilbert A. Harrison in his introduction to Gertrude Stein's America (a book of excerpts and reprints published in 1965). Harrison quotes most of the above passage and silently introduced a number of changes (mostly punctuation and capitalization, and ellision of one very sic-making bit). And who can blame him? E.E. Cummings has often been cited as a typesetter's nightmare, but Gert was no editor's dream. Yet here's something. Also in Wars, Stein mentions that towards the end of the war, as the Germans are staying out of sight, Alice Toklas is beginning to type up her manuscript. For security they had left it in ms. before, since her handwriting is virtually illegible. How often is what we regard as a singularity of Stein is really the solecism of Toklas? As to Harrison's version, we can say with Borges that the original is unfaithful to the reprint. (Sure, Borges said that ``el original no es fiel a la traducción,'' but by his own reasoning that simply distorts what I just wrote.)

VOlume Bragg LAser.

Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie. (Modern spelling: Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie.) The old Dutch East India Company, literally `United East-Indian Company.' (VOC was dissolved in 1800. Judging from fictional works, until 1800 the expressions ``East Indies'' and ``East India'' were equally common. However, the VOC was known systematically by an ``India'' expansion.) Cf. WIC. If this were an encyclopedic dictionary instead of an acronym glossary, I'd have to explain the fascinating history of this company, whose business model included limited colonial settlement and less limited administration, privateering, and war-making.

Voice Of the Customer.

Many years ago, there was a popular customer-service slogan that ``the customer is always right.'' In reality, of course, and depending on the product or market, the customer is sometimes pretty reliably wrong. I'm thinking of the help desk.

As a child in Breslau, my mother had a cat. On account of the Nuremberg laws, the family lost its business, and they gave away the cat. As her grandmother explained to her, they hardly had the money to feed themselves. Anyway, some time before that, they had washed the cat. It was extremely difficult, and required three people to hold the cat, because cats have a violent aversion to immersion or anything approximating it. I guess cats can never be Baptists. When my mom told me about this, I wondered whether it caused problems later. Was the cat traumatized? Distrustful? Unwilling to be petted? My mom explained: ``What are you talking about? It's a cat!''

Mary used to feed her cat with Iams, a premium pet food. Earlier this year, a day after littering (not Mary but the cat: six kittens), she stepped out of her basket, she wobbled, staggered, and fell on her side. Mary resumed indirect payments on the vet's yacht. Major kidney and liver trouble. The vet wondered if perhaps she had gotten into some cleaning fluid, or transmission fluid or something. Mary loves animals (the nonhuman kind), and over the years she's had many cats, dogs, birds, a few of the less common pets, and part-ownership of a horse. On many previous occasions, vets had suggested putting down one of her ailing dogs. This was the first time she had a vet suggest putting down her cat. For one night she used an eyedropper to feed the cat and keep her (the cat's) cracked lips moist. A couple of days later, the cat poked up her head and looked around, and was soon back to her energetic old self -- jumping at the bird cage and attacking the mail carrier and the dogs. [A couple of weeks later, the melanine-contaminated pet-food story of 2007 broke, and Mary and her cat were interviewed on the local TV news. The kittens, incidentally, were adopted by a veterinary assistant; most of them survived.]

The connecting thread here is that afterwards, the cats acted as if nothing had happened. Cats are not prone to complexes. (Except the cats of one of my grandmothers, but she was a psychiatrist, so what do you expect?)

One day my friend Peter fired Bob, a host in his restaurant. As he explained to me afterwards, when a customer complains about the service, you don't respond with ``we have good people here'' and a stiff denial. The restaurant business is not a debating society. The VOC should be allowed a respectful venting, in one ear and out the other if necessary. Some weeks later, Peter's quarrels with his partners culminated in his buying them out. He was suddenly shorthanded, and he rehired Bob. I asked, ``didn't you just fire him?'' Peter said ``well, I encouraged him to leave.'' [BTW, the names in this paragraph are invented, and the quotes are only as accurate as I can recall.] So Bob's back, as if nothing had happened.

Volatile Organic Compound. Term used primarily by the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) folks. Don't breathe the housepaint!

Volts, Open-Circuit as a label accompanying a number (of volts). Read ``Open-Circuit Voltage'' as a symbol for the quantity. The maximum voltage a power source can supply, achieved when there is no load (oh yeah, a lot of good that does). Cf. ISC; see FF or MPP for more complete discussion.

Vessel Operating Common Carrier.

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Content.

Veno-Occlusive Disease.

Video On Demand. I.e. online digital videos. Here's more in Japanese from NEC.

An alternative spelling of Völkerball, used when ö cannot be displayed.

Voice Over Frame Relay.

Valence-Orbital Ionization-Energy.

Voice-Over-Internet Protocol. Pronounced as a single syllable, like ``voyp.''

Volans. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

VOLunteer. Cf. voluntold.

VOLume. Of one sort or another.

A French adjective meaning `flying,' also used as a noun meaning `steering wheel' and `flywheel.' In Spanish, volante has the same meaning as an adjective and also means `steering wheel,' but a flywheel is a rueda volante (literally a `flying wheel'). It's probably worth noting that in vehicles without power steering, one can use ordinary mechanical advantage to reduce the force the driver must exert to steer: by gearing the steering linkage so that more turns of the steering wheel are needed for a given turn of the wheels on the road, one reduces the required force proportionately. With such gearing, the motion of a steering wheel resembles a little bit more closely that of a flywheel.

I'm away from my reference sources right now, but I suspect that these wheels are to be understood as ``flying'' in the sense of not being in contact with the ground, so the naming has more to do with elevation than angular momentum. Then again, in Italian the adjective is volante, but a flywheel or steering wheel is a volano, which means `they fly.' Having survived the streets and dangerously adjacent sidewalks of Rome, I think I might understand.

This is the name of a major bad guy in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. The name suggests some sort of `death wish' in various European languages (discussed below). Those who notice this meaning, and who notice the resemblance to Germanic forms of the name Vladimir (such as German and Swedish Waldemar, Spanish Baldemar, etc.) might think that a sufficient analysis of the name (at least until the revelation in The Chamber of Secrets). Here as elsewhere, however, Rowling appears to make a specific literary allusion, evidently to Edgar Allen Poe's story, ``The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,'' about one M. Ernest Valdemar mesmerized as he lies dying.



He dies but fails to decay, and remains conscious but lacking in will. This state of suspended demise ends (Dorian Grayishly, minus picture) when he is brought out of the mesmeric trance. The parallel with JKR's Voldemort is loose but obvious, I think.

In the short story, Poe plays with the identity of Valdemar in a not-very-enlightening way. It's a little reminiscent of Swift playing with the name of Laputa (see ATC), and I suppose both expected the reader to ``get it'' when forced to contemplate the name for the duration of a paragraph. Valdemar is more of a stretch, but Poe was apparently unwilling to create such a novel name as Voldemort. Perhaps he simply expected more of his readers. I can't believe he chose that name (much less ``Rue Morgue'') oblivious to its morbid resonance (ditto JRRT choosing ``Mordor'').

Because certain Proto-Indoeuropean roots survived in essentially the same form in Germanic languages and Latin, there are many roughly equivalent ways to parse Voldemort. In various forms of Latin, in many Romance languages derived from Latin, and in various Germanic languages, the root vol- means `wish, desire, will.' (Recall that in German, w has the sound usually represented by v in English. In the Germanic languages, because the vol- root verb is ``strong,'' it undergoes a change of stem vowel under conjugation. The German verb with infinitive form wollen, for example, has first-person singular form will. The latter is the form the word ended up with in Modern English, though now the verb mostly functions as part of a future construction.) More later, okay?

(Actually, it's been explained to me that Voldemort really means ``flying ferret of death,'' but I didn't want to erase all the BS I wrote before.)

German, literally meaning `people ball.' The name of the team sport called `war ball' in the US. You might argue that the German name emphasizes the community spirit of the game. When my mom was growing up in Breslau in the 1930's, this was played boys-against-the-girls in classes with children as old as 13.

German: `anthropology.'

German: `folklore.'

Alessandro Volta discovered the electrochemical cell and made the first batteries of them at the end of the eighteenth century. In 1801, Napoleon recognized his achievement by making him a Count.

The River Volta in West Africa was given this name by Portuguese traders who reached it in 1471. The word volta means `return' (like Spanish vuelta), or in this context `meander.' The mouth of the river is on the Ghanaian coast, and over 70% of Ghana is in the river's watershed. In north central Ghana, the White Volta flows into the Volta. Upstream of this, the Volta is called the Black Volta. The Black Volta rises in Burkina Faso, forms the northern third of Ghana's western border, then flows east to join the White Volta. The river originally extended 1600 km from its source in Burkina Faso. Since completion of the Akosombo Dam, at least 400 km of the lower part of the river has been submerged in Lake Volta, the world's largest artificial lake (about 9000 sq. km).
    Haute Volta, `Upper Volta' in English, was a French colony, part of French West Africa, which became independent on August 5, 1960. It changed its name to Burkina Faso on August 5, 1984. Three rivers -- Black Volta, White Volta, and Red Volta -- are poor, landlocked Burkina Faso's main resources (by some sloppy measure). The country's flag is a stack of three horizontal bars, black, white, and red from top down. Use of Volta waters is a major bone of contention between Ghana and Burkina Faso.

Interestingly, the most common adjectival form of Volta used in Burkina Faso appears to be Voltaique. Likewise in English Voltaic is apparently the most common, with Voltan (perhaps especially as a gentilicial) apparently less common.

Radio Volta is a leftist radio station in Philadephia, named after the Philadelphia anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre. Why couldn't they have called it ``Voltairinairian Radio'' or ``Radio Cleyre'' or ``Volt Air'' or something?

The Mars Volta is a progressive rock band that has toured with or opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, so they can be said to have broken through to mainstream. I suppose their name refers to the river, if anything. If you happen to know, tell me. Here's a link to their website.

The phrase
``I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it''
is widely attributed to Voltaire, but cannot be found in his writings. With good reason. The phrase was invented by a later author as an epitome of his attitude.

It appeared in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the pseudonym S[tephen] G. Tallentyre. Chapter VII is devoted to Helvétius (1715-1771), whom she depicts as a kindly, generous person, with a hint of more talent to raise him above mediocrity. He married and settled in the sticks, with a new wife who was unfashionably old (32), and they were happy. This was ended by his tragic aspiration, to earn some small glory for himself as a philosopher.

In 1758, he published ``De l'Esprit,'' which Hall renders ``On the Mind.'' From the little Hall says of it directly, I take it that this was a moral-relativist tract, adducing bad social conditions as the cause of immoral behavior, regarding humans essentially as animals, and skeptical of the validity of moral claims generally.

This was unpopular with everyone - secular philosophers, all of the church, the government. It certainly got him noticed, but not by all at once. Voltaire immediately regarded the work as a serious disappointment from one who had been a somewhat promising protege. He was most insulted to have been compared in it with lesser intellectual lights (Crébillon and Fontenelle). It was widely criticized by other wits of their enlightened social circle. For a few months, however, it escaped the notice of the government.

Then the Dauphin read it.

The privilege to publish was revoked; the censor who approved its publication was sacked. A rolling wave of official condemnation began, culminating with the Pope (Jan. 31, 1759) and the Parliament of Paris (Feb. 6) and public book-burning by the hangman (Feb. 10), an honor shared with Voltaire's ``Natural Law.''

On the principle that anything so unpopular with the government must ipso facto be pretty good, the official condemnation permanently established Helvétius's philosophical repute among the fashionable salon crowd, and rehabilitated him among the intellectual elite as well, to a great extent. He became popular in Protestant Germany and England.

Hall wrote:

...The men who had hated [the book], and had not particularly loved Helvétius, flocked round him now. Voltaire forgave him all injuries, intentional or unintentional. `What a fuss about an omelette!' he had exclaimed when he heard of the burning. How abominably unjust to persecute a man for such an airy trifle as that! `I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,' was his attitude now. But he soon came, as a Voltaire would come, to swearing that there was no more materialism in `On the Mind' than in Locke, and a thousand more daring things in `The Spirit of Laws.'
(Boldface added here for emphasis.) Friends is not a scholarly work, but Hall is fairly scrupulous throughout the book to state within the text whether she is quoting speech or text, and whether various reports are first-person or likely hearsay. I believe it was reasonable of her to expect that `I disapprove ... say it' would be recognized as her own characterization of Voltaire's attitude. I think some readers were confused because of the way she follows this with paraphrases of his spoken criticisms.

In any case, the phrase was too eloquent, so it became quoted, and famous names attach themselves to quotes, to the detriment of the less well-known originators.

Hall herself claimed later that she had been paraphrasing Voltaire's words in his Essay on Tolerance:

``Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.''
Hall died in 1919. In his A Book of French Quotations (1963), Norbert Guterman suggested that the probable source for the quotation was a line in a 6 February 1770 letter to M. le Riche:
``Monsieur l'abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.''

volume number
An arbitrary symbol that the publisher prints on the bindings of multivolume works like encyclopedias, so that library cataloguing departments will know where to place the sticker with the call number. The sticker should be placed just above or below the volume number, in such a way as to obscure any unsightly text that mars the homogeneity of the work. So, for example, if the following markings appear on a volume --

then the call-number sticker should be placed just below the volume number, to obscure "Rubens" and "Somalia".

volumetric efficiency
The volumetric efficiency of a piston engine cylinder is typically defined not as a volume ratio but as a mass ratio:
                mass of air inhaled per cycle
ηv = --------------------------------------------------------- .
     mass of air that would occupy the cylinder's swept volume
(If you can read this text clearly, then your browser probably doesn't correctly display the symbol at left; it's eta-sub-vee.)
The swept volume is the product of the stroke length and the area of the cylinder bore. (For the typical two-stroke engine, the swept volume is a bit of an idealization, since openings in the side of the cylinder are always open at bottom dead center.) The denominator in the definition is computed using the density of air at ambient temperature and pressure. Therefore, one can express the volumetric efficiency as a volume ratio in the following way:
     volume of ambient air inhaled per cycle per cylinder
ηv = ---------------------------------------------------- .
                   swept volume of cylinder

(I'm making the assumption here that the air is ambient in origin, and not from some self-contained automobile breathing apparatus. If you're interested in diesel-powered submarines, tough.)

To force someone (TELL them with authority) to perform a service normally supposed to be performed by a VOLUNteer. Traditionally, particularly in connection with the military, this idea was conveyed by a phrase like ``the officer volunteered me,'' using transitive volunteer with a personal direct object that might be called the reluctant agentive. It seems the condition is more frequently spoken of than the action; at least, the form voluntold is much more common than the present-tense form. The word that's really needed is voluntee.

TOLD (i.e., required) to VOLUNteer. Made a mandatory volunteer. The past participle of voluntell.

A report available on line from the US Department of Education includes this finding:

No difference in the likelihood of volunteering 8 years after graduation was detected between young adults who performed only mandatory volunteer service in high school and students who performed no high school volunteering (28 vs. 26 percent, respectively) (table 2). Both of these groups - mandatory and nonvolunteers - were less likely to volunteer 8 years after high school than persons who were strongly encouraged to volunteer or did it for strictly voluntary reasons (43 percent).

One category of the informally voluntold is pre-med undergraduates, who need to demonstrate the personal moral characteristics that score a point or two in the medical-school admissions lottery.


Swedish car company whose name was specifically selected as the Latin word meaning ``I roll.''

It is to be understood here that it is the wheels that are supposed to roll. In airplane terminology, the motion of rolling over sideways (rotating about an axis oriented along the direction of motion) would technically be described as ``roll'' also, but it's Saab that makes planes. And of course, rolling about a vertical axis would be called ``turning'' (``yaw'' in planes). Those Scandinavians have a thing about vertiginous motion. See yrast.

Volt-Ohm-Milliammeter. Why not ``Volt-Ohm-Ammeter''? Because most ordinary devices have resistances with numerical values in ohms that are much greater than the numerical values of the voltages in volts.

VOM is susceptible to a variety of different expansions. In particular, volt-ohmmeter (the em in the acronym being assumed to be from meter) is a correct expansion in the sense that many people think that's what it stands for. It's worth noting how this renaming (which is what it is) came about. Back in the day, the elementary analog meter was a current meter -- a milliameter in the first instance (see EMF). By using a current divider (i.e., by putting the milliameter in parallel with a precisely calibrated small resistance), this could be made into an ammeter. By putting the milliammeter in series with a very large resistance, it could be used as a voltmeter, and by putting the milliammeter in series with a voltage source, it could be used as an ohmmeter. (See the zero-adjust for some explanation of how.) The old Simpsons and other analog multimeters were basically switchboxes that put different passive elements in series and parallel with a milliammeter. One function unlikely to be excluded from the multi-function meter was that of DC milliammeter, because that function was easiest to implement. The manufacturers described these meters in a way that emphasized their versatility. That's why the em in VOM refers to milliammeter. (Modern multimeters use op-amps, and so fundamentally they are voltmeters constructed from current amplifiers.)

On the other hand, it is understandable that milliammetry is the one function users would most likely forget. There are two common ways to use a VOM. The most obvious way is to measure an isolated element before it becomes part of a circuit, or after it is removed. That entails measuring the resistance of a resistor or the voltage of a battery. It's not very varied, but it can be very handy. (It would be nice to measure the impedance -- the complex-valued, frequency-dependent generalization of the real, DC resistance. Meters that do that are rarer than oscilloscopes on the home hobbyist's workbench.)

The second way to use the VOM is by probing a connected-up, functioning circuit. This is typically done by inserting probes at two nodes and measuring the voltage difference. That's a crude static version of what one does with an oscilloscope. It is also possible to use the milliammeter (or ammeter, passim) in a functioning circuit, but it requires opening one of the connections and closing it through the milliammeter. This is usually inconvenient, and doesn't often yield any more useful information than voltage measurements. For that reason, the milliammeter function is much less used and is likely to be left out of a recollected expansion of VOM. (AC ammeters can rely on mutual inductance to measure net AC current in a cable without breaking a circuit. Such meters are a common specialized tool for electronic technicians.)

von Neumann architecture
Architecture for a general computing machine (computer), in which instructions and data are treated equivalently -- data and instructions are stored in the same memory regions, and that a single bus is used to fetch instructions and data. Harvard architecture is more popular.

Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex.

VHF Omnidirectional Range. Aviation acronym.

Voice-Operated Recording. Fails to record silence, even though silence is golden.

Vehicle On-board RADar. Like flying in fog, but on the ground. It's intended to alert drivers, of commercial vehicles in the initial implementations, of targets beyond visual range ahead, so they can speed up and scare them off the road, decreasing traffic in foggy weather and thus improving safety. I think that's how it goes. Initial large test: 2400 Greyhound buses.

German: `first name.' D.h., `given name.' Vgl. Nachname.

Vorsitzende[r]. German: `chairperson.' If the `chair'-related words did not exist, an adjective vorsitzende might be translated literally by `that sits at the front.'

Vorsitzender is one of those words that functions as (and is capitalized like) a noun or a title, but is declined as an adjective. (Titles preceding names are normally declined as nouns, as if the proper noun following were a postpositive attributive noun.) Hence, in the nominative, Vorsitzender is `chairman' and Vorsitzende is `chairwoman.' Other examples of nouns declined as adjectives are Reisende[r] and Abgeordnete[r] (for the latter, see the Abg. entry).

There is something very slightly jarring in this, about on the same low level of noteworthiness as Spanish ending in a and having male grammatical and natural gender. In German, the -er is such a common male agentive ending that one expects the corresponding female form (* Vorsitzenderin). Of course, in Spanish a large fraction of male nouns ending in -a are simply Greek (or Greekish New Latin) loans (e.g. lema, programa, tema) or with Greek endings (periodista).

Similarly, there is a good reason for the class of nouns following the Vorsitzender pattern. Since vorsitzen must mean `to sit in front,' the straightforward personal noun Vorsitzer would mean `he who sits in front.' This use of the -er suffix is still productive in German, as it is in English, and if there were not already another term for chairman, this one would be acceptable. However, the verb also has a present participle vorsitzend, `sitting.' In English the present participle can be used as a noun (see this paragraph under A.M.), but in German it is available for use only as an adverb or (appropriately declined) as an adjective. The practice evidently arose of describing the chair as ``sitting at the front.'' (That a German adjective is expressed by an English adjectival phrase corresponds straightforwardly here to the fact that a prefixed verb in German is expressed by a phrasal verb in English.)

Vhf Omni-directional Radio range with Tactical Air Navigation.

Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment.

Spanish, word meaning `you.' It's an archaic usage in Spain and most of Latin America, but the standard familiar form in Argentina and Central America. The vos Sprachraum extends east from Central America as far as Medellín and Cali in Colombia, but not as far as Bogotá.

Until this entry grows up, you can get a bit more information on vos conjugation from the pasa entry. The Usted has a bit more on second-person pronouns in Spanish.

Voice of the Shuttle. ``Web Page for Humanities Research.''

Vulcan Operating System. (For a Harris machine.) This is on the level. I swear this is not a Star Trek (ST) joke. At least, not on my part; that is what Harris called the OS.

VESA Open Set Top.

Russian word for `east.'

Vote here if you're a UB student.

Vocational-Technical. Typically labels technical vocation training.

One of the stones that form part of an arch or vault. In a cross section in the plane of the arch, the stones are approximately trapezoidal.

Another use of the term is to indicate number of arches. If an arch is said to have two or three voussoirs, what is obviously meant is that the arch is two or three voussoirs thick.


vox clamantis in deserto
Clamoring for [obsolete brand] dessert. Since the dessert brand went out of business after one of the sackings of Rome, and the trademark lapsed in a dark age, the phrase is now used to mean `voice crying out in the desert.'

vox populi, vox dei
Standard Latin expression: `the voice of the people [is] the voice of god.'

VOYager. The fourth Star Trek television series. More at the alternate abbreviation ST:VOY.

Spanish, `I go, I am going.' Also used as a modal to construct a periphrastic future: voy a mover means `I will move.'

Spanish, `voice.' Also used in the sense of `word' as distinguished from a `word meaning' (acepción). It is natural in a phonetically spelled language like Spanish, that a word (as distinguished from its meanings) should be thought of as a sound. A different sound (in a given dialect) would have a different spelling. But a different spelling might have the same sound. Latin America is a region of seseo, where the letter z and the consonant sound in ce and ci are all pronounced ess, so voz is a homophone of vos.

Vector Processor.

Verb Phrase.

Vice President.

Victory in the Pacific (theater of WWII). See VJ.

Virtual Path.

Virtual Path Connection.

Virtual Path Connection Identifier. (Same as VCI.)

Vapor-Phase Decomposition. As in ``automated VPD sample collection,'' a tool for surface contamination analysis of semiconductor wafers. (It strikes me as almost amazing -- I've never seen ``VPD'' used for ``vapor-phase deposition.'' There's VPE infra, but too fast, and it ain't epitaxy no more.)

Vapor-Phase Epitaxy. CVD performed under conditions that allow epitaxial (i.e., perfect-crystal) growth. This requires a crystalline substrate to begin. In addition, the vapor pressure must be ``low.'' That is to say: at high pressures the growth rate is so high that added layers do not have time to align with the (putatively) uniform crystal layers below. Diluting the reactants in a nondepositing phase can allow for growth at higher pressures, possibly producing better film. It's pretty much black magic. See also MOVPE.

Virginia Power Electronics Center. At the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Officially ``Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.'' Informally ``Virginia Tech'' or just ``Tech.'' More on the name at the VT entry.

I attended a small workshop on (mostly theoretical approaches to) amorphous materials there in the summer of 1983 or so. The campus was hosting a training camp for high school cheerleaders. Perhaps I was more amazed than I should have been.

Virginia Tech is at Blacksburg, in the forested mountains of western Virginia, which makes it relatively comfortable in Summer. It's a bit isolated. With nothing much on offer, Vlad and I drove to a few miles to dusty Princeton, West Virginia, capital of Mercer County. I bought a Princeton Tigers (high school) tee shirt. I've also bought a couple of Princeton Tigers (high school) tee shirts in Princeton, Illinois. The story of how the town of Princeton, Illinois, got its name is very interesting, and you can easily learn all about it in documentation at the town library.

[Oh, alright, you've twisted my arm long enough! The leading men of the new Illinois town all wanted to name it after the towns back east where they were from, or where they went to college. When they couldn't come to an agreement, they wrote the competing names on pieces of paper and put them in a hat, and they had a stranger pick the winning name out of that hat. It seems to me that if the pieces of paper were in proportion to the lengths of the names (I don't know that they were), then Princeton had a natural orthographic advantage. The Princeton in West Virginia, of course, is named after the General Hugh Mercer of the Continental army, a Virginian who fell at the Battle of Princeton. New Jersey created a Mercer County in 1838, and since then the New Jersey Princeton (Princetons, actually) has (have) also been in Mercer County.]

Virtual Path Identifier. Part of the ATM cell header. Eight bits that identify the virtual path (and therefore the virtual channel) to which a cell belongs.

Virtual Photonics Incorporated.

Victorian Premier League. A soccer league in the state of Victoria, Australia. If you're a Victorian (I mean, that way), you will not be amused to learn more about a once and would-be future VPL team.

Visible Panty Line. On the authority of Woody Allen movie dialogue. Oh wait, it's used here too.

Vice Prime Minister. An unusual portfolio, but in 2005, Shimon Peres was VPM in the Israeli cabinet under PM Ariel Sharon. Oh, alright, it's just the standard translation. In Hebrew a prime minister is rosh memshala, literally `government head,' or a little more fluently `head of government' (incidentally, rosh mimshala would be `head of fable') and there are a couple of words (mishne, s'gan) which are used to construct subordinate titles in the same as words like assistant, second, deputy, and vice in English. (I don't know which is used here.) A few other countries seem to have had VPM's from time to time, but apparently also only in translation. DPM is much more common.

Virtual Private Network. Software that creates LAN functionality -- an intranet -- over the internet. This can be a cheap alternative to an extranet, or it can simply enable customers or off-site employees to access the office net. More at PPTP, the Microsoft VPN software.

Vice President of the United States. The president of American vice, in other words?

Variable Parts Per Million.

Vice President for Research.

Vulval Pain Society. They're not promoting it.

Varaible Pressure Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). There's one from LEO.

Virtual Path Cross-connect.

Vector supercomputer introduced by Fujitsu in 1985.

Vocational Qualification.

{ Vector | Voice } Quantizing Code.

Very fine pitch Quad Flat Pack[age] (QFP).

{ Vector | Variable } Quantizing Level.

Virginia Quarterly Review.

Viewers for Quality Television. A group of 1,000 discerning TV viewers headquartered in Fairfax Station, Virginia. They publish a list of endorsed shows. They've been called a television watch-dog group. Truer words were never spoken.

Dorothy Swanson is president.

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