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Tungsten Carbide. When exposed to carbon-containing gases, tungsten heating filaments absorb a lot of C. This is outgassed slowly as CO. But see the next entry.

Water Closet. A room with a flush toilet. Outgassing from this is less noxious but more noticeable than from the previous WC.

For the sake of a small joke, I made that entry slightly confusing, so let me try to make amends: tungsten carbide is a heterogeneous catalyst.

Waveguide, Circular. Cf. less unfortunately named WR.

WelCome. Chatese. I tried to be different and wrote ``veal comin','' and all I got for my trouble was a bunch of comments about vegetarianism.

w.c., wc, W.C.
Westminster College. ``Leading liberal arts college, New Wilmington, PA.''

W/C, w/c

Wilkinson-Cohn. Typical design of a broadband two-way power divider is based on S. B. Cohn: ``A Class of Broadband Three-Port Hybrids,'' IEEE Transactions in Microwave Theory and Techniques, 16, pp. 110-116 (February 1968). This is a multisection generalization of the design in E. J. Wilkinson: ``An N-way Hybrid Power Divider,'' IRE Transactions in Microwave Theory and Techniques, 18, pp. 116-118 (January 1960).

Wiring Concentrator (for FDDI).

Word Count. A Unix utility.

Workers' Compensation. Originally, at least conventionally, called Workmen's Compensation.

World Championships.

World Chiropractic Alliance. ``Protecting and Promoting The Principles of Chiropractic.''

As of January 2005, the homepage has a photograph of two WCA apparatchiks with President George W. Bush. They're all wearing very similar light-blue ties. I know there are people who will look askance at this, but please -- don't dismiss the WCA until you have the complete story!

Worst-Case Analysis. Remember, you can't take it with you. Shrouds have no pockets.

Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners.

World Climate Applications and Services Program. One of the four major components of WCP.

World Chess Boxing Organisation. The sanctioning authority for the first European Heavyweight Chessboxing Championship, a match held in Berlin on October 1, 2005. That was apparently also the last.

The match consisted of alternating rounds of chess (4 minutes) and boxing (2 minutes). According to the rules, a KO or checkmate could end the match; otherwise, it ended after eleven rounds. I have no details on how the judges were supposed to score it, but in the event, Tihomir 'Tiger' Titschko scored a check-mate over Andreas 'Doomsday' Schneider in the ninth round. (TTT used a dragon variation of the Sicilian opening, but further details were scarce.)

Waukegan Community Church. In Waukegan, Ill. ``Welcome To Our WEB PAGE !!!!''

Westchester Community College.

Westminster Choir College. My pal Mark, a professional tenor, attended Westminster long before July 1, 1992, when it became ``Westminster Choir College of Rider College'' (``of Rider University'' after April 13, 1994).

Whatcom Community College. Serving Whatcom County, Washington, and the world (International Student Services offers ``Free Airport pickup at the Bellingham International Airport'').

Apparently the name is old, of Native American origin, but Whatcom looks like the question that some dotcom would be the answer to. Bellingham looks to be closer to Vancouver than Seattle. Everyone has heard of Bellingham because SPIE is based there, right?

White (blood) Cell Count.


Women's Classical Caucus. ``We were founded in 1972 to foster feminist and gender-informed perspectives in the study and teaching of all aspects of ancient Mediterranean cultures and classical antiquity. We -- women and men scholars, together -- also strive to advance the goals of equality and diversity within the profession of Classics.''

Women's College Coalition. According to WCC, there are about 60 WC's, erm, women's colleges, in the US in 2006, down from almost 300 in the 1960's.

World Council of Churches.

Wearable Cardiac Defibrillator.

Wideband CDMA. That ought too be the same as WB-CDMA. The coding used for communications over G3 networks.

World Data and Monitoring Program.

World Commission on Environment and Development. Of the UN.

Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications.

``The Cooperative advancing the effective use of technology in higher education.''

``The''? Interesting capitalization, too.

World Climate Impact assessment and Response strategies Program. One of the four major components of WCP.

World Confederation of Labor.

World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

(IEEE) Wireless Communications and Networking Conference.

World Climate Program.

Wisconsin College Personnel Association.

``World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion.''

There are three major world conferences on photovoltaics (PV's) for solar energy conversion, one each in the US (PVSC), Europe (EU-PSEC) and Asia (PVSEC). Each of these meets once every year-and-a-half. Starting in 1994, the three conferences have been held jointly once every four years or thereabouts. The second one, in 1998, was hosted by the Europeans. Evidently because their big conference includes ``and Exhibition'' in the official title, their WCPEC was called the ``Second World Conference and Exhibition on Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conversion.''

  1. WCPEC-1: 1994 December 5-9 (Hilton Waikoloa Village Waikoloa, Hawaii)
  2. WCPEC-2: 1998 July 6-10 (Vienna, Austria)
  3. WCPEC-3: 2003 May 11-15 (Osaka, Japan)

Waterloo Co-operative Residence Incorporated. ``WCRI aims to provide quality, affordable student housing, emphasizing member participation and superior service in the spirit of Co-operation, while promoting pride, education, and diversity in a dynamic cooperative community.''

World Climate Research Program.

This has nothing to do with WKRP, but I put in a link anyway. You're welcome. Actually, there isn't any WKRP entry right now, so I sent you to the next-best thing -- QRP. Yes, I'm very thoughtful aren't I.


Washington Classical Society.

Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.

Western Connecticut State University. Part of the CSU System.

Women's Christian Temperance Union. This organization still exists! Carrie the nation into the age of sober information?

Still under construction, but already provocative: ``Alcohol is a gateway drug which may lead the user to experiment with illegal drugs.''

I think the WCTU should stop playing softball. The plain fact is, virtually everyone who smokes marijuana (``pot'') has tried chocolate first. Obviously, we must illegalize it. In fact, criminalization is clearly not enough. Experience shows that chocolate users will lie to hide their consumption. The testimony presented before sessions of OA, exceedingly reliable because it was obtained with the promise only of anonymity, without compromising the possibility of eventual prosecution, shows that chocolate is a `hard' addiction, leading sooner or later to obesity, heart disease, and death.

No, mere criminalization will not win this holy war; we must make chocolate unconstitutional, and we should enforce a policy of less than zero tolerance. That's right: anyone found with any nonnegative quantity of the substance, down to and including zero, will be deemed suspect and therefore guilty. In keeping with established practice in the hugely successful, or at least lucrative, drug war, anyone suspected of chocolate use will be liable to have their property confiscated. Of course, Constitutional due process protections apply: Property can be confiscated only if the suspect might have been in or near said property at or about the time that he or she may or may not have thought about illegal possession of chocolate.

Of course, the problem of jail space must be faced squarely. In the drug war to date, jail space has not been a problem, because mandatory sentencing laws that put the morally decrepit weekend toker away for life do not prevent the state from making space by giving early release to one-time murderers and child molesters. However, because of the widespread social acceptance of chocolate abuse, incarceration rates will skyrocket. Part of this problem will be solved by conversion of currently unused and underused space. Specifically, all states with fewer than seven electoral college votes will be converted to jails. Any unconvicted residents of Texas will be drafted for guard duty.

That will do for the users. For pushers -- dime store clerks (the CSP gang), vending-machine attendants, girl scouts and similar incorrigibles -- the electric chair. That'll teach'em.

Learn these warning signs:

  1. Hairless brown mustache.
  2. Plastic and foil wrappers.
  3. Sticky fingers.
  4. Unexplained weight gain.
  5. Diet soda consumption.
  6. Watery mouth.
  7. Possession of furniture that can be used to hide chocolate.

BTW, if you came here from the B-2 entry, hoping for enlightenment on the French word gauche, then you sure have had quite a long detour, haven't you? Oh, alright, I relent: it means `lacking in social polish or tact.' You know -- savoir-faireless.

Tungsten (chemical symbol W) Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). Deposition of tungsten and tungsten-based conductive alloys.

World Championship Wrestling. Ted Turner's attempt to muscle in on WWF turf. In 2000, WCW lost an estimated 80 million dollars, which is a lot of money if you don't have it. On March 22, 2001, Stamford-Connecticut-based WWF bought it from AOL Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Broadcasting Systems. Ha-ha! The joke's on them. Since the entire entertainment-information-communication-data system belongs to AOL Etc., they probably really only bought it from themselves.

Walt Disney.

Western Digital.

Wood Deck. See this NC entry regarding the possible prevalence of this real estate abbreviation.

Women's Division. Well, I'd heard of ethnomathematics, but this is ridiculous.

Working Draft. A particularly bad first effort might be a working daft.

Waste Disposal Authority.

Wisconsin Dental Association. For other Dental organizations, see the list maintained by Sue Hutchinson.

Everyone agrees that http://www.wisconsindental.com/ is the new site, but as of January 2000 there's some problem. If this is a really big disappointment to you, follow this link to the Washington Ozaukee County Dental Society. ``It promotes dental health and education in Washington and Ozaukee Counties [of southeastern Wisconsin]. WOzCDS is a nonprofit component society of the Wisconsin and American Dental Associations.''

Wisconsin (WI), of course, is known for cheese. A major cause of tooth decay is acidity in the mouth, from whatever cause (acid reflux, acidic foods, decreased salivation). Cheese is one of the foods that quickly reduces acidity in the mouth, and so prevents tooth decay. Kobe sells beef that's been bathed in beer, Wisconsin ought to try marketing cheese from cows raised on (and bathed in?) highly fluoridated water.

Western Digital Corporation.

The Wisconsin Debate Coaches Association. I guess they have to keep their rhetorical defensive weapons sharp up there, on the thinly defended lake border with our cussed neighbors to the North. Oh wait, that's CUSID neighbours (spelling conventions, you know). Not to mention menacing Minnesota (MN), which chose a former entertainment wrestler as governor [Jesse ("`The Body,' no, `The Mind'") Ventura].

Wavelength-Division DeMultiplexer.

Wood-Destroying Insect. Like termites.

Windows Driver Logic.

Wavelength-Division Multiplex{ing|er}.

Wood-Destroying Organism. I've often asked how it is that wooden temples have lasted so many centuries in Japan. The answers I get are usually that
  1. They don't; the wood is frequently replaced.
  2. Cedar wood is very resistant to rot and insects.
  3. Buildings are designed and placed for proper ventilation, so they dry properly to avoid rot.
What do I know?

Back in 1995 or so, a study of carving boards found that wood was more antiseptic than plastic. This was a surprise, because it had been thought that (a) wood is a more tempting growth medium for microbes than plastic and (b) a plastic surface can be washed more completely. Maybe there is a persistent antibacterial agent in wood.

Wavelength-Dispersive Spectroscopy.

WatchDog Timer.

Walt Disney World. This is the theme park in Orlando, Florida. Cf. Disneyland.

Well Developed, Well Nourished. Ready for WDW!

What Do You Mean By That?

What exactly is in there?

A personal pronoun, specifically the first-person plural pronoun in English. We, us, our, and ours, the forms of we in various cases, are also used in ways not entirely sanctioned by grammatical logic. These are described at medical we and pregnant we. (Instructional we is coming, if I can think of something interesting to say about it.)

W(e), We
Watts of Electric power. One situation in which it is useful to distinguish these is with heat engines, such as steam engines or nuclear power sources like RTG's and fission reactors. Heat engines generate heat [at rates that may be quantified in watts and labeled by W(h) or W(q)], and some of this heat may be converted to electric power, which is a kind of work. The efficiency of this conversion process has a theoretical upper bound known as the Carnot efficiency.

(Internal combustion engines are also heat engines, but the working fluid is exhausted rather than being returned to its initial condition, so the maximum theoretical efficiency, will still bounded strictly away from unity, is not such an easy question to answer.)


Washburn Endowment Association. ``[A]n independent organization that exists to support Washburn University through fundraising, fund investment, and alumni records management.'' (Alternate URL.

Washington Education Association. Affiliated with the NEA.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.
Count your blessings -- we could have pretended that it was a feature. Be respectful and diffident or we'll go vipw and munge you.

We are overbooked and need volunteers to take a later flight in return for vouchers
Many are called; few are chosen.

Wear your learning lightly.
But don't let it slip off.

South Bend, April 17, my moral outrage soared as I trudged to my car, I was in the oxygen-mask-required heights of dudgeon. Snow, white plague. I asked the cop moonlighting at Osco Drug if there wasn't a law against this sort of thing. Not his jurisdiction, he claims. Hell, it's snowing in Mishawaka too. I know a shirker. ``Arrest Mother Nature!'' I demand. ``We don't mess with Mother Nature.'' What, does she have diplomatic immunity?

The ECMWF maintains a page of meteorology links.

[The term white plague typically refers, meteorologically speaking, to hail and not snow. But I have a poetic license.]

The Weather Channel. (TWC) has forecasts.

A quick place to get the current weather and related astronomical information is the Weather Underground. A good resource, but not a very good name. There was a US terrorist group in the sixties that called itself ``The Weathermen'' (their name was inspired by a Bob Dylan lyric -- you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows). Later, they changed the name to ``the Weather Underground'' because, hey, terrorists have to be politically correct -- isn't that the whole point? This Weather Underground and that are completely unrelated, but I wish they'd chosen another name. I'm more interested in the weather aboveground, outdoors. They also chose the domain name <wunderground.com>, which suggests the German word Wunder (BTW, the cognate of English `ground' in German is Grund).

weather report
Hot, Cold, Ha Ha Ha.

Sun, Clouds, Ha Ha Ha.

Rain, Snow, Wind, Hail, Ha Ha Ha, Ha Ha Ha.

Cold front, Low pressure system. Ha Ha.

Tomorrow's weather when we return after this word from our sponsor.

Ha Ha Ha.

WEB-based semINAR. Some contractions that we expand here we really would prefer to explode.

Originally a LOG of the WEB. Now more like a personal log on the web. More at blog.

Old word meaning `weaver.' It ought to be a new word having something to do with the web.

WEB toilet
Waterless Electric Biological Toilet. Just add coconut shells.

Original name of a system that makes it possible to browse the web using an ordinary TV and a set-top box. Purchased by Microsoft in 1997 and renamed MSN TV in 2001.

Wafer Environment Control. Silicon wafers. They have to be kept squeaky clean, people who get close to them have to wear bunny suits, salt is bad. Reminds me of nursery school. (I attended Geraldine, on North Avenue.) Less silly information at the sodium entry.

World Environment Center. Hey, why stop at wafers?

Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance.

We can and should
I can feel the political wind at my back to

A kaiser roll with caraway seed (German Kümel). Hence [roast] ``Beef on Weck,'' a traditional specialty of the Buffalo, NY area. Great with curly fries garnished with vinegar.

Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange. ``The future of electronic connectivity in the healthcare industry.''

We don't know the risks!
I don't know the risks. So don't do it. NIMBY. (The world, and your property in particular, is my back yard.)

Whatever it is, it's bad for you.

Western Equine Encephalomyelitis.

A town in California. Home of College of the Siskiyous. I have no idea if that's a plural.

In Kehlog Albran's The Profit there is the following enlightening passage:

A woman stepped forward and asked,
What is the strangest day?
Tuesday, the Master explained.

On the other hand, in one of Douglas Adams's HHGttG, Ford Prefect says: ``This must be a Thursday. I could never get the hang of Thursdays.''

Back in the days before quantum mechanics, there was a ``Quantum Theory'' that married ad hoc discreteness hypotheses to a fundamentally incompatible classical theory based on continuum models. To use this jury-rigged theory required a certain agile willingness to ignore discrete aspects during essentially classical measurement, and the inconsistent continuum aspects during quantum modeling. After 1925, most of classical mechanics was subsumed under quantum mechanics as an approximation thereof, but the measurement process has continued to contain some mystery. The apposite comment of Sir William Henry Bragg (1862-1942) has been much cited:

We use the classical theory on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and the quantum theory on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Observe the consistency.

I understand that this alludes to an earlier famous comment that I don't know, possibly of John Calvin.

Workplace Environmental Exposure Level.

Water Environment Federation.

With Effect From.

World Economic Forum.

Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates.

This puzzling message appears on a sign visible as one leaves the CVS drug store at the UB Commons.

WEHO, WeHo, Weho, weho
WEst HOllywood. A rather shady part of LA. No wait -- I only meant -- oh, never mind.

Weight proportionate to height.
Personal-ad jargon: `not too wide to get through doorways.''

weight room
An area for sitting on resistance machines and ``resting between sets.''

weird alchemical glassware

I always forget the name. In principle, the term applies to any heatable receptacle that is sealed at the top with a long neck that extends sideways or down. Various shapes have been used for distillation. However, the classic alembic looks like a glass gourd with a tapering neck bent over so it points downward (toward the plane of the base of the gourd shape).

The initial al- in the name and the history of alchemy both suggest that the word is from Arabic, and it is, though the proximate source is French and ultimate source is Greek: < Fr. alambic < Ar. al anbiq (`the still') < Gk. ambix, ambik- `cup, beaker, cup of a still.' Ambix is an alternative word for alembic in English, and both Alembic and Ambix are associated with publications about the history of chemistry.

In particular, Ambix is the journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry. (ISSN 0002-6980). Over a period of decades, the Alembic Club published at Edinburgh a number of reprints of important documents in the history of chemistry. The earliest Alembic Club reprint I am aware of was published in 1898: Joseph Black's famous Experiments upon magnesia alba. The last, afaik, was in 1958: X-rays and the electric conductivity of gases; comprising papers by W.C. Röntgen (1895, 1896) J.J. Thomson and E. Rutherford (1896) With an historical introd. by N. Feather.

Weisskopf's Theorem
Any physicist working with Bohr was certain to be married after no more than two years. This is Victor Weisskopf's statement of the law as it appears in his memoir, Joy of Insight (NYC: Basic Books, 1991), p. 69. There Weisskopf only described it a ``rule.'' It was well known, and I'm not sure by precisely what term, though the discovery was generally credited to Weisskopf. Bob Schrieffer, in his contribution to the Copenhagen symposium celebrating the centenary of Niels Bohr's birth, called it ``Weisskopf's Theorem'' and took credit for adding another ``proof.'' Bram Pais and Viki Weisskopf himself had provided earlier ``proofs.''

Well, it's a matter of judgment whether it's better or worse than before.
Look, we just install the upgrades -- you can't expect us to make the software work!

Wellhausen's Axiom
In Biblical studies, the position that only texts written shortly after an event are trustworthy. After Julius Wellhausen, a Biblical scholar of the late nineteenth century.

This axiom is typically disregarded when it is inconvenient. A much more popular axiom in nonscholarly Biblical studies is that texts written before an event are most trustworthy. (Hey -- they haven't been proven false!)

A compound adjective that is often used jocularly. Sometimes the joke is irony, but sometimes it is more subtle. In particular, one may describe someone who is well known as a ``well-known <foo>,'' where <foo> describes the well-known person by a characteristic that is not so well known.

[column] For example, Herbert Clark Hoover might be described as the well-known commentator and co-translator (with his wife Lou Henry Hoover) of De Re Metallica. A related but distinct rhetorical situation occurs in the Barbarossa entry, where I rightly describe Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus as ``famous.'' You've heard of him.

Well started is half done.
A proverb that applies best to giving a haircut to a bald man.

Weighted Ensemble Monte Carlo (simulation method).

Wilderness Emergency Medical Services Institute.

We must not forget the true meaning of __
I am a self-recognized authority on what other people should think about __

A benign tumor of the skin. It can appear when you play Scrabble, using all three major Scrabble dictionaries (or just one of them).

We need this information in order to help serve you better.
Marketing wants to know what kind of junk mail would annoy you best.

World Elephant Polo Association. Headquartered in Kathmandu. I'm still checking whether this game is on the level, whether the story is on the up-and-up.

Warehousing Education and Research Council. This doesn't really sound like a lot of fun.

Western European Specialists Section (of the Association of College & Research Libraries -- ACRL). I think it used to be the ``Western European Specialists Section.'' James Campbell maintains a listing of Electronic Text Collections in Western European Literature at WESSWEB.

``Westchester, New York,'' is a county, and is also called ``Westchester County.'' The county includes such well-known municipalities as Pelham Manor, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Yonkers, Scarsdale, Dobbs Ferry, White Plains, Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, and Mount Pleasant, working roughly northwards.

Next on the list might be Ossining Village and Ossining Town; they aren't so well-known directly, but on account of the state prison known as Sing Sing. The village of Sing Sing was incorporated in 1813. (Named after the Sint Sinck Indian tribe.) On the basis of a respected authority, a different form of the the name, Ossinsing, was chosen for a town incorporated in 1845, north of the village. This was changed to Ossining (considered easier to pronounce) the next year. The state prison was built there in 1825-1828, the site being chosen on the basis of quarry resources that would provide work for the inmates (marble quarries and also some galena, indicating the possibility of silver). Other industries were introduced. The growing labor movement in the late nineteenth century opposed competition from prison labor and promoted boycotts of goods from Sing Sing. To avoid the bad business associations, the village of Sing Sing changed its name to Ossining Village in 1901. In 1970 the prison followed suit, becoming the Ossining Correctional Facility. There was an uprising and hostage situation there in 1983, and apparently one of the lessons taken from that tragedy was that no one was ever going to stop thinking of the place as anything but ``Sing Sing,'' and in 1985 it was renamed Sing Sing Correctional Facility.

Sing Sing was home to many of New York's most dangerous felons, and is famous as the place which first used the electric chair. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed there in 1953, are probably the best known.

Interestingly, the first New York State prison (Newgate, opened 1797) was built in Greenwich Village.

West Indies
Here's a bit of clarification from Jane Austen's Persuasion:
``What a great traveller you must have been, ma'am!'' said Mrs. Musgrove to Mrs. Croft.

``Pretty well, ma'am, in the fifteen years of my marriage; though many women have done more. I have crossed the Atlantic four times, and have been once to the East Indies, and back again, and only once; besides being in different places about home: Cork, and Lisbon, and Gibraltar. But I never went beyond the Streights, and never was in the West Indies. We do not call Bermuda or Bahama, you know, the West Indies.''

Maggie Thatcher (long-time former Tory PM of Britain) used this term for the backsliding or weak-willed L-word men, especially on her side of the aisle.

Prized swamps, an important part of the ecosystem. The part of the ecosystem that is a nursery for mosquitos. Important because mosquitos are a much-needed vector for a variety of important diseases, like malaria, which afflicts a fifth of the world's people, and kills twice as many as AIDS every year.

A lot of the world's species are disease bacteria. We must protect them!

We vote pro-life.
I vote pro-life. The others say they do too.

Western European Union.

I never hear about this organization. It's probably the labor organization for makers of western europeans. They've probably been on strike.

You know, all the major continental European countries have achieved (or suffer, if you're a national pension-fund analyst) fertility rates that should eventually lead to negative population growth. (Most of the countries are still growing, partly because of immigration and partly due to the shape of the age distribution. Among the largest EU countries, France boasts the highest rate of natural increase, but in the Basilica of Saint Denis, Pippin the Short spins.) Italy is at about 1.3 children per woman, equal to Japan. In Sweden, with a package of generous incentives, the pension-fund analysts were handing out cigars (figuratively speaking, okay?), but fertility collapsed in the recession year of 1990, and it never came back. The US has fertility rates slightly below replacement level as well, but the effect of immigration is enormous, particularly because the immigrant population tends to be skewed toward young adults, so the US is growing at the highest rate of any industrialized country.

Normally, about 105 baby boys are born per 100 baby girls. Thus, population equilibrium requires an average of 2.05 children per woman. Depending on how one deals with childhood mortality of females, that can nudge the equilibrium fertility rate up a bit. People normally talk of 2.1 as the replacement level.

Of course, in China, the sex ratio is higher; it appears to be in excess of 1.14. The cause is understood to be the traditional preference for male children, combined with a severe (though unevenly enforced) government policy to limit births. The precise mechanism is a ``mystery,'' but the main question is whether female infanticide or selective abortion is the more important factor. Ultrasound testing is widespread, but operators are forbidden by law to identify the sex of the fetus. In practice, the law doesn't impose any significant barrier to the communication of that information. Under-reporting of female births has also been suggested.

Moreover, thousands of baby girls are abandoned in China every year. (They're Chinese girls. It's not as if people from neighboring countries go to China to ditch their children. I just put the prepositional locative in there so you'd know that we are still on the subject of sex-ratio in China, even though it's a new paragraph. I mean, for all you knew we might have switched to another topic altogether, such as the WEU.) It reminds me of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, although that was a different situation.

Look here: even though I'm just a lowly lexicographic drudge, I've got a heart too. Set aside the asides and the replacement levels, and we're still talking about thousands of little girls with no one to hug.

In the mid-1990's, the PRC relaxed its rules on international adoptions. In Hong Kong, you would see a lot of Western couples with a Chinese child they had come to adopt. I've actually read of one instance where the adopted child was a boy (but ``a special needs'' child -- with a surgically correctible congenital condition, in that instance), but this is quite exceptional. (Interestingly, in Japan there is a preference for girl adoptees. The reason given is that parents feel they will be less independent and more loyal and likely to help the parents in their old age.) More than 5,000 Chinese children were adopted by US parents in 2002, making China the largest source of international adoptions in the United States. Between 1997 and April 2003, over 30,000 Chinese children were brought to the US. These numbers are from the State Department, whose main involvement is in giving out visas and in swearing in the new little citizens. That couldn't wait?

An entire industry has grown up around the international adoptions. US parents have been required to go to the American consulate in Guangzhou for the swearing-in. There most families stay at the White Swan Hotel. In addition to expenditures for travel and such things as ``home study'' (US adoption agency's investigation of the environment the child would be coming into), there is a ``donation'' of as much as $15,000, less than a third of which may go to the orphanage. Many adoptive parents are moved to make voluntary (not ``voluntary'') donations to the orphanages.

In March 2003, responding to the SARS epidemic, the State Department eased rules a bit, not requiring adoptive parents (when there are two) to both travel to Guangzhou. On Friday, April 25, 2003, the PRC's China Center for Adoption Affairs (yes, China is part of the name) shut down for nine days -- the week of the May 1 holiday (you know -- the annual holiday that was cancelled in 2003 on account of SARS). They didn't get back to business the next week, though, and on May 15, they officially suspended adoptions. Unofficially, it was estimated that adoptions would resume in August. I don't remember when things finally got back to normal. It was probably late Summer, but friends of mine who were going to adopt in May only finally adopted in November, although there were unusual glitches in their case.

I really don't know what the WEU is, but I hope you have been entertained and or informed.

What is just as amazing, fertility rates have dropped world-wide, even in many underdeveloped countries like Pakistan. Population growth has been accelerated by advances in public health (mostly hygiene -- clean water).

Well, someone dutifully wrote to tell me what the WEU is, but things crashed and I lost the email. As I remember it, it turns out that WEU is a defense force. In fact, if I remember from a few years back, they were putting together a joint German/French rapid deployment force. It seems the basic role played by WEU was to give France a way to coordinate with its natural allies in NATO without having to tolerate US commanders. (De Gaulle took France out of the NATO military command in the 60's, although not technically out of NATO.)

What's this entry doing here?!

Weapon Engagement Zone. Although the correct expansion uses the singular form weapon, it's really no fun with only one weapon. Think of this as weapon in an uncountable sense, as a mass noun. Think of uncountable and mass in any sense you please. See analytic differential definition at the weapon engagement zone entry of the DOD's online Dictionary of Military Terms.

If this weren't already a military term, it would be a great euphemism for her paw's house just'afore the shotgun weddin'.

ISO code for Wallis and Futuna Islands. Wallis is probably not named after Wallis Simpson, even though she and ex-King Ed lived in France after they married, and W&F are overseas French dependencies.

Local currency is issued by France. A classicist's South Pacific paradise: no TV stations.

Exports in 1995, about a third of a million bucks f.o.b.. Imports, over a dozen mill's, c.i.f. When France finally knuckles under to the market, they're going to have to restructure, maybe consolidate the two big islands into one, I don't know -- is there an exit strategy?

Inoffensive data on Wallis and Futuna is found in the factbook entry from the latest edition of the CIA Factbook

Wigner Function. Fourier-transform only the difference coördinate of the density matrix, and you get a quantum mechanical object (WF) that corresponds to the classical distribution function and is often also called a quantum phase space distribution.

Similar mathematics has application in optics.

Balescu gives a nice treatment based on the Wigner-Weyl transform.

The Wigner function first appeared in print in a fairly general, many-particle (albeit only first-quantized) version as eqn. 5 (p. 750) of ``On the Quantum Correction for Thermodynamic Equilibrium,'' by E. Wigner, The Physical Review, 40, pp. 749-759 (June 1, 1932). In a footnote to that equation, Eugen Wigner states that L. Szilard and he had found the expression ``some years ago for another purpose.''

Wigner observed immediately that no bilinear function of the wavefunction depending on 2N phase-space coördinates, could reproduce the expectation values found from the N-variable-dependent wavefunction and also be positive, so the necessity of having a quantum distribution function that could be become negative was unavoidable.

An important early paper on Wigner functions is ``Quantum Mechanics as a Statistical Theory'' by J. E. Moyal, in Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 45 pp. 99-124 (1949).

Work Flow Automation.

William F. Buckley, Jr.

West Falls Church. A Metro station in northern Virginia.

Wide-Field Camera.

World Federation of Chiropractic.

World Food Council.

Can I have fries with that?

World Federation of Culture Collections. I've heard of culture vultures, but this is ridiculous.

``The WFCC is a Multidisciplinary Commission of the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) and a Federation within the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS). The WFCC is concerned with the collection, authentication, maintenance and distribution of cultures of microorganisms and cultured cells.'' Oh.

World Federation of the Deaf.

World Flying Disc Federation. ``Flying disc'' is a generic term for a frisbee.

Wiped-Film Evaporator.

NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Tears of restraint puddle at my keyboard, as I manfully resist the near-overwhelming urge to pun in this entry [ Ftnt. 30 ].

[Football icon]

Wet Flue Gas.

World Football League. This organization no longer exists.

WorkFlow Management Coalition.

Worldwide Faith News.

World Federation of NeuroRadiological Societies. ``[E]stablished in 1993, [WFNRS] is an umbrella organization composed of eighteen national and regional neuroradiological societies. It fosters international scientific and educational programs in neuroradiology and promotes cooperative projects between its member organizations and those in allied disciplines.

Weather Forecast Office. Future component of National Weather Service.

Wiiiide Open. A motorcycle throttle position.

I've been asked about the eff. Cf. RTFM.

World Federation of Orthodontists.

Wide Field-Of-View.

World Food Programme. The food aid organization of the UN.

Haven't paid your UN dues lately? Assuage your guilt feelings cheap at The Hunger Site.

Weighted Fair Queuing.

Wigner Function (WF) Transport Equation.

World Federation of Trade Unions.

Wake Forest University.

World Federation of United Nations Associations -- Fédération Mondiale des Associations pour les Nations Unies.

See also WFUNA-Art.

Windows For Workgroups. Windows 3.11: Windows 3.1 plus network support.


Working Group. A productive affix. In the grammatical sense. Arbeitsgemeinschaft in German, abbreviated A and AG. Groupe de Travail in French, with suggestive mistranslation in English.

Western Governors' Association. ``[A]n independent, non-partisan organization of governors from 18 Western states, two Pacific-flag territories and one commonwealth.''

Membership description sounds a bit like an old pre-breakup song about the geographic constitution of Yugoslavia. I guess they noticed. The homepage now has a simplified phrase ending with ``18 States and 3 US-Flag Pacific Islands.''

(Screen) Writers Guild of America. Guild of screenwriters for film (including animation), TV, and interactive projects.

There's always the possibility that a screenplay will be produced, and thus almost certainly botched. Therefore, writers should keep in mind the WGA's rules on pseudonyms. As of 2004, the $200,000 limit (below which a writer has an unnegotiated right unilaterally to choose not to be credited) is unchanged since at least 2000. Those poor screenwriters are suffering bracket creep.

One movie with a surprisingly messy writing situation was Casablanca. The history is reconstructed in the Harmetz book's chapter 3: ``Writing Casablanca: A Survival of the Fittest Script.'' The movie is based on a play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison, ``Everybody Comes to Rick's.'' The project of making a screenplay from the play was originally given to Wally Klein and Aenas MacKenzie. They worked seven weeks and produced a script that was never used. The screenplay that became the movie was written mostly by the Epstein twins (Julius J. and Philip G., each employed 12 weeks on the script). The Epsteins were known for bright dialogue. It was common practice to use multiple writers, and Howard Koch was hired to rewrite the first Epstein script as soon as part I was available. Koch eventually spent seven weeks on the script. The script was written in an iterative process with each side tugging in a different direction (Koch preachy and political; the Epsteins light, too comic for Koch's taste). At a certain point, revisions came daily in typically unsigned replacement sheets. Who suggested or changed what is often impossible to reconstruct. Except for MacKenzie and Klein, the preceding writers are listed at IMDB, along with Casey Robinson, who is listed as ``uncredited'' under ``writing credits.'' Harmetz writes (p. 56) that he ``would shape the love story.'' Lenore Coffee was an uncredited ``uncredited writer.'' She spent a week employed on the script and was one of those by whom ``the broth was stirred,'' according to Harmetz, but no specific contribution is mentioned. The process seems to have balanced out nicely.

News update: November 2, 2007: the WGA board voted a strike to begin at 12:01 Pacific Time the following Monday. In other news, Republican presidential hopeful and former actor Fred Thompson announced a temporary suspension of all televised public appearances starting next week.

Who Gives A SKÔR Anyhow? An acronym that was once (say around 1970) reportedly popular. Okay, maybe with SKÔR in German (Scheiße) or possibly even English. (If you don't recognize the Ancient Greek form, it's probably because the root and combining forms are different -- the genitive form is skatos and the modern Greek nominative form is skata).

Wgasa Bush Line
The Wgasa Bush Line was a monorail that carried visitors around the perimeter of the Wild Animal Park, a large branch (1800 acres) of the San Diego Zoo. The monorail was in service from the time the park opened in 1972. After three decades, though, the monorail was suffering from periodic maintenance woes, and in March 2007 it was ``retired'' in favor of ``open-sided, soft-wheeled tour vehicles'' (trams) that are called the ``African Express.'' The ``express'' concept might be somewhat metaphorical: the African Express circuit is a 4-kilometer, 25-minute ``Journey into [and thankfully also, with apologies to Isak Dinesen, out of] Africa.''

Then again, ``express'' may express a selling point: visitors nowadays reportedly have shorter attention spans; the old ride lasted 50 minutes. (That's not counting the times in December 2004 and August 2005 when breakdowns left riders stranded for hours -- long enough to rework the lyrics of the theme from ``Gilligan's Island.'') That ride had featured both the Africa and Asia ``ranges.'' At the beginning of May 2006 a track modification was completed and the 50-minute omnibus monorail tour (yes, I wrote that because one shouldn't pass up the opportunity to make a rarely-appropriate equivocal collocation) became two separate half-hour tours -- one through the Africa-themed area and one through the Asia-themed area.

The Asian range of the Wild Animal Park gets less attention (possibly for good reason), so I'm not sure of the project status there. A separate new tour for the Asia range was planned, with the entire project scheduled for completion in 2008 sometime. There are no signs that they will call it the ``Asia Express.'' This is good, because otherwise people will think that a half hour after getting on, they'll feel like they didn't see anything and want to take another tour. They should call it the Wa-Te-Fu tour, because that sounds Asian. (Okay, I wouldn't object to ``Orient Express.'' You know, if it weren't for that Agatha Christie mystery, this might be a common name for Chinese buffet restaurants -- especially diners.)

Other differences between old and new rides: the African Express goes through rather than around the park, bringing tourists close to the animals; it also visits the pens where the residents are taken for veterinary care, and breeding-program areas in the ``hinterlands'' that had not been visible from the monorail. From the monorail, the animals were several hundred yards away. On the down side (if you're a visitor): there's a fare for the new ride; the old ride was included in the price of admission.

The Wgasa Bush line got its name during a meeting or a memo exchange (details lost to history) conducted to come up with a name for the planned monorail. However, ``Wgasa'' was not originally proposed as a name; instead, ``WGASA'' was apparently proffered as a comment on the effort to find a name. (The acronym is expatiated upon in the preceding entry.) The story is retold and evaluated at <Snopes.com>.

``Wgasa'' was regarded by some as ``African-sounding.'' This probably reflects (a) the salience of initial consonant clusters like mb, mp, nd, ng, and nk that are common in many African languages and generally absent (and possibly difficult) in European languages, and (b) the fact that the initial consonant cluster wg is also generally absent (and possibly difficult) in European languages. Heck, sounds good to me! (No, wg is not a common initial consonant cluster in African languages.) There is also (c) the distinctive ending -asa seen in the African proper nouns Nyasa, Mombasa, Kinshasa, and Casablanca (< Casa Blanca).

World's Greatest Automobile Zone. A radio station serving South Bend, Indiana from 1922 to 1925, when it was renamed WSBT. Until the Great Depression (which began in 1929 in the US), the US automobile industry had a large number of small independent manufacturers, mostly in the Midwest. One of the more successful ones was South-Bend-based Studebaker, which survived WWII but died in the early 1960's.

World Games for the Deaf.

German: Wassergefährdungsklasse. `Water hazard class.' This is not about golf courses.

Whispering-Gallery Mode.

Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (of the World Climate Research Programme).

Working Group on Planetary System Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Waveguide Grating Router.

WorkingGroup Systems.

World Geodetic {System | Survey}.

An FM radio station serving New Carlisle (stress on last syllable) and South Bend. So far (early March 2002) I've heard the call letters announced every hour or less, no ads, and a classic-rock mix (an hour-long loop in the morning) and nothing else. Here's a page of information from the FCC. It's been licensed at 102.3 MHz since 1989. How did I miss it all these years?!? And what is their business model?

Oh, now I remember -- it used to broadcast that insipid religious music. I hear that's very popular. I guess it's possible to get too much of a good thing, huh? Hmm: ``2/18/2002: Local Marketing Agreement ends with LeSea Broadcasting. Contemporary Christian 'Pulse FM' format is dropped in favor of Classic Rock. Old web site: http://www.pulsefm.com [still in service for 96.9 MHz broadcasts.''

Technically, it seems they were really WZUW starting January 23. And since April 2002, they've been broadcasting the same signal as the classic rock station at 97.7 MHz, which has the call letters WZOW. Hmmm, you don't think maybe they were angling for the new business? Hmm... they became ``double rock 97.7 and 102.3'' and various related gimmicks. And split again in March 2003. A frightfully fast business, always a step ahead of the glossaries.

Waregem Gaver Tennis Club. In Waregem, Belgium.

West Georgia Technical College. In LaGrange, Georgia, US. A ``postsecondary educational institute operating as a unit of the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) serving the needs of business, industry, and the public in the counties of Troup, Meriwether, and Heard counties [sic] in West Georgia.''

That's the trouble with long sentences -- by the time you get to the end you forget what you already said and start to repeat what you already said in long sentences.

Western Governors University. A grave threat to higher-education business-as-usual.

It claims ``Western Governors University is a unique institution that offers degrees and certificates based completely on competencies -- your ability to demonstrate your skills and knowledge on a series of assessments -- not on required courses. We make it possible for you to accelerate your "time to degree" by providing recognition for your expertise.'' Sounds a lot like Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey, founded in 1972.

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