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D d

A programming language conceived as and unlikely to be a successor to C++.

Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in many other programming languages also lists many wonderful features of this language.


deci-, metric prefix from Latin, meaning a tenth. E.g., 10 dL = 1 L. Easily confused with D, which partly explains the latter's rarity.


Latin, Decimus. A praenomen meaning `the tenth,' typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Also ``Dec.''

Defense. In ordinary speech, in all dialects I am aware of, the stress (accent) is on the second syllable of the noun when it does not refer to team games. A common partisan cheer at (N. American) football and basketball games is the exhortation DEE fence; pigskin and round ball discussion, over beer and in the press box, now systematically stresses the first syllable. The noun has been verbed, and following the ordinary pattern, the verb to defense is stressed on the second syllable.

Defense in the sports sense is best regarded as a homograph of its etymological precursor (the noun with final accent). The verb to defense refers to all on-field or on-court actions comprising defense, and emphasizes the component of strategy. To defend is only a close synonym. It is generally possible to define what is being defended, and the person or object being defended can always be named as the direct object (in the active voice, or as the ``retained object'' of the passive voice). This makes sense in chess (``defending the king,'' ``the center squares are defended'') but leads to difficulty in some team sports. The earlier common use of defend in sports got around the difficulty by speaking of defending the end zone, or defending the middle yardage, but this was never quite right: the most important piece of substantive information to convey in the game context tended to be the offensive strategy or tactic against which defense was deployed. With the verb defend, this requires a prepositional phrase (against the run, the shotgun, the nickle, the four horsemen). The verb to defense streamlines communication by making the offense the default direct object of the verb. (Both verbs can be used intransitively.)

Defense is sometimes called Dee or Big Dee. There is no corresponding small dee, as there is in politics (vide D infra).

The word offense has undergone a sports-usage development parallel to defense, with stress shift and associated change in pronunciation of the initial vowel. Sports offense is not close in meaning to the ordinary sense of the word, but is instead simply the complement of defense. Offense is not called O because it might be confused with words O (introducing the vocative, as in ``O Romeo'') and Oh (the interjection). Offense is not often called Big O because Big O already means ``orgasm.''

North American football did not use separate defensive and offensive platoons until the forties, around the same time that the D party changed its name. I don't know when the American league adopted the designated hitter (DH) rule.

It was Grantland Rice who first dubbed the Notre Dame backfield of Knute Rockne ``the four horsemen.'' The phrase alludes to the four horsemen of the apocalypse mentioned in Revelations. Perhaps he was influenced by a novel by Vicente Blasco Ibánez that appeared in English with this title in 1918.

Deca- or Deka-, metric prefix meaning ten. E.g., 10 L = 1 DL. Might be confused with d. It seems deci- got a head start and elbowed-out the too-similar Deca.

Delta. Not an abbreviation here, just the FCC-recommended ``phonetic alphabet.'' I.e., a set of words chosen to represent alphabetic characters by their initials. You know, ``Alpha Bravo Charlie ... .'' The idea behind the choice is to have words that the listener will be able to guess at or reconstruct accurately even through noise (or narrow bandwidth, like a telephone). Hence, a common word like ``Dearth'' would be no good because it might be heard as ``Firth.''

Coincidentally, or not, a (river) delta is the thing whose hieroglyphic or hieratic writing representation came to stand for the /d/ sound, and which thus gave rise to the letter. Delta remains the name of the corresponding letter in the Greek alphabet.

Personally, I prefer ``Dishwasher.''

Democrat[ic]. In the US, when clarity requires it, one often distinguishes ``small-dee democrat'' (a supporter of democracy) and a ``big-Dee Democrat'' (a member of the Democratic party). ``Small-dee democrat'' and ``little-dee democrat'' are equivalent. ``Big-Dee'' has a sports synonym. A similar usage occurs in Canada: ``small-l liberal'' and ``small-c conservative.''

The Democratic party evolved quickly in the early days of the republic, around Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and like-minded individuals who favored weak central government. (This led to ironies, but what political position doesn't?) It evolved from an unofficial government faction and from a number of independent local ``popular societies'' in the states, most active in 1790-1800. These societies called themselves ``Democratic Society [of Richmond, say],'' ``Democratic-Republican Society,'' and in one or two cases ``Republican Society.'' In public discussion, members typically described themselves as republicans. (Although after the early heady days of the French Revolution, the actual practice of French republicanism began to give the word republican a bad odor, and American ``Republicans'' of that era were at pains to distance themselves from it. According to this history offered by the DNC, it was the National Convention of 1844 that eventually simplified the Party's name to the Democratic Party. The Democrats' earliest opposition was the Federalists (John Adams, Alexander Hamilton), who never won an election after that of John Adams (see dynasty entry), and that party petered out to the point where, by 1820, US presidential elections were contested by different factions of the Democratic-Republican party.

The election of 1824, a four-way race among Democratic-Republicans, was decided in the House (each state delegation having one vote) when no candidate won a majority. Second-place finisher John Quincy Adams, who won 31% of the popular vote, became president when fourth-place finisher and House Speaker Henry Clay threw his support to him. That election polarized and eventually split the party along lines of loyalty or opposition to the candidate with a 41% popular-vote plurality in 1824, populist Andrew Jackson. In 1828, Andrew Jackson ran and won on the Democratic-Republican ticket against incumbent John Quincy Adams. Adams ran as a ``National Republican,'' member of a grouping that took in some of the former Federalists. The National Republican party evolved into the Whigs, which eventually went on to form a part (with Free-Soil and others) of the Republican party, whose first elected president was Abraham Lincoln.

Many Republican Party members use the name ``Democrat party,'' but I can find no evidence that Democrats ever used ``Democrat'' as the name or part of the name of their party. Some Republicans may regard this usage as a way of insisting that Republicans are democratic too (but they are also democrats too, so I don't see much force in the argument). Mostly, this usage is simply rude: nonstandard use of an attributive noun in place of an appropriate adjective is pejorative (e.g. ... I can't think of any examples I would be willing to put above my name).

In the book mentioned at this other entry (p. 20), Senator Sam Ervin is quoted thus:

I have been trying to reform Republicans all my life and have had virtually no success, but I would like for them to adopt good grammar and quit using the noun ``Democrat'' in lieu of the adjective ``Democratic.'' If I can teach the Republicans that much grammar, I will feel that my effort to educate them has not been entirely in vain.

Sam Ervin is also credited with this assessment (p. 23) of the mental health of voters:

The American people have a simplistic faith in law. Our great national delusion is based on the fact that we have a childlike faith that anything wrong in our civilization can be abolished by law and that all of life's problems lend themselves to legal solutions. It is doubtful whether many people who are in custody in institutions for the mentally ill in our land suffer under a greater delusion than that.
(Eventually, I'll have to put in an entry on how the mentally ill were cruelly and with the best of intentions de-institutionalized in the years after.)

Pride of place in that book (pp. 1-5) is taken by some folksy antifeminism that will probably seem both hilarious and sage if you are a folksy antifeminist. Catharine A. MacKinnon is an unfolksy feminist, but there is common ground between her and Sam Ervin. A collection of her speeches [Feminism Unmodified : Discourses on Life and Law, Harvard U.P., 1987)] includes an edited version of her side of an ERA debate with Phyllis Schlafly. Much of it reads like a carefully crafted ad hominem attack on her opponent (in other words, like a typical debate), but it does include some substantive claims...
At page 26:

Now I want to consider with you the role of the law in the future of women's rights. The law alone cannot change our social condition. It can help. So far, it has helped remarkably little.
At page 27:
I am clear that everything women need will not be accomplished by the ERA, and not by law alone.
The last four words were made the chapter title.

It must be conceded that MacKinnon had an ulterior motive for making modest claims: one of the greatest fears driving opposition to the ERA was that once it was constitutional law, the courts would interpret it ad libitum, with no end of mischief. The strongest precedent for this belief was civil rights juris(im)prudence that included affirmative action and busing.

In a perverse way, MacKinnon was right: although the ERA failed, the Supreme Court has interpreted other laws in an expansive way that obviates the need for an ERA.

Denier. A metric unit that is used to measure fiber fineness. ``Fineness'' is typically thought of as average cross-sectional area, but the denier is a unit of linear mass density. The linear mass density is equal to the ordinary density (mass per unit volume) times the cross-sectional area, so when one is comparing materials of equal or similar density, the ratio of that area and that linear density is constant, and D can be thought of as a unit of either.

The language used for the discussion of fibers is sloppy in practice, but if you simply regard ``fineness'' as a mass density and ignore any contradictory claims, you'll be okay. That's what I'll do moving forward (through this entry). [You also have to reinterpret some other quantities. For example, ``tensile strength,'' when stated in units such as gf/D, is really tensile strength divided by density. (Here gf is a common, alas, abbreviation of ``grams force.'')]

One denier is one gram per 9000 meters. Thus, for a mass density of 1 g/cc, a fineness described as 1 D represents an average cross-sectional area of (10/9) × 10-6 cm2, or a diameter of about 11.894 microns (yeah, wistful precision).

Oftentimes, the density will not be stated but both the fineness and diameter will. In that case, you can compute the mass density as f/a, where f and a are fineness and area, and D/μm2 = (1000/9) g/cc.

Look, I know you can do this simple arithmetic, and maybe these are not your favorite units, but the only reason I'm writing this entry at all is that I'm trying to extract some information that's reported in these cussed units.

Even more convenient: density is (4/π) f/d, where d is diameter and 4D/πμm2 = 141.47 g/cc.

Mass density is a useful thing to know, because it's a good clue to the identity of an unknown plastic. Here are some examples.

 Material    Density (g/cc)
Nylon-MXD6       1.22 
Nylon-6          1.13
Deuterium. Heavy hydrogen. The isotope of Hydrogen (H) with one neutron (hence atomic weight A=2). See also earlier use of D for didymium.

Deuteron. The nucleus of a deuterium atom. The weakly bound state of a single proton and neutron.

Died, deceased. Not expected back.

Didymium. Apparently the consensus chemical symbol for this metal, and perhaps the official chemical symbol during the period when it was believed to be an element, is Di (q.v.). But D was also used, when either was. There seems to have been a sentiment to replace single-letter chemical-element symbols with two-letter ones, when it could be gotten away with. Cf. A.

``D minus.'' The lowest grade that is not an `F.' Patty's grade. This venerable grade indicates that the instructor takes pity on a hapless incompetent student, or else just wants to see all different students in next year's class. Most schools (100% in my statistical sample of two) have discontinued this mark as a course grade. That's not a problem, because with grade inflation its place has been taken by B+. The ``Gentleman's C''? That's now an A-. Today we use ``D'' to indicate that the student died.

Systems with six letter grades (A, B, C, D, E and F) existed at various times (like when I was in junior high school) and various places (Westfield, NJ, in this instance). My guess is that E disappeared because it might be mistaken for an abbreviation of Excellent (hope sprang eternal).

DeuterIDE is a ``mobile based programming text editor, compiler and IDE built for Android and Blackberry Playbook.'' It uses a D minus as its favicon. That's what I call a FAIL.

As you will no doubt have noticed, here on the grounds of the SBF, we're attempting to build links between all our entries. This ambitious task is a never-ending effort (because we procrastinate). But here, at last, is a connection between this entry and the Cameron BRIGHT subentry of the Nomenclature is destiny entry. Bright acted in a bio-sci-fi vampire superhero action movie called Ultraviolet. In the Entertainment Weekly issue of March 17, 2006, Scott Brown reviewed the movie in an item entitled ``Ultraviolet: Finding new ways to suck the blood from a sci-fi vampire flick (D-).''

The largest single-letter bra-cup size designation used by all manufacturers, so far as I'm aware. (And although I am sort of an ``end user'' of the product, I don't actually shop for bras, so really what do I know?) For some the next larger size is DD and for others E. (It's not like letter grades, where they skip immediately to F.)

``Another dee'' rhymes and sort of agrees metrically with ``surgery.'' (Limited rhyme like this is called ``masculine rhyme.'' There could be something to this terminology.)

Deformation Acoustic. Deformation potential of electron-phonon interaction. Deformation potential arises from the fact that deformations of the lattice, described by phonons, cause inhomogeneities in the dielectric coefficient, and therefore affect the electrostatic component of the electron (or hole) self-energy.

Departments and Agencies. US governmentese.

Desk Accessory. Small utility item in Macintosh Finder pull-down menu. Deemphasized in System 7.

Destination Address.

Deutsches Archiv. This vague title, by equivocation, manages to refer both to Deutsches Archiv für Geschichte des Mittelalter and its postwar successor Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters. (`German Archive for the History of the Middle Ages' and `Research on' same.) See Stuart Jenks's page of Tables of Contents of Historical Journals and Monographic Series in German for a complete table of contents, with Frames or without (deutsche Seite: Zeitschriftenfreihandmagazin Inhaltsverzeichnisse geschichtswissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften in deutscher Sprache).

Digital Audio.

Digital to Analog. DAC stands for digital-to-analog converter.

Directory Assistance. Telephone directory information by phone. Either that, or collaboration with one of the revolutionary governments of France. Whatever is available in your dialing area.

District Attorney.


Duck's Ass. A kind of men's hair style. Not pejorative.

For more very useful information, visit the FLAT TOPS ON THE WEB dictionary.

[But they're wrong about Wahl comb/guide attachments: all the comb sizes, #1 to #8, are in eighths of an inch (i.e., #5 puts the blade 5/8 in. high, etc.).]

[Phone icon]

Data Access Arrangement. Used by modem on a phone line.

Designated Approving Authority. Federalese.

Distributed Active Archive Center. Acronym popular with NASA.

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. `German Academic Exchange Service.'

DA architecture
Distributed-Arithmetic architecture.

Digital Audio Broadcasting. Here's a site (in German). ``Quality approaching CD'' reception with antennae no longer than a pencil. Uses CODFM; 1536 carrier frequencies multiplexed into 1.5 MHz. Smart error correction. All this to achieve excellent reception of a puny six stations?!?! Kill a fly with howitzer.

Some men's hair potion years ago was advertised with the slogan, ``A little dab'll do ya.'' I can't remember which product. That's my favorite kind of ad campaign: you are entertained, and you blithely forget the product. That probably has something to do with DAB after all. (Mark refreshed my memory: it was Brylcreem. I'd like to hear their funky heavy metal sound. I had also misremembered the ad catch-phrase. But those were my big-hair days, a dab wouldn't've done me, and I wouldn't've wanted what it would've done me.)

Just one other comment: this work is all apparently being done in VHF and UHF bands, which means there is no reflection from the ionosphere, and consequently only line-of-sight transmission. This makes terrain a problem, which is addressed with ``gap-filler'' transmitters, even in a rather flat country like Holland. That's terrestrial DAB (TDAB). The alternative is satellite-based DAB (SDAB).

Design Automation Conference.

Development Assistance Committee of the OECD.

Diamond Anvil Cell. The place where most laboratory ultra-high pressure work is done. Two diamond faces separated by a thin gasket in the shape of an annulus. The item to be pressurized is in fluid in the cell. When the diamond faces are pressed together, the gasket is deformed outward somewhat. The radial force on the gasket is only the cell pressure times the area of its vertical inner surface, whereas the normal force is the same pressure (exerted by a diamond face) times its surface area. In other words, the gasket holds so long as the diamond-metal coefficient of friction is about greater than the ratio of the gasket's thickness to its width (difference of inner and outer radii) -- easily done.

DAC's are used mostly in spectroscopic studies: the diamond has a large band gap, so spectroscopy can be done deep into the UV. Electronic transport studies, on the other hand, are rare or unknown, because of the difficulty in putting leads through the gasket.

Digital to Analog (D/A) Converter.

Digital Access and Cross-Connect System. Network switching equipment for T1 lines and their subchannels.

A badger hound. From German Dachs, `badger,' and Hund `dog.'


dactylic hexameter
The metric used for Classical Greek and Latin epic poetry. Here's what I thought was a nonstandard mnemonic:
KIND to our WEB-footed FRIENDS / for a DUCK may be SOMEbody's MOTH-ER.

[Underground lyrics to ``Stars and Stripes Forever'' -- ``Three cheers for the red, white and blue ....'' The pause after FRIENDS functions as a strong caesura.]

Well, all right, the example above is what is called ``defective.'' That's not as bad as it sounds -- good poetry plays off deviations from metric purity. Still, it's probably not the best way to learn. Here's an attractive one-webpage introduction to dactylic hexameter. While there, you can hear the first line of Virgil's Aeneid croaked to the tune of the first two measures of ``Stars and Stripes Forever.''

Desktop Application Driver.

Deputy Assistant Director. I've seen this used apparently unselfconsciously. Specifically, when the NSF was seeking to fill a DAD position in its Directorate for Engineering (ENG), announcement dated Sept. 30, 2003. The DAD serves as ``the primary assistant to the Assistant Director in providing leadership direction to the ENG Directorate....'' It would have been more efficient just to

#define A assist #define D direct

and then (with a custom uc definition) code

the primary Aant to the uc(Aant) uc(Dor) in providing leadership Dion to the Engineering uc(Dorate);

// This also improves readability.

Informal or familiar expression for father.

In Highcastle (p. 5; bibl. details at the inanimate entry), Stanislaw Lem tells this story from his childhood:

... Craning my neck constantly was too tiring, so mainly I watched what passed my father at knee level. One time I noticed that he was not wearing his usual shoes with laces, but something entirely different, smooth shoes with no laces. His spats, which he always wore, were gone, too. Surprised, I asked, ``Where did you get those funny shoes?'' And a voice came down from above, ``What rudeness!'' It wasn't my father at all, but a complete stranger, to whom I had attached myself, I don't know how. My father was walking a dozen steps behind. I was terrified. This must have been an unusually unpleasant experience, for me to remember it so well.

I imagine this sort of thing must happen a lot, particularly to men. Men's clothing doesn't exhibit much variation at knee level. Many times, standing in a store aisle, I've felt the hand of a small stranger grab a piece of my pants leg.

Off Grape Road there's a guitar store called Hoosierdad's. Okay, we all recognize that ``Hoosier dad'' (literal meaning: Indiana father) can be worked into a tolerable joke (pun on ``who's yer dad''). But puns don't really age so well. On the up side, this is the store where I first saw a new semi-hollow Danelectric, after that model was ``reissued.''


Data Analysis and DISPlay. Pronounced ``day-disp.'' DADiSP is engineering software developed by DSP Development Corporation. I haven't used it, but it's evidently a spreadsheet program with Matlab functionality. This might be attractive even, or perhaps especially, if you despise Matlab. It also has a C/C++-like programming language called SPL (Series Programming Language) ``to address the special needs, routines, and customization of the engineer, programmer, or OEM.''

A massively parallel (started at 1K programming elements) computer designed in the early eighties, coming out of the DARPA Strategic Computing program, first successfully demonstrated on December 5, 1985. A tree-structured machine intended for rule-based intelligent programs (written in Parallel Lisp, say). Much-faster-than-real-time speech recognition a target application.

DADS Against Discrimination Since 1977. Seems like a half-hearted XARA.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell. A former policy of the US military. The military's policy on homosexuality used to be that homosexual activity was forbidden. I don't know if there was a policy on ``being homosexual'' or homosexual self-identification, or if there was any attempt to define that precisely.

  1. The first artificer or inventor, a sculptor of Greek mythology. Imprisoned on the island of King Minos, he made wings so he and his son Icarus could escape. Icky didn't make it: he flew too high and melted down. But you knew that. Mr. D also killed a nephew who was apprenticed to him (tricked him into diving off a cliff) out of jealousy of the boy's inventiveness. (The boy invented the comb, or saw, or the compass [the drafting tool] or whatever. There are multiple versions of all the stories -- like Hollywood remakes. But I can't recall anyone ever getting credit for inventing the bag.) If I were a young male relative of Daedalus, I think I would have a very rational fear of heights. Maybe they should have called him Deadalus.
  2. The title of a journal published by the AAAS, but you knew that too.
  3. The family name of the hero of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a Bildungsroman that James Joyce (1882-1941) published when he was a little past 30. Stephen Dedalus (oh yeah, it's a different spelling) is the artist, Simon is his dad. On June 16, 1904, Stephen finds a surrogate father figure in Leopold Bloom, but that's another story (Ulysses, published in 1922). Of course, you knew all that as well.
Let's face it, you're an irritating know-it-all and nobody likes you. But since this glossary is one-way, meaning I don't have to read your definitions, I have the patience of a saint, so I'm going to go on and tie all these loose threads together.

A young man wants to escape ... he wants answers to all those unanswerable questions (42) ... he tries wings. Consider Rasselas, a 1759 novel by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) and name of the novel's principal character. (Subtitle: The Prince of Abissinia.) The novel is a Bildungsroman after the fashion of Voltaire's Candide.

Rasselas is the fourth son of the king of what we now spell Abyssinia and call Ethiopia. He's twenty-six years old and dissatisfied with life in Happy Valley, where he and the other royal children are imprisoned but live in material luxury. (When this glossary has a Pleasant Valley entry, you'll be the first to know, I promise.) Rasselas escapes and seeks the secret of happiness. Where Candide eventually concludes that one must become a gardener, Rasselas eventually realizes that one ... but I'm already getting ahead of myself.

Look, this is rough, okay? I'm just putting this stuff in as context for a little excerpt. (Quotation style, spelling, etc., as in the original. Paragraph breaks are also as in the original, with the following exception: square-bracketed remarks have been interpolated within the body of some of the paragraphs, and separated with additional paragraph breaks. This has been done to confuse and irritate you personally. Also, I've reduced the font size of one slower-moving bit, so it'll be harder to read and you'll have to spend extra time reading it.)

Chapter VI

A dissertation on the art of flying.
Among the artists that had been allured into the happy valley, to labour for the accommodation and pleasure of its inhabitants, was a man eminent for his knowledge of the mechanick powers, who had contrived many engines both of use and recreation. By a wheel, which the stream turned, he

[ Yadda, yadda, yadda. He invented indoor plumbing, evaporative cooling, and a sound system powered by renewable energy. ]

forced the water into a tower, whence it was distributed to all the apartments of the palace. He erected a pavillion in the garden, around which he kept the air always cool by artificial showers. One of the groves, appropriated to the ladies, was ventilated by fans, to which the rivulet that run through it gave a constant motion; and instruments of soft musick were placed at proper distances, of which some played by the impulse of the wind, and some by the power of the stream.

This artist was sometimes visited by Rasselas, who was pleased with every kind of knowledge, imagining that the time would come when all his acquisitions should be of use to him in the open world.

He came one day to amuse himself in his usual manner, and found the master busy in building a sailing chariot: he saw that the design was practicable upon a level surface, and with expressions of great esteem solicited its completion. The workman was pleased to find himself so much regarded by the prince, and resolved to gain yet higher honours. "Sir, said he, you have seen but a small part of what the mechanick sciences can perform. I have been long of opinion, that, instead of the tardy conveyance of ships and chariots, man might use the swifter migration of wings; that the fields of air are open to knowledge, and that only ignorance and idleness need crawl upon the ground."

This hint rekindled the prince's desire of passing the mountains;

[ you know, Happy Valley is surrounded by mountains ]

and having seen what the mechanist had already performed, he was willing to fancy that he could do more; yet resolved to enquire further before he suffered hope to afflict him by disappointment. "I am afraid, said he to the artist, that your imagination prevails over your skill, and that you now tell me rather what you wish than what you know. Every animal has his element assigned him; the birds have the air, and man and beasts the earth." "So, replied the mechanist, fishes have the water, in which yet beasts can swim by nature, and men by art. He that can swim needs not despair to fly: to swim is to fly in a grosser fluid, and to fly is to swim in a subtler. We are only to proportion our power of resistance to the different density of the matter through which we are to pass. You will be necessarily upborn by the air, if you can renew any impulse upon it, faster than the air can recede from the pressure."

"But the exercise of swiming, said the prince, is very laborious; the strongest limbs are soon wearied; I am afraid the act of flying will be yet more violent, and wings will be of no great use,

[ More on these theoretical objections at the aerostation entry. ]

unless we can fly further than we can swim."

"The labour of rising from the ground, said the artist, will be great, as we see it in the heavier domestick fowls; but, as we mount higher, the earth's attraction, and the body's gravity, will be gradually diminished, till we shall arrive at a region where the man will float in the air without any tendency to fall: no care will then be necessary, but to move forwards, which the gentlest impulse will effect.

[ Newton spun in his grave. Very yrast, no doubt. The same way his bones become vertiginous whenever ``Children of the Sun'' is played and the lyrics ``no more graa - vi - tee, nothing holding them dow - owwn'' are heard. ]

You, Sir, whose curiosity is so extensive, will easily conceive with what pleasure a philosopher, furnished with wings, and hovering in the sky, would see the earth, and all its inhabitants, rolling beneath him, and presenting to him successively, by its diurnal motion, all the countries within the same parallel. How must it amuse the pendent spectator to see the moving scene of land and ocean, cities and desarts!

[ What atrocius speling! Can you believe that this same Samuel Johnson was the author of a famous dictionary? Me neither. ]

To survey with equal security the marts of trade, and the fields of battle; mountains infested by barbarians, and fruitful regions gladdened by plenty, and lulled by peace! How easily shall we then trace the Nile through all his passage; pass over to distant regions, and examine the face of nature from one extremity of the earth to the other!"

"All this, said the prince, is much to be desired, but I am afraid that no man will be able to breathe in these regions of speculation and tranquility. I have been told, that respiration is difficult upon lofty mountains, yet from these precipices, though so high as to produce great tenuity of the air, it is very easy to fall: and I suspect, that from any height, where life can be supported, there may be danger of too quick descent."

"Nothing, replied the artist, will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.

[ Right on! ]

If you will favour my project I will try the first flight at my own hazard. I have considered the structure of all volant animals, and find the folding continuity of the bat's wings most easily accommodated to the human form. Upon this model I shall begin my task to morrow, and in a year expect to tower into the air beyond the malice or pursuit of man. But I will work only on this condition, that the art shall not be divulged, and that you shall not require me to make wings for any but ourselves."

"Why, said Rasselas, should you envy others so great an advantage? All skill ought to be exerted for universal good; every man has owed much to others, and ought to repay the kindness that he has received."

"If men were all virtuous, returned the artist, I should with great alacrity teach them all to fly. But what would be the security of the good, if the bad could at pleasure invade them from the sky? Against an army sailing through the clouds neither walls, nor mountains, nor seas, could afford any security. A flight of northern savages might hover in the wind, and light at once with irresistible violence upon the capital of a fruitful region that was rolling under them. Even this valley, the retreat of princes, the abode of happiness, might be violated by the sudden descent of some of the naked nations that swarm on the coast of the southern sea."

The prince promised secrecy, and waited for the performance, not wholly hopeless of success. He visited the work from time to time, observed its progress, and remarked the ingenious contrivances to facilitate motion, and unite levity with strength. The artist was every day more certain that he should leave vultures and eagles behind him, and the contagion of his confidence seized upon the prince.

In a year the wings were finished, and, on a morning appointed, the maker appeared furnished for flight on a little promontory: he waved his pinions a while to gather air, then leaped from his stand, and in an instant dropped into the lake. His wings, which were of no use in the air, sustained him in the water, and the prince drew him to land, half dead with terrour and vexation.

Warning, spoilers ahead.

Rasselas doesn't get out until chapter 15. His favorite sister, Princess Nekayah, comes along. They spend 33 chapters searching for the secret of happiness. Chapter 48 is entitled ``The conclusion, in which nothing is concluded.''

The princess thought, that of all sublunary things, knowledge was the best: She desired first to learn all sciences, and then purposed to found a college of learned women, in which she would preside, that, by conversing with the old, and educating the young, she might divide her time between the acquisition and communication of wisdom, and raise up for the next age models of prudence, and patterns of piety.

The prince desired a little kingdom, in which he might administer justice in his own person, and see all the parts of government with his own eyes; but he could never fix the limits of his dominion, and was always adding to the number of his subjects.


Oh, brother.

Deutsch als Fremdesprache. `German as a foreign language.' Cf. EFL, ESL.

Device Assembly Facility.

Deutsche Angestelten-Gewerkschaft. German salaried-staff union, with 489 thousand members in 1997 (269 thousand female). The second-largest union outside the DGB, q.v.

Directed Acyclic Graph.

Digital Archive of Historical Astronomy Pictures.


Deutches Archäologisches Institut. (`German Archaeological Institute.')

During the German occupation of Greece, 1941-1944, various atrocities were committed by ordinary troops of the occupation forces, including the decimation of various villages in retaliation for partisan attacks. Sometimes whole villages were leveled, sometimes all adult males were murdered, etc. In the village of Distomo in Boeotia in June 1944, 214 civilian inhabitants, including women and children, were murdered. Since WWII there have been a number of conventions and treaties to settle German reparations for wartime murders, thefts, enslavement, etc. One that eventually covered the massacre at Distomo delayed settlement until the (then apparently distant) time when Germany was reunited. (That's according to one interpretation of the relevant treaties; the German government has a different interpretation, and believes that the Distomo claims were ettled by another, omnibus agreement.)

Germany was reunited the year after the Berlin Wall fell, in September 1990. About 300 relatives of the Distomo massacre victims subsequently brought a civil suit against the Federal Republic for punitive damages. The Greek government did not participate in the action, and was evidently chagrined about its effect on relations with the most powerful fellow member of the EU. The suit in the German court was dismissed, and the plaintiffs brought their grievance to a Greek trial court, which found for them in 1997. The decision was appealed, but upheld by Greece's Supreme Court in April 2000.

The German government refused to accept the verdict of the Greek courts, and plaintiffs sought seizure of German government assets within the jurisdiction of the court, in order to pay the penalty assessed (about $30 million). Three German assets in Athens were targeted: the German high school, the DAI building, and Goethe Haus. The latter two buildings were impounded in September 2001, just before I wrote this entry, to be auctioned later in the month. At the time, I wrote that I'd try to remember to get back to this entry after September 19, when there would be new developments. I guess I must have been distracted by other news. Anyway, before the auction could take place it was ruled that an auction of foreign assets would require Foreign Ministry approval, which the FM did not give and apparently could not be compelled to give. The dispute has dragged on in subsequent years, mostly in Greek courts, with new suits continuing to be filed by survivors from other villages where atrocities were committed.

There's a DAI in Rome as well: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Rom - Istituto Archeologico Germanico Roma.

Distributed Artificial Intelligence.

La Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas. Spanish, `[Congress of] Delegation[s] of Argentine Jewish Organizations.' DAIA was founded in 1935.

After Argentina gained its independence from Spain in 1810, President Bernardino Rivadavia abolished the Inquisition. You know, under previous Argentine constitutions, the president had to be Roman Catholic (see article 74 of the 1860 constitution). In the constitution of 1994 that requirement was abolished, although article 2 still reads ``El Gobierno federal sostiene el culto católico apostólico romano.''

After WWII, Argentina had one of the largest Jewish communities in the world. The Jewish population is still (in 2004) estimated at a quarter million. The population of Argentina is about 38 million, of whom about 14 million live in the province of Buenos Aires, where most of Jewish population is concentrated.

Ironically, after WWII Argentina was also a popular destination of Nazis fleeing justice. (Juan Perón, variously dictator and elected president from 1946 to 1955, was, well, less of a fascist than Hitler. Argentine sympathy in WWII lay with the Axis. This was attributed in large part to loyalty of Italian immigrants to their country of origin, and there was indeed a change in sympathies when Italy surrendered and became a partly German-occupied battleground.)

At one point during the war, my father worked as a radioman on a merchant ship that was going between the port of Buenos Aires and South Africa. Instead of heading directly out into the Atlantic after leaving the Plata, they hugged the coast northward for a while. The motive was to not leave territorial waters too close to where Axis-sympathizing ham radio operators might report their departure to German naval vessels.

After Adolf Eichmann was abducted by the Israeli Mossad in 1960, it was revealed that he had lived in Argentina under the false name of Ricardo Klement. Ricardo Klenent had at one time been a laborer in a factory where my father was a manager. (That had little directly to do with my family's decision to emigrate to the US, which we did early in 1963).

Daily Planet
If you think of them both in astronomical terms, Daily Planet is a more modest name than Daily Star. In the original Superman comics, Clark Kent worked at the Daily Star. Joe Shuster, the original illustrator, recalled this in an interview with the Toronto Star for the newspaper's centenary in 1992:
``Sure! The Star!'' Shuster exclaims, wheezing slightly. ``Not the Planet. That came later.

``I still remember drawing one of the earliest panels that showed the newspaper building. We needed a name, and I spontaneously remembered the Toronto Star. So that's the way I lettered it. I decided to do it that way on the spur of the moment, because The Star was such a great influence on my life.''

Technically, what he remembered in the 1930's was the Daily Star, which became the Toronto Star in the 1960's. Shuster's dad used to read him the comics in the Star when he was a little boy, and at age 9 Joe sold the Star on the streets of downtown Toronto. The family moved to Cleveland when he was 10. (No, they didn't leave him behind.) The Superman strip debuted in 1938. At one point (at least in Action Comics #2) the newspaper was called the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Until that point, in other words, they were using the real name of a real newspaper. The strip was quickly in national syndication, and in 1940 some editor in New York demanded a name change from Star, and that's when it became The Daily Planet. (In the books, the name was used from Action Comics #4 onwards.)

Dockland Arrivals Information SYstem. Real-time train information for Docklands Light Railway, Ltd. (DLR, q.v.).

Data Access Language.

Dallas Semiconductor Corp.
According to their webpages (mostly product-related), ``Dallas Semiconductor Corporation designs, manufactures, and markets electronic chips and chip-based subsystems. Founded in 1984...''

A frequent misspelling of Dalmatian, seeming to suggest the result of some unspeakable genetic act of dalmating. Look, it's very simple: Someone from Italia is Italian, someone from India is Indian, from Russia Russian, and from Croatia Croatian. Similarly, someone from Dalmatia is Dalmatian. Same thing with spotted dogs. In fact, someone from Dalmatia is also Croatian because Dalmatia is the coastal region of Croatia.

But remember the take-home: Dalmatians are a dog breed that takes its name from Dalmatia (and not from some bogus Latin dalmatio, -ionis). Thank you. Get it right or I'm going to have to start shooting down a hundred and one movie marquees.

[A similar instance is ``dimension.'' This is obviously a misspelling of Dementian -- a resident of Dementia, someone who is not all at that particular there, someone who listened to the Doctor Demento Show. Dementites, on the other hand, I'm not sure I can believe. Of course, what's really hard to believe is that the show is still on the air (and on satellite radio, etc.). By now Demento must be a geriatric pediatrician.]

Yeah, yeah, Dalmatians are not Croatians in every ethnic sense of the word. Dalmatians are Croatians the same way Texans are Americans -- legally the same nationality, but with an identifiable regional identity. I've got before me a book by Robert St. John. It's about Yugoslavia shortly after WWII, and it makes the break-up of Yugoslavia seem less surprising, if you were surprised. Then again, if you were surprised then lack of information might not be your problem. The book's chapters are collected in parts, many of them entitled ``These Are the Foobarians'' or ``This Is Metavariable City'' or somesuch. Part Four is entitled ``These Are the Dalmatians,'' and Part Six is ``These Are the Croatians.'' You're probably wondering what happened in between. ``These Are the Montenegrins.'' You may be thinking that the book is oddly organized. Part Thirteen is ``This Is Belgrade Again.''

Okay, I admit it: the book is not before me -- not exactly. It's off to the left. The mouse is on the right, etc. The book is The Silent People Speak, (NY: Doubleday, 1947). The real reason I mention it is the intriguing fact that the copyright page mentions

The lines from ``Thanks'' by Arthur Johnston & Sam Coslow are copyrighted, 1933, by Famous Music Corporation.

The reason it's intriguing is...

[I'll give you a minute to guess.]

Okay, time's up!

It's intriguing because of the coincidence of Silent and Johnston. William Johnston wrote a book entitled Silent Music: The Science of Meditation (New York: Harper & Rowe, Publ., 1974 [nudge]). Amazing, huh?

Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate.

A synonym for atomic mass unit (amu). My impression is that this term is popular primarily among by biochemists and polymer chemists, so atomic masses given in daltons are usually 105 and up.

Data Acquisition and Monitoring.

Digital Answering Machine. These critters use DRAM memory chips for digitized voice storage. Because a small amount of error is acceptable and probably imperceptible to the human ear, defective DRAM chips can be used in this application. They're called ARAM's; Micron CMS in Boise, Idaho deals 'em.

Data Administration Management Association. Now prefers to style itself ``DAMA International -- Data Management Association.''

Demand-Assignment Multiple Access.

Spanish, `lady.' Cognate of French, English dame.

In principle, damita, as a regularly formed diminutive of dama, might be translated `little lady.' But the English expression ``little lady'' is an idiom; it's meaning involves conventions beyond those of its constituent words. In Spanish, damita is a rare, slightly stiff way to say `young lady,' and is really just un anglicismo.

In April 2004, a couple of months after el escándalo of the SB halftime-show ``wardrobe malfunction,'' Janet Jackson released a new album entitled ``Damita Jo.'' Perhaps this was meant to suggest something like ``little ol' me,'' since the English pronunciation of Jo approximates the pronunciation of Spanish yo (`I') in some places (Argentina and Puerto Rico, for example, and of course a few scattered parts of Andalucia). The title is either a lot cleverer than that, or stupid. I guess the latter, so I'm happy to report that sales have been disappointing.

I've now been informed that ``Damita Jo'' is what comes between ``Janet'' and ``Jackson'' in the entertainer's full name. How could I have been so ignorant!? She also had an album entitled ``janet. [sic]'' (``[sic]'' was not part of the title, just an indication to you, the sophisticated reader, that the word was written all lower-case and that the period was part of the title). Before that there was an album entitled ``Janet Jackson.'' These album titles show a systematic progression over time: each successive title presumes a greater familiarity with the artist, or imposes a greater difficulty of guessing the author from the title. Up next: the pet names her boyfriends gave to her body parts. Normally this would be a limited release.

And if you think three (so far) is the record for most self-titled albums, you don't know Diddley.

In its conventional sense, damage is a ``mass noun,'' an ``uncountable noun.'' That is, just as one does not have one water, two waters in the usual sense of water, one does not have one damage, two damages, etc.

Countability is a grammatical distinction, and is to some degree arbitrary. For example, one normally counts ``facts'' (i.e., fact is ``a count noun'' or ``countable''), but not ``informations.''

I haven't finished writing this entry, but I have to get to work. Think about waters, monies, ``finding fact [or law]'' and ``statement of fact.''

Dental Appliance Manufacturers Audit Scheme. Something run by the UK Dental Laboratories Association.

``DAMAS is essentially an independent assessment according to the DAMAS Management System Specification, a set of criteria that ensure consistent quality and high standards. The assessment is carried out by an external Certification Body which will check that each member of [a dental laboratory's] staff complies with process checks throughout the manufacturing procedure. All DAMAS laboratories institute a quality policy, undertaking management reviews and internal audits to verify that the systems in place are working correctly.''

`Ladies.' Plural of the Spanish noun, dama (above).

It's also the Spanish name of the board game called checkers in the US and draughts in the UK. Jugar a las damas means to `play checkers.' It looks like it could mean `play to the ladies,' but it doesn't work that way, because the particle to in ``play to'' isn't exactly the preposition to that might be translated as a. A pun is possible if jugar is part of the object: ver jugar a las damas means `to see the ladies play.'

[Phone icon]

Digital Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS). Originally a North American Standard, is probably still the most widely implemented cell phone standard in the world. This acronym is still generally written with a hyphen, perhaps to encourage the pronunciation ``dee amps'' in preference to the soggy-sounding ``damps.'' As a result, however, the expansion is frequently burdened with the same, in this case inappropriate, punctuation (``Digital-Advanced ...'').

Dynamically Adaptive Multicarrier Quadrature Amplitude Modulation.

[dive flag]

Divers Alert Network.

Dental Assisting National Board.

From the French dent de lion, meaning `yard pimple.'

Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística. We don't have a very thorough coverage of Colombian governmental organizations acronyms, but I figured this one merited inclusion.

DimethylAminoNaphthalene SulfonYL. Same as Dns.

Delays Alternating with Nutations for Tailored Excitation. (NMR abstrocity.)

Dante Alighieri. A disciple of Virgilio.

Data Access Object[s].

Data Assimilation Office. At the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

Disk-At-Once. CD recording programs.

Data Access Protocol. Digital terminology.

DiAllyl Phthallate (plastic). Spit when you say that!

Donor-Acceptor Pair[s].

A genus of flowering shrub. The genus includes among its species the Spurge Laurel. In classical mythology, Daphne was the name of a nymph who was metamorphosed into a Bay tree. The Bay tree, or Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) used to be the main plant referred to by the word laurel, but over time the word's meaning was extended to include many plants that happen to have similar leaves.

Let this be a lesson to you: when you're playing Scrabble and the tiles on your rack suggest a proper noun, like Abbot, Al, Alan, Alaska, Alexander,* Alley, Ally, Amber, Ampere, Ana, Angstrom, Anna, Apollo, Art, Bach, Barlow, Barb, Belle, Berlin, Bertha, Beth, Bill, Billie, Billy, Bob, Bozo, Brad, Brandy, Brasil, Brazil, Brent, Buck, Bud, Buddy, Bum (as in Oail Andrew ``Bum'' Phillips), Bush, Cab, Caesar, Cain, Candy, Cap, Carl, Carol, Carter, Carver, Charley or Charlie, Chad, Chastity, Chile, China, Chuck, Cicero (but not Tully), Clement, Colorado, Conner (but not Connor), Cooper, Coulomb, Crocket, Daisy, Dale, Dalton, Daphne, Davy, Dawn, Dean, Dick, Dolly, Don, Donna, Dot, Drew, Duke, Ed,* Einstein, Erica, Fanny, Faraday, Fawn, Fermi, Flora, Ford, Frank, Fritz, Fuji, Garret, Gauss, Gene, Ginger, Gore, Grace, Grant, Gray, Grey, Guernsey, Guinea, Hamlet, Harry, Hector, Henry, Herb, Homer, Jade, Jake, Jane, Japan, Jean, Jenny, Jeroboam, Jerry, Jersey, Jess, Jesse, Jill, Jimmie,* Jimmy, Jo, Job, Joe, Johannes, John, Johnnie, Johnny, Joey, Jones, Jordan, Joseph, Joule, Joy, Judas, Ken, Kid, Kip, Laurel, Lear, Lewis, Liana, Lily, Louis, Mac, Macadam, Madeleine,* Madonna, Mae, Magdalen, Magdalene,* Magenta, Marc, Marcel, Marge, Maria, Mark, Mars, Martin, Maryjane, Matt, Mavis, Mel, Mercury, Merl, Merlin, Mollie, Molly, Morris, Mort, Myrtle, Nancy, Nelson, Nestor, Newton, Nick, Nimrod, Nubia, Oersted, Ohm, Ole, Oxford, Paddy, Pam, Panama, Pascal, Pat, Patty, Pearl, Peg, Peer, Peter, Pierce, Polo (not Marco, though), Pops, Puck, Ralph, Red, Rex, Rich, Rick, Rip, Rob, Rock, Rod, Roger, Rose, Ruth, Sally, Saul, Schiller, Shawn, Sheila, Sherry, Siemens, Smith, Smokey, Smoky, Snoopy, Sol, Solon, Sonny, Spears, Spike, Stentor, Stew (sorry, not Stu), Sue, Sunny, Sweeny, Ted, Terry, Texas, Tod, Tom, Tommy, Tony, Trey, Tucker, Turkey, Tweed, Venus,* Victor, Victoria, Violet, Wade, Wales, Wally, Warren, Watt, Weber, Will, Willy, Wilt, Wolf, or Woody, don't put it out of mind -- it might be a playable word also.

The names suggested above are all accepted by the two major tournament dictionaries, TWL and SOWPODS. I don't have my own copy of these and am relying on the online versions at <Scrabulous.com> (and earlier at at <Bingobinge.com>). Consequently, I can't give complete version information respecting TWL and SOWPODS. Specifically, I started entering names in this entry when the TWL version was TWL98, and during 2006 the version was updated to TWL2006. I haven't checked, but I assume that none of those I found in TWL98 was removed in TWL2006. (If there's any exception, it might be Moe, which is not in TWL2006 but which I thought was in TWL 98.)

* All of the names above were also in the OSPD3, with the exception of those marked with an asterisk. Of those exceptions, Ed and Jimmie were added in the OSPD4. (If they were in the OSPD3, I assume they were in the OSPD4 also and haven't checked.)

Generally, SOWPODS is more inclusive. It accepts the following names not in TWL2006 or any OSPD. Abram, Albert, Alison, Ann, Barton, Canada, Chas, Darcy, Dan, Dino, Dob, Gunter, James, Jeff, Judy, Kant, Lana, Lew, Luke (Matthew is the odd gospel out, though Matt is in everywhere), Mary, Meg, Minnie, Moe, Moses, Niger, Norman, Oliver, Patrick, Paul, Poisson, Rubin, Russia, Sean, Steven (sorry, Steve and Stephen), Sweeney, Travis, Tyler, Willie, Yale, and York.

Don't overlook homophones like fillip, or adjectives based on proper nouns, like Chinese (SOWPODS only), Danish, Dutch, Egyptian, Fleming (SOWPODS only), Flemish, French, Gaussian (SOWPODS only), German, Germanic, Greek, Gypsy, Hessian, Italianate, Jew, Mongol, Mongoloid, Platonic, Scot, Scotch, Scotia, Sorb, Swede, Swiss, Turk, and Welsh (and apparent ones like argentine, colombine, pole, and polish, or even reb, sabra, and yank).

Daughters of the American Revolution.

1789 is not one of them, officially. [The French Revolution had many fathers. This is odd, since failure is an orphan. I guess the mother died.]

Digital Audio Radio.

Direct Arc (plasma) Reactor.

I'm not sure that it is entirely ethical to have an entry for this term once proposed, so you'll have to go to the yrneh to find out about it. That's bad enough.

Dictionary of American Regional English.

Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Multiple scientific studies have demonstrated that it's ineffective, a $700 million/year waste, but support for the program is not based on rational thinking, so all these studies are really beside the point -- thus, ironically, the effectiveness research is itself a waste of money as well. [The preceding is a NewsTimeweek-style ending: middle-brow irony, paper-thin cynicism, suburban knowingness. But it's not over. Here we give you more.]

In my high school we had some traditional gangs that got drunk and rode motorcycles (in that order, if there were any sober intervals). By ``traditional'' I mean they didn't use any modern intoxicants. In that way I suppose they were purists, sort of like civil-war reenactors. Nowadays they're responsible citizens with well-paying Wall Street jobs that don't require them to know the stuff they didn't learn in high school. When they were young hoodlums, though, the local police tried to make them go straight by having them join the junior police. I guess that would be sort of like police acolytes or novices, I don't know. They got kicked off for being drunk on duty. Even though they weren't that interested in being junior cops, they resented the injustice that the junior police who were stoned on pot weren't kicked off.

When I was in elementary school, Lieutenant Catalon would come around to our school every semester or so and scold us about traffic safety, teaching us to ride legally on the right side of the road so we couldn't see who was going to hit us. Later on I learned that many years before, he and a couple of other officers got caught doing something bad-coppish, or maybe they just came under strong suspicion, and they ended up on permanent traffic duty with no chance of promotion.

How many people go into police work so they can spend their days talking to fifth-graders? The DARE workbook is distributed to 26 million schoolchildren in 75% of US schools according to an April 16, 2001 article in The Courier News. (That was The Plainfield Courier in my day.) That doesn't make any sense. Not about what happened to the paper after it joined the ``Gannett family'' -- I mean about the 26 million schoolchildren. That's like 10% of the US population. If the population is constant and most people live to about the same old age of 65, then only 1/65 of the population is in fifth grade each year. If you count fifth graders in only 75% of schools, no matter which 75% you choose it's probably under 1%. Granted the population is growing, still, 26 million? That's the trouble with public-issue statistics: they're meant to be taken in emotionally, not understood. I'll get back to this after I visit an almanac.

Darién Gap
A break in the Pan-American Highway at the Darién Rainforest straddling the Panama-Colombia border.

dark matter
Matter inferred from the elementary mechanics of galactic motions and other evidence, in excess of that matter estimated from visible objects (mostly stars or galaxies).

Vide WIMP and MACHO.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Later called ARPA, now called DARPA again. An independent OXR not associated with a particular service branch.

Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems.

Degree Audit Reporting System. The name of a software product developed at Miami University (of Ohio) [which maintains a mailing list DARS-L] and now licensed for use in over a hundred other schools, incl. SUNY Binghamton and other SUNY-system universities.

In college I had a next-door-neighbor named Daras. She was studying to be a pharmacist, but she never brought us any free samples of recreational chemistry. I guess you didn't really need to know that. I apologize for wasting valuable time that you could be spending on a talk.politics.extreme.* newsgroup.

DARtmouth SIMplified COde. A programming language, predecessor of BASIC. See this DART entry for others.

{Dallas (TX) | Dublin (Ireland)} Area Rapid Transit. (RT is a common productive affix.) Cf. DART.

DARTmouth College (experimental programming language for undergraduates).

In 1959 Dartmouth College bought an LGP-30. Two researchers there, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz, used it to develop a programming language appropriate for the average undergraduate. FORTRAN and full-strength ALGOL apparently did not qualify.

Kemeny and Kurtz made a number of tries, with names such as these:

I figured you might enjoy trying to guess what these stood for. The expansions are at the links. (Who am I kidding? I only set it up this way to inflate my headword count. Okay, okay: ``Whom am I kidding, question mark.'' That's really what I said, you just didn't listen carefully. What a bunch of captious glossary readers!)

None of these languages became a widespread success or frankly even a narrowspread success, but they provided excellent preparation for the main event: BASIC.

Data Acquisition, Real-Time. Here's a specialized glossary for DART meetings. The web enables people all over the world to study that document, although their chances of actually attending one of the meetings are generally not high.

Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis.

``As part of the U.S. National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP), the Deep Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) Project is an ongoing effort to maintain and improve the capability for the early detection and real-time reporting of tsunamis in the open ocean. Developed by NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and operated by NOAA's National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), DART is essential to fulfilling NOAA's national responsibility for tsunami hazard mitigation and warnings.

Delaware Authority for Regional Transit. The expansion refers to a Wilmington-area transit service that was merged in 1994 with other publicly run transit services into a statewide ``DART First State'' in which DART is not expanded. Cf. DART.

Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology. NASAnese.

Disaster Assistance Response Team. The designation of a Canadian military unit.

Traditionally, a military unit's disaster assistance role is making it happen for the enemy.

Directory of American Scholars.

Dual Attach Station.

Data Acquisition System for Crash Avoidance Research.

Direct-Access Storage Device. Fancy name for hard drive on larger IBM computers, but used more generally.

Digital Array Scanning Interferometer. Designed and built for DASI Pathfinder mission of NASA's ERAST project.

4-DimethylAmino-N-methyl Stilbazolium Methylsulfonate.

Dienstleistungsgesellschaft für Automatisierungs- und Signalverarbeitungssysteme mbH. German, `Consulting Company for Automation and Signal Processing Systems.' I suppose the asterisk helps distinguish the company name from the word dass (better daß), meaning `that' (in the sense of a relative pronoun). They're in the actuators, robotics, and image processing businesses.

Digital Access Signaling System #2.

DiethylAminoSulfur Trifluoride. CAS no. 38078-09-0.

4-DimethylAmino-N-methyl Stilbazolium Tosylate.

DimethylAminoSulfur Trifluoride. CAS no. 3880-03-3. The acronym DAST is much more frequently used for the diethyl solvent.

Form of the verb dare encountered in Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman. At the grave of Willy Loman (pun and salesman of the title), his friend Charley explains to Willy's son Biff, or scolds him:
Nobody dast blame this man. You don't understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back--that's an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you're finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.

The word dast certainly raises the register of his speech; if one doesn't feel that takes it too much over the top, that it's a bit out of Charley's character, then one may say that it works. The word sounds like an archaism, but its a neologism. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of the word's ever having been used before Miller put it in his play. It doesn't even look like third-person singular form, since it's missing the final ess; it looks like a thou conjugation. I suppose one could take it as a subjunctive, which is appropriate here, but given the third-person uses of ``don't,'' that might be over-reading.

Death of a Salesman is standard high-school reading in the US, and ``dast blame'' has come into widespread use. The champion creator of faux anachronisms must be Thomas Hardy, many of whose neologisms have come to be recorded in dictionaries solely on the evidence of his novels, but I'm not aware of any that came into common use as a result.

DAST d-26
Perdeuterated DAST.

Dementia of Alzheimer's Type. If the person with DAT is elderly, then the DAT is SDAT (S for senile).

Dental (school) Admission Test. Also expanded Dental Aptitude Test, which may at one time have been the official expansion. The test is now offered in a computerized format, and includes a writing sample.

Digital Audio Tape.

Dynamic Area Telethermometry.


A plural noun in Latin. The English plural of anecdote, normally construed singular.

An uncountable (``mass'') noun in English. There are still a few people who get their panties in a knot over the fact that data is not used as a plural in English, as it is in Latin. It's not as bad as countable singular use of media, which also raises hackles, and agenda, which doesn't. (Discussion of the latter is buried somewhere in the chai entry.)

Design, Automation and Test in Europe. An annual conference.

A book released on August 25, 2015, subtitled How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game. I don't doubt that the author, Jon Birger, is right in arguing that young college-educated women who live and work in New York City have trouble finding and keeping (romantically speaking) male peers because the men are outnumbered and elsewhere in various ways. But Birger seems to be statistically challenged nevertheless. He gathers a lot of statistics that don't show what he thinks they do, or at least don't prove the points he thinks they do.

date windowing
A crude workaround for the Y2K problem: a century-long window is used to interpret two-digit year numbers. If the window runs, say from 1970 on, then year designations 70, 71, 72 ... are interpreted as 1970, 1971, 1972, ..., while 69, 68, 67 ... are interpreted as 2069, 2068, 2067, etc. This disambiguates dates, but requires slightly nontrivial ordering functions. It led to collation problems in CREN archives using the option of yy (as opposed to yyyy) filenames.

Having to do with giving. From the Latin dativus, `of giving,' from datus `given.' As a grammatical term, it renders similar Greek words ultimately derived from Greek dotós, `given.'

In many Indo-European and other languages, the dative case is the grammatical category of nouns denoting the indirect object of a verb's action, or the more remote of different objects. The indirect object is typically glossed as the object to or for which the action of the verb is performed. (For example, if I write you an entry, I write the entry for you. So the entry is the direct object of my writing, and you are the possibly unwilling indirect object.)

There are never enough different cases, so the dative case is usually used in a variety of ways. German, for example, has only four cases (nominative, genitive, accusative, and dative), and the objects of prepositions and postpositions are in either the accusative or dative case. The prepositions aus, bei, mit, nach, von, zu, seit all take the dative, as do the postpositions nach and weder. Many prepositions take either the accusative or dative depending on whether the sense is, roughly, ablative or locative, respectively. A characteristic example: ins Kino, using the accusative (standard contraction of in das Kino) means `to [or into] the movie theater'; im Kino, using the dative (standard contraction of in dem Kino) means `at [or inside] the movie theater.' As the example suggests, case distinctions are usually not apparent from noun morphology, but may often be inferred from an article or adjective.

dative bond
A coordinate bond. That is, a covalent bond in which both bonding electrons are donated by one of the atoms. Probably the standard example is the Lewis acid-base pair of boron trichloride (Lewis acid -- electron-pair acceptor) and ammonia (Lewis base -- electron-pair donor). The formation of the dative bond is the reaction
	H N: + BCl  -->  H NBCl   .
         3        3       3    3

(The colon represents a lone pair. In this case it occupies an sp3 orbital of nitrogen.)

``Dative bond'' seems to be one of those terms left over from the time when scientists were burdened with liberal education, grammar, rhetoric, geometry, and similar rot. Probably the various forms of ``coordinate bond'' are collectively more common. To confirm this, I just (on data updated to October 22, 2005) did simple searches on SCI (1975-2005) for a few alternative terms. (The total number of documents searched was 23,562,336; I'm glad I didn't have to do this by hand.)

dative bond             184     dative bond*            329
co-ordinate bond          5     co-ordinate bond*         7
coordinate bond         100     coordinate bond*        243
co*rdinate bond         100     co*rdinate bond*        243

Ummm, yes, now that you mention it -- it does seems that the last two lines returned the same hits. So it seems that ``dative bond'' (speaking merely in quantitative terms, you understand) has been the more common term, over the past 30 years. Hmmm. But probably it's going out of use. Therefore, I have computed the ratio h(dative bond)/(h(co*rdinate bond) + h(co-ordinate bond)), where h(phrase) is the number of hits for a search on ``phrase'' in a particular period. Dividing the 30 complete years of data into three decades, one finds:

1975-1984       0.17
1985-1994       1.45
1995-2004       1.36

There, see? It peaked. (Only the last digit in each line is not significant, by the standard rules.) I also found no accusative, ablative, allative, genitive, inessive, instructive, locative, nominative, partitive, or vocative bond. I was surprised to find just a smattering of ``associative bond'' and similar terms, used in a few specialized senses, usually defined ad hoc. And I did encounter the phrase ``The power and the wide applicability of Fourier-transform spectroscopy unite these fields with a common mathematical and instrumental bond.''

Some languages have a terminal case. Basque, for one. In Basque, cases are indicated by suffixes. (The suffix goes on the noun if there's no adjective. Adjectives follow the noun, and the ending goes on the last adjective.) The precise form of the suffix depends on a kind of gender: i.e., whether the noun is animate or inanimate. (There is also a male-female distinction in second-person familiar verb forms.) Another matter determining the suffix form is whether or not a specific entity is meant (i.e., definite declension or indefinite declension). Furthermore, in the definite declension the suffix indicates number (though the form of a suffix may depend on whether the verb is transitive). In the indefinite declension, there is no distinction between singular and plural nouns or adjectives. Not having to choose a grammatical number when one speaks in generalities could be a convenient thing in science. (Incidentally, I got a lot of SCI hits on ``terminal bond*'' -- with the meanings you'd expect.) But Basque is not a major world language of science, unless you count the science of not getting your head knocked off in jai alai. Anyway, just to keep things complicated on the indefinite side (in the absence of grammatical number), the indefinite-declension suffixes depend on whether the root noun ends in a consonant or not. (Interestingly, given names are declined like indefinite nouns.) Also, you can use the separate indefinite article bat following the noun, and this, alas, has plural forms (batzu, batzuk). (In jai alai, one doesn't use a bat but a wicker basket called a cesta. It's strapped to the wrist and it's not big enough to cover your head, so you have to use it to catch and launch the projectile.)

That should be enough general context, so finally we come to the terminal case, which Basque indicates with suffixes that end in -aino. Most nouns in Basque have natural gender, so you will not be surprised to learn that the word etxe, for `house,' has inanimate gender. (I'd be curious to know about haunted houses.) With the (definite, inanimate, singular) terminal ending -raino, this becomes etxeraino, meaning `up to the house' or `as far as the house.' The plural etxeetaraino means `up to the houses' or `as far as the houses.' Comparing the singular and plural forms just given, it is interesting to note that eta is a Basque word for `and.' (The other standard word is ta, and in French they use et. I have no idea how significant any of this is.) A lot of the indefinite inanimate plural suffixes are constructed by slapping an -eta- on the front of the corresponding singular form. (I'm trying to save you some memorization here!) Thus (by the way, I assume you realize that x is pronounced like English sh or French ch, and tx like English and Spanish ch), etxeruntz is `toward the house' and etxeetaruntz is `toward the houses.' You can guess the singular forms that correspond to the ablative form etxeetatik (`from the houses'), allative etxeetara (`to the houses'), and locative etxeetako (`of the houses').

``Locative'' in Basque indicates what is called the nonpersonal possessive, something like `corresponding to,' and there is no locative form for animate nouns. The semantic range of this case may be better understood by considering that there is also a genitive case and an inessive case (the case name is from the Latin inesse, `to be in [or at].' Now that we all understand what the locative case means, we are intrigued to recall that the singular suffix for destination, -rako (etxerako is `for the house'), looks like it's constructed by combining the locative -ko and allative -ra that you were supposed to figure out above. The plural form is -etarako. (This allative-plus-locative analysis doesn't work in the indefinite declension, and is of course impossible for animate gender.)

This destination case is not to be confused with the dative (as in etxeari, `to the house'; etxeei, `to the houses'), used for indirect objects. The dative -- it's like coming home! Screw the animates and indefinites and let's have a beer. I'll just leave you with gizonarenganaino, meaning `up to the man' (from gizon, `man'). (Oh yeah -- exceptions to natural gender: mahai, `table,' is considered animate. Great for seances in a haunted house (etxe mamuztatu). Let's dance the mamushka! On the other hand, body parts are inanimate. Hmmm.)


Deutscher Altphilologenverband. `Association of German teachers of Greek and Latin.'

Disabled American Veterans.

Digital Audio-VIsual Council.

d.a.w., DAW
Dispense As Written. Physician's notation on a prescription, instructing pharmacist not to substitute generic brand of drug.

Driving While Ability Impaired. Cf. DWI. (This entry is itself an example of typing while ability impaired, I believe. I probably meant DWAI.

A Star Trek character, female, with a bad peripheral case of alien eczema. Here's a picture.

Okay, here's some higher-quality information on Dax from Mark. Mark is a real person. He's really an alien too, except when he's in Canada. You know, Shatner was that way too, although there's this: In ``Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,'' there's a scene with Kirk in a restaurant with the 1985 marine biologist. The Captain is telling her about his work. She is incredulous.

Biologist: So you're telling me you're from outer space?
Kirk: No, I'm from Iowa. I only work in outer space.

Now about Dax: the Star Trek character -- to be exact, that's Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (ST:DS9) -- is (or was, or will possibly have been) a composite of two intelligent beings: the humanoid host, female, whom you see, and a ``symbiont'' living in her abdomen that looks like a giant slug or something. The humanoid depicted is named Jadzia; the symbiont is named Dax. It is the custom for the host's original surname to be replaced by the symbiont's name when they are joined, so her whole name is Jadzia Dax.

Mark also has a last name, but I tend not to give those in this glossary. At least he gets his first name. Madeleine is usually just described as the SBF banjo specialist (alpha chapter).

Anyway, Jadzia was murdered at the end of the 1997-98 season. The symbiont survived the attack and was joined to a new host, Ezri (its ninth or thereabouts -- symbionts are long-lived). Whereas Jadzia Dax looked like the human Terry Farrell with a bad peripheral case of alien eczema, Ezri Dax looks like the human Nicole deBoer with a bad peripheral case of alien eczema. I could probably find a picture of Ezri Dax and/or Nicole deBoer on the web somewhere. It's on the to-do list. Okay, here's a picture of Nicole deBoer at the DS9 Series Wrap Party on April 22, 1999.

Deutsche Aktienindex. `German share index.' A kind of Dow Jones average of the thirty strongest German stocks, introduced in 1988.

day beacon
A marine marker without its own light source.

``Days of Our Lives.'' Supermarket-tabloid abbreviation for a soap opera on NBC.

There's a link from UB, served by someone at Buff' State (it's intentionally made confusing for out-of-towners). Here's another unofficial homepage for DAYS, with links to yet more. Another.

Day Tripper
I recall about three hit songs whose standard releases end with explicit musical reference to the Beatles' ``Day Tripper,'' but I can only recall exactly the following two:
  1. The Eagles song ``In The City,'' released in early 1979 on their album The Long Run. It ends with a lone electric guitar slowly beginning the first eight notes of Day Tripper. (Note that there are a number of songs entitled ``In The City.'' The Eagles song includes the line ``I know there must be something better.'')
  2. April Wine's ``I Like To Rock'' (from the album Harder Faster, 1980, named after lines delivered by Marilyn Chambers in the movie ``Behind The Green Door'' and mixed into their version of ``Twenty-first Century Man''). Brian Greenaway, who had recently joined the band, explains the origin of the meshed licks in an interview with Classic Rock Revisited:
    At the end of ``I Like To Rock'' the band takes advantage of their 3-guitar attack as [the group's leader and main songwriter Myles] Goodwyn plays the main melody while Greenway and Gary Moffit pump out the main riffs to both ``Satisfaction'' and ``Day Tripper.'' The result was magical and people around the world loved it. The dueling guitar part was just one of many tricks the band used. Greenway gets credit for the idea, ``When I was in a band called All The Young Dudes we used to fool around playing two songs at one time as we had 2 drummers. I brought it from there. How we started doing it in April Wine I forget but it must have been Gary and myself doing it as joke in rehearsal for the album.''
    (Of course, ``All The Young Dudes'' is itself a musical reference -- it's the title of a David Bowie song. That song includes the phrase ``Bugaloo dudes,'' which I believe and also hope is unconnected with Juggalo.)

Sugarloaf's ``Don't Call Us, We'll Call You'' (1974) integrates an instrumental riff from the Beatles' ``I Feel Fine'' (1964) (sweetened to mark the contrast with the Sugarloaf's darker metal style). The riff follows the line ``Yeah -- it sounds like, eh, John-Paul-and-George.''

Incidentally, I heard the other day that Aerosmith is opening for Kiss, and blowing them away. Is this really the twenty-first century?

day walkers
People who work day shifts. Slang among bouncers in the South Bend area, beginning to be used by others. To judge by a web search in May 2004, the usage is not widespread.

Deutsche Allgemeine Zeit. `German Common Time (zone).'

DB, db

DayBook. A book in which daily transactions are recorded, or a diary. A lot of dictionaries that don't mention really common meanings of DB like Defensive Back do mention daybook. Okay, whatever.

dB, db
DeciBel. Ten times the common logarithm of a power ratio or twenty times the logarithm of a voltage ratio. E.g., 3 dB is a power ratio of two (3.0103 dB, to be more precise than is ever called for in practice, so far as I have ever experienced). A frequency where gain or transmission falls to half its maximum value is often called a ``3 dB point.'' Typically, the ratio is to an implicit power level (as in dBm, dB SPL, and dBu).

Pronunciation Sidebar

Note that most unit abbreviations are expanded in speech. For example, in. is pronounced ``inch,'' kg and kG as ``kilogram'' and ``kilogauss.'' [The latter example partly explains the practice.] There are a few exceptions, however: cc is read off as ``cee-cee'' and less often as ``cubic centimeter,'' and dB (especially in the jargon ``3 dB point'') is often pronounced ``dee-bee.''

Another example of anomalous unit abbreviation pronunciation is the ``mil'' pronunciation of the milliliter (ml) unit (but follow latter link for a surprise). Significantly, a milliliter is a fluid measure exactly equal in volume to a cubic centimeter. A dimensional resonance effect in phonological linguistics? The study of this and similar important issues in connection with unit names constructed by shortening the name of a hemieponymous honoree (amp from Ampere, torr from Torricelli, volt from Volta, etc.) could probably supply a few grad students with PhD dissertation topics.

Modern audio hardware typically references volume levels to a maximum, so most audio API's represent volume by a nonpositive number: a logarithmic attenuation factor. In the DirectSound, for example, volume ranges from -10000 to 0, in units of a hundredth of a decibel. I guess that ought to be millibels (mB). Note that when sound is digitized in 16 bits, the ratio of highest to lowest amplitude is 65536:1, or 320 log102 dB (about 96 dB). Cf. CD.

Declining Balance. A declining-balance card is like a company-town debit card without the checks.

[Football icon]

Defensive Back. A position in American football. The term is also used generically for the whole secondary. I'll write more when I figure out what that means.

Strength is more important in defensive linemen than in other defensive positions; speed is more important in DB's, DE's, and safeties than in DL's. That ``speed,'' however, is primarily sprint speed. The nonfootball stat that is the significant figure of merit for DL's is time in the 40-yard dash. No one is interested in their 1000-meter or marathon times.

Those sorts of facts were called immediately to mind by football news reported by the AP for Thursday, April 3, 2008. Around 11:30 AM, there was a disturbance in the parking lot of the police station, no less, in Pearland, Texas (about 15 mi. south of Houston). When officers approached to investigate, Kenny Wright, a DB with the Cleveland Browns, took off running. Police said he led them on a quarter-mile foot race, but no precise times were reported. Sgt. Roy Castillo said in a statement that ``we had people on scene pretty fast and I believe because of our quick response time and the mental and physical toughness of our officers to catch offenders, we were able to get him in custody quickly and safely.''

The defensive back was eventually tackled at a nearby subdivision. That's fair: he had possession -- at least of marijuana in his car, allegedly. And if he didn't have possession maybe he was going for it, so you could say he was intercepted. He was held in the Pearland City Jail that night on various misdemeanor charges, pending a bond hearing Friday. Wright attended Northwestern State in Louisiana. He graduated magna cum laude... oh wait, that must be someone else. He went to the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round of the 1999 draft. The nine-year veteran has also played for Houston, Jacksonville, and Washington. He has seven career interceptions of his own. He had a disappointing season in 2007, and he was released by the Browns in July 2008.

Degree of Branching. Term typically used in discussion of organic polymers.

Deutsch-Bonnet. Charles Deutch and René Bonnet formed a partnership to build sports cars that were known as DB's. They were renowned in the 1950's and 1960's for their unusual (but aerodynamically small) bodies and for their small engines (under one liter). ``DBs won the coveted Index of Performance several times in the world's most prestigious endurance races.'' (This according to the brochure for an ``Art of the National Sports Car'' exhibit at Notre Dame's Snite Museum of Art, Summer 2004.

[Phone icon]

Dial Box. Phone instrument from the steam age.

For another kind of Dial box, see the BOGO entry.

Dielectric Breakdown. The dielectric in question is usually functioning principally as an insulator, with the value of its dielectric constant a secondary consideration. Therefore, change of n is not the issue in DB, it's the occurrence of conductivity.

Doomsday Book. Or Domesday Book. Those Normans may have been effective conquerors, but they couldn't spell.

Dubnium. Atomic number 105. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

DataBase Administrator.

DihydroDimethylbenzopyranButyric Acid.

Doctor[ate] {of|in} Business Administration. A doctor who administers the business instead of the medicine. Also the degree qualifying a person to do such a thing. Not to be confused with the traditional business-related DBA...

DBA, dba, d/b/a
Doing Business As.

On my most recent trip itinerary (the one printed out on the green computer cards) I was surprised to see the actual name of the regional feeder that code-shares with ATA (the airline I took), followed by ``DBA ATA Express.''

DiamondBACKS. Arizona professional baseball team. The diamondback is a desert snake.

Deutsche Bundesbahnen AG. Old name of the German (.de) national railways. Sorry, I don't know the new name.

DataBase of (protein) sequence and structure ALIgnments. Announced by Marc A. Marti-Renom, Valentin A. Ilyin, and Andrej Sali in Bioinformatics, vol. 17, #8 (August 2001), pp. 746-747. Maybe there's a URL, but I don't know. I only saw the abstract while searching for papers on guitar acoustics. This paper was one of the search results, evidently because the abstract mentions Ilyin and Sali's ModView at <http://guitar.rockefeller.edu/>. Oh look -- from that page there are links to various bioinformatics resources of the Sali lab, including one to DBAli.

As you will have noticed, this glossary is so up-to-the-CPU-cycle that you see the new entries in the jumbled form they take as the news is breaking. You also see the old entries that way. We strive for the genuine appearance of authenticity.

I can remember when those heavy oversize citation and periodical indices would lie heavy in my lap, as I used pencil-and-paper technology to record which articles I needed while my legs fell asleep on the library carpeting. So I don't complain about a few inappropriate extra hits on my search (beta error). Not too long after I learn what it is, we'll have an entry for the guitar nebula, too.

DiBromoAcetoNitrile. Other haloacetonitriles popular in water treatment are BCAN, CAN, DCAN, and TCAN.

Deutscher Beamtenbund. German Public Servants' Union, with 1.12 million members in 1997 (330 thousand female). The largest union outside the DGB, q.v.


Double-Byte Character Set. A term used for various pre-Unicode character encodings that used two-byte encodings only for some characters (albeit for most of them, in fact) and single-byte encodings for others. The idea was to allow compatibility with pure-ASCII systems where possible. See ``Internationalization and Character Set Standards'' in ACM Journal of Standards, pp. 31-39 (September 1993).

Dead-Burned Dolomite. Calcined dolomitic limestone.

Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. An NCEH division that has been promoted to a national center of its own -- NCBDDD. Also abbreviated BDDD.

Discrete Block Format. Sector formatting for optical disc memory.

Deutscher Berufsverband für Krankenpflege. Earlier name of the organization whose name was and is typically translated as `German Nurses Association.' A more precise translation would be `German Professional Association for Nursing,' where ``German,'' of course, modifies ``Association.'' The word Pflege alone can mean `nursing' in the medical sense, but the verb pflegen means `take care of' in other senses as well, including `groom,' `manicure,' `cultivate,' `attend to,' etc. Attachment of Kranken ([weak-form] genitive of `sick person, patient, invalid') yields a narrower term.

At some point, the organization evidently came to feel that the term was too narrow. As of early 2010, DBfK's webpage explains that the DBfK ``ist die Interessenvertretung von Beschäftigten und Selbständigen der Gesundheits- und Krankenpflege, der Gesundheits- und Kinderkrankenpflege und der Altenpflege.'' Roughly, it `is the group representing the interests of those employed and self-employed in health care and nursing, children's health care and nursing, and old-age care.' I am grateful that they phrased this using Pflege rather than Pflegerinnen und Pfleger (`female and male nurses').

The first compound noun in the name is Berufsverband. Beruf is `profession.' (A bit more literally, it's `calling.' You profess what you are called to.) As Krankenpflege was evidently deemed to make the earlier name too narrow, the name was changed to Der Deutsche Berufsverband für Pflegeberufe. The last word means `nursing professions' or even `caring professions,' if you like that sort of term. The acronym was then sealed, and in the usual way the organization styles itself along the lines of ``DBfK -- Deutscher Berufsverband für Pflegeberufe.'' (The DBfK itself seems to prefer the lower-case-f form of the acronym, but the all-caps form seems to dominate.)

[Football icon]

The Dick Butkus Football Network.

Diameter Breast Height. The diameter (normally of a tree) measured at ``breast height'' -- 4.5 feet. For more of this, but without the trees, see the bra size mathematics entry.

DataBase Interface. It rhymes -- and it means something.

Deutschen Bibliotheksinstitut.

DuBois Institute. Established at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) with funding from the Andrew Mellon Foundation. CAU was created in 1988 from the merger of Clark College and Atlanta University. Atlanta University was the institutional home of W.E.B. DuBois for many years, and from 1895 Atlanta University was a major venue for research and conferences on the condition of blacks in the US.

See also DBI's sister institution SCSPP.

DeciBel Milliwatts. (0 dBm = 1 mW, 30 dBm = 1 W.)

Deterministic Boltzmann Machine.

DiamondBack Moth. (Plutella xylostella.)

dB Magazine
UCLA Daily Bruin Arts and Entertainment MAGAZINE.

DataBase MisManager.

DataBase Management System. Also: RDBMS (relational) and DDBMS (distributed).

De-Bottle-Necking. Like, removing bottle-necks, I think. See this used in sentence by FFC at this page.

Dial-Back Number.

DiButyl Phosphate.

DiButyl Phthalate. A plasticizer. Human flesh is a (very co-) polymer which mostly uses water as a plasticizer.

Disinfection By-Product.

DataBase Programming Language. Also the name of a particular DBPL (gzipped PS here) based on Modula-2 (the official successor of Pascal, which was proposed to point a way for Algol).

Distributed Bragg Reflect{ion|or}. In VCSEL's, the endcap mirrors. Made by finite periodic structures that have a stop band (SB) (optical speak for band gap) in wavelength range of interest.

DeciBel Relative to Noise.

DeciBel Relative to Noise (C-notch or C-message).

DataBase Server.

DataBase System.

Deep Brain Stimulation. A therapeutic procedure for Parkinson's disease, approved in the US in 2002 or so. An electrode is implanted in the brain (usually in either the thalamus, the globus pallidus internus, or the subthalamic nucleus [STN]). Brief electric pulses (usually in a rectangular pulse pattern) delivered by the electrode can control tremors in many patients. (Failing that, they may at least reduce the amount of medication patients have to take. Parkinson's has a broad menu of symptoms which manifest in various combinations and degrees.)

DBS has been been proposed and tried for a variety of other ailments, including depression, OCD, and Tourette's syndrome. In each case, a different set of brain regions is targeted.

Batteries included! Implanted in your chest, typically, with wires running subcutaneously along the side of the neck and up to the brain. Nowadays these batteries are usually rechargeable, so surgery to replace them is infrequent. There are many different designs and implementations. Some alternative approaches involve an external battery driving a radio transmitter, and a receiving-antenna coil over the site of the brain implant.

When an implanted power supply is used, however, there may be antennas also: pulse generation, which has to be adjusted to the patient's response, is often controlled via radio communication with an external programmer or controller. (Pulse generation also has to be turned on. The surgery to implant the electrodes may provide about a month's worth of stimulation; normally, pulse generation isn't turned on until that initial stimulatory effect has worn off.)

Double Barrier Structure.

Direct Binary Search. Vide M. A. Seldowitz, J. P. Allebach, and D. W. Sweeney, ``Synthesis of digital holograms by direct binary search,'' Applied Optics 26, pp. 2788-2798 (1987).

Direct (TV) Broadcast Satellite. Satellites with high power (~100 W per channel), for transmission of radio and TV signals that can be received by small dishes owned by individual end users.

By FCC dictamination, DBS satellites broadcasting in the same band are (in geostationary orbit -- GEO) spaced 9 degrees of longitude apart rather than the conventional 2°, in order to allow small dishes (say 16" or 18") to pick up the signal without interference.

DBS is one of the two classes of ``consumer satellites.'' The other is Medium-Powered Satellite (MPS).

Current usage makes DBS synonymous with any satellites used for direct-to-home (DTH) transmission. That is, DBS as defined by the FCC is conflated with satellite TV delivered to end-users via ordinary satellites on the regular bands. This typically requires 36-40" dishes.

DeciBel Sound Pressure Level, defined so that 0 db SPL = 20×10-5 N/m2 = 200 pbar, a pressure level that is something like the best human sensitivity at 1 kHz. A typical human hearing threshold is 20 db SPL; sensitivity is about 5 db better at about 3 kHz.)

However, on VU meters and other audio indicators, the label ``0 dB'' indicates where a particular amplifier and typical tape head driver start saturating the amp. Record below 0 to avoid distortion (and conversely).

Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Sounds like something out of the Gulag, but it was developed in the West as a therapy for BPD. Don't twist your tongue. One good thing about the DBT initialism is that it helps you avoid accidentally calling it diabolical behavior therapy.

DeciBel normalization used in telephony: on a 600-ohm line, 1 mW was 0.775 V. When dB are used to indicate power (through voltage) in that way, regardless of impedance, this unit is used. Also called ``audio dBm.'' ``Radio dBm'' is referenced to a 50-ohm line (0.22 V is 0 dB). Actual usage gets even stranger.

DeciBel normalized to one watt (W). So 0 dBW is one watt of power, and 3 dBW is 2 W, etc.

Digital (private) Branch eXchange (PBX).

HEXylphenyl CyanoBenzoyloxy benzoate.

D & C
Democrat and Chronicle. A Gannett-chain newspaper in Rochester, N.Y.

Depois de Cristo (Portuguese) or Después de Cristo (Spanish). `After Christ' -- used in dates as A.D. is used in English. Cf. A.C.

Desk Calculator. A reverse-Polish desk calculator which supports ``unlimited-precision'' arithmetic. It's an old gnu utility. Actually, it's an old Unix utility, but that doesn't make much of a pun, does it?

Originally, bc was a preprocessor for dc. But we haven't figured out what bc stands for, so we can't tell you anything about it. Except that it's practically a baby-C-like calculator programming language. Maybe it stands for Big Honkin' Calculator? Nope -- no aitch.

Developing Country. The acronym could as easily stand for Developed Countries, so LDC is preferable.

Dietitians of Canada. The Canadian ICDA member.

Diététistes du Canada. Wait a second -- that's the same abbreviation as in English. I'm going to have to rest a while and try to figure out how this could have happened.

D & C
Dilatation and Curettage. I really don't think we need to explain that here. A curette is a spoon-shaped scraper.

Diners Club. A credit card.

dc, DC, D.C., d.c., D.-C., d.-c.
Direct Current. The forms with periods are old and out of fashion. In the better electronics books that were published before television and widespread illiteracy in the professional classes, you would see a consistent distinction between D.C. and D.-C. D.C. was the abbreviation of the compound noun and sometimes for the predicate adjective (substituting for direct current in, for example, ``direct current flows'' and ``power supply is direct current''). The hyphenated form was used for ordinary adjectives, as in ``D.-C. motor.'' The reason for the hyphen was straightforward: when a compound noun functions attributively -- i.e., as an adjective -- a hyphen is used to make clear that the noun one first encounters in reading is not functioning as a noun in the larger context of the noun phrase. This is discussed further in the attributive noun entry. Similar remarks apply to the use of A.C., A.-C., etc.

The fact is that nowadays, dc, DC, etc., always stand for the adjective. If you want to express the substantive ``direct current'' in fewer than thirteen characters, you can use the AAP pleonasm ``DC current.''

You needed to know this. If you want to know something, uh, substantive about direct current in electronics, you should see the Alternating Current entry.

DC, D.C.
District of Columbia. USPS abbreviation always omits periods.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for DC. USACityLink.com has a page of District links.

The federal district for the US capital. ``Washington, D.C.,'' is all of the D.C. there is; there's no ``Foobar, D.C.'' where Foobar has any value other than Washington. Once upon a time, however, Washington was the name for only one section of the district.

Cf. D.F.

Debt Counselors of America. A nonprofit group that helps people climb out of holes.

``If you're going through some difficult financial times right now, don't give up. Being deep in debt is not fun. It's scary and frightening but you can survive. The panic attacks, waking up in the middle of the night, and constant stress will begin to vanish once you take a positive step towards getting out of debt. There is hope, we can help.''

DiChloroAcetic acid.

DC, D.C.
Doctor of Chiropractic. Chiropractic is a noun as well as an adjective. Originally, chiropractic was based on an acupuncture-like theory of disease and made outlandish claims about the possibility of curing a range of ailments by manipulation of the spine. The Latin root man- for hand appears in the word manipulate (for more see the mano a mano entry); the Greek root for hand, chiro-, was used in constructing chiropractic.

Since its establishment, chiropractic has tried and succeeded somewhat in cleaning up its act -- toning down its more preposterous claims, scrounging up some scientifically sound clinical research support for its claims of efficacy. A couple of people I know regularly visit chiropractors.

Chiropractic is a lot like a major religion: at first, it won converts at least partly on the basis of a salvific wish-fulfillment fantasy so preposterous it could only be accepted on faith. (As Augustine the Saint wrote, he believed because it was absurd.) Once it had a number of regular communicants, it amended the message. If people were rational, the jettison of initially central claims might lead them to question the epistemic basis of the remaining rationalizations. People are not rational, and they go on believing. ``Judge the tree by its fruit,'' they say. One of my friends who goes to a chiropractor told him to ``stop doing the neck'' after that professional did a number on it.

By the way, you shouldn't take this the wrong way: when I make fun of religion, I'm making fun of someone else's religion. Your religion is very reasonable.

IATA abbreviation for ``National Airport,'' serving Washington, DC. Congress renamed it ``Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.''

Digital Communications Associates.

Direct Chip Attach[ment]. Bare integrated circuit chip is placed directly on printed wiring board (PWB).

DiChloroAcetoNitrile. Other haloacetonitriles popular in water treatment are BCAN, CAN, DBAN, and TCAN.


Database of Classical Bibliography. A CD-ROM and custom (Ancient-Greek-capable) search software that features l'Année Philologique (APh) and includes other databases as well. DCB's contract with SIBC requires that the most recent APh volume included in the DCB discs remain three years behind the most recent print APh volume. That's pretty sad, because the APh itself is pretty far behind. It's no imposition, though, since DCB is more than three years behind, and they're ``sold out'' as of May 2000. (However, the DCB webpages are never updated, so the situation may be a little better than advertised on the web.)

Man, you'd be surprised at all the resentment seething under the calm urbane surface of your ordinary classicist.

The DCB-CD version 2 (the one that's sold out) contains 248,399 bibliographical records from sixteen volumes of APh (vols. 45-60 covering 1974-1989). It comes equipped with its own retrieval software for both Windows and Macintosh platforms, with user-selectable English or French interfaces.

Classicists lean disproportionately toward Macs rather than Windows machines (though I don't think Classics is majority-Mac any more). This probably had something to do with the early character-set flexibility of the Macs, while PC's still had nothing but ``IBM Character Set.'' Among the humanistic disciplines, Classics was an early adopter of computer technology.

Data Control Block.

Double Cantilever Beam. The DCB test is widely used to characterize the mode-I delamination and bridging behavior of laminated continuous-fiber composite materials.

Data Communications Channel.

Data Country Code.

Departmental Computer Consultant.

Digital Compact Cassette.

Digital Cross Connect (system). Explanation at DXC.

Distributed Computing Consultants at UB.

Double ConCave. Less ambiguous and less common than the abbreviation DCV.

Double Concave Cone (lens). See the article by Keizo Kono, Mitsuru Irie, and Takumi Minemoto, ``Generation of Nearly Diffraction-Free Beams Using a New Optical System,'' Optical Review, vol. 4, #3 (1997), pp. 423-428.

Dual Constant Composition.

Democratic (US political party) Congressional Campaign Committee. Some call it the ``Dee-triple-Cee.'' Officially neutral in primaries, in 1998 it was especially heavy-handed in offing mainstream Democratic primary candidates for ``contested'' seats, in favor of conservatives who can help them regain control of Congress. Harvest the whirlwind.

The corresponding Democratic Senate group is DSCC. The Republican House group analogous to the DCCC is the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee).

Fast-forward to 2001. Funny how things turn out.

Dallas County Community College District.

Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing. The editor in chief is Vickie A. Miracle, RN, EdD, CCRN, CCNS, CCRC. how did she get all those letters after her name? That's, that's just... that's just amazing!

Data Carrier Detect.

Disk CaDd{y|ies}.

DC/DC converter
A circuit that converts a DC voltage into a larger DC voltage, typically by chopping it into AC and transforming that. Check with Power Convertibles Corp..

Data Communication[s] Equipment. Most often, this refers to the data circuit-terminating equipment (e.g., a modem or printer) that interfaces to one side with the DTE and to a communication channel (e.g., telephone line) on the other.

Distributed Computing Environment. Here's some stuff on the DCE project at UB.

Dénomination Commune Français. Official French generic drug name.

Direct-Coupled FET Logic. Logic family using both depletion-mode and enhancement-mode MESFET's (or HEMT's). Very similar to NMOS logic with depletion-mode active loads. Requires more accurate threshold-voltage tuning than pure d-mode FET logics.

Don't Cry For Me Argentina (.ar).

Derived (environmental contaminant) Concentration Guideline[s].

DiChromated Gelatin. Highly photorefractive material, for holography.

Doped-Channel High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT).

Dual-channel Heterostructure (Field-effect) Transistor (Dual-channel) ``HFET''. Can function as a velocity-modulated transistor.

Desktop Color Imaging.

Direct-Current Ionization. In some applications, this is called ``frying.''

Director of Central Intelligence. Head of the CIA.

Discovery Civilizations. A cable TV channel available (starting in 2002) in Canada. (That's the ``C.'') Scheduling and content of cable channels often don't quite match up between US and Canadian distributions. As of August 2002, the schedules of the Canadian version aren't being made available, but they do seem to coincide with DCIVU.

Discovery Civilizations. A cable TV channel, US version. See AWOTV for programming relevant to the ancient world.

Data Control Language.

Delay Calculator Language for chip timing design.

Detection, Classification and Localization. Target acquisition talk.

Digital { Control | Command } Language. System control language for Digital Equipment Corporation mainframe.

Delay Calculator Language Procedural Interface.


DC Out(put).

Défenses Civiles Populaires.


Direct-Current Plasma.

Distributed Collaborative Planning.

Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Direct-Current Plasma (DCP) Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (AES).

Not the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) Electron Spectroscopy (ES).

District of Columbia Public Schools.

Differential Coherent Phase-Shift Keying.

Design Change Request. How dare you! Again!

Digital Cable Radio.

Diseases of the Colon & Rectum. A journal. The masochist's ideal bathroom reader. Also the official journal of ASCRS.


DCS 1800
Digital Cellular Standard for 1800 MHz band. A GSM-compliant standard first implemented as a pan-European standard, starting in 1990, to replace the panoply of existing national and regional standards that were implemented in the 80's. It's experienced phenomenal growth.

Digital Cross-connect (DCC) System. Following a more systematic naming pattern, it's also called DSX. Explanation at DXC.

Discrete Cosine Transform.

Denver Center Theatre Company. A producing division of the DCPA.

Directors' Choice Theater Company. Live theater for the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area.

Direct-coupled Transistor Logic. The logic family is long obsolete, but the philosophy behind it evolved into I²L, which is also dead. I don't know if any Schottky I²L is used commercially.

Data Cache Unit.

Double ConcaVe (lens). A lens with two inward-curving faces and a negative focal length, used to form a reduced image or to spread a light beam. Cf. PCV, DCX.

Dielectric Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). That's the deposition of dielectric films, not deposition by dielectric, particularly.

District of Columbia Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Double Charge eXchange.

Double ConveX (lens). A lens with two outward-curving faces and a positive focal length, used to magnify an image or as a condensing lens (i.e., to concentrate a light beam). Cf. PCX, DCV.

Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge. A science contest for students in grades 5 through 8. Each year, a number of ``finalists'' are chosen from among students who compete in regional science and engineering fairs affiliated with Science Service in US states and territories (there's no regional quota or allocation, it appears). Top prizes are scholarships, and there are large numbers of smaller prizes like tee shirts.

Data Definition. In IBM JCL, A DD card or statement describes the attributes of a data set or file, and every data set or file used by an application code requires a DD statement.

DD is part of the Unix children's alphabet poem (alternate locations: 1, 2, 3, 4).

C is for CC, as hackers recall, while
D is for DD, the command that does all.

E is for Emacs, which rebinds your keys, and
F is for Fsck, which rebuilds your trees.

By some metric that weights opacity and frequency multiplicatively, the worst statement in IBM JCL is //SYSIN DD *. The // means that a JCL statement follows, SYSIN is a system logical name (all DD statements begin with such a statement label, which identifies just which data are being defined. The * means that control cards follow. To the tune of ``Camp-town Races,'' the approved way to read this card is ``Slash Slash Sysin Dee-Dee Star, Doo-dah, Doo-dah.''

D & D
Decontamination and Decommissioning.

Depacketization Delay.

Disthymic Disorder. Sad, but not so sad.

Doctoral Dissertation.

Doctor of Divinity.

In fall 1998, the dean of Harvard Divinity School was forced to resign after thousands of pornographic images were found on his Harvard-owned personal computer. (This was only revealed the following May; so he could find another job, maybe?)

The pornographic material was found on the office computer at his Harvard-owned residence at Jewett House. The discovery was made after Thiemann requested more disk space for one of his Harvard-owned machines, which was full, according to university sources. He actually asked the computer department to transfer the pornographic files to the new disk drive, according to sources that should probably be admired for not breaking up laughing.

Cf. mv, tar, JPEG.

Domain Decomposition. This isn't as rotten as it sounds.

Double-Dee. Next brassiere cup size after D. Cf. AA.

Normally, when a head term has two or more entries, I try to order the entries by alphabetical order of definitions or expansions, but not this time. I mean really, if you know the where to look for the definition, you probably already know the definition anyway, and you're just reading this glossary for your own perverted purposes, like sordid entertainment, and slowing down the server for people who need it for serious research. Shame!

[A 3.5-inch floppy, perhaps you've seen one]

Double Density (floppy disk). This designation is preferred for 3½'' because all 3.5 diskettes are double-sided; the older-style, larger-diameter diskettes take the designation (DSDD: Double-Sided DD) because the first ones were one-sided. [No, they were not Möbius discs, they were only supposed to be recorded on one side. At some point, after two-sided disks became available, someone realized that the cheaper one-sideds could be recorded on both sides -- it was cheaper to manufacture just one type.

DD 3.5 diskettes hold only about 800Kbytes of data apiece. If you have an old computer that expects DD, you can still insert HD diskettes and they should work. DD diskettes are recognizable from the single notch (on extreme left corner of illustration at right) with a sliding cover (open or missing cover for write protection, closed to enable writing; if you lost the slide, cover with opaque tape). If you have a drive that recognizes HD diskettes, but have written at DD on another machine, or want to write in DD format to be read by another machine, then cover the extra hole (no sliding cover) on the other side.

Double Diffusion.

Drift-Diffusion (model[ing]).

D&D, d+d
Drug and Disease. Personals-ad usage, as in ``D&D-free.''

D & D
Dungeons and Dragons. Highly involved role-playing games (RPG's), popular among college students. Rules and roles made up and sometimes stated by a dungeon master (DM).

HTML mark-up tag (in angle brackets: <DD>) for the definition part of a definition-list entry. Hence, for example, the mark-up for this entry reads:

<DT>DD<A NAME="DDhtml"> </A>
<DD><A HREF="H.html#HTML">HTML</A> mark-up tag
(in angle brackets: &lt;DD&gt;) for the
definition part of a definition-list entry.  Hence, for example,
the mark-up for this entry reads:
&lt;DT&gt;DD&lt;A NAME=&quot;DDhtml&quot;&gt; &lt;/A&gt;
&lt;DD&gt;&lt;A HREF=&quot;H.html#HTML&quot;&gt;HTML&lt;/A&gt; mark-up tag
(in angle brackets: &amp;lt;DD&amp;gt;) for the
definition part of a definition-list entry.  Hence, for example,
the mark-up for this entry reads:
Uhhh, etc.

Dial-on-Demand Access. A service of routers (available in Cisco IOS) used for two purposes:
  1. Dial backup (or dial back-up): Automatic reestablishment of connectivity by an alternate path when there is a disruption in the primary connection (modem or DSU/CSU failure, mice eating the insulation, etc.). ``Dial'' is used loosely here: the connection may be over various kinds of network.
  2. Dynamic bandwidth: Use of the dial backup techniques to add bandwidth as needed. Need is usually determined by simple algorithm: exceeding a high bandwidth-utilization level for a predetermined minimum time triggers bandwidth expansion, falling below a low bandwidth-utilization level for a given time triggers scale-back.

Cf. DDR.

Digital Differential Analyzer.

Directed Duty Assignment.

Dispensing Doctors' Association. An association ``[r]epresenting family doctors in primary care in the UK who dispense medications for patients.''

Doris Day Animal Foundation. Home of ``Spay Day USA.'' Which Day was that?!

Doris Day Animal League.

D. Day
Doris Day. Born Doris Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff, April 3, 1928. This Dee Dee was a sort of department-store Bee Bee, the way French fashions in those days were quickly copied, with adjustments for a more modest style, in cheaper materials for the American mass market. After the days when she appealed to animal instincts, BB became an animal rights activist; DD did too, in the more modest American political fashion -- see DDAF, DDAL.

In a series of romantic comedy trifles in the fifties and sixties, she was often cast with a central-casting prune as a best friend, to establish contrast. It's been pointed out that in her films that she never had trouble finding a parking space, but is that so odd? If a character in a movie is going to have difficulty finding a parking space, it has to be written into the screenplay, and it ought to advance the story.

The day of the Allied (mostly combined Anglophone) invasion of Normandy during WWII. Why D-Day and not A-Day or B-Day? Well, the action began at H-Hour...

Cf. Dee Day.

Device-Dependent Bitmap.

Distributed DataBase Management System.

Disinfection and Disinfection By-Products.

ddC, DDC
DiDeoxyCytidine. An NRTI used in AIDS treatment. Roche's trademarked name for the drug is HIVID; the generic name is zalcitabine (written Zalcitabin in German).

Dewey Decimal Classification. A system (and it does tend to be called the ``Dewey Decimal System'') for classifying library and archival materials. It is more straightforwardly hierarchical than the LC system (the LCC), and tends to be more popular for smaller collections. It seems to be pretty standard for public-school libraries and for the public libraries of smaller cities. The original Dewey system, promulgated in 1876, was developed by an American librarian named Melvil Dewey (Dec. 10, 1851-Dec. 26, 1931). [One of the early (command-line and apparently curses-driven) OLCL's was called MELVIL. Now you know why.]

The Dewey system defines fewer than a thousand ``general fields of knowledge'' between 000 and 999, with decimal-fraction subdivisions. One of the striking things about Dewey's system is that all of English prose fiction is subsumed under a one or two of those ``general fields.'' I can't recall, but let's say it's 823. (If there are two then one is for American and one for other English-language prose fiction; I'll look into it.) If you look in a library that uses the Dewey system, you won't find many books there, even though (or rather because) very roughly half of the books in a public library are prose fiction. Most libraries that use the Dewey system split the collection into fiction and ``nonfiction'' (whatever isn't prose fiction, or prose fiction in English); they catalogue and shelve nonfiction according to Dewey, and fiction alphabetically (perhaps by Cutter numbers). Poetry is typically shelved with ``nonfiction.''

There are various other systems, though there is a trend toward standardization. Computerization of library catalogs has obviously facilitated this, and mobility has probably also reduced the tolerance of library patrons for idiosyncratic local systems. The change-over can be a problem, however. When I used the Princeton University libraries in the 1970's and 1980's, many books were still catalogued using the local Richardson Classification scheme. For most major subject categories in the Fine Hall Library (Physics and Math), there were newer books under LC numbers and older books under the Richardson numbers. This webpage of the OCLC lists 30 ``other'' classification schemes. Perhaps the most widely used decimal scheme on a global basis is the UDC, q.v. Another decimal scheme is the Dutch SISO.

Edition 22 of the Dewey system was rolled out in mid-2003 on a gurney. Well, it was stretched out, anyway. Four volumes; I hope they're shelved together. By the way, new editions don't just add more digits and subcategories, you know -- they sometimes reshelve books to different parts of the library. For example, 647.94 of Edition 21 (hotel directories -- ``interdisciplinary and descriptive'') became 910.46 in Edition 22. ``We anticipate this will be a welcome relocation because the descriptive literature on lodging (in contrast to the literature directed toward people maintaining the lodging) is almost exclusively of interest to travelers. Materials on household management in the hospitality industry, bed and breakfast establishments, hostels, hotels, inns, motels, resorts will remain at 647.94. Other relocations include interdisciplinary and descriptive works on resorts relocated to 910.462; on bed and breakfast establishments relocated to 910.464; on hostels relocated to 910.466; and on campsites relocated to 910.468. Interdisciplinary works on the hospitality industry have been relocated to 338.4791, and on tourism to 910. Facilities for travelers and lodging for travelers (including hotels, motels, etc.) in specific areas have been relocated from 647.943-647.949 to 913-919 together with the new notation 06 in the add table at 913-919.

Stay tuned for further exciting developments.

Direction du développement et de la coopération.

Dual Dielectric Charge Storage Device.

Digital Data Communications Message Protocol. (Associated with DNA.)

Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. It ``is in some ways unlike any other dictionary in the field of biblical studies. This is the first catalogue of its kind, one which discusses all the gods and demons whose names are found in the Bible. Complementing the usual surveys and histories of Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Ugaritic, Syro-Palestinian, Persian, Greek, and Roman religion, DDD assesses the impact of contemporary religions on Israel and the Early Church by focusing on those gods that actually left traces in the Bible.'' (Except as noted, quotes in this entry are taken from the Introduction.)

The ``traces'' are found in five groups:

  1. Gods mentioned by name (as gods).
       ``Obvious examples include Asherah, Baal, El, Hermes, Zeus, and others. ... In some instances the names are found only in the Septuagint and not in the corresponding section of the Masoretic text.'' The example given in Jeremiah 46:15, which is ``éphugen ho Apis'' in the LXX (`[Why] has Apis fled?') where the Masoretic text has the single verb (I don't know the vowels) NSHP (`[Why] was it swept away?'). It's not especially clear what's going on here, but as usual (and not entirely without justification) the contrast is described as ``valuable'' information. Anyone could valuate it.

  2. Gods whose names are etymons of theophoric anthroponyms and toponyms (that's personal and place names, okay?).
       It is conscientiously animadverted that the people of Anathoth cannot be assumed to worship Anat, and that Tychicus may not worship Tyche, etc., ``[y]et such names reflect a certain familiarity with the deities in question, if not of the inhabitants of the town or the bearer of the name, then at least of their ancestors or their surroundings.'' Well, yes, and they can call that ``part of the religious milieu of the Bible,'' but often I can call it insignificant.

  3. ``Demythologized deities.''
       The common-noun category corresponding to the previous group of names. An interesting though trivial example: tirosh, the Hebrew word for `new wine,' is ``etymologically the equivalent of the Mesopotamian deity Sirish and the Canaanite god Tirash. Further, ``[o]ne of the Hebrew words for the moon used in the Bible is yareah; this is the etymological equivalent of Yarikh, the moon-god known from Ugaritic texts.'' Alas poor Yarikh. I'll spare you their extenuation for including notice of these words. They're being thorough, and I approve that.
       One may wonder, in cases like Yarikh, whether what is found is not a reversion to or a continuation of a nonreligious tradition. That is, that the originally nonmythological moon's name, for example, was drafted into mythological service. The goddess of the dawn is Eos in Greek and Aurora in Latin. It is clear that these are not separate developments from a common goddess name, but separate uses of different word for dawn for a goddess. Surely the same can happen even when the nonmythological names have a common etymology, and sometimes it must happen in only some of the languages with shared etymology. In fact, the authors of this work are not foolish about this. Here is the first part of the entry for mouth: ``The mouth or utterance of a god--the two notions are often expressed with the same word [Sumerian ka, Akkadian ]--is sometimes made into an independent deity in Mesopotamia. The etymological equivalent in Hebrew (peh) does not seem to have enjoyed a comparable divine status.''

  4. Questionable gods.
       Basically editorial creativity, ``correcting'' the text in some way to discover god names. Some of this comes from altering lexical material absent in the original texts. (Word spacing was absent in the original Greek; vowels, indicated by pointing in the Masoretic text, were not indicated in the original Hebrew.) Some comes from changing similar-sounding or similar-appearing letters that might have been incorrectly transmitted. Example of the former reinterpretation: The Hebrew word ra, `evil,' may be reinterpreted as the name of the Egyptian sun god. Some of these questionable gods are imaginary in multiple ways.

  5. Divinized human figures.
       Primarily Jesus, but taking a loose standard of ``god,'' also Mary, Enoch, Moses, and Elijah.

``Bible'' is understood by the editors in a fairly comprehensive way: as the Bible of the Orthodox Churches. This consists of the completest canon of the Septuagint (including all of what some traditions call the Apocrypha, even to 3 and 4 Maccabees), plus the Greek New Testament. The Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible is used as a parallel source. ``Though many articles pay attention to the subsequent development of notions and concepts in the Pseudepigrapha, the latter have not been used as an independent quarry of theonyms.'' Authors also rely on rabbinic literature, but I assume they don't use Talmud as a source of theonyms either.

Direct Distance Dialing. I.e., direct long-distance dialing by customer. This initialism was used in the US and Canada; another Commonwealth usage was STD. Now that direct dialing is the default, of course, one is less likely to use these terms than one is to speak of buying a ``color TV'' or an ``electronic calculator.''

Digital-Digital-Digital. Audio CD's may be designated AAD, ADD, or DDD. The successive letters indicate whether analog or digital equipment was used in the respective stages of production: (1) original recording, (2) mixing and editing, (3) mastering (transcription).

Triple-Dee. One size larger than double-dee (DD).

Dynamic Data-Driven Applications System[s].

NASDAQ trading code for 4th Dimension Software Ltd. Numbers are not allowed in these codes (similarly, 7th Level has SEVL).

DichloroDiphenylEthane. A product of DDT breakdown; binds to testosterone receptors. Even today, this seems to be causing Florida Everglades toads to leave their girlfriends cold on Saturday night. It's getting harder and harder to be green.

The abbreviation is also used for a couple of dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethenes.

Direct Data Entry.

Drift-Diffusion Equations.

Dwight David Eisenhower. ``Ike.''

Dynamic Data Exchange. MS Windows term.

Cover-your-ass-ese for deaf/hearing-impaired/whatever-the-latest-and-PCest-expression-is. (Some people insist on capitalizing the word to emphasize the separate-culture aspects of the situation or Whatever.)

Digital Data Exchange Specification.

Data Dependence Graph. Used in logic design.

Derechos Humanos. Spanish for `Human Rights.' (Initials doubled to represent plurals.)

ddI, DDI
DiDanosIn. Alternate name videx. An NRTI used in the treatment of AIDS.

Deputy Director of Intelligence.

Driver Development Kit (from Microsoft).

Data Definition Language.

Document Description Language.

Defense Data Network.

Distributed Data Management.

Datagram Delivery Protocol.

Differential Display PCR.

Deutsche Demokratische Republik. German for GDR.

Dial-on-Demand Routing. A fancy kind of DDA: temporary WAN connections are opened in response to packets recognized as ``interesting.'' ``Interesting'' is predefined in terms of protocols and addresses.

Disarm, Demobilize, and Reintegrate. Initialism used by the Iraqi government and by the US-led coalition in Iraq. As tribal groups started flipping in 2007 and either fighting AQI or cooperating in the fight against AQI, the government side has tried to set up DDR programs, looking to the long term.

Dual Dielectric Resonator Oscillator (DRO).


DATAPHONE Digital Services.

Digital Data Service.

Digital Data Storage.

Direct Digital Service.

Direct Digital Synthesis.

Doctor of Dental Surgery.

Delay Dial, Start Dial. Standard incantation to the Hayes modems, whose language became the official standard back in the early eighties.

Distributed Decision Support Network. Sounds like your buddies helping you get rid of a hot potato. Cf. DDSS.

Distributed Decision Support Server. Sounds like the sucker your buddies found for you to get rid of the hot potato. Cf. DDSN.

Double Daylight Saving Time. Clock time advanced by two hours relative to standard time. DDST makes the greatest sense at high latitudes, where Summer dusks are very late and where Winter dawns (which play a part in determining local standard times) are also late. DDST (under the name British Double Summer Time) was used in the UK during the Summers of WWII. (Otherwise, during the war, it was on single-hour DST.)

Newfoundland's independence was recognized by the UK in the Statute of Westminster (1932), but two years later it went broke and resumed the status of a colony until 1949. During WWII, Newfoundland followed Britain's lead in adopting DDST, but there was great resistance to DDST outside St. John's.

In 1988, the Canadian province of Newfoundland tried a DDST experiment in 1988. The shift occurred in Spring, substituting a two-hour ``spring forward'' for the usual one. That (let's call it ``simple shift'') might be the only instance in which DDST was implemented as a full two-hour shift. There were the usual drawbacks, and coordination problems with the rest of Canada were, oh, I'd say about twice as bad as with regular DST. (No, a factor of 2 doesn't make sense when you think about it. So don't think about it.) The response to DDST was positive, but DDST was dropped in subsequent years because there was not a majority for a single shift calendar. (Favoring the use of both DST and DDST, or of shifting to DDST on other than the dates that neighboring parts of Canada shift to DST, is support for DDST in principle, but these more complicated options are less preferable than ordinary DST for others who favor simple-shift DDST. Hence, there was not an effective majority for DDST. Similar issues arise in elections with three or more candidates.)

In July 1941, FDR proposed legislation that would have given him power to establish DST with time advances as large as two hours. We're getting off the subject of DDST now, but I'm sure you want to know that this and other DST bills languished until after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The following January, legislation was passed that established year-round one-hour DST for the duration [more precisely, until six months after the cessation of hostilities], and gave the president no discretion in the matter. At the end of the war, further legislation rescinded federally-mandated DST earlier than the date originally set, and War Time ended on Sunday, September 30.

An unbelievably effective insecticide. After it was first tested, all subsequently tested formulas were also found to be fabulously effective, until it was realized that the effect was due to DDT residue in the test chamber. DDT has been widely banned for its side-effects on beneficial insects and on other animals. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was the Uncle Tom's Cabin that energized that movement. Although DDT has been outlawed in the US for years, we still see effects (see DDE).

In 2006, the WHO announced that it would encourage the use of DDT to fight malaria. The decision comes only decades too late for millions of dead.

The mnemonic to remember DDT's structure is

        A mosquito was heard to complain,
        That the chemists had poisoned his brain,
                The cause of his sorrow,
                Was para-dichloro-
        Di-phenyl Trichloroethane!

Developed by Paul H. Müller who received the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine ``for his discovery of the high efficiency of DDT as a contact poison against several arthropods.'' (I'm not sure exactly when this work was done, but it was ca. 1936. You could look it up.)

Device-Dependent X-windows. As opposed to Device-Independent X (DIX), of course. Note that while the expression ``machine-dependent code'' referred to a coding style or (lack of) discipline, DDX refers to a part of X.

[Football icon]

Defensive End. A position in American football. A generic term, because the defensive line typically has two ends (RE and LE). It ain't topology, you know. See OLB.

DelawarE. (No, not ``DElaware.'' That would be just too obvious.) It's a USPS abbreviation. Actually, it's a USPS symbol for the state. It's written without the period that normally follows an abbreviation, but the symbol happens to be formed from a subset of the letters that spell the state name, so it's an abbreviated form of the state name, so we're gonna let it slide.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for Delaware. USACityLink.com has a page mostly of Delaware city and town links.

Desktop Environment. The term is general across GUI's, but I think the term comes up more in Linux because of the broad selection, and the tendency of Linux users to sample and experiment with different distros.

Detector Efficiency.

Diatomaceous Earth.

Discard Eligibility.

(Domain name code for) Germany [Deutschland]. Germany has the greatest variety of etymologically unrelated names among European countries. Italy uses versions of at least three: Alemani, Germania, Tedesco. For crying out loud, as recently as 1990 it had two official names in German (and capitals, etc.).

The Saxony entry at SN explains a couple of the names of Germany, but remember that etymology is not an exact science. Italian Tedesco and various forms of Dutch or deutsch come from Old High German diutisc, `national' used to distinguish the national (i.e., local ethnic language and people from the international or catholic Latin). The Aleman- names come from a tribe known to Julius Caesar as the Alemanni, from cognates of our words all + men.

The US government's Country Studies website has a page of links (``Germany Country Studies'') amounting to the online version of its Germany book. Ariadne, ``The European and Mediterranean link resource for Research, Science and Culture,'' has a page of national links.

Here's some general information online from the Chemistry Department at the Free University of Berlin. A Center for Information Services at the FU Berlin serves a geographically organized list of German WWW servers. Marcus Berndt serves a page of German press links. There's a German FAQ.

The international telephone calling code for all of Germany is 49.

Some German search engines:
Deutscher Branchenindex
DINO (Deutsches InterNet-Organisationssystem)

Here's the German page of an X.500 directory located in Germany.

We have a bit more information at FRG.

DiEthylAniline. Let's say, N,N-diethylaniline, just to be specific.

Drug Enforcement Administration. They break down your door and make sure that you obeyed your doctor's prescription. Something like that, anyway.

DiEthyl AzoDicarboxylate. Cf. TEAD.

For a review of ``DEAD chemistry'' in general, see E. Fahr, H. Lind article in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. vol. 5, 4 (1966). For Diels-Alder reactions of DEAD with dienes, see B.T. Gillis, P.E. Beck, J. Org. Chem. vol. 27, 1947 (1962) and vol. 28, 3177 (1963); B.J. Franzus, J. Org. Chem. vol. 28, 2954 (1963).

dead honest
Frequently so.


dead language
Some people (by ``some people'' I mean mostly teachers of Latin or Greek) take offense at the use of the term ``dead language'' to refer to a language whose native speakers are all dead. Spanish is perhaps more in-their-faces about this: the phrase lenguas modernas (`modern languages') is about equivalent to lenguas vivas (`living languages'). The second term is less common, but there are regional variations (e.g. the vivas term is more common in Argentina).

dead man's handle
A common safety device on machinery that requires continuous human monitoring; typically a lever or handle meant to be held by the human monitor or operator. The design of the system interprets release of the handle or lever as inattention, incapacity or absence of a (live) operator, so release triggers safety action such as shut-off moving equipment, braking of the vehicle, purging of chemical vapors vel sim.

A typical old implementation of a dead man's handle in railed vehicles is a brake bar that applies the brakes when released. In the electric trams in San Francisco, the main brake is set up this way. A driver there once explained to me how he used the brake bar to steer (switch tracks) as well. I don't know if this was a design feature, but I imagine you're bound to come up with this sort of trick anyway if you stand for hours all day doing mostly nothing but handling the brake (see manual transmission). A lot of the drivers in the electric busses develop a patter and compete for best-driver of the month, often actively encouraging their passengers to mail in votes. If professors are frustrated actors, then these drivers are frustrated stand-up comedians.

There used to be a comic strip about a crime investigator (I think) named Modesty Blaise, back in the sixties. (Since then, people have been reading newspapers less regularly, making it more difficult to sustain a plot. One adjustment has been to repeat plot developments so that anyone reading three or four strips a week can follow, but that has slowed the stories down. Anyway, the comic strip, illustrated by Neville Colvin, is no more.) A series of books, by writer Peter O'Donnell, was spawned by the comic-strip series, and one of those books was Dead Man's Handle. Has a nice ring, doesn't it?

The old-style dead man's handle on British trains is a DSD.

dead reckoning
A corruption of ded. reckoning, which abbreviated deduced reckoning. Navigation in which one computes (i.e. reckons) one's position by integrating velocity vector to deduce position vector. The alternative is piloting -- i.e., navigating by identifying landmarks (which might include, say, stars).

Vide Deke.

Dear Leader
Official expression of affection and admiration spontaneously used by all North Korean subjects for Kim Jong Il, son of the late Stalinist leader Kim Il Sung (``[Something-I-forget] Leader'') and currently at least the nominal leader of North Korea (.kp).

Many dictators have delusions of grandeur. Dear Leader has delusions of taste. That's not so rare either.

You can have a dearth of just about anything, but you can't have two. The Ur-fermionic operator. Cf. job statistics.

Nickname for `Debbie,' which is a nickname for `Deborah.'

DEButante. A young woman making her formal debut into Society.

A verb meaning bar. It's one of those counterintuitive uses of de- like denude. These seem contradictory because the prefix in its living, still-productive form is mainly privative.

In many older words the prefix has a more geometric sense. The best-recognized geometric sense is `down,' as in depress (press down), depend (< Latin dependere, `to hang down'), descend (< L. descendere, `to climb down'), and devour (< L. devorare, `gulp down').

The sense of de- in debar is `away from.' So to debar is to bar away from, as to denude is to strip away from, etc.

Debating links in this glossary:

Directional Electron Ballistic Coupler. Various ideas have been suggested.


Latin, Decimus. A praenomen meaning `the tenth,' typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Also just ``D.'' -- there really weren't that many common ones.

Declination. Latitude, in a spherical polar coördinate earth-centered system used for astronomy. The other coördinate in this system is (RA).

Digital Equipment Corporation. Founded 1957. Bought by Compaq in 1997 or 1998, which was in turn bought by Hewlett-Packard in 2Q2002.

Double-bit Error Correction.

The title Decadence and the Making of Modernism caught my eye. It's on a book by David Weir, and it was published by a university press (University of Massachusetts's), so it's a fair bet to be a dull read, but it's fascinating for almost two pages. The table of contents is quick read. Here are some highlights: the last numbered chapter is ``7 The Decline of Decadence.'' Chapter 6 is ``Decadence and Modernism: Joyce and Gide,'' so it seems you have to work up to the title subject no matter which end you start from. Chapter 4 is ``Decadence and Aestheticism: Pater's Marius the Epicurean.'' Wow, let's keep going. Here's the beginning of the Acknowledgments:
Decadence and degeneration have little in common: one refines corruption and the other corrupts refinement. [Whether that's true or not, it certainly sounds like having a lot in common.] The decadent, at least, maintains a standard of decline, while the degenerate lets those standards slip. In this book, I have tried to measure up to the level of decadence achieved by my models and mentors, friends and colleagues. [I can imagine their pleasure at this acknowledgment.] But in decadence as in other matters, nothing fails like success: those who are truly decadent do not do.

(No, what it is that the truly decadent do not do is not elaborated upon. I'm not sure if I'm decayed about this or degenerated.) I'm afraid that Chapter 1 (``The Definition of Decadence'') bored before it enlightened me. Possibly this counts as a negative success, a consequence of the author's ``negative culpability.''

(And decadence and degeneration are subtly important, sure, but let's not neglect degradation.)

What, you read all the way through the entry? Congratulations! You've won our Grand Prize! Just call during business hours and mention this entry. (Offer expires December 21, 2005.)

The transfer of an image by means of decalcomania, or the image so transferred. The word decalcomania is borrowed from the French décalcomanie, constructed from the verb décalquer `to transfer a tracing' and manie, `mania, craze.' (The meaning of the term is most easily understood by ignoring the second element. This -manie word was apparently constructed on the pattern of the earlier potichomanie (borrowed as potichomania, q.v.). Decalcomania was all the rage in the mid-60's. The mid-1860's. In Europe, anyway. The Modern Greek word for decal is chalkomanía.

DECd, deCd
DiEthyl CaDmium. An organic precursor used in MOCVD growth of II-VI material.

Decertif{y|ication}. A bad end to a labor union.

decisive factor
A foggy concept useful for emphasizing whatever one pleases.

In the Beatles song ``Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'' there's a lyric ``girl with kaleidoscope eyes.'' Many people think the song is called ``Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds,'' and almost everyone understands the kaleidoscope lyric as ``girl with colitis goes by.'' Most normal people, however, will accept the published title and the intended lyrics as somehow more ``true'' or ``valid'' than their own perceptions. Moreover, normal people will believe it contributes to their understanding of the song to know that it was motivated by a drawing that John Lennon's 5-year-old son brought home from school, depicting his classmate Lucy in a diamond-decorated sky, even if they still suspect that there's a sly reference to LSD.

These attitudes distinguish people who have their heads on straight from people who do deconstruction. Deconstructionism is a religion which preaches the irrelevance of the personal motives of the author, and seeks perversely to find in every ``text'' the meaning that is the opposite of that intended. While even the texts that espouse this viewpoint can be and indeed have been deconstructed, there is a bias in the selection of texts: Until recently, Marxist and other texts to which deconstructionists had some political attachment were less likely to undergo this destructive analysis. It appears that even deconstructionists hold some meanings to be somehow more worthwhile in some way, for reasons which are not contained in deconstructionism itself. Whitman was not contained between his hat and his boots, but that's completely irrelevant.

It is difficult to regard as intellectually honest an enterprise that questions the possibility of meaning.

This just in! In response to an email barrage from thousands of ordinary Americans outraged by my calumny of deconstruction and my controversial opinions about the possibility of meaning, I find I must issue a complete and abject retraction. (Well, not thousands actually. Two. Well, actually, somebody looked at me funny today. Must have read the deconstruction entry. It's important to be sensitive to reader response, because there's so little of it.)

I leave my original comments above, as a silent self-indictment of my ignorance. It is obvious that no one takes me seriously as a critic of criticism, despite my credentials. (Hey, everyone's a critic!) I therefore refer the gentle reader and ordinary American to the newsweakly People. The results of a scientific, 100%-biased survey revealed for 18 September 1995 include the following progress in the field of Lori Petty studies:

``The man-tailored garb ... worn in Manhattan last [F]all inspires Denise Wingate to theorize,

`She's going for the European deconstructionist look, but it's sloppy.' ''
I hope that helps (HTH).

Finally, one may say that deconstruction is third-person self-abnegation. This is a shareware definition: If you use it you owe me a nickel. If you understand it you owe me a dime. If you think a truth value can be meaningfully assigned to it, call me, I have a bridge for sale cheap.

I was going to write about Kierkegaard here, and how he tried to submerge the author of his own books by using various transparent pseudonyms, and about other stuff, but I was deflated to learn that Plato was also a deconstructionist, so somehow it doesn't seem so novel anymore.

Jacques Derrière is a famous deconstructionist. [If it is past 5pm October 8, then dissing Derrida is passé and the preceding statement is inoperative.] [I should probably note that -- okay, I am eager to point out that -- I wrote the preceding many years before Jacques Derrida's death on the night of October 8, 2004. Wow, I've got ESP!]

Those with a penchant for the bizarre and a desire to hear clear enunciation of the lyrics of ``Lucy in the Sky'' and a strong stomach will want to pick up Volume IV in the Rhino Records ``Golden Throats'' CD series, composed of covers of Beatles songs by other artists better known for other achievements (or, better said, activities). William Shatner's cover of Lucy, spoken as if in alarmed supplication before a highly advanced alien life-form (his approximation of psychodelia), is worth the price of replacing your CD player, which will have to be taken away for environmentally safe disposal.

The misheard lyrics at the beginning of this entry are examples of mondegreens.

Just to be a little serious here... Postmodernism (``po-mo''), poststructuralism, deconstruction, and theory (just ``theory,'' as if there were no other) are all terms used very roughly interchangeably for a category of literary criticism that literary critics on the other side regard as perverse at best and cynically dishonest at worst. Putative explanations of these approaches (and of whether and how they differ) are generally either incoherent or deep, and over time I and many others who were willing to listen have gradually concluded that they are not deep. The same ideas, or lack of ideas, or cynical rhetorical cons, have also been used in other humanities disciplines than literature.

Among those interested in po-mo are a small number that I respect on independent grounds, and their participation in this fraud or madness is puzzling. My best and most generous guess is that these honest scholars find a few isolated bits of theory, usually general perspectives or sympathies rather than specific claims, that they only interpret in ways that offer some insight.

I may come back later and try to be a little less circumstantial. For now I want to mention an interesting feature of this battle of the po-mo's and traditionalists (the battle was joined in the 1960's). Both sides feel or claim to feel besieged: the sides protest either that their approaches have gone out of fashion and can't get published or taught (traditionalists) or are under political attack and now in decline (po-mo's). To a small extent both sets of claims are true, because the situation is different in the various humanities disciplines and universities. But it looks suspicious. I recently ran across a comment that presented one historian's impression of the pressure of fashion (not just the po-mo fashion). As a start, I'll transcribe a bit:

To the [charge of the work being aggressively unfashionable as history] I must still plead guilty: the history in this book covers a broad sweep of time; it does not refer to localities, draws on only one oral source, and is neither ethnographic nor deconstructionist. My only consolation here can be that fashions change.

(This is from p. xi, in the Preface of David Blaazer's The Popular Front and the Progressive Tradition: Socialists, Liberals, and the Quest for Unity, 1884-1939. (Cambridge U.P., 1992).

decoupage, découpage
Decorative cutting, in one or another sense. Either decoration with paper cut-outs or the editing of film. The French original names the action of `cutting up' or `cutting out'; it's from découper -- `to cut up' or `to cut out.' A particular sense in French is `to divide into districts' (for voting, say).

Digital European Cordless Telecom[munication]. Standard issued by ETSI as an alternative to CT-2 cordless standard. Ten channels spaced 1.728 MHz apart, starting with 1897.344 MHz (channel zero) and ending at 1881.792 MHz (channel 9). An accuracy of 50 kHz is expected. I've also seen it expanded as ``Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone.'' After what happened with GSM, I wouldn't be surprised if both expansions are official.

Digital Engine Control Unit.

Defect-Enhanced Diffusion.

Doctor of Education. (Doctor Educationis.) More at the Ed.D. entry.

Dravidian Etymological Dictionary. By Thomas Burrow, who began the title with A. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961.

Right now, all I can think of to say about dedications is that a couple of dedications to devices are mentioned at the IBM 650 entry. There's another interesting one in the book The Fast Diet Book (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1971). (``As told by Bub Redhill to Robert E. Rotheberg, M.D.'') It's the chronicle of a 53-day diet from 242 lbs. to 200 lbs. (including an initial six-day fast to 224). It's dedicated ``To Adiponecrosis.''

See also Acknowledgments. In fact, see book dedications for at least one more dedication. I've decided that aggregation of book dedication content will continue only at that entry, because I (as well as my editor) had forgotten that this one even existed.

Maybe I'll dedicate the dedications entry to material on non-book dedications. Ralph Bass and Lowman Pauling wrote a song called ``Dedicated to the One I Love.'' The Shirelles took it to #3 in 1961, and the Mamas and the Papas cover went to #2 in 1967. It's probably not the only song that contains the lyric ``This is [title of song],'' but it's still pretty cute. It reminds me of ``This Song Has No Title'' [Bernie Taupin (lyrics) and Elton John (music)]. Those precise words do not occur in the song, however. The fourth line of the chorus is ``Oh, this song's got no title, just words and a tune.'' So ``This Song Has No Title'' is just the title. ``This song's got no title'' is the hook, I'd say.

Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, Revised. In 1987.

Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, Supplement.

Diploma[te] in Environmental Engineering. A credential issued by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE) or the person (called a ``diplomate'') who has been awarded that credential. Not ``diplomat''!


Dee Day
The first English edition of Euclid's Elements, translated by Sir Henry Billingsley, prefaced by M. John Dee, and published by John Day (London, 1570). The author is identified on the title page as ``Euclide of Megara,'' a disciple of Socrates present at his death. The confusion of this Euclid with the younger Euclid of Alexandria began in the Latin West during medieval times and did not begin to be corrected until the Latin translation of Federico Commandino published in 1572.

Cf. D-Day.

Vide Deke.

(NASA's) Deep Extragalactic Evolutionary Probe. NASA likes XARA's.

Documenting Effective Educational Practices. ``Project DEEP will plumb the everyday workings of high performing colleges and universities to learn what they do to promote student success.'' I admit it: I'm surprised and impressed to find semantic awareness and an understated and appropriate pun in a sentence emanating from educationists. Too bad about the missing hyphen. DEEP is a joint project of NSSE and AAHE.

Oil-drenched. If you think oil is bad, you should try frying in water.

deep in the shit sector with no dilithium
Stuck in Beirut with nothing but an arquebus.

deeply nuanced
Able to reach comfortable conclusions while appearing to take seriously and refute the fatal counterarguments.

deeply respectful
Hypocritical or stupid.

(Australian government's) Department of Employment, Education, and Training.

Commercial name for Diethyltoluamide. In most of the major languages of continental Europe, the unvoiced English ``th'' sound is absent or, when present, not used to render the th in ethyl. There is also a fair degree of consistency in the pronunciation of the vowels in di and eth.... Hence, in the most common European languages used by scientists, the first two syllables of diethyl are pronounced as an Anglophone would pronounce ``dee et.'' That might have nothing to do with the origin of the ``DEET'' name, and the T in the name is almost certainly intended to be thought of as representing the toluamide, but there you go: an idea.

More precisely: N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. It's also called chigger wash and skeeter skat. (Did I mention that it's a powerful insect repellent? Also, partly by design and partly because separating isomers is a hassle, the commercial product is mix. The names that don't look very IUPAC tend to refer to the mixes.) Most of the other names are boring, though. (Pyrocide Intermediate 5734 is the dirtiest mix and the sexiest name, but ``detamide,'' ``delphene,'' CAS 134-62-3? Please people -- a little more whimsical imagination!) See also 6-12.

deutsche Einheit
`German Unification' in German.


The three letters associated with the number three (3) on the North American (and formerly also on the British) phone dial or keypad.

default default
In C++ and C#, a default constructor is a class constructor that is called without parameters and thus assigns default values to all member variables: ClassName::ClassName() in C++ and ClassName.ClassName() in C#. If the programmer does not explicitly define a default constructor, then the compiler defines one. That is the default default constructor.

Campaign to DEFend the CONstitution. ``Because the Religious Right is Wrong.'' ``The Campaign to Defend the Constitution combats the growing influence of the religious right over American democracy, education, and scientific progress and leadership.'' The main focus of their efforts seems to be getting creationism and its camouflaged versions out of the public schools and secondarily getting Congress to loosen purse strings and federal constraints on embryonic stem cell research. (Embryonic stem cells are also much less frequently called fetal stem cells. It might be that the latter term is a shibboleth for those opposed to their use.)

DEFense readiness CONdition. A term used in the US Armed Forces for the levels of activation and readiness, the defense posture. At any given moment, different parts of the armed forces can operate at different DEFCON's. DEFCON has a place in the popular imagination, but not mine. The standard peacetime level is DEFCON 5. What the heck is peacetime?

Lawyers and people who want to sound like them pronounce this word so the last syllable rhymes with ant.

Old meaning: throw out the window.

In Jeremiah 9:21 it is written:

Death has come to our windows.

New meanings: kill the window manager process; throw out the Windows; terminate Bill Gates.

The October 2, 2005, edition of Arab News (Saudi Arabia's principal English-language daily) quoted Saudi authorities to the effect that 92% of the 2.2 million Internet users in the kingdom wish to access forbidden or indecent material. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they wish to access sites that happen to contain such material (as defined by Saudi censors). Maybe they're the sort of people who read Playboy for the fiction. Maybe it's computer viruses calling home. This doesn't much concern me or probably you either, but Walter Laqueur mentions the report in The Last Days of Europe (2007), trying to make a point about the nature of religious commitment among young Muslim men. I don't see this as especially significant. (And I remember that some other young Saudi men, three of the 9/11 hijackers, went out to a Daytona strip club on 9/10.) The reason I mention it here is that on page 211, still discussing access to pornography (mostly), he writes the following in parenthesis:

``They close doors and we get in through the windows'' is a frequent comment.

What I want to observe is that in some versions of the quote, windows should be capitalized. Also, an aside on Laqueur's latest, subtitled ``Epitaph for an Old Continent'': what makes it most readable, and almost heartening, is that he makes a surprisingly slippery and weak argument. Better news: Mark Falcoff, resident scholar emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute, reviews the book in the July-August 2007 issue of Commentary and writes, ``perhaps never before have [the main themes of the book] been laid out in such a detailed (and lugubrious) fashion.'' If this comment be even remotely correct, which I doubt, then no book on the subject is really detailed at all.

Defenestration of Prague, The
A popular name, but a mischaracterization. It was not Prague itself that was defenstrated -- that would have been difficult -- but two governors of Bohemia: William Slavata and Jaroslav Mirtinic. They escaped with minor injuries, but let's get our bearings here.

Rudolf II, king of Bohemia (1576-1612), was, as you surely remember, one of the greatest monarchs of all time. Well, more on that later. I mean, he funded Kepler.

Pompous fools' self-delusive perception of contempt.

defensive driving
  1. Keep an eye peeled for Smokey.
  2. There is safety in numbers. Follow Benjamin Franklin's advice -- be neither first nor last. Recognize that the vehicles around you are running radar interference. (I think Franklin put his advice in his AUTObiography, written in the eighteenth century. That just goes to show you how far he was ahead of his time, and how little he followed his own advice.)
  3. Test your radar detectors regularly.
  4. Implement a NASA-style redundancy reconciliation system for your radar awareness environment.
  5. Collect license plates from exotic places with bad or slow motor vehicle information systems.
  6. Repaint your car frequently.

defensive parking
A skill. First of all: how hard is the wind blowing?

Read why Sens. Paul Tsongas and Warren Rudman think we're better off with less of one.

Of course, in 1998, the Federal Budget is in surplus for the first time in ages, just in time for the coming depression. Maybe we can all be Keynesians again. Please?

definite article
Definite articles are used by roughly 20% of languages world-wide, but they are rather popular in the languages of Western Europe. All the major Romance, Germanic, and Celtic languages (supposing for a moment that there is a major Celtic language) have them. (Hebrew and Arabic also use definite articles.) The largest European language group that generally does not use definite articles is the Slavic language family. (I grant that's a pretty big exception.)

[An exception to the exception is that Macedonian and Bulgarian have postfixed definite articles. These languages, like Arabic and Hebrew, don't have indefinite articles. Romanian and the North Germanic (i.e., Scandinavian) languages use postfix definite articles. The exceptional Scandinavian language of Iceland, as well as Albanian and the famously isolated Basque language, are like Macedonian and Bulgarian: postfix definite article only, no indefinite article.]

Proto-Indo-European, the origin of most of the European languages, did not have definite articles. Latin (and Sanskrit) did not have them, although classical Greek did.

definite article before name
In Spanish it is natural and common to use a definite article before certain titled names. For example, ``uncle Joe'' is ``el tío Joseé'' when referred to in the third person. It's pretty regular, but as a native speaker I never learned the rules as such. I infer from usage that one never uses the article in direct address, or if a possessive adjective precedes the title. (As in English, possessive adjectives preempt an article. That is strikingly not the case in Italian.) But that isn't why I wrote this entry; I only noticed it when I started to figure out how to explain what I did set out to write about, which is a Chilean dialectal difference.

In Chile, it is also common to prepend a definite article to a person's name. Not just ``el tío Enrique'' (`uncle Henry'), but even ``el Enrique'' (`Henry'). Something similar occurs in Modern Greek.

defining deviancy down
The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's phrase for a mechanism that allows one to ignore the practical poor consequences of social policies treasured for reasons of ideological principle: modern variety of Panglossianism.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. ``[T]he [UK] government department which deals with food, air, land, water and people.'' Heck, I do that every day myself. Defra is the successor to MAFF.

Some of the pages expand Defra as ``Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.'' Part of that is thought food, and the other part makes me think of Lady Chatterly's gardener.

DiEthyleneGlycol DiStearate. A/k/a DGD.

Swallowing. A very useful word when one is discussing the upper-GI activity of swallows.

DiEthylene Glycol diMethylEther.

    A partial list only. Check the TV guide for local listings.
  1. ``Celebrity Boxing.'' An hour-long Fox TV special on the ides of March, 2002. Three bouts are on the card, each scheduled for three two-minute rounds using ``weighted gloves.'' The headliner is Tonya Harding against Amy Fisher.
    Harding was the first American woman figure-skater to land a triple axel, but she achieved ``celebrity'' in January 1994, when her Olympic figure-skating rival Nancy Kerrigan's knee was injured in a crowbar attack by a man who was hired by Harding's then-husband (he later tried to change his name to escape notoriety, but people who had the name he wanted objected; I forget how that turned out). She eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of hindering prosecution in the case, but served no time; she was stripped of her national title and banned from the USFSA, which bars her from any kind of official participation in USFSA-sanctioned events. She was sentenced to do community service and three days in the Clark County jail in 2000, for assaulting her then-boyfriend with a hubcap. She seems to favor blunt metal weapons. Amy should insist on metal detectors. About a month before Fox announced its shameless exploitation, Harding's landlord sued her for back rent.
    As an eighteen-year-old in 1992, Amy Fisher became known as ``the Long Island Lolita'' after she shot the wife of auto mechanic Joey Buttafuoco, a man with whom she had had an affair. Tonya should insist on metal detectors. Amy did almost seven years in prison, and was released after a hearing in which the thick-skulled woman she tried to murder testified on her behalf.
    According to Fox's alternative-programming chief Mike Darnell, quoted Feb. 27 in the Gannett rag USA Today, ``This is legitimate. We'll have a real referee, a real doctor, real announcers. To all the world this will be a real boxing match.''
    Amy's parole board forbade her to participate, but Paula Jones was available. Paula Jones is the woman who was afraid that Arkansas state troopers' stories about former governor Bill Clinton and an anonymous woman would ruin her reputation, and who therefore revealed that she was the anonymous woman.
    Every few months Tonya gets in a little minor trouble with the law and it makes national news, and we all get to find out ``whatever happened to....'' Paula Jones cowered and Tonya won handily. Whew -- I was worried that Tonya would have to guard her newly installed (2001) XL boob enhancements. Read the latest on our girl at the CHL entry.
    The XFL folded; there's hope.
    But maybe not quite yet....
  2. ``The Girl Next Door: The Search for a Playboy Centerfold.'' A two-hour Fox-TV special investigation/pictorial, scheduled to air during the May sweeps in 2002. Hmm -- Fox. Why does that name ring a bell?
    Scott Grogin, a Fox flack, said ``We respect all of our viewers' rights to their opinions. If this is a show they don't like or feel is appropriate, please don't watch.'' I don't understand: just because ``all of [their] viewers'' don't feel a show is appropriate, why shouldn't I watch it?
  3. ``The Anna Nicole Show,'' an unreality show on E! Entertainment Television (a cable network), was renewed for a second season to air in early 2003. It is said to be, eh, modeled on MTV's ``The Osbournes.'' Oh, did I forget to mention the Osbournes? And the Isaac Stern show on E!? Oh fiddlesticks -- make that the Howard Stern show.

    You know, I've heard that the Jerry Springer, oh wait, the Jerry Seinfeld show was about nothing. So maybe the Nicole show is really a knock-off of the Seinfeld show, except that it's stupid, crass, somewhat more explicitly sex-obsessed, and not funny. Second opinion: it's effortlessly hilarious. Sobering thought: spin-offs. Tremble.
  4. Getting back to the Stern show -- this is really high concept: it's basically a show about women visiting a radio broadcast studio and exposing their breasts, but their breasts are blurred out on TV. I mean, shows with some parts bleeped or obscured are nothing new, but making the nonbroadcastable element the main focus of the show -- that's shrewd. Or something. Maybe they plan to market an uncensored version, a ``director's cut.'' ``Direct to video.'' The mind boggles; trepanate and apply Drano. Okay, update 2004: uplink to satellite.

  5. In 2003, National Geographic Magazine will have its first swimsuit issue. Perhaps they'll just use selections from the Miss World or Miss Universe swimsuit competition. Somehow I'm not expecting central African women with river blindness doing laundry the old-fashioned way. So when did Fox buy National Geographic?
  6. As of April 15, 2003, colleges where you can earn a Bachelor of Hair in just six months (something like that) can have their own .edu domain, just so you know what prestigious and serious institutions of learning they are. Hair: it's all about the brain.
  7. Okay, more from Fox: a seven-episode ``reality TV'' series debuted April 21, 2003, entitled ``Mr. Personality.'' In it, a female contestant must select one from a number of masked suitors. Their looks are kept hidden from her but not the studio audience, so she must choose on the basis of ``personality.'' Nothing any more wrong with that than with ``The Dating Game,'' really, but the host and moderator is Monica Lewinsky. The show placed second in the ratings for its time slot (12.2 million viewers estimated by Nielsen Media Research, trailing an estimated 13.8 million for back-to-back episodes of ``Everybody Loves Raymond'' (who?) on CBS). Mr. Personality won decisively with the lucrative 18-to-49-year-old demographic, however.
  8. I've been told that I should include something about a show called ``The Bachelor,'' but believe me, no one ever explains enough about it to make it comprehensible to anyone who hasn't seen it.
  9. Presumably, you're aware of the Jerry Springer show, and I needn't say more. In Britain the subtitles are said to come in handy. (``Jerry Springer -- The Opera'' premiered in London in 2003 and has been a popular and critical hit. US productions began in 2008. There's also a domestic British approximation of the TV show called ``Trisha,'' mornings on ITV. In Australia, broadcast of The Jerry Springer Show is traditionally followed by an episode of Judge Judy. In Belgium, Jerry's show is broadcast dubbed, but I don't know into which language or languages. (It reminds me of watching ``The Jeffersons'' on Italian TV many years ago. Italian is the natural language for that show, and it deserves the opera treatment. A lot of sopranos also have the perfect body style to fit into the capacious Mrs. Jefferson role. For more on the Italian-English moving-pictures nexus, see the silent movie entry.)
  10. The ``Girls Gone Wild'' degradation is discussed under Calvin Broadus.
  11. For the 2004 Superbowl, CBS/Viacom/etc. put on a half-time show to give Fox a run for its money. I mention a detail or two at the SB entry (for comedic context, see Uncle Miltie). But the Australians soon came roaring back, showing that no one can outFox them when it comes to gratuitous sexual exploitation in sports. (See Heidi United S.C.)
  12. On January 22, 2004, a news conference was held in New York to announce a match between a human (heavyweight champion Lenox Lewis) and an animal (rapist, anthropophage, and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson).

At the end of 2003, in a column for Fox News, Eric Burns complained about foul language on radio. (He had already dealt with foul language on TV in earlier essays.) I'm not saying his sentiments are entirely wrong or anything.

degree lottery
A degree lottery is not much different than a green-card lottery, or a Shirley Jackson lottery, or any of the other traditional lotteries. It's not as complicated as power-ball, everyone gets an equal chance, and of course, there's no studying. For the price of a ticket, you get a chance to win a genuine college degree, and get this: it's from a nonaccredited college! So you know you're getting the degree you deserve! Is that cool or what? This is such a deal. Don't tell your friends who already have their own degrees -- let other people have a chance, other people like you!

I don't know for a fact certain that this exists, but I probably just don't read enough of my spam.

DiEthyleneGlycol Succinate.

Don't Even Go There. Listed in a sampling of ``popular shorthand texting terms'' in a WSJ article by Stephanie Raposo posted online August 6, 2009: ``Quick! Tell Us What KUTGW Means.''

It seems to me that the phrase abbreviated by DEGT, understood in the sense of ``it's better not to broach that subject'' or ``better not to start thinking along those lines,'' first popular in the early 1990's. In ordinary speech and even in unabbreviated writing, it seems that first-person jussive forms like ``let's not [even] go there'' are more common than the strictly imperative second-person corresponding to DEGT, but LNGT is at best rare and LNEGT looks too much like length misspelled. Not that there's anything surprising in that.

Di(EthylHexyl)Adepate. A plasticizer in plastic food wrap.


I suppose this is a word that doesn't need a definition, and I also hope it doesn't, because if it does then I probably can't give it. You can't spell dehegemonization without D-E-M-O-N-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N. There: now the entry contains some information. My work is done here.

Let's play. There's a conference with the title ``Dehegemonization: The US and Transnational Democracy.'' It's scheduled for Wednesday, April 5, 2006, but I'm writing the entry now because I'm a good guy and want you to know about this in time to attend. I only just heard about it myself today (Tuesday, March 28, 2006). The conference will take place at George Mason University. As you know, just two days ago in the NCAA Men's Basketball Finals, the eleventh-seeded GMU Patriots dehegemonized first-seeded UConn (pronounced ``you con'') to advance to the Final Four. I mean -- how appropriate is that? Can you say sin-crow-nisity? Can I spell it? Maybe you read that sports report too quickly. ``Final Four'' has at least three syllables. You should say it slowly, as if you were pronouncing a word like Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool in one of the fanático-de-fútbol dialects (that's all dialects) of Spanish. Notice that the vowel represented by ``ou'' in ``four'' is a nominal monophthong with r-coloring, which is noticeable in the lowered pitch of the third formant in the final seconds before the liquid begins (I mean the letter r).

Notice also that the Patriots were among the last five at-large teams selected for the tournament, and that during the regular season they were unranked except for one week when they were bottom-ranked (#25). (The #11 seeding was just within their regional bracket, one of four.) Notice that the UConn team they dispatched was not just first-seeded in the bracket, but second-ranked nationally going into March Madness, and favored to win it all -- as it had in 2004. Notice that just to reach the Elite Eight and face UConn, the Patriots had to defeat Michigan State (NCAA champions in 2000) without their own second-leading scorer, and then beat North Carolina (champs in 2005).

Italian contraction of de i, meaning `of the' and used before a plural male noun or noun phrase that does not begin in a vowel. Here's a complete list of the di contractions meaning `of the.'

di + gli = degli
di + i = dei
di + il = del
di + l' = dell'
di + la = della
di + le = delle
di + lo = dello

(There's a similar set of contractions with a.) The forms vary to indicate grammatical gender and number, and to coordinate with the initial sound of the following word. (Usually a noun or a quantifier; in the following, we'll call it a noun.)

For female nouns beginning in consonants, la and le are the singular and plural endings, resp. This is easy to remember because -a is the most typical ending for female nouns in the singular, and those nouns normally take plurals in -e. For nouns beginning in a vowel, l' is substituted for la (le is the common plural form).

Il and its plural i are used for male nouns beginning in a consonant, unless they begin with x, z, gn, pn, ps, or a consonant cluster beginning in s. For those exceptions, lo (sing.) and gli (pl.) are used. Before male nouns beginning in a vowel, the same plural form gli is used, but the singular article is contracted to l'.

Notice that unless a noun is singular and begins in a vowel, its gender is obvious from its article.

Italian: `gods' (plural of dio).

In linguistics, something like a pronoun. Pronouns (I, you, that) and other words (like here) with context-dependent referents. Such words are said to be deictic (adj.) or deictics (noun). I don't know if the terms are precisely enough defined for it to be possible to say whether all deictics are lexical variables and vice versa.

déjà vous
  1. English pronunciation of déjà vu
  2. French: `You, already.'

déjà vu
I have this funny feeling that I've seen this entry before.

Data Encrypti{ on | ng } Key[s].

Journalists' jargon for the subtitle of an article. It's ``deck'' purposely misspelled so it won't be mistaken for a word that is meant to be part of the article text. I don't understand why that word (deck) was chosen in the first place. Most of the meanings suggest something flat or a covering. All I can think of is that It suggests the batter on deck; that batter resembles a subtitle in being next to come (after the batter up or the title).

DElta Kappa Epsilon fraternity member. Cf. Tau Bate.

Dekes who have served most recently as US presidents are George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Gerald R. Ford. F.D.R. joined what had been the Deke chapter at Harvard shortly after it had been expelled for dual affiliation with Alpha Delta Phi. If FDR is counted as a Deke, then he was the only Democrat among the six Deke US Presidents.

DELete. A non-printing ASCII code, different from BS (BackSpace).

Delphinus. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

delay line
Dallas Semiconductor Corporation sells some all-Si programmable ones made in CMOS logic. Another approach is to use surface acoustic waves (SAW's).

Copyeditor's instruction: DELEte.

Dell Computer Corporation was founded by Michael Dell.

DELaware, MARyland, and VirginiA. Occurs in ``the Delmarva peninsula,'' an unofficial term meteorologists find useful. As a geographic term, ``Delmarva'' is probably equivalent to ``the Delmarva peninsula,'' but ``Delmarva'' was originally used in business names and so might refer to whatever protean region is convenient.

DEscription Language for TAxonomy.

DEtailed Labor and Time Analysis.



Dat's not us.

Deutschmark. The legal tender in Germany until the beginning of 2002 (the end of the transition to the euro). Check the currency converter entry before it (the DEM) vanishes. Oops, too late.

Digital Elevation Model. A data exchange format developed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for geographical and topographic data.

Delaware (state) Emergency Management Agency.

Emacs for DOS. Here.

de mal en pis
French expression meaning `from bad to worse.'


De mater semper certum est.
Latin, `Mama's baby, papa's maybe.'

Deming wheel, Deming Cycle
The brilliant and subtle concept of the universally acknowledged genius W. E. Deming, of sainted memory, that emphasizes the necessity for research, design, production, and sales to be in each others' hair all the time in order to achieve improved quality that satisfies customers. It's like a wheel! With four spokes! Wow!

Satisfy the customers, and profits will follow naturally. In fact, why not give the product away? That'll really satisfy them.

I hope you're taking notes. Next lesson: PDCA.

DEMOgraphic. Used as a noun to indicate a population subgroup, as in ``the 18-49 demo.''

DEMOnstration. I've never seen this abbreviated ``demon.'' At least I don't think I have. The principle is demonstrated here. Ooh -- dead link. Too bad. No demo demo.

A political demonstration, placards and chants and all that, I haven't ever heard called a ``demo,'' but somebody might. In Spanish, a political demonstration is called a manifestación. (A strike, in the sense of work stoppage, is a huelga.)

A demo version of a software program is something of a balancing act: it has to be good enough to motivate a purchase, but not so good that it obviates the need for a purchase. Typical strategies in demo design are disabling a crucial final function (such as saving or printing the document output by the demo program), or having the program expire. Since games don't have much in the way of useful output, and since there are approximately a million very similar games available for free, coercing purchase is hard.

Many games have a demo mode in which they play themselves. That's not for people too lazy to play their own games; it's for people to see how the game is played.

Japanese for the conjunction `but' or the sentence adverb `however.' Not very surprisingly, I've also heard ``demo demo demo'' used to express `on the other hand' (not a pleading but-but-but).

A homonym of the native word demo is the gairaigo for `demonstration' (only in the public-protest sense, afaik) and also `democracy' (though this shorter word is also borrowed as demokurasÓ. The verb demoru, of course, means `participate in a demonstration.'

Democracy Now
English translation of Demokratie Jetzt, the name of an East/Eastern German civic group.

The German word jetzt, which now means `now,' looks like a cognate of the English word yet, but probably isn't. Yet is clearly related to words in Frisian languages, but not to any word in other Germanic languages. The English word has many uses, as an adverb and conjunction, but its principal sense underwent an almost subtle transformation during the twentieth century. Yet used to mean what still still means: roughly, ``now as until now.'' That is its sense in Francis Scott Key's words ``Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave....'' He was born in 1779 and was inspired to write the poem, as you recall, by the resistance of Fort McHenry to a British attack in September 1814. (Note that there is an element of continuity or implicit progression in this sense of the word. One could not define it as ``now as before,'' because that includes a meaning like again. Yet was occasionally used in that sense long ago.)

Some people still use yet in the sense of still. (You want an example? Okay, I'll give you an example: Steve's mom. Yes, the very same Steve who's mentioned at the ARMA, job, RPI, and yes entries. Small world, huh? No, not the Steve at the S1S entry.)

Despite the exceptions, however, it is no longer common in American English to use yet in affirmative statements. Instead, in declarative statements it occurs in the phrase not yet, meaning ``still not.'' One could probably argue that this serves a useful purpose. In questions, yet means about the same thing as already.

Democratic Republic of
More-Or-Less Socialist Dictatorship of.

Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.

-- François de La Rochefoucauld

(See also UNCF.)

Demokratie Jetzt
A group that formed in East Germany in Autumn 1989 and joined Bündnis 90 in 1990.

demo viewers
Viewers of a demonstration? Hah! No. VIEWERS in the critical 25-54 DEMOgraphic.

Diesel-Electric Multiple-Unit train. A kind of self-powered passenger rail car. Specifically, a DMU in which a diesel engine generates electric power which in turn powers electric motors at the wheels or axles.

DEMUltipleXer. Pronounced ``dee-mucks.'' Not very useful without a mux somewhere.

Denglisch, Denglish
A German word for German with a large admixture of English, or for the English component of the admixture.

Department of Education, Northern Ireland.

Not just a river in Egypt.

Drug Evaluation Network System. ``A national, electronic [they considered paper?], treatment-tracking project.'' A collaboration of TRI, CASA, ONDCP, and CSAT.

There are two or three common numberings in use.

A wonderful new bureaucratic euphemism. When your federal funding agency experiences severe budget cuts, it may cut off funding that it had previously committed to provide for research in a multi-year contract. You are said in this instance to be deobligated, which might seem to confuse where some of the obligations lie. On the bright side, if your proposal was turned down, you can't be deobligated. (See, however, a rumor related at the NSF entry.)

DEPosit. Money, more often than sediment.

Look, we've got a Depardieu entry coming up just ahead. Check there, maybe you'll find what you're looking for.

The surname of a French actor named Gérard. He had a starring role in an American movie in 1990: he played a Frenchman in Green Card. In 1992 he starred in another English-language movie: he played Christopher Columbus in 1492. This is obviously an actor with a gift for doing accents, but that's not why I put this entry here.

According to A Dictionary of Surnames, by Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges (OUP, 1988), this surname arose from an Old French oath: par Dieu (`by God,' ultimately from the Late Latin de parte Dei, `for God's sake'). The name is supposed to have arisen as a nickname for people who used that oath frequently. Cognate French surnames are Pa(r)dieu and Depardé. English cognates: Pardoe, Pardew, Pard(e)y, Perdue. Cf. Purdue, pardo.

departing knowledge
A business term for the knowledge that leaves because it is stored in the brains of personnel that leave. ``Yet the proven principles, tools, and practices of knowledge management can be systematically applied to capture departing knowledge and transfer it to new employees.'' (It's easy: just tap their brains and turn the spigot.)

Dep control, Dep. control
DEPerdussin CONTROL. Deperdussin has his own entry (immediately below, for now).
Wheel control. -- Instead of the control stick just described, a control wheel as in an automobile, called a Dep. or Deperdussin control, is frequently used; the wheel is turned to the left to depress the left side of the machine and to the right to depress the right side. A control wheel is shown, in diagram, at the left of Fig. 91. (As in the case of the rudder, ailerons are sometimes connected so as to be operated by a motion opposite to the one described.)

[My italics. You're missing little by my not reproducing the figure. The almost schematic figure shows wires from either wheel control or stick control pulling wing-flap ailerons in opposite directions.]

The paragraph block-quoted above is from page 182 of The Airplane: A Practical Discussion of the Principles of Airplane Flight, by Frederick Bedell, Ph.D. (originally published in 1920), rewritten and enlarged with the assistance of Theodore E. Thompson, M.E. (D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1930).

According to CONTACT! The Story of the Early Birds (pp. 118-119; bibliographic details at the Deperdussin entry):

Equally promising was the Antoinette-type monoplane of Armand Deperdussin, an enterprising and generous silk merchant who employed as his designer one of the truly great engineers of the aeronautical world, Louis Béchereau. The prototype of the Deperdussin was a four-bladed canard monoplane designed in 1909 for Christmas exhibition in a Paris department store. The first flying model, built in 1910, performed well from the start. Powered by a 40-hp, four-cylinder Clerget engine, it had a long fuselage with a very small cross section, two wheels with skids, and a sturdy tail skid. It was one of the first machines to employ the ``wheel'' control, as distinct from the ``stick'' control--an innovation sometimes referred to as the Dep control. While some early pilots complained that it had an irrepressible tendency to steer to the left--to ``chase its tail''--Béchereau's advanced construction was on the threshold of worldwide fame.

[The ``Equally'' at the beginning of the paragraph refers to monoplanes designed by Edouard de Niéport (eventually Nieuport) with very low-camber wings and very streamlined fuselage (``very'' compared with contemporary designs).]

The British spelling of the noun that is spelled ``dependent'' in American English. The correct spelling of the adjective is ``dependent'' everywhere. For a similar case involving a noun-verb contrast, see practise.

I noticed an article in a 2008 issue of an IEEE Transactions journal (not camera-ready copy, in other words, and publication not rushed as in a Letters journal) that repeatedly used the -dant spelling for the adjective. Dependence is a rather common mathematical notion; the adjective (but not the noun) dependent appears very, very frequently. The world is going to hell in a handbasket with an escort of printers' devils. [Other highlights of the paper: ratio test used to determine convergence of a power series that happened to be an ordinary geometric series (yes, this involved explicitly taking the limit of a constant, although the operation was performed on the wrong constant); series derived by recursion from a formula that could have been rearranged to yield simple closed-form result; series left unsummed.]

Armand Deperdussin soared to the heights of fame and then crashed to obscurity. One of my thousands of projects is to gather together snippets of information about him. I've already written a bit about him at the Dep control entry above and at a S.P.A.D. entry. For now, all I need to write here is that he's mentioned at a few places in the book CONTACT! The Story of the Early Birds, by Henry Serrano Villard (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1968).

A diplomatic term meaning ``will do nothing about.''

Double with Even (number of aces), Pass with Odd. A contract bridge bidding convention known by its initialism.

DEPuty OPerationS DEPuty. DEPOPSDEP's rank below the OPSDEP's, of course. All is explained at this page.

Distortionless Enhancement by Polarization Transfer. An NMR technique.

Double-Ended QUEue. Like disk, this is an IBM neologism. There are two theories about this word. One is that it did not become popular because its spelling looks like a pedantic affectation (like ``rôle,'' ``résumé'' or ``coördinate''). The other theory is that it looks odd because it didn't catch on. However, the inverse of a chicken-and-egg problem is not a chicken-and-egg problem: that is, it's perfectly possible that the chicken didn't come first and the chicken egg didn't come first. In the present context, it may be both theories of deque nonuse are correct.

It's amazing how convincing that sounds. The same argument works with chicken eggs, if chicken eggs should happen not to exist.

Some readers might be interested to know that a ``deque'' is intended to refer to a list that can be pushed or popped (extended or shortened) on both ends. You could do the same using a stack with a rotate feature (like an HP calculator). In fact, you could do the same and more with linked lists. You could even do it all in machine language. Come think of it, that's how it's ultimately done.

In C++, STL includes a template for deques.

Defence Evaluation and Research Agency of the UK. Blimey, pages available in Russian!

De Re Militari. Latin, `on military matters.' The Society for Medieval Military History. With the $35 annual membership fee, you get the year's issue of JMMH.

Date of Expected Return from OverSeas (military service).

A word in French and German that can often be translated into English as `of the.' (Though not always, of course. In particular, French des also functions as the plural indefinite article, and so is typically translatable as `some.') The fun part of this entry (under construction and thus still a bit recherché) comes at the end, but you'll appreciate it better if you know the content of the intervening paragraphs.

Grammatically, the two words have different analyses. The French des is a contraction of the preposition de and the plural (common gender) definite article les. The German des is the singular genitive form of the definite article for masculine and neuter genders. Syntactically, however, they have a similar distribution: French prepositional phrases in des and German noun phrases in the genitive (unmediated by any preposition), both follow the nouns or noun phrases they modify.

Moreover, although des is followed by a plural noun in French and a singular noun in German, both nouns are likely to end in the letter s. In French, most plurals end in s, and in German the genitive form of a singular noun of masculine and neuter gender is usually declined with a final s. (German feminine nouns and plurals only get a final s in the possessive form, which is something slightly different.)

So des has similar distribution in German and French: following general nouns while preceding nouns that usually end in s (otherwise usually x or n). It remains only to observe that many French words have been borrowed by German and preserved with spellings identical or similar to their current French spellings, and both languages have borrowed words in common from another language such as English. Hence, one encounters coincidences like the following:

Original phrase             Language   English translation
---------------             --------   -------------------
garage des hôtels           French     garage of the hotels
Garage des Hotels           German     garage of the hotel

assistant des jobs          French     jobs assistant
Assistent des Jobs          German     job assistant

encyclopédie des pullovers  French     encyclopedia of sweaters
Enzyklopädie des Pullovers  German     encyclopedia of the sweater

caméras des touristes       French     video cameras of the tourists
Kameras des Touristen       German     cameras of the tourist

limonade des camarades      French     friends' lemonade
Limonade des Kameraden      German     friend's lemonade

To a small extent the older similarities were diminished during the 20th century by the German replacement of many spellings that had retained a c by spellings with z or k. Moreover, the 1996 spelling reform endorsed more rapid naturalization of foreign loans. (Setting some kind of precedent for the euro crisis that began in 2009, it seems.)

Data Encryption Standard. A particular one defined by the ol' NBS (National Bureau o' Standards) and adopted by ISO to avoid fighting.

(Data communication) Destination End System.

DEsmethylSertraline. A metabolite of the SSRI sertraline.

DiEthyl Stilbestrol. Prescribed to pregnant women between 1945 and 1961 or so to prevent miscarriage. It was considered perfectly safe, and it was -- to the mother. While it is well known that DES daughters are at increased risk for cervical cancer, sons as well as daughters are at elevated risk for a number of reproductive-system disorders.

It continues to be used as a growth promoter in cattle. Recently, it's found some potential application in the treatment of AIDS.

Discrete-Event System.

`Discounts' in Spanish. Look, I'm really going to kill the frog here. You may prefer to just figure out the essential bits by reading the paragraph that contains the list of titles (starting at ``To recap'').

The common noun descuento and the verb descontar in Spanish are usually accurately translated by the English `discount.' The verb takes a common stem change, and descuento means `I discount.' Descuentos is the plural of the noun descuento and is not a verb form.

In Spanish, as in English and many other languages, counting and telling are related concepts described by partially related sets of words. (I suppose this has to do with the notion and feeling of sequence.) The connection is obvious in the manifestly related words count and recount, as well as from raconteur, borrowed from French. As is somewhat typical, in English words of Germanic provenance the cognate relations are less obvious than in those of Romance, so one is less likely to notice the connection of talley with tale and tell. The connection is clearer among German cognates of these words: Zahl (`number') and erzählen (`tell'). (See

The Spanish word cuento means `story' (perhaps I should write `tale'). It also means `I count' and `I tell,' (forms of the verb contar) and can function as the count noun `count' (had to say that, sorry, it won't happen again, soon) although that is not its principal sense. The form cuentos is just the plural of the noun, but cuentas is `you count' and `you tell,' and the noun `bills' [in the sense of invoice]. (Singular cuenta, of course. One German word for this kind of bill is Konto, from the Italian conto. Another German word for bill is Rechnung, literally `calculation,' cognate with the English word `reckon.' That will come up again if I ever write comprehensively about ``Yes, We Have No Bananas.'')

So back to descuento. All the meanings that this word ordinarily takes have to do with quantities, and most are translatable by the English word `discount.' [The exception is in sports -- really only in soccer, that I'm aware of -- where officials can extend the duration of a match to compensate for interruptions during regulation. In English this is called ``overtime'' (North America) or extra time (RoW); in Spanish it's ``tiempo de descuento.'' It comports with the idea that one should discount (not count, ignore) clock time taken up by officials.] There are a number of books with ``Tiempo de Descuento'' as title, and for many of those it must be a pun.

English has a profusion of privative prefixes. Offhand, the following come to mind: a- (with an- to avoid hiatus; see this AA entry), in- (with forms il-, ir-, and im- assimilated to liquids and labials), non-, un-, de- dis-, dys-, and occasionally even des-, distributed not entirely unsystematically among parts of speech and etymological sources. (We also have an entry for anti-.) Spanish displays less variety. This is partly because the vocabulary is largely Latinate, so the Greek a- and dys- and the Germanic un- naturally occur less frequently. (The Latinate prefix non- in English occurs as the unbound morpheme no in Spanish.) The upshot is that the privative prefix des- has broader use than any single similar prefix in English.

To recap the main points: descuentos is a common word with meanings unrelated to cuentos, but des- is a productive prefix. The right context can force or at least suggest a reading in which descuentos is a nonce word coined from des- and cuentos with the evident meaning of `unstories,' `antistories,' or the like. This punnishing bit of drollery has been exploited (BTW, see the discussion of explotar at the miga entry), I am surprised to say, in fewer than a dozen book titles that I can find. Here are the fruits of my research:

There's also El imitador hermético y otros des(EN)cuentos (2008), by Ana Criado Peña. The title is difficult to parse blind. It's `The hermetic imitator and other not-quite-stories.' Here ``not-quite-stories'' is anti-stories with the perenthesized infix ``(EN).'' Perhaps it's meant to suggest encuentros (`encounters'). The three parts of the messy contrivance mean `that you give,' `in' and, of course, `stories.' Normally, I'd be inclined to suppose that two of these free-morpheme senses are irrelevant, but there it is fwiw.

    As a noun:
  1. Plural of desert -- lifeless, typically dry, stereotypically sandy place(s). Stress on the first syllable.
  2. That which is deserved. A noun derived from the verb deserve. Stress on the second syllable. The word now occurs mostly in the expression ``just deserts.'' (Just here is related to justice, it is not to be interpreted as mere. ``Just deserts'' are appropriate rewards or, more usually, punishments.) NOTICE THE SINGLE ESS. This has nothing to do with postprandial repasts!
  3. As a verb:
  4. 3rd pers. sing. present of the verb to desert.

Drug Efficacy Study Implementation.

A subcontinent Indian. Literally (in Hindi) a `national.' In English, or at least in the US and the UK, the word is pronounced ``day-see'' or ``deh-see,'' but in some parts of India the ``see'' becomes ``she.'' I've certainly heard both see and she versions from Indians in the US (regarding which, see ABCD), and the vowel in the first syllable is somewhere between the two versions given above. The few English dictionaries that include this word seem to agree that the stress is on the initial syllable. However, from the way I originally wrote the ABCD entry, it seems I was under the impression that it had final stress, though I don't remember this any more. From my tenuous understanding of Hindi phonology, final stress is appropriate for this word, but stress varies less between syllables in Hindi than in English, though pitch variation may obscure that. I haven't looked into other Indian languages. English pronunciation tends to push stress to the front, but this shouldn't be such a big affect among Indian immigrants in the US. Okay, I'm done. Pronounce it however you like.

desirability stories
A genre of picaresques whose moral is always the allure of your date to other men. I'm not sure if these are actually required on a blind date, but perhaps the alternative hasn't been tried.

Desirable Men
Desirable Men: How To Find Them by Dr. Romance (a/k/a Nancy Fagan), (Rocklin, CA: Prima Publ'ng., 1997). We have small extracts at the following entries:

Defence Export Services Organisation. A Whitehall department that sells British weapons round the world. According to a March 9, 2005, article in the Guardian (by David Leigh and Rob Evans), ``no fewer than 161 of the department's 600 officials work for the `Saudi Armed Forces Project'.''

despectivo, despectiva
A Spanish adjective with the senses of `disrespectful' (equiv. desdeñoso, despreciativo) and of `pejorative' (also peyorativo, but dictionaries tend to mark such terms as despect.).

dessert wine
In the UK, this term traditionally describes a relatively sweet wine, but in the US it's high-alcohol wine, sweet or dry. I guess the question is what you were planning to do after dinner (and what meal of the day dinner might be).

According to Jancis Robinson's book, by (not further-specified) law in the US, grape wine is designated dessert wine if its alcohol content is between 14% and 24% (alcoholic strength entry) or fortified (dessert wine entry). These are inequivalent though approximately consistent definitions. The microbes that convert sugar into alcohol die off at alcohol concentrations above 15-18% (they are effectively poisoned by their own excrement), so higher alcohol concentrations require either distillation (and then the distillate is usually called by some other name than [distilled] wine, such as brandy) or fortification. Fortification is the admixture of some fluid with higher alcohol content. (Some fortified wines are port, sherry, madeira, and Wonder Bread. Oops, not Wonder Bread; that's differently fortified. Better go easy on that stuff -- it's making me dizzy!)

A Spanish verb, originally a military term, but now widely used in transferred senses. In military terms, it is `to detach a small group from a larger force, to serve as a task force for some special action, expedition, guard duty, etc.' The word was based on the Italian staccare, `to cut off violently.' The Italian word is believed to be based on the same hypothetical Gothic root *stakka (or *staka) supposed to be the origin of the Spanish word estaca.

In nonmilitary usage, the transitive verb destacar is figuratively `to emphasize,' or more precisely `to throw into relief or high contrast, to make salient.' (The thing destacado is typically the merits or qualities of some person or thing.) The word is also taken literally in this figurative sense: to increase the contrast or salience of some feature in a painting, particularly in chiaroscuro (that's claroscuro in Spanish). Intransitively, destacar is `to stick out or become (literally) unglued.'

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron. Pronounced about like ``daisy'' to reflect German phonetics, but I don't know if the Swabians voice the s.

Det, det
DETerminant. Abbreviation used in mathematics and linguistics, but not exactly for the same puppy.

In mathematics, the determinant is a scalar function of a square matrix. For an n×n matrix M with elements Mi,j, it is the sum of n! terms. Each of the n! terms corresponds to a different permutation s of the numbers 1 to n. Each term is the signed product of n matrix elements Mi,s(i) for i from 1 to n. The ``signed product'' is just the stated product multiplied by -1 if the permutation s is odd. For a 2×2 matrix, the determinant is M1,1M2,2 - M1,2M1,2. For matrices of order 4 or higher, it is convenient to evaluate by the method of minors.

A system of n linear equations in n variables is described by a square, nth-order matrix of variable coefficients and also, if the system is inhomogeneous, by an n-component vector of constants. Kramer's method expresses the solution of the inhomogeneous system in terms of determinants. Each variable has the value that is a quotient of determinants. The denominator in each case is the determinant of the square matrix of coefficients, and the numerator is constructed from the same square matrix by substituting the (column or row) vector of constants for the appropriate column or row of the coefficient matrix. If the determinant of the coefficient matrix is zero, then a solution is possible only for constant vectors that make all the numerator determinants zero. If the system is homogeneous (equivalent to a constants vector with all components zero), then a nontrivial solution (one in which the variables are not all zero) is possible only if the denominator (determinant of coefficient matrix) is zero. In other words, depending on the situation, what the determinant determines is the existence of solutions: whether solutions can exist for all constant vectors in the inhomogeneous case, or whether nontrivial solutions can exist in the homogeneous case.

Kramer's method is not a practical way to solve systems of linear equations (much quicker and less pathological is some use of Gaussian elimination that puts things in triangular form or tridiagonal form, like LU decomposition), but it does demonstrate the significance of the determinant.

There's no reason why you should believe this except that I would hardly make it up, but the only reason I wrote anything past the first paragraph of this entry is that I came back later looking for a lost puppy. But now I'm tired of all this, so information on degenerate versus nondegenerate conic sections will have to wait for another serendipitous visit. Oh yeah, and a determinant in linguistics is a word like the or a word or morpheme that fulfills a similar function.


Direct Energy Transfer.

Distance Education and Training Council. Self-described as ``Global Leader in Distance Learning Accreditation.''

DiEthyleneTriAmine. A curing agent (i.e., polymerizer) for epoxy.

DiEthyl Toluene DiAmine. A hard constituent in copolymer polyureas.

DETe, deTe
DiEthyl Telluride. An organic precursor used in MOCVD growth of II-VI material.

French, `strait.'

According to Dora Jane Hamblin's memoir of life at LIFE, fact-checkers were much put-upon to provide facts, working long into the night to fill in the blanks labelled KOMING in writers' incomplete copy. For example, a population size might be left missing, to be filled in by the fact-``checker,'' or the checker could adjust the copy. Fatigue or mischief led to the following sentence for an issue in June 1946:
Detroit, which was a pleasant, elm-shaded little city of 250,000 when the auto came out [in 1886].

In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, as Jay Gatsby is finally showing Dolly around his mansion, he receives a call.

... I can't talk now, old sport. ... I said a small town. ... He must know what a small town is. ... He's no use to us if Detroit is his idea of a small town.

As of 2005, Detroit is the 11th-largest city in the US. Its population has fallen along with the fortunes of the domestic car manufacturers, from 1.8 million in 1950 to 900 thousand in 2000.

developing countries
Oftentimes inaccurate euphemism for `underdeveloped countries.' I mean look: at this point in history, the way they got underdeveloped was by not developing.

Fund-raising for a charitable institution (medical or educational, in the instances I've encountered).

Remember, you can't spell device without vice. Heck, you can't spell service without vice either. Remember that the next time you hear about ``free energy devices.''

DElaware Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Directed-Energy Weapon.

Dew-Drop Inn
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

(Just to kill the frog: the pun in the preceding sentence is a compound antanaclasis.)

Dewey, John
John Dewey was a prominent educrat in the first half of the twentieth century. You've probably never read anything he wrote, especially if you value your time. Therefore, you need to know something about him fast. The main thing you need to know is that intellectually, his works have all the nutritional content of a diet Twinkie.

He systematically collected and rearticulated most of the general statements about education that are both obvious and approximately true. Most people who regarded themselves as thoughtful agreed with his useless platitudes and ignored the stuff that would have required them to think, while a few foolish people, thinking that those stupid things he wrote might be influential, opposed him. These facts were later misinterpreted: Dewey was thought to have convinced the educational, eh, elite of his new ideas, and thus made his opponents look foolish. This is the source of the myth that Dewey was influential.

Dewey is called a philosopher on the same principle that dead politicians are called statesmen. (Or is that ``statespersons'' now? ``Statespeople''? Ugh. All the more reason to keep calling them politicians.) Coincidentally, Dewey was a philosopher. And he was famous. So it is possible to say, with a relatively clear conscience, that he was a famous philosopher. Of course, John Dewey was a famous philosopher in the same way that Anne Boleyn was a famous chess player. They are famous, but not for philosophy or chess. Still, John Dewey did fumble with philosophical concepts in his writing, sometimes amusingly, in the mistaken belief that deeper mud makes a stronger foundation. This makes him quite useful to students of philosophy today. A Ph.D. dissertation in philosophy usually consists of pointing out some pesky little inconsistency in the work of a famous philosopher -- i.e., tapping a famous philosopher on the shoulder. Many philosophy graduate students simply can't reach that high, and end up pinching a famous philosopher on the ass. Fortunately for these students, Dewey is what you might call ``accessible.''


My introduction has piqued your interest, and you're still reading! You'll be sorrr-rrry! Here's a sample of John Dewey brilliance, from chapter 1 of his greatest work, Democracy and Education:

Society exists through a process of transmission quite as much as biological life. This transmission occurs by means of communication of habits of doing, thinking, and feeling from the older to the younger. Without this communication of ideals, hopes, expectations, standards, opinions, from those members of society who are passing out of the group life to those who are coming into it, social life could not survive. If the members who compose a society lived on continuously, they might educate the new-born members, but it would be a task directed by personal interest rather than social need. Now it is a work of necessity.

In case you're wondering: yes, he did intend for this book to be read by adults. There's also a bit of Dewey content in a block quote at the Slightly to the Right entry.

DEW Line
Distant Early Warning LINE. A 3000-mile line across the North American continent, along which radar surveillance was maintained continually, to guard against a bomber attack over the Arctic from the Soviet Union. The line was flanked on the Atlantic and Pacific by Navy patrols using long-range aircraft supported by modified-destroyer escorts. The line was backed by the Mid-Canada Line and the Pine Tree Line, built earlier in the decade. The DEW Line began operation in August 1957. Data from the systems was gathered at NORAD headquarters.

It cost a fortune to build ($600 million; $1 billion including naval flanks; 26 dead due to flight accidents in generally terrible weather) and a larger fortune to maintain (a quarter billion dollars per year). Given the supersonic speeds of bombers of the time, it would have provided about one hour's warning of an attack against the lower 48. Two months after it went into operation, the USSR launched Sputnik. By 1963, ballistic missiles were considered to be the major threat, and in 1965 the Navy patrols on the Atlantic and Pacific flanks of the DEW Line were discontinued. BMEWS was added. An air-defense pact signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Canadian PM Brian Mulroney in March 1985 turned the DEW Line over to Canada in 1989. By that year, the North Warning System was in place. That required only 13 minimally-manned AN/FPS-117 long-range radar sites.

The Soviet Union fell apart for Christmas 1990. Over time, of course, various pieces of the early-warning system had been decommissioned as they had become redundant. Particularly since 2001, an attack over the Arctic has not seemed to be a major concern, and things like the DEW Line are of mainly historical interest (though North Korea is working hard at justifying missile defenses). A good place to learn about Cold-War-era early-warning systems is Dave Word's ``Early Warning Connection'' (with a links page).


Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry. Yeah, ``absorpti-O-metry.'' DEXA scans are used to determine bone mineral density (BMD).

Rightward. The term is used in epigraphy to describe writing from left to right, and letters whose stance (that is a technical term) is the normal one for dextrograde writing.

The common writing directions are dextrograde, sinistrograde (leftward), boustrophedon (alternating), and vertical. In horizontal writing, it is normal (very normal) for successive lines in a block of text to be written below the ones preceding. Likewise, vertical writing is implicitly downward writing. Parallel lines of vertical writing may progress to the left or to the right.

Direct EXchange UCS. The UCS EDI standard used for direct store delivery (DSD).

Dark-Field. An imaging mode for TEM.

Data Flow.

Decision Feedback.

Degree[s] of Freedom.

Demagnetization Factor.

Design For. Another one of those acronym prefixes (like CA-). E.g., DFESH, DFLP, DFM, DFR, DFT, DFX, and DFX,

Distributing Frame.

Distribution Function.

Distrito Federal, `Federal District' in Spanish. Typically the national capital of a Latin American country, similar to `District of Columbia' (DC). Thus, the capital of Mexico is Méjico, D.F..

Duty Factor.

Democracy For America. The 2004 Dean-for-President campaign, retasked and run by Howard's brother Jim.

Designated For Assignment. A baseball euphemism meaning sent down from the majors.

Design For (DF-) Assembly.

DoD Supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).

(US) Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Thank you, Australia!

Deutscher Fußball-Bund. `German Football Association.'

Distributed FeedBack. In EE applications, this does not refer to the situation of having multiple back-seat passengers.

Data Flow Control.

Development Finance Company.

Digital Future Coalition. ``...committed to striking an appropriate balance in law and public policy between protecting intellectual property and affording public access to it. The DFC is the result of a unique collaboration of many of the nation's leading non-profit educational, scholarly, library, and consumer groups, together with major commercial trade associations representing leaders in the consumer electronics, telecommunications, computer, and network access industries.''

Data Flow Diagram.

Design For (DF-) Disassembly.

Digital Frequency Discriminator. The frequency measurement component in a wide bandwidth instantaneous frequency measurement (IFM) receiver.

Digital Flight Data Recorder.

Department for Education and Employment. Seems to be the old name of the DfES. I tried visiting the URL <http://www.dfee.gov.uk/>, in July 2001 and was autoforwarded to DfES.

(UK government) Department For Education and Skills.

Design For (DF-) Environment, Safety, and Health (ESH).

Delay Flip-Flop.

Data Flow Graph. Used in logic design.

Degenerate Fermi Gas.

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. `German Research Foundation.' Like the US NSF, but its annual budget (once 2 billion DM, which gives you an idea of how long ago it was that I last checked) comes jointly from the states and the federal government. It seems to function rather more autonomously, respecting which areas of research are emphasized, than the NSF does, but I'm judging only from the homepage description.

Digital Function Generator.

Discrete Frequency Generator.

Degenerate Fermi Gas Model. A degenerate Fermi system is a system of fermions in which the electrochemical potential (called the Fermi level or Fermi energy in many statistical-mechanical contexts) is far above the potential-energy minimum. ``Far above'' means by many multiples of kBT, where T is absolute temperature and kB is Boltzmann's constant.

Data Facility Hierarchical Storage Manager. Or for short.

Doesn't stand for anything that I'm aware of, but it sounds good flowing off the tongue. Someone should create an organization whose name can be abbreviated DFI.

Oh, look! Someone has already thought of it:

Department For International Development. According to a position advertisement in The Economist, DFID ``is the UK's government department responsible for promoting development and the reduction of poverty. DFID is committed to the internationally agreed target of halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.'' Naturally, they sought a ``microfinance expert'' for CML.

David Florida Laboratory. A Canadian facility for spacecraft assembly, integration, and aerospace testing, operated by the Canadian Space Agency. This Florida business could get confusing.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. The Minnesota Democratic party, whose name dates back to the merger of the Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties in 1944.

Distributed-Feedback (DFB) Laser.

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. An organization that still (in 2005) has an organ called a ``politburo.''

Design For (DF-) Low Power.

Defect-Free Manufacturing.

Deputy Foreign Minister. Or maybe Deputy Finance Minister.

Design For (DF-) Manufacturability.

Difference Frequency Mixing.

Deutsches ForschungsNetz. (`German Research Net').

Deutsches ForschungsNetz (DFN) Computer Emergency Response Team. ``Emergencies'' are security breaches. See CERT for other relevant organizations.


I used to have a DTO entry defined as design-to-operability. I probably screwed up in transcription. Hope this is right.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada. That would be Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the modern mode. We have some information on that.

Diisopropyl PhosphoroFluoridate. No, not ``DPF.'' Not here, anyway.

Disappearing-Filament Pyrometer.

Decreasing Failure Rate.

Design For (DF-) Recycling.

Design For (DF-) Reliability.

(NASA's) Dryden Flight Research Center. Earlier DFRF (next entry).

(NASA's) Dryden Flight Research Facility. Previously ADFRF (Ames-...), now DFRC.

Distributed File System.

Duty-Free Shops.

Dying of Sick Sigma. Oh, wait a sec... I may have misheard that. It's ``Design for Six Sigma.'' Huh, I got it right after all.

Density Functional Theory.

(UK) Department For Transport.

Design For (DF-) Testability.

Discrete Fourier Transform.

Dynamic Fault Tree. DFT methodology or analysis was developed to combine FTA with Markov analysis.

Department For The Aging of New York City. See New York State's Aging Services Network Locator.

German, DatenfernÜbertragung. `Data transmission.'

Deutsches Forschungs-und-Versuchsanstalt für Luft-und-Raumfahrt. `German Research and Development Establishment for Air and Space Travel.'

Dallas - Fort Worth (airport).

Degenerate Four-Wave Mixing. Man, those laser physicists must be kinky.

Design For (DF-) eXcellence.

Design For (DF-) X. ``X'' represents an a priori unknown variable. Acronym designates robust design tool(s).

[Football icon]

Defensive Guard. A position in American football.


Director General. Chiefly British.

Distributed Generation (of electric power).

Democratic Governors' Association.

``The Democratic Governors' Association ... was founded in 1983 to support the candidacy of Democratic Governors throughout the nation. [I'm sure that with a few sensible reforms, that sentence could achieve literally the significance intended by the original framers.] The DGA provides political and strategic assistance to Gubernatorial campaigns. In addition, the DGA plays an integral role in developing positions on key state and federal issues that effect the states through the Governors' Policy Forum Series.''

Cf. RGA.

Differential Gravimetric Analysis.

Direct Graphics Access.

Directors Guild of America.

Deutsche Gesellschaft Alterszahnmedizin. `German Gerodentistry Association.'

In a few places I've seen DGAZ given incorrectly with ``German Association of Esthetic Dentistry'' as an English gloss. This is certainly an error, but not of translation; the error is that the German acronym DGÄZ (next entry) has been misspelled ``DGAZ.''

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ästhetische Zahnheilkunde. `German Association of Esthetic Dentistry.'

Please note: if you have any difficulty writing, typing, printing, or otherwise indicating the vowel ``Ä,'' you are strongly advised to substitute ``Ae.'' This is common practice. [Indeed, the diacritical mark on the Ä (called an Umlaut) arose as an abbreviated form of e: it represents the two vertical strokes used in writing e in the Fraktur scripts used for German until the middle of the twentieth century.] The letters ä and a represent rather different vowels. They're as different as e and a. In fact, they're almost precisely as different: ä represents the same sounds as e (except in some double-vowel combinations). To write ``DGAZ'' for DGÄZ is thus a spelling error. In a way, it's worse than writing ``DGEZ'' for DGÄZ, since ``esthetisch'' is a plausible borrowing from English, whereas it's hard to see how an ``asthetisch'' spelling could arise.

In summary: if you can't manage ``DGÄZ,'' just write DGAeZ. That's what the organization itself did, in choosing the domain name <dgaez.de>. ``DGAZ'' (entry above) is another organization altogether.

Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund. `German Trade Union Federation.' A congress of fifteen industrial unions (cf. CIO); most German union members belong to the DGB. In 1997 the membership was 8.6 million workers (incl. 2.6 million women), of which 5.21 million (1.03 million women) were manual laborers, 2.46 million (1.33 million) were white-collar workers, and 643 thousand (170 thousand) were managers. The largest unions outside the DGB umbrella are (in order of decreasing membership) the DBB, DAG, and CGD.

The DGB was founded in 1949. The same goes for a large fraction of German organizations.

DiethyleneGlycol Distearate. A/k/a DEGDS.


Diccionario griego-español. Spanish, `Greek-Spanish Dictionary.' Under construction. Expensive but worth it is the verdict on volumes out so far. Far better than LSJ (which nevertheless provides the initial skeleton on which it is constructed). Unlike the LSJ, the DGE includes personal names and toponyms, and words and usages from Mycenaean Greek and Christian (generally Koine) writings. (The LSJ does include a few of the most important proper nouns.)

The original intention was to provide a slightly improved version of the LSJ for the use of Spanish-speaking universitarios, supplemented by information from other useful references, but almost from the beginning, the project has suffered from mission creep. There was the desire to incorporate advances in the understanding of Indo-European that took place in the twentieth century, and advances in other branches of linguistics. The mission crept so far at the beginning of the project that the decision was made to completely redo the first volume even before the rest of the first edition was done. A number of important appendices to the dictionary have been published. One can certainly sympathize with and even admire the ambitiousness of the project, but the staff available to accomplish this great work is limited.

Volume V, whose last entry is dionychos, appeared in 1997. As of 1998, the schedule was for subsequent volumes to arrive every other year (vol. VI in 1999, ktl.), but in fact volumes VI and VII did not come out until 2002 and 2009 (yes, in that order). They're not even out of the xi's. At the present rate, all current participants will be buried before the DGE is finished. What they need is a new business model. They should make the primary medium of publication electronic, do a quick Spanish translation of the LSJ so they have a complete zeroth edition, and color-code the entries to reflect the degree of vetting and updating that has occurred. Then they can make regular updates to the online version, and issue annual or semi-annual patches to libraries (and individuals) that subscribe to any locally served version. (If you can't afford a digital connection, you can't afford the DGE, so a hardcopy edition is beside the point.) Fwiw, as of this writing (February 2014), the online version is about halfway through epsilon.

As it is, the main current output of the DGE effort is appendices (annejos). Appendix volumes I and II (published in 1985 and 1993) are a valuable dictionary of Mycenaean Greek. (Mycenaean Greek was written in Linear B, a syllabic script in which many of the symbols represent multiple similar syllables). Appendix Volume VI (a compilation of 25 articles written by various members of the project over the preceding 20 years) was published in 2005. The most recent indication I noticed, that the DGE effort has not been abandoned, is that Sabine Arnaud-Thuillier and Frederic Glorieux, of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid, were scheduled for the Posters/Demos session of the DCA conference of April 2013, with ``Diccionario Griego -- Español'' as the title.

There was also a fiducial DLE effort, but it was slow off the mark. Ummm, relatively speaking, that is.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien, e.V. `German Association for American Studies.' DGfA is a constituent association of the EAAS.

Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. Designation on catalog codes. Part of Polydor these days.

A list of others is kindly served by Wayne Garvin.

Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Medizin, Naturwissenschaft und Technik e.V. `German Society for the History of Medicine, Natural Science, and Technology, Inc.' The homepage claims rather plausibly that DGGMNT is the world's oldest [formal] society specifically dedicated to the history of a scholarly discipline (die älteste wissenschaftshistorische Fachgesellschaft der Welt). It was founded on Sept. 25, 1901, as Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Medizin und Naturwissenschaft. I'm not sure when the technology bit was added to the name.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde, e.V. `German Society for Herpetology and Terrariatology.'

Unless you're rereading this entry, you probably haven't encountered the word ``terrariatology'' before. AFAIK, the word exists in English only for the purpose of translating the German word Terrarienkunde. On the Internet, as of early February, the only instance that I can find of the English word is in a 1986 essay by Eugene Garfield (yeah, the famous ISI guy) where the DGHT's name is given in translation.

The German word is quite common. Das große Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache of Duden defines it as ``Lehre von der Haltung u. Zucht von Tieren im Terrarium.'' [`Knowledge of the care & breeding of animals in terraria.'] The big Langenscheidts Enzyklopädisches Wörterbuch (English to German and back in four volumes) dutifully offers `terrariatology' as a translation. Offhand, I can find neither this ostensible English word nor terrariology in any English monolingual dictionary such as the OED.

Direct Graphics Interface Standard.

German, dergleichen or desgleichen. English: `the like.' Both words of the English term are cognate with the expansions of the German abbreviation: gleich and like are cognates; English simply lost a lot of g's.

However, the German expressions elide a bit less. The English idiom can be thought of as abbreviating an expression like ``of the like kind,'' with ``of'' and ``kind'' understood. The German articles der and des are in the genitive case, so they are equivalent to ``of the.'' Also, adjectives in German nominalize in a way that they do not automatically do in English. Thus, from the German adjective klein, meaning `small,' one has ``der kleine'' meaning `the small one.'

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neuroradiologie. `German Society of Neuroradiology.'

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Operations Research, e.V.. `German Society for Operations Research.' Merged with GMÖOR in 1998 to form GOR.

Differential Global Positioning System (GPS).

d. Gr.
German der Große. English: `the Great.'

Director General of the Research Councils (in the Br. Department of Trade and Industry). What's a ``department''? I thought the Brits called them ``Ministries.'' Maybe ministries have departments. I suppose I could look it up. But then so could you.

Defense General Supply Center.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zahnärzliche Implantologie. `German Society for Dental Implants.'

`i.e.' [Abbreviation for das heißt, in German.] Equivalently (but less common in my education) d.i.

D. H.

(UK) Department of Health.

DH, dh
Designated Hitter. Bats for the pitcher. Used in the American league of Major League Baseball (MLB). In the World Series, the DH is used in alternate years. Use of the DH is considered immoral by many baseball purists.

Die Hard. A sequence of movie starring Demi Moore's ex-husband.


Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

Double Heterostructure.


Dialogues d'Histoire Ancienne.

DeHydroepiAndrosterone. Same as DHEA, q.v.

DocosaHexaenoic Acid.

An Asian tree, now also found in the Scrabble forest.

DiHydroxyAcetone Phosphate.

Dual-channel Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor (HBT).

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

DeHydroEpiAndrosterone. A/k/a DHA. An adrenal hormone which early research (1995) indicates has effects similar to melatonin. No, as a matter of fact, I haven't looked into this matter recently.

DHEA Sulfate. Also abbreviated DS and DHA-S; I hope they settle on a common usage soon. Considered less active than DHEA. Serum DHEA-S is the marker of adrenal androgen, and a level greater than 700ng/dl suggests a possible androgen-producing tumor of adrenal origin.

Scots Gaelic for `right.'

Department of Health and Human Services of the US government.

DiHydrogen MonOxide. Of special interest is the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division of DHMO.org (DMRD), which ``provide[s] an unbiased data clearinghouse and a forum for public discussion'' of the controversy surrounding dihydrogen monoxide.''

Diesel-Hydraulic Multiple-Unit train. A kind of self-powered passenger rail car. Specifically, a DMU in which power from the diesel engine is transmitted hydraulically to the (powered) wheels. Automatic transmissions in cars are another example of hydraulic power transmission.

US Department of Homeland Security.

(Australian government's) Department of Human Services and Health.

DiHydroTestosterone. An anabolic steroid. For the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, only eleven Chinese athletes tested positive. Obviously, they must be using other drugs.

de Haas-van Alphen.

Die Hard (DH) Five. The current release of a popular entertainment product. If you liked the first, then you're guaranteed to like the current one, because the title, star, action and plot are the same.

`i.e.' [Abbreviation for das ist, in German.] More common equivalent: d.h.

Data Identifier.

DeIonized [water]. Not exactly the same as highly pure water, because making DI water means focusing on conductivity, and there may be substantial nonpolar solute concentration even in water with low conductivity.


DIdymium. A rare earth named after the Greek word for twin (didymos) [a twin of lanthanum]. Eventually determined to be a quite rare earth indeed, since it was not a distinct element but a mixture of neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium. This is just as well, because it reminds me of epididymis.

The nonelemental nature of didymium was demonstrated by Auer von Welsbach in 1885. The 1989 edition of the OED (the OED2), has this definition:

A rare metal, discovered by Mosander in 1841; found only in association with cerium and lanthanium. Symbol Di.

I suppose it's possible to give some weaselly defense of this, since they don't flat out say it's an element. But the entry is immensely deceptive, since the unsuspecting reader would probably draw the conclusion that didymium was a metallic chemical element. The dozen other dictionaries I've checked, including the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, are explicit that didymium is not an element. For example, Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) offers

A rare metallic substance usually associated with the metal cerium; -- hence its name. It was formerly supposed to be an element, but has since been found to consist of two simpler elementary substances, neodymium and praseodymium. See Neodymium, and Praseodymium.

(I'm not sure whether didymium was given its name as a twin of lanthanum, as the OED2 etymology asserts, or of cerium, or of both.)

The forty-year delay in separating the elemental components of the alloy didymium is due, of course, to the fact that that the rare earth elements are chemically and physically very similar, and separating them ultimately depends on small quantitative differences in the physical properties of their compounds amplified by chromatographic techniques. When the separation is so difficult, the mixed substance may be directly useful. Didymium is used as a light filter in safety glasses used by glass blowers and glass workers. The color centers formed by didymium in glass only add a slight tint to broad-spectrum light, but they absorb very efficiently the spectrum of light emitted by hot sodium glass. Another case of such a mix of elements used unseparated is mischmetal, described at the rare earth entry.

Dielectric Isolation. Electronic isolation between devices accomplished by completely surrounding devices by oxide. The term is sanctioned by the most common usage to refer to a process in which oxide completely surrounds the devices. This is achieved by etching into the wafer to define the isolated regions of epi that will have devices. The whole surface is oxidized, and a thick layer of poly-silicon is deposited on top as a field oxide. The wafer is then mostly etched away from the back, to leave the thin upper regions of the wafer isolated. Flipped over so the poly-silicon is the ``substrate,'' (the structural support), one can continue processing the isolated silicon regions from what was ``below.'' The term junction isolation is also applied to other isolation strategies, like LOCOS, in which junction isolation on the underside of devices is augmented or replaced by dielectric isolation near the surface. Cf. Junction isolation.

Direct Ignition. Isn't this what we used to do in the Boy Scouts?

Direct Investment.

Disease Incidence.

Donor Insemination.

Drop and Insert.

Defense Intelligence Agency.

Detroit Institute of Arts.

German, short for diapositiv (photography: negative of a negative). English `slide, transparency.'

diagonal relationship
A similarity of properties between elements along diagonals of the periodic table. The principal kind of diagonal relationship occurs at the top (lowest-numbered periods) of the periodic table, and represents a kind of edge effect deviation from the main pattern of vertical relationships that led to the discovery of the periodic table.

The vertical relationship is easily explained: elements in a single group (column) of the periodic table have the same number of outer shell electrons; these occupy similar orbitals and exhibit similar bonding patterns, and hence similar chemical properties in general. These similarities are greatest between adjacents elements (i.e., elements in the same group and adjacent periods), so various graphs of chemical and physical properties as a function of period exhibit approximately linear, or at least monotonic trends. In such graphs, the lowest-period element (the one at the top of the column) is often an exception to the general trend, but may participate in a diagonal relationship. Sometimes the diagonal relationship is not so obvious because of the way the table is laid out. That's the case with the well-established diagonal relationship between aluminum and beryllium.

DIfferential Absorption Lidar.

As everyone knows, a language is a dialect with an army. That doesn't really answer the question, does it? Okay, visit the Polish entry. It doesn't answer the question either, but it contains important revelations. The variety entry (q.v.) also doesn't answer the question either. This is not surprising, since there is no unique best way to distinguish language and dialect.

DIAMide EXtraction. A counter-current process, with a centrifuge extraction battery, developed to partition trivalent actinides. The term was originally coined for a specific process developed in France, but is now used generically for similar countercurrent extraction processes.

A diamond is a square turned 45 degrees. This discovery was the breakthrough that once made baseball so popular in American cities.

Interestingly, in traditional (French-suited) playing cards, each king in the deck is supposed to represent a great king from history:

It also works if you rotate it 135 degrees, left or right! That's called (C4m) symmetry!

Pink Floyd have an excellent song entitled ``Shine On You Crazy Diamond.'' It originally appeared in the ``Wish You Were Here'' album. They put it in the 1995 album ``Pulse,'' since they'd run out of new ideas. (They also have an eight-CD box set called ``Shine On'' for about $150.)

Sky diamonds figure in an LSD song. See deconstruction entry.

Elvis Costello sings

Well it's a dog's life in a rope leash or a diamond collar
It's enough to make you think right now
But you don't bother
in ``Suit of Lights.'' From the ``King of America'' album (1986) -- lyrics here.

The name of Isaac Newton's pet dog, apparently. Read some of the whole story.

A ``precious gem.'' Price is maintained by deBeers cartel, a conglomerate set up by Mr. Rhodes (he of Rhodes scholar and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe fame), which controls production from an increasing number of diamond mines world-wide. The Hope diamond is probably the world's most famous large diamond. Here's one mounted on a ring.

Most diamonds mined are not gem quality, and have value only in industrial applications. (Diamond is the ``hardest'' material--it defines the maximum, 10, on the Mohs scale of hardness. ``Hardest'' means that no other crystal can scratch it, but it can make a scratch in anything else. My next research project will be to discover how nature manages to put diamonds on cats' paws.)

Somewhere I should mention that diamond is pure carbon (C). It is the stable form of elemental carbon at the high pressures and temperatures that occur where it is formed, but graphite is the stable form at normal temperature and pressure.

A semiconductor. Many problems remain to be solved before it can become a viable competitor to silicon, but it boasts a higher mobility, so its developers hope it can find a niche in high-speed applications.

Probably the biggest problem is doping. There are no good n-type dopants for diamond, so one is pretty much restricted to unipolar devices. The best p-type dopant is boron (B), and its acceptor level in the diamond bandgap is 360meV above the valence edge. This means that at room temperature, the acceptors are only a few percent ionized. Of course, you can heat the semiconductor up to increase the carrier density -- 360meV represents the activation energy for creating carriers. Unfortunately, this runs into the problem of temperature-dependent mobility: µ ~T-a, where a is typically in excess of 2. In other words, you can't increase the conductivity by raising the temperature to increase carrier density, because the mobility goes down.

One of the great attractions of diamond semiconductor, relative to silicon (if you could get around diamond's other problems), is its stellar heat conductivity -- 20-30 W/K-cm.


Ancient goddess of hunting.

``Hey, watch who you call `ancient' there, mortal!''

A space between. It's a Greek word, and its plural is diastemata. (The Scrabble dictionary for amateurs, OSPD4, also accepts the barbaric diastemas, but SOWPODS and TWL98 admirably refrain.)

In music, a diastema an interval (i.e., a pitch difference), typically that between successive notes of a scale. The term is used primarily in the context of ancient Greek music. An obsolete alternative form (for the singular diastema only) is diastem, an accident of borrowing indirectly from the French (diastème).

In zoology and anatomy, a diastema is the space between successive teeth, or between two kinds of teeth. Man is unusual among mammals in having generally small diastema. The way diastema is usually understood, as a substantial natural space between teeth, man has none at all.

Device-Independent Bitmap.

Drain-Induced Barrier-Lowering.

Direct Inter-LATA Connecting trunk.

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation. (``Disseminated'' has medical usage equivalent to ``spread,'' ``scattered,'' or ``broadly distributed.'' In other words, it implies spatial delocalization without implying that this arose by dispersal from a common origin.) DIC may be caused by various insults and trauma, but seems to be of interest more for the risk posed for further bleeding by the depletion of clotting factors, and less for the direct consequences of the disseminated coagulation.

Dissolved Inorganic Carbon.

Durham Inter-Collegiate Christian Union. ``DICCU exists to make Jesus Christ known to students in Durham'' and its acronym exists to give everyone a little chuckle. My own impression was that Jesus Christ is rather well known, even in Durham, at least by reputation. Regarding JC's former fame, see the LSJ entry. (The relevant bit is along about the eleventh paragraph, as of this writing.)

Dashboard Integrated Central Electronics.

Dictionary of Idioms for the Deaf, A
One day when I was in tenth grade, I was in the math resource center waiting for a teacher to answer a question. (I would usually realize the answer in the process of formulating or clarifying the question, but that's another story.) The only other student there was the blind kid. As we were talking, I thoughtlessly used the phrase ``it looks like....'' I don't remember precisely what I said, because my thoughts were disconnected when he replied ``I wouldn't know.''

I thought the book whose title is the head term of this entry would be interesting. You know, like what sort of metaphor do the deaf sign when they mean ``my ears are tingling'' or something. The book is by Maxine T. Boatner and John E. Gates. Revised Edition Edited by Adam Makkai. Prepared for the National Association of the Deaf. It's part of Barron's Educational Series, Inc., Woodbury, New York. It was originally copyright 1966 by American School for the Deaf, West Hartford, Connecticut. Isn't Gary originally from West Hartford? My copy was discarded from the Grandview School Library in Alliance, Nebraska. I bought it at the used book store there when I made my pilgrimage to Carhenge.

Anyway, the ``for the Deaf'' in the title modifies ``Dictionary.'' It's just ordinary idioms of spoken English. That's the basic problem with reference works: they waste your time and never tell you what you actually want to know! What a disappointment.

Dictionary of ... and ...
Quite a few of the earliest translation dictionaries published in Britain have names following a formula like this. The ``and'' in their titles is better understood as ``and then,'' a ``dictionarie of fooe and barr'' beeing a dictionary in which headwords in foo are followed by definitions in, or translations into, bar. The prevalence of the pattern might be judged approximately on the evidence of the Scolar [sic] Press series English Linguistics: 1500-1800, a collection of 365 facsimile reprints selected by R. C. Alston and published between 1967 and 1972. (The number given first with the description of each work below is the number in that series; works in each list are ordered by initial publication date, so far as that is known.)

  1. Anon.: The Boke of Englysshe and Spanysshe (ca. 1554).
    English phrases followed by Spanish equivalents. (From the choice of phrases, it looks like it would be most useful to a preacher or missionary.)
  2. Thomas Cooper: Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Britannicae, tam accurate congestus, etc. (1565).
    Entries give Latin words followed by English translations.
  3. Claude Desainliens: A Dictionarie of French and English (1593).
    (Enlarged edition of work published anonymously in 1571, almost certainly by the same author, a well-known teacher of French.) French words and idiomatic phrases followed by English translations.
  4. Thomas Thomas [sic]: Dictionarium Linguae Latinae et Anglicanae (1587).
    Latin words defined in English.

The pattern is confirmed two-way bilingual dictionary is described on the title page as consisting of two parts: ``I. French and English'' and ``II. English and French.'' The heading of the first part is described as ``Containing the FRENCH before the English'' and ``Qui contient le FRANÇOIS devant l'ANGLOIS'' (not Anglais). It has French headwords followed by English definitions and explanations. The work:

  1. Abel Boyer: The Royal Dictionary Abridged (1700).
    (Boyer first published his original Royal Dictionary in 1699. It was constantly revised and reprinted; the last edition was published in 1896. The abridged version added accentuation information for English words, and went through over 40 printings through 1860.)

The one exception to the pattern is the earliest comparably titled work in the series; it is tempting to speculate that the preposition in (rather than of) accounts for or must be coordinated with the difference:

  1. William Salesbury: A Dictionary in English and Welsh (1547).
    Paired columns, Welsh words on the left and English translations on the right.

For the sake of completeness, I'll list the other (four, that I can find) bilingual dictionaries in the series; all involve Latin as source or target language or both.

  1. ``Galfridus [or Galfredus] Grammaticus, OP'': Promptorium parvulorum (1499).
    (First compiled around 1440, the work was printed a number of times between 1499 and 1528. The work was also known by the title Medulla Grammatices.) English nouns and verbs with definitions in Latin. (Nouns and then verbs beginning in A, followed by nouns and then verbs beginning in B, etc. ``Nouns'' here (nomina) is to be understood to include both nouns adjective and nouns substantive.)
  2. Thomas Elyot: The Dictionary of syr Thomas Eliot knyght (1538).
    Latin words with English translations.
  3. Richard Huloet: Abecedarium Anglico-Latinum (1552).
    English words with Latin translations.
  4. John Davies: Dictionarium duplex (1632).
    Welsh-Latin (Britannico-Latinum and (posterius) Latin-Welsh (Latino-Britannicum).


Dictynna: revue de poétique latine. French periodical described as ``Dictynna: International Review of Latin Poetry.'' An electronic journal launched in Spring 2004. It was long overdue. (The identity of Dictynna is explained here. Look, all the good classical-journal titles were taken decades ago.)

Judging from the first issue, I supposed that the articles were required to be in any of the common languages of classical philology publication -- English, French, German, Italian, maybe Spanish or Dutch. But the author instructions just say that ``[t]outes les propositions d'articles sont à rédiger dans la langue maternelle de leur auteur.'' Things could get interesting (if they can find reviewers).

Digital Information Director.

Direct Inward Dialing.

Domain IDentifier.

didactic poetry
Didactic poetry
Ain't what it used to be,
When Lucretius waxed poetic,
About theories atomic.
And Virgil for better or worse,
Gave farmers advice in verse.
Allit'rative verse was once stylish
For teaching the Bible in English,
But it's all over now.

The practice of writing didactic poems took a dive at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the only substantive one that we have in the entire glossary (I can't bring myself to call it ``good'') is a eulogy of iodine from the middle of the nineteenth century (see the I entry). We also have a paean to tar water (water in which pine tar has been washed). It was written by Bishop Berkeley and can be found at the entry for the IBS. I can't deny that it was intended to be didactic, but I'd prefer not to assert that it was informative.

Probably the only well-known didactic poet of the latter half of the twentieth century is Tom Lehrer. He was a roommate at Harvard of my thesis advisor, P.W. Anderson. (I recall that one day he [PWA] seemed pretty disgusted to discover that I, a physics graduate student, didn't know what a double-dactyl was.) Anderson won a Nobel prize in physics, but Lehrer won fame. On the other hand, Lehrer burned out. This webpage features a Flash animation of ``The Elements.'' A good source for (generally older) didactic poetry, including the lyrics of differential-geometry drinking songs and the like, is Gravitation (the big black paperback) by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler.

The main kinds of didactic poetry that have continued to be written are short: advertising jingles and pronunciation poems (the latter mostly for surnames). For good examples of the former, see the Pepsi-Cola and 43 beans entries. We give examples of didactic pronunciation verse at the homogeneous, Jowett, and Pepys entries. But for all of you who have simply printed out the glossary for leisure reading and have trouble following the links, here's another, this one written by Robert Baden-Powell.

Man, Nation, Maiden
Please call it Baden.
Further, for Powell
Rhyme it with Noël.

That boy'd've had to work a lot harder, if he ever wanted to earn the highly coveted Poetry Merit Badge. The way poetry went to hell in the last century, I suppose losing the didactic sort may have been a blessing in disguise.

The Journal of The Joint Association of Classical Teachers. (That's JACT.)

did not finish college
Did not finish college -- or begin college, for that matter. (I would have told you if you had asked!) Personalsese ``term of art'' used in self-description. (Anyone who ever registered is deemed to have graduated, for personals-statistical purposes.) Cf. J.-D.

Did you find everything you were looking for?
Not just a solicitous question, but the encapsulation of a whole frame of mind. As if to suggest that I knew what I wanted when I walked into the supermarket. Really, now.

Sociologists say it with Weltanschaung. Haben Sie alles gefunden? lfs already.

In the semiconductor electronics industry, microelectronic devices are mostly fabricated on rectangular pieces of semiconductor wafers (usually silicon wafers that start out about 0.7 mm thick). Since a rectangular piece, or chip, is made by dicing a wafer, it is also naturally called a die. Interestingly, the plural of this die is die.

Singular of the plural dice.

Spanish term, jargon in use among specialists, for someone who studies the eighteenth century (el siglo dieciocho). In principle, it could have arisen independently in Spanish (it literally means `eighteenist') but it's probably better thought of as a calque of the French dix-huitièmiste.


dies irae
Latin, `day of wrath.' First words and name of medieval Christian hymn describing Judgment Day, used in some masses for the dead. Most used today in crossword puzzles. English-language crossword puzzles, not Latin-language crossword puzzles.

Diet of Worms
Not a dog food. Not even a bird food.

Diet, Science
A brand of dog food.

Data Interchange Format.

Dubai International Financial Centre.

Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist of the DIFC, said in a speech on October 28, 2007, that the economies of GCC states should now be considered as asset-based ones rather than oil-based. It makes me think of vitamins. (Saidi's speech was the regulatory keynote address to the Sovereign Reserve Management, Pension and Institutional Funds Congress 2007, held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the UAE somewhere.)

A mechanical linkage that transmits torque from a single source (the drive shaft) to two drive wheels. The traditional differential involves just a few gears, and rigidly conserves the sum of the rotation angles (apart from a factor of a gear ratio): if the drive shaft turns by an angle θ, then the sum of the rotations of the left and right wheels is 2cθ (c the gear ratio, 1 in the simplest case), even if the left and right wheels turn by different amounts. If you put the car up with transmission in park (or the clutch engaged to a stationary engine), then turning one wheel makes the other turn in the opposite direction. The purpose of a differential is to compensate for the fact that when a vehicle turns, the wheel on the inside of the turn rotates (or should rotate) less than the wheel on the outside.

Chapter 5 of Atoms in the Family describes a Bébé Peugeot purchased by frugal Enrico Fermi in 1927, about a year before he married Laura (the future author of the book). Even then, and particularly in Italy, this was a noticeable car. (And probably Bébé wasn't the official model designation.)

It burned little more gas than a motorcycle and made the same amount of noise. Because it had no differential and its wheels were obliged to run at the same speed on curves, it moved like a power-propelled baby carriage, jumping and swerving at every turn. The particular Bébé Peugeot of which I am going to talk was a two-seat convertible the color of bright egg-yolk, with a leaky oilcloth roof and a rumble seat in the back. As it sped around at a top velocity of twenty miles per hour, it was always followed by a dense cloud of black smoke from the open exhaust.

(They don't make baby carriages like they used to either.)

With the simplest differentials, if one of the drive wheels is free (on ice, in mud, suspended off the driving surface, etc.) then it spins and little torque is transmitted to the other wheel, yielding little net traction. Limited-slip differentials were invented to prevent this from happening. Nowadays the function of limited-slip differentials is increasingly incorporated in electronic stability control (ESC) systems.

Many years later, on July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb was exploded at ``Trinity.'' The test was postponed by weather from a scheduled 4am to 5:30 am. Local time was ``Mountain War Time,'' so the test occurred at 4:30 Mountain Standard Time, which was still before civil twilight. So it was dark outside, except during the test. A blind girl was reported to have seen it. The military told the press that an ammo dump had blown up. Enrico Fermi got back home to Los Alamos the evening of the 16th -- between the test and the inspections, he had pulled an all-nighter. The next morning ``all he had to say to the family was that for the first time in his life on coming back from Trinity he had felt it was not safe for him to drive. It had seemed to him as if the car were jumping from curve to curve, skipping the straight stretches in between. He had asked a friend to drive....''

Differential Amplifier
The input to a differential amplifier is regarded as representing a common mode (CM) plus and minus a difference signal or mode (DM). Thus, the input voltages are V+ = VCM + VDM and V- = VCM - VDM . An ideal differential amplifier amplifies only the difference signal VDM =: (V+ - V-) / 2. In general, real differential amplifiers working in the linear regime have an output that is VOUT = ADM VDM + ACM VCM , where for a usable differential amp it is necessary that the DM gain ADM be much greater than the CM gain ACM . Vide CMRR.

As soon as I am able to frame the category precisely, this entry will contain links to organizations unforthcoming about their activity, like OACL.

I'll also have to mention the mission-statement slogan ``Working for people.'' Doubtless this is inspiring to people, but the question is: which people and how? Dot Wordsworth (is that a real person?) noticed this and mentioned it in her regular Spectator column (in the 25 May 2002 issue). It's the slogan of the (English, I guess) Muslim Aid charity.

Image: diffused resistor

diffused resistor
A traditional diffused resistor is made by contacting two ends of a diffused p region in n material. In the simplest BJT fabrication, the p region is defined by the same mask, and in the same step, as the base regions for npn BJT's. The n region surrounding the diffused, conducting p region is connected to the highest positive voltage in the circuit, so that the pn junction between the two regions is everywhere reverse-biased. In this way, current flow between the two terminals is restricted to a defined path. Note that multiple resistors can be fabricated in the same n region, and all will be isolated from each other by the reverse bias to the common n-doped material (this is called junction isolation).

The tendency of some quantity of anything -- whether of particles of some material or impurity (atoms, ions), or charge (electrons, holes), or some more abstract thing as energy, phonons, photons, momentum, angular momentum or opinion -- to move around even in the absence of some forcing field or other applied bias. Diffusive motion is generally random. Physical diffusion of particles and physical quantities associated with them occurs because anything at finite temperature is not at rest, and because the restoring forces that act to keep a particle in one place act to keep it in its new place once it has moved. In a homogeneous host, and over a broad range of time and length scales, most diffusants obey Fick's Law and the Diffusion equation (qq.v., ummm, when I eventually put in entries for these things).

Digital Instantaneous Frequency Measurement. The basic element in any broadband ESM.

If your vision is merely excellent, then you probably need an electron microscope to read the printed catalog from Digi-Key. Fortunately, this electronic components and tools supplier has a web site.

Digi-Key reveals that once, Barry Goldwater purchased a digital clock kit from them.

The company name originates from founder Ronald A. Stordahl's original product, a digital electronic keyer kit for ham radio operators to send radio-telegraph code.

My father sold crystal radios when he was in school. That product has been discontinued as well.

digital rectal exam
This is not as high-tech as it sounds.

A term introduced by C. A. Ferguson in an article in the linguistics journal Word (vol 15, 1959, pp. 325-340) entitled ``Diglossia.'' (Kinda raised the bar on impenetrable scholarly-article titles, huh?) On page 336 (!) he gave a definition:
Diglossia is a relatively stable language situation in which, in addition to the primary dialects of the language (which may include a standard or regional standards), there is a very divergent, highly codified (often grammatically more complex) superposed variety, the vehicle of a large and respected body of written literature, either of an earlier period or in another speech community, which is learned largely by formal education and is used for most written and formal spoken purposes but is not used by any sector of the community for ordinary conversation.

I guess the coexistence of a standardized Hochdeutsch (``High German'') and various local German languages, particularly in Switzerland, would be among the best-known modern Western examples of diglossia. The term has become widely used since Ferguson introduced it, and in practice the definition is not so definite.

digraph capitalization
The Dutch capitalize ij by capitalizing both letters. The body of water that I learned to call (or at least to recognize in spelling as) the Zuiderzee in third grade is now the IJsselmeer.

Damned If I Know. USENET newsgroup acronym. One poster saves four seconds of typing, thousands of lurkers waste hundreds of man-hours guessing.

Dual In-Line. See, for example, cerdip.

Look, I'm just pointing out, um, indicating, that the word exists. I think that's enough.

Do I Look Like I Give A Flying Farthing? (Farthing might not be literally correct.) USENET newsgroup acronym. One poster saves 2.3 seconds of typing, thousands of lurkers waste hundreds of man-hours guessing.

DiIodoMethane. A liquid at room temperature.

Dual Independent Map Encoding. A digital map format developed by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Superseded by TIGER format in the 1990 census.

In general, something consisting of two parts. You know how the routine goes on from here.... The world consists of two kinds of things: those according to which the world consists of two kinds of things, and those according to which it doesn't.

Okay, enough of that. Obviously, the term was constructed from the reek roots di- (compounding form of dis, `double, twice') and méros (`part, share'), patterned on polymer. Okay, that really should be Greek, and not reek, but I figured you'd be amused by the typo, so I left it. The English word dimer rhymes with nickel-and-dimer. Oh, it's too much! This entry is uproariously funny!

As usual, the term is used scientifically in a way that is more restrictive than etymology alone would suggest. Specifically, the two parts are chemically bonded and are chemically similar. The reason for this restriction is probably that it was patterned on the word polymer, and polymer was originally intended to refer to a chemically-bonded chain of similar units (which eventually were called monomers, or monomer units). Hence a dimer was the first step in the polymerization process.

Eventually, we'll have a paragraph or two here about what we mean by ``chemically similar.'' At minimum, we'll point out that for chemical purposes, different nuclear isotopes are almost always equivalent.

The simplest sort of dimer is a diatomic molecule of a single element, like H2, N2, O2, F2, Cl2, etc. (As the preceding sentence implies, the word diatomic does not imply two atoms of the same element.) Other dimers include cyanogen (CN)2, which is a dimer of cyanide. The word dimer is also applied to a pair of identical functional groups, already part of a single molecule, which bond directly to each other. An example is given in the excimer entry.

The term dimer is used primarily in chemistry, but various dimers, and dimerization (the formation of dimers) are of interest to condensed-matter physicists, particularly in the context of the Peierls instability. In biology, although the word dimer is not itself used (or at least not common), the words dimerous and dimery occur. Specifically, in botany a flower having two members in each whorl is dimerous, and the occurrence of this feature is dimery. In the biological context, the similarity of the two dimerous parts is not a strict requirement.

Parallel constructions in mono-, tri-, tetra-, penta-, etc. occur less commonly in chemistry, and in biology with -merous and -mery.

Dual In-line Memory Module. A package of RAM. Cf. SIMM.

DiIsopropyl MethylPhosphonate.

Data Information Management System.

DSCS Integrated Management System.

Data INput.

Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V. [German Institute for Standardization.]

Drug Identification Number.

Dirección de Inteligencia NAcional. Chilean `National Intelligence Directorate' at least during the Pinochet dictatorship.

DIN Jack. (Female connector.)

DINK, dink
Dual Income, No Kids. A favored demographic [group] for marketing luxury goods. Cf. OINK.

Dual Income, No Kids, With A Dog. Extension of dink.

Democrat In Name Only. Substantially a synonym of the more common expression, blue dog Democrat. Cf. RINA.

We proudly serve a Taxasaurus entry. But for more conventional dinosaur stuff, with pictures, a good web place to go is the University of California Museum of Paleontology. They also have a good page of links that was updated in the very late Quaternary. There's a nice little exhibit at Honolulu Community College. It's a bit surprising when you consider that the oldest of the Hawaiian islands only began to be formed about six million years ago, long after the last dinosaurs died. Also, I don't think there's any evidence T. Rex could swim thousands of miles. Okay, it's an exhibit of replicas of dinosaur fossils at New York City's American Museum of Natural History, which has its own slightly anti-intuitively disorganized dinosaur web exhibit here. (I know, I know -- you never realized dinosaurs wove webs. Everybody's a comedian!)

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology uses what look like a running T. Rex and a T. Rex head (Albertosaurus head, actually) as logos, so you might expect them to have a good display. I think they do, but it's no longer very evident from their web pages. Now they want your money. I guess they don't want their institution to go down the toilet the way the Madison Museum of Bathroom Tissue did (concerning which, gingerly inspect this TP entry). If you can't make it to Calgary (Drumheller, to be precise), they'll sell you a virtual tour on CD for $18.69 Canadian. (I think a lot of it was online back in 1995.)

Colors don't fossilize, exactly, so the colors of dinosaurs are unknown, technically speaking. Some interesting hypotheses have resulted.

Citizen Kane is Orson Welles's thinly disguised movie about the newspaperman William Randolph Hearst. A biography The Chief by historian David Nasaw (Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000) suggests that Charles Foster Kane was an unfair caricature of Hearst. Be that as it may, the movie has a more interesting inaccuracy: In a scene where Kane and his entourage set off for the beach from Xanadu, the background sky is a montage. It seems to show large birds flying in the distance, but the montage, borrowed from a science fiction movie to cut costs, actually shows pterodactyls.

(Hitachi once showcased its DIS technology with a dinosaur exhibit. They've dissed the dinosaurs; the exhibit is extinct.)

DIN Plug. (Male connector.)

Digital Input/Output (I/O).

Any nonlinear two-terminal device. Most have an asymmetric I-V characteristic (also CVC) used for rectification or threshold used for voltage regulation. During the electron tube era, the term inspired and then became part of a systematic terminology (triodes, tetrodes, pentodes, etc.).

Semiconductor diodes in commercial application all have at least one pn junction. Vide

The simplest resonant tunneling diodes are symmetric in design, but for various reasons also have asymmetric CVC's.

See ``Molecular Rectifier,'' by A. S. Martin, J. R. Sambles, and G. J. Ashwell, Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 70, #2, pp. 218-221 (11 January 1993). for more unusual diodes.


``Diogenes is a tool for searching and browsing the databases of ancient texts, primarily in Latin and Greek, that are published by the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae and the Packard Humanities Institute. It is free software: you are encouraged to modify, improve, and redistribute it under the terms of the GNU General Public license. The goal of this software package is to provide a free, transparent and flexible interface to databases in the PHI format.''

The webpage for this software is very slightly coy about the basis for the name choice. It quotes a work that used to be known as Lives of the Great Philosophers by a fellow who used to be known as Diogenes Laërtes (now still Diogenes, but the Latin Laertius is preferred). The quote is from book 6, sec. 41, however, which happens to be in the chapter on Diogenes of Sinope, and it is famous. The quote is

lúchnon meth' hêméran hápsas, `ánthropon,' phêsí, `zêtô.'

Preserving the syntax so far as possible, this is

[with] a lamp lit during the day, ``I search,'' he said, ``for a man.''

This might well be the best-remembered use of an ancient word meaning `search.' Interestingly, the word hápsas, meaning `lit' in this context, is more literally `touched,' and the Greeks used it in the metaphorical way we do (or still do), to refer to someone whose sanity has been affected. It would not have been out of place to describe Diogenes of Sinope as touched. The word ánthropon here means `man' in the sense of person, male or female. (This is like homo in Latin, if that doesn't cause too much confusion. The homo of homosexual is the Greek root meaning `same.') Any person hearing Diogenes could reasonably infer that the person sought was not just any person. Perhaps it would be a low-contrast or camouflaged person, hence the lamp. Whatever. Other versions of the story have him searching for an honest person, and fwiw this particular line of text has come down to us in at least slightly corrupt form. (I don't think any extant manuscript of it includes the necessary qualifier, however.) As Aristotle remarked somewhere, he was a familiar figure in Athens.


Diogenes of Sinope
Diogenes, a young man from Sinope in Pontus, went to Athens (in Europe, not the famous university town in Ohio or Georgia) and became a student of Antisthenes. One of the stories about him is that he would go around in the daytime with a lamp, ``looking for an honest man'' (vide supra). Maybe he figured that any honest man would tell him ``you're daft'' instead of just greeting him with an insincere geia sou and running off to snicker with his pals at the Parthenon (where they probably drank straight out of the brown-paper-wrapped amphorae, q.v.).

In contrast, Gerard of Liverpool went to America as a young man and became a postdoc with Craig. He would go around during the day and ask ``are you really all daft?'' He felt like David Lister of Red Dwarf.

Diogenes made a great show of flouting conventional standards of propriety, hygiene, and other optional things -- he even lived in a tub. At that point in their evolutionary development, dogs apparently also lived in tubs, so people called Diogenes and the group around him and Antisthenes `dogs'. [Vide NDOPA.]

Gerard is also a bachelor (cf. zoology entry).

Actually, because Diogenes had not mastered Modern English, Athenians called him a `Greek dog,' or cynic.

Gerard is a Brit.

Think about it some more.

Oh, alright -- kunikós is Greek for `dog-like,' from kúôn, kunós, `dog,' cognate with the Latin canis. For further etymological connections, see the DLR entry.

When Alexander the Great asked Diogenes if there was anything he could do for him, Diogenes said ``just get out of my light, Alex'' or words to that effect. Many ancients were sun-worshippers.

Gerard has already figured out that it's not a lot easier to get a natural tan in South Bend than in Liverpool.

One bit of ancient wisdom that we all know today is: It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Back in ancient times, however, they were still working the bugs out of this wisdom, and Diogenes had to use a beta version, which said ``better to light a candle in the daytime, and curse the man who casts the biggest shadow.'' If Diogenes had only got some better pointers on his interviewing technique, he would not have had to live in a tub fit for a dog. He could have afforded a deluxe tub.

Gerard also likes to spit into the employment wind.

Alexander Great was not the kind of administrator who thought that the pen was mightier than the sword. (Of course, the ball-point pen had not yet been invented.) Alexander Great was the kind of boss who liked to solve knotty problems with a sword. To this day there is no satisfactory theory of why Diogenes survived his interview with Alexander. However, while on a cruise some time later, Diogenes was captured by pirates and sold into slavery.

Nothing even remotely reminiscent of this could happen in the US today, because the thirteenth amendment (ratified 6 Dec. 1865) to the US Constitution forbids slavery. Until recently, we even had a significant labor movement.

Someone asked Diogenes:

`Hey, Diogenes, tell us, what fate took you down to Hades?'
`A dog's bite took me.'
This is mentioned in Diogenes Laertius, Anth. Gr. 7. 116, and in Suda entry Alpha 180. I cribbed it from Greg Hays's translation.


Anglophone mnemonic for the gender of Spanish nouns: words whose singular form ends in d, ión, z, or a are female 98% of the time. Agua is not an exception, but its singular form can take the male article el for euphonic purposes. A similar mnemonic for masculine nouns is LONERS.

Much of this can be explained on the basis of Latin derivation. Even as word forms evolved, the grammatical male-female distinction was preserved. Thus female -io and -tas Latin nouns evolved into -ción and -dad nouns in Spanish but remained female. (These correspond to -tion/-sion and -ty nouns in English. For more on the latter, see the vanidad entry.) Actually, one might better say that the female-nonfemale distinction was preserved, since the three genders of Latin collapsed into two, the neuter usually coalescing with the male. In a typical case, Latin ovum (n.) became Spanish huevo (m.). (More on this at LONERS.)

There are some oddities, however, such as mar. The Latin mare was a neuter third-declension noun with sing. abl. forms mare and mari. In Spanish, it is used in both genders. Generally, it is masculine to landlubbers and feminine entre marinos. In addition, some figurative and technical expressions apparently originating with seamen use feminine mar.

The different noun forms that Latin used for different grammatical cases were collapsed into a single form (typically derived from the ablative; see disco). The large number of Latin first-declension nouns with singular ablative forms ending in -a yielded a large number of female nouns in Spanish that end in -a, and this was regularized into a reliable morphological rule (i.e., new nouns ending in -a are female). However, in words derived from Greek and Latin, etymology is normally still the controlling factor. Thus the exotic (fifth-declension male) noun dies evolved into Spanish día but stayed male. (For more, see the sp. entry.)

Most male first-declension nouns in Latin are borrowed from Greek. Among these, probably the largest class is that of words ending in -ista. These were derived from -istês nouns in Greek. The -ista ending generally carried over unchanged into Spanish. In French, the ending was regularly transformed to -iste, and this was a large source of -ist words in Middle English. In all three of these modern languages, the suffix is productive. As nouns, -ista words in Spanish have the same form for males and females. (The politically hypercorrect name for an association of dentists would have to be ``La Asociación de Las y Los Dentistas'' or something equally stupid.) Likewise, as adjectives the -ista words have common gender. (See SEDERI for an example, where male estudios is modified by renacistas.)

Most of the other examples I can think of, of male Spanish nouns ending in -a, are ultimately derived from Greek male nouns ending in -a (typically via the Latin first declension): drama, panorama, poema, poeta, programa, tema (the last is `theme'), etc.

Tequila (in origin the name of a Mexican town) is male; but then, so too was José Cuervo (`Joe Crow'), creator of the Jose Cuervo brand. (The brand name does not have a graphic accent over the e in José.)

That should be enough exceptions for final-a-female rule to cause confusion. The only exception I can think of for final d is the metric capacitance unit farad. It's at least conceivable to me that no -ción, -gión, -sión nouns are male. The usual exception of -ion number names doesn't occur in Spanish: million is millón, billion billón, etc.


Materials for the Study of Women and Gender in the Ancient World. This is a respected Classics resource, and yet here too it is forgotten that ``gender'' is not sex but category, of which sex is only one kind. I forbear to claim this as evidence of accelerating decadence, although decadence surely is accelerating, in recollection of the fact that even Dryden and Byron wrote ``the [sic] hoi polloi,'' even though they were both surely aware that hoi is a definite article (so they were writing something like `the the great-unwashed'). [Actually, they wrote the latter two words using Greek characters not forming part of ISO Latin-1.]

In detail: Dryden used it in Essay on Dramatic Poetry, 65 (1668):

If by the people you understand the multitude, the hoi polloi.
Lord Byron is known to have written it around 1821-2; it appeared in his published Letters (1830), vol. I, 633:
[We] put on masques, and went on stage with the hoi polloi.

Debtor In Possession. A debtor allowed to remain in possession of the business (the ``estate in property'') and continue business operation during reorganization. Possible under chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Distal InterPhalangeal (joint). The knuckle nearest the end of the finger. That is, the further (more distal) of the two joints between phalanx. Cf. PIP.

Dual-In-line Package. Typical cheap chip package, good for making model centipedes and caterpillars. Often called a DIP package. Cf. skinny DIP.

Here are some typical specs.

DIPCd, DIpCd, dipCd
DiIsoPropyl Cadmium. An organic precursor used in MOCVD growth of II-VI material.

An Italian word meaning `painting.' I have reason to believe that it has a specialized sense in paleography or archaeology, but I haven't found out what yet.

Distorted Independent Particle Model (IPM). This overview page of nucleus models has a link to an extended technical description (dvi).

This isn't actually an abbreviation of any kind. It's just a note written by a dip. No? Oh!

According to information recently confided to me, it turns out that the ``Dip'' in the head term stands for DIPlomat. Dipnote is a US State Department blog. A news story in November 2007 elicited this comment from one of the people who runs the blog:

In addition, as with all other entries on Dipnote, we will post comments regardless of the point of view. The only exceptions being profanity, hate speech, personal attacks and foreign language.

Dynamic Isotope Power Source[s].

An uncontrollable craving for alcohol. In the nineteenth century, the term was also used for the state of extreme-but-still-conscious drunkenness, considered the equivalent of the legal term frenzy, a temporary form of insanity. See dipsomaniac.

Someone who suffers from an uncontrollable craving for alcohol (called dipsomania). The word sounds macaronic, as if someone had tried to construct a bogus medical term from the suggestive English verb `to dip.' However, it has a perfectly legitimate Greek etymology (dípsa means `thirst') and has been a part of efforts at rational and systematic medical diagnosis. However, the term dates from the nineteenth century, when medicine itself was still in many respects quite bogus.

Given the suspect appearance of the word, and the pernicious elasticity of a weasel term like ``uncontrollable craving,'' in the twentieth century the word dipsomaniac came to be used as a winking or contemptious euphemism for any sot, or habitual drunk. The word dipsomaniac became obsolete in the second half of the twentieth century. One could say it was replaced by the word alcoholic, but the situation is slightly trickier.

The word dipsomaniac, despite its medical provenance, carried a certain moral valence. Its use implied or was associated with the attitude that individuals are strong or weak, and that dipsomania was a sign of moral weakness. It might be pitied or contemned, but it was not morally neutral. A contrast can be made between suffering from dipsomania and being struck down by a meteorite. The latter is a random misfortune that is not taken to reflect on the morals of the victim (except by a certain minority among those who take the phrase ``act of God'' rather literally).

The use of alcoholic as a noun referring to an alcohol addict dates back only to the beginning of the twentieth century. It might be tedious to prove, but this word seems to be associated with somewhat different attitudes than was dipsomaniac, if only because it became common later and was an alternative to the existing word. Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 and probably had the greatest influence on the sense in which the term was understood. Although AA certainly has an understanding of alcoholism that is at its center moral and spiritual (in a carefully general, certainly nondenominational way), the way the word alcoholic is used has an interesting way of, so to speak, cleansing the moral stigma. Accepting that one is an alcoholic is seen as a positive act, and can come as an immense relief, turning shame upside-down. Moreover, AA does not speak of ``curing'' alcoholism, but rather of abstinence from alcohol and from alcohol-related behaviors. Because the ``recovering alcoholic'' is an admirable person, alcoholism is viewed as an affliction overcome by moral strength and moral support. Thus, interestingly, though AA does not promote a medical fix to alcohol addiction, it does promote an essentially medical, or morally neutral, view of the underlying problem.

DIPTe, DIpTe, dipTe
DiIsoPropyl Telluride. An organic precursor used in MOCVD growth of II-VI material.

DIRectory. A command in VMS, CP/M, MS-DOS/PC-DOS (chronological order) and various other langauges, to present (send a copy to standard output; display on screen, print to teletype, whatever) a list of the files within a particular directory (or folder, as it is often called when associated with a GUI.


De Imperatoribus Romanis. (`Of Roman Emperors.') An extensive on-line encyclopedia of Roman emperors, their families, and of the empire generally (or empires; coverage extends to 1453).

Direct{ed|ional} InfraRed CounterMeasures (IRCM). A general term. As the name of a US government agency, expanded ``Directional Infrared Countermeasures.''

Everett McKinley Dirksen (1896-1969). Long-time Republican senator from Illinois; Senate minority leader around the time LBJ was majority leader. Stentorian advocate of designating the Marigold as US national flower. (My theory is that he did this so that when he finally went soft in the head, the change wouldn't be as obvious.) If he is remembered, it may be for his comment on additivity of the real numbers.

dirt bike
  1. In Britain, in the 1960's: a specialized bicycle for racing on oval cinder tracks. (The tracks were oval, not the cinder.) These bikes had knobby tires, cow-horn handlebars and no gears. No gears! This was before mountain bikes.
  2. Today, in the UK and elsewhere: a motorbike for off-road speed. See, for example, <dirtbike.com>, <dirtbikedepot.com>, <dirtbikeposters.com>, and <dirtbikerider.co.uk>.

dirty underwear
There is a legendary fear of being found dead wearing dirty underwear, and I thought it a mythical fear as well. Mothers would supposedly tell their children to wear clean underwear, so they wouldn't be embarrassed if they died in an accident. I don't think I ever heard a first- or second-person account of such a conversation.

Recently, however, I was talking with a friend of mine who has just returned to her apartment near Tokyo for the first time since the 9.0 quake that struck the Tôhoku (`northeast') region of Japan on March 11, 2011. Like most Japanese, she's used to minor quakes and normally ignores them, but the aftershocks of the Tohoku earthquake have been unusually strong (ominously so to seismologists, who offer short odds for the big one to hit central Japan soon). Anyway, she was taking a bath when a recent aftershock hit; she jumped out and dressed, as she explained, so she wouldn't be found naked. I asked her what mantissa of difference it would make, if she died and also happened to be found naked. She explained that she might be trapped and wouldn't want to be naked when she called out for rescue. Oh wow -- that's totally different! I hadn't thought of it. Now I get it!

After writing the two paragraphs above, I had a chat with a couple of hourly-wage employees in which I essentially repeated the story. It was a revelation to me. Two or more revelations, quantitatively speaking. Let me say that for statistical purposes, they (informants M and B below) represent an unbiased sample. That is, I didn't choose them based on any evidence or expectation that they would have a particular kind of information -- or any information -- regarding the topic of this entry. I chose them to chat with because I know them, or thought I knew them, and they were chewing the fat where I was passing by on my way to the candy machines. Also, I haven't biased the data by cherry-picking interviewees: my entire sample size so far, and preferrably forever, is 2.

Informant M is a female currently in her early-to-mid 50's. Informant M informed ME that oh yes, this is a big deal with her mother. M's father was a fireman, and M's mother would not just clean but iron his boxers, so if he died no one should think he died with dirty or unpressed underwear. Let's hope she didn't starch them. Upon prompting, M confirmed that the motivating fear was her father's possible at-work death, and not some nonfatal accident. M's mother is reportedly fastidious in other ways. Mismatched socks provoke horror.

Informant B, recently returned from extended medical leave, is a male also currently in his early-to-mid-50's, though he happens to look about 70. (If you lived on coffee and cigarettes, you could probably look older too. In fact, I understand that some adolescents take up smoking precisely so as to appear older. Also, if you look older it's easier to buy cigarettes, so there's some sort of positive feedback effect in there. I'll have to calculate it one day.) Anyway, B's mother must had a philosophy similar to M's, and he remarked that a few weeks ago, when he checked himself into the hospital, he ``felt bad because ....'' (The unstated implication was that he wore dirty underwear to the hospital, and not that he felt bad on account of whatever it was that sent him to the hospital. It takes the old saw ``when you gotta go, you gotta go'' to the next level... down.)

A city within Hell, described by Dante in his Inferno.

Diagnostic Interview Schedule.

Digital Image System.

dis, diss
Ghetto slang for `express disrespect.' The s is unvoiced, as in disparage.

Distributed Interactive Simulation. Cf. ADS.

Draft International Standard.

Data Interchange Standards Association, Inc.

Defense Information Systems Agency.

Domestic International Sales Corporation[s].

A flat circular object. Phonograph records, CD's, hockey pucks, and manhole covers are examples. See fisk for the etymology. Cf. disk, with a k.

DIScovery Channel (Canadian cable). Programming differs from DISCU. See AWOTV for ancient-world component of programming.

La Diversité des Systèmes Cognitifs. French, `Diversity of Cognitive Systems.' Groupe de recherche DISCO (also l'èquipe de recherche DISCO) is a research group at UQÀM.

It's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! It's back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack, back-ack-ack-ack. Back! Back! Back! Back! Back! It's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! It's

Wallpaper of Sound. (No, not Wall of Sound.)


Spanish for `disc,' from the ablative singular form of Latin discus, from the Greek diskos.

In principle, and in many particular cases, Spanish nouns could be regarded as being derived from other (usually oblique) cases in Latin. This is particularly the case for second-declension nouns, which have identical dative and ablative forms. As a general rule, however, the best way to guess the eventual Spanish form of a Latin noun is to cast it into the ablative and then apply common (not always regular) sound shifts like u --> o.

It makes sense that the ablative forms should have been salient. The instrumental case found in some other highly inflected Indo-European languages is essentially collapsed into the Latin ablative, as are plural forms of the locative. Not only is the ablative very common, but its frequency was reinforced by the gradual replacement of the genitive case by de + abl. Now you're probably going to suggest that really, the accusative should have been more salient, since ordinary direct objects are more common than objects of prepositions and all those weird ablative-of-whatever forms. Okay, time for a dirty little secret: over time, final em's in Latin went silent... if you lop the final em off the singular accusative forms (and change u --> o), they mostly coincide with the ablative.

A related fact: The common-gender forms of Latin third declension have ablative singulars that end consistently in -e, and Spanish adjectives that end in -e have the same form when modifying male and female nouns.

I can see that you find this stuff fascinating. Read more at the D-ION-Z-A entry supra.

Discomfit (informal). This word antedates the one defined in the long disco entry.

discretionary coughing
I just felt like putting the idea out there, you know? Maybe later I'll define it. The definition will probably mention violin solos. Hmmm... it seems I already mention them at the flu entry.

DIScovery Channel (US cable). Programming differs from DISCC. Abbreviation used at AWOTV, which see for ancient-world component of programming.

Alright: listen up, you doofus! ``Disinterested'' does not mean the same thing as ``uninterested.'' A person who is uninterested in some matter is one who is uncurious about the matter. The person is not interested. In contrast, a person who is disinterested in some matter is someone who has no stake in the outcome or resolution of the matter.

The word uninterested implies little about the matter in question other than that it is something about which there is something to know, and about which someone might possibly be curious. The word disinterested implies that the matter in question is one requiring judgment. The ideal judge (i.e., juror, judge, arbitrator, etc.) is interested, and thus attentive, yet disinterested, and thus fair.

Do you think maybe you're beginning to get the hang of this thing, after all your years of abject ignorance? The difference has to do with two different senses of the word interest. Someone said to have ``an interest'' may have a neutral observer's desire for information, or may possibly benefit or suffer depending on how certain a question is decided. (The latter kind of interest is the only kind that is ``vested.'') One can distinguish these two kinds of interest by using narrower terms like curiosity and stake.

(There are other kinds of interest, of course. There is interest you earn on a deposit, and there is interest that one has in activities. If you say you are interested in travel, you don't usually mean that you are interested in hearing about other people's travel, so much as you are interested in traveling yourself. The situation here is that ``interested in traveling'' really means ``wants or likes to travel'' or ``interested in learning about opportunities to travel.'' This is sometimes sloppy, but one might not want to be precise.)

The confusion between disinterested and uninterested goes bak a little ways. G.S. Fraser wrote this in his The Modern Writer and His World:

Disinterested curiosity -- to be disinterested is not to be uninterested -- is one of the noblest qualities of the human mind.

This was on page 12 of the third edition (Penguin, 1964). I don't know if it was in the earlier English edition (1953). In principle, the text may even be left over from the 1950 edition aimed at a Japanese audience. Whatever the case, the proleptic parenthetical is the earliest evidence I've happened across indicating that confusion between the two terms was a problem.

disinterested enthusiasm
This describes the intellectual approach of the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve. For an expanded description, click here.

dish cover
For your microwave receiving antenna. Microwaves penetrate plastic. For the etymology of dish, see fisk.

When two different material surfaces are exposed for chemical mechanical polishing (CMP for planarization), the softer material ends up more deeply polished. Gouged, more like. Large areas of the softer material (Cu next to SiO2, say) may be eroded away everywhere except at the edges, leaving a kind of dish or depression. If the copper is a contact, a simple solution is to define it with some electrically superfluous blocks of oxide in the metal, so that much of the copper is near an ``edge.''

A word invented by IBM to describe magnetic disc memories. IBM also dreamed up ``deque,'' which fortunately did not catch on.

Kenneth Thompson is credited with discovering the first law of memory thermodynamics:

The steady state of disks is full.

See also RAM disk.

NASA slang for DSKY.

dismal science, the
Half right. Tired witticism describing economics.

How tired? Thomas Carlyle introduced it as an epithet for political economics in an 1849 essay, ``Latter-Day Pamphlets, No.1. The Present Time.''

Economics is ultimately derived from the Greek word oikonómos, `manager of a household, steward,' composed from oîkos, `house,' and -nómos, nominal combining form of némein here meaning `to manage, control.' The words derived from oikonómos have taken a variety of meanings over time, including theological ones. Some of the meanings depended implicitly on a metaphorical understanding of `household' as a larger entity. L'économie politique came to refer to aspects of governance, and in the second half of the eighteenth century it and the English term modeled on it, political economy, came to have the specialized sense of ``the science [in a loose sense] of the wealth of nations.'' (``The Wealth of Nations,'' of course, was published by Adam Smith in 1776.) The word economics alone did not come into its current sense until late in the nineteenth century. For a detailed discourse on the evolution of this word, see the first chapter of Moses Finley's The Ancient Economy (Sather Classical Lectures, Vol. 43). He comments there that nem- is a ``semantically complex root.''

Rare synonym of disproportionation.

disposable income
Not on your life! I plan to spend that money!

A reaction in which an atom within one compound is both reduced and oxidized, occurring in two different compounds of the product. A simple example is the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in aqueous solution:
                 2H O (aq)   ---> 2H O(l) + O (g)
                   2 2              2        2

The oxygen in peroxides has an oxidation number of -1; in water and oxygen gas, it has oxidation numbers -2 and 0, respectively. (Hydrogen peroxide solutions sold as antiseptics typically contain a stabilizer such as acetanilide (C6H5NHCOCH3).)

The charging of a lead-acid battery involves the disproportionation of the lead ion in lead (II) sulfate (PbSO4). A general example of disproportionation reaction is the Cannizzaro reaction.

The reverse of disproportionation is called comproportionation or symproportionation. Discharge (i.e., ordinary use) of a lead-acid battery involves running a comproportionation reaction. All of the good -tionation words are used in chemistry. (The other one is fractionation.)

ABD slang for `dissertation.' Use probably influenced by disrespect.

Distance. Computed for you by indo.com, the new home of the distance service.

Medicalese: `at a distance, on the far side.'

German: `distal[ly].'

Distel, die
German: `thistle, the.'

Well-known in the field or subfield, but unknown outside.

Old but healthy. Spry but sedate.


A tree of the Philippines, now also found in the Scrabble forest. Don't say ``that's not my problem, I don't play that silly game,'' because crossword puzzles and computer word games are often based on a Scrabble word list. You can't escape.

Device-Independent TROFF. See the troff entry for an overview summary of various roff programs.

Long duration. Usually meaning approximately but not exactly eternal. Sometimes loosely used as equivalent to eternal. Got that? Good. The word is obsolete.


Digital Interactive Virtual Acoustics. When I went to see Aïda at the Porta Caracola in Rome, I sat in the really-cheap seats, and some guy in the equally cheap seats a dozen rows ahead of me acted out his fantasies of directing the orchestra. Mister, you know who you are. Go get some software like this and let the rest of us enjoy the opera.

Italian: `goddess.' Prima donna, but not necessarily pejorative.

``dive immediately, fellow lodge members!''
I don't know about you, but for me this ranks right up there with ``by the time the boy was a toddler, it was `physically obvious' that Schwarzenegger was his dad.''

(The phrase quoted as the head of this entry is sourced at the books that could have benefitted from illustrations entry.)

Politically homogeneous (and likewise correct).

Bear this in mind:
Abandonment charges based on unwillingness to engage in sex are not always sustained, because adultery by one partner frees the other from any, em, obligations. It's the `condonation' defense.

Usual abbreviation for DIVisionS (pl. of div.).

Old-fashioned abbreviation for DIVisions (pl. of div.). I've seen it in a book published as recently as 1920.

De-Ionized WATER.

Device-Independent X-windows. As opposed to Device-Dependent X (DDX), of course. Note that while the expression ``machine-independent code'' referrs to a coding style or discipline, DIX refers to a part of X.


A French ordinal adjective meaning `eighteenth,' used as a learned borrowing to mean pertaining in some way to the eighteenth century (especially: in the style of the eighteenth century). I've also sometimes seen it used (nonattributively) as a noun (i.e., the eighteenth century). Orthographic advisory: The grave accent is in the original French, and the word does not appear to have been sufficiently naturalized in English for the accent to disappear. However, the word is sufficiently rare that if you omit the accent in email, you will not be thought linguistically unsophisticated.

One who studies the eighteenth century (dix-huitième, supra). Cf. dieciochista.

Dixie fowl

Do It Yourself. Zines and e-zines are sometimes described as DIY publishing. The free-standing acronym is used internally by retailers and wholesalers to refer to home-improvement merchandise. You'd think DIY could be a productive acronym prefix, just like BYO, but it doesn't seem to be much (except for DIYer).

Religious opposition to abortion is represented (by the ``pro-choice'' side) by a coat-hanger and the slogan ``Do It Thyself.''

Dive Into Your Body. An instrumental. Catchy tune. Hard-to-forget lyrics. Safety tip: listen to something else before entering shower. Excellent mood music for a cruise past shopping malls.

Dog Inside Your Body.
Lyrics: here
Artist: Butthole Surfers.
Alternate version: lyrics over attractive orange background here.
Anonymous lyricist: of course.

In case of fire, click here.

Do-It-Yourself (DNA sequence comparison using WU-) Blast.

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't. La condition humaine.

Do-It-Yourself-ER. Someone who prefers to have a unique, custom-engineered article of pride for a really quite economical investment in quality raw materials, professional equipment, failed experiments, medical expenses, and lost income during convalescence, rather than waste money buying some one-size-fits-all COTS vanilla product like all those proles. Oh! Where is the spirit of craftsmanship gone? Where are resourceful inventiveness and inventive resourcefulness? (Answer: hacking.)

It's not the destination; it's the trip.

Do It YourSelf. Rare variant of DIY.

Datapanik In the Year Zero. A CD box set of Pere Ubu (and Ubu-related) recordings from the period 1975-1982. Pere Ubu is self-described as a legendary avant-rock band. Okay, whatever.

You know, when I googled ``DIYZ,'' I was asked if perhaps I didn't mean ``DAYS.'' This is almost as insulting as that condescending paper clip ``help'' in MSWord.

The popular nickname of Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), first earl of Beaconsfield.

Disraeli had a gift for spontaneous expression that has resulted in many fine mots being uncertainly attributed to him, either because he uttered them off the cuff, so to speak, rather than into a book, or else because his reputation made him a likely candidate when anyone was casting about for a likely or plausible source of a quote whose real author was unknown or forgotten.

One such is the quote about lies, damn lies, and statistics. More about that one later.

Another such quote is, ``When I want to read a novel, I write one.'' Many close variants are attributed to him. The earliest instance of this that I can find is in a volume of his biography that was first published in 1920. Following is the entire paragraph of context (boldface emphasis added).

  His mental processes were as unusual as his physical appearance was peculiar. He did not form his opinions by amassing facts, but by some intuitive process of imagination. And so dramatic was the quality of his mind that he seems never to have been conscious of an opinion or conviction without being simultaneously conscious of the effect which its expression would produce. Hence the epigrammatic character of his talk and writing; to which a cynical flavour was added owing to the mask which he seldom put off in public. Lothair and Endymion recapture and repeat his table-talk, which was uttered with deliberate and impressive sententiousness. The stories told of it were endless. People heard of the royal lady who, indignant at the hesitation shown by Ministers on the Eastern Question, asked him at dinner what he was waiting for, and was told, `For peas and potatoes, ma'am;' of the charming neighbour whose insidious attempts to wheedle political secrets out of him were met by a pressure of the hand and a whispered `You darling;' of the public dinner at which the food was poor and cold, and at which Disraeli, when he tried the champagne, remarked with fervour, `Thank God, I have at last got something warm;' of his grandiloquent excuse for inability to recommend a novel to a neighbour, `When I want to read a novel, I write one;' of his judgment on a leading politician, nearly as well known in Mayfair as in Parliament, `He has a fine presence, ancient descent, a ready wit, and no principles; he must succeed.' But silence and self-absorption grew upon Beaconsfield in society along with age and disease; so that [Sir William] Fraser [author of Disraeli and his Day] could jestingly maintain that he was, in reality, a corpse which only at intervals came to life.

I don't know much about the authors, but perhaps the following may be helpful. This paragraph is from the concluding chapter (17) of the final volume (6), of The Life of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, published at London by John Murray between 1910 (vol. 1) and 1920 (vol. 6). The entire biography is typically listed as being by Monypenny and Buckle. To be precise, however, William Flavelle Monypenny was the sole credited author of volume 1 (covering the years 1804-1837) and volume 2 (1837-1846). The second volume was published in 1912, the year Monypenny died (rather young; he was born in 1866). The third volume (1846-1855), published in 1914, listed as coauthors Monypenny and George Earle Buckle (1854-1935), and the last three volumes gave the authorship as ``George Earle Buckle in succession to W.F. Monypenny.'' (A two-volume condensation ``by Monypenny and Buckle'' was published in 1929.)

I have also seen a claim that ``[w]hen I want to read a book I write one'' was attributed to Disraeli in a review of his novel Lothair (1870) in Blackwood's Magazine. Blackwood's had a rather nasty review of the novel in June 1870, pp. 773-793. (I'm not saying that it was or wasn't fair. Considering its length, to say nothing of the three-volume Lothair, I plan to putting off to the indefinite future having any such opinion on the subject.) The magazine published a ``Note to our review of `Lothair' '' in July (pp. 129-132), defending itself against criticism of its review. The alleged quote does not occur in this latter note, and probably does not occur in the review itself. For laughs, though, and for an indication of how someone might suppose, or misremember, that a quote of this sort was attributed to Disraeli in the review, here are the opening lines of the Lothair pan:

  This is the most elaborate jest which the sportive author has ever played off upon an amiable and confiding public. Addressing the novel-reading portion of that public in his own mind, he has evidently said: ``You have been this long while prating of purity of style, truth to nature, probability, and adherence to the rules of art. You have been condemning sensational novels, and false effects, and didactic prosings, and slipshod composition. Well, I will write something which shall be more extravagant than the romances of the `London Journal,' more inflated in expression and false in grammar than the exercises of an aspiring schoolboy of the fifth form, more foreign to life and reality than the hysteric fancies of a convent-bred girl, and, in point of art, on a level with the drop-scene of a provincial theatre. ...''

Disc Jockey.

Possibly patterned on this is the, um, jocular usage ``desk jockey.'' As it happens, desk and disc are cognates, borrowed from Latin indirectly and then directly. For details see the fisk entry.

D. J.
District Judge.


D. J.
Doctor Juris. Latin, `Doctor of Law.'

Dow Jones.

Dust Jacket. A garment for a book. The first papier couture. Important determinant in resale value of hardcover. Intended just to protect the cover, dust jackets were originally just plain paper. Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) suggested to the publisher of his Hunting of the Snark, that the title be printed on the book's dust jacket, and the rest is history which I don't know. It's also called a book jacket, but it is not abbreviated BJ nearly as often as DJ. Why is this? Your guess is as good as mine (unless it isn't obvious to you).

When B.J. Friedman's first novel was published, he ``was invited to come say hello to the staff at Simon & Schuster'' (his publisher). After being greeted by an old and befuddled Mr. Simon, he was surrounded by a group of young editors who had nice things to say about his jacket.

``Thank you,'' [said Bruce Jay Friedman]. ``My mother bought it for me at Saks. She was heartbroken that I hadn't become a theatrical press agent. She'd been told that they all have big homes in Rockaway. But she wanted me to be properly dressed all the same.''

[The article from which this text is lifted, and a copy of the cover, can be found here.]

These events occurred in the early 1960's, when it was still common for adult men to have their clothes bought for them by women. I think that's much less common today. Today, on the other hand, authors (including adult male authors, okay?) don't normally design or even have much say in choosing their book jackets. Sometimes the cover will depict characters from the book, and the depictions will be impossibly different from the descriptions in the book. I've also seen ``marital arts'' used evidently unironically (i.e., as an error for ``martial arts''). The artsy types who do covers are often somewhat weak at spelling.

It's also become quite standard for book jackets and even the hard covers of books to bear the words ``a novel.'' This is especially helpful at library book sales, where book sorting can be rather haphazard. (Most of the larger library book sales I've been to have not been mostly library-book sales, but sales mostly of donated books.)

Delete to the end of present line, and remove carriage return so line continues with text of current next line. Vi usage.

(Domain name code for) Djibouti. A little city-state on the north end (Red Sea) of the border between Ethiopia (or Eritrea now?) and Somalia.

Degenerative Joint Disease. Duh-juh-juh-duh. Sounds grating.

One transliteration of an Arabic word for `mountain.' It's also transliterated djibel, jebel, gebel, and jabal. (With uncharacteristic restraint, the OSPD4 accepts only djebel and jebel. TWL98 and SOWPODS follow suit.)

The fault (if multiple spellings are a fault) is not just in the imprecision of English spelling. It also happens that different Arabic dialects do different things with the initial consonant.

December, January, February. The three months of ``meteorological Winter.'' I saw DJF in various papers on weather and climate before I encountered the term ``meteorological Winter,'' but then I didn't study the thing systematically.

The AHD4 has this as its first definition for the word Winter: ``The usually coldest season of the year, occurring between autumn and spring, extending in the Northern Hemisphere from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox, and popularly considered to be constituted by December, January, and February.''

That definition manages to confuse three things: ``meteorological Winter'' (DJF), ``astronomical Winter'' (an underhanded retronym for the solstice-to-equinox period, used by the kind of people who would use the term ``meteorological Winter''), and the coldest period, or coldest three months, of the year. Some future iteration of this entry will sort all that out. For now I just want to publish the glossary page. Cf. MAM, JJA, SON.

Digital Journal of Ophthalmology. ``The DJO is a peer-reviewed ophthalmic journal dedicated to the dissemination of ophthalmic information over the World Wide Web to offer rapid publication, convenience and accessibility, full color photos and full motion videos to practicing ophthalmologists.''

(Domain name code for) Denmark. I asked Per if there were any words in Danish that he felt the need for in English. He couldn't think of any. Therefore, everyone should speak English. That way, we can avoid the problem of Copenhagen. The pronunciation of this word completely in Danish exposes non-Danes to serious oral and dental risks. My own health care plan doesn't even cover this. People are starting to move into the suburbs to avoid the problem.

It's even worse with words that contain the letter dee, which is pronounced by having your epiglottis do the unvoiced watusi.

The situation of Danish with respect to Norwegian and Swedish is similar to that of Portuguese with respect to Spanish (Castillian). Educated readers of any Iberian Romance language can understand most of a text in any other Iberian Romance language, just as the Scandinavian languages are mutually understandable in writing. Portuguese speakers can understand Spanish fairly easily, but their language has a rich phonology that subverts a Spanish speaker's efforts to recognize cognates. Danes similarly can understand Norwegians and Swedes, while the latter generally need a couple of months' study to understand Danish. (Overall, I should say that the Iberian Romance languages are not as similar to each other as the North Germanic languages of Scandinavia are to each other.)

Niels Bohr, a national scientific hero in Denmark, was known for delivering scientific addresses in his own approximation of the local language. It was said that he didn't speak any foreign languages, just different dialects of Bohrish. He and his son Aage wrote a major text on nuclear physics (in English). Now there is a third Bohr generation of physicist at work.

Some of the sayings famously attributed to Niels Henrik David Bohr (Nicholas Baker), he himself attributed to his own father. One of these was the maxim that there are two sorts of truths -- ordinary truths, whose opposites are false, and profound ones whose opposites may also be profound truths.

Note that the opposite of a profound truth is explicitly excluded from being an ordinary truth. Without this exclusion, some profound truths would also be ordinary falsehoods. If Aristotle had known about this, he probably would have called it the axiom of half of the excluded middle.

One of Niels Bohr's favorite sayings was ``Never express yourself more clearly than you can think.'' Most people would have difficulty manifesting that problem; Bohr specialized in implementing the solution. It's no wonder he was a hero in Denmark.

Ariadne, ``The European and Mediterranean link resource for Research, Science and Culture,'' has a page of national links for Denmark. The territory of Denmark is basically the Jutland peninsula, and -- oh yeah, Greenland.

Here's the Danish page of an X.500 directory.

The noun Danish refers to any sweet pastry, preferably with white icing and cinnamon, and two to go, thanks. Cf. Evita entry.

(BTW, you know that famous mermaid statue? I think a bunch of years ago she was temporarily decapitated by vandals.)

In Spring 2002, the European Commission conducted the ``Eurobarometer 57'' survey, sampling at least 1,000 in each of its member countries (except in Luxembourg, where, probably to avoid sampling some people twice, only 600 people were surveyed). The main finding of Eurobaromometer 57 was that Europeans are a bunch of sourpusses. A key existential question was on ``overall life satisfaction'' (which I will abbreviate OLS here):

On the whole, are you very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not very satisfied, or not at all satisfied with the life you lead? Would you say you are very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not very satisfied, or not at all satisfied?

The EU15 average percentage answering ``very satisfied'' was 21%. (Amazingly, it seems they actually went to the trouble of weighting it properly -- by population instead of raw sample.) Harris conducted a parallel US study, a telephone survey of 1010 adults, called between April 10 and April 15, 2003. The results were generally more positive on all questions, with 57% answering ``very satisfied'' to the OLS question. Of course, the European average hid a broad range of national variation. Exactly one of the EU15 countries scored higher than the US on OLS: Denmark, at 64%. (The next highest was Netherlands, 45%.)

Another Eurobarometer poll, conducted by phone between October 8 and 16, 2003, asked questions mostly regarding Iraq (500 sampled per country, results weighted by population). An EU15 average of 44% favored sending peacekeeping troops to Iraq. In Denmark the figure was 77%. (This probably exceeds the percentage of Americans who favored having US troops in Iraq by then.) A majority of Danes believed that the US-led invasion of Iraq was justified; in the other 14 members a majority believed it was unjustified (EU15 average 68%).

Diels Kranz. In 1903, Hermann Diels published a monumental collection of the fragments (mostly bits of material quoted later in antiquity) of the pre-Socratic philosophers (Fragmente der Vorsokratiker). It went through a great many editions, with revisions or additions in 1906 (2/e) and 1912 (3/e). The fourth edition in 1922 was a reprint, but the edition of 1934-37 involved substantial revision by Walther Kranz. As I understand it, the sixth through ninth editions (1951 or 1952 to 1960) are reprints.

Dining Kitchen. Wasei eigo abbreviation for dining room with a kitchen. Cf. OL.

Donna Karan. A dress designer.

Don't Know. Code or abbreviation for a class of survey reply. It seems a shame that this isn't used as some sort of logo or slogan or something -- a succinct assertion of agnosticism of one variety or another. Cf. DK/NA.

Danish (.dk) Crown (Kroner).

Dull Knife Memorial College, located in Lame Deer, Montana. I suppose it's just my cultural reference frame, but these names sound a down beat to me. I'm all for the September 2001 change of name to Chief Dull Knife College (any substantive information we gather about the college will be at that linked entry).

The practice of constructing given names from pairs of common nouns, or from a noun modified by an adjective, is apparent in Native American names, but seems to be a world-wide reflex. It was once the standard practice for constructing Indo-European names, but the words that formed the names evolved while the names tended to become fixed or to evolve independently, so people no longer recognize that Sigmund, say, means `defender of victory,' or Robert `bright fame.' As the examples suggest, however, the common names (at least those of whose etymologies I am aware) tend to be more positive. The Romans deviated from the usual practice of I-E peoples and even, in the cognomen innovation, from other Italic peoples. Their naming practices are discussed at the tria nomina entry.

I asked an Indian woman I know about this, and she mentioned someone she knows whose Indian name is ``Killing Water'' (this turns out to be a not-too-unusual name). I remarked that it is a somewhat ambiguous name, and she replied that he is a somewhat ambiguous person. So there you are.

Don't Know / No Answer. Code or abbreviation for a class of survey reply. It might be a laconic summary of the situation described at the FPO entry. Cf. DK.

Don't Know / Not Sure. Code or abbreviation for a class of survey reply.

Donna Karan New York. Underwear and other soft goods. Oh yes, and now they will feature books as well. ``Books that elicit an emotional response.'' (Not an exact quote, but close enough.) It looks like Oprah will have company wherever she's going in the next life.

DKO, dKO, d-ko
Double Knock-Out. I'm not aware that there's much use for this initialism in boxing. Once you're knocked out, that's it, it's over. But in biology it's useful. It means that two genes are knocked out, and the DKO typically refers to an animal in which the two genes have been knocked out.

International Conference on Data and Knowledge Systems for Manufacturing and Engineering.

Dampfkraftwagen. German for `steam-power vehicle.' A company founded in 1915 by the Dane Skafte Rasmussen in Zschopau (in the German state of Saxony), in 1916 it rolled out its first steam car. Steam cars didn't catch on in a big way in Germany any more than they did anywhere else. In 1922, DKW brought out its first light motorcycle (125 cc), called ``Das kleine Wunder'' [`the small wonder']. I assume the company meant for people to identify that as the or an expansion of DKW at some point. I don't know how completely the old expansion was buried, immediately, but see below. DKW became a part of Auto Union (based in Zwickau) in 1933 and went out of business altogether in 1956. More at the Audi entry.

I asked my mom, who fled Germany in 1938 (as a child, 71 years ago), if she recalled a motorcycle called das kleine Wunder. She didn't, but when I mentioned DKW -- ohh, that was a major company! Cars and mostly heavy vehicles like trucks. She thought it stood for ``deutsche Kraftwerk'' or perhaps just naturally assumed it. I'll try to investigate this further, if it doesn't require any work.

David Letterman. A professional comedian with his own show weeknights on CBS, which makes his top-ten research available on a need-to-know basis.

Here are my favorite top-tens from before 1996:

[Football icon]

Defensive Lineman. A position in American football.


Processes occurring at a surface, and utilizing a reactant or adsorbate brought to the surface by a fluid (as in oxidation of a Si surface and in vapor- and liquid-deposition) tend to operate in one of two asymptotic regimes: diffusion-limited and reaction-limited. If the deposition process at the growth surface is rapid, then the fluid phase adjacent to the growing surface becomes depleted of (at least one) reactant, and the growth rate is controlled by the rate at which the reactant is replenished by diffusion to the surface. This is DL growth. If the fluid is well stirred or if the deposition stage is slow, then depletion of reactants from the fluid near the surface is not important, and growth is reaction-limited.

Digital Librar{ y | ies }. The plural form is the name of a conference. See D-lib.

Disabled List. In major league baseball, there are two disabled lists: fifteen-day and sixty-day: In all cases, the determination that a player is injured must be made by a physician. Players on the n-day DL (either value of n) cannot return to the active list for n days. However, it is possible to put a player on the disabled list retroactively, so the inactive period begins after the last time he played, even though he was then on the active list.

Distance Learning. Correspondence courses of various sorts, nowadays usually using something faster than snailmail. Contrasted with F2F (face-to-face) learning. See next entry.

The Department of Classics at the University of Florida offers DL courses. One of their webpages explains (or doesn't explain) the following: ``The university requires proof of immunization of all students. Yes, even distance students. Don't ask why, just fill the form out asap or suffer grievously!''

Distributed Learning. Courses taught over video, live or not. Also other forms of Distance Learning (also DL).

Distribution List.

dl, D/L
DownLoad. Perform an electronic file or data transfer from a general distribution source to a user-controlled site, as for example from a server to a client. German has the calque herunterladen.

Defense Logistics Agency.

Dental Laboratories Association. According to this page it's ``a professional body for dental laboratory owners in the UK. Currently [text copied January 2005] the Association has around 1000 members, over 50 of whom are affiliates. It is estimated that members of the DLA are responsible for over 80% of the dental laboratory services in the UK.''

Diffusion-Limited Aggregation. In three dimensions, this produces cluster masses that scale approximately as the 1.75 power of the cluster radius.

Dictionary of Literary Biography.

Device-Level Burn-In.

Data Link Control.

Democratic Leadership Council. An association of Democratic party moderates formed in 1985. Its leading elected officials at the beginning were Democratic senators Samm Nunn (Ga.), Lawton Chiles (Fl.), and Charles Robb (Va.), and Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.), with experienced staffers Al From and Will Marshall. The DLC was created in the wake of Walter Mondale's campaign for the presidency in 1984 (Mondale had been stomped by incumbent Pres. Ronald Reagan). The idea of the DLC was to pull the Democratic party rightward toward the center. (Cf. CDM, created following the 1972 defeat, and Third Way, following the 2004 defeat). The DLC promoted the idea of an early Super-Tuesday primary to enhance the clout of conservative Southern states within the presidential nomination process.

Gephardt, the first leader of the DLC, joined in the middle of his own drift to the left. He had been pro-life as late as 1984, but by the time he began his first presidential campaign in 1987, he was pro-choice. Perhaps that is necessary for anyone who wants to win the Democratic primaries. But he ran on a protectionist platform in the 1988 primaries and stopped being identified with that ``new Democrat'' faction of the party. Four years later, however, the DLC had a candidate of superb political skills. With a little help from third-party odd-ball H. Ross Perot, Clinton won in 1992. Some missteps to the left were punished by a Republican takeover of the House in the midterm elections of 1994, and after that Clinton stayed ``new Democrat.'' During the second Clinton administration, I wrote the following completely ingenuous statement:

Of course, now every Democrat (incumbent), pretty much, is a ``new [i.e. centrist] Democrat.''
Yeah, that ignored the Congressional Black Caucus and some Californians and such, but it wasn't far off the image.

In the 106th Congress (the one that began in 1999) Gephardt was the senior House Democrat. Approaching the Y2K elections, he was one of the two obvious and leading contenders for the Democratic Presidential nomination (Vice President Al Gore, the eventual nominee, was the other). As the ranking House member of his party, he was the likely House Speaker if the Democrats took back the House in those elections. He apparently preferred those odds (a priori) and stayed out of the presidential race. At least he kept his job.

So Gore was the Democratic presidential candidate in the 2000 campaign. It's hard to criticize him as having been out of touch with the country's mood, given that he did in fact win a majority of the popular vote. But his campaign nevertheless represented something of a repudiation of what many had regarded as Clinton's policy legacy. Gore campaigned as a more leftist populist, moving the image of the Democratic party leftward.

To some extent, his campaign represented a reaction to problems imposed on him. During the primary season, Gore had faced opposition on his left from former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, and perhaps he moved left in reaction to that challenge. But no one is surprised, and few remember, if a candidate refashions his positions after the primaries to make them attractive to a broader range of voters. Still, a campaign needs a message (preferably one per news cycle).

Clinton had involved Gore in actual government more than most presidents have involved their VP's, and Gore might have run on Clinton's record, wringing prosperity for all its considerable political value. But Clinton inspired widespread loathing, in large measure due to the sordid affair of the sexual exploitation of White House intern Monica Lewinsky. So promising more of Clinton-Gore was a problematical campaign approach; Gore chose as his running mate Connecticut's Senator Joe Lieberman, whose most prominent qualification was his early and forceful denunciation of Clinton's affair. (That is, Lieberman had been the first prominent officeholder in Clinton's own party to rebuke Clinton for acting like JFK and LBJ, in the pants department, although he expressed this somewhat differently.) At the Democratic convention, Gore staged a spontaneous I-really-really-love-my-wife-unlike-some-people-we-know event.

In 2000, Gore chose Senator Lieberman as his running mate in significant part to distance himself from Clinton. Granted this distance was not along a policy axis, yet it is ironic that by the time of the next presidential campaign, Lieberman was really the most faithful remaining representative of the centrist legacy of Bill Clinton, such as it was. Lieberman remained centrist even as 9/11 and the Iraq invasion (strongly supported by the DLC) polarized the country. In fall 2003, he was the only Democrat in the race for the presidential nomination who was willing to defend the invasion of Iraq (with reservations, of course). Gore, in the meantime, confirmed his shift and ended up endorsing Dean just before Dean's campaign peaked and floundered. Lieberman pulled out of the Iowa caucuses and never really contended. (Iowa Democrats are somewhat more leftist than those in the next few states selecting convention delegates, and caucuses reflect the more activist segment of a party, which in both Democratic and Republican cases leans further from center than the bulk of the party.) Lieberman's campaign never got traction and he dropped out. For more and later on Lieberman, see

There's a precedent of sorts for the DLC in something that was called the Democratic Advisory Council. After Dwight D. Eisenhower twice defeated Democratic candidate Adlai E. Stevenson (1952 and 1956), party chairman Paul M. Butler created the advisory council in defiance of Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson (respectively Speaker of the House and Senate Majority leader in the Democrat-controlled Congress). The council was a group of ``wise men'' from the Roosevelt-Truman years, and some promising governors and junior legislators. They formulated the economic and social policies that became known as the New Frontier platform, which John F. Kennedy ran and won with in 1960.

Here's something interesting in 2005: Marshall Wittmann, a former aide to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), is serving as a fellow at the DLC.

It's September 2007, and I'm just popping back in at this entry to record the DLC's slide. Harold Ford, Jr., was a blue dog Democrat in the House representing the Memphis area (9th congressional district of Tennessee) in 2006 when he ran for an open Senate seat (Republican Bill Frist, a physician who was then Senate majority leader, was retiring; he still thought he was going to run for President in 2008). He lost the election (48% to Republican Bob Corker's 51%). The following January 25, he was named chairman of the DLC. At the DLC's annual meeting in Nashville on July 30, 2006, he said ``Some people say we've lost our standing, but if there ever was a time when the country needed the DLC... it's now.'' He may be right, but the leading Democratic candidates all skipped the DLC event to attend the second annual Kos thing.

Diamond-Like Carbon. Ha! CVD-deposited carbon intended to form epitaxial diamond crystal. Approach is attractive due to some favorable properties of the semiconductor diamond, but so far deposition is not very crystalline and Raman spectra more closely resemble those of graphite.

Digital Loop Carrier[s].

Diffusion-Limited Cluster-Cluster Aggregation. In three dimensions, this produces cluster masses that scale approximately as the 2.5 power of the cluster radius.

Data Link Connection Identifier.

Dark Line Defect.

Data Link Decoder.

DeadLine Date.

Distorted Liquid Drop Model (LDM). This overview page of nucleus models has a link to an extended technical description (dvi).


Diccionario latín-español. Spanish: `Latin-Spanish Dictionary.' Very much under construction. In fact, I've heard so little about that project that I think it's been abandoned. (This might be just as well, at least until they get a more distinctive initialism, because lexicographically, the initialism DLE usually stands for something else in Spanish.) There's a Greek effort (DGE), originally parallel to the DLE effort, which has made great progress and has already published into the epsilons.

I'm not sure what the exact title of the DLE was supposed to be. It could use either latín (language name) or latino (adjective).

Our library has part 1 of a Diccionario latino-español that is already available (formal title Dictionarium latino-hispanicum) by Elio Antonio de Nebrija, based on preliminary studies by Germán Colón y Amadeu-J. Soberanas. It's not an original edition, however. It's a 1979 reprint of the edition that was published at Salamanca in 1492. Yes, Colón is the Spanish version of Columbus (which is really just the Latin translation of the real name. For a tiny bit of information about the name Germá (apparently a transliterated version of the name Herman), see the SN. Yes really the SN entry. Run along now.

Back already? Okay, now read about Salamanca (see under Cortes).

Diccionario de la lengua española. `Dictionary of the Spanish Language.' If not otherwise specified, this probably refers to the DRAE, the one published by the Real Academia Española (`Spanish Royal Academy') and -- gasp -- freely available for searching on line!

Digital Library Federation. ``...a consortium of libraries and related agencies that are pioneering in the use of electronic-information technologies to extend their collections and services.''

Also called NDLF.

Devilish Little Grin. USENET newsgroup acronym. One poster saves two seconds of typing, thousands of lurkers waste hundreds of man-hours guessing.

Defense Language Institute. Officially, but less commonly in actual usage, the DLIFLC.

Direct Liquid Injection. Mass-flow control that measures out a rate of liquid flow and vaporizes or atomizes it for a smooth flow into a gas phase reaction. Liquid is not injected directly as such.

Digital Library Initiative. A project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), to develop an information infrastructure to effectively search technical documents (mostly scientific and engineering) on the Internet. As of mid-1998, they were constructing ``a large-scale, multi-publisher (54), full-text testbed of scientific literature using SGML documents and bit-mapped images [and] ... evaluating its effectiveness for thousands of users on thousands of documents.''

Electronic Magazine of Digital Library Research. Mirrors in the UK and in Australia.

Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. Afaik, everyone calls it the Defense Language Institute, which seems to have been its official name for a long time, and abbreviates the name as DLI. I suppose they might have started a Defense Language Institute Domestic Language Center. (Actually, they do provide ESL classes at at least one of their campuses.)

D Link
Diagonal Link. SS7 term. One of three possible kinds of link interconnecting two mated pairs of signal transfer points (STP's).

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette. An investment banking firm based in New York City.

Delay-Line Loop. Used to feed back and make clocks or multipliers.

Dynamic Link Library.

Double-Layer Metal[lization] (microelectronic fabrication technology).

Double-Layer Polysilicon (microelectronic fabrication technology).

DLR, dlr.

Deutsche (Forschungsanstalt für) Luft- und Raumfahrt (e.V.) (`German [Research Establishment for] Aero- and Astronautics'; official English ``German Aerospace Research Establishment.''). Here's a mirror of the English page.

Docklands Light Railway, Ltd. These docklands are apparently the enclosed docks of the Isle of Dogs, serving the city of London from 1802 until the 1960's, when containerization shifted cargo traffic to coastal ports that could accommodate larger ships. In 1982, the British government designated the Isle of Dogs an ``Enterprise Zone'' with tax and other incentives for economic revitalization. The DLR was built starting in 1984 and began service in 1987.

The Isle of Dogs is smaller than the Isle of Man. Donne wrote that no man is an island, but the Isle of Dogs is a peninsula in an oxbow of the Thames. (Actually, such a peninsula itself may also be called an oxbow. As the name here indicates, it is also sometimes called an isle or island. The way rivers evolve, naturally or with human assistance, oxbows often become islands and vice versa.) Because of the hydraulics of meander, the deepest part of a river is close to the inside of the oxbow. Hence docks (and quays).

``Docks'' sounds an awful lot like ``dogs'' -- the difference being that the first uses an unvoiced consonant pair /ks/ and the second uses voiced consonants /gz/. Hmmm. Well, no. The Isle of Dogs takes its name from the fact that the king's hounds used to be kept there. It was a peninsula then too.

The name of the Canary Islands comes from the Romans' name for the largest island -- Canaria. According to Pliny, who probably just read it somewhere else, it was named after large feral dogs the Romans found there (from the Latin canis, `dog'). Eventually, the name was applied to the entire group. In the local language, Guanche, the islands were called Tamaran, translated or interpreted as `land of the strong.' You know, tamar- and canar- are very similar -- the tee and cee are differently-articulated but similar-sounding stop consonants, and em and en are similar nasals -- perhaps.... Aaah, after the docks/dogs thing came to grief, I better leave the speculation to professionals like Plinius.

The Canary name also came to be applied to a species of small yellow finches found on the islands.

Île aux Chats, in the province of Québec, is the name of a settlement and an island on the Rivière du Nord, a couple of kilometers north of Carillon, about 30 km west of Montréal. An island renowned for cats and birds -- now that would be something.

De La Salle Collegiate High School. A college-prep boys' school in Warren, Michigan.

De La Salle High School. A Catholic boys' school in Concord, California. (That's about 15 mi. east of Berkeley and Oakland. It's also 3 mi. NE of Walnut Creek, one of six ``satellite production'' sites where the NY Times prints its ``national edition.'' As of mid-2008, these are the locations of the other five: Chicago; Lakeland, Florida; Torrance, California; Austin, Texas; and Lorain, Ohio. On April 3 of 2008, an agreement with the Tacoma News Tribune was announced, to start production in Tacoma, Washington, in the autumn. In March 2008, the weekday circulation of the NYT averaged 1,007,550, and the Sunday paper averaged 1,629,650 copies. Call me a buzzard or a ghoul, but I'm just waiting for the gray lady to turn a couple of shades paler and collapse. Crossing below the million threshold, which ought to happen in 2008, will probably be a good milestone. In February 2008, the corresponding daily and Sunday circulation averages for the NYT national edition were 127,800 and 232,000. Now what boring thing were we talking about before we got onto this interesting tangent? Oh yes...) DLS was founded in 1965 ``in the Lasallian tradition of the Christian Brothers.'' It has about 1000 students, and an impressive 98% or so of its graduates go on to college.

DLS's ``sister school,'' Carondelet High School, also in Concord, was also founded in 1965, ``by the Sisters [see?] of St. Joseph of Carondelet at the request of [the aptly named] Bishop Floyd Begin, first Bishop of Oakland [Oakland was his see, see?]. In the tradition of their congregation, the Sisters responded to the needs of the Church by establishing the only Catholic secondary school for the young women of Contra Costa County.''

De La Salle High School. A coed Catholic school in New Orleans. It opened its doors as a boys' high school in 1949.

DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis. Originally a commercial school that was opened as the DeLaSalle Institute in October 1900. In 1971, the by-then high school turned coed when the diocese closed the all-girl St. Anthony of Padua High School in northeast Minneapolis. Although the initialism DLS is widely used attributively in names of the school's groups, ``De'' is the school's affectionate nickname, and they have a too-cutesy practice of emphasizing or capitalizing both the letters DE when they occur initially in school-related names.

De La Salle Institute. A four-year college-prep high school in Chicago. It was chartered in 1888 as a degree-granting two-year commercial school for boys. In 2002 it opened a ``Young Women's Campus'' (Lourdes High School -- doubtless named after the daughter of Madonna).

The Demosthenian Literary Society. An institution at UGA.

DownLoadable Sound. MIDI-related code that I know nothing about.

Defense Logistics Service Center. Sounds like the place where the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) goes for its tune-ups.

DownLoadable Sound 2. The next stage in DLS. But I haven't even learned DLS. I'm falling further behind!

Device-Level Test.

Digital Linear Tape.

Deep Level Transient Spectroscopy. Used in the range of about 77K to 400K, for determining densities of traps as a function of ionization activation energy, as well as their capture cross sections.

Dependent Logical Unit. The word dependent is a big clue that this term applies to a host-centric system rather than a client-server system. In fact, a DLU is an LU controlled by an SNA host system.

DeLaVirdin. An NNRTI used in the treatment of AIDS.

Derjaguin, Lanfau, Verwey, and Overbeek (model).

Deutsche Literaturzeitung.

Defense Minister.

Delta Modulation.

Deutsche Mark. There was a plan to have a national campaign featuring the monetary advice of Claudia Schiffer to convince Germans to adopt some shakey European common currency. Maybe the revelation of the meretricious nature of her affair with David Copperfield got that canned. Anyway, before the euro could be put in place, the various EU members were supposed to stabilize their economies by, among other things, bringing their national government budget deficits below 3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Among EU members, even Germany hadn't done this when I first wrote this entry, but in 1995 the US budget deficit was 2.3% of US GDP, and it was headed down (it crossed zero in 1998).

As it happened, the European economy picked up and a lot of countries did switch starting in 1999 (q.v.).

Diabetes Mellitus. General term for a few diseases popularly called simply diabetes.

All forms of the disease involve some problem with insulin, which enables blood sugar (glucose) to enter cells. There are two principal types:

I -
or Juvenile-onset, or insulin-dependent diabetes (IDDM).

May first appear as early as the first month of infancy, and typically appears before or during adolescence. The current preferred name is IDDM, however, because onset may be delayed into the thirties, forties and beyond (albeit with decreasing likelihood).

In IDDM, the pancreas fails to produce insulin, or enough insulin. The disease is currently believed to be an autoimmune disorder: the body fails to recognize certain cell surface proteins in the pancreas as ``self,'' and destroys the insulin-producing cells (``beta cells'') found in regions of the pancreas called ``islets of Langerhans.''

[Alpha cells make and release glucagon; delta cells make the hormone somatostatin, believed to regulate the alpha and beta cells. The gamma cells just sit around and look busy, I guess.] Insulin-dependent diabetics require daily insulin injections to survive. Not just hyperglycemia but hypoglycemia becomes a problem (there's a fine region between too little and too much insulin). Moreover, after a few years there may be the additional difficulty that the overt initial reactions to low blood sugar become muted.

II -
or Adult-onset, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM).

This is by far the more common form of diabetes (95% of US cases -- 13 to 14 million). Usually appears after age forty. Onset is slow and often goes unnoticed for a long time. There is a significant heritability of this disease, or for the predisposition to the disease, but a number of other factors play a rôle.

Type-II diabetes does not result from destruction of beta cells or from underproduction of insulin. Instead it has to do with ``insulin resistance'' -- a problem with insulin consumers rather than producers. At the cellular level, for incompletely understood reasons, glucose transport becomes less efficient. Insulin levels are typically elevated, and appropriate treatment does not (initially) include insulin injections. However, after years of type-II diabetes, the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin can diminish and lead to type-I (insulin-dependent) diabetes.

- for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Elevated blood sugar in pregnant women, may occur during the second half of the pregnancy. Glucose levels return to normal post partum in 95% of cases, but GDM is an indication for type II.

The CDC has a ``Diabetes Public Health Resource.'' Diabetes.com would seem like another reasonable place to learn more. See also the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International (JDF), ... Gee, this must be a pretty important disease.

The name diabetes mellitus comes via Latin from Greek: diabetes (`passing through') + mellitus (`honey'). Hippocrates stressed the careful noting of all symptoms that the technology of his time could detect; diabetics' urine tasted sweet. As we now understand, the sweetness comes from the high blood sugar (glucose), some of which is excreted instead of being properly metabolized in cells. A possible indicator of diabetes is excessive thirst (which I suppose arises from the extra workload on the kidneys, but I don't know). More along these lines can be found at the Be entry.

Differential Mode. Vide Differential Amplifier.

Digital Medievalist. ``DM is an on-line, open access, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the use of digital tools and media in the study of medieval culture. Its inaugural issue was published in April, 2005.''

Dipole Moment.

Distance Measurement (avionics).

(Domain name code for) Dominica. First time most of us ever heard of it was when they contributed a token presence, as part of the ``multinational-force'' fig leaf for the US invasion of Grenada.

Dungeon Master. Vide D+D.

Designated Market Area.



Direct Marketing Association.

You know -- spawn of the devil, ruthless sociopaths.

In recent years, when you're home during the day, you seem to get a lot more calls where there's no one on the other end. The explanation is straightforward. In a little warren or a Texas jail, a bank of slaves, felons, or other menial employees call potential marks (sorry -- speak with prospective customers). Phone numbers are dialed for them automatically, many calls at a time. The reason many numbers are dialed at once is this: if each number dialed is allowed to ring five times before being hung up, then every not-at-home wastes half a minute of the slave wages. Simultaneously dialing many numbers saves pennies. It happens constantly that two or more calls will be picked up when there is only one slave available to make a pitch. In that case, one or more of the completed calls will be dropped. That is the source of your mysterious phantom calls. There are also wrong-number calls where the calling party realizes the error before speaking, and is too rude to apologize.

I guess this is occupational rehab. When they get out of jail, the ex-cons are ready to make an honest living.

Direct Memory Access. Cf. DVMA.

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis.

DiMethylAluminum Hydride. Al(CH3)2H. Has been demonstrated as an aluminum CVD source for hole-filling at 0.25 micron design rules.


Dave Matthews Band.

(US) Defense Manpower Commission.

Dynamic Markov Coding. A class of compression algorithms that generalize arithmetic coding, and achieve the highest compression, but at the cost of long computation and large scratch file requirements. The algorithms start with a zero-order Markov model that corresponds to adaptive determination of symbol frequencies, and systematically builds up a higher-order Markov model of the symbol correlations. Interestingly, Markov introduced what we call a Markov model in order to analyze the poem Eugene Onegin. I think. I'll get back to you on that. For the time being, think of it as an intriguing possibility.

(US) Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

DMCd, dmCd
DiMethyl Cadmium. An organic precursor used in MOCVD growth of II-VI material.

Digital Micromirror Device[s]. Originally from TI. Larry J. Hornbeck of TI won the 2007/2008 Prize of the AIP for Industrial Applications of Physics ``[f]or his invention and pioneering innovations in both the design and manufacturing of Digital Micromirror Devices (DMDs) integrated into metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS) technology.''

Duchenne Muscular Dystophy. X-linked, 1/3 of cases are new mutations and 2/3 expression of carrier mother's defective gene. Occurs in one out of every ~3500 boys.

Distributed Multiplexing, Distributed Demultiplexing.

N,N'-DiButyl-N,N'-TetraDecyl-MAlonamide. I'd like to buy a vowel, please.


Des Moines Register.

Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division based in Newark, Delaware.

Developed Market Economy.


Distance Measuring Equipment. Avionics and traffic control both.

Distributed Management Environment.

Durable Medical Equipment. Term used by Medicare for medical equipment prescribed by a physician for use in the home, seeming to imply that at home, disposable needles are durable, and that an iron lung at the hospital is not. Oh well, language.

Medicare imposes pricing and contract constraints on DME providers, such as requiring (on hospital-type beds) a rent-to-buy option with repair contract.

DiMethylEthylAmineAlane. Has been demonstrated as an aluminum CVD source for hole-filling at 0.25 micron design rules.

Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carrier. A local vicar of Medicare for DME.

Decayed, Missing, and Filled. Sounds like teeth, and it's a water-treatment term, so it might have something to do with fluoridation. I'll probably look into this and report back sometime during this century.


Direct Methanol Fuel Cell. Most names for specific fuel-cell types refer to the electrolyte type. DMFC refers to the fuel. Most fuel cell technologies existing and under development are intended to burn hydrogen. In principle, any oxidation reaction might be harnessed for a fuel cell, but in practice, burning hydrogen with oxygen has been the most practical so far.

Deutsche Meteorologische Gesellschaft.


DesMethylImipramine. Also called desipramine. Trade names Norpramin, Pertofrane. A tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). The acronym echoes IMI (imipramine), another TCA.

Desktop Management Interface. Industry standard for centralized inventory of client hardware and software; uses SNMP.

Dimensional Measuring Interface Standard. The common standard for data exchange among CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machines) and CMM software applications like CATIA. Developed by CAM-I.

DMIS 3.0 was accepted by ANSI as ANSI/CAM-I 101-1995. Current work is focused on implementing an object technology, DOT.

Data Manipulation {Language | Logic}.

Digital Multi-Meter. Approximate trade-off: Fluke -- durable, Tek(tronix) -- inexpensive.

Distributed-Memory Multiprocessing System.


Diesel-Mechanical Multiple-Unit train. A kind of self-powered passenger rail car. Specifically, a DMU in which power from the diesel engine is transmitted mechanically to the (powered) wheels. Just as in a car with ``standard'' transmission (not all that standard in the US any more), except that there's not much point in having a planetary or differential on a rail car.

Dental health Maintenance Organization. Typically organized more like a PPO than an HMO, in not having a central facility, but more like HMO in not offering any coverage for out-of-network care.

Double-diffused MOS. An enhancement-mode nMOS formed by two successive diffusions of opposite dopant sign through the source diffusion window. The first diffusion is of the ``wrong'' sign: a p-diffusion, when for an nMOS the source and drain should be n. This diffusion underlaps the oxide that separates the source and drain diffusion windows, and creates the necessary p-doped region immediately below the gate. The second diffusion, performed with drain diffusion window open as well, is the n doping that defines the usual source and drain. This diffusion also underlaps the gate oxide, shortening the effective gate length (which is the whole point).

A region of the semiconductor under the gate has not been doped. This drift region always works out to be lightly n-doped.

If this isn't enough, you could look up
H. J. Sigg, G. D. Vendelin, T. P. Cauge and J. Kocsis: ``D-MOS Transistor for Microwave Applications,'' IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, vol. ED-19, pp. 45-53 (January 1972).
Y. Tarui, et al.: ``Diffusion Self-Aligned MOST -- A New Approach for High Speed Devices,'' in Proceedings of the First Conf. Solid-State Devices, appearing as a Supplement to the Japanese Journal of [the Society of] Applied Physics, vol. 39, pp. 105-110 (1970).

DiMethylimide Perylene. A stable dye with OPV promise.


Digital MultiPoint Bridging.

Data Management System.

Defense Message System.

Digital Multiplex System. Ooh -- digital! Like what isn't these days?

Digital Music System.

Dilute[d] Magnetic Semiconductor--typically a II-VI (e.g., CdMnTe) and occasionally a III-V compound semiconductor (In1-xMnxAs), with small impurity of magnetic ion. Interesting property: band structure changes in presence of magnetic field.


Direct Menu Select.

Distributed Memory System.

Distribution Management System.

Disposable Molecular Sieve Beds.

DiMethylSulfOxide. Strong polar solvent. Large molecules dissolved in DMSO are more readily absorbed through the skin. ``Nicotine patch'' and similar car-sickness medicine delivery system are based on this; side effect is dry mouth. Read The Strawberry Statement for an interesting application to police-riot control. DMSO itself, rather than as mule for active transport, is a widely used folk treatment for arthritis.

Defense Modeling and Simulation Office.

Defense Meteorological Satellite Program.


Discrete MultiTone (modulation). Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) for wireline, as opposed to wireless communications. A bit more efficient. A few bits, actually.

DMTe, dmTe
DiMethyl Telluride. An organic precursor used in MOCVD growth of II-VI material.

Distinguished Member of Technical Staff. An official title at Bell Labs.

Diesel Multiple-Unit train. Designates a passenger rail car with its own diesel motor, when this is part of a multiple-unit (MU) system. Depending on how the power is transmitted to the wheels, these are classified into DEMU (electric transmission), DHMU (hydraulic), and DMMU (mechanical).

{ Department | Division } of Motor Vehicles. Also BMV.

Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung. `German Union of Mathematicians.'

DeMilitarized Zone. Part of the history of Vietnam.

DiMethyl Zinc. FYI, there's no such thing as ``dimethylzine'' -- it's an ignrant misreading of ``dimethylzinc.'' There is, however, a trimethyl zinc (TMZ).

Diameter Nominal. Nominal Diameter, of pipe. Postposed adjective probably has something to do with French. Cf. NPS (Nominal Pipe Size).

Distribution Network.

Defense Nuclear Agency. Old, historical name (until 1996) for Defense Special Weapons Agency (DSWA). It seems, from this example and others (NMR --> MRI; ``nuclear family'' --> ``traditional family''), that the word nuclear has a half-life of a few years. Stand back! The fall-out could mutate the letters in your name! You wouldn't look like your ID picture and you'd probably be married to someone you don't even know!

Oh, wait, no -- it's not that at all! They explain:

The military organization, the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, was created in 1947 to conduct nuclear weapon effects research and provide nuclear technical, logistical and training support for DoD. Renamed in 1959 as the Defense Atomic Support Agency and in 1971 as the Defense Nuclear Agency, the Agency became DSWA in 1996, as the result of a new charter and an expanded mission.

DeoxyriboNucleic Acid. The material on which the genetic code is written. The code has four characters (chemical bases): A, T, G, G (Adenosine, Thymine, Guanine, Cytosine), typically in sequences of three bases, which encode for individual amino acids. (There are twenty-two different amino acids, and only twenty are coded for, so the code is somewhat redundant.) Some code is junk, some code is punctuation, a lot is not yet understood. The code duplicates by forming a double helix, with each base matched to its complement on the opposite side of the helix (the base pairings in DNA are A--T, G--C). DNA encodes for proteins (long sequences of amino acids) which include enzymes (often these are among the shorter amino acid chains called polypeptides). Cf. RNA.

In Spanish, the acronym is ADN.

A little glossary of DNA terms as edited by Beverly Gaglione is available as one of the side-benefits of this decade's trial of the century. Patrick Carey has written a primer of some utility.

DNA has been proposed as a basis for computation.

Dermatology Nurses' Association.

Digital Network Architecture.

Does Not Apply. See NA entry for applicability.

Douglas Noel Adams. Author of comedy science fiction, including HHGTTG; he and it have a cult following. He died young (age 49) in 2001. Terry Pratchett has been the preferred consolation of the bereaved.

National Dyslexics Association.

Dense Non-Aqueous Pollutant Liquid.

Dictionary of National Biography. ``National'' here means UK. Published by Oxford University Press. A new edition was published in September 2004: sixty volumes, 11 shelf-feet, also available on CD-ROM and by online subscription.

Democratic National Committee. Established at the 1848 Democratic National Convention.

If this seems wildly inappropriate to the context in which you heard it, then perhaps you heard the expression D'n'C (D and C).

During the campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, Howard Dean came out of nowhere to be the presumptive nominee in January, then place second in the Iowa caucuses, and crash and burn. At the end of 2004, after the man who beat him in Iowa lost in the general election, Dean campaigned to replace Terry McAuliffe, whose term was ending, as chairman of the DNC. He won the post. A lot of people think that having a parodically anti-defense figure as chair is an unwise move for the DNC, but that's not why I bring up the subject. I just wanted to record here for convenient reference the details of some of the most memorably preposterous comments made at the time, mostly instances of blindly wishful thinking.

(That's what I wanted to do. I haven't actually done it yet.)

Democratic National Convention.

Entering the third century of the life of the party, Democrats are generally ``pro-choice.'' Nevertheless, no actual abortions are performed at the convention, unless you count some of the non-prime-time speeches. If the confusion that brought you to this glossary entry remains, you might want to visit the D'n'C (D and C) entry.

If I told you what DNCO stands for now, it would spoil the suspense and you'd be disappointed and bored by the DNCS entry (coming).

Dislocation Nucleation Diagram. A graph of (open-mode) stress intensity factor (SIF) versus distance of dislocation to crack tip.

Do Not Erase. If it's important enough to be worth spelling out the acronym, it's important enough to transcribe from the blackboard or whiteboard or whatever. I do my calculations in pen; if they're important, I scan them.

Distributed Network for Electronic Resources. An initiative of JISC intended to ``integrate access to the various electronic information services currently available. A key concept behind the vision of the DNER is to separate services which provide the content (for example, library catalogues) from those that provide presentation of information (for example, web gateways).''

Did Not Finish. Used as a noun (e.g., ``109 Starters - 8 DNF's'' and so 101 finishing times are given).

Duke Nukem Forever. A first-person shooter. We have a little information on it here.

Desktop Network Interface. To a computer. Often so called even though it's inside the machine as a slide-in card (NIC).

Director of National Intelligence. Maybe that should be expanded ``Director of NescIence.''

Data Network Identification Code.

Dialed Network Identification Service.

Day-Night (average sound intensity) Level.

Double Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.

Did Not Play. Baseball box score abbreviation.

Dnp, DNP
2,4-DiNitroPhenyl. Nitro groups like the ortho and para positions. Cf. TNT.

Did Not {Reply|Respond}. Polling code.

Do Not Resuscitate.

Dogbert's New Ruling Class. The Dilbert Newsletter is the official publication of Dogbert's New Ruling Class. If you don't subscribe, you will be relegated to slavery when Dogbert takes over the world.

DimethylaminoNaphthalene Sulfonyl. Same as Dansyl.

Domain Name { Service | Server | System}. Internet address database. Unix implementation is BIND.

DMIS National Standards Committee. DMIS (q.v.) is the Dimensional Measuring Interface Standard.

Domain Name Supporting Organization. The structure of the Domain Name Supporting Organization of ICANN was determined in Singapore, on March 4, 1999; the first DNSO General Assembly was held in Berlin, May 25, 1999. ``At some point of time between 9:10 and 9:40 a.m. Amsterdam time on Sunday [15 December 2002], the DNSO ceased to be....'' Its duties were taken over by the GNSO.

Folks extremely unhappy with DNSO have a website at <http://www.dnso.com/>.

Dedicated NetWork.

Deformation Optical. Refers to nonpolar interaction of optical phonons in a crystal. Vide DA interaction.

Dissolved Oxygen.

DO, D.O.
Doctor of Osteopathy. A sympathetic explanation of osteopathy is given here, where it is asserted that ``a medical doctor, M.D., and an osteopathic doctor, D.O. ... are alike in many ways.'' ``Author's name omitted by request.''

(Domain name code for) Dominican Republic. Shares an island (Hispaniola) with Haiti. The Dominican Republic is the eastern half, divided by an approximately North-South border from the western half, occupied by Haiti. The western half has a bay that makes it look like a jaw opening west.

Hispaniola in this set-up looks a lot like the island of New Guinea, where a North-South line (the 141E meridian) divides the eastern half (the main territory of Papua New Guinea) from Irian Jaya, a province of Indonesia. The western half has a bay that makes it look like a jaw opening west. Irian, the Indonesian (and originally Malay) name for the entire island of New Guinea, means `Cloud-covered.' Or else it is derived from a Biak phrase meaning `shimmering land.' Resolving this question is next on my to-do list after solving the Palestinian problem. The Indonesian part of the island was originally called Irian Barat, meaning West Irian. When the Dutch granted Indonesia independence in 1949, they gave nominal sovereignty of Dutch New Guinea to Indonesia, but retained control. Under ``Guided Democracy'' (dictatorial) rule, self-appointed Indonesian Prime Minister Sukarno announced a military campaign to take control of Irian Barat (Dec. 19, 1961). Military infiltration began in early 1962. Under heavy US pressure, the Dutch gave it up to the UN on August 15, 1962, which after a decent interval (about a year) turned it over to Indonesia, with an unenforceable and unspecific requirement to obtain West Irian consent for integration within five years. That consent was manufactured in Summer, 1969. At that time, it was renamed Irian Jaya. Jaya means `victory' or `glory.' (Jaya is about 1000 miles east of Java.)

The country's (i.e., the Dominican Republic's) name in Spanish is República Dominicana, abbreviated R.D.

DOA, doa, DoA
Damaged On Arrival. Explained at next entry.

Dead On Arrival. In electronic device reliability, this is about equivalent to infant mortality. In another context, this would be a tasteless pun.

The DOA acronym (strictly: initialism; it's pronounced ``dee oh ey,'' not ``dough-uh'' or anything) has been adopted in the shipping business also. There the expansions are ``damaged on arrival'' (blame the carrier) and ``defective on arrival'' (blame the shipper) but I doubt the correspondence of acronyms is entirely accidental (oops, sorry about that!).

In India, hospitals are said to declare a person ``brought dead.''

Here's a comment on brain death by the tyrant Macbeth (Act III, Sc. 4 of Shakespeare's report):

Blood hath been shed ere now, i' the olden time,
Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;
Ay, and since too, murders have been perform'd
Too terrible for the ear: the times have been,
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end; but now they rise again,
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
And push us from our stools: this is more strange
Than such a murder is.

In Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Michael Corleone is asked to confirm a hit. He says ``I saw his brains.''

This entry is taking a turn in a nasty direction, isn't it.

Direction Of Arrival. Sure, the entry is out of order. (When different entries have the same head term, we usually order them alphabetically by definition text.) These things don't just happen randomly, you know.

DOA, doa, DoA
Defective On Arrival. Explained at the main DOA entry.

Dogbert Outplacement Agency.

do a book
Not write a book.

Phrase used by people who have no business writing a book, will not write a book, and who are ``shopping'' the book they should not and will not write with publishers. Eventually, their celebrity will get them a contract, and a writer who shouldn't be wasting life with pap will ghost the book because he or she needs the money.

I hope you're not too troubled by the shift in grammatical number.

There is another, rarer usage in an honorable context. Here's an example from Scepticism, Man, & God: Selections from the Major Writings of Sextus Empiricus (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan U.P., 1964). The preface begins

      Years of frustration are the cause of this book. Writings of all sorts, including poems, plays, histories of philosophy, and even encyclopaedia articles on the Greek Sceptics have been so often wrong about and unreasonably antagonistic towards Classical Scepticism that I have finally felt compelled to do this book.
The writer was Philip P. Hallie, who provided an introduction, notes and bibliography for the volume, and who selected the passages with the concurrence of Sanford G. Etheridge, who did the translation from the Greek.

Okay, now back to celebrity authorship. Michiko Kakutani writes engagingly for the New York Times. She writes book criticism, and even her individual book reviews rate a column (``Critic's Notebook'') in the broadsheet section, instead of the NYTBR. She often parodies the style she is critiquing. Her column for October 23, 2003, is entitled ``To Stars, Writing Books Looks Like Child's Play.'' It tells the wonderful story of stars who write children's books.

Many [famous brand-name people] wrote books about children who sounded like themselves. Jerry, a comedian who made pots of gold with a television show and more pots of gold with commercials for a credit card, wrote a Halloween book about a greedy boy who wants to get his hands on lots and lots of brand-name candy. Madonna, a blond star, wrote about a pretty little blond girl who has no friends because everyone is jealous that she ``shines like a star.'' And Britney, a younger blond singer, wrote a book, with her mother, about a young blond girl who really, really wants to become a singer...

Other celebrity children's-book authors:

(Not to mention Jerry, Madonna, and Britney.) The list excludes a small number of celebrities who can write for children (Jamie Lee Curtis, John Lithgow), and aren't just in it to further merchandise their names. (Links are to glossary entries that mention the celebrities, but that may not be about them.)

Paris Hilton has done her first autobiography. It's titled Confessions of an Heiress and was written by Merle Ginsberg. It's selling well on the internet. It has lots and lots of pictures. (I'm sorry -- it's hard to shake off the effects of that children's-book section of the entry. But it really really has a lot of pictures! Ginsberg never had it so good.) Confessions is a natural companion volume to her porn video. I'm very excited about this book, and I plan to buy it as soon as it hits the dollar table. But I hope she invests in new boobs before the next autobiography.

Here's some further guidance on related wording -- specifically on the meaning of the preposition by in the context of such books. Marco Perella is an an actor too, and at the urging of his friend Molly Ivins, he wrote a book about his experiences. Her foreword to that book began thus:

Who wants to read another book by some rich, famous, successful actor? Especially when we can hear from Marco Perella instead. He's un-rich, unfamous and perfectly hilarious. Besides, he wrote this book himself.

More about the book, Adventures of a No Name Actor, can be found at our cybermuffin entry.

DOS Open Application Programming Interface.

DOB, D.O.B., dob
Date Of Birth. Personal information forms are more likely to ask for this information than for your date of death. For something equally dim, see the end of the item on Cameron Bright.

Daughters Of Bilitis. Founded in San Francisco in 1955 to advance the concerns of lesbians within the gay rights movement (avant la lettre). For a decade beginning in 1956, they published something called The Ladder.

Bilitis was believed to be a poetess from the island Lesbos, one who was a contemporary and acquaintance of the famous Sappho. The cause of these beliefs is a hoax perpetrated by the French novelist Pierre Louÿs, who claimed he had discovered poems of this previously unknown person. In 1894, he published free-verse ``translations'' into French; a later edition included a bibliography of spurious related scholarship and related works on Bilitis. The poems provided relief to some for whom the surviving bits of Sappho are intolerably coy. Bilitis was well-known to be an invention long before 1951, but the poems continued to enjoy a certain censored vogue, and Bilitis also became a subject of paintings. (Bilitis in these came to be confused with Sappho, but given how little we know of the latter, and how entirely fanciful such paintings are, no harm done.) J.B. Hare speculates that DOB selected the name it did precisely because Bilitis was generally obscure. Louÿs shares writing credit for a 1977 French movie entitled Bilitis.

Nickname, appreciated or not, of UK politician (Labour) Frank Dobson.

DOpyera BROthers. A guitar designed by said brothers in the 1930's, popular in bluegrass and country music. According to a posting on alt.usage.english, it's a sort of self-amplified version of the Hawaiian guitar, very much like the National steel guitar, which the Dopyeras also had a hand in designing. The Dobro looks like a regular guitar, except for what looks like the hubcap from a '58 DeSoto mounted over the sound hole. It's supposed to be played horizontally with a slide bar. (The guitar, not the player, is supine.) I don't know how good the Dopyera brothers were at musical instrument design, but they were obviously prescient in automobile styling. On the Dobro, the hubcap covers a resonator cone that produces a distinctive sound. Similar guitars are made by many different companies and individual luthiers today.

Dobro was a trade name, and it has not passed into the public domain. The trademark currently belongs to the Gibson Instrument Co., which is protecting it by insisting that only instruments manufactured under the Dobro trademark be called ``Dobros.'' Instead, people are supposed to use the generic term ``resophonic guitar.'' Gag.

As a way of needling the Gibson folks, a lot of people who own and play the instrument have taken a page from TAFKAP and taken to using the term TIFKAD -- ``The Instrument Formerly Known As Dobro.''

(US government) Department Of Commerce.

Department Of Corrections. Typical name for a US state government's department in charge of executing criminal sentences and occasionally convicts. If I were the owner of The New Republic magazine, you may be sure I would have a department of corrections also.

Dissolved Organic Carbon.

DOCtor. There's a popular old New Yorker cartoon with a supercilious seater at toney restaurant, taking a reservation over the phone --
``And is that a real doctor or just a Ph.D.?''

It is possible to quantify the degree of ``reality'' of various ``Doctors'' along a straight line (specifically, the base of a triangle with apex at home plate): If the M.D. is in deep right field, then the Ph.D. is in shallow center, and the Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) is in the parking area. (Sometimes Doctors of Osteopathy can be seen wandering into left field.)

For those who nay be imterested, the N.D. landed foul, on the grass!

Old English word meaning `bastard son.'

The standard mnemonic:
The wise kangaroos
Prefer yellow shoes.

The only wise kangaroo I know of, who probably wears athletic shoes, is a coauthor on the Stuperspace article cited at the Acknowledgments entry.

The mnemonic has been credited to Gilbert Murray, an Australian.

Okay, a kangaroo sits down at a bar and says, ``I'll have a Foster's, mate!'' The bartender charges him ten bucks for the brew and says, ``you know, uh, we don't see a lot of kangaroos in here.'' He replies, ``well at these prices, you're not likely to see many more!''

We also have kangaroo information at the KMP entry.

When that pop singer what dint ha' hi' sea legs sang about ``sittin' on the dock of a bay,' he was all wet. The only dock you can sit on and stay dry is a drydock -- a section of dock that can be pumped out for shipbuilding and repair. The dockside land that landlubbers sometimes call a dock is a ``quay.''

(Actually, that singer was Otis Redding, and he wasn't available to do a corrected version. He died in a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin, three days after recording ``(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay.'')

DOCuments onLINE. The ``National Library of Medicine's automated interlibrary loan (ILL) request routing and referral system. The purpose of the system is to provide improved document delivery service among libraries in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) by linking journal holdings to efficiently route the requests to potential lending libraries on behalf of the borrower.''

DOCumentation, construed plural.

Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification.

Documentary Hypothesis
The most widely accepted hypothesis about how the Pentateuch came into being. It was developed and promulgated by Karl H. Graf in the 1860's and Julius Wellhausen in the 1870's (hence also known as the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis). Here's a good description. Here's a calmly unsympathetic page. The situation is like that with evolution. The web is filled with the deluded trying to make converts.

When it's good, it's good, and when it's bad it's still better than nothing. There's a small pile of documentation in hypertext form from the University of Wisconsin at Madison CS Dept.

DOCument Delivery USER. The ``National Library of Medicine's online interactive database, [which] contains directory, interlibrary loan [see DOCLINE], and network information on libraries throughout the world. It is the administrative file for both NLM's interlibrary loan service, and the libraries that make up the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM).''

(US government) Department Of Defense. The principal responsibility of the DoD is to fund research that could by some stretch of the imagination be useful to national defense; lamentably, however, most of the money goes to war-making capability and other overhead.

In George Orwell's 1984, Oceania's DoD was called the Ministry of Love. In George Washington's first cabinet, it was called the Department of War. Here's how it evolved:

             1789_       War (army and navy)
             1798_      __|__ 
		       |     |
                     Navy   War (army)
                       |     |
		       .     .
		       .     .
		       .     .
                       |     |
              1947_    |     |____
                       |     |    |
                       |     |   Air Force
                       |     |    |
              1949_    |_____|____|

DoD is pronounced ``DEE-oh-DEE'' and never pronounced ``DEE-uh-DEE'' (like ``House o' Car Audio'').

As far as the US military itself is concerned, ``DoD'' is obsolete and has been replaced by ``DOD.'' I guess they just noticed that computer print-outs are in all-caps. Soon enough they'll notice that they aren't.

In 1798, the Department of War was split into Departments of War and the Navy. This use of war to refer only to military operations on land goes along with the traditional sense of military to refer only to the land component of what we think of as military. (For an example of this usage in British English, see the D. of I. (R) entry.) The word military comes from the Latin word milites meaning soldier. The division into separate Navy and War Departments continued until 1947, when the Air Force USAF was created as a separate department out of the earlier Army Air Corps (USAAC). The DOD was created by the National Security Act of 1949.

DOD Directive.

(US) Department Of Defense Dependents Schools. Part of the DODEA. There's a popular story -- which I don't know to be false -- that the original plan was to call the DODDS system the ``Department of Defense Overseas Schools'' system. The military is compulsively acronymic, however.

(US) Department Of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe. Part of the DODEA.

Department Of Defense Educational Activities. ``Teaching the children of America's military families worldwide.''

A group of 13 Aegean islands -- go figure. The most important one is Rhodes.

They were controlled by Italy for a while and transferred to Greece after WWII.

The Los Angeles Dodgers began as the ``Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers'' (1884-1888). For their sixth and final season in the A.A. (1889), they became the ``Brooklyn Bridegrooms,'' a name they kept for their first years in the National League (1890-1898). For twelve seasons they were the ``Brooklyn Superbas'' (1899-1910). They were the ``Brooklyn Dodgers'' from 1911 to 1913 and from 1932 to 1957; during the intervening period (1914-1932) they were the ``Brooklyn Robins.'' They moved to LA after 1957 and have been the LA Dodgers since 1958.

There have also been football teams called the Brooklyn Dodgers. For details, see the AAFC entry.

DOD Instruction.

Different Orbitals for Different Spin. In principle, this can make Hartree-Fock more accurate when there are open shells.

(US government) Department of Education.

Here is something from an introduction by Christopher Jencks and Meredith Phillips to a volume of essays they co-edited:

The United States ought to be conducting large-scale experiments aimed at reducing uncertainty about the effects of schools' racial mix, class size, teacher selection systems, ability grouping, and many other policies. We do such experiments to determine the effects of different medical treatments, different job training programs, and many other social interventions. But the U.S. Department of Education, which should in principle be funding experiments from which every state and school district would benefit, has shown almost no interest in this approach to advancing knowledge about education. The most important piece of education research in the past generation, the Tennessee class-size experiment, was funded by the Tennessee legislature, not the U.S. Department of Education. Experimental assessments of other educational policies that have a major impact on school spending -- salary levels, teacher selection systems, education for the physically and mentally disabled, for example -- have been almost nonexistent.

If we did more experiments, we might eventually develop better theories. At present, theorizing about the causes of the black-white gap is largely a waste of time, because there is no way to resolve theoretical disagreements without data that all sides accept as valid. Most theories about human behavior start out as hunches, anecdotes, or ideological predispositions. Such theories improve only when they have to confront evidence that the theorist cannot control. In education, that seldom hapens.

The Black-White Test Score Gap
(Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1998), p. 42.

I think the DoE was created (see HEW) early in the Carter Administration (say around 1978) and that abolishing it was a plank in Reagan's campaign platform (unfulfilled). The animus against the DoE was probably driven by the conviction that it was political payback to the (politically) liberal NEA for its support of Democrats, and by the expectation that the DoE would increase federal intervention in education, properly to be seen as a matter for states and localities. Then again, maybe not. You know, this stuff is history.

(US government) Department of Energy.

Design Of Experiment.

Diffractive Optical Element.

Female deer.

does not inspire confidence
An announcement for a new ``orthapedics'' list. (It reminds me of my experience described at the PA entry.)

Does not promote tooth decay.
The US FDA has fairly precise guidelines one when this claim can be made. According to rules published August 23, 1997 and effective since January 1, 1998, the ``does not promote tooth decay'' claim may be made on foods which are sugar-free even if they contain other polyols [carbohydrates like glycerine, which contain multiple alcohol (-OH) groups that may be fermentable]. In cases where a product may contain fermentable carbohydrates, FDA applies a plaque pH telemetry test developed by TSI for assessing the noncariogenicity of the product. This is an in vivo test that classifies a food as cariogenic if pH falls below 5.7 after food is consumed.

DoF, dof
Degrees Of Freedom.

Depth Of { Focus | Field }.

To take off (clothing). A transitive verb, with clothing as the usual direct object.

D. of I. (R)
Director OF Intelligence (Research). This abbreviation occurs in The Wizard War, a book about British intelligence in WWII. D. of I. (R) was the title in the immediate post-war period of what had been the A.D.I. (Sc) (q.v.) during the war. [The ``(q.v.)'' is not part of the abbreviation!] With the new title came, for a while, a place at the Joint Intelligence Committee, alongside the Directors of Naval, Military, and Air Intelligence.

Distributed Optical-Fiber Sensing.

Canine. A domesticated species of wolf. Omnivorous. Comes in a bewildering range of varieties, all of which can, at least in principle, interbreed. It's amazing, isn't it, how all discussions always come back to the two fundamental questions of origin: sex and etymology.

The word dog is an etymological mystery -- a foundling. Coming out of nowhere, it almost completely displaced the Germanic word hound (German cognate Hund). Sure, dog comes from Middle English dogge, and Old English docga, but before that, what?

For puns based on the dog-god metathesis, see the Dyslexic Theologian entry. There's also a lightly-forced double pun at JPO. There's no pun at woof that I can hear, but wolf may be pronounced with a ``dark ell.'' And the fire dog is not the Saint Bernard of hot California forests.

Daily Order Generation. A term in merchandise logistics.

Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft, e.V. `German Ophthalmological Society.' They copped dog.org first! They have an online tool for members called ``My DOG''! They have ``DOG working groups'' (Arbeitsgemeinschäfte)! This is great. Woof-woof!

The organization was founded in 1857 by Albricht von Graefe. That's sort of doubly noble: in German surnames the word von, meaning `of,' betokens nobility, while Graefe means `earls.' His organization's acronym normally takes a definite article: die DOG, mit der DOG, etc. Die is the female article, so it's a bitch. See also SOE and AKC.

Difference Of Gaussians. A type of apodizing filter.

Disgruntled Old Graduate.

Dot On the Ground. An algorithm. Fetch!

A hunter or trapper of feral dogs. Dogging used to be an important occupation in Australia, where sheep ranching has long been a major business. Feral dog populations have been estimated in the many hundreds of thousands, and annual losses to their depredations are estimated in the thousands of sheep. A gang of dogs can bring down a cow. (Evidently, they have other food sources.) Sheep ranchers say that dog attacks also traumatize their flocks.

Doggers have traditionally been paid privately, on the basis of a per-dog bounty. There are still a few such doggers in Australia, but there are more attractive occupational opportunities, and the population of doggers is getting older. Although doggers will shoot dogs when the opportunity arises, most dogs are caught in traps. Nowadays, the traps' teeth typically have strychnine-soaked rags wired to them, and that poison is usually what kills them.

Another control measure used by state governments and federal agencies has been the air-dropping of poisoned bait, but there is concern that this bait will be taken by endangered species, so such programs are always themselves endangered. Besides doggers and poison, there is fencing. A 5,400-kilometer barrier cuts off the south-east corner of the continent from the interior. (For the sake of comparison, the Great Wall of China is 6,400 km long.) Erected in the 1880's, it's usually been described as successful in keeping dogs that roam the arid interior from crossing into sheep and cattle country. I don't know how they can be certain. There's a movie about some aboriginal children taken from their parents, who find their way home by following the fence, but I can't remember the title. There is currently (2006) a proposal under study to build a 1,100-km fence in the northwest corner of the state of Western Australia. It would stretch from Esperance in the south to Meekatharra in the north-east, separating the ``bleak'' interior from the pastoral properties closer to the Indian Ocean coast.

Australia has a variety of other feral populations besides dogs. These include horses, cattle, goats, hog, donkeys, camels (!), water buffalo, dogs, cats, rabbits, foxes, and mice. I suggest paving the interior. Using dogs to help hunt feral hogs (or ``feral pigs,'' as they are more often called) is called pig dogging (not dog pigging). The dogs used to find and attack wild boar and flush them out of the brush are usually pit bulls, which came to be called pigdogs by Australian hunters. The legality of pigdogging is under state jurisdiction (outside of the national parks), and varies across Australia. The legal situation is generally acknowledged to be confusing. Certain styles of surfing, in which the surfer's crouch is said to resemble a pigdog's posture as it hangs on a pig, are called pig dogging.

All three major Scrabble dictionaries accept dogger and its regular plural. Not that it matters, but OSPD and TWL, which offer definitions, list it as a fishing vessel.

One kind of dogger that sounds intermediate between these is a crane chaser. He also generally works outdoors. This kind of dogger attaches slings to cranes and directs the movement of loads handled by cranes, maybe does a little shoveling, and is occasionally crushed by accident. Oh-- that kind of crane! Anyway...

dog food
If you run out of Alpo or Science Diet, Eukanuba, or whatever, you could try homework. Dogs absolutely love to eat homework. Homework contains nutrients essential to dog health. Don't shred it, or they'll think it's just some paper with ink on it. (For related information, see this FDR entry.)

Dog food is also a stage in the Microsoft software development process, I was not surprised to learn. On the other hand, Intel's Moore speaks of how Intel must ``eat its own children.'' This must be the difference between software and hardware.

Disgruntled Owners of General Motors Automotive Diesels.

Database Of Genome Sizes. Provided by the Center for Biological Sequence Analysis (CBS).

Dual OverHead Cam(shafts). One to operate the intake valves, one to operate the exhaust valves. More at OHC.

(US government) Department of the Interior.

In common usage, the definite article is much more likely to be elided when DOI is attributive (e.g., ``Department of Interior administrative rulings'').

Digital Object Identifier. ``The DOI System is for identifying content objects in the digital environment. DOI® names are assigned to any entity for use on digital networks. They are used to provide current information, including where they (or information about them) can be found on the Internet. Information about a digital object may change over time, including where to find it, but its DOI name will not change.''

Do I really impress you as someone who cherishes his or her liberal credentials?
Somewhat otiose question, though possibly sincere, especially considering the gender ambiguity.

(US government) Department of Justice. Despite the name, its main concern is actually with law enforcement. The courts (judicial system) are a separate branch of government, independent of the executive-branch DOJ, though whether it is judicious or just is similarly questionable.

The presidential security escort, called the Secret Service, is part of the Treasury Department for historical reasons (like: that there didn't used to be a DOJ), or perhaps because the protection of the president is motivated more by a desire for a stable currency than by any consideration of justice. This might explain why secret service officers failed quietly to assassinate Quayl when Bush (president 41) was ill, and thereby risked the former's becoming president.

The absence of the final e in Quayle's name is not a misspelling. It's a joke -- a reference to a famous misadventure he suffered when he returned to elementary school. Already in December 2003, as I was touching up the text, I restored the absent e. Fortunately, the editor caught the incorrectly correctly spelled name, and now the correct misspelling has been restored for your amusement. For help remembering the original incident and for some of its Nachleben, see the FF entry (french fried potatoes).

D.O.L. lesson
Daily Oral Language LESSON. An exercise conducted in elementary school, often at the beginning of the school day, specifically dedicated to the correction of pupils' errors of grammar and usage in speech.

(US government) Department Of Labor.

Frances Perkins was FDR's Secretary of Labor, and the first female member of a US Cabinet. They probably snuck that in under the radar, spelling her name Francis often enough to make people think Frances was the misspelling.

Data Warehousing and OnLine Analytical Processing. An annual conference since 1998, sponsored by the ACM and held in conjunction with the CIKM. I just hope it's pronounced doe-lap rather than dewlap. Cf. ROLAP.

dollar store
This is basically the five-and-dime, updated by a century. A no-frills discount store, selling Brand X, Made in China, typically located in a downscale or distressed strip mall. Around the turn of the century (I mean around 2000), a dollar store was a small store that sold stuff (wicker and plastic goods, paper, cleaning and basic hygiene products, boxed and canned food, hand tools, novelties) that was priced at a dollar apiece, except maybe some candy bars for a bit less. Right from the beginning, many ``apiece'' shrank with time, and by 2005 a new model was dominant: a dollar store sold stuff that was priced in round numbers of dollars, with a few items priced in multiples of fifty cents. The sizes of the stores and the range of products expanded, and the soap bars shrank more slowly.

As of mid-2009 the only traditional dollar store I know of is Dollar Tree. A local Dollar Tree franchise (in Mishawaka, IN) fills a space of about 10,000 square feet, so it's not as if there aren't cheap items available to sell. Dollar Tree is a good place to go to buy AAA batteries in packages of fewer than 50, single items of silverware (two for a dollar), pickles that are not packed so tightly into their jars, and mystery brands. That local Dollar Tree is the only place I know where you can buy the Sunday edition of the South Bend Tribune for a discount (on the Sunday morning of issue, perhaps I should add).

Most dollar stores are franchises of major chains like Dollar Tree and Dollar General -- buying in bulk must be part of the business model -- but there are also variations on the idea, and probably some independents. I don't know if that includes the 99-cent store I remember in Garwood, New Jersey. Back around 2004-2005, they had a going-out-of-business sale that lasted about a year. They did in fact eventually close the store, but I wonder how much they restocked.

A June 24, 2009, story in the Wall Street Journal begins thus:

When Cyrus Hassankola moved to Dallas a couple of years ago, after successfully going out of business in several locales, he decided to settle down and go out of business permanently [selling oriental rugs]. ... Customers ... would sometimes say how sorry they were that he was going out of business. ``We're not,'' Mr. Hassankola told them. ``It's just the name of the store.''

The Texas AG's office objected to the name, so he changed it to ``Cyrus Rug Gallery'' and started to advertise a sell-out ahead of ``the impending demolition and redevelopment'' of the premises, apparently based on a rumor that has not yet been proven true... or false. He says he's looking for a new location.

Dolly Lama
Someday in Tibet, they hope to sing ``it's so nice to have you back where you belong!''

A person (usually an alum) associated with the University of Notre Dame. The word is an allusion to the famous golden dome on the central building of the campus. (Actually, some of the newer buildings are of comparable height and more massive, and the center of the campus by many reasonable definitions has moved east, but the building is still iconic.)

Someone who has received two degrees from Notre Dame is called a ``double domer.'' The word ``domer'' is also used very loosely as an adjective meaning ``associated with Notre Dame.''

Digestible Organic Matter Intake.

Plural of Latin domus, `house.'

Domus Aurea
Latin for `golden house,' known in English as ``the golden house of Nero'' (and in French as ``la maison dorée de Néron''; seems to be a pattern). There was a great fire in Rome in A.D. 64, and Nero did not ``fiddle while Rome burned.'' We know this because fiddles hadn't been invented yet. We don't know what he was doing. He was out of town. He was away a lot, even when he was around, partly because he was going out of his mind. He decided that he was a great artiste and he neglected the daily chores of being Roman Emperor.

Nero took the opportunity of the fire to expropriate an area of over 200 acres in central Rome. There, between 65 and 68, he built a colossal palace (domus was a single-family dwelling of variable size). (When I say ``he built,'' I don't mean with his own hands. In 66 he went off to Greece for 15 months in search of religious enlightenment.) He laid out the area as a park with various porticoes, pavilions, baths, and fountains, with an artificial lake in the center. (The later emperor Vespasian had this drained to make a site for the Colosseum.) The domestic wing of the palace stood on the slopes of the Oppian Hill facing south across the lake. He didn't get to enjoy it for very long: in 68 he died, probably a suicide.

Director Of Nursing. I learned this at an elder care facility. Often, unabbreviated terms (like ``nursing home'') are euphemized away and acronyms preserve an earlier usage.

A gully in a veldt. A word of autochthonous southern African origin. Dongas are found there and on the Scrabble tablelands.

Donor-Organized Non-Governmental Organization. An NGO organized by donors.

This is probably the ideal point to make the following point about NGO's: when you incorporate, you have to select a name that is unique, at least so far as the jurisdiction of incorporation is concerned. It's a lot like trademarking. An NPO could incorporate under the generic and not very helpful name DONGO, but then a group that wanted to develop a cross between donkeys and Australian dogs, or between dogs and bongos, could not be incorporated by the same jurisdiction under that name. So always have a plan B and maybe a plan C.

Deuterated nitrous acid. ``DONO'' is the structural formula, used as an abbreviation. If you like, you can regard it as an acronym with the expansion ``Deuterium Oxygen Nitrogen Oxygen.'' The ordinary form is called HONO.

A small city at an oxbow in the Monongahela, some miles south of Pittsburgh. The city was incorporated in 1901, and its name is a blend of NORA and DONner (details at the end of the entry). A major disaster took place there in 1948, when weather conditions resulted in the accumulation of exhaust from industrial plants, particularly smelting plants, leaving 19 people dead. I visited the place around 2005. I bought a six-pack of Iron City beer and did other equally interesting things, and I also visited the public library to see what I could learn about the historical disaster.

They didn't have much information on it, but they did tell me that a few years earlier somebody from Notre Dame had come and taped interviews with survivors and made some kind of movie out of it (which they apparently didn't think it odd not to have a copy of). Back at Notre Dame, I haven't been able to track that down easily, but I'll let you know if I do.

Perhaps an interest in Donora's tragedy is an occupational hazard of working at Notre Dame. Maybe it has to do with the bend in the river. Notre Dame is at South Bend, Indiana. (Actually north of the center of that city, but wholly outside the city limits.) South Bend is on the Saint Joseph River, which rises generally southeastward from Lake Michigan (at the city of Saint Joseph, Michigan), flows directly south from Niles, Michigan, and takes a sharp turn to the east here. If this were the eighteenth century, and you were canoeing south up the Saint Joseph, you might land in South Bend and portage west to reach one of the tributaries of the Mississippi. The Saint Joseph does not continue exactly eastward, and it turns out that the river's southernmost point is at the city of South Bend, whence the name.

Niles, Michigan, incidentally, is not named for the river in Africa. It's named for Hezekiah Niles, as explained at the Niles entry.

Donora name:

On June 1, 1902, under the headline ``How a Town's Name Was Made,'' the New York Times printed a column-inch of news from ``The Pittsburg (Penn.) Times.'' [Regarding the aitch missing from ``Pittsburg,'' see the Pittsburg entry.]
  Few persons know how the new town of Donora was given its name. It is simple enough. The first syllable is part of the name of W.H. Donner, President of the Union Steel Company, which started the town, and the last syllable is the first name of Mrs. A.W. Mellon, the wife of one of those heavily interested in the town and steel company.

Mr. Donner was in fact the industrialist whose enthusiasm drove the development of the area that was named Donora. There's an alternative story of the origin of the name Donora that is based on the idea that Mrs. Mellon's maiden name was Donner. That would have been a bit of a coincidence, unless Mr. Mellon had married a relative of his friend Donner. In any case, she was née McMullin. I didn't invent the ``Nora Donner Mellon'' story, but I helped propagate it. Sorry.

Disturb Opponents' NoTrump. A contract bridge bidding convention known by its initialism.

Don't be so bloody literal-minded!
Don't think!

don't-care condition
Apathy. Anomie. Whatever.

Don't let them tell you that ...
Advice not to be taken too literally.

Don't you see?
Look, on the basis of one mispronounced word, and my deep understanding of the deeper significance of Freudian slips, I am prepared, free of charge, to reveal you to yourself and tell you how to run your life. Hey, where you goin'?

Don't you worry your pretty little head about that.
When this phrase occurs in a wonderful old movie, it adds to one's understanding of the movie to recognize that this part of the script was probably not originally intended to set your teeth on edge.

Don't worry if that doesn't make sense yet.
This phrase, often followed by ``we will explain it later,'' is a special code phrase used by the authors of programming-language books. It means the following: ``The author of this book has been programming since he was a twelve-year-old street urchin in the bad part of the slums of some third-world city that has electricity and occasional running water. He dropped out of school at age 14 to pursue database programming full time, and moved to the US to receive a decent wage for the same work he was doing in Mexico or India or some other outsource location for five dollars a day. Along the way, he learned just enough broken English to get by. Now he has written the unedited $50 upchuck of words and fiendishly flawed sample code before you. Good luck.''

Abbreviation for ``Days Of Our Lives'' that is standard in rec.arts.tv.soaps. The tabloids tend to use ``DAYS.''

Door Slam Method, Car
Method of assembling a music album: cobbling together movie background tracks not integral to a movie. So called from the fact that the music is dubbed into scenes of people getting into and out of cars. According to Bruce Springsteen (more at CEO entry) in a June 1994 interview in Mother Jones magazine (MoJo).

The ``soundtrack album'' for the movie ``The Graduate'' was definitely not made by the door slam method. The music was actually intelligently adapted to what was going on in the movie. Most of the songs sound at least a little bit different in the album, and a few are clearly different versions. (And the sound quality is better, not very surprisingly.) I would have investigated personally, but unfortunately that movie is not among the between 1¼ and 2¾ movies from the sixties that I am still able to stomach in their entirety, so I have had to rely on infallible sources like Robin. Robin claimed that ``Mrs. Robinson,'' though written for the movie, wasn't used in it. I passed that information along here (though of course I protected my sources). The claim was apparently made nowhere else among the many thousands of other web pages that mentioned this obscure song, so we had quite a scoop ... of something. According to an old FAQ page, the song is evidently used at least twice in the movie, though in at least one instance it is a whistled rather than sung version. If you come back to this entry later and it no longer mentions my good friend Robin, that'll be an indication that none of the versions used in the movie were sung.

The song was an enormous hit for Simon and Garfunkel, spending four weeks at number one in 1968. It contains a lyric

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Joltin' Joe wasn't sure how to understand the lyric, and said in an interview that he once took the opportunity to ask Rhymin' Simon about it. Joe didn't reveal what answer he got, but it was evidently complimentary.

More about Mrs. Robinson is hidden somewhere in the Buffalo Bills entry. Go figure.

You know, that entry is so bloated, I'm just going to continue the thought here. The thought concerns that movie (``The Graduate''). The graduate of the title, Benjamin Braddock, has an affair with a Mrs. Robinson, who is supposed to be old enough to be his mother. The characters are played by Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, 30 and 36 years old at the time, respectively. Even before it became illegal to make the contrary suggestion, it used to be said that women are more (emotionally) mature than men of the same age, but this doesn't really cut it. At least Bancroft was older, so I guess you could say casting got it qualitatively correct. Dustin Hoffman eventually went on to play an unemployed actor who poses as a woman to get acting work in ``Tootsie'' (more at the metastatic entry).

Now I think of it, one day I was in the car with [name actually omitted to protect my privacy, can you imagine?] and she asked me how old I was. In the years we'd been dating, it hadn't ever come up. It turned out then that I was twenty-five and she was thirty. She said ``why-you're-just a baaaaaaaaabyyyyyyyy!!!!'' I guess you could say she got that qualitatively correct, but I won't. She eventually married someone quantitatively (or chronologically, as they say) older.

In the movie ``Bridget Jones's Diary'' (2001), 32-year-old Renée Zellweger plays a 32-year old woman (the title character) desperate to hook up permanently. (Sort of like a mobile home, I guess.) The other two vertices (or is it sides?) of her love triangle are played by Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, who were born on September 9 and 10, respectively, 1960, or eight and a half years before Zellweger. Romantic comedy is an amazingly limiting and even ritualized genre, but because you're a sensitive person, you thrill to the subtle wrinkles in each new product. In this one, plucky-everygirl Bridget Jones overcomes-misunderstandings-and-a-rival-to-have-a-happy-ending-with-the-rich-and-talented Mark Darcy, the Colin Firth character. According to the script, she was four when he was eight. Bridget Jones says ``That's a pretty big age difference -- quite pervy really.'' (Full disclosure: this might be a tendentiously selected quotation.) (Further disclosure: the preceding full disclosure was not complete. I'm not saying it wasn't a full disclosure, just that it was not a complete one -- it was a partial full disclosure.)

The Chemical Key to Passion and Bliss, according to the cover of the journal Psychology Today, September 1997.

A neurotransmitter amine. May be abbreviated DA.

Dartmouth Oversimplified Programming Experiment. An experimental programming language, predecessor of BASIC. See this DART entry for others.

Double with 0 (aces), Pass with 1. A contract bridge bidding convention known by the pronunciation of how its initialism looks. Another one is ROPI.

Beautiful Leila once coaxed me into being a fourth for bridge -- her partner -- and tried to teach me the rules of the game as it went along (kind of like life). All I learned was the verb to finesse, but at that stage I could at most coarse. Bridge is all about social intercourse. I still regret every bid and every pass that I remember not making that night. I was very, very DOPey. Now Humiliation -- that's I game I know how to play.

Dorado. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

The Large Magellanic Cloud is located in Dorado.

Defence Of the Realm Act. Passed by the British House of Commons without debate on 8th August 1914, this act gave the government broad censorship and eminent domain powers. It was amended over the course of the war to give increased powers to the government. Cf. USA PATRIOT Act.

Department Of Redundancy Department. A feature of the Firesign Theatre.

Doppel-Ring-Speicher. `Double storage rings' at DESY in Hamburg.

Dorothy L. Sayers. Affectionate shorthand used in mystery mailing lists.

Denial Of Service. A form of service theft or merely malicious internet attack.

Density Of States. The number of quantum states per unit interval of energy or momentum or some other good quantum number. May be extensive (counting total states in a volume or system) or intensive (counting states per unit volume, area, or length).

Department Of State. The US Department of State is essentially what is called the Foreign Ministry in most other English-speaking countries. The job of the State Department seems to be to oppose the foreign policy of the President. The Secretary of State is the nominal head of the DOS, selected by the President and approved by the Senate. Within a few weeks of ``taking over,'' the Secretary of State goes native.

There are a number of US states with their own departments of state. I suppose it's cool to have a ``state department of state'' or a ``State department'' that is only a single one of the ``state departments,'' but after a couple of hundred years, I think the novelty starts to wear thin. The US Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 10, and elsewhere) limits the power of states to conduct individual foreign policy (although governors regularly head delegations seeking to expand foreign trade). State departments of state are generally not ministries of the exterior but of the interior.

For example, the ``State of New Jersey Department of State'' seems to be something of a catch-all, with responsibility for elections, volunteer programs, arts programs, tourism, American Indian affairs, and scattered other stuff. The ``Florida Department of State'' seems to be only slightly less scattered, with a stronger emphasis on elections. (And really, as the 2000 elections showed, that may already be more than they can handle.) The ``Pennsylvania Department of State'' has just ``five bureaus that work for the public.'' No mention of any bureaus that work against the public, so it sounds pretty focused. The links to the five are labeled ``Elections, Licensing, Corporations, Charities,'' and ``Athletics.'' Athletics? ``Each [bureau] is unique in function and all are vital to the strength of our Commonwealth.'' It's looking like Pennsylvania might be critical in the 2008 elections. Watch out.

Disk Operating System. That is, an operating system (OS) stored on disk.

In common parlance, refers to MS-DOS or PC-DOS, a CP/M-like set of commands (that is not technically an operating system) that IBM bought from Microsoft for the IBM-PC. (On those early IBM PC's, it used to reside on floppy disks.)

John DOS Passos.

dosemu, DOSEmu, DOSEMU
DOS EMUlator. ``[A] linux application that enables the Linux OS to run many [MS-]DOS programs - including some DPMI apps.''

A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue from the Twelfth Century to the End of the Seventeenth, founded on the collections of Sir William A. Craigie. Edited by William Craigie, A. J. Aitken, James A.C. Stevenson, Harry D. Watson, Margaret G. Dareau, and K. Lorna Pike, and published starting in 1931. The closest Scottish equivalent to the OED. The OUP has been slowly reprinting the DOST volumes since 1983 (vols. 1-5 -- A-C, D-G, H-L, M-N, O-Pn -- that year; much more slowly afterwards). I hear tell that the SNDA is selling it too.

Be aware that paperback publications of DOST are actually sub-sections of the hardback volumes. In principle, one paperbound ``part'' or fascicle is supposed to be issued annually, and every four or five years the recent ones are bound into a hardback volume. Part XLIV, ``S(c)hake to S(c)hot,'' is dated 1996 (it came out in Dec. 1995), and our library doesn't seem to have received any subsequent parts.

For something you can hold completely in one hand, try the CSD.

Serbo-Croatian word meaning `enough.' Used as an adjective, adverb, and stand-alone interjection approximately as in English. (Dosta! Enough!)

In Spanish, the adjective and adverb is bastante, but the interjection is ¡basta! -- `it suffices!' -- from the verb bastar.

In Hindi, bas is the adjective, adverb, and interjection `enough,' and this is evidently related to Persian bas. I've heard a Sikh mother tell her son bascaro! (Punjabi `enough').

Not every Indo-European language has a bas cognate, obviously. English Enough is cognate with German genug.

That should do for now.

Department Of Transportation. The US government's DOT is pronounced as an initialism (``dee oh tee''), except perhaps when written ``US DOT.'' It has become popular for individual US states to call their own departments of roads (plus whatever, and whatever else) by acronyms ending in DOT pronounced like the ordinary word dot. Examples include GDOT, KDOT, and PennDOT (relevant information at the PA entry). In fact, the practice has become widespread! In a disturbing display of concord, North and South Carolina use NCDOT and SCDOT, and North and South Dakota use NDDOT and SDDOT. (Yes, I do mean respectively. It isn't necessary to say the obvious all the time, the way I'm doing in this parenthetical.) We're going to examine this important trend in greater depth, not exhaustively by systematically. First we'll do

The Vowel States.

Alabama took ALDOT, which isn't exactly euphonious, but better than AKDOT. Alaskans must've thought the same; they have a DOT&PF (Department of Transportation and Public Facilities). Arizona uses ADOT. Arkansas is experimenting with Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD). This is one of the benefits of federalism: an innovative idea (a lunacy) can be tried out in just one state first, and if it fails there it can be tried out again nationally. This is why so many US presidents have been former governors.

IDOT (``Aye, Dot!') is used by Illinois, but written out it looks, uh, dumb. Neighboring I-states Indiana and Iowa use INDOT and Iowa DOT. When your state name is short enough to look like an acronym, you've got plenty of space left over on the truck door. Idaho went with ITD (Idaho Transportation Department). I'm not surprised, really. Idaho is ``way out there,'' and I don't just mean way out west. You know, ``... way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back -- that's like an earthquake.'' Oh, sorry, that's Willy Loman. Whatever. (Accurate and more complete excerpt at the dast entry.)

ODOT is used by Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon. Bosons, obviously.

Utah has UDOT all to itself.

There aren't any E states, so we have space for

The Semivowel States:

WashDOT is used somewhat, but Washington State's DOT is officially WSDOT, possibly because washdot sounds too much like what happens to roads in the wet western part of the state. Wisconsin uses DOT and also WisDOT to a certain extent, though not currently (2004) on the homepage. Perhaps this is deprecated, in the computer sense of being understood but superseded. That would be a good thing, because the voicing of the letter dee in WisDOT likely leads many to pronounce this ``Wiz dot.'' That doesn't mean anything, precisely, but what it means imprecisely isn't good. Wyoming uses WYDOT. Why not? West Virginia has a WVDOT. I never noticed before how much ``WV'' looks like ``VW.'' West Virginia sells ``Officially Licensed NASCAR® and NASCAR® Driver Plates'' on line. They call this ``Bridging the E-Commerce Gap.'' I call it playing to type. (``Collect the entire series of your favorite NASCAR® drivers!'' What, a different plate for every block-mounted car-cass in my yard?) West Virginia brings us back to

The States With Two-Word Names,

which in every case share a word with another state. What about the New states? NHDOT, NJDOT, NMDOT, ... boring, boring, and boring. Oh goodie, NYSDOT, for New York State. Someone got a gray-flannel suit with slightly larger belt-loops. Could that be pronounced ``nice dot''? I guess it could be.

The remaining en's? Nevada takes no chances (the house never does): its chips go on NDOT. And Nebraska goes with ... NDOR! Yes! They probably figured Kansas made such good publicity with its Good Witch of the North, they should try a witch connection too. (I'm writing this stuff during ``Reading Days.'' There's nothing else to do. That's my excuse.) It stands for ``Department of Roads.'' More at the ENDOR entry eventually, perhaps, I suppose, in your dreams.

There are

Other States That Have To Share A First Initial

of course. Virginia took VDOT. Vermont has an Agency of Transportation. It would be sooo-ooo-ooo cool if they called it VAT, but they call it VTrans, which sounds like a bus service.

Exams are coming up soon and we'll only have time for one more contested initial, so let's cut to the em's. As you know, the we're-not-a-boy-band! boy band of brothers Hanson had a big hit with MDOT. Who can forget those bittersweet lyrics --

In an mdot they're gone.
In an mdot they're gone. In an mdot they're not there
In an mdot they're gone. In an mdot they're not there
In an mdot they're gone. In an mdot they're not there
In an mdot they're gone. In an mdot they're not there
Until you lose your hair. But you don't care.
(repeat chorus if you can stand it)

Oh, I guess I forgot the lyrics. It's not mdot but mmmbop. Of course! That way the lyrics make much more sense. Let's compare what the various mmmstates do. Michigan: MDOT. Oops, that's all we have time for, sorry.

(My favorite StateDOT is DelDOT. It's the reason I wrote this entry at all.)

(US government) Department of the Treasury.

Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

DMIS Object Technology. DMIS (q.v.) is the Dimensional Measuring Interface Standard.

DOTBAM, dotbam
The on-line subsidiary or division of a traditional bricks-and-mortar (BAM) business, as opposed to a dotcom...

dot-bomb, dot-bomb
A dotcom that bombed.

dotcom, DOTCOM, dot-com, dot com
An e-business. Especially one that is a no-capital start-up with no bricks-and-mortar (BAM) customer area. Especially one whose programming gerbils survived by eating stock options washed down with coffee. Especially one that went out of business in 2001 after never turning a profit. Cf. DOTBAM.

Name taken from the most popular TLD (particularly for retailers).

DOTF, D.O.T.F., DotF
Defender Of The Future. Ecco the Dolphin is a side-scrolling video game first released in 1992, about a future world in which humans and dolphins have joined together in a moist ecological alliance. Let's all burble Kumbaya together and hug a tree, or a sea sponge or something. One of the releases is called Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future.

Here's something from a review of Ecco the Dolphin: DOTF that I found sadly amusing: ``...most of your first hour will be spent getting to grips with Ecco's simple, intuitive control system and marvelling at the beautiful graphics.'' (This is from page 317 of the same reference quoted at the virtual entry.)

DOT Force
Digital Opportunity Task FORCE.

double entendre
French for `double entendre.' Except it isn't. Apparently it has a different meaning in French. If you want real information, you should take a gander at the entry for the Heidelberg United Soccer Club.

double imperial
Twelve-liter resealable container for ethanol-water solutions. That suggests that a single imperial would hold six liters, but that doesn't seem to be a named standard size. The jeroboam holds five liters.

On July 28, 2004, Beringer Vineyards unveiled a larger bottle at its winery in St. Helena, California. The four-and-a-half-foot bottle was filled with 2001 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (which suggests that they don't plan on letting it settle very long). It is claimed to be the world's largest bottle of wine, and officials of the Guinness Book of Records were on hand to certify the event.

double negative
A pregnant woman not from Hong Kong whose husband is also not from Hong Kong.

Corroborated by a second liar. Journalism's gold standard of accuracy.

double tradition
Material found in approximately similar form in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark (or in Jeroboam, for that matter). Cf. triple tradition, Sondergut.

double vibration
This embarrassingly flat-footed term is used by music theorists to mean cycle or period. For example, the Thompson's International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians defines pitch as ``[t]he identity of a sound according to the number of double vibrations produced per second.''

Data Over Voice (line).

An ugly government neologism. See SIR.

downside risk

Okay, that's correct, but there's a little history to it. Back in the sixties, economics modeling was grappling with the problem of what mathematical measure to use for risk. That is: how to quantify risk. Many of the proposed quantifiers were ``downside measures,'' which quantified the probability of, say, price decreases but not increases. One example of a downside measure of risk is the semivariance, which is essentially the price variance computed by considering only negative deviations from the mean (price). (Of course, it's a mathematical fact that this is exactly half of the ordinary variance.) In the end, perhaps primarily because of its formal convenience, familiarity and simple properties, standard deviation (the square root of variance) was widely adopted. It does have a couple of attractive properties from the practical economic point of view: it does more heavily weight large deviations (than does average deviation, say) and thus incorporates the notion of a ``comfort zone'' of unalarming small price fluctuations. Also, it is a linear measure, so it can be compared directly (i.e., dollars to dollars). [That's really also a disadvantage, because it gives people the mistaken notion that they understand it, since it is some number of dollars.] However, strictly speaking the standard deviation in price is a measure of price volatility. One may say that downside volatility is closer to a precise notion of risk, and because theoretical discussions now usually assume that ``risk'' is volatility, ``downside risk'' is not an utterly meaningless, stupid phrase. Just an ugly one.

The above is something of a guess.

downtown Holland
I like the idea that Holland has a downtown. Holland itself is in Western Michigan, a region heavily settled by Dutch Calvinists, some time ago. The main industry in Holland seems to be Hope College, located downtown. I visited in early February 2003 to see the special exhibit of Michael Ayreton's work (sculptures, mostly) based on the [column] Myth of Daedalus. While there I had lunch in a student cafeteria, where sixties rock was playing over the PA system. Ninety-six Tears came on (you know -- by [question mark] and the Mysterians?), and some kid on the north side of the room started grooving to it. He couldn't have been much more than a spermatozoon when the sixties were a decade in the can. I'm sure this is very meaningful and significant, but I'm just doing data collection here. Insight will have to come later, when some imaginative think-piece writer like Claude Lévi-Strauss digests the data from all this precise ethnological work. Still, I think it made me understand a little better how Schubert might have felt forty years after he died, if he had lived that long. (A priori, it's not unreasonable that Franz Schubert might have lived forty years longer than he actually did. He died at the age of 31. Claude Lévi-Strauss, by contrast, lived to be 100.)

The Holland visit was a side-trip on my way to a dinner date with Gail. Gail grew up in Detroit, and she explained that my Hope College observations did not mislead me: the western part of lower Michigan is strange. It's always good to get input from researchers on the ground.

This just in -- more anthropological data from Holland, Michigan. Jon Blake Cusack talked his wife Jamie into naming their son Jon Blake Cusack 2.0. Version 2 was born January 27, 2004. Jamie Cusack said she figured that she got to pick out the theme of the baby's room and other things, so she ``decided to let Jon have this.'' (Welcome to Narcissism 102.) I imagine by now they're already expecting for next year -- 2.1.

The software-release analogy reminds me of 1984. In January of that year Apple launched its Macintosh line with a memorable advertisement that was based loosely on the ``Two-Minutes Hate'' (hate Emmanuel Goldstein) sessions of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. (Yes! A Goldstein variation.) At the Democratic Party convention in San Francisco that July, Jesse Jackson gave a most eloquent speech. (Everyone said he gave a very nice speech. That was the same convention where Mario Cuomo gave a mediocre speech that everyone praised as moving and eloquent. This proves that people generally have worse judgment than I do.) Here's one of the lines from Jesse's speech:

God is not finished with me yet.

Just like Microsoft.

Just to continue the remakes theme -- in 2007, a political attack ad against Hillary Clinton was put up on <YouTube.com> (it was made by someone who turned out to be associated with the Obama campaign). The ad was a remake of the 1984 Apple ad.

Dissolved Organic Halogen (X). Cf. TOX.

Do you know the one thing that's really despicable?
Rhetorical questions masquerading as conversation. As if demanding an impossible answer were letting someone get a word in edgewise. Typically, such questions are intended to demonstrate the questioners' superior knowledge, but in fact demonstrate their inferior imagination. The proper polemical strategy with a rhetorical question, if you don't have a snappy smart reply (and often even if you do) is to ignore it, or at least not answer it directly. You could do worse than reply with the counterquestion above. If your interlocutor takes the bait, you can use some of the definition here to ``break service'' in your conversational match.

Study this entry well, and be prepared. Staircase wit is bitter in the throat.

Do you want ethernet in this room too?
Yeah, two on the far wall and one by the toilet paper (TP) dispenser.

BullDOZER. Earth-moving equipment. A tractor with a broad blade pushing bulky objects and for leveling the ground or stuff on it.

The term arose in the US during Reconstruction, as ``bull dose,'' specifically a bull dose of punishment, usually flogging. To judge from contexts offered by the OED, these doses were generally originally delivered in a highly race-prejudiced manner, but later the courtesy was extended to all races. The verb meant to administer this flogging, or by extension to coerce by force. The word bull-doser applied to the sort of person who would, could, or looked like he might bull-dose. Somewhere along the way the ess must have gotten to be voiced, probably after or as the original motivation of the term was forgotten. Bulldozer, apparently never with an ess, was used by 1881 to mean a large pistol. Bulldozer, in the sense of a machine for flattening the inanimate opposition of earth, was in use by 1930.

Georgia-based manufacturer of barbells and other instruments of self-torture. If I knew what DP stood for, I'd tell you.
Dislocated, Perhaps.

Data Processing.

Degree of Polymerization. The (typical, average, etc.) number of monomer units in a polymer chain.

Dial Pulse. See pulse dialing entry.

Differential Pressure.

Digestible Protein.

Displaced Person. Abbreviation best and most sadly remembered from DP camps, where enormous numbers of WWII survivors waited to return home, if it was there to return to, or start a life elsewhere.

Distributed Proofreaders. See PGDP.

Domestic Partner. Someone with whom you share significant furniture.

Double Play. A defensive play in baseball, where two runners are put out while the ball is in play. A `4-3' double play would typically be one in which the second baseman (player designated 4 in box score sheet) fields the ball and makes an unassisted put-out (force at second, or tag runner coming from first) and throws to the first baseman, who puts out the batter running to first. Since, even in baseball, a majority of players bat right-handed, playable balls are more commonly hit to left field, and probably the most common DP is `6-4-3': shortstop fields the ball, tosses to second baseman, who has run to second as the play develops, who forces the runner to second out and jumps out of the way (the runner is sliding so as to break up the double play), spins and throws to first for the force-out there.

When I was in graduate school one October, a graduate student in the English department walked into the crowded TV room and, after vaguely discerning the focus of attention, asked aloud how many games there were in the World Series. The first answer she received was ``Are you an American?'' from a Tigers fan.

Dual Process{ ing | or }.

Dynamic Programming.

Destructive Physical Analysis.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Diagnostic Pharmaceutical Agent. A DPA is an optometrist who is authorized to use pharmacological methods to diagnose diseases of the eye. The first DPA law in the US (allowing qualified optometrists to act as DPA's) was enacted by Rhode Island in 1971. Cf. TPA. This all seems to blur the distinction between optometrists and ophthalmologists.

Distributed Power Architecture.

DOD Protocol Architecture.

Drug Policy Alliance. An alliance of George Soros's money with NORML ideas.


Duke Papyrus Archive.

Durable Power of Attorney.

DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. At the University of Notre Dame.

There ain't no DPAC Shakur.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. California, at least, allows the DPAHC by statute. In many other states, the closest equivalent is the ``living will.''

Demand Priority Access Method. Originally developed at Hewlett-Packard (HP).

Draft Proposed ANS.

Durable Power of Attorney for Property Management.

Digital Private Branch eXchange (PBX).

{ Differential | Delta } Pulse Code Modulation (PCM). Differential in the sense that one only encodes changes between successive samples.

An idea that helped make fax practical was the recognition that an efficient compression scheme is to encode only changes in density.

Double-Pole, Double-Throw. ``Double-pole'' means that there are effectively two electrically isolated switches, but that they are ganged so that they can only be switched simultaneously. ``Double-throw'' means that the switch can be ``thrown'' into either of two positions that make an electrical connection. A position in which the switch can only be open -- i.e., an off position that one cannot tap in to, is not counted among the throws. A DPDT switch may have one, two, or three rest positions. A DPDT switch with one rest position is called a DPDT momentary. (The rest position may be open or it may be one of the throws.)

A DPDT switch would be appropriate for switching ordinary two-phase power between either of two alternative loads or for switching an appliance between either of two AC power supplies. (With three-phase power, the same applications would require triple-pole double-throw switches.) Another application of DPDT switches would be in selecting which of two alternative phones is connected to an ordinary (two active wires) phone line, or which of two phone lines is connected to a particular phone. If you were switching a single line among three phones, or a single phone among three lines, you would use a double-pole triple-throw switch.

Data (link) Protocol Data Unit.

DP Europe
Distributed Proofreaders EUROPE. The second DP site, on the web starting in January 2004. The original DP (see PGDP), based in the US, makes etexts in ISO Latin-1 character set (suitable for most Western European languages), primarily of English texts. DP Europe uses UTF-8 and is doing texts in various Eastern European languages, although roughly half of the early texts are in Western European languages. At least until some expected Asian sites are up, it is anticipated that some other non-Roman-alphabet work will be done at DP Europe.

Michael Hart (see PG entry) has authorized two or more PG groups in Europe. DP Europe is led by Zoran Stefanovic and will operate from Belgrade. (It's part of Ratsko. I don't know what Rastko is exactly, though it seems to comprise a collection of cultural preservation projects.) There is a separate PG-EU based in the Netherlands, which apparently will also do distributed proofing. As of this writing (Jan. 28; one day after official DP Europe announcement) the European operations are at various testing stages, so the situation is a bit fluid and the division of labor remains to be worked out.

Netherlands, like all of the EU, follows a Life+70 rule in copyright protection. The EU and the US (also +70) both are trying in their separate ways to extend the rule of that law. Serbia (like Canada and Australia) follows Life+50 as of 2004, so the siting may offer some flexibility. Although the jurisdictional issues are not clear, it seems to be agreed that some works are in the public domain in Serbia that are not so in the EU or US, and it will be possible to proof and serve them from a PG Europe there (once Serbian servers are used) though not at PG-INT or PG-EU. However, Serbia is expected to join the EU in 2008 or later, and is starting the ``harmonization'' process. Australia is in trade negotiations with the US, and Life+50 -->+70 is on the table. (There's a PG-AU, and as of this writing there are some very preliminary moves toward a PG-CA.)

Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (German Physical Society).

Digital Pattern Generator.

DiPhosphatidylGlycerol. Same as bisphosphatidylglycerol.

DiPropyleneGlycol. An emulsifier for lye and fat (may be used in saponfication).

DiPhenyl Hexatriene.

DPI, dpi
Dots Per Inch. An inch is an American inch, because other countries with their own excellent systems of units have foolishly discarded them in favor of the SI. In France, in particular, the inch was unusually long, so Napoleon's height given in conventional units seemed low when interpreted (incorrectly) with the scales of other lands (although I think the Prussian inch was an enormous exception). Well, I've read this, whether I believe it or not. It does sound like the bureaucrats' revenge, because Napoleon rightly perceived that metrification was a stupid idea. Unfortunately, he had bigger fish to fry.

In the US, the centimeter has been defined as exactly 50/127 inch, sort-of. DPI is also the initialism of the slightly Orwellian-sounding UN Department of Public Information.

Double-Pendulum Interferometer.

Death Penalty Information Center. A group opposed to the death penalty that presents itself as an unbiased source of information. News organizations helpfully cooperate by regarding their their press releases as news and describing the DPIC as ``a nonprofit research group in Washington'' vel sim. In contrast, organizations that favor the death penalty are identified as ``the conservative Washington Legal Foundation'' or ``the pro-execution Texas group, Justice for All'' (q.v.).

Distributed Proofreaders INTernational. Starting in 2004, there is a separate DP Europe site distinct from the original DP (information mostly at the PGDP entry), so the latter is distinguished as DP-INT.

Democratic Party of Japan. (Minshuto.) It was originally created in 1996 by dissenters from other parties including 57 members of the Diet. It was relaunched in 1998 as the ``new'' DPJ, when it absorbed various other small opposition parties. (Or when those parties merged to form a new DPJ, absorbing some other parties' dissenters in the process, as the relaunch spin had it.)

The emergence of the DPJ represents a qualitative change in Japanese politics -- the possibility of something like a two-party system. DPJ is now (ahead of the snap general election called for September 2005) large enough to credibly challenge the LDP for the status of largest party, a status it has held firmly since 1958. The closest previous parallel is the SDP when it was led by Takako Doi. The SDP briefly achieved parity with the LDP in the upper house of the Diet in the early 1990's, and was the largest party in the coalition that kept the LDP out of government for a few months in 1993-4.

In the Summer of 2005, 60 years after the end of WWII, Germany and Japan find themselves in similar circumstances. Both countries experienced spectacular sustained growth for decades after the war, and both economic engines stalled after 1990. Both countries have been making painful economic reforms, the leaders moving slowly against resistance within their own constituencies. Following votes that went against them, both countries' leaders (in a move unpopular with their fellow party-members) dissolved their governments and called early elections for September 2005. In both elections, the principal question is the pace and direction of economic reform, and in both countries a new party is changing the electoral dynamic. (In Germany the new party is die Linkspartei, `the Left Party.')

I am reminded of some famous lines I misunderstood for years, from RWE's ``Ode Inscribed to W.H. Channing'':

Things are in the saddle, And ride mankind.

In the Japanese elections on September 11, PM Koizumi's gamble paid off. The LDP increased its share of seats in the 480-member lower house of the Diet to 296, up from 249 before the election, reversing a decade-long slow decline. The most seats the LDP ever held was 300 in 1986, when the lower house had a total of 512 seats. The LDP and its coalition partner, the Buddhist-supported New Komeito Party, together now hold 327 lower-house seats, exceeding the two-thirds majority needed to override any veto by the upper house. I think most people realize now that 63-year-old Koizumi is a rock star. (The following Summer, on a state visit to the US, the rock star visited Graceland, where he did one of his Elvis impressions. Memphis, in Tennessee as in Egypt, is an ancient shrine. But visiting this one doesn't get the PM in much trouble with Japan's neighbors.)

The day after the 2005 elections, DPJ president Katsuya Okada conceded defeat and announced his resignation. During the campaign, he had already said he would resign in the event of a defeat, and the defeat was severe: the DPJ crashed from 175 seats to 113, holding onto only one seat in Tokyo, a former stronghold. Seiji Maehara became DPJ president on September 17. There had been speculation that DPJ would break up as a result of the electoral defeat, but they're still in existence as of June 2006, the current update of this entry. This month also, a hefty tax increase kicked in (something like an increase in the withholding percentage for social security), while social-security benefits are being reduced. That ought to give them a fillip. (There is a downside to high life-expectancy, as SciFi writers in large numbers were pointing out in the 1950's. It isn't helped any by a birth dearth -- something not so widely foreseen then.)

This obscure corner of the glossary is just the sort of place I would choose to mention the fact that what used to be called ``the Diet'' is nowadays called ``Japan's Parliament'' in English-language news stories. I'll have to look into why and when this change happened, but I imagine that the underlying cause is a discomfort people feel with this acception of the word diet. The precise etymology of this word is unclear, but it's certainly related to the German word Tag (as in Bundestag, the lower and more powerful house of the current German parliament, and Reichstag, the corresponding assembly of the Weimar republic). In Spanish, the German lower house is called dieta.

The week after the decisive result in the Japanese elections, Germany had a very inconclusive election that was expected to lead to a coalition government -- probably a grand coalition -- and gridlock on many major issues.

Digital Power Line.

Digital phase-locked loop. A use for VCO.

Decays Per Minute.

Deputy Prime Minister.

Digital Panel Meter. A flat-panel digital display with integrated Analog-to-Digital conversion (ADC), so device takes analog input.

DOS Protected-Mode Interface.

Digital Portable Mathematics Library.

Defects Per Million Opportunities. Term used by six-sigmoids in service-industry management.

DOS Protected-Mode Service[s].

Detroit Parent Network, founded in 2002 or maybe early 2003.

In 2009, eighteen large US cities participated in the the federally-sponsored National Assessment of Educational Progress. The math results came out around December 10, 2009, and they showed Detroit firmly in last place, with 69% of fourth-graders and 77% of eighth-graders scoring below the basic level, the lowest levels in the 40-year history of the test. (Reading scores would be released in 2010.) Speaking on Saturday, December 12, DPN executive director Sharlonda Buckman reacted to the news:

		Somebody needs to go to jail.
		Somebody needs to pay for this.
		Somebody needs to go to jail,
		And it shouldn't be the kids.
(I didn't hear her say it, but it was obviously sung.)

After the song, she asked for go-to-jail volunteers from the audience of 500 parents. That's amazing! Gosh, let me check that. No! She said that teachers should go to jail. That's a great idea: there they can finally meet many of the parents who never show up for parent-teacher conferences. It might give a kind of fillip to teacher recruiting, too.

Tonya Allen, a founding member of DPN, said ``They could have took this test in French and done just as bad.'' Gosh, there just full of great ideas.

Digital Private Network Signaling System.

Dial Pulse Originate.

Documentary Proof of Origin. A term used in shipping, for something commonly required. In the antiquities trade, no one would be so crass as to demand such a thing -- everything was stolen, at some point.

Distortion-Product OtoAcoustic Emission[s] (OAE). OAE's arising from nonlinear response (distortion) of the cochlea. For stimulus frequencies f1 and f2 , the strongest response appears to be for the lowest-order harmonics that are close to the applied frequencies (2f1 - f2) and (2f2 - f1) when f1 and f2 are close).

Differential Pulse Polarography.

DiPhenylimide Perylene. A dye used in electrophotography.


Whatever it is, it serves as a standard sample for calibrating EPR apparatus. (See, for example, Siegfried Nitschke's page.)

It's probably 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (below). As a stable radical, this presumably has a wonderfully strong EPR signal, but don't take my word for it--I'm a spectral innocent.

 / ___ \
/ /   \ \
\ \___/ /     O N
 \_____/       ² \
       \          \_____
        \         / ___ \
         N---N___/ /   \ \___NO
        /        \ \___/ /     ²
  _____/          \_____/
 / ___ \          /
/ /   \ \        /
\ \___/ /     O N
 \_____/       ²

Democratic People's Republic. One-party communist dictatorship.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea. North Korea. See .kp.

Department of Public Safety. The Police, but it sounds more dignified (and less ambiguous) than ``Drunks, Vagrants, and No-Goods `R' Us.''

Double Page Spread. Layout on two facing pages of a multipage document.

Differential Phase-Shift Keying.

Diode-Pumped Solid State [laser].

Double-pole, single throw. A pair of ganged switches, each with two rest positions, one in which the circuits are open, and one it which they each close a single circuit.

Dial Pulse Terminate.

Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus. A standard triple vaccination or ``triple booster'' given to protect children from once-quite-fatal childhood diseases. Actually, world-wide they are still quite fatal; pertussis (whooping cough) alone still kills ~350,000/yr.

DeParTuRe. Airline fare abbreviation. Why doesn't this list of abbreviations have anything for arrival?

From what I recall, the FAA considers a flight to have departed on time if it pulls away from the gate no more than fifteen minutes after the stated departure time. If it spends the next few hours on the tarmac awaiting clearance for take-off, that's not a late departure, just your bad luck (though it might lead to a delayed arrival). The reason you have to wait is that the FAA imposes a minimum separation between flights, which in turn puts an upper bound on the rate at which flights can take off. Airlines ignore this and schedule large numbers of flights to depart at virtually the same time.

Defense Programs Transportation Risk Analysis.

Department of Public Works. Here's a link to the DPW for Westfield, New Jersey.

DPW, DP World
Dubai Ports World.

Dairy Queen. A chain of ice cream restaurants.

dq, DQ
DisQualif{ ication | ied | y }.

Distributed Queue Dual Bus. Defined by IEEE 802.6.

Differential Quantum Efficiency.

Double Quantum Filtered COrrelation SpectroscopY (COSY).

Dynamic Quality Improvement. As opposed to static quality improvement, I guess, as occurs with wine.

Double Quantum Well. See CQW.

Democratic Republic (of).

Diffuse Reflectance.

Dining Room.

DoctoR. Any kind of doctor.

Not ``Docter.'' According to a short piece in the Fall 1992 Radical History Review entitled "Spellcheck Saves Lives!" (pp. 205-6),

One of our faithful readers recently sent us a clipping . . . . 'TEACHER SHOOTS STUDENT TO DEATH--FOR MISSPELLING A WORD!' screams the headline. According to the story, 'nerdy college professor [tautology] Jon Frankel,' an English teacher in New Zealand, 'went crazy when freshman Bill Parnell spelled "doctor" with an "e" instead of an "o" and shot the boy to death.' The professor at Auckland Business College allegedly told police that he had no remorse over the shooting, 'because spelling errors are not only inexcusable, they're a crime against language.'

The RHR columnist then goes on to fantasize about a class visit by then-US Veep J. Danforth Quayle: ``Go ahead, Danny, make my day . . .''

More on spelling at the Liouville entry.

It is said that Rep. Carl Perkins, when he was chair of the House Education Subcommittee, instructed his staff to address every country school principle as "doctor" -- saying that you never got in trouble that way.

For more on that, visit the Ph.D. entry.

DooR. Cognate with German Tur. The pronunciation difference is mainly in the initial consonant, an example of a systematic shift from (initial, asirated) /d/ to /t/ took place in High-German languages. Other examples of cognates illustrating this shift include English deer and German Tier (meaning `animal'), Eng. dead and Ger. todt (same meaning), and do, tun.


Doctora. Spanish, `[female] doctor.' Used as a title, just like Dr. (Doctor, `[male] doctor').

(UK) Defence Research Agency.

Draco. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

dracaena, dracena
A plant that is found in tropical regions and in some parts of the Scrabble tablelands. (That is, TWL98 and SOWPODS accept only the dracaena spelling; OSPD4 accepts both.)

Diccionario de la Real Academia española. `The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy.'

Dynamic Reconfigurability Assisting Fault-Tolerance. An approach to flexible multiprocessing and fault-tolerant computing. An architecture that uses a high-speed controller that provides an interface for message-passing among a large number of computing subsystems. Has been implemented using FPGA's.

DiRect Access to Geophysics On the Net. From the Geological Survey of Norway.

An old unit of weight and liquid measure in various ``conventional'' systems, including American and British. The dram is an eighth of the corresponding ounce in fluid measure and in troy and apothecary weights, and a sixteenth of an ounce in the avoirdupois weights. [Rel. to drachma of Greece.] In Britain, the variant drachm was used principally for apothecary and troy weights, and less for avoirdupois, back when these were all in use there.

Here is a fine smudge dealer who still understands drams.

Dynamic RAM. [Pron. ``Dee-ram.''] DRAM tends to be somewhat slower but cheaper than SRAM. In DRAM, each bit of memory is represented by charge stored or not stored on a capacitor. ``Dynamic'' in that, over time, the charge dissipates, requiring periodic cycles of reading and rewriting. (A typical refresh time is a few ms.) Original design used three transistors per bit (``3T-cell'') with separate read and write leads. Density was improved with subsequent, and now probably universal, 1T cell.

Dram Shop Act
An act, typically enacted at the state level, setting standards for servers of alcoholic drinks (private homes and pubs). Such laws establish the legal liability of the servers in civil cases brought for damages caused by drunks. In the absence of such laws, liability is usually governed by (locally relevant) precedent. These acts often contain the only statutory bounds on awards.

Just a guess.

Throughout history, drapers have played a prominent role in... aww, what transparent-- I'm not pulling the wool over anyone's eyes. Not if I make it out of whole cloth, not the whole nine yards. But this much is truth, and fiction too: one of Moll Flanders's husbands was a draper. More recently, in ``Under Milk Wood,'' a ``play for voices'' that Dylan Thomas completed the month before he died in 1953, a draper upholsters the dreams of a Miss Myfanwy Price (a dressmaker and sweetshop-keeper):
      I am a draper mad with love. I love you more than all the flannelette and calico, candlewick, dimity, crash and merino, tussore, cretonne, crépon, muslin, poplin, ticking and twill in the whole Cloth Hall of the world. I have come to take you away to my Emporium on the hill, where the change hums on wires. Throw away your little bedsocks and your Welsh wool knitted jacket, I will warm the sheets like an electric toaster, I will lie by your side like the Sunday roast.

(Emphasis added.) The ``change hum[med] on wires'' only in the larger shops, which had systems of boxes on wires with spring-and-pulley mechanisms to move payment and change between shop attendants and cashier (different employees differently employed). Such systems were still in use a few years after WWII. They were supplanted by pneumatic systems, and eventually by different methods of doing business. I can't imagine why you'd want to know that Miss Price's given name is stressed on the second syllable, with the first y pronounced as a shwa and the second as a short English i or German ü, but now you know anyway. (The sound of y varies by region, and Dylan Thomas didn't speak Welsh anyway, just Welsh-accented English.) The f is voiced, as you recall from the Welsh bits in the recent collating sequence entry.

Data Recognition Corporation.

Democratic Republic of the Congo. The former Belgian Congo, for many years Zaire (Zaïre in French; what is it in Flemish?), hence the country code ZR (.zr entry).

(NIDCR/CDC) Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Data Resource Center.

Design Rule Checker. Design rules are tolerances and minimum sizes for various dimensions of regions etched, implanted, diffused, oxidized, nitridized, deposited and otherwise mistreated on the semiconductor surface, as determined by mask dimensions.

Distributed Relational Database Architecture.

DRD1, DRD2, ...
Dopamine Receptor D1, ....

Drug Recognition Expert. I take it that someone even more qualified in the field is called Dr. Dre. Once I mentioned to one of my colleagues that a stairwell in a nearby campus building smelled like hashish, and he asked me how I knew what hashish smelled like. Duh. (Actually, he was a Turkish colleague, and I answered ``I'm an American.'' The whole thing seems rather backwards now.) Well, some people never happen to gather the necessary experience. Many years ago (I wish I could find a record of it) there was a widely publicized drug bust in Georgia in which a man was arrested with a baggy containing a green herb that the arresting officer thought was marijuana. It was widely publicized because the arrested man said the herb was oregano, and even more so because the police lab confirmed that it was oregano. After the charges were dropped, the department said it would provide training so that officers would be better able to recognize marijuana. While they were at it, I hope they went out for some pizza and learned to recognize oregano.

Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The DREAM Act was a law proposed to regularize the status of children of undocumented immigrants in the US, resident in the US for more than five years but born elsewhere. Under terms of the bill, they would get legal status and become eligible for citizenship provided they graduate from high school, stay out of trouble with the law, and either attend college for two years or serve two years in the armed forces. The bill, introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), had a bipartisan roster of 48 co-sponsors in the Senate in 2003, but stalled in the face of anti-immigrant sentiment. The bill will probably be reintroduced in 2005.

According to Delmore Schwartz, ``In Dreams Begin Responsibilities.'' Well okay, maybe so, but I'd rather not be reminded. I mean, when your dreams include sample screenshots, you're spending too much time in flatspace.

Something that's trash, but sold as something other than trash. I'm not sure if the word came from German (Dreck) or Yiddish (transliterated either drek or dreck) or both. The original Middle High German etymon of both was drec, which meant `excrement.' A common Old Germanic root yielded an Old English cognate threax, which already meant `trash' (the Modern English word it evolved into). So, as frequently happened, English expanded its word stock by adding the cognate (or cognates) of a word already present in the language. It's interesting that the semantic streams separated and then converged before the reabsorption occurred, but that's not unusual either.

I was motivated to add an entry for dreck by the heavy advertising for Oreck vacuum cleaners. They emphasize quality, and the logo has the brand name (the company owner's surname) written in block caps, making the initial letter hard to distinguish from a letter dee. I can't be the only one who thinks of these things.

Defense Research and Engineering Network.

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, much-admired archbishop of Chicago, died on Nov. 14, aged 68, after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. The next week, he lay in state with his glasses on.

Digital Radio Frequency (RF) Memory.

Diagnosis-Related Group.

Dr. Gunni
Gunnar Lárus Hjálmarsson.

Deep Reactive Ion Etching.

drip, the
See the drip.

Dedicated Road Infrastructure for Vehicle safety in Europe. An EU program to alleviate road transportation problems by using information and telecommunications technology. One such is SOCRATES, another is PANDORA.

The number one wood (golf club). This term is not obsolete, like Brassie (2 wood), Spoon (3 wood), and Baffle (5 wood). The only reason I put this one in is to remind myself to say something about high-output-current buffers. Sure. There, I've done it.

Just what you were looking for: Driveways of the Rich and Famous (and in some cases Deceased). Many of the driveways are neither gated nor fenced.

Many years ago someone asked Israeli General Ariel Sharon why he didn't have a fence around his house for protection. He replied that his neighbors should be afraid of him, not the other way around.

Daytime Running Lights. Automobile lights that go on whenever the car is running. Required on new cars in Canada (since 1989) and Sweden. Allowed on cars in the US.

Dr. Laura
Doctor Laura Schlessinger. Likes to refer to herself as ``my kids' mom.'' This raises the question: who else's mom could she be? The answer is many unhappy children's, because Dr. Laura is an acid-tongued malpractitioner, a dispenser of common nonsense popular with those lucky enough not to need competent emotional counseling. She is even more popular with those who have a morbid need to be abused. Seeking an unsympathetic ear, they will keep her call-in lines busy for as long as it takes them to wise up and get real help.

She got her doctorate in physiology, although after that she got a certificate in marriage and family therapy.

She is a one-woman business, but like Ayn Rand, she has a besotted following (random example).

Development Rate Monitor. For time-critical reaction like photoresist development.

Digital (intellectual property) Rights Management.

DOD Reference Model.


De Rerum Natura. Latin, `On the Nature of Things,' a work by Lucretius.

Destructive Read-Out. A mode of old-style magnetic core memory read-out. NDRO is Nondestructive read-out. Playing a modern LP on a Victrola with one of those monster steel needles would probably also qualify as DRO.

Dielectric Resonator Oscillator.

droit du seigneur
French, `right of the [feudal] lord' to sexual relations with a bride of a vassal on her first night of marriage. A myth whose history is traced by Alain Boureau in his The Lord's First Night: The Myth of the Droit de Cuissage (Chicago and London: Un. Chicago Pr., 1998) pp. x, 300. $55.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-226-06742-4; $19 (pb) ISBN 0-226-67432-4. (Translated by Lydia G. Cochrane. Original published as Le droit de cuissage: La fabrication d'un mythe (XIIIe-XXe siècle). Series: L'Evolution de l'humanité (Paris: Albin Michel, 1995). ISBN 2-226-07634-4. It's reviewed by Adam Kosto of Columbia University in TMR 99.05.14.

drop kick
In a drop kick, a person releases a ball and brings his foot forward timed to kick it. You see a lot of drop kicks in Australian football, which has approximately continuous action resembling soccer, and anyone can score with a kick between uprights of the opposing side.

In North American football, traditionally (and technically still, I think) you can always make forward progress by kicking the ball, but the way the game has evolved, one doesn't see very much of that. Nonstandard stuff you do see includes forward passes by half-backs and (in high school, mostly) multiple short passes back to fellow team members running forward (flea-flicker play). On November 20, 1982, Cal beat Stanford on the final play of the game with a touch-down-scoring flea-flicker. If you weren't rooting for Stanford, it was a grand, giddy, hilarious bit of sand-lot. For a long time afterwards, it was known simply as ``the play.''

You probably came to this entry wondering where you could find the lyrics to the song ``Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life.'' Here are a few places: (1) (2) (3)

I've got the will, Lord, if You got the toe.

Words and music by Paul Craft; was recorded by Bobby Bare. Cf. Motorist entry.

A Norwegian brand of fruit-flavored candy probably manufactured by Bergene. Name derived from Eng. drop. Cf. Mental.

The English word dropsy evolved from an earlier form hydropsy.

Distribution Requirements Planning.

Delaware River Port Authority of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They're not concerned with all of the ports on the Delaware between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They don't worry about the Delaware Water Gap or the bridges near Allentown and Easton. So why should I care about them? They've built four bridges since 1919, three of them into Philadelphia on the Pennsylvania side, and one crossing to Chester, PA. Through its ``subsidiary, the Port Authority Transit Corp., DRPA runs PATCO,'' q.v.

Dual-Rail Static CMOS. Visit a report comparing this with other gate-based design styles for CMOS WTGL. ``Rail'' here refers to a constant-voltage or to the array of conducting lines that supplies the voltage.

Direct Response TeleVision. The triple plague: infomercials, television shopping and ``short-form direct response'' (this CD not available in stores). All represented, and even recognized with awards, by NIMA International. As if ordinary ads weren't bad enough. Hey? What am I complaining about? I wouldn't watch even if they removed the ads.

drug names
T.S. Eliot's famous ``The Naming of Cats'' begins
The naming of cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm mad as a hatter
When I tell you a cat must have three different names.

All newly marketed pharmaceutical chemicals have at least three names: a brand name, a generic name, and a chemical name, and coming up with them is a difficult matter as well, though the difficulties are different in the three cases. Before getting into these (in reverse order), I should say something about stereoisometry. NOTE: this entry is still incomplete, but we have a bit of material on generic and chemical names.

Originally, pharmaceutical names tended not to distinguish between stereoisomers, and drug names usually distinguished only between different structures. In principle, this wasn't a big problem: drugs were manufactured, tested, and marketed in a single form -- either a racemic mix of enantiomers (synthesized starting from a racemic mix or optically inactive chemical) or else always the same optically active mix (synthesized or just separated from the same biological source). It was always the same mix or nonmix. It's been possible to measure the difference between isomers since the 19th century, but until recently it wasn't possible, or industrially feasible, or attractive, to synthesize a preferred nonracemic mix. So nowadays drug names are increasingly assigned to particular stereoisomers, and not just to the general structures.

Government agencies and the medical community pay little heed to ``the chemical name,'' except to denounce ``its'' use. What they mean by ``chemical name'' is what most chemists call a ``systematic name.'' Systematic names today are names constructed by following a set of rules defined by IUPAC. In principle, these rules lead from the known structure of a compound to a unique name. However, the rules are constantly changing in small ways. (There are good reasons for this, but also some bad consequences.) The sordid details will have to wait for the creation of a ``systematic''-chemical-nomenclature entry. The upshot is that each compound may have multiple systematic names and accumulate more over time. On the bright side, all or almost all systematic names refer unambiguously to individual compounds. (There may be some exceptions with modern systematic names that coincide with old names that are considered obsolete.) A working chemist who is serious about tracking down previous research on a chemical should determine the CAS registry number and perform literature searches using that.

Another kind of name used by chemists is a trivial name. Trivial names are arbitrary in principle, but are intended to be somehow useful (informative or convenient) in practice. There is no official agency that must approve trivial names, and researchers constantly invent trivial names for their own convenience. On the other hand, journal editors sometimes object to particular trivial names and refuse to publish them.

Trivial names are not a recognized category of pharmaceutical name, but generic names are, and generic names are a subset of trivial names. Specifically, the generic name of a drug is a trivial name approved by a governmental or governmentally sanctioned entity. Since there are multiple such entities, there may be multiple generic names, such as the US Adopted Name (USAN), British Approved Name (BAN), (JAN), International Nonproprietary Name (iNN or INN), etc. The generic names approved by different authorities tend to be similar. For example, a anti-herpes virus drug marketed as Valtrex and Zelitrex (brand names) has the generic names Valaciclovir (Rec INN and BAN) and Valacyclovir (USAN). The drug marketed as Lasix has generic names frusemide (BAN) and furosemide (INN and USAN). Official national pharmacopaeia tend to be organized by generic name. In the US, USAN's are not allowed to be trademarked. I imagine there are similar arrangements elsewhere and possibly some international agreements. [But I suspect that trademark law is harder to coordinate between different countries than copyright or patent law. In Argentina, for example, trademarks are categorized by product type, and must be separately registered. I also wonder if, for example, a company may register a trademark with the US PTO a name that is the BAN of a drug if it is not also the INN or USAN.]

drum major
A male majorette, as the inflection indicates.

drum majorette
A girl or woman who leads, or at least marches before the first rank of, a marching band. She doesn't have a drum, but she does have a baton which could serve for a drumstick. The head term is more intuitive when the marching band is called a drum corps. For links to various baton-twirling organizations, see the majorette entry.

The drink and the drinker may both be drunk. Amazing!

Gee, it seems I wasn't the first fellow to think this up. In HHGTTG, there's an exchange that runs approximately

``It's unpleasantly like being drunk.'' ``What's so unpleasant about being drunk?'' ``You ask a glass of water.''

Here's a gnomic and symmetric old saw that's translated from a Japanese ballad:

First the man takes a drink,
then the drink takes a drink,
then the drink takes the man.

Under the looser definitions at least, this counts as chiastic.

drunk food
I asked the English-speaker at Boracho Burrito why it was that of all the fast-food places, the ones that stay open latest are the ones that sell Mexican food. He suggested that it's because Mexican food is considered good drunk food. He did concede that in Chicago, pancakes are considered the drunk food, but that with the exception of the McDonalds-owned chain, the Mexican places there stay open late too.

Burrito borracho means `drunk little mule' in Spanish, or `drunk burrito.' Given that the adjective is not only misplaced but misspelled, I always figured that the restaurant name Boracho Burrito represented gringo ignorance, but quizá something more subtle is going on.

dry closing
A real-estate closing at which the seller does not turn the keys over to the buyer, because the buyer hasn't produced the funds. A closing without closure, you might say. I don't know much about it, and I don't want to.

Incidentally, if you're like most people, this is approximately the umpteenth time you're reading this glossary (because it's addictive, because you thirst for knowledge but forget things, etc.). (Unless you only just learned of this famous resource.) And right about now you're probably thinking, ``I don't remember reading this entry before.'' [For a similar experience, try the Aden entry.] It's not your memory playing tricks; this really is a new entry. I had put off adding it because I'm superstitious. ``Superstitious'' means ``well-informed about luck and how to control it.'' I had to delay until after my own closing (which was satisfactorily moist, thank you) or -- as we luck experts realize -- bad things might have happened. (And they didn't. How much more corroboration do you need?) Of course, one mustn't gloat.

dry ice
Solid carbon dioxide (CO2). It was first obtained by M. Thilorier in 1834 [Ann. Phys., 60, p. 432 (1835)].

dry water
A hydraulic theorist's construct: a perfectly nonviscous fluid. We also have other water entries.

Dampfschiff. German, `steamship, steam boat.' It's not a cruising sweat farm, you understand. ``Steam'' refers to the power source (external combustion engine with steam working fluid).

Darmstadtium. Atomic number 110. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Dallas Semiconductor Corporation. Prefix on device names.

Data Structure.

Data System.

Deep Structure. Now more popularly (or reconditely) D-structure. Think Chomsky, not Derrida.


Digital Signal. DS-0, DS-1, etc. are supposed to refer to the physical interface for transmission at particular rates, rather than to a particular protocol, or to the rate itself. Most users and network engineers are more interested in data rates and protocols than in the ``physical interface'' as such. Moreover, in many cases there is a dominant protocol, so referring to T-1 as DS-1 (in North America), say, is normally unambiguous. Conversely, stating the signal level is a fairly ambiguous way of specifying the physical medium. The misuse of ``DS-'' terminology is therefore not just not a problem, it is a positive instance of language usage adapting a poorly conceived term to a sensible and appropriate use. Metonymy works.

Direct Sequence. As in DS/CDMA, spread-spectrum (SS) communication utilizing a quasirandom direct sequence (as opposed, say, to frequency hopping).

(If deuterated bisulfide or thiohydroxyl does not seem a reasonable interpretation, it might be) Dodecyl Sulphate ion.

Doppler Shift. Difference between frequency at its source and at a detector due to relative motion of source and detector.

Down Syndrome. It used to be called Mongoloidism, mostly because non-Asian children with the syndrome had faces that looked vaguely Asian. And it used to be children only, because most with Down syndrome did not survive past their teen years. There's been a lot of progress over the past couple of decades, and both survival and coping ability have been improved.

The new name has nothing to do with fine, soft fluffy feathers. This fact was more obvious when it was called Down's Syndrome. It's named after a physician (John L. H. Down).

Another name for it is Trisomy 21, because we now understand that the syndrome arises when a fertilized egg accidentally contains an extra copy of chromosome 21. This is likelier to happen as the mother gets older. It also is somewhat likelier to happen with older fathers than with younger ones, independently of the mother's age.

Democratic Socialists of America. They have an amusing graphic that illustrates the feckless sectarianism of formal US socialism.

Hmm. Evidence at the YAF entry suggests a similar phenomenon on the right. I guess if you won't compromise your principles for a chance at power, splitting with a major political grouping is just the beginning of the story.

Diffusion Self-Aligned. Normally when you say ``self-aligned,'' people assume doping by implantation rather than diffusion. Diffusion is a fuzzy process, so with DSA gates you lose some of the advantage of self-alignment. Cf. SAG.

Directory System Agent. Software that accesses X.500 directory service.

Driving Standards Agency.

Danske StatsBaner. `Danish National Railways.'

Defense Science Board.

Deutscher Sportbund `German Sports Association.'

Double Sideband Suppressed Carrier.

Differential Scanning Calorimetry.

Dynamic Stability Control. One synonym of electronic stability control. For other synonyms, see the ESC entry.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Cf. DCCC. The DSCC lines up against the NRSC. Who wins is hard to know in advance. Who loses? Well, they say in war, truth is the first casualty.

Direct Sequence - Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). ``Direct Sequence'' means that the code is embedded in the time domain, as opposed to FH/CDMA (q.v.; ``Frequency Hopping'') which uses a code embedded in the frequency domain. See also MC/CDMA.

DSSS is a synonym.

Deep Space Climate ObserVatoRy. A NASA satellite to be placed at the L1 Lagrange point of the Earth-Sun system, about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth along a line to the Sun, continually monitoring the sunlit hemisphere of the planet. The general idea was suggested by then-Vice President Albert Gore in 1998, and NASA took up the idea and designed a tool that would measure the light radiation emitted or reflected from the Earth. DSCOVR was originally scheduled to fly aboard the space shuttle Columbia (which disintegrated during re-entry on February 1, 2003, and was therefore no longer available to take DSCOVR up). The $100 million satellite was never launched. In January 2006, the project was quitely cancelled by NASA, which cited ``conflicting priorities.'' NASA has since refused separate offers from France and Ukraine to lift the satellite at no charge. So far as I know, NASA has not gone so far as to actually discard the observatory or sell it for scrap.

The mission was originally called Triana, after Rodrigo de Triana, the lookout who first sighted the New World from Columbus's ship.

Defense Satellite Communications System.

Direct Store Delivery. Relevant: DEX/UCS.

Driver's Safety Device. British rail term. A dead man's handle for the train driver. Cf. DVD.

A German waste disposal and recycling system operated by Duales System Deutschland, GmbH. `Dual System Germany.' Since 1991, recyclable packaging material is labelled with a green point (Grüner Punkt), a symbol licensed by DSD, GmbH. There is no charge to the end user for the collection of materials marked with a green point the unrecovered costs of the program are collected through the licensing fee.

Austria has a similar system run by ARA.

The material should be deposited in the gelbe Tonne oder gelber Sack -- `yellow trash can or yellow bag.' Such a colorful system; this I can understand.

And brown bin (braune Tonne) gets the nonrecyclable stuff.


And the green bin gets the paper.


Double-Sided Double Density. Designation for 5¼'' floppy diskettes. (All '' diskettes are double-sided.)

Double-Stranded DNA. (All '' diskettes are double-sided.)

Differentiated System Description Table. An ACPI system description table.

Directionally Solidified Eutectic. How does one come to study these? That is, why not study noneutectic directionally solidified materials? Because the standard way to congeal materials rapidly is splat cooling, which only works if there is a single temperature at which the whole mix will melt, and so only works on a eutectic mix. Slower cooling typically takes so long that the directional nature of the cooling is not evident in the structure.

Delaware State Education Association. One of the state affiliates of the NEA.

Delivery Sequence File.

Democratic Study Group. An informal group of US legislators created in 1961, working within the Democratic caucus to move the party to the left. It seems to have succeeded.

Regardless the precise degree of credit or blame that the DSG deserves for the political movement, it began with good timing. John F. Kennedy took office in 1961, and in his inaugural address he said: ``Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans....'' That was also the year that Rep. Sam Rayburn (D-Tx) died.

Rayburn had been the House Democratic leader from 1940 until his death. (Minority leader in the 80th and 83rd Congresses -- 1947-49 and 1953-55 -- and Speaker when Democrats controlled the House.) During that time he had marginalized the Democratic caucus as an institution, preferring to make deals behind the scenes. Rayburn's approach was motivated by the divergence within the party, between conservative southern Democrats and liberal-to-moderate Democrats from the rest of the country. Eventually, conservative white Democrats overcame their aversion to the GOP, just as thirty years earlier blacks had overcome their allegiance to the GOP. (Both of these alignments dated back to the Civil War, of course.) Everyone understood in the 1960's that it was the civil rights struggle that was turning the South Republican. But southern Democrats had been more conservative than the rest of the party across a broad range of issues. Thus, the departure of southern Democrats contributed to a rationalization of the major parties. With or without the DSG, the Democratic party was bound to move left simply by the shedding of more conservative members. Conversely, the Republican party became a less hospitable place for those who had constituted its left wing.

Cf. DSG on National Security.

Deutscher Schlafwagen- und Speisewagen-Gesellschaft. `German Sleeping- and Dining-car Association.'

DSG on National Security
``The Democratic Study Group on National Security was created at the beginning of 107th Congress by Representatives Steve Israel (D-NY), Adam Schiff (D-CA) and David Scott (D-GA). Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger addressed the inaugural meeting of the DSG on National Security on May 22, 2003.'' (Berger did something else related to national security in 2003. On at least two occasions that he has publicly admitted to, he secretly removed documents from the National Archives, destroying some and keeping others, apparently to conceal lapses in his or the Clinton administration's counter-terrorism activity. The charges first came to light in July 2004. On April 1, 2005, as part of a plea bargain, Berger pled guilty in federal court to a misdemeanor charge related to the removal and destruction. I checked the DSG page that day, and Berger's name had not been removed from it.)

The stated purpose of the DSG is ``to explore new technologies and principles leading to a smarter national security capability against changing threats.'' Obviously, you couldn't hold congressional hearings on this kind of thing -- the Republicans would be opposed. The DSG ``holds regular meetings for the Democratic Caucus, bringing in speakers ...'' including former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Cf. DSG.

Defense Simulation Internet.

Digital Speech Interpolation.

Destination Signaling IDentifier.

Dvorak Simplified Keyboard. Really, it's the typing that's simplified, or made easier. The keyboard layout is different and more efficient, but it's not simpler than QWERTY, q.v. Vide etiam this page for some of the standard history.

August Dvorak, who conceived and developed this keyboard scheme, called it the American Simplified Keyboard. It's never been any more than a minority taste.

DiSplay KeyBoard. Computer console on Apollo spacecraft.

Data SubLanguage.

Digital Subscriber Line. High bandwidth and always on like T1, installation and monthly costs more like ISDN. Too many ``standards.'' xDSL.com offers analysis.

Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer. It's not just a matter of having the line installed. you have to rent one of these puppies. See DSL.

Dedicated Server Module.

Sounds like a worker ant.

Deep SubMicron (design).

Demand-Side Management. In the utilities industry, DSM programs are attempts to reduce energy consumption by means of pricing structure and other incentives.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (of Mental Disorders). Published by APPI. The editions of DSM, with years of appearance (-R for revised editions, -TR stands for ``text revision''):
1952 (lists 60 distinct psychiatric illnesses)
1968 (lists 145)
1994 (lists 410)

Preserve your sanity. It might come in handy one day.

The DSM provides a coding scheme for disorders that has long been accepted in the US and which provides a precise-seeming basis for choice of therapy and billing. The ICD offered what I think was originally a distinct coding scheme. The ICD is a book about the same size as the DSM, but the ICD covers all areas of medicine and the DSM covers only mental health care. You're probably figuring that the DSM just slices and dices the categories into an astronomically large number of highly specific (as well as a generous number of explicitly and precisely general) disorders. That'd be my guess too, and there's a little of that, but that's not the main story. The DSM is rather discursive, with flowcharts and menus of criteria for particular diagnoses, thoughtful essays on various classes of disorder, keys to differential diagnoses, etc. The DSM has been using the ICD codes since at least 1987, and they're listed in an appendix. Disorders distinguished by the DSM and not by the ICD simply have the same code.

Digital Signal Microprocessor.

Digital Storage Medi{ um | a }.

Distinguished Service Medal.

Driver Standards Manager. British railroad term.

Direct Simulation Monte Carlo. Method developed in the 1960's by Graham A. Bird, particularly for rarefied gas dynamics simulations (RGD).

Digital Storage Media - Command and Control.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), 3rd edn. Published by the American Psychiatric Association. This is the one that became famous for finally removing homosexuality from among the disorders. The current edition, DSM-IV, came out in 1994.

Dictionary Society of North America. ``[F]ormed in 1975 to bring together people interested in dictionary making, study, collection, and use. Our 500+ members who live in 42 countries around the world ....'' [Another meaning of ``North America''?] ``The only requirement for membership is an expression of interest in language, in words, dictionaries and lexicography, or any combination of these.''

Became a constituent society of the ACLS in 1994. ACLS has an overview.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Digital Storage Oscilloscope.

Distinguished Service Order.

During WWI, the poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) served with distinction as a British officer, but when he became convinced of the futility of the war, he took a painful moral stand. He threw away his DSO medal and set out wilfully to defy the military authorities -- risking personal ruin at the least, and possible imprisonment and execution. He describes this in Memoirs of an Infantry Officer.

Of course, it all turned out all right in the end, after all, didn't it?

Winston Churchill later said to Siegfried Sassoon

War is the normal occupation of man -- war, and gardening.

The poet Robert Graves appeared in Memoirs, thinly disguised as ``David Cromlech.'' In the trenches Cromlech was spouted new-age paganism avant la lettre, and Graves later published it in a pastiche of cribbed and invented myth (mythical myth, so to speak) called The Greek Myths (despised by scholars, needless to say, widely though not universally).

My grandfather was a Siegfried also, but he officered on the other side and got an Iron Cross, first class. He also got an Iron Cross, second class. Then just before WWII, he got a big double cross. In Chaplin's 1940 sadly innocent satire The Great Dictator, Adolph Hitler is Adenoid Hynkel and the Nazi swastika is a double cross.

``Dark Side Of The Moon.'' A Pink Floyd album.

Delta Sigma Phi. First founded in New York. In early years it had difficulty recruiting members outside of NYC because it did not discriminate on the basis of religion.

Digital Signal Processing (or occasionally) Processor. (ADSP is Analog DSP; i.e. digital processing of analog signals, by means of A-to-D conversion.)

There is FAQ documentation associated with the usenet newsgroup <com.dsp>.

Divestiture Sequence Plan.

Data Service Request.

Data Set Ready.

Device Status Report.

Digital Standard Runoff.

Dynamic Service Register.

I'd be happy to tell you more, but the guy two workstations away from me is talking to himself with increasing conviction.

Digital Standard Relational Interface.

Data Signaling Rate Selector.

Dead Sea Scrolls. The ones found in the Qumran caves near the Dead Sea, stored by a group we call the Essenes. For information and links to on-line resources on major DSS see Mahlon H. Smith's DSS page.

Decision Support System. (Generic term, as well as the name of an old Unidata RDBMS.)

(Australian government's) Department of Social Security.

Department of Social Services.

Digital Satellite System. Satellite TV receive station.

Dioctyl Sodium SulfoSuccinate. Used to fix fumaric acid in foods. Fumaric acid is a convenient, cheap `tartness agent' but dissolves in cold water without DSS.

Domain SAP Service.

Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum (SS). Has the same meaning as DS/CDMA, although in principle the term might refer to SS applied to a single signal.

[Franklin bust]

Daylight Saving Time. So called because it saves some daylight from the early morning when you're presumably still in bed, and spends it in the evening when you presumably want it. Not ``Daylight Savings Time,'' as some people call it, which would presumably be the daylight portion of the bankers' hours.

Www.timeanddate.com serves a page announcing when the next gear-stripping change is scheduled to occur. An interesting book about DST is David Prerau's Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time (NY: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005).

The obvious utility of DST is that it accomplishes a coordinated shift of real business and school hours without requiring an explicit change in nominal hours of operation. The obvious problem with it is that some businesses and especially schools may not want to shift those hours.

When the US adopted a national DST law in the mid-sixties, states had the right to opt out. (From the mere text of the US Constitution, it's not clear that the federal government even had a right to legislate this. On the other hand, the Commerce Clause has been interpreted so elastically that on rare recent occasions when the US Supreme Court ruled that there was a power it did not give to the federal government, everyone was shocked.) Arizona keeps MST year-round, except for the big Navajo reservation (which spills over into New Mexico and Utah, just brushing Four Corners). [Here and here are two conflicting maps.]

Hawaii is the southernmost state, by a bit, meaning that the difference in day length between summer and winter is smallest. They keep standard time year-round.

Until 2006, there was one other state -- Indiana -- where standard time was kept year-round. (Most of the state's 87 counties kept EST. There were some counties that used DST with Central Time, consistently with nearby states -- some near Chicago in the northwest and some around Evansville, Indiana, near western Kentucky, five counties all told. Another five counties near Louisville, KY, and Cincinnati, OH, used DST with Eastern time.) Indiana's unusual situation probably arose because DST was an additional complication exacerbating an already confused one. When the original time zones were established in 1918, Indiana was mostly in the Central time zone. By April 1969, a sequence of shifts had gradually put most of Indiana in the Eastern zone.

On April 28, 2005, the Indiana legislature passed a measure that put all of Indiana on DST, and that petitioned the US Department of Transportation to hold hearings to consider possible changes in the location of the dividing line between the Eastern and Central time zones. Saint Joseph County, where I reside, was moved (back, after many decades) into the Central Time Zone by a USDoT ruling of October 25, 2005, and then forward again into the Eastern Time Zone by a ruling of January 18, 2006. At 2:00 am on the first Sunday of April 2006 (two hours after April Fool's Day officially ended), clocks across Indiana officially sprang forward. There's a detailed explanation here, last updated at least as recently as January 18, 2006.

Saskatchewan keeps time about as Indiana did: most of the province keeps CST year-round; some small bits along the Alberta border use MST and do switch to MDT.

The mnemonic to remember which part of the year uses Daylight Saving Time and which Standard Time is that you save when you have a surplus, so you use DST in the summer when you have daylight to spare. In many countries (e.g., Europe generally) there is no need for this mnemonic because DST is called Summer Time (or the translated equivalent) instead. In New Zealand they use ``DST''; in Australia both terms are known. In the US during WWII, DST was unofficially called ``War Time.'' In Quebec French, it's called ``heure avancée'' -- `Advanced Time.'

About half the people in the world don't need a mnemonic or a name (if they don't call long distance) because they keep standard time all year. Here's a world map showing which places keep DST and which don't. There are some southern states of Brazil that practically graze the equator but use DST. Like, what's the point? The variation in day length increases with latitude. In fact, Benjamin Franklin's earliest recorded speculations regarding the waste of early-morning sunlight date from his residence in London in 1757. He first published his idea for DST in 1784, when he was residing in Paris. What he proposed at the time was not a clock-time shift, but simply that people get up earlier in the morning. The essay in which he proposed this was light-hearted and not to be taken entirely seriously. (For example, he implied that readers would be skeptical of the claim that the sun shines as soon as it rises, and he exaggerated the savings of unneeded candles by assuming that people generally did not rise until after noon.) On the other hand, it seems reasonably clear that he was serious in advocating the general idea of making greater use of available daylight. In 1907, William Willett published a pamphlet, ``The Waste of Daylight.'' That was apparently the first proposal for DST.

The mnemonic for adjusting your clock is ``Spring forward, fall back.'' Since the seasons are shifted by half a year between northern and southern hemispheres, the time zone difference can vary by as much as two hours between two countries in opposite hemispheres that both use DST.

In fact, although DST normally advances clocks by one hour, other shift amounts have been tried. During 1927, only standard time was legal in Connecticut, but many town-dwellers illicitly used ordinary DST (you wonder they didn't simply change their hours of operation). The mills in Connecticut's aptly-named town of Hazardville used what was called half-time (clocks advanced by a half hour during the DST effective period), a compromise motivated by the need to deal with both farmers (on standard time) and town customers (on DST). DST clock advances as short as 20 and 15 minutes have been used. Rarely.

Double daylight saving time was used in the UK during WWII: a further one-hour advance over the wartime DST used for the rest of the year. More about this and other two-hour shifts at the DDST entry.

In October 1998, Dave Barry published a column of twenty-five lessons he had learned in his fifty years. Number two was

You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight-saving time.

When a westbound train has stops near each other on opposite sides of a time-zone boundary, the train schedule can show a local arrival time that precedes the earlier departure time. Niles, in southwestern Michigan, used to have an unusual share of such local-time anomalies. Michigan keeps Eastern time, and eastbound trains arrive from Chicago and Gary, which keep Central time. Moreover, westbound trains come in from nearby South Bend, Indiana, which keeps Eastern time but didn't use DST until 2006.

Dexamethasone Suppression Test.

Dynamic (Fuel Emissions) Status Test.

Dynamic Stability and Traction Control. One synonym of electronic stability control. For other synonyms, see the ESC entry.

Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

Deep structure. Conjectured innate metagrammar. Hip name adopted when so many people had heard about ``deep structure'' that it just wasn't clubby any more. Apparent similarity of its pronunciation to that of destruction is not merely a happy coincidence; it is an indication of an underlying structure in the language. Hmmm.

Draft Standards for Trial Use.

Dakota State University. In Madison, South Dakota. There's a long-term smouldering sort of movement in North Dakota to change the state's name. It's a bit bewildering to people from out of state, but a lot of North Dakotans feel that sharing a name with their southern neighbor, they've gotten the short end of the stick or whatever. One of the complaints that I never understood was that when people hear ``Dakota'' they think of South Dakota. (Speaking only for myself, I think, ``wait, aren't supposed to say `Lakota' now?'') Anyway, I guess DSU must be the sort of thing they have in mind.

Data Service Unit. A kind of DCE. In particular, one that interfaces between low-rate services (56 kbps) and higher-rate circuits.

Delaware State University. In Dover.

Digital Service Unit. A kind of DCE. Probably just a less-standard expansion of DSU (Data Service Unit).

Data Service Unit/Channel Service Unit. One unit combining DSU and CSU functions.

Diving Support Vessel[s].

Direct Step-on-Wafer. Step-and-repeat photo-exposure of a wafer, to define a repeated pattern in photolithography.

Defense Special Weapons Agency. Shiny new name for the old Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA). You have to admit, the old name didn't make a lot of sense: a ``nuclear agency''? Of the defense type? I mean: a noun functioning as an adjective (attributive noun) followed by an adjective indicating an elided noun (nuclear weapon) functioning as an adjective anyway but for the noun agency? Gimme a break. They used the opportunity of a prized acronym make-over wisely: a ``weapons agency'' makes sense, doesn't torture syntax and it's an honest step away from bureaucratic euphemism.

Oh, yeah, they have a homepage, which prominently warns that your visit is being monitored, but they don't even display a counter.

Digital Signal Cross-connect (system). Also DCC, DCS, and DXC, where it's explained.

DS-0, DS0
Digital Signal, Level 0. A transmission rate of 64 kbps. Strictly speaking, DS-0 is supposed to refer to the physical interface, rather than the transmission rate or a particular protocol.

DS-1, DS1
Digital Signal, Level 1. A physical interface (um, that'd be connection, to you and me) capable of carrying 1.544 Mbps digital transmission. Also called T-1 standard, because DS-1 can carry a twenty-four-fold (24X) multiplex of DS-0 (24 × 64 kbps = 1536 kbps = 1.5 Mbps).

DS-2, DS2
Digital Signal, Level 2. Physical interface for digital transmission rate of 6.312 Mbps. Supports a four-fold (4X) multiplex of DS-1 (i.e., 96 × DS-0).

DS-3, DS3
Digital Signal, Level 3. Physical interface for digital transmission rate of 44.736 Mbps. Supports a seven-fold (7X) multiplex of DS-2 (i.e., 672 × DS-0).

Deep Space Nine. Third Star Trek television series. More at the alternate abbreviation ST:DS9.

Deciduous Teeth. A/k/a primary teeth. A/k/a milk teeth, baby teeth, puppy teeth, kitten teeth, etc., as appropriate. Losses may be redeemed by the tooth fairy. DT can also stand for deciduous tooth, but I didn't want to type ``t{ee|oo}th.''

Deep Thought. Nothing of the sort: humorous contemplations of Jack Handy.

[Football icon]

Defensive Tackle. A position in American football. Defensive linemen who play ``inside.''


DT, the DT's
Shaking, chills, nausea, hallucinations, disorientation and other agony experienced in withdrawal from a chemical one is physically addicted to, such as Jolt Cola. [Abbreviation for Latin: Delirium Tremens.]

Deutsche Telekom.

Deferred Tax Asset. A loss that can be deducted from future profit in a future tax computation.

Differential Thermal Analysis. Torquemada used autos da fe. Other methods are favored today.

Okay, seriously: measurement of the difference in temperature between a sample and a reference as both are heated. The reference is a way of subtracting out the secular effect of simple heat capacity.

[Phone icon]

Digital Telephone Answering Device.

Diphtheria, Tetanus toxoids, and Acellular Pertussis. Three vaccinations in one. The DTaP vaccine, or just DTaP for short, is meant for children under age 7. Td boosters (for tetanus and diphtheria) are given to children aged 11 and up, and to adults every ten years.

Digital Test Access Unit.

Data Transfer Bus.

Down The Back.

Artie Shaw, the clarinetist and band leader, was almost better known at the height of his fame for having married many times (eight). Eventually, he started touring the college circuit with a lecture advertised as `` `Consecutive Monogamy & Ideal Divorce' by an `ex-husband of love godesses.' '' He also had some affairs.

There's a pop song from the 1970's by Jim Stafford and David Bellamy, called ``Spiders And Snakes.'' You know, it's downright painful to remember some of those lyrics. Anyway, one of the lines in this song went ``Still looking for something to slip down her dress.'' I just wanted to make clear that that's not where we're going with this entry. It's not that kind of down-the-back.

One thing that probably made it easy for Artie Shaw to get all those divorces in a timely fashion was that he was rather acerbic. Not bitter, just acerbic. And as honest as Molière's misanthrope Alcest. In a word: captious. One thing that would set him off was a toilet paper roll hung so as to unwind down the back. One of his wives was the actress Evelyn Keyes. Years after their divorce, she said ``Every time I change a toilet roll, I think of Artie Shaw.''

Pshawwww... isn't that sweet? No?

Let's retask this entry -- or reorient, let's say. Here's a page dedicated to the pinup girls of YANK, ``a weekly magazine written by and for ordinary soldiers.'' Evelyn Keyes was featured in the March 4, 1944, edition, bikini-clad but looking a bit frowzy. During her first marriage, she had an abortion just before Gone with the Wind was to begin filming in 1939, so she could play Scarlett O'Hara's younger sister Suellen; it left her unable to have children. Wow, the magic of Hollywood! She was married four times. The longest-lasting marriage was to Artie Shaw (1957-1985); none of the others lasted five years. Her first husband was Barton Bainbridge. That sounds like an actor's name, but he seems to be famous only for having been her husband. They were married in 1938 and he died in 1940.

Deposit-Taking Company.



Document Type Definition. Definitions of domain-specific languages within XML or SGML.

Data Terminal Equipment. Equipment that would like to send or receive data, as opposed to DCE, which is just pleased to pass the data along. DTE includes computers, data storage devices, data input and data output devices (dumb terminals, keyboards, printers, mice, tracking balls, speakers and mikes, early-model holodecks, tape and disk drives, CD units, etc.).

Dial Tone First. Payphone type friendlier than CF.

Digital Transmission Facility.

Distance To Fault. In a T-line, typically.

Down The Front. TP jargon.

Direct-To-Home. As in `DTH TV satellite transmission.' Vide DBS and MPS. Here's a nice DTH faq.

Debt-To-Income. As in ``DTI ratio.''

(UK gov't) Department for Trade and Industry.

Digital Trunk Interface.

Defense Technical Information Center.

Diode Transistor Logic. Term actually refers to two distinct logic families.
  1. The earliest ``DTL'' is also (and perhaps more often) simply called ``diode logic.'' It was a discrete-component bipolar logic that succeeded discrete-resistor-based TRL. Discrete-component was made obsolete in the early sixties by the earliest SSI digital chips [i.e. integrated circuits] ...
  2. Another ``DTL'' is an integrated-circuit diode-transistor logic, using somewhat different circuit designs than ``diode logic,'' that succeeded RTL, [note the letter order carefully] which was first generation of integrated-circuit logics.

The basic DTL gate is an input stage, followed by a transistor serving as an inverting amplifier (diode logic) or a slightly more involved transistor circuit accomplishing essentially the same thing [in integrated DTL; the elaborations improve (shrink) power-delay product]. The earliest TTL gate is made by replacing the diode input stage in DTL with a multiple-emitter transistor.

Deutschen Tourenwagen Masters. Roughly, `German stock car championship.' (Formula 3.)

Display Technology and Manufacturing.

Distinguished ToastMaster. The highest level of achievement in the Toastmasters.

[Phone icon]

Dual-Tone MultiFrequency. Touchtones. Each key is represented by a pair of tones, one for the row and one for the column. It's fundamentally designed for a sixteen-key pad, with the following frequency correspondences:
                            Column Frequencies (Hz)

          |            |            |            |             |
          |    1209    |    1336    |    1447    |    1633     |
          |            |            |            |             |
R         |            |            |            |             |
o   697   |      1     |      2     |      3     |      A      |
w         |            |            |            |             |
F         |            |            |            |             |
r   770   |      4     |      5     |      6     |      B      |
e         |            |            |            |             |
q   -----------------------------------------------------------|
u         |            |            |            |             |
e   852   |      7     |      8     |      9     |      C      |
n         |            |            |            |             |
c   -----------------------------------------------------------|
i         |            |            |            |             |
e   941   |      *     |      0     |      #     |      D      |
s         |            |            |            |             |
Thus, for example, pressing ``7'' on your phone keypad causes an 852 Hz signal (row 3) and a 1209 Hz signal (column 1) to be transmitted. Most phones, of course, don't use column 4, but with it, one can conveniently transmit hexadecimal digits (bytes). The A-B-C-D column is a common hidden feature of DAM's. (Example here.)

The frequencies are evidently chosen with somewhat uneven spacing, to satisfy a kind of Diophantine inequality. No first-order harmonics ( |f1 ± f2| ) coincide with a fundamental tone. Neither do any second- or third-order harmonics coincide with a fundamental tone. [This is considerably more robust without the 1633 Hz column: 1633 - ( 697 or 941 ) = ( 936 or 692 ) appears to impose some constraint on discrimination, but the harmonic will also be a relatively weaker signal.]

For more, especially on encoder/decoder chips, see an faq. For some free (FSF) DTMF software, see ftp://ftp.parallaxinc.com/pub/picsrc/dtmf.asm.

Delay-Tolerant Network[ing].

5,5'-DiThiobis (2-NitroBenzoic acid).

Drug Trafficking Organization.

DeskTop Publishing.

DiethyleneTriaminePentaacetic Acid.

Data Terminal Ready. Hayes modemese.

Data {Transfer|Transmission|Transport} System.

Digital {Telemetry|Terrain|Tracking} System.

DownTown South Bend. A booster website for the City of South Bend, Indiana.


(Std.) Deviation in Time To Failure (TTF).

Data Terminal Unit. Countable form of DTE.

DeskTop Video.

Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag. The company is a, and the name means `German Paperback Publisher.' The initialism, always in lower case, serve as a logo and the usual short form of the name (with the German letter names, of course, so it sounds like ``day tay fow'' in English). The use of lower-case initials came into fashion ``recently,'' from my perspective (post-WWII sometime, or whenever the ties [neckwear] were loosened).

Dtv also publishes hardcover books, including atlases.

Digital TeleVision. Here's a page from the FCC.

DeTroit-Wayne County International Airport.

Discontinuous Transmission (TX). Useful in duplex systems like voice communication: since each person typically speaks during less than 40% of the connect time, shutting down transmission during silences saves a factor of two in both bandwidth and energy consumption. Implemented in GSM.

The tricky thing is to detect ``silence'' reliably. The phenomenon of having your phone cut you off (because its ``voice activity detection'' interprets your voice as noise) is called ``clipping.''

In order to assure the listener on the other end that the connection is still live, GSM tries to reproduce a quasinoise matching what would come through if you were transmitting.

Apparently this is already used on intercontinental phone calls.

Depleted Uranium.

Dobson Unit. A unit of the concentration of ozone in the atmosphere, integrated vertically, so it has units of inverse area. (This quantity is a lot like the ``Gummel number'' defined in the charge-control model of a BJT.)
1 DU = 2.7 × 1016 cm2

It was defined so that a concentration of 1 DU corresponds to a depth of ten microns of pure ozone at atmospheric pressure and 0 °C. You can learn a lot more about it in this Ozone Depletion FAQ Part I: Introduction to the Ozone Layer. There's a nice illustration of the concept here.

Dob and Hob are archaic nicknames for Robert. Those two and Rob have all given rise to common surnames, but Bob hasn't.

Ducks Unlimited. A large non-profit organization involved in the preservation of millions of acres of wetland across the United States and Canada.

University of Denver. A private university with a United Methodist affiliation. It began as the Colorado Seminary which opened at 14th and Arapahoe in downtown Denver. This was founded in 1864 by a group headed by territorial governor John Evans (vide infra). [Today DU maintains Meyer-Womble Observatory on Mount Evans (peak at 14,330 feet).] The seminary closed after three years, but was reorganized and reopened in 1880, with Colorado Seminary as the property-owning institution and the University of Denver as the degree-granting institution.

So far as I have been able to determine, from the time that ``University'' was part of its name, the institution was officially the ``University of Denver.'' That is how the school itself is uniformly called today, although ``Denver University'' is occasionally used as the attributive form in subsidiary names. This might sometimes be for reasons of euphony (e.g., Denver University Department of Physics and Astronomy), but in some cases it might be for historical reasons (possibly the case with the Denver University Law Review of the University of Denver College of Law; the law school began classes in 1892).

The earliest instance I have found of the abbreviation D.U. dates back to 1941, but does not appear to reflect any change in the school's name. I guess ``dee yoo'' just sounded better. I'm starting to collect information on these transposed-U abbreviations at this U entry.

The earliest reference I can readily find is the eleventh edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1910, as you know). According to the Denver entry, ``Denver is the seat of the Jesuit college of the Sacred Heart (1888; in the suburbs); and the university of Denver (Methodist, 1889 [sic]).'' The common-noun capitalizations suggest a lax attitude to the distinction between fixed name and variable description; that attitude probably would not have caviled at ``Denver University.''

[Appendix on John Evans: Born in Ohio (March 9, 1814, at Waynesville), he was a physician who practiced in Indiana, became rich investing in railroads, and got into politics in Chicago. There he became friends with Abraham Lincoln, who eventually appointed him governor of the Colorado territory. He was removed from that office in 1865 for his part in the Sand Creek massacre, and in after years dedicated himself to railroad development. He was in on the founding of a number of institutions. He co-founded Indiana's first insane asylum and served as its first superintendent; with Orrington Lunt he founded Northwestern University (in Evanston, Illinois; the Evanston in Wyoming is also named after him). I'm not sure what it is about insane asylums, but they were a popular institution to found in the middle of the nineteenth century. There's one near Ohio's first university, Ohio University (in Athens), that was founded for Civil War vets. Indiana's Evansville, incidentally, was founded in 1812, long before the insane asylum craze. It was named after Robert M. Evans; no relation to John, afaik.]

Directory User Agent. Software that accesses X.500 directory service.

Diffusing Update ALgorithm.

A town in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. There's also a famous fictional Dublin created by James Joyce, that appears to bear some minute similarities to a municipality in Ireland.

Pronunciation in Texan and other languages of the name of the letter w, a form of ``double-yoo.''

Capitalized or not, it's also the political nickname of George W. Bush, distinguishing him from his father George H. W. Bush. In 1994, political neophyte George W. Bush became governor of Texas by defeating incumbent governor Ann Richards, a woman perhaps best known nationally for mocking H.W. when she delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention.

At the change of administrations in 2001, when William Jefferson Clinton was succeeded by dubya, White House staffers removed the W keys from typewriters there. More on dubya at the 86 and dynasty entries. See also U dub.

Downstairs, Under Cover, Keep away from windows. A mnemonic for where to go in case of tornadoes.

Duckworth's. A publisher. By snail:

due at midnight
Due the next morning by the time the office opens, or by the time someone from the office goes to collect checks or books or whatever from the lockbox, usually.

dueling time zones
International conflicts and competition sometimes find expression in time zones. It all gives horology a bad name, as if it didn't already have one. You'll want to know about the two regions that regularly keep time differing by a noninteger multiple of 30 minutes from GMT.

Some years ago, the Nepalese government wanted to buy some fighter planes from the US. When the Indian government got wind of it, they closed the borders with Nepal, effectively laying seige to that country. After the Nepalese ran out of fuel, they relented and cancelled the fighter-plane order. However, they moved their clocks ahead fifteen minutes, so they no longer keep Indian Standard Time (IST = GMT+5:30). Pakistan and Bangladesh, by the way, keep GMT+5 and GMT+6, respectively. Bhutan, east of Nepal (i.e., between Nepal and Bangladesh), keeps the same standard time as Bangladesh.

Perhaps you're wondering, given the level of seriousness of this reference work, whether this is one of the ``serious'' items. You want to know: would the glossarist (I) make something like this up? No. You have my word. Life is stranger than I can imagine -- at least ahead of time.

The Chatham Islands are a bunch of volcanic bumps that rise above the surface of a submarine ridge known as the Chatham Rise. The three principal bumps (not a technical term, afaik) are Chatham, Pitt, and South East Islands. These islands are a remote part of New Zealand. The main islands of New Zealand, like the extreme eastern end of Siberia, keep GMT+12. The Chatham Islands are 800 km east of Christchurch, and actually have longitude more than 180 degrees east of the Prime Meridian. The International Date Line, however, deviates from the 180-degree meridian, so that most of the time it is the same day on the Chatham Islands as on the rest of New Zealand. (A deviation in the opposite direction in northern lattitudes similarly makes the date be the same throughout the Aleutian Islands and the rest of the state of Alaska.)

However, the Chatham Islands keep Chatham Time, which is GMT+12:45. This allows them to claim to be the first inhabited land to greet each new day. For all I know, the chance to make this boast was one of the motives for having a different zone. However, eastern Siberia keeps daylight saving time (as does New Zealand), so during Northern Hemisphere Summer the claim is not true. They should have gone with GMT+13.

Driving Under the Influence. (That the `influence' is that of alcohol is usually implicit; in some jurisdictions driving under the influence of other mind-altering drugs is a distinct crime. Cf. MC.) More common term: DWI.

The RIA publishes summaries of its work, see Drinking, Drugs, and Driving. (Psychology-Today-grade discussion.)

I just saw a web ad that exclaims ``IF YOU HAVENT HAD A DUI YOU ARE PAYING TOO MUCH FOR AUTO INSURANCE.'' So I guesh I should get sloshed right now, careen past a police cruiser, and lower my premiums jush like that. The implications, as they say, are staggering.

Dumb UTP { Multiport repeater | Mini-hub }.

The original dumbbells were training equipment for ringing bells: they were like the bell handles, but since there were no bells attached they were silent -- ``dumb.'' The word has also been used as a synonym for ``stupid person,'' but not because muscleheads are stupid, no sir, no sireee! When weight-training equipment started being made in the form of longer bars with weights attached at the ends, these were called bar-bells and eventually (mostly) barbells by analogy with the earlier word. Subsequently, clubbell and kettlebell have been coined.

dumb down
People say to me ``Alfred -- is it alright if I call you Al? Al -- can you explain this `dumb down' thing to me? I just don't get it. Don't give me any complicated details or anything, just show me the big picture.''

Yes, it's like this: to ``dumb down'' is to simplify.

``Well in that case, why don't they just say `simplify' and leave it at that?''

It sounds like you really do want details after all.

``Yeah, like, whatever. I don't get it.''

The reason you don't get it is that ``simplify'' is a dumbed-down explanation of ``dumb down.'' In fact, to dumb down is more than to simplify; to dumb down is to simplify too much, so that something important is lost, such as the meaning.

Okay, there's some important material that has to go here from a dumbed-down edition of Talcott Parsons's work, but I can't find the book right now. Later on just to show what a big-hearted guy I am, and how I understand about how sometimes there are details that can be left out, I'll quote from Desmond Paul Henry's The De Grammatico of St. Anselm: The Theory of Paronymy (Notre Dame, IN: Un. of Notre Dame Pr., 1964). The second sentence of the fifth chapter runs thus:

However, for the purpose of providing an easily assimilable account of that doctrine,
[sc. that of De grammatico]
the present section attempts an exposition of its central thesis in a simple, informal, manner, underpinned by cross-reference to the matter of previous sections as well as to the ampler details given in section 6; the defects of informal exposition will thus be compensated for by the unitary presentation of much material the interrelationship of which might not otherwise have been apparent.

Get ON with it, man!

(And yes, the comma after informal is sic in the text.)

Okay now, I found that Parsons book. It's called The Evolution of Societies (1977), and it's ``edited and with an introduction by Jackson Toby.'' As it happens, Talcott Parsons never wrote a book by that title. He wrote Societies (1966) and The System of Modern Societies (1971). These were combined and edited (using gasoline-powered shoe-horn and chain saw) into the 1977 book by Toby, who ended his preface with this thought:

Although not an easy task, editing a masterpiece brings its own reward: the satisfaction.
(He says a little more, but I've simplified it.)

``Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler'' is widely attributed to Albert Einstein. A source for the quote is rarely given, even when it is part of a partly sourced quote collection, but I think he actually may have said something like this anyway.

Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass. A neighborhood on the Brooklyn (NY) waterfront.


Demand repayment of debt.

Dial-Up Networking.

Data Universal Number System.

Demands repayment of debt.

Alternating monologues counterfeiting a dialogue.

Democratic Unionist Party. The hard-line unionist (q.v.) party formed by the Rev. Ian Paisley in 1971. It held 20 seats in the first Northern Ireland Assembly; in the elections of 2003 it increased its showing to 30 and became the largest party in that body.

durable goods
Nominally, goods expected to last three years. The volume of durable goods orders is a very rough financial indicator of consumer confidence and of capital investment.

I bought a Munro muffler for my ungaraged Honda, and the shell of it rusted apart in one year. This was not durable or good.

Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. Each major service has its separate DURIP: Army (ARO), Navy (ONR) and Air Force (AFOSR).

A lot of the dust in habitations is flaked-off dried dead skin. So I've read, but I haven't tracked down the scientific studies. That's what I should really be writing about here, but I needed to establish the entry because it's the obvious place to go off on a ``tangent'' about Mars.

No skin yet, but Mars is dusty too. D. Crisp, A. Pathare, and R.C. Ewell considered, inter alia, how this would affect photovoltaic (PV) power sources there. [``The performance of gallium arsenide/germanium solar cells at the Martian surface,'' in Acta Astronautica, vol. 54 #2, pp. 83-101 (2004).] According to their theoretical model (validated by data from the Pathfinder Lander), ``[d]ust accumulation reduced the power output by 0.4 to 0.5% [per] Martian day during the first 20 days of the mission, but the power loss rate fell to ~0.1%/day after that. If these power loss rates are typical, solar power provides a viable option for long-lived stations on the Martian surface.'' That analysis, like this paragraph, is very incomplete.

A Martian day is about 1.027 Earth days, so to the accuracy of these estimates, there's little point in distinguishing between Martian and Earth days. Now, 20 days of 0.4% and 0.5% power losses add up to 7.7% and 9.5%, respectively. The robot rovers that NASA landed on Mars in January 2004 were reportedly expected to last about three months. Based on a loss rate of 0.1% per day for 70 days, the solar panels should have been operating at 86% and 84% after 90 days. Given that time of day, time of year and panel orientation all have larger effects on power generation, it's evident that dust accumulation was not expected to be the critical factor. It's not surprising that the panels were not fitted with a wiper. However, the rovers were still active two years later, by which time the accumulated dust should have reduced power to about 45% of that under clear conditions.

However, NASA reports that several times, dust devils have blown away dust that had covered the solar panels, restoring their ability to generate electricity. Dust devils on Mars can have wind speeds of as much as 100 mph. The atmosphere on Mars is pretty insubstantial, but not negligible: the atmospheric pressure at the Mars surface is very roughly 0.01 Earth atmospheres, with seasonal variations on the order of 12%. (During the northern-hemisphere summer, Mars is 20% closer to the Sun and more carbon dioxide is sublimated from the northern ice cap than is sublimated from the opposite ice cap during the southern-hemisphere summer, giving a 25% higher atmospheric pressure.)

Device Under Test.

Dutch disease
Economic dislocations that occur when petroleum emerges as a major revenue source in a national economy. (The Netherlands recovered, but in many cases the disease seems to cause permanent damage.)

Dutch foil
Thin foil made of Dutch metal. Its main practical use seems to have been as a cheap imitation of gold foil. For some 1898 experiments described at the alpha rays entry, Ernest Rutherford had Dutch foil available in a thickness of 0.8 micron. (So thin, in fact, that he didn't determine a beta ray penetration depth.) The aluminum foil he had available had a thickness of 5 microns, and in subsequent studies he seemed to standardize on aluminum.

Dutch leaf
Dutch foil.

Dutch metal
An alloy of 11 parts copper and 2 parts zinc (by mass, of course). It's highly malleable; hence Dutch foil.

Dutch treat
We're too polite to define this here, but you might find something useful at this AA entry.

Deep UltraViolet (UV).

Daily Value. It doesn't say ``recommended daily value'' or ``maximum safe daily value,'' now does it? No, it doesn't.

Supersize it!

Debt Value Adjustment.

Department of Veterans Affairs.

Digital Video Broadcast.

DiVinyl Benzene.

The Da Vinci Code. A best-selling mystery novel (40 millions sold world-wide as of mid-2006) and a movie from SONY. (I don't mean ``mystery'' as in ``Eleusian mystery cult,'' I don't think.) It was concocted by Dan Brown from various plot threads that have been kicking around the Mediterranean and Europe for a couple of millennia, such as that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and reproduced. It's a sort of historical fiction or ahistorical fiction. It has received angry condemnation (i.e., free advertising) from Christians and historians.

In May 2006, before the movie was released, a poll concerning DVC was conducted for the Catholic Church in England and Wales by Opinion Research Business (it was the usual hypothetically representative sample -- of 1,005 adults). It found that sixty percent of the adults who had read the book believed there was truth in the suggestion that Jesus had children and that his bloodline survives, compared with 30 per cent of those who have not read it. There doesn't seem to be any way to tell from the poll data whether people inclined to believe the J-line survives aren't also more predisposed to read DVC.

Another finding was that 17% of DVC readers, as opposed to 4% of others, believe that Opus Dei is a murderous sect. This means that fewer than 17% of people surveyed in England and Wales think it's a murderous sect, possibly a lower number than one would find in parts of Spain and France.

Delaware Valley Council of Citizens with Low Vision. A local affiliate of the CCLVI.

Digital { Video | Versatile } Disc. Variously configurable, and used for video and any other kind of digital data; The two expansions of the DVD acronym appear to be treated as equally valid or official.

Read what EET-i reported about DVD industry convergence on specs. As of summer 1996, it looked like disagreement between DVD developers and software (entertainment) industry would delay introduction to 1997. (As of Summer 1998, they were a common alternative to CD-ROM drives on PC's.) The entertainment industry was concerned about piracy. I'm not interested in piracy because even when you steal a copy of the programming, they still have and can rebroadcast it. When it becomes possible to steal programming in a zero-sum kind of way, then there will be a social benefit to piracy. Just imagine that you could somehow siphon off all the BeeGees and Barry Manilow software in the world, and hide it away somewhere so no one could ever pollute the electromagnetic spectrum with them again!

The standard is not even now, fall 1998, completely agreed. Generally, however, DVD are basically CD's: still 120mm diam., 1.2 mm thick, aluminum-and-plastic. The laser wavelength is about 635-650 nm (compared to CDs' 780), pits and lands have 0.4 micron dimensions (cf. 0.83) and data tracks will only be 0.74 microns apart, instead of 1.6 microns. This gives single-layer DVD's a 4.7 Gb capacity, about a factor of seven improvement on CD's.

``Single-layer''? DVD's are actually two-layer stacks of half-height CD's. The lower layer (closer to laser reader) uses a thin, semi-transparent layer of gold instead of the standard thick and opaque layer of aluminum. Thus, by adjustment of beam focus, both layers are readable from one side, for a total of 9.5 Gb storage. (I've also read 8.5; perhaps there is some error-correction overhead, or lower capacity in Au layer?)

DVD's hold a bit more data than BVD's, but they're not as comfortable.

Episodes of the Dick Van Dyke Show are available on DVD.

Driver's Vigilance Device. British term for a train driver's dead man's handle (called DSD), with the added feature of requiring a positive action by the driver every so often to confirm that he's awake.

Digital Video Disk (DVD) Recordable. Recordable by an ordinary user, of course. A DVD that wasn't ever recordable, even at the factory, wouldn't be very useful, although they'd be even less liable to wear out. (As you realize now, ``ROM'' is not Read-Only Memory in the strictest sense.)

Distributed Virtual Environment. A VE you can move around in.

Diane von Furstenberg. A women's fashion brand.

DVI, dvi
DeVice Independent. The language in which the output files of TEX are written, typically with filename extension <.dvi>.

Digital Video Interactive.

Digital Video Interleaved. I wish they'd decide.

Direct Visual Inspection. See VIA.

Digital VoltMeter.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Direct Virtual Memory Access. Cf. DMA.

Digital Video Recorder. A service offered by cable-TV companies.

Deep Vein Thrombosis. Blockage of a deep vein. DVT affects about two million people in the U.S. each year. It can be caused by restriction of movement for long periods, possibly like the conditions in coach class. Hence the alternate name ``economy class syndrome.'' The immobility can cause a blood clot in a vein that breaks off and lodges in the heart or lungs.

Delaware Valley Translators Association. ``[O]rganized as a nonprofit association in the early 1960s by translators working in the Greater Philadelphia area who were affiliated with the American Translators Association. It continues to work closely with the national organization.''

Digital Video Tape Recorder.

Deutsche Volksunion. `German Peoples' Union.' It began in 1971 as an informal group, and was established as a political party in 1987. It was founded, and continues to be financed and run, by the Bavarian millionaire publisher Gerhard Frey. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the DVU is one of the three main ultra-right parties of Germany (all of them small). The other two are the NPD and die Republikaner.

In the 1998 general election, DVU won 1.2% of the vote (the threshold for Bundestag seats is 5%) with particular strength in the former East Germany, with 2.8% of the vote there. It scored a surprising victory (12.7% of the vote) in the April 1998 Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony) state elections. In 2004, the DVU began a non-competition agreement with the NPD, and this first came into play for the state elections in Brandenburg and Saxony. The DVU won 6.1% of the vote in Brandenburg and the NPD won 9.2% in Saxony.

Data Warehouse. A kind of secondary database. What distinguishes a DW from a db that is not a DW is that the DW collects information from multiple, often very different (among themselves) other db's. Normal tasks for a DW include processing the received data to resolve inconsistencies and integrating the data in advance, so a query to the DW is not simply equivalent to multiple queries to its source db's. DW data are usually organized multidimensionally to support on-line analytical processing (OLAP).

Density Wave.

Deutsche Welle. News organization.

Driving While Ability-Impaired. Cf. DWI.

The first US law against driving drunk was passed in 1910. Drunkenness was determined subjectively by the arresting officer. On Dec. 31 (appropriate date), in 1938, the first breath test for car drivers was introduced. It was Dr. R. N. Harger's ``drunkometer,'' first officially introduced in Indianapolis. Indianapolis is the home of a famous speedway. There's an herbal extract called Sobrup that claims to accelerate metabolism of alcohol so blood alcohol levels fall faster and hang-overs are reduced. It can't be any less effective than mints.

Doctors Without Borders. (That links to the US homepage. See MSF for the organization's international homepage.)

Driving While Black. Facetious name for the moving violation on suspicion of which certain drivers are stopped by police. State police patrolling I-95, at least in New Jersey and Maryland that I know of, are particularly notorious for DWB stops. In a NY Times Magazine piece on the practice, in 1999 or so, even black cops in municipal forces complained of the practice.

It is illegal for police to stop an individual vehicle without cause, and DWB is not a legal cause. Many cops feel that they have a nose or experience that gives them a clue that something is up, and if this means they stop more blacks than whites, well, criminality is higher among blacks. This doesn't stand up in court, but if the case comes to trial the officer can claim that the car was being driven erratically. Alternatively, he can claim he stopped the car for a broken tail-light (he can break it on the way back to the patrol car).

Differential or prejudicial law enforcement is a continuing major concern in black communities and for those who represent them, but as a political issue is has lost traction with the general electorate. In the electoral campaign for the Y2K Democratic presidential nomination, ex-NJ-senator and ex-Knicks basketball player Bill Bradley seemed to start out thinking he had a particular strength with black voters, and courted a broad range of black leaders. As his campaign sank, it turned out that he had strength with no particular voting bloc. The candidates -- vice-president Albert Gore, Jr. and Bill Bradley -- held an unusual campaign debate at Harlem's historic Apollo theater, and law enforcement came up. They presented similar anti-discrimination positions, but Gore used the phrase ``driving while black,'' and probably scored a point or two for familiarity with the issue. Using jargon or slang is a way of expressing or demonstrating in-group solidarity, aye mate?

Apparently sometimes the indications have been rather undisguised. Here's a report from The Quotable Musician (NY: Allworth Pr., 2003). The quotation is undated, but Hopkins, who sang the blues, died in 1982.

One night it's two police cars stop me and ask me where I got all my money. Say, ``Where you been stealing?'' I just show them this guitar and tell 'em, ``This makes my living.''           -- Lightnin' Hopkins

Distorted-Wave Born Approximation.

Digital Wireless Communications.

Downtown Westfield (NJ) Corporation.

Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (WDM).

Drinking-Water Equivalent Level. I'll fill in any missing hyphen as soon as I learn what this means.

Dead White European Male[s]. As opposed to the other kind?

Driving While {Impaired | Intoxicated}. The ``impaired'' / ``intoxicated'' distinction is not a purely semantic one. Many (most?) states distinguish two levels of alcohol intoxication on the basis of blood alcohol level. The lower level is then called ``alcohol impairment'' and the higher level ``alcohol intoxication.''

In the apocryphal book Tobit, chapter four, verse fifteen, the KJV translation reads (in the 1611 edition, since editions from the 1640's on excluded the Apocrypha)

Do that to no man which thou hatest: drink not wine to make thee drunken:
neither let drunkenness go with thee in thy journey.

But if you do, journey on over to AllLaw.com and use one of their DWI calculators to determine what kind of sentence you can expect. Of course, YMMV.

Driving While Out-Of-State. Understood to mean, driving where unlikely to return to contest ticket. Nobody uses this acronym yet, AFAIK. You're thinking: ``if I lose my $100-fine case, I'll appeal to a higher court on grounds of DWOOS discrimination.'' Jurisdictions have ways to make appeals inconvenient.

Daisy-Wheel Printer. More obsolete than dandelion wine.

Department for Work and Pensions. (A Whitehall department.)

Department of Water and Power. Should be the same as DWR if hydro is the only power source.

Digital Wave Processor.

Driving While Poor. Not the most common expansion of DWP, but not unknown. On the pattern of DWB.

Defense Waste Processing Facility.

Drinking-Water Priority List.

Department of Water Resources.

Dripping With Sarcasm. The ess occasionally stands for sweat, sex, or sludge, none of which things we have a dedicated entry for yet.

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. An EPA program that allocates funds for water infrastructure improvements to states, in approximate proportion to need. (Approximate in part because no state shall receive less that one percent of available funds. This is quite a distortion: only 50% of the funding can be moved around to account for the different water infrastructure needs of, say, California and Rhode Island.)

DWT, Dwt.
Dead Weight Ton[nage].

Driving While a Teen. On the pattern of DWB.

The first time I took my driver's license exam, I had long hair and the examiner had a military crew cut. I failed to use my turn signals (blinkers) when I parallel-parked. At the end of the exam, he explained that he couldn't fail me for less than two errors. He failed me for not using the turn signals and for ``poor attitude.''

Down With The Clown. Also down wit' de klown. A condition, even an imperative condition, but not an imperative. Hence, ``I'm DWTC'' is accepted usage, but not DWTC! It means `hip,' not `à bas le clown!' See the Juggalo entry to be DTWC and know what clowns are referred to.

Dancing With The Stars. A TV program.

Driving While Under the Influence (of alcohol or other drugs). A variant of DUI that is apparently common only in Wyoming.

Direct Write-on-Wafer. Photo-exposure of a wafer by laser scanning, much as a laser printer prints.

Driving While a Woman. On the pattern of DWB. I didn't make this up myself, see?

Defect unknown/complex. Name originally given to defects which caused persistent photoconductivity (PPC) in GaAs. Now applied to similar defects in both III-V and II-VI compound semiconductors.

A paper by D. J. Chadi and K. J. Chang, [Phys. Rev. Lett. 61, 873 (1988)] gave the interpretation of PPC and the microscopic nature of the DX center that has come to be widely accepted. Basically, a DX center is a large deformation associated with a negatively charged substitutional impurity. [More later, if I should happen to get it straight in my mind.]

DX, Dx
Diagnosis. Medical abbreviation. Other common abbreviations of the same form: Fx (fracture), Hx (history), Rx (prescription), SX (symptoms), TX (treatment).

Explanation of abbreviation at Rx.

Distance long. Used as a name for long-distance (typically amateur) radio communication.

DupleX. Communication mode, not house type.

[Phone icon]

Digital Cross-Connect. A telephone-traffic routing system. In addition to routing individual traffic, this digitally implements resource reallocation on longer (hour, day, week) time scales. Also called DCC, DCS, DSX.

Data eXchange Interface. As in ATM-DXI.


Double crystal X-Ray Diffractomet{ er | ry }. (I guess that's the expansion, but X can stand for crystal.)

Deep X-Ray Lithography.

Dysprosium. Atomic number 66. A Lanthanide (rare earth: RE). Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Yet another of the elements whose names all mean ``hard to obtain.'' Chemists are just a bunch of whiners.

How the HP logo (hp) appears on the back of an HP laptop, from the perspective of the user opening it.

In a grave injustice, this word has been snubbed by all three major Scrabble dictionaries. As you are doubtless aware, this word describes, well, something to do with R. Buckminster Fuller. Here: according to the OED2,
In a private communication (July 1969) Mr. Buckminster Fuller said that the word was coined for him in 1929 by his business associates as a `word-portrait' of him and his work. They were concerned to form a euphonious word of four syllables based on words that occurred in Fuller's own description of his prototype (Dymaxion) house, viz. dy(namism), max(imum), and ion.

Contrarily, the OED2 claims that it's an adjective meaning ``doing the most with the least'' -- getting the greatest possible efficiency within the constraints of existing technology. Nah. It just means ``creative and cool.''

Twice in US history (1824, 2000), the son of a president has been elected president himself.
    In both cases, the fathers (John Adams, George Herbert Walker Bush)
  1. served as ambassadors to a major foreign country (England, China)
  2. before serving as vice president
  3. during the two terms of a popular president (George Washington, Ronald Reagan)
  4. who had guided the country to victory in a major war on whose result the very existence of the country had hung (Revolutionary War, Cold War).
  5. The fathers, members of the more conservative political party (Federalists, Republicans),
  6. ran for president immediately after serving as vice president and defeated the Democratic Party candidate.
  7. They each served a single term.
  8. Regarded as aloof from the people, and
  9. criticized for increasing taxes, they ran against men with the name Jefferson (Thomas Jefferson, William Jefferson Clinton)
  10. and lost their bids for a second term.
  11. The men who defeated them each served two terms,
  12. and each was remembered at the end of the twentieth century for having had an extended nonmarital sexual relationship
  13. with a much younger, unmarried woman who worked for him in a relatively low-status position.
  14. That relationship was long and sometimes angrily, though carefully, denied,
  15. but was eventually confirmed by means of DNA analysis.
  16. The defeated presidents' eldest sons,
  17. bearing the father's first name but distinguished by middle name (Quincy, dubya),
  18. and whose only legitimate offspring were daughters,
  19. each had some personal connection with Florida (Quincy negotiated its purchase from Spain in 1819, dubya's brother was governor of the state).
  20. The sons ran against former senators from Tennessee (Andrew Jackson, Albert Gore).
  21. The sons' opponents made reduction of the national debt part of their platforms, a position more usually associated with the fathers' political parties,
  22. and were successful in reducing the national debt.
  23. The sons' opponents were men associated with wood (``Old Hickory,'' wooden Al Gore) and
  24. were war veterans (Revolutionary War and War of 1812, Vietnam War),
  25. while the sons themselves had been on government service elsewhere during the major wars of their generations (Adams in Europe as a diplomat, Bush in the Texas National Guard and AWOL from the Georgia National Guard).
  26. In the elections, the sons lost the popular vote
  27. but won the presidency due to vagaries of the electoral college system.
  28. Both sons were opposed to slavery.
The End.

Do Your Own Homework!

Variant spelling of dipsomaniac. Not attested in any dictionaries I can access electronically just now, and representing less than 2% of dipsomanic hits in a web search, but not unknown. I noticed it in J.P. Marquand's B.F.'s Daughter (bibliographic details at the BF entry), in chapter 13. Now that you know how to spell it, you can look it up.

Dyslexic Occultist
Sold his soul to Santa. Cf. Nick. If you're in the mood, you'll want to receive more punnishment by reading the next entry.


Dyslexic Theologian
Ponders the nature of Dog. For more off-beat metaphysics, look into Revealed Tea.

At the end of The Clouds by Aristophanes, the penitent Strepsiades asks a statue of Hermes for advice. In the 1962 edition of William Arrowsmith's translation, the stage direction reads:

He puts his ear close to the dog's mouth as though listening to whispered advice.

The Dogster website uses the motto ``for the love of dog.'' For more lighthearted metathesis-based jokes (witch doctors of PC will re-guard as mien-spirited attacks on dis lexics), see the preceding entry and agnostic dyslexic insomniac. (We also have a haphazard list of homonyms at the ANK entry. But we don't joke about homonym spelling errors because of um -- kinda close to home, you know -- there but for the grace of God go I. Hey wait a second. Over there, fifth row, second from the left -- that is me! A lot of good all that grace did! I shoulda fed the dog better instead of tithing. Ahem. If you actually want to do something for the dyslexic, see RFB&D.)

(Domain name code for) Algeria. Doesn't sound very mnemonic to me. A former Department of France.

African Studies Center (at the University of Pennsylvania) offers a resource page. The Norwegian Council for Africa (NCA) has a Algeria page.

A State Department travel advisory issued June 16, 1998 says basically don't go, it's dangerous.

I'm not sure I'd put much faith in the CIA map of Algeria; it shows Gibraltar as an Andalusian city.

Dizygotic Twins. (``Fraternal'' twins: embryos, and individuals, arising from two different fertilized eggs that happen to be gestating simultaneously in the womb.) Cf. MZT.

DEC terminal server type 200.

Third-generation channel bank: 24 voice channels on a T1 line.

Third-generation channel bank: handles 48 voice channels on two T1 lines or one T-1C.

d4T, D4T
An NRTI used to treat AIDS. The registered trademark is Zerit, and stavudine (Stavudin in German) is the generic name. I don't know what the code stands for, but since it's an NRTI I assume T stands for the nucleic-acid base thymine.

The Developing 8. A group of large (i.e., populous) countries that don't have large (i.e., prosperous) economies, except for hydrocarbon fuel production (Indonesia, Iran, and Nigeria). Here are the 8 D-8 members, in increasing order of population (given in millions), from the International Data Base of the US Census Bureau website. Don't blink, the numbers change.
  1. Malaysia. (Forty-sixth most populous country in the world, as of 2006. A neighbor of Indonesia.)
  2. Iran. (You thought it was only 40 million? Dream on, baby. That was 1980.)
  3. Turkey.
  4. Egypt.
  5. Nigeria.
  6. Bangladesh.
  7. Pakistan.
  8. Indonesia. (Fourth most populous country in 2006, after China, India, and the US.)

You wonder why Brazil (pop. 188 million, fifth most populous country in the world), Russia (143M, #8), Mexico (107M, #11), Philippines (89M, #12), and Vietnam (84M, #13) are not part of D-8. If you rank countries by their populations of Muslims, then for the top eight you get the D-8 minus Malaysia and plus India. So obviously the selection principle has nothing to do with religious confession. Indeed, D-8 official announcements don't claim it does. It's just an impenetrable mystery.

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