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F f

Degrees Fahrenheit. There are nine Fahrenheit degrees to every five Celsius degrees (cf. °C), so Fahrenheit temperature measurements to the same ``decimal place'' are almost twice as precise.

Absolute temperature, measured in Fahrenheit degrees, is the Rankine scale. The globalizing bulldozer of standardization ruthlessly crushes the fragile flower of mensuration diversity. Visit our memorial entry for an extinguished victim of this remorseless social Darwinism: °R.

To determine the temperature Fahrenheit from cricket chirping, divide the number of chirps per minute by four and add forty. This is according to Polly's Ghost, a novel by Abby Frucht. Apparently crickets don't chirp at temperatures below 40°F. Or maybe they chirp in reverse. At 55°F they should be chirping at 1 Hz. If we were serious about precision, we'd measure temperature in chirps per minute instead of Fahrenheit degrees (never mind Celsius.)

I should probably mention that Fahrenheit didn't just fool with choosing among essentially equivalent schemes for designating temperatures. His major contribution to thermometry was overcoming technical obstacles to developing a good mercury (Hg) thermometer. His mercury thermometer was substantially more accurate than existing alcohol thermometers. He took into account the effects of glass expansion (and discovered that different kinds of glass had fractionally different expansion coefficients). He also discovered that the boiling point of water depends on pressure.

Nevertheless, the intriguing, almost enigmatic question about Fahrenheit is: how did he come up with numbers like 32 and 212 for the freezing and boiling temperatures of water? For a long time, this question was essentially unanswerable, but with the publication of some old scientific correspondence the answer has become clear. Basically, the numbers arose almost accidentally. The main consideration seems always to have been to preserve comparability between earlier scales and new ones. The boiling point of water was never a calibration point for Fahrenheit, and the nonzero freezing point (I think it was 8 before he multiplied all temperatures by four) was inherited from an earlier scheme. That earlier scheme was used for recording atmospheric temperatures, and the freezing point was assigned a positive number so there would be no need to record negative temperature values. As you can see, I'm away from my references. I'll return and fix things up later.

When Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was elected a foreign Fellow of the Royal Society, he contributed a paper on thermometers (written in Latin). The paper was a bit unclear on his points of calibration. He mentioned three points, the lowest one being defined in terms of a brine solution. It has been suggested that Fahrenheit was purposely unclear to protect the trade secrets of his instrument-making business, but this isn't really plausible as an explanation for calibration points. Instead, it seems that two of what have been regarded as his ``calibration points'' were simply given so his audience would have some idea of the range of his scale.

The meaning of Fahrenheit's name is given at the Fahrvergnügen entry. It's not especially deutlich.

Federal Reporter. US legal journal. Now numbering in its third series -- F.3d.

Fighter. Prefix on military plane designations. You'll never guess what B- and FB- stand for. Longer list at USN entry.

Flash. A key on an AUTOVON phone, q.v.

Symbol for the chemical element Fluorine, at atomic number 9 the lightest halogen. The stable form at room temperature is molecular: F2. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

This page cooly examines some of the evidence concerning the effectiveness of fluoride in preventing cavities.

Here is how General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) explained his actions to Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) in Dr. Strangelove:

I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy, to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
I'm not sure exactly what that was about, and Ripper is no longer around to tell us, but I figured this was a good place to mention it.

f, f., f
... and page following. [Double eff if more than one following page.] Abbreviation in book indices and references.

Fortran filename extension common in Unix.

A programming language based on Fortran 90. The basic idea is that Fortran 90 (as well as Fortran 95) maintains backward compatibility to run programs written for compilers going back at least to FORTRAN 66. This makes for large compilers, and allows or leads to programming practice that is now considered uncouth (although it works dammit!). F is a true subset of Fortran 90 and Fortran 95, but it's missing all the good old stuff.

Forward. Basketball position. We don't have much to say about PF or SF either.

Foxtrot. 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).

The problem here is that the foxtrot is dated. Try ``Fandango.''

Even on the best phones, ``eff'' sounds almost indistinguishable from ``ess.'' Most people just use ``Sam'' and ``Frank'' to distinguish these. You can try ``Foxtrot'' and ``Sierra,'' but people will just become confused, so if you're really not going to use the standard Sam and Frank, then you get more mileage from the SBF recommendations (Fandango and Succotash) than from the boring old FCC recommendations.

When I ordered my X-server from Xi Graphics, the guy who took my order actually asked me to spell my first name. I was so stunned that I just said ``Ay El Eff Arr Ee Dee.'' Sure enough, the package came addressed to Alsred. I mean, I know it's becoming an unusual name and all, but really! (When I was in graduate school and everyone was foreign, I once introduced myself to someone with ``I'm Al'' and he replied ``How do you spell that''? It's even an entry in this glossary.)

Update on Fandango and Foxtrot: maybe Foxtrot will come back. Alicia just wrote saying that she needed a new activity now that summer sailing is coming to an end, -- maybe she'll take up Swing Dancing. And the New York Times had an article on same.

Of course, Foxtrot is the name of a comic strip. I wonder if the late Charles Schulz got kickbacks from the peanut farmers for not changing his strip's name to Macadamia Nuts or something. It could have been quite a racket. Too bad he didn't get to name his own strip.

(In addition to the syndicate's address above, the peanuts site can be reached at <http://www.snoopy.com/>.)

Frequency. In most of the hard sciences and engineering, the word frequency is reserved for various kinds of event rate, essentially measured in units of inverse time -- Hz, rpm, etc. The deviations from this usage, typically marked by some modifier, generally preserve the notion of rate. Thus, the inverse of the wavelength is sometimes called a spatial frequency, and the angular frequency is the frequency with which a unit (one radian) of angle is turned.

These standard examples concern counts or events per unit of a continuous variable (typically time or distance) [and each describes an intrinsic rather than extrinsic quantity in the sense these words have in thermodynamics]. High values of these frequencies do manifest the conventional notion expressed by the term ``frequent'' in ordinary language, and carry the sense that distinguishes ``frequent'' from ``a lot'' (at one time or infrequently).

A further technical generalization is frequency as number of occurrences per sample. This preserves the conventional notion of frequency as count of events per unit of something else, but the something else is discrete, and these frequencies are given in essentially dimensionless units (like errors per bin). This usage is appropriate and more-or-less natural in some parts of biology and in most of the social sciences, and is the standard usage in statistics, but a physical scientist has to keep the difference in mind when reading statistical literature: statistical ``frequency'' can mean number (N).

Ratio of variances. The basis of the F-test, one of the most basic tests in ANOVA.

Factory Automation.

Failure Analysis. Often available free; price reflects value.

Famous Artists. Read all about the Famous Artists School incident suffered by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert.

Field Artillery.

Flight Attendant[s]. Airline stewardesses -- and stewards, I suppose, but I have the impression the FA term was introduced around the time that there began to be male flight attendants, possibly to avoid the term ``airline steward'' altogether. That goes for the US; other countries, including other Anglophone countries, may follow other patterns. British Airways had ``stewards'' as well as ``stewardesses'' in 1990 (and maybe before and maybe after, but 1990 was the sample point). Cf. azafata for Spanish and Flugbegleiter for German.

Focus Assistant. University staff responsible for advancing the designated focus of a house (university residence). Cf. ATA, ETA.

``Football'' (i.e. soccer) Association. Cf. FIFA.

In England, the FA is the senior administrative body of English soccer. There is also a Football League, which until the start of the 1992 season represented teams at all levels of professional play. I'm not sure exactly how responsibilities were, or were not, divided. The league was subordinate in principle, but represented a different set of interests. In the last years of this arrangement, there was an increasing feeling within the FA that the interests of the Football League were in conflict with those of the top teams and, therefore, those of the England team. (The FL, dominated by the larger number of lower-division teams, preferred more and weaker top teams, and more games between teams in the top and lower divisions.)

In 1958, the north and south divisions of English soccer's Third Division were joined and redivided to produce a system of four ranked divisions. In 1991, the FA decided to take the First Division out of the FL and create a special Premier League (eventually also called the Premiership) for those teams starting in the 1992-3 season. After serious contention, threats of legal action, and some compromises on detail, this plan took effect. By agreement, at the end of the 1994-5 season the Premier League was winnowed from its original 22 teams to 20 (by four relegations and two promotions). (Also starting in 1992, the earlier Second, Third, and Fourth Divisions of the FL became First, Second, and Third Divisions when the original First left to form its own league.)

In May 1996, the Nationwide Building Society replaced Endsleigh Insurance as the FL's sponsor, and the FL was frequently referred to as the Nationwide League (and less often as the Nationwide Football League). Over the Summer in 2004, to widespread cynicism (well, it's England, isn't it?), the old Divisions One, Two, and Three were renamed The Championship, League One, and League Two, respectively for the start of the '04-05 season. Coca-Cola took over sponsorship, but ``Coca-Cola League'' doesn't seem to be a very catching name.

Fuel-Air (ratio). See the AF entry. All comments there apply.

Federal Aviation (flight) Administration. There's an FAA Research Group (``Applying current theory in the area of Human Factors and Ergonomics to improve the task structure, environment and training facilities used in aviation maintenance'') at UB.

IBM-owned trademark. This is rich.

Fuerza Aérea Argentina. `Argentine Air Force.' I just happened to visit their website in December 2005, and the homepage is dominated by a soft-focus heavenly picture with these words: ``A nuestros héroes de Malvinas, a los que nos dejaron y a los que están entre nosotros.'' [`To our heroes of Falklands, those who left us and those in our midst.'] The Argentine air force emerged from the Falklands war as the least embarrassed branch of the services. Also, the air force had a smaller part in the (earlier) Dirty War (the war against the leftist insurgency) than the army, navy, federal police, provincial police, and federal penitentiary service.

One common way in which some thousands of the disappeared were disposed of was by dropping them (many alive, usually drugged; some with their bellies slit; a few previously dead) into the middle of the Atlantic. But the drops were apparently from naval aircraft.

French Association for American Studies, more often abbreviated AFEA, q.v.

A common way to write fab that puts one's mortal soul in peril.

fab, fab line, wafer fab
FABrication [facility]. Factory for or the process of making chips. Harris Semiconductor offers a description of the process.

As of 2001, there are almost forty 12-in. wafer fabs in the world, about two thirds of these in the Asia Pacific region -- predominantly Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.


Fab four
The fabulous four Liverpudlians: John, Paul, George and Ringo.

The band name The Beatles was chosen partly in allusion to The Crickets, the name of Buddy Holly's band, and partly in reference to beat -- whether musical or poetic (as in beatnik) or both I'm not sure. (More on this at the R.E.M. entry.)

Ringo Starr was originally named Richard Starkey. He married Barbara Bach, who was originally named Barbara Goldbach. I guess Starkey is his ``real name'' -- his kids (by first wife Maureen) use the last name Starkey.

Flexion, ABduction, and External Rotation Test of the hip.


Fatty-Acid Binding Protein.


fabula docet
Loosely translated, `stories teach.' Strictly translated, they don't. Okay -- strictly, the Latin fabula is singular: `a story, the story, story.' The notion is best expressed in English using the plural, or else as something like `fiction teaches.'

Of course, it might not teach the truth. (Cf. experientia docet.) Also, for something interesting on the subsequent sense development of fabula, see the discussion of hablar in the Spanish entry.

Forward Air Controller. ``Forward'' means closer to the target.

French American Center for the Arts.

Celebrating the great love of the French for American Art? Yes! And it was just a wild (I mean wild) guess! Anyway, it's the half of it.

From Paris Voice (``the magazine for English-speaking Parisians'') June 2001:

A new American institution devoted to cultural exchanges between the US and France opens its doors this month at the Espace Pierre Cardin on place de la concorde. With the death of the former American Center still on many Paris expats' minds, some people wonder if things will be different this time.''

Federal Advisory Committee Act. According to this document,
Congress enacted the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) to control the growth and operation of the "numerous committees, boards, commissions, councils, and similar groups which have been established to advise officers and agencies in the executive branch of the Federal Government" (5 U.S.C. App. 2 § 2(a)). An "advisory committee" is defined as "any committee, board, commission, council, conference, panel, task force, or other similar group, or any subcommittee or other subgroup thereof" that is "established or utilized" by the President or an agency "in the interest of obtaining advice or recommendations for the President or one or more agencies or officers of the Federal Government" (5 U.S.C. App. 2 § 3(2)).

FACA places a number of procedural restrictions on bodies that constitute "advisory committees." Every advisory committee must file a charter (5 U.S.C. App. 2 §§ 9(c), 10(a)(2)); its meetings must be open to the public (id. § 10(a)(1)); it must keep "[d]etailed minutes" of its meetings (id. § 10(c)); and it must generally permit "[i]nterested persons . . . to attend, appear before, or file statements" with it (id. § 10(a)(3)), unless a decision is made to close the meeting (id. § 10(d)). In addition to governing how the group functions, FACA also requires an advisory committee to make publicly available "the records, reports, transcripts, minutes, appendixes, working papers, drafts, studies, agenda, or other documents which were made available to or prepared for or by [the] advisory committee" (id. § 10(b)). This obligation exists only "until the advisory committee ceases to exist" and is no longer subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

FACA also imposes a number of requirements on federal officials regarding creation and use of advisory committees. A committee must specifically be authorized (either by statute or by the President), or be determined by an agency head to be in the public interest (id. § 9(a)); it must be "fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed" (id. § 5(b)(2)); and precautions must be taken to assure that an advisory committee is not "inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority or by any special interest" (id. § 5(b)(3)).

FACA is generally regarded as a hindrance to agencies' efforts to obtain information from the scientific community and stakeholders. Several survey participants argued that it should be amended to specifically exclude ad hoc agency efforts to obtain information from the public, state or local authorities, and scientists. They maintained that FACA should be limited to situations where an agency seeks the opinion of an advisory committee as an authoritative, expert source, consistent with the original intent of Congress.

Foundation for ACCounTability. An O that monitors how well HMO's manage the M of their subscribers' H.

Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances. A US law passed in 1994, motivated by actions against clinics and physicians that provide abortion services. According to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources Committee Analysis dated July 29, 1993 (Senate Report 117), from 1977 and to April 1993 there were over 6,000 blockades of clinic entrances, 131 death threats, 327 clinic invasions, 84 assaults, 71 chemical attacks, 36 bombings, 81 arsons, two kidnappings, and one murder. (In such statistics, one can expect the larger numbers of broadly less serious crimes to be undercounts.)

Mnemonic for the notes in the spaces between the lines of the treble clef. Also mnemonic for the lines below the treble clef, ending in E, which is part of the EGBDF mnemonic.

Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Described by the ACHE as the ``Pinnacle of Achievement.'' Good job, fella!

Fellow of the American College of Certified Medical Practice Executives.

Firmware ACPI Control Structure.

Just the FACS, ma'am. We'll handle the power management.

Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorter.

Faculty Access to Computing Technology at SUNY.

Fairchild Advanced CMOS Transistor logic. Registered trademark held by National Semiconductor since they bought Fairchild Semiconductor.

Fatal Alcohol Crash Team. Crash-test dummies out on the town? Not quite: FACT is a kind of police forensics unit.

For your convenience, we have strategically scattered information about nonmultiplicative factors to other entries. See, in particular, the decisive-factor entry and the discussion of Joseph Black. For kicks, you could visit the adder entry as well.

Fairchild Advanced CMOS Transistor logic with controlled slew rate and other anti-bounce features. Registered trademark held by National Semiconductor since they bought Fairchild.

FORTRAN Analytical Cross-reference Tabulation System.

Fondos de Ayuda al Desarrollo. Spanish, `Development Assistance Funds.'

Fixed ACPI Description Table.

Field-Application Engineer[s].

Forced-Air Electric heating. See the HWO entry for nonusage information.

Free Application for Federal (post-secondary) Student Aid. A form submitted to the Department of Education (DoE), giving information on a student's (or at first a prospective student's) resources (and a dependent student's family's resources), on the basis of which ``need'' is determined. The result of the need analysis is in a ``Student Aid Report'' (SAR) sent to a student or the similar report (Institutional Student Information Report -- ISIR) sent to educational institutions the student selects to have it sent to.

The ``Free'' does make it sound commercial, doesn't it? Maybe if they charged a hundred dollars a pop, they could turn it into a lottery and one out of every thousand applicants would get a four-year free ride.

Forced-Air natural Gas heating. See the HWO entry for nonusage information.

Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry.

fag hag
A straight female friend of a gay man. According to the My Perspective feature by Heather Matarazzo (entitled ``Who you callin' a fag hag?'') in the March 29, 2005 Advocate, you can't be a fag hag if you're lesbian, but if you're a straight female who hangs out more than once a week with a gay male friend, then you are one. She dislikes the term. A joke based on the term is mentioned at the entry for The World Unclaimed.

A German adjective meaning `pale.' There is some semantic overlap with the English word `sallow,' but bleich is closer in sense. It would be interesting to know how languages of much sunnier areas handle this.

The association between paleness and ill-health of some sort has some generality. The word fahl is derived from an OHG word falo, and the cognate English word now spelled fallow originally also meant `pale,' but pale relative to red: pale brown or reddish yellow, like withered grass. If a field is not replanted after the fruit is harvested, then it may well appear fallow in this sense the following season, hence the modern sense of fallow or ``to lie fallow.'' In the case of vegetation, perhaps a certain element of ill-health or non-vibrancy was understood. The old sense, with no imputation of ill-health, survives in the common name fallow deer for a species of deer lighter-colored than the red deer. The words fahl and fallow are cognate with the Greek poliós (`gray'; cf. polio) and Lithuanian palvas (`pale yellow'). The Latin pallidus, `pale,' definitely implied that the paleness was due to sickness or emotional stress (in contexts where such implication made sense). The English word pale is derived from this Latin word via Norman French; the English word pallid was borrowed directly from Latin in the fifteenth century. The English word pallor also comes from Norman French, unchanged in spelling or meaning from the classical Latin pallor, a noun based on the verb pallere (the same verb that the adjective pallidus was based on). There are other connections with less-common words; one worth mentioning in this entry is fahl, used by geologists as a synonym for Fahlerz, q.v..

A German noun literally meaning `pale ore.' The term is used specifically for certain kinds of copper ore. English-speaking geologists, mineralogists, and miners use either the German name, the half-translation ``fahl ore,'' or just ``fahl.'' An older name is ``gray copper ore.''

Fahl ore is sometimes defined simply as tetrahedrite. You may think this is of little help to you, but it's not of much help to me either. For unfortunately good reason, mineral terminology is sloppy in places. A single term will be used for a particular allomorph of a single well-defined compound, and it will also be used for what one finds in reality, which is typically an approximation. For example, tetrahedrite in the narrowest sense is a copper mineral with a pyrite structure and a composition Cu12Sb4S13. What one finds by digging, and what a name is needed for, is usually a mix. A fraction (up to one sixth) of the copper (Cu) sites in the crystal are occupied by iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), silver (Ag), and zinc (Zn) atoms. In addition, the antimony (Sb) may be replaced by arsenic (As). The pure mineral corresponding to tetrahedrite is tennantite: Cu12As4S13. The two are hard to tell apart by physical properties and appearance. In nature, deposits of tetrahedrite and tennantite are not homogeneous: different parts contain different concentrations of the various substituents, and vary in color.

In addition to the usual looseness of mineralogical terminology, the term fahl often has the burden of being used to indicate not so much a mineral but a geological situation. Specifically, fahl occurs where typically sulfidic copper minerals become exposed to the air and percolating water. They oxidize to form a mix of oxides, hydroxides, and hydroxy-carbonates (particularly azurite and malachite). The metals in these minerals are dissolved by ground water, trickle down, and recombine with sulfur to form a messy mix of minerals such as chalcolite (Cu2S) and tetrahedrite.

The mechanism of the previous paragraph describes only one of the ways that tetrahedrite can form, but it is a mechanism of great archaeological importance. The copper minerals on the surface can be reduced by aqueous surface solutions to produce native copper. It is reasonably speculated that the association of the native metal with this ore was a critical clue led to neolithic man to invent copper smelting. The tetrahedrite below accumulates in easy-to-mine clayey deposits. (After all, pickaxes were not initially available.) Archaeologists understand Fahlerz in the sense of this specific kind of clayey copper ore.

Fully-Automatic High-Quality Translation. We're talkin' machine translation (MT) here, natural-language processing (NLP) rather than natural language processing.

Fahrvergnuegen, Fahrvergnügen
German word meaning `driving pleasure' popularized in the US by a VW advertising campaign in the 1980's. The idea was to suggest that the quality of VW design and manufacture gave VW cars something that, if not quite ineffable, was not easily expressed in English (and presumably, by implication, not available from American or Japanese car makers).

In German class in junior high school, we were taught to say ``Viel Vergnügen beim Tanz'' (loosely, `dancing with you was a pleasure') to our partners after a turn on the floor, but we weren't taught to dance, so the phrase would probably never have been true. The morpheme fahr in the headword is from the the verb fahren, `to drive.' ``Sie fahrt'' means `she drives' and sounds like a Bostonian saying ``zee fart,'' but after a while even seventh-graders tire of this joke.

German also has a verb reiten, `to ride.' The difference between driving and riding in English is not entirely clear-cut. To ride suggests something more passive to drive. To ride is to be conveyed, probably as a passenger. There are exceptions, however, and some are useful. In particular, a man driving a horse-drawn carriage and a man riding a horse are both driving a horse in some sense of that word, but consistently using the verb ride in the one of those two instances where it is applicable allows us to indicate that the carriage-rider is not riding the horse, even though the verb we use in the case (drive) is nonspecific. Similarly in German, to ride a horse is ``ein Pferd reiten,'' while to drive a horse is ``ein Pferd fahren.'' (Of course, when the horse has two riders, one might well be a nondriver. If you want to give that horse bamboo spine, I'm not going to abet you lexicographically.) In English, perhaps by analogy with horseback riding, we use the terms ``bike riding'' and ``motorcycle riding.'' The respective German terms use fahren: ``Fahrrad fahren'' and ``Motorrad fahren.''

A disk drive is ``ein Diskettenlaufwerk.'' The verb laufen means `to run.' (Die Platte is also used for `the disk,' as part of compounds like die Magnetplatte, but das Plattenlaufwerk is even rarer than das Disklaufwerk.)

Fahrenheit is a name that was given to people from Fahrenhaupt (in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). The place name Fahrenhaupt seems like it ought to mean `main drive.' The most famous Fahrenheit, of course, is Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit. In the middle of the seventeenth century his family moved from Königsberg (then the capital of East Prussia, now Kaliningrad in Russia) to the Polish port of Gdansk (Gdańsk in Polish). There he was born in 1686. Since his family was German, and perhaps since Gdansk was from time to time under Teutonic Knight, Prussian, and German control, German references describe him as German. I don't know if the Poles claim him. His parents died suddenly in 1701, and his guardian sent him to apprentice in Amsterdam. He made his career in the Netherlands and died in The Hague in 1736, so the Dutch consider him Dutch. It reminds me of Einstein's repeated quip about what nationalities he would be assigned, depending on whether his theories proved true or false.

I'm also reminded of Handel. Georg Friederich Händel was born in Halle (in Saxony -- a German, um, Land), the son of a barber-surgeon (that was a common career combination, back then). In 1710 he was appointed Kapellmeister to George Louis, the elector of Hanover and the future King George I of England. That year Haendel (this spelling was used too) preceded his patron to England and found favor in Queen Anne's court. His warm reception in London made him reluctant to return to Hanover; Anne's death in 1714 and the crowning of George as King of England made the return unnecessary. From 1715 his name was George Frideric Handel, and in 1726 he became a British subject. In 1741 he wrote his Messiah, probably the most famous of all oratorios, whatever those are. He also wrote something called Music for the Royal Fireworks (1759). I've never heard it, but I bet it would make a great B side to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Handel died in 1759 in London. So the British have good cause to call him a ``German-born English composer.'' I believe the general unofficial view in Germany is that he was a German composer, but that England never produced any good composers of its own so they adopted him. Something similar, though to lesser degree, seems to have happened with Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847). It's surprising I haven't mentioned somewhere how much Samuel (Erewhon) Butler despised Felix Mendelssohn's music. (He considered it repetitive.)

Fédération Aéronautique Internationale -- The World Air Sports Federation. (The organization seems to like describing itself with this bilingual name. Who are we to argue?) Founded in 1905.

Football Association of Ireland. That's soccer (``association football''), as opposed to North American football (collision football) or rugby (um, adhesion football?).

Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Federación Argentina de Iglesias Evangélicas. `Argentine Federation of of Evangelical Churches.' Evangelical means 'Protestant' in this case. For example: the 26 member churches in February 2004 include a Congregational, a Lutheran, a Methodist, and a Reformed church, the Salvation Army, a couple each Menonite and Presbyterian churches (including Iglesia Presbiteriana De Taiwán En Argentina), and half a dozen Pentecostal. The rest are mostly harder to classify, but the tendency is evidently, as with Iglesia Discípulos De Cristo, toward what are called Evangelical churches in the US.

Before you get too involved in studying the history of Protestant churches in Argentina, you should note some quantitative facts: at the beginning of the twenty-first century, 92% of the population of Argentina is counted Roman Catholic, and 2% belongs to a Protestant denomination (including some, like the Baptist and Anglican, that don't belong to FAIE) . (Also about 0.7% Jewish, see DAIA.)

Glazed thick earthenware pottery, especially if it's glazed in opaque colors. Oh.

Fine. Now what I want to know is, why did this word just pop into my head? Isn't it too late to be going mad?

Pronounced like French faïence (even spelled that way if you like), it takes its name from the Italian town of Faenza.

FAIK, faik
For All I Know.

Guaranteed to fail in a way completely unforeseen by the designers.

A rock band. They've got a mailing list (generic link). Read the archives. To subscribe to the mailing list, send the one-line message
SUBSCRIBE FAILURE Firstname M. I. Lastname
to <listproc@u.washington.edu>

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. A rich site; visit for some news reporting that respects your intelligence. I wrote the previous sentence before buying an issue of Extra!, its unbelievably stupid magazine. I went back to check to see What was I thinking!?, but the site has moved, and neither its previous nor current location is responding.

``FAIR is the national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship. FAIR seeks to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press. FAIR scrutinizes media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.

Ultimately, FAIR believes that structural reform is needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong, non-profit, alternative sources of information.''

Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.

Established in 1978 as a ``national, membership-based, educational organization ... working to help the American public convince Congress that our nation's immigration laws must be reformed.''

Whether you agree or disagree, you have to admire that lovely sentiment --

``working to help the American public convince Congress.''
It's not an advocacy group, see? It's a public-spirited group that simply wants to help Congress hear its constituents' message! They're not pushing their platform, they're advancing America's platform!

Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights.

An organization that sued to keep US military recruiters off US campuses, on the grounds that because of the don't-ask-don't-tell policy, granting access to military recruiters is tantamount to endorsing discrimination against homosexuals. [No law requires any institutions of higher education to grant such access, but the Solomon Amendment (not named after the third king of Judea and Israel) puts such institutions at risk of losing various sorts of government funds.]

A section of vehicle surface, or an attached structure, designed to reduce drag. For example, the contoured sheet metal where wing meets fuselage.

fairly amazing, when you think about it
This is going to be a pretty boring elementary talk, gee-whiz ex cathedra or managerese. I have nothing worthwhile to say. You should leave immediately.

faith and/or good works

faith and/or good works entry
The subject (previous) entry serves as a sort of time indicator -- end-of-time indicator, to be exact. As you know, when the rapture occurs, all the good little millenarians and millenialists and whatnot will ascend to heaven, leaving their shoes but not their socks behind. (When they begin to feel a tickling sensation under their socks, I hope they will be considerate enough to park their cars.) From heaven, they will watch as the rest of us experience The End Days from the orchestra seats.

So what we've done with the previous entry is, using special signal-processing software operating over spare Iridium satellite bandwidth, we detect the brainwaves of the closest millenarian, in order to fill in the entry and determine whether the rapture has occurred. Thus, when the definition component of the entry is -- OH MY GAWD! It's empty! This can mean only one thing! There are no millenarians with brain waves detectable on earth!

A region of Lower (i.e. northern) Egypt. Now called Al Fayyum, and variously transliterated.

Fellow of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.

Freight All Kinds.

fake book
A thick collection of music for songs an audience might reasonably request. So called from the idea that they allow musicians to fake familiarity with the songs. Most of the ones that were floating around were illegal. Nowadays you can buy some collections in book stores that the publishers call fake books, but they're really fake fake books.

Check out the International Lyrics Server.

fake room
A second bedroom kept by a gay or lesbian couple living together, for show. If you're not entirely out of the closet, you may need a whole room to go with that.

Faculty of Arts and Letters. At UB, the former Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (FNSM), Social Sciences (FSS), and FAL were merged into a College of Arts and Sciences CAS in 1998. This brilliant restructuring maneuver energized faculty, inspired the students, made old letterheads obsolete, and dramatically reshaped the topology of the organization chart, yet left largely unchanged the number and nature of staff, departments, courses, and research. Stunning! University presidents and their boards of trustees -- what would we do without them?

Flagstaff (Arizona) Arts and Leadership Academy.

A predatory bird with a short curved beak. Birds so called are mostly members of the family Falconidae, and particularly members of the genus Falco. Duh.

A model name for cars manufactured by Ford. The name was used in the US for a line of compact cars first sold in 1959.

In 1962, Ford started selling Falcons assembled at one of its existing plants in Argentina. Starting in 1963, Falcons were manufactured in Argentina. The line was very popular there. Production peaked at 34 thousand in 1980; production finally ended in 1991. You want more details? See Todo Falcon -- Web Oficial del Ford Falcon en Argentina [`Everything Falcon']. The weird thing that strikes people about the car is that in Argentina the sheet metal was never modified very much after the mid 1960's. It's sort of like a Ford version of the Beetle or the Checker. They changed the lights, the grille, or the bumper every few years. This usually looked poorly integrated. ``Clumsily grafted'' seems to be a typical description. (The Falcon SL pictured here is a typically ghastly example.)

Something not mentioned at the official Everything-Falcon site has to do with the Argentine federal police: they must surely have been the biggest fleet purchaser of Falcons. The secret police were known for their unmarked Falcons. Here's one Australian tourist's story of his Falcon-related experiences down that line. When someone approached you from one of those unmarked Falcons, it was pretty scary, but this fellow got off with just an ID check. This reminds me of something that happened to my father when he visited Argentina in 1979. (Stop me if I've told this one before.) While there, he visited the publishing house that had continued to sell a translation dictionary of his from the late 1940's and early 1950's. I guess the Ford Falcon wasn't the only instance of Argentine business sticking with what worked. (It was an English-to-Spanish dictionary specifically targeted for technical translation, with sporadic words having large entries apparently at random wherever he felt like expanding on a topic. This seems to run in the family; it's practically spooky, but not as spooky as the rest of this story.) He was there making sure they stopped publishing his by-then already obsolete work. (Some years later, though, he did give me permission to put it up on the web if I made it extremely clear that some entries might be very much out-of-date.) He was at their storefront place on a side street, and as he talked with the owners there, traffic along the street seemed to peter out. It did peter out. Then some Falcons pulled up from both ends of the street and stopped, surrounding a doorway across the street. Soon there was a lot of noise -- of shouts, running, and guns firing. One man ran out the front door and had a chest-sized hole blown through his chest with what looked like a pistol-handled shotgun.

I remember once in the 1990's I attended an SPIE conference in Central Jersey (that's short for central New Jersey, okay?) and someone commented that he needed a US passport. I joked that I had one on me, and he commented that that was a very European habit (to carry a passport in my own country). Someone on the Classics list reported that during the 2004 elections, her precinct at first refused to accept her US passport as a valid ID. It makes sense to me: no American would ever use a passport as ID -- it's just for international travel. So when you're visiting Argentina, like my father, you should always carry your US passport.

So back to our story on a side street in Buenos Aires. After the firing was over, someone came into the shop and asked my father and the shop owners to show their ID's. One of the owners reached a little too quickly into his back pocket, and the government gentleman raised his gun. The editor fellow continued pulling out his wallet, but with a slower, if not exactly relaxed, motion (rate of speed, I think it's called). This glossary has another entry about presenting Argentine ID.

You probably think this is one of those joke entries, like the (somewhat lame, I admit) positive buoyancy entry, where I start out along the road of real events but then derail imaginatively. Nope. I didn't make anything up, though similar events were common enough that I could have.

Federal And Local Cops Organized Nationally. ``Operation FALCON'' was a nationwide sweep for fugitives that was conducted April 4-10, 2005, under the direction of the USMS. (This coincided with ``National Crime Victims Awareness Week.'') A total of 10,340 fugitives were arrested on felony warrants, and more than 13,851 felony warrants were cleared ``by arrest or other means.'' (The difference in these numbers is due at least in large part to multiple outstanding warrants for individual fugitives. It was unclear how many arrest warrants were cleared by the discovery that the fugitives named in them had died; actuarily, there ought to have been a few.) The number of arrests represents more than a factor-of-seven greater arrest rate for USMS and USMS-directed operations than the weekly average for 2004. That presumably reflects a higher-than-average allocation of resources: officers from 959 other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies took part, putting a daily average of 3100 non-USMS officers into the effort.

The announced emphasis of Operation FALCON was on ``gang related crimes, homicides, crimes involving use of a weapon, crimes against children and the elderly, crimes involving sexual assaults, organized crime and drug related fugitives, and other crimes of violence.'' The arrested included 4,291 ``major narcotics violation suspects,'' but there were only 210 drug seizures during the operation. The latter included 30 kg cocaine, 190 g heroin, 204 kg marijuana, and 39 kg ``other drugs'' (i.e., at most 330 g per seizure); 243 weapons were also seized. Arrested were 1818 burglary and 1727 assault suspects, and 638 armed robbery, 553 sexual assault, 483 weapons violation, 203 stolen vehicle, and 162 murder suspects. They included 154 ``documented gang members.'' Cash in the amount of $373,000 was seized -- $36 and change per arrestee. It's not clear to me under what authority this cash was seized.

The number of outstanding warrants may seem surprising. If so, consider three facts: First, as is well-known, state and local law-enforcement agencies make a certain calculation in deciding how strenuously to pursue fugitives -- resources are always limited. Second, in the case of fugitives wanted on bench warrants (i.e., bail jumpers and other no-shows), police may delay pursuit in the not-entirely-unreasonable expectation that the fugitive will turn up. Finally, cases grow cold, other cases come up, and in the meantime fugitives return to associations and places they knew would be investigated in any initial search. A systematic review of cold cases can net a share of those, and many individual cases reported for this operation seemed to fall into that category.

Historically, it is also the case that coordination among different agencies has sometimes been poor, occasionally obstructed by professional rivalries. Also, cases tend to go cold when the suspect appears to have left a local jurisdiction. It seems the USMS usually does a bit more than half of its work apprehending federal fugitives. During FY 2004, at least, it cleared 39,000 federal felony warrants, while ``U.S. Marshals-led fugitive task forces ... clear[ed] 37,900 state and local felony warrants.'' By contrast, in Operation FALCON, eight of nine arrests were on state or local warrants.

On the matter of jurisdictional conflicts and poor coordination, I remember reading in 1980 or so about the relevant case of a serial murderer back in the 70's who turned out to have worked for a police force and who had thus been familiar with this problem. He deliberately left remains and other clues in multiple jurisdictions in an effort (which must be judged a partial success) to thwart investigations. I can't track this down, so I'm probably misremembering some details. A recent case in which apprehension of the killer is claimed to have been delayed by interagency rivalries (RCMP vs. local cops, in this case) is that of a Vancouver serial killer, allegedly Robert Pickton, a pig farmer arrested in 2002. On the other hand, the disappearances began in 1983, and the RCMP was apparently not involved until 2001.

fall down
The default sense of intransitive fall. Use defaults; lean code is readable code.

Falling on the Floor: A Jump-Start Guide
Also high on the list of book titles I'd like to see.

false friend
As a term in linguistics, this term is equivalent to faux ami. When the French term is used in English, however, it is much likelier to be understood in the narrow linguistic sense.

false pleonasm
Sometimes a word will occur twice within a simple noun phrase, either implicitly (``NASA administration'') or explicitly (``history history''). Here at the glossary (or in the glossary) we call these false pleonasms, because that's what they are.

In the first example, the second A of NASA is expanded administration, but the SBF does not regard this as a pleonasm. The reason is that there are two different entities legitimately called ``administrations.'' NASA as a whole is an agency but it is named synecdochically after its management, as an ``administration.'' That part of NASA is the NASA administration (distinct from higher levels within the executive branch of government, which might engage in administration of NASA's administration, or just plain administration administration). If someone were to refer to NASA redundantly as the NASA agency or (more equivocally) as the NASA administration, then the latter term would be an AAP pleonasm, and both would be perverse.

Another false pleonasm is ``a US state.'' Whaddaya expect me to say, ``a United state''?

Explicit examples of false pleonasm are rare because they are mostly regarded as poor style, because they are easily avoided, and because they are obvious. Thus, the given example (history history) can be converted into a more complex noun phrase in which a preposition establishes a distinction between the instances of the repeated word (history of history) or can be replaced by another, possibly not-quite-synonymous term (historiography). The language provides other alternatives that do not rely on a previous coinage, like metahistory or higher-level administration.

Creative false pleonasm, in which a single word appears thrice or more, or which is otherwise novel or amusing, is generally regarded as good style wherever other forms of punning are (vide postmodern English). Sealed acronyms can be problematic, particularly if there is uncertainty regarding the status (as sealed or not) of the acronym. Recursive acronyms, or XARA's, necessarily have a pleonastic form. I don't know if that makes them false pleonasms, but I do know this: I'd rather have pleonasm than a neoplasm.

falso amigo
A term in Spanish and Portuguese that translates `false friend' in both the linguistic sense (faux ami) and in ordinary senses. In western Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and French, adjectives typically follow the nouns they modify. The principal exceptions are quantifiers: cardinal numbers and some quantifying adjectives precede the noun (ordinal numbers have more complicated behavior). Falso and vero are among of the small group of other adjectives in Spanish that quite commonly precede the noun, though they are also used postnominally. (The cognates in Portuguese and French appear to function similarly.) As a linguistic term, falso amigo is rather the established form, and it would be strange to call a faux ami ``un amigo falso.''

Another related common term in Spanish is falso cognado. The Spanish Wikipedia page for falso amigo warns against confusing falsos amigos with falsos cognados. I can't but agree: a ``false cognate'' or falso cognado ought to be a word that appears to be a cognate but isn't -- regardless of its meaning (which determines whether or not it is a false friend). It is true that false friends are most often cognates, especially among European languages. Such cognates generally mislead not by appearing to be cognates when they are not, but by suggesting an incorrect meaning. In any case, usage may have demolished the distinction. The reference shelf of relevant books that is nearest to hand right now contains three dictionaries of Spanish-English false friends, and two of them bear athetizable titles:

  1. Marcial Prado: NTC's Dictionary of Spanish False Cognates (Chicago: NTC Publishing Group, 1993).
  2. Bernard H. Hamel: Comprehensive Bilingual Dictionary of Spanish False Cognates / Gran Diccionario de Términos Equívocos del Inglés (Los Angeles: Bilingual Book Press, 1/e 1998).
  3. Marcial Prado: Diccionario de Falsos Amigos Inglés-Español (Madrid: Editorial Gredos, 2001).
It might be that the rot is mostly on the English side (although, FWIW, the English Wikipedia page also cautions against comfusing false friends and false cognates). Prado begins the foreword of his NTC book this: ``The study of false cognates or, as I call them, falsos amigos, ....'' The wording leaves the weird impression, doubtless mistaken, that Prado thinks he invented the venerable term himself. It should also be borne in mind that NTC is the deep discounter among reference publishers. Its products are a bit cheaper in a good way, and a lot cheaper in bad ways -- quantitatively and qualitatively.

Of course, if you want cheaper, there's Wikipedia. It is interesting that the corresponding Galician (northwest Iberian) Wikipedia page indicates in passing that falso cognado is the same thing as a falso amigo. If both Spanish and Galician pages are to be believed, then falso cognado in Spanish is a falso cognado in Galician of falso cognado in Galician.

The FAMily Channel. A cable TV channel.

Financial Analyst Meeting.

Foreign Affairs Minist{ry|er}. Cf. FM.

Fatty Acid Methyl Ester[s].

German: `family name.' D.h. (that is: `I.e.'), Nachname (`last name'). Vgl. Vorname (`first name'). In German as in English, the family name or surname is the last name. That's not the case everywhere. The situation is confused because different contexts (formal and informal, say) can require different orders. Hence the joke -- Bond, Ionic Bond.

An excellent source for information on German surnames is Familiennamen: Herkunft und Bedeutung von 20 000 Nachnamen [`Surnames: Origin and Meaning of 20,000 Last Names'], Rosa Kohlheim and Volker Kohlheim (Duden, 2000). A cool thing about this book is that it lists ``bekannte Namensträger'' (`famous bearers of the name') and is illustrated with pictures of some. It also has charts and maps of the German Sprachraum, where one can see correlations of the relative prevalences of different names with dialect boundaries. For given names there's the five-volume Historisches Deutsches Vornamenbuch, Wilfried Seibicke (de Gruyter, 1996). Hanks and Hodges do the same for names encountered in the English-speaking world (including names from throughout Europe and the world, with varying degrees of coverage as you might expect). See also Reaney and Wilson.

Hanks and Hodges had a special consultant for Jewish names, and the Kohlheims' book has good coverage of Ashkenazi Jewish names, but there's a very complete work that is more comprehensive even for Jewish names of German or Yiddish origin: Etymologisches Lexikon der jüdischen Familiennamen, Eva H. Guggenheimer and Heinrich W. Guggenheimer (K. G. Saur, 1996). This is written in German with a Roman font, as you'd expect, but it also provides the spellings of principal forms, as appropriate, of the names in Amharic, Arabic (and Farsi), Cyrillic, Georgian, and Hebrew alphabets (used for Yiddish), and with special characters in the Roman alphabets for Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, and Turkish. A much less complete collection forms the second half of A Dictionary of Jewish Names and their History, Benzion C. Kaganoff (Schocken Books, 1977). The first half is an interesting history.

Floating-gate Avalanche-injection MOS (Memory Element). Intel-introduced terminology. [Vide D. Frohman-Bentchkowsky, FAMOS--A New Semiconductor Charge Storage Device,'' Solid-State Electronics, 17, 517-529 (1974).] The principle on the basis of which EPROM's work.

Food Allergy Network. See also the AAAAI.

F and B
Food AND Beverage[s]. Restaurantese. You're probably worrying: ``I succeeded this time, but looking things up is treacherous! What if I had looked under F&B, what then? I would have missed it!'' Calm dowwwn. Have a drink and a snack.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

A German noun (masc.) cognate with English fang.

The singular form is used in the sense of `catch, haul, take.' For example, ``die Fischer brachten ihren Fang ein'' can be rendered as `the fishermen brought in their haul.' It's also used like `the hunt' in English: ``auf Fang ausgehen'' is `to go hunting' or more literally `to go out on the hunt.' Similarly, ``zum Fang auslaufen,'' ``zum Fang ausfahren,'' and ``aus Fang fahren'' mean `to go fishing.' It may help to understand that ausgehen just means `to go out,' while auslaufen means `to go out on a watercraft' (less awkwardly: `to put out to sea' vel sim.). The verb ausfahren is a bit more general, meaning `to set out riding or driving' in a precise translation. Since going out to capture or kill land animals can be done on foot (I mean, let's be sporting about this), ausfahren tends to imply fishing. If you want to be explicit, you could just use ``zum Fischfang ausfahren.'' Of course, the laconic expression is ``fischen gehen'' (`to go fishing').

For the anatomical parts so called, the plural (Fänge) is more common. The claws (usually Klauen) of a bird (Vogel) such as a hawk (Habicht) can be called Fänge, and more figuratively, ``in seinen Fängen halten'' means `hold in one's clutches.' Fang is also used for sharp, predatory dentition, though tusks -- particularly those of a boar (Eber) -- also count as Fänge. You can remove ambiguity with die Fangzähne (`the fang-teeth').

Infinitive form of a German verb meaning `to catch, capture' or `to grasp.' The principal parts are fangen, fing, (hat) gefangen. It has the obvious stem change (umlaut of the a in second- and third-person singular). Although the verb fang in Old English did not survive into Modern English, the cognate finger is used as a verb.

Number of independent inputs to a logic gate. This is not a calculation; just look at it! If you know what the gate is, you know its fan-in.

Short for Fannie Mae, which is short for Federal National Mortgage Association (US FNMA, q.v.). During the mortgage mess that started to be big news in mid-2007, Fannie Mae began to be in the news so much that ``Fannie'' was understood. As Fannie Mae started to be sold short, its name was shorted also.

Fannie Farmer Cookbook
Once an institution of American cooking, such as it was. Also known as The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Bartleby.com serves the 1918 edition online ``because it was the last edition of the cookbook authored completely by Farmer.'' It may not hurt that it is one of the last editions, if not the last, clearly in the public domain. For a strong opinion about this cookbook, see the mondegreen entry.

Fannie Mae
Colloquial name for FNMA (Federal National Mortgage Association). THE FNMA entry is where we'll deposit our information on the subject.

Colloquial term for buttocks (in the US; maybe you want to avoid the term in the UK). That is, one fanny is the two buttocks or hindquarters of one person. It's good to have this word, because it functions as the dual of buttock. So do ass or arse, backside, behind, booty, bottom, breech, bum, butt, caboose, can, derrière, fundament (see the entry for A Latin American Speaks), heinie, posterior, prat, rear, rear end, rump, seat, seat cushion, tail, tailbone, tail-feather, tush, and tushy. I guess we need some more words in the second, third, and fifth fifths of the alphabet; fanny helps round things out at the first place in the alphabet where the vocable density starts to tail off. Uropygium would likewise be appreciated.

Tush is a domesticated pronunciation of the Yiddish slang tuchis. (The ``ch'' is like that in Bach, although it might be more palatalized. When I used to hear this word I wasn't paying attention to the difference between /x/ and /ç/.) A word less widely adopted in English is the rhyming huchis, one of the words for `head.' The rhyme would often occur in discussion of the two ways of thinking (i.e., with huchis or with tuchis).

Fanny (now more often spelled Fannie, I think -- perhaps to make a distinction) was originally, and still is, a nickname for Frances. It seems like a pretty radical abbreviation, losing three consonants from sundry parts of the original, but it doesn't beat Peg for Margaret. In France it has been a nickname for Françoise, I think. My entire basis for this belief is the established fact that Fanny is a nickname for Frances in English, and the information that Claude Bernard, the French physiologist, married one ``Françoise Marie (Fanny) Martin'' in 1845.

The earliest famous Fanny that I can think of was Frances Burney (1752-1840), the author of Evelina (1778) and other novels.

A well-known fictional Fanny is Fanny Price, the heroine of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (1814), who has the same names as her mother. Their legal name is Frances Price. Almost, so it might seem, to compensate, they have a sister and aunt who is never given a first name. She is first described as ``Miss Ward'' (the elder Frances Price was neé Ward), and after her marriage as Mrs. Norris. Mrs. Norris is not a sympathetic character. I think that in all of Jane Austen's work, there is only one use of ``who'' where only ``whom'' would have been acceptable, and it is put in the mouth of Mrs. Norris. (Mrs. Norris is also the name of a cat in the Harry Potter series.) It is reasonably conjectured [for example, by Maggie Lane, in her Jane Austen and Names (Blaise Books, 2002)] that the original Mrs. Norris was an Elizabeth, since her goddaughter is called Betsey.

This godchild business highlights the fact that at the time, nicknames were not so readily recorded as given names. So long as Fanny or Betsey was recognized as a diminutive form of Frances or Elizabeth, one could be reasonably confident that someone called by the former had been assigned the corresponding latter at birth. That standard has slipped.

An early apparent instance of this slippage seems to be the case of the actress Fanny Ardant, who was given the name ``Fanny Marguerite Judith Ardant'' at birth (according to IMDb). She was born to French parents in France in 1949. I suppose the naming was inspired by a very popular French movie trilogy of the 1930's, sometimes known as the Fanny series. The three movies were Marius (released in France in 1931), Fanny (1932), and César (1936), named after three main characters (a young man, his lover -- who discovers she is pregnant shortly after he begins a five-year maritime stint -- and his father). You mightn't think that would make Fanny a very attractive name, but apparently Fanny was a very sympathetic character. There were a number of stage and film remakes. (Another name whose popularity is surprising is Cassandra.)

This sort of stuff tends to be forgotten. My mother was given the middle name Beatrice at birth, and it wasn't until I was in my forties that I happened to learn that her father had been a great admirer of Dante.

Number of inputs that can be driven by a single output. This is not necessarily a well-defined number.

In BJT logics, the constraint is typically that the current drive on the output stage can become insufficient for the input current draw. I.e., the output voltage shifts. Roughly speaking:

fan-in × input current × output impedance = noise margin.

An exception is I²L, in which it is useful to define current noise margins and related current quantities analogous to the usual (voltage) noise margins and related voltages.

In MOSFET logics, inputs are very-high-impedance gates, and DC fan-out is practically unlimited. However, parasitic capacitances of gates increase RC delays, so maximum fan-out is determined by maximum allowed fall and rise times.

Future Air Navigation System. This is never installed, on the tomorrow-never-comes principle (somewhat similar to the none-dare-call-it-treason principle).

It's not idle or self-indulgent! It's prudent, results-oriented rehearsal for improbable eventualities.

First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. One of those WWII women's auxiliaries, like the US WAVES or the British WRNS. This one was a British Women's Transport Service. (Actually, I think that may have been the official name.)

Financial Aid Officer. Universities have'em. [Get information from the government or from a university resource (CMU).]

Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. Food and agriculture continue to be regarded as related matters. In one of his more etymological moments, W.C. Fields remarked that it could hardly be regarded as a mere coincidence, that the alimentary canal and alcohol -- so closely allied -- should have such evidently related names. (Yes, yes, I know: I already mentioned this fact at the BM entry. I like to repeat myself, and anyway no one would have noticed if you hadn't brought it up.)

Forced-Air Oil heating. See the HWO entry for nonusage information.

Fuse, Alarm, and Power.

Future Anthropic Principle. See Martin Gardner: ``WAP, SAP, FAP, and PAP,'' New York Review of Books, May 8, 1987.

Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Family Application Programming Interface.

Federación de Asociaciones de Profesores de Inglés de España. If I have the acronym or even half the expansion correct, then this organization has a rather low profile on the net. FAPIE is reputed to publish a Boletín de la Federacién de Profesores de Inglés de España. This leaves me all confused -- is it a federation of associations of professors or a federation of professors? I need to know! (But not badly enough to try to find out.)

Functional Activity Program Manager. [Federalese.]

Formal and Applied Practical Reasoning.

FAQ, faq
Frequently Asked Question; an electronic file of answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Many of the USENET (internet news) FAQ's that appear in the newsgroup news.answers are available on WWW from OSU and from FAQ.org.

Fil has collected a bunch of Electronics-related FAQ's in one spot, in HTML format.

There's actually an FAQ about FAQ.

The question of how to translate FAQ (in the collection sense) into French is a subtle one. One general approach is to translate the underlying expansion; this yields something like questions fréquemment posées, which is obviously unacceptable because it is too similar to the English. The solution has been to supply the English acronym with the French expansion foire aux questions. Normally, of course, a completely different and unrecognizable acronym would be required, but an identical acronym is acceptable in this case because the French expansion, meaning something like `question fair,' would be incomprehensible without it.

False Alarm Rate. Usually spikes on sunny days just before and during final exams.

Federal Acquisition Regulation[s]. Of the General Services Administration (GSA).

Floor Area Ratio. The ratio of total floor area of a structure to the area of the lot on which it stands. This statistic is often used in zoning laws to state limits on construction density.

Fullword Address Register.

Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia. `Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.' The organization is known by the Spanish acronym in English as well. Note, however, that FARC is construed singular in English, but retains the grammatical number and gender of fuerzas in Spanish -- i.e., ``las FARC.''

Farm Animal Reform Movement. They would prefer that you murder innocent plants.

Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. A BYU organization that in 2002 or so merged with CPART to form ISPART.

Forward Air Refueling Point. Oh, you want to pick up some more ammo? Sure!

WHAT DID YOU SAY??! Oh, F - A - R - Q. That would be Frequently Asked Research Question. The IPL answers many that shouldn't have been asked in the first place right there.

Farrer Hypothesis, Farrer Theory
A hypothesis about the order of the synoptic gospels and about the hierarchy of textual indebtedness among the gospel writers. See FH.

  1. A litter of pigs (not pig litter, unless that's how you feel about it, alright already let me finish the glossary entry!).


  2. To give birth to a pig litter. (Similarly, to litter means to give birth to a litter, not necessarily of cats. Some places it does, anyway.)

Farting People, The
`The Farting People' seems to be the generally accepted translation of the Icelandic word Prumpufólkið. That is the title of the second and most famous track (you'd heard of it, right?) from ``Abbababb!'' (by consensus, that seems to be `Abba babb!' in English), an album of children's music. Hear it here. The album sold over 6500 copies in Iceland! I think that means it went Pyrite. It was distributed by Smekkleysa, which means `bad taste'; the record label pre-existed the conception of this album.

The lyrics of Prumpufólkið were written by the comedian Jón Gnarr, who also performed the dozen or so sound effects on that song and wrote the lyrics to ``Óli HundaÓli,'' the fifth of thirteen songs on the album. In 2010 he was elected mayor of Reykjavík. This reminds me of a friend of mine who is also of Scandinavian descent: Moe (that's his actual nickname). Moe attended a high school in South Dakota that was so tiny that everyone had to fill multiple roles. Moe, for example, was both a nerd (computer programming) and a jock (basketball), and probably a bunch of things I never heard about. But Gnarr's is a different case, because his campaign for mayor was an extension of his comedian shtick, and was taken seriously by no one except, apparently, a plurality of Reykjavík voters.

Faculty of Arts and Sciences. I should probably say something about the meaning of the word faculty.

Federation of American Scientists.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. What happens to the child when the mother drinks a lot of alcohol during pregnancy. It's pretty bad. Cf. ARND.

Foreign Affiliate Sales. That is, sales by (not of) foreign affiliates.

Frame Alignment Signal.

Free Alongside Ship. Or maybe ``Free AlongSide (ship).'' Whatever. Most commonly used as postpositive adjective to price (``$500 FAS'') or as preposition to port of shipment (``FAS New York''). Indicates that price includes delivery to quay. (``Delivery to dock'' would be a convenience only to fish.)

Fanciful etymology: Boston Tea Party.

Financial Accounting Standards Board.

This is a word that seems to come up frequently in science journalism. Often, it is claimed that scientists themselves have used the word. I shudder to think what tortures reporters have applied to make scientists emit this vocable. In three decades as a physicist, I don't think I've ever heard this ostentatiously pretentious noise uttered in my presence by another scientist. (Except ironically, of course, or in quotation. I did hear it uttered in seriousness by an electrical engineer once.)

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

(NSF) Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities.

Function- and Algorithm-Specific Integrated Circuit.

Fachbereich Angewandte Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaften (`Faculty of Applied Linguistics and Cultural Studies').

Fabric And Suppliers LINkage Council. An EDI coordination group.

Filipino-American Student Organization.

A friend of mine did a study of interpretation work at a Tokyo hospital. Some local nonprofits train volunteers for this (teaching them some Japanese medical vocabulary, at least) and supply the hospital with mostly native speakers of some of the more necessary languages, including English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, and Tagalog. One thing she didn't mention in the papers she wrote on the subject is the following: she sat in on some of the separate classes for groups training in various languages, and the Filipinos were clearly the ones who were having the most fun.

There's a FASO (webpage here) at the University of Notre Dame. Their major annual event is Fiestang Filipino. Fiestang I was held on April 29, 1995, and Fiestang II was December 2 the same calendar year, but since then it's been mostly the last week of February. In 2008 (Fiestang XIV, on February 23), it won the university's MSPS Culture Show of the Year award.

Familial Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome (ASPS). The first instance of apparently genetically determined ASPS to be reported in the medical literature (in 1999, view press release here). From the pattern of inheritance, it appeared to be controlled by a single gene, and that gene was identified in 2001 (press release).

Fairchild Advanced Schottky Technology. Now available from National Semiconductor.

Fixed-Abrasive Sawing Technique.

Foundation for Academic Standards & Tradition.

Fast-A. A for algorithm; fast for hashing. This is cute, but if you ever want to communicate with people outside the field, you may be mistaken for not-from-around-these-parts. FAST-A is used to compare a protein or DNA sequence to all entries in a sequence library. I imagine there must be slower ways. You can get a man page for FASTA from Stanford. You can download the latest version from the University of Virginia ftp site.

She said, ``fasta, fasta, the lights are turnin' red.'' -- Life in the fast lane -- sure to make you lose your mine.

fast food
I don't get it. You don't need any food to fast.

Fairchild Advanced Schottky Technology, but betteR. Now available from National Semiconductor.

File Allocation Table.

Arabic word meaning `conquest.' Also the name of a terrorist organization founded around 1960 by Yassir Arafat.

Member of a large heretical sect of the Motorist persuasion.

Heretical precepts:

  1. The entire road is a parking lot.
  2. The rearview mirror is for (a) backing out of parking spaces, (b) hanging fuzzy dice and pine scent fresheners, (c) personal grooming.
  3. Blinkers should be used because the law requires it. They must be turned on at some point before the end of a turn.
  4. Most of driving is pressing on the accelerator when the lane ahead is empty, and on the brake otherwise. (When in doubt, depress both.)
  5. The driver with blinders has the right of way.

fat binary
Binary code executable on both a Macintosh and a Power Macintosh.

Frequency And Time Circuit Analysis Technique. This acronym was not created but perpetrated.

It is that which gives a beast of burden its reason for existence.

It is that which men in former times had to bear upon their backs.

It is that which has caused nations to build byways from City to City upon which carts and coaches pass, and alongside which inns have come to be built to stave off Hunger, Thirst and Weariness.

[According to The Profit (1973), by Kehlog Albran (1933-1927).]

Oh, I'm sorry, that's freight... but it's okay, you needed to know that too.
[Image of camel caravan]

In book 17 of the Odyssey, as Odysseus finally arrives at his home disguised as a beggar, he explains to Eumaeus the swineherd (translation of A.T. Murray):

``... a ravening belly may no man hide, an accursed plague that brings many evils upon men. Because of it are the benched ships also made ready, that bear evil to foemen over the unresting sea.''

Shortly afterwards, Odysseus's dog dies. As Murray puts it --

``the fate of black death seized him straightway.''

OECD Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.

Fortran Automatic Timing System. This is a stupid acronym and I like it.

fats and oils
Fats and oils are a range of chemicals on a continuum, they are all triesters: each molecule of fat or oil is one glycerine esterized to a long-chain fatty acid at each of its three hydroxyls. Double bonds in the fatty acids push its compound further toward the oily side of the fat-oil spectrum.

The term oil is rather ambiguous, as it may refer to mineral oil or to petroleum. Fat is a more precise term that doesn't usually exclude triglyceride oils.

Need to cut down on your fat consumption? Here's a true fact and a health tip: Sugars are carbohydrates, not fats. For more worthless dieting tips, see calorie and lose weight entries.

fatty acids
Long chain alkanes with a carboxyl group on the end and few-and-short, if any, side chains. Apart from an occasional hydroxyl, no other functional groups are attached. Other than the length, the main thing distinguishing different fatty acids is the number and location of any double bonds. Both oleic acid and stearic acid, for example, have eighteen carbons in a single chain. However, oleic acid has one double bond in the middle (it is cis-9-octadecenoic acid) while stearic acid has none (it's plain octadecanoic acid).

Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States. The fatus of the land, so to speak. Estimated by the USDA.

Forgiving, as machines can forgive. For a counterexample (in an incorrect sense of the word counterexample) see the Liouville entry.

faute de mieux
French, `for lack of anything better.'

faux ami
French, `false friend.' A word in a foreign language that seems familiar but is not. Specifically, a foreign word that resembles a word in one's own language, but which has a different meaning. Often though not always, the words are cognates, but one or both of the cognates has undergone a change in meaning. (See also falso amigo.)

Faux amis are like approximate homonyms. As in the case of English-language homonyms, there are two large subclasses of homonyms: homographs, which are written similarly, and homophones, which sound similar. These two subclasses overlap, and in languages with a one-to-one correspondence between pronunciation and spelling, the two coincide perfectly. (I am aware of no European language with such a perfect correspondence.) Different languages, of course, have different sound-value correspondences, so visual and aural classes of faux ami overlap imperfectly. An example of a visual (homograph) faux ami is once, meaning `eleven' in Spanish. In the episode of ER that aired October 25, 2001, a Spanish-speaking patient dies because her prescription drug bottle was labeled in English, ``once'' a day. She wouldn't have made this mistake if it had been labeled in the original Latin -- q.d. (For more on once in Spanish, see the entries for las once and las onces.)

Examples between English and German include knave/Knabe. This is a typical instance in which a word's negative connotation has become the essence of its denotation. The German modal verb wollen, with will as first- and third-person singular conjugations in the present, has the meaning English will had not too long ago: `want to.' (The modal for constructing future tense is werden.) Another example, for those who recognize it, is starve/sterben (as explained at the linked entry). If one is alive to the sound shifts that have affected English and German since their source languages diverged from a common Germanic root, one notices many more examples. E.g., German Tier, meaning `animal,' is the cognate of English deer; German dick (like Dutch dik) is an adjective meaning obese (i.e., thick); dieb and tief (both pronounced with long-ee vowel sound) mean `thief' and `deep,' in that order.

Some examples between English and Spanish:

For an example involving a number of languages, see the libraries entry. Here are some other scattered examples involving at least two languages other than English:

Language word English meaning
Swedish tryck push (as a door)
Norwegian (Bok Maal) trekk pull (as a door)

Language word English meaning true friend
German Öl oil olya in Swedish (vide infra)
Swedish öl beer Bier in German

For a more thorough discussion of the above, see the this oe entry.

Language word English meaning
German Gift poison
Swedish gift bride
English gift something given (see gift entry)

Language word English meaning
Spanish olla pot
Swedish olya oil

Language word approximate English meaning
Spanish algún some
cualquier any
French aucun none*
quelques some, any

* There are a few difficulties in translating these words into English. The first is that negation is coordinated or additive in French and Spanish, somewhat as in slang English. Thus, Standard English I have no problem is normally translated No tengo ningún problema in Spanish, corresponding to [I] don't have no problem. Typical parallel expressions in French use aucun in place of ningún. This corresponds to an older usage in Spanish, now markedly formal, that uses the adjective alguno in place of ninguno.

[Note: algún is the prepositive version of the adjective alguno. In Spanish as in French, adjectives other than quantifiers usually follow the substantives they modify -- placement before the substantive often marks poetic diction just as placement after the substantive marks poetic diction in English. Some adjectives appear commonly both before and after the substantive, and a few of these have different postpositive and prepositive forms. For example, the (etymologically related) adjectives that have masculine forms uno (`one'), alguno, and ninguno following a substantive have the forms un, algún, and algún before it (the feminine forms are unchanged). The adjective grande (postpositive form, both genders) becomes gran before a substantive.]

For glossary visitors not fluent in English, I will point out something well known (usually unreflectively) by native speakers. English takes advantage of the absence of coordination: negation in Standard English is somewhat multiplicative. For example, ``I don't want no feedback.'' For the purposes of elementary education, this is called a ``double negative'' and marked incorrect. Between even moderately sophisticated speakers, this is simply a kind of litotes: speaker is saying, generally, that he wants some feedback. If the stress is placed as indicated above, on the word no, then typically it might mean ``I do want less feedback, but not none at all.'' (If this ``not none'' bothers you, think ``not zero.'') Some emphatic intonation is usually applied to the sentence in order to make clear that the double negative is not a careless ungrammatical slip.

Generally speaking, English syntax uses the position of negation to make distinctions that other languages may make in different ways. In particular, negation of a modal verb in a periphrastic tense is not generally the same as negation of the verb. An example follows.

Did I ever tell you about the time I managed to not quite electrocute myself? (I was not suicidal. It would be wrong to say that ``I did not quite manage to electrocute myself.'') I may have mentioned it somewhere else around here -- there's a hint of it at the M (for Metal) entry. What happened was, I was operating an induction furnace, which melts ferromagnetic metal by surrounding a crucible with an electromagnetic coil and having the metal to be melted function as the core of a heavy-duty electromagnet. (The area enclosed by the hysteresis loop on the M-H diagram is the energy absorbed per cycle, up to a constant factor.) I doubt that the Filipino lab technician explained any of this to me.

To avoid oxidation, the crucible and the mold which received the molten metal from the crucible were enclosed in a vacuum chamber (which was evacuated cold and refilled with nitrogen before heating). The crucible was mounted on a horizontal axle, and this axle extended out of the chamber through a gasketed bearing, to a handle that allowed the operator (yours truly) to pivot the crucible for various purposes. On the handle there were a couple of thick bolts that hold the handle in place against the axle. Believing myself to be savvy and generally in-the-know about bolt-based mechanical systems, I never paid much attention to these exposed bolts on the handle, and I never touched them. Then one day my hand happened to brush one of them.

As I was getting up off the floor, at my new location a few feet away from the furnace, the lab tech ran up and admonished me in an alarmed voice --

You do not have to touch the bolts!

A second difficulty in translating, say, French quelques into English has to do with the any/some distinction. The distinction between the English words any and some corresponds reasonably closely to that between Spanish algún and cualquier. German and French, although they have apparent cognates, do not make the distinction.

faux pas
French, `false step.' Usually, in English, an embarrassing false step committed while attempting to traverse the minefield of proper conduct in polite society. Similarly, the meaning of savoir faire is more tightly circumscribed in English than in French. In French, the term can serve as a translation of the English know-how. In English, savoir faire refers to a sort of confidence in one's sophistication -- the ease associated with knowing how to navigate polite society. Hence, considered as naturalized English terms, faux pas and savoir faire terms are examples of faux amis.

Federation of Women's Clubs Overseas.

fax, FAX
FACSimile transmission. Method of transmitting a copy of a paper image electronically. The technology has been available in principle for a long time, but the step that made the method most efficient was data compression.

That annoying shriek that announces a fax - the fax calling tone defined by CCITT T.30, is only 1100 Hz.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. German: `Frankfurt General News.' (Or maybe that should be Frankfort with an oh.) In any case it's Frankfurt aM. Published by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH.

Fachbereich. German, `department' of people.

Fighter-Bomber. Prefix on military plane designations. You'll never, ever, guess what the prefixes F- and B- stand for. Longer list at USN entry.

Food and Beverage[s].

Framing Bit.

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FullBack. An offensive position in American football.

Fibre Box Association.

Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report. A report that is filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (see FinCEN) of the US Treasury Department, for foreign accounts over 10,000 USD held by US companies or individuals.

Free-standing Bulk Acoustic Resonator.

Federação Brasileira de Bridge. `Brazilian Bridge Federation.' A member of the CSB.

Federal Bulletin Board. They had to use fifty million push-pins! If they hadn't, they would have been forced to go electronic, and everyone realized that would be a bad idea. Oh no! They have a URL!

Forward Body Bias[ing].

Finnish Broadcasting Company. See YLE.

Fluidized-Bed Combustion.

Free-Body Diagram. A diagram of the force vectors determining the motion of a body free to move.

Fiber Bragg Grating.

Friends (i.e., Quaker) Burial Ground.

Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI agents are ``G-men.''

The Federation of British Industries. Since August 1965, it has been the CBI. (Careful, you may not guess the entire change in name. Better follow the link!)

Fuzzy BitMap.

Full-Band Monte Carlo (simulation). This refers to the simulation of electrons and holes in semiconductors. Most electronic states are far above or below the Fermi level (term used for the electronic chemical potential in this context). Consequently, most states are unoccupied or occupied, respectively, with near-unit probability. (``Far,'' in the earlier sentence, means distant in energy. When the system is in thermodynamic equilibrium, the occupation probabilities approach 0 or 1 exponentially away from the Fermi energy, and the exponential scale is kBT, where kB is Boltzmann's constant and T is the absolute temperature. At room temperature, this has a value of 0.026 eV, so ``far'' means distant by more than a few meV.)

There are a variety of different kinds of Monte Carlo simulation, but they all have in common the approach of following the behavior of only the most interesting electrons

Fixed-Base Operator. Of aircraft.

Filtered BackProjection. An approach to computed tomography.

Fédération de Bridge de Polynésie Française. Not the largest of the four NBO's comprising the South Pacific Bridge Federation (SPBF -- Zone 7 of the WBF).

Fluidized-Bed (Coal) Reactor.

Foundation for Biomedical Research.

[Football icon]

Fbr, FbR, FBR
FumBle Recovery. Defensive stat in football.

[Football icon]

Football Bowl Subdivision. NCAA football's old Division I-A, officially renamed in 2007. Division I-A teams that do well are eligible to participate in the BCS. For further information, see the entry for FCS (the old I-AA).

Fly By Wire.

Fractional BandWidth.

Feedback Control.

Flip-Chip. Dielectric isolation of a sort: etch to define isolated regions, grow substantial oxide (or other insulating material) to serve as a new mechanical support for electrically active regions, flip the chip, etch through semiconductor substrate regions to the top (formerly the bottom) of the active regions. There are also flip-chip techniques based on whole wafer thickness, which take advantage of the flip to achieve better lithography of interconnect layers.

Flow Control[ler].

{ Football | Fútbol | Fußball } Club. `Soccer Team' in various languages.

Forward Control. A motor vehicle in which the driver is seated forward of the front axle.

Frequency Counter.

Fuel Cell. A cell for converting chemical to electrical energy. The idea is that instead of burning fuel to produce heat and run an engine, you convert chemical to electrical energy directly. Direct conversion efficiency is limited by various practical issues, but at least theoretically it can be very high. In contrast, heat engines like the internal combustion engine (gasoline, diesel, or turbine, in order of rapidly increasing rarity) are limited theoretically to be less efficient than an ideal Carnot cycle:
1 - TL/TH .
(TL and TH are the lowest and highest absolute temperatures available to the heat engine.) In practice, as engine speed increases the engine cycle deviates further from equilibrium behavior and efficiency decreases, so shift gears already!

Currently, fuel cell technology is competitive only for certain niche applications such as space satellite power systems. The fuel-cell type used by NASA, and still the only one that is ``space qualified,'' uses potassium hydroxide electrolyte. More details about it and NASA's experiences with it are at the AFC entry. A number of new FC systems are being researched or developed. These are distinguished and designated primarily by their electrolyte material, and the main ones are Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell (PAFC), Molten Carbonate FC (MCFC), Solid Oxide FC (SOFC) and Proton-Exchange Membrane FC (PEMFC). See also DMFC.

As of 1997, the basic problem was that costs were at US$3000/KW and up, whereas fossil fuel capital costs were about 800-1000 US$/KW. The gap is being closed from both ends.

The first fuel cell was demonstrated by William Grove in 1839, who used four large cells in series to generate the voltage to split water in a separate smaller cell.

A single hydrogen fuel cell has a voltage of about 0.7 V. That is, its open-circuit voltage is 0.7 V. As you draw current the voltage decreases. If it didn't you could just use a very small resistance to draw very high current and get arbitrarily high power. Let's start a research program to do just that! Maybe not. The first law of thermodynamics is such a party-pooper.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Fibre Channel Association. A trade association incorporated 1993 to promote fiber channel technology. They used to have annual meetings in San Francisco -- where are they now? In 1999, FCA merged with FCLC to form FCIA. There were separate FCA Europe and FCA Japan organizations.

Film Chip Capacitor Array. Typically a DIP or IC-type package, containing a number of capacitors.

Flip Chip Attach.

Fluorescent Cytoprint Assay.

Free-Carrier Absorption.

Freund's Complete Adjuvant.

Fiber-Channel-Arbitrated Loop.

Federation of Chinese Associations in Malaysia.

Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance, Security management areas.

Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. A test taken by Florida public school students. Based on their performance, their schools are assigned letter grades. Under the A-plus program implemented by Jeb Bush (governor 1999-2007), students at schools that receive an F grade twice within four years are eligible for tuition vouchers.

I had forgotten about the FCAT when I happened to see some thick workbooks for sale cheap. Their titles were Show What You Know® on the <n>th Grade FCAT. The ones I saw had <n> values of 4 and 5. It saddened me; Mr. Thomas Gradgrind would have been pleased. The workbooks came in two versions: ``Student Workbook'' (pink, with a place for the child to scrawl a name on the front) and ``Parent/Teacher Edition'' (blue).

I suppose the FCAT is a ``comprehensive assessment'' of how well the children have been prepped for the test, so it's about as uncomprehensive as ``comprehensive'' gets. Perhaps there is some inadvertent spillover of non-test-oriented learning that affects the FCAT grade. I can't remember the (clever punning) title right now, but I once read a book about a year in the life of an elementary school elsewhere (Maryland, if memory serves) that was under its own state's testing gun. It was in a poor neighborhood, and it regularly received extra state funding to improve its performance. Teachers and principal were hostages to the often chaotic home lives of their students, and lived in terror of poor test results.

FCAW, FCA welding
Flux-Cored Arc Welding.

Initialism by which the Federación Colombiana de Bridge and Federación Chilena de Bridge are sometimes referred to. Both NBO's are members of the South American zonal confederation (CSB). The Columbian one claims the less specific, if less cryptic, ``FEDEBRIDGE'' (q.v.) as its acronym, and the Chilean NBO doesn't. The Chilean one has no Internet presence of its own and is the largest member of the CSB.

Face-Centered Cubic. One of the two three-dimensional lattices (the other is HCP) with a hard-sphere packing density of
			2 /6 ,
which is the highest packing density possible for hard spheres in three dimensions. The problem of finding the densest possible sphere packing is easily visualized, and no denser packing than FCC or HCP was ever reported, yet it is immensely difficult to prove rigorously that there is no denser packing, as the following proverb expresses:
Every physicist knows, and every mathematician believes, that Face-Centered Cubic has the highest possible packing density.
The hypothesis that this widely-held belief is correct was called the Kepler conjecture. Kepler made this hypothesis in 1611. In 1831, Gauss demonstrated that FCC has the highest packing density of any periodic (i.e., lattice) packing, but for a long time there was no proof that a nonperiodic packing might not exist with higher density, so the Kepler problem was still open. The final proof was given by Hales in a series of papers ending in 1998.

In many higher-dimensional Euclidean spaces, it is unknown even whether the closest hypersphere packings have crystal (i.e. translation) symmetry.

The fact that FCC and HCP have identical, maximal packing densities has, as one of its most immediate reflections in crystallography, the fact that all noble gases (the group VIII-A elements) all have HCP or FCC structure. The reason is that with their closed atomic shells, noble gas atoms have weak interatomic forces and maintain their spherical symmetry more accurately in the presence of external perturbations. The interatomic forces among noble atoms therefore closely approximate the hard-sphere model. Helium (He) freezes in HCP (under pressure only; at atmospheric pressure, it is fluid -- superfluid, actually -- down to T = 0K). The other noble elements freeze in FCC. The number and distance of nearest neighbors is the same in FCC and HCP, so the difference in energy between the two structures, determining which is the equilibrium lattice, is dominated by van der Waals interaction between next-nearest neighbors.

FCC is a Bravais lattice, and its Wigner-Seitz cell is a rhombic dodecahedron. Its reciprocal lattice is Body-Centered Cubic (BCC).

It is convenient to regard the FCC lattice as a simple-cubic (SC) lattice with basis. For that picture, consider an SC lattice with points on hax + jay + kaz (a is the cubic lattice spacing; h, j, k are integers; x, y, and z are orthogonal unit vectors, so that ax, ay, and az are a set of primitive lattice vectors for the SC lattice). An FCC lattice can be generated using a basis of 0, (y + z)/2 , (x + z)/2 , and (x + y)/2 .

Federal Communications Commission. An independent agency of the US government.

Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Framework Convention on Climate Change.

La Fédération culturelle canadienne-française. Too bad it doesn't have an English name, because then it could have the same initialism in English with a different expansion: `The French-Canadian Cultural Federation.'

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

FCC 68
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Part 68, Title 47 CFR, Oct. 1, 1987. Administrative law standards relating to the safety of telecommunications workers, and the safety and integrity of the telephone network (voltage surge, leakage current, hazardous voltages, excessive signal levels, longitudinal balance, on- and off-hook impedance, REN's, billing protection, and hearing-aid compatibility).

Food Canning Establishment. FDA term for a target of regulation opportunity. But wait, in ``addition... Yellow Olives businesses are typically subject to FDA Bioterrorism Act Registration and U.S. Agent requirements (when applicable).''

La fédération canadienne des épiciers indépendants. What does this mean in the lingua franca of commerce? Spoiler at CFIG.

Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle. An electric vehicle with fuel cells and batteries that drive electric motors.

Fuel-Cell Hybrid Vehicle.

Finance Corporation for Industry. All is explained at the FFI entry. (All I know of it, anyway.)

Fibre Channel Industry Association. A trade association formed from the 1999 merger of FCA and FCLC.

Federal (US) Crop Insurance Corporation.

Framework Class Library. This is used by both C# and by Visual Basic (since VB6 or so). From the C-languages point of view, it does for C# what STL and various header files do for C++.

Full (modularized freight) Container Load. Cf. LCL.

Fibre Channel [Loop] Community. A trade association incorporated 1995 to promote Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop technology for storage applications. They removed Loop from the organization in 1997, but wisely chose to keep the original initialism (they could see the namespace collision coming.) In 1999, FCLC merged with FCA to form FCIA.

Fellowship of Christian Magicians.

Fuzzy Cognitive Map.

Food Consumer and Nutrition Service of the USDA. You can distribute punctuation ad libitum, because the named organization does not exist equally under any punctuated variant. See FNS.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The title on their homepage naturally reads ``Home Foreign & Commonwealth Office.'' Given the current British aversion to punctuation, it can take a moment to disambiguate that. Anyway, the page source contains a meta tag (name="Description") with the following sensible content: "British government department responsible for overseas relations and foreign affairs, through its headquarters in London and its Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates throughout the world." the published page content has the following imbecility: ``The purpose of the FCO is to work for UK interests in a safe, just and prosperous world. We do this with some 16,000 staff, based in the UK and our overseas network of over 200 diplomatic offices.'' They might have more success working for UK interests if they recognized that their overseas network of diplomatic offices is camped in an unsafe, unjust, and penurious world. (Granted, diplomats are paid to feign stupidity as necessary, but they needn't be so convincing.)

FORTH CODE. Specialized to write drivers for PCI.

For Crying Out Loud. Common acronym in email and on newsgroups. Cf. LOL.

Flat Concurrent PROLOG. If this is a commentary then I agree.

Fiber Channel Protocol.

Forward Command Post.

Federal Corrupt Practices Act.

Food and Consumer Products of Canada. The name used include the word Manufacturers (FCPMC), but now (text copied March 2005) they are ``the industry association representing approximately 150 Canadian-operated member companies that manufacture and market retailer and national brands integral to daily life at home, work and leisure. These companies provide Canadians with safe, high-quality food and consumer products sold through grocery, drug, convenience, mass merchandise and foodservice distribution channels.'' The best thing about cut'n'paste is that you needn't actually read what you're copying. That's a great time-saver.

In French it's the PACC (formerly the FPACC). Don't worry -- it's national but nongovernmental, so everything is in English.

Food and Consumer Products Manufacturers of Canada. Former name of the FCPC, q.v.

Fast Circuit Switching.

Food and Consumer Service of the USDA. Now known as the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). This is an improvement, because the old name suggested that food and consumers might be served equivalently.

In the name transition from FCS to FNS, there doesn't appear to have been a time when the official name could be abbreviated FCNS. However, either out of confusion or a desire to avoid confusion, FCNS has also been used.

[Football icon]

Football Championship Subdivision. NCAA football's old Division I-AA, officially so renamed in 2007. The name is logical, because the divisions are I, II, and III, so I-AA is more appropriately regarded as a subdivision. It is also a reasonable name because Division I-AA teams that do well are eligible to participate in the a championship playoff series, while Division I-A teams aren't (see FBS). However, the enduring and defining difference is that Division I-A (and a subdivision is a division, after all, just as a subgroup is a group) has generally better players and better play. Hence, the new, improved names for I-A and I-AA have the odor of euphemisms, and you can smell that from a distance of many stadia.

Frame Check Sequence.

Fédération Canadienne des Sciences Humaines et Sociales. Same as the HSSFC.

Fluorchlorkohlenwasserstoff. Faithfully translated from the German, this means `fluorochlorohydrocarbon,' but the term is taken as equivalent to CFC (chlorofluorocarbons). Technically it isn't equivalent, because some CFC's have no hydrogen. The corresponding less-restrictive term FCK doesn't seem to occur. (That's probably just as well, since it avoids confusion with FC Kaiserslautern. You might think, since the translation of the English ``F-word'' is ficken in German, that there might be some reluctance to use an initialism like FCK, but it's actually quite common. It's used for a variety of FC's besides Kaiserslautern.)

Look, if you mean freon, you can just say Freone. In any case, it's not the hydrogen that people worry about. It's not even the fluorine people are worried about, but mostly the chlorine -- on account of the ozone layer.

French Connection United Kingdom. It's a clothing store, and I don't know if it has any more French or UK connection than your typical international retail chain.

Fuel-Cell Vehicle.

Fair Disclosure. Contrasted to selective disclosure (of company information to investors). Former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt, Jr. called selective dislosure a stain on US financial markets. See Reg FD.

Fermi-Dirac (statistics).


Finite-Difference. Refers to mesh-based numerical simulation codes. Distinguished from finite-element (FE) approach in that FD performs an evolution of (a discretized approximation of) a continuous field, using the value of the field at various nearby points to compute ``finite-difference'' approximations to derivatives (``infinitesimal differences'') that occur in partial-differential evolution equations. In contrast, FE approaches evolve not the field value at various points, but the values of expansion coefficients. Specifically, each mesh volume (or surface, edge, etc.) element has associated to it a few coefficients of a small basis set of local functions that approximate the field function. Derivative values are computed from these coefficients and corresponding derivatives of the small local bases.

Fire Department. Productive in acronyms.

{Floppy | Flexible} {Disk | Drive}. Note here that only the disk is floppy. The drive is not floppy at all. ``Floppy drive'' is short for ``floppy-disk drive.'' That is, the first word in ``floppy disk'' is an adjective that describes the disk. In contrast, the first word in ``floppy drive'' is an attributive noun: because ``floppy disk'' has been contracted to ``floppy,'' the word floppy is an adjective functioning as a noun functioning as an adjective. Cf. floppy bowtie. See coach for related parts-of-speech proteanism.

Information bits are stored on floppy disks, or diskettes, as orientation patterns of magnetic domains. X-rays are not particularly likely to flip these orientations. The concern about airport X-ray scanners has to do with the equipment used to generate the X-rays. This is high-power and therefore high-current, and high currents generate high magnetic fields, which certainly might wipe or corrupt diskettes. FWIW, I've put my portable, my quasiportable (Macintosh SE/30; hey -- it's got a handle on it!), and my diskettes through plenty of X-ray machines with no discernible problems. (Wow, historical entry.) Of course, YMMV.


Fulda. German postal code. Fulda is the name of a city (population roughly 50,000) and of the district of which that city is the capital. The city and district are in the state of Hesse (HE).

The words state and district above translate the German Land and Bezirk. I guess if you read that last word in English it sounds like a common pronunciation of berserk, so right there I've filled my humor quota for the day. Correctly pronounced in German, it sounds something like ``beh TSEERK'' in English, which doesn't look a whole lot saner. Bezirke are like counties, so their capitals are like county seats. The proper term is Kreisstadt, and it doesn't gain much in translation.

The city and surrounding district take their name from die Fulda, a 218-km river, half of that navigable, whose waters join those of the Werra to form the Weser. The origin of the name Fulda is uncertain.

(US) Food and Drug Administration. This federal agency has jurisdiction strictly limited to items intended to be taken internally (by other animals as well as humans, though; see CVM). Therefore, nail polish and topical pheromones are not covered. Just to be on the safe side of the law, however, Spanish Fly bottles are often clearly labeled as ``placebo.'' They don't even bother with a subterfuge like ``PBO.''

Full-Duplex Audio.

Functional Data ADministrator.

Flight Data Acquisition and Management System.

Finite-Difference Beam Propagation Method.

First Day Cover. A term of art employed by all those overexposed philatelists.

Food, Drug and Cosmetic (Act; of 1938). Federal legislation which, as amended, is administered by the FDA.

FDA-approved synthetic food colors have FD&C numbers.

Frequency-Division Duplexing.

Fiber Distributed Data Interface. A 100 Mbit/s ANSI standard ring architecture for LAN's, intended for implementation on fiber-optic networks. Definition is X3T9.5. FOLDOC has a nice hyperlinked description. Acronym is also expanded as Fiber Digital Device Interface or Fiber Data Distribution Interface.

Finnish Defense Force. Don't laugh -- under Mannerheim they had a rather successful Winter against a Soviet force with overwhelmingly superior numbers. (Of course, numbers told. They suffered enormous casualties and eventually signed a peace that gave Stalin about what he'd decided to take in the first place.) Finnish success encouraged Hitler to move up Operation Barbarosa.

Feeder Distribution Interface.

Food Distributors International. Umbrella name for the National-American Wholesale Grocers' Association (NAWGA) -- and its foodservice partner, the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).

Foreign Direct Investment. Is that eff as in ``four,'' or ess as in ``soar''? You had me worried there, talking about ``new launches.''

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It was established by the Banking Act of 1933 (first year of the first FDR administration). Originally available to insure accounts at commercial banks. Probably all US states require the commercial banks they charter to be insured with the FDIC (which imposes sound accounting requirements, requires a deposit representing a certain fraction of funds the bank might be required to return by depositors, etc.).

The FSLIC was available to insure deposits at S&L's and savings banks from 1934 until 1989. As explained at the RTC entry, since 1989 the FDIC has also been the federal deposit-insurance corporation for these other banks.

For a long time the maximum amount insured per account per bank was $100,000. At the time of the market meltdown of September 2008, some kinds of accounts had their maximum insured amounts temporarily raised to $250,000, and that increase was eventually made permanent. The notion of ``per account'' is slightly tricky. For example, if a person has two essentially equivalent individual accounts at one bank, then as far as the FDIC is concerned that's one account. On the other hand, if the individual has one account that is P.O.D. to some particular person, and another that is not, then those may each be separately insured up to the maximum. But don't take my word! Ask your bank; everything depends on details of control of the assets.

The accounts referred to above are ordinary savings and checking accounts. Money-market accounts and certificates of deposit, at least, may be subject to different rules. Also, the requirement that accounts be federally insured, while now fairly uniform for ordinary accounts, may not extend to higher-yield accounts. At least in Indiana, I had money in a privately-insured money-market account as recently as 2008. This was through a credit union, which was essentially acting as an intermediary for a self-insured outside institution. I don't know if Indiana or some other state allows similar arrangements through other kinds of financial institutions, but I'm just saying: I don't know that they don't. Generally speaking, if you want to take a risk, there are plenty of ways to do it. And if you don't want to take any risk, then there may be no way to do that, unless you count burning your money and having nothing left to lose.

ISHPSSB Future Directions in the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology Workshop.

Floating DIVide. Instruction mnemonic for floating point (FP) division in some assembly languages. Made famous in 1995 by the discovery of an error in its implementation on the Pentium chip.

Facility Data Link. See Bellcore document TR-TSY-000194 [Extended Superframe (ESF) Format Interface Specification, December 1987] and ANSI document T1.403-1989 [Carrier to Carrier Installation - DS1 Metallic Interface].

Federal Depository Library. They catalog things so that you can throw your own copies out. They are the saints of office clean-up.

Flexible and Distance Learning.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Federal Depository Library Program (run by the GPO).

Frequency-Division Multiplexing.

Frequency-Division Multiple-Access (same as FDM).

Frente Democrática National. I'm sorry, that's all we have here. The main content of this entry was moved and is being housed in the PRD entry for the indefinite future.

First Dog Of the United States. The US President's principal canine companion. Rarely: first daughter[s] -- perhaps on account of the possibility of partial confusion.

Fluorescent Dye Particle[s].

Freie Demokratische Partei. `Free Democratic Party' of Germany. For many years following WWII, it was the single largest third party in the Federal Republic. As such it was a frequent junior coalition, forming part of the federal government for more years than any other German party.

The German flag consists of three horizontal bands: black, red, and yellow (schwarz, rot, und gelb) from top to bottom. In the color shorthand for political parties, the Christian Democratic parties (CDU and CSU) are ``black,'' the socialist parties (primarily the SPD) are ``red,'' and the FDP is `yellow.' The yellows are a centrist party in the qualitative sense of being a moderate party that in some respects occupies the political middle ground between the reds and blacks. [I guess if you insist on seeing latent racial thinking everywhere, then you will also be pleased to recall that it was Kaiser Wilhelm II who coined the term ``yellow peril'' (gelbe Gefahr, discussed at the Morgenlande entry).]

An SPD-FDP coalition is known as a red-yellow coalition. A coalition of the (CDU/CSU) with the FDP is called a black-yellow coalition. In the elections of 2005 left parliamentary seats more broadly distributed than ever before, so no two-party coalition other than a grand coalition could make a majority. One of the possibilities considered was a black-yellow-green Jamaika-Koalition, named after the colors of the Jamaican flag.

The FDP was for a period in a coalition government with the SDP, but after sixteen years as junior partner of the CDU/CSU, with the passing of the sixties generation of Nationalliberale, and with the rise of the Greens as a natural coalition partner of the socialists, it has clearly become a party of the right -- a ``liberal'' party in the current sense of that term in Europe, favoring economic liberalization and reduced government in general. It has adopted as mottoes ``So viel Staat wie nötig, so wenig Staat wie möglich'' (`as much state [government] as necessary; as little state as possible') and ``Schaffung und Wahrung der Freiheit des Einzelnen'' (`creation and preservation of the freedom of the individual').

With 8.8% of the vote in the 1998 general elections, they were allocated 44 seats (out of 669).

Faculty Development Public Service Initiative.

Family Death Rate. The number of immediate-family deaths per hundred students about to take an exam. Research measure introduced in a groundbreaking study of the Dead Grandmother problem.

See also the entry on dog food.

Flight Data Recorder. Often called a ``black box.'' It's painted orange or red to make it easier to find.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Frequency-Domain Reflectometry. Because transmission is dispersive (propagation velocity is frequency-dependent), with a swept-frequency input to a T-line or antenna, one can use an inverse FFT of the reflected signal for diagnostic information [principally distance-to-fault (DTF)]. Once restricted to military applications, FDR test equipment is beginning to replace more traditional time-domain reflectometry (TDR) equipment. Advantages of FDR include (1) with proper accounting of insertion loss, it's possible to get more information about a fault than just `open' or `closed' and (2) FDR operates in the frequency range of interest, while TDR is essentially a DC measure.

Food Distribution Retail Systems Group.

Feminine Deodorant Spray. I really don't like the stuff I'm learning in chat.

Formal Description Technique.

Frequently Discussed Topic. At the Stammtisch. As John Paul Jones is reputed to have said: ``we have not yet begun to fight!'' The following partial FDT list is in the preliminary stages of development. It has a lot of ostensible errors in it. Some of the FDT's haven't been discussed yet.

In fact, when I made up a list, it quickly became unwieldy, so I've decided only to add items for which I have either written something useful or found a good link (mostly, as of 1997.12.21, from Eric's Treasure Trove of Scientific Biography).

Finite-Difference Time-Domain.

Far End. The other end of a communications link. Productive fragment in acronyms listed below. As an attributive noun, it should be hyphenated.


Field Emission.

Finite Element. An approach to mesh-discretized numerical modeling, distinguished from finite-difference approach. See comparison at finite-difference (FD) entry. There is generally a much greater variety in FE approaches than in FD approaches. FE is particularly useful in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and mechanical design, where irregular geometries and things like point stresses occur. In electronic device modeling, on balance, FD has been popular. Part of the reason is that the many-orders-of-magnitude variations in charge densities that must be followed often require the use of Slotboom variables (Scharfetter-Gummel approach), which further complicates, and partially obviates the need for, FE. Part of the reason is surely inertia. In principle, the Coulomb interaction is more singular than strain fields: an unscreened dipole exerts a force whose magnitude falls off approximately as the strain of a point defect. In conductors, however, electrostatic fields are exponentially screened. Strain fields are ``screened'' by fracture.

Free Exciton.

Fundamentals of Engineering. An eight-hour test administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES, q.v.). A ``supplied-reference examination.'' The four-hour morning session, common to all disciplines, currently consists of 120 one-point questions. The afternoon session, four hours to answer 60 two-point questions, now comes in six different versions: Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering discipoline-specific exams, and a general engineering version for the rest.

The FE used to be called the Engineer-In-Training (EIT) exam. People who successfully pass the test may be called engineers-in-training or engineering interns, but use of their given names is probably preferable. For surveyors, the NCEES administers a different exam called the Fundamentals of Land Surveying (FLS) exam.

The FE and FLS exams are preliminary to the taking of the Professional Engineering (PE) and Professional Land Surveying (PLS) exams, respectively.


Iron. Atomic number 26. Chemical element abbreviation from the Latin ferrum. More about that at the ferrous entry. More about iron at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool, where it was #4 on the Top Five List last time I checked, rather a long time ago.

A Mid-Iron is what a two iron (golf club) used to be called.

Federal Energy Administration.

Finite Element Analysis.

Florida Education Association. An affiliate of the NEA, it had 122,000 members in 2002.

Functional Economic Analysis.

Spanish, `ugly' in female declension.

Far-End Alarm and Control.

fear of commitment
There is great confusion surrounding this male malady. Women realize that refusing (or ``being afraid,'' as they say) to commit is very similar to ``rejecting.'' But ``fear of commitment'' is not a passive-aggressive form of rejection. It's rejection plus sex.

There's a TV commercial running these days (May 2006, mindestens) that plays off the stereotypes associated with fear of commitment. It's for Mitchum antiperspirant, which sells an urbanized Marlboro-man image for just the price of a stick. The commercial begins with a flattering portrait of you the customer, which includes this: ``Your only real fear is commitment.''

I saw an episode of a prime-time soap in 2003 or so -- I think it was Sex and the City. One of the regular-cast characters encounters an old high-school flame who looks a lot like David Duchovny (this isn't part of the story; it's part of the guest cast). They rekindle their relationship. He doesn't seem to have too great a fear of commitment. After sex and a few dates, he reveals to her that -- you know, I can just walk away from this entry whenever I want. I'd kick the f______ dust off my shoes and never look back. I mean, is it about me, or is it about you? Or is it really about ``fear of commitment,'' the head term?

Alright, let's try to patch this up. The Duchovny character turns out to be sort of part-time institutionalized. He usually spends his nights in bedlam. If you remember, that's not a kind of bed. By now one's probably not allowed to call it that or an insane asylum or even a mental-health facility. Let's call it a happiness center. All the same, I sure as hell wouldn't want to be committed there.

Association for Feminist Ethics And Social Theory. It's FEAST or feminine. Sorry, I had to say that.

Really! I'm really, really sorry! It just sounded cool! I didn't know it would have offensive implications. Oh I'm really, really--wait a second. I'm not sorry. I've just developed a Social Theory of Masculinist Ethics, and according to that, it's alright. Everything is relative, you know, except Uncle Joe.

A kind of British railway signal. A row of white lights attached to the main signal head, which are all lit or all dark. Each feather relates to a particular switch on the track, and if lit, says that the train will be taking the diverging route there. In general, the driver is expected to know and obey the proper speed limit over the switch and then, once clear, to drive in a manner appropriate to the aspect of the last signal sighted.

Far East Broadcasting Company.

Far-End Block Error.

Although it's ``the cruelest month,'' I know a couple of women named ``April.'' There are plenty of Junes and Julies. Mays too. Even cold January has a hot January Jones, and I've heard of a ``March Hare.'' Yet I know of no one named ``February.'' We need a government program to address this problem. Wherever possible, opportunities should be sought out to name people after disadvantaged months. Court cases should be brought in the names of February Doe and November Roe. PSA's should tout the advantages of the less commonly used names, and there should be subsidies. If these things don't bring all months into parity, then more coercive measures should be considered.

That's enough for today. Tomorrow: Monday.

Federal Election Commission. Candidates for national (US) office have two options: (1) if they want to be open about where their money is coming from, whom they might be beholden to, who supports them, etc., they can send their reports in electronic form to the FEC, which will put them on line immediately; (2) if they want to delay release of the information until it is no longer newsworthy, they can print out their (certainly electronic) records on paper and submit that. In a few months, the FEC will scan in the paper reports and make them available as (nonsearchable, of course) image files. For this quick check on the honesty of the candidates, see the FEC Electronic Filing Campaign Finance Database.

``Note that presently campaigns for the Senate file their reports with the Secretary of the Senate -- not with the FEC -- so these reports are not available [there]. Reports of the National Party Senatorial Campaign Committees are, however, included in the system. (Microfilm copies of Senate reports are on file at the Commission offices in Washington, and candidates must also file copies with their state elections office.)''

Forward Error Correct{ion|or}. FEC techniques are used to repair corrupted data packets. FEC and corruption -- a recurring collocation.

Federal Employee's Compensation Act. I have nothing to do with any FECA matter.

Forward Explicit Congestion Notification.

Try Fed, The.

Field Emission Display. (Vacuum display with field-emission cathode.)

Federation Execution Development. Maybe Mr. Spock can follow this ``explanation.''

Federación Colombiana de Bridge. Also abbreviated FCB. It was founded on June 17, 1963, as the Asociación Colombiana de Bridge. The federation is currently (2006) an NBO of the CSB (the confederation of NBO's of the WBF's zone 3: South America). Previously, it was a member of the CACBF (zone 5: Central America and the Caribbean).

federalism, limitations of
My first thought when I learned that Amanda Bynes had tweeted US president Barack Obama on June 6, 2012, asking that he fire the local police officer who arrested her. (Heck, if a mere professor from Harvard rated a ``beer summit,'' surely this was the least he could do for a world-famous former child actress from a rich-campaign-donor-rich area.) Later that day her lawyer entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf in Beverly Hills Superior Court. She was charged with drunk driving and possibly something else (a misdemeanor count of drunk tweeting, I guess).

I should say something more about the limitations of federalism, beyond what you might gather from the entry on the principle of subsidiarity. I had a particular something more in mind when I started this entry but, distraught at Amanda's continuing difficulties with the legal system and her oily complexion, I was unable to finish and have now forgotten what I was going to add. You can help me out by completing this paragraph:

But really, federalism is all about limitations. Just this year, for example, ...

Federal Government
Visit more than 120 government agencies! Become a red-tape mummy. Just the domain name alone (fedworld.gov) sounds like the theme park of a Kafkaesque nightmare.

Short for its original name, Federal Express. (Some people still call it that, but it doesn't seem to be official, so I guess FedEx is a sealed acronym.)

Hurry! Hurry to the website!

Among C. Northcote Parkinson's many great contributions to bureaucracy science were his preliminary investigations of the ``Law of Triviality. Briefly stated, it means that the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.'' [Quote is from Parkinson's Law (1957), available online from a Russian site, but perhaps only until the copyright holder finds out.] The standard example given of a low-cost/long-discussion item is coffee -- something everyone knows something they think worth prolonging a meeting to say. Here's something I circled on page D3 of the New York Times, SportsMonday, August 30, 1999. This continued the page D1 lead story about a secret agreement between the NFL and the NFL players' union under which a number of players who tested positive for illegal drugs went unpunished. (Unpunished by the league, of course. No one would think of applying the ordinary laws that put mere nonprofessional athletes in jail. It turns out that being a professional athlete does not constitute ``probable cause'' to test for drug use or search for evidence of possession, so an agreement on drug testing can be reached between league and union without any inconvenient involvement of the government, which anyway is too busy waging its war on drugs to get involved.)

Mark Collins, a former Giants cornerback, had been a player representative for 12 years and, though then recently retired as a player, remained a member of the union's executive committee. He had said in an earlier interview that there was usually a lot of bickering at meetings, and that players were known to argue about whether to use Federal Express or the United Parcel Service to mail documents. ``We get a lot done,'' he claimed, ``but things get pretty intense.''

An event this morning inspired me to haiku. I've entitled it ``New Computer.''

When the doorbell rang,
I hoped it was FedEx, but
it was the jay double-yoo.

Fed, The
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.

FEDeral Research In Progress. A database of the NTIS. This is an interesting acronym: depending on how you break it up into syllables, it suggests either the dashing insouciance of RRRRIP! or the feeble tediousness of drip.

If you read too many acronyms, soon you read too much into acronyms. Same problem with the next one (as opposed to HungryWorld).

FEDeral (US government) World. A comprehensive central gateway to information disseminated by the US federal government. A program of the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) of the Department of Commerce (DoC).

FEEBle or FEEBle-minded.

feel your pain, I
Bill Clinton made this phrase famous during his 1992 presidential campaign. It's not original with him, however. The precise phrase ``I feel your pain'' occurs in John Wain's poem ``To a Friend in Trouble'' (first published in book form no later than 1961, in Weep Before God). Philip Francis published a verse translation of Horace's Ars Poetica in 1749 that was well-known for a time, and it included the following lines:
If you would have me weep, begin the Strain,
Then I shall feel your Sorrows, feel your Pain;
But if your Heroes act not what they say,
I sleep or laugh the lifeless Scene away. 

The thought seems to have been in the air during that last decade of Jacobitism. In 1743 Henry Fielding published the following in a poem called ``Of Good-Nature'' in a three-volume set of Miscellanies. (The ``Name'' referred to is ``Good-nature.'')

What by this Name, then, shall be understood?
What? but the glorious Lust of doing Good?
The Heart that finds it Happiness to please,
Can feel another's Pain, and taste his Ease.
The Cheek that with another's Joy can glow,
Turn pale, and sicken with another's Woe; 

The earliest version or similar formulation that I can find, and probably the one that was most celebrated in its time, occurs in a much-reprinted minor poem of Alexander Pope entitled ``The Universal Prayer, Deo Opt. Max.'' The phrase of interest occurs in the tenth of thirteen stanzas:

Teach me to feel another's Woe;
  To hide the Fault I see;
That Mercy I to others show,
  That Mercy show to me.

There are many similar expressions that are happily forgotten. Here are two such that were constructed with a third-person agent: (1) John Thelwall wrote ``Still prone to feel another's pain, / And to relieve inclin'd'' in a clever boring poem of 1787. (2) Jimmy Carter began an Address to the Nation with ``Good Evening. Exactly three years ago on July 15, 1976, I accepted the nomination of my party to run for the presidency of the United States. I promised you a president who is not isolated from the people, who feels your pain and who shares your dreams, and who draws his strength and his wisdom from you.'' (The pain people were feeling was an oil shortage created when Iran suspended oil exports following the overthrow of the Shah.)

Clinton introduced the phrase while responding to Act-Up member Bob Rafsky, who was heckling Clinton at a March 26, 1992, campaign stop at Laura Belle, a nightclub in Midtown Manhattan. Here's Clinton's key turn, as recorded by CNN and reported by the New York Times:

Let me tell you something. If I were dying of ambition, I wouldn't have stood up here and put up with all this crap I've put up with for the last six months. I'm fighting to change this country.

And let me tell you something else. Let me tell you something else. You do not have the right to treat any human being, including me, with no respect because of what you're worried about. I did not cause it. I'm trying to do something about it. I have treated you and all the people who've interrupted my rally with a hell of a lot more respect than you've treated me, and it's time you started thinking about that.

I feel your pain, I feel your pain, but if you want to attack me personally you're no better than Jerry Brown and all the rest of these people who say whatever sounds good at the moment. If you want something to be done, you ask me a question and you listen. If you don't agree with me, go support somebody else for President but quit talking to me like that. This is not a matter of personal attack; it's a matter of human wrong.

You can be for George Bush, you can be for somebody else, but do not stand up here at my rally, where other people paid to come, and insult me without -- listen, that's fine, I'll give you your money back if you want it, out of my own pocket.

I understand that you're hurting, but you won't stop hurting by trying to hurt other people. That's what I try to tell all you folks. You're not going to stop hurting by trying to hurt other people.

The reason I'm still in public life is because I've kept my commitments. That's why I'm still here. That's why I'm still standing here. And I'm sick and tired of all these people who don't know me, know nothing about my life, know nothing about the battles that I've fought, know nothing about the life I've lived, making snotty-nose remarks about how I haven't done anything in my life and it's all driven ambition. That's bull, and I'm tired of it.

And anybody -- there are other choices on the ballot. Go get 'em is my answer to you. If you want somebody that'll fight AIDS, vote for me, because when I come in to do something, I do it, and I fight for it.

Feeling your oats in public
Sounds like the sort of thing there ought to be a law against.

A FErrous FEmale mascot of swinish extraction. I suppose the name is pronounced ``Fifi.'' For a fee, you can have her attend your event in the Allentown, PA, area. More at the ferrous entry.

Flying Electric Generator. A kind of tethered helicopter that is parked in one of the jet streams. While net power must be supplied in the initial positioning, in operation the jet stream supplies more than enough lift, and the helicopter rotors function primarily as a wind turbine. The idea originated with Prof. Bryan Roberts of the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. He started developing it in 1979 and test-flew a model (the design has four rotors on the corners of an H-shaped frame) in the early nineties or so. Since 2002 he's been working with David H. Shepard's San Diego-based company SkyWindPower. They expect to demonstrate a model working in 2010.

The latest published work I've seen on this is an article entitled ``Harnessing High-Altitude Wind Power,'' in IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, vol. 22, no. 1 (March 2007), pp. 136-144. The authors are Bryan W. Roberts, Shepard, Ken Caldeira, M. Elizabeth Cannon, David G. Eccles, Albert J. Grenier, and Jonathan F. Freidin. They reported the design of a 240kW craft.

The Federation of the Electronics Industry. ``[T]he lead UK Trade Association for companies in the Information Technology, Communications and Electronics Industries, in Defence and Civil Electronics and in Office Equipment and Furniture.''

Free-Electron Laser.

FEderación LAtinoamericana de FAcultades de Comunicación Social. [`Federation of Social Communication Faculties.'] Every single one of the affiliated organizations has a six-, seven- or eight-letter acronym!

Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations. Cf. LASA.

Far-End Loop Back.

Felix Frankfurter Reminisces
A book first published in 1960, whose title is given on the front of the dustjacket as Felix Frankfurter Reminisces: An intimate portrait as recorded in talks with Dr. Harlan B. Phillips. The title page and the front inside flap of the dj omit the words ``An intimate portrait as.'' The copyright page doesn't resolve the issue; in those days the copyright page often didn't give the title.

Frankfurter was born on November 15, 1882, and died on February 22, 1965; he is best remembered for his service as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court from January 30, 1939, until August 28, 1962.

Phillips began his interviews with Frankfurter in 1953, as part of an ongoing oral history project at Columbia University, and the original idea was to produce archival material. According to Phillips's foreword (p. ix) ``During our sessions as we talked our way through his life to his appointment to the Court in 1939, no thought was given to the possibility of publication. ... It was only when the recordings were completed and ready to be filed away for future researchers that a re-reading made it clear that these recorded memories were [worth publishing]. Editing has been done in the interest of providing unity and flow to the work as a whole with relatively few retrospective changes in wording and phraseology.'' I will silently repair the punctuation in any of the quotes from this book that I use in this glossary.

Turkish for `philosophy.'

Fédération Européenne de la Manutention. (In English, the official name is ``European Federation of Material Handling, Lifting and Storage Equipment Industries.'' Wow, French sure is an efficient, information-packed language! German name: ``Europäische Vereinigung der Förder- und Lagertechnik.'')

Finite Element Method.

Federal (US) Emergency Management Agency.

Fondation Européenne des Métiers de l'Image et du Son. French `European Foundation for Image and Sound Crafts.' {THE REST OF THIS ENTRY HAS ERRORS, although I could be excused for making them. Get what looks like the straight poop here. I'll fix the entry on, um, after September 22, 2006. Right now I have more pressing work.} A school of film created in October 1986. It succeeded l'IDHEC and was renamed INIS (Institut National de l'Image et du Son) in 1999. That's one version of the story, anyway.

The website <http://www.lafemis.fr/> evidently belongs to the same organization, but while it does mention the historical connection with l'IDHEC, it makes no mention of any INIS. It does mention that since 1998 it has enjoyed the support of the French ministry of culture. More interestingly, the organization is referred to as ``la fémis, école nationale supérieure des métiers de l'image et du son.'' In fact, one may find the acronym ENSMIS used in various places such as sound engineers' résumés, and even once or twice in lafemis.fr webpages.

My best guess is that one string that came with government support was that the school should be nominally national rather than European, but that people liked the old acronym and kept using it informally and unofficially. Moreover, an identically named INIS was already in existence in Quebec, with direct Canadian government support since at least 1990. In view of the namespace conflict, continued use of the already popular F-word must have seemed sensible. Proper obeisance was shown to the national government by the steadfast ignoring of the original expansion of the word and by tactics that obliterate the original sense. The ``tactics,'' as they must seem to any lexicographer, are the use of lower case and an acute accent on the e. The latter disguise is inspired: anyone guessing at an expansion is likely to suppose the e represents École rather than Européenne. Also, because accents have a habit of disappearing on capitalization, anyone aware of the old capitalized form could reasonably suppose that the accent had been there in reality all along. All in all, a well-camouflaged acronym subversion.

If you don't mean FEMIS (though if you're thinking of a film school then I think you do), then I can't help you.

Association for Feminist Epistemology, Metaphysics, Methodology and Science Studies. This organization got off to a bang (a few bangs, literally) on October 2, 2003. I only read two philosophy mailing lists, but I got four announcements in the space of a few hours, with a total of about eight exclamation marks. The name is only a bit rechrrché. It even has a certain panach.

FEMMSS is going to be another club for the grievance-as-Weltanschauung crowd, which includes much of the humanities faculty at your better universities. There was an organizational meeting on March 2004 at the Penn State Conference on The Ethics and Epistemologies of Ignorance. For Kant's observation on ignorance experts, see the Idiot entry.

Free Expression Network. See also the Freedom Forum, ABFFE, and OIF.

Fujitsu ENhanced Information & Communication Service.

Appetite suppressants FENfluramine (or the closely related dexfenfluramine) and PHENtermine taken in combination. It was an enormously popular prescription in the 1990's, given to an estimated six million Americans. The party ended in 1997, when the fen drugs were taken off the US market because studies had suggested they might cause heart-valve defects.

No idea. ``Feo specializes in [elegant but slow-loading] interface & graphic design.''

Spanish, `ugly' (male and unmarked-gender form).

Front End Of (production) Line. In integrated-circuit fabrication lines, this conventionally refers to earlier process stages that directly modify the semiconductor substrate or the immediate contacts to it -- mainly dopant diffusion and implantation, sputtering of gate films, oxidations, and the patterning steps associated with these. In contradistinction, the back end of the line (BEOL) is metallization (by means of PVD) for interconnects and vias (vertical interconnects between planar interconnects) and associated nonconducting depositions and growths (mostly glasses: polymers, oxides, nitrides, and oxynitrides) for electrical isolation, dielectrics (for capacitance), diffusion barriers, and mechanical passivation (in particular, to prevent failure of interconnects by electromigration and stress migration). FEOL and BEOL are used in transferred senses to refer to the levels of an IC fabricated in the corresponding stages: BEOL is the metallization layers (say between four and ten) and associated insulating layers; FEOL everything below that -- mostly transistors.

Fluent English {Proficient|Proficiency}. Cool: the adjective form of FEP describes what the adjective form of FEP isn't. What it is is an acronymic heteronym.

Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene. One of the polymers that du Pont markets as ``Teflon'' ® (along with PFA and PTFE).

Front-End Processor.

Federal Emergency Relief Administration. A depression-era program put in place early in FDR's first administration.

A surprisingly common error for femtosecond. Usually, at least, it seems to be due to faulty OCR. Not surprisingly, ferntosecond (that's fe-r-n-tosecond: primitive nonflowering leafy plant to second) is over ten times as common.

Far-End Receive Failure.

A nobler name for what the SI calls a femtometer: unit of length equal to 10-15 meter. About the size of a nucleon, and also the typical range for the strong interaction.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. In Batavia, Illinois. Longer entry under shorter name: FNAL.

Any particle with total angular momentum quantum number equal to half an odd positive integer (1/2, 3/2, 5/2, ...). For an elementary particle, this is equivalent to having ``half-integer'' intrinsic spin. Compound particles are fermions if they have an odd number of elementary fermion constituents, and bosons otherwise.

Fermions obey Fermi-Dirac statistics: their total wavefunctions must be antisymmetric. When expressed in terms of single-particle quantum states, this implies that fermions obey the Pauli exclusion principle.

A misspelling or misreading of femtosecond. To judge from ghits, one in a thousand webpages that has or should have the word femtosecond has ``ferntosecond.'' Cf. feratosecond.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. FERPA is 20 USC Sec. 1232g. To read it as a MSWord doc., go to title 20 (Education) of the US Code and select chapter 31. Search on 1232g. Philologists may be amused by "(FOOTNOTE 1)":
So in original. The period probably should be a semicolon. 

On June 25, 2001, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear a case, Owasso Independent School District v. Falvo, 00-1073, that should be of interest to anyone who teaches or is otherwise humiliated in a classroom. The court will probably have to decide whether classmate grading of swapped papers violates FERPA.

The particular case in question was brought by Kristja J. Falvo in 1998, who sued the Owasso, Okla., school district (in suburban Tulsa). She contended that three of her children were embarrassed when classmates graded each other's work and called out grades to the teacher. A federal judge rejected her claim, but last year the 10th US Circuit Court ruled that FERPA was violated. The act prohibits the release of ``education records'' without parental consent, and the tenth circuit found that grades students record on homework or tests and then report to a teacher are ``education records.''

The regulations are imposed by the usual mechanism: federal monies not to be disbursed to institutions that violate them. This affects virtually all public schools, AFAIK, and apparently few if any private schools.

I've also seen the F of FERPA incorrectly expanded as ``Federal.''

A colloidal suspension of nanoscopic magnetic particles. Has interesting properties. Combined with an inmiscible nonmagnetic fluid, its magnetic domains form interesting structures.

I ought to say something here about the old cation nomenclature, though that's not the reason I entered the entry, so this will be quick and minimal. Most transition metals are multivalent -- they have at least two oxidation states in addition to the elemental state (which has oxidation number 0). Most often they have valence 2 and something else. Anyway, to indicate the oxidation state there was a system of element-name inflections that was official for much of the twentieth century. It's still popular today, so you should know it. When there are only two oxidation states, the inflections are simply -ous and -ic. Hence, for iron, the cations are ferrous and ferric, because the names are formed from the Latin name of the element, which everyone knows, or perhaps because ``ironous'' and ``ironic'' might be confusing. The ferrous cation is Fe+3, and the ferric cation is Fe2+. Okay, enough about that.

Ottawa used to host a minor-league baseball team called the Lynx. Following the 2007 season, the team moved to Allentown, Pa., to become a Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Allentown is part of the rust belt: areas that used to have a thriving iron-and-steel industry and that now don't.

Well, that's not entirely accurate: a down-sized steel industry that employs fewer workers thrives in some places, but I'm not going to do heavy industrial research for an entry that's basically about a furry pig. Oh, all right, I suppose when the research falls in my lap I might as well type it in:

Through much of the 1970's and 80's, the United States, under intense competitive pressure from foreign countries, underwent an often agonizing economic restructuring. New and much more productive methods were adopted to produce goods that could compete with the flood of imports. Steel, which for a century had been the sine qua non of an industrialized economy, was a case in point. In 1974, 521,000 American steel workers were producing 99 million tons. In 2000, nearly exactly the same amount was being produced by only 151,000 workers.
That's from a February 2008 Commentary article by John Steele Gordon. (Yes, the surname Steele is related to steel -- it was a name given to foundry workers in the Middle Ages. The word -- spelled style in Old English -- has been traced back to at least around 725, and the forms of its cognates in Northern and Western Germanic branches indicate that the vocable goes back to proto-Germanic. Cognates in non-Germanic languages, like Russian and Old Prussian, appear to be more recent loans from German or Scandinavian. This feels really weird; I thought I was into at least my third tangent, yet I'm writing content that's actually somewhat relevant to the head term.)

Steele and similar names (stele was the typical Middle English spelling) were also given to people who were just tough. A more recent example of the practice was Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. He was born Iosef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (that's a transliteration of the Russian form of his Georgian name). His assumed name Stalin means `made of steel.' It apparently had nothing directly to do with steles, funerary or otherwise. You could be forgiven for thinking so, but you probably wouldn't have survived saying so. The Arabic word for iron is hadid.

Anyway, fast forward back to the global market and so forth, and that article by John Steele Gordon, of all aptronymic authors. The article title was ``Look Who's Afraid of Free Trade.'' The ``who'' turned out to be the Democrats, and Gordon reminded the reader that Democrats have been the party of free trade since the time of Jackson. I'd have written that it had been the party of free trade. I think the surprise implied by the title would have been more appropriate a quarter of a century ago.

Billy Joel wrote a song called ``Allentown'' (1982) about economic hardship, and the mayor of Allentown tried to shake him down for a share of the profits. That's sharper evidence than industrial statistics. I've got family in Allentown, but nobody was ever in the steel industry. One time when I visited in the 1960's there was a 1"-diameter boule of silicon on the kitchen table, and in an odd way that's about as far as you can get from the steel industry and still have anything to do with manufacturing.

Where was I? So the new owners called the team the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and chose a large furry pig as mascot. (No, pigs are not notably furry, but this is a pig of the mascot species. And pig iron is kinda shaggy stuff anyway.) Having introduced or imposed the mascot, and perhaps belatedly thinking that they ought to have some prospective-fan input, they solicited suggestions for the mascot name. There were 7345 submissions, and the most popular name, with 235 submissions, was ``Ferrous.'' Another suggestion was Porkchop, which was the name the owners chose. As they quickly learned following the announcement of the name, porkchop is a derogatory term for a Puerto Rican.

If the team had still been in Canada, this error would have been punished by means of an efficient modern instrument known as a ``human rights tribunal.'' (It's ``efficient'' because part of the torture is the star chamber itself. No need to wait for the inevitable conviction.) Instead, following immediate protests that, absent a receptive government entity, had to go directly to the owners, the team switched to plan B the very next day (December 2, 2007): ``Ferrous.'' FeRROUS (this is the official capitalization as of 2013, since I-don't-know when) wears number 26, the atomic number of iron. (Ferrous is also the mascot of the Aberdeen IronBirds, a Single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Given that this differently-named team is in a different league and plays games in a different region, the coincidence of mascot names was not expected to be a problem. FWIW, the last previous time that Allentown had had a major-league-affiliated baseball team was 1958-60; that team was called the Allentown Red Sox.)

At some point, a furry sow named FeFe was added to the mascot lineup. She sports pigtails and doesn't seem to have a number, because she wears team gear but not a uniform. Don't feel bad if you didn't groan immediately at the ``pigtails'' pun. It was years before I noticed that FeRROUS is a pun on feroz, the Puerto Rican word that means `ferocious.' The second syllable is in all-caps because the Spanish word is stressed on the ult.

In ordinary speech, fertility is a potential, the ability to produce offspring. This is natural; the adjective fertile means able to produce offspring. (Okay, okay -- if it's soil then the ``offspring'' are not its own but those of some plant. At various ancient and primitive times, the role of the female in the procreative process was conceived -- little pun there -- as analogous to that of soil, with the male providing a seed conceived as a complete tiny person -- a homunculus. The ancients were not oblivious to the fact that children might resemble their mothers as much as their fathers; they simply imagined that the way that came about was as what we would call an environmental effect.) The conventional sense of the word fertility is essentially that used by the medical establishment (possibly excluding some epidemiologists), as evidenced by the meaning of expressions such as ``fertility treatment.'' We have a number of entries that have to do with fertility in this sense. Considering the cultural centrality of fertility in primitive societies like, say, the G-7, it's hard to know where to draw the line on relevance, but here are a few of our apparently more relevant entries:

In demographics and social sciences today, the term fertility is used consistently to mean what might be called ``manifested fertility'' or perhaps ``fecundity.'' A couple of our entries that mention fertility in this (demographers') sense are kyoiku-mama and WEU. (For the ordinary sense of the word fertility, demographers use ``biological fertility.'')

Fertility is computed by demographers as the number of children born per woman. This expression is a kind of shorthand for the actual mathematical definition. Obviously there are difficulties if one tries to take it as a strict definition. One difficulty is that one does not know how many children a woman will have until she is past her reproductive period (nowadays that is usually until menopause; at various times and places it has often been until death). Hence, for a large fraction of women and girls alive at any given time, one does not know the value of the individual vital statistic. A second problem with understanding the loose definition rigidly arises because fertility varies over time. Even when computing fertilities in the distant-enough past, with all necessary data putatively available, it is unclear how to assign the time in a meaningful way. For example, in one strict interpretation, the fertility rises immediately when a cohort of girls is born who will have a high birth rate years later.

These problems are analogous to the problems of defining life expectancy, and the solution is similar. In any given year, one can know (for the previous year, which is ``current'' in published statistics) how many children are born to women of each age. To compute fertility, one uses that current rate to estimate how many children women currently in each age group will ever have. Thus, the total number of offspring that women who are currently 25 will ever have is estimated by assuming that at age 26 (i.e., the next year) they will have offspring at the same rate as current 26-year-olds, at 27 (two years out) at the same rate as the current age-27 cohort, etc. This makes it possible to fold the current demographic profile (more-or-less known) into an estimate of future birth rate (the current birth rate). There are elementary corrections to this that are based on mortality rates (next year there won't be quite so many 26-year-olds as there are 25-year-olds today, because some will die -- tragically young). When birth rates are changing, one can attempt to extrapolate future birth rates in order to get a better estimate of fertility. There is no real agreement on how to do this, since many of the factors affecting whether women have children are not known, often by the women themselves.

(That's right, it's nothing but a convolution integral.)

Family Environment Scale. Has various component subscales, such as Expressiveness and Achievement Orientation.

Flash Evaporator System.

Fluent English Speaker. That's the usual expansion. Better would be ``Fluent English-Speaker'' or ``fluent speaker of English.''

Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope. You can visit a picture of a Hitachi S-4500 FESEM at the Notre Dame Microelectronics Lab.

Here's a description from Charles Evans & Associates.

festival seating
General-admission seating. See GA.

Field-Effect Transistor. (Brief description here.) A majority-carrier device. In principle, this includes IGFET's as well as JFET's, but in practice the term usually refers to JFET's and operationally similar MESFET's and MODFET's.

Pronounced both eff-ee-tee and as word rhyming with set.

Federal Energy Technology Center. There seem to be a couple of them: Morgantown (MGN) and Pittsburgh (PGH).

feudal land measure
Not strictly area measurement but crop-yield measurement.
1 wapentakes = hundred (Danish term)  (Odd, though, because Danish doesn't use w much.)
1 hundred = 100 hides (in principle), a subdivision of a shire.
1 knight's fee = 12 hides
1 sulong  = 2 hides (Kentish unit)
1 hide    = 120 acres for tax-assessment purposes (actual area varies)
1 hide	  = 4 virgates
1 hide	  = the land that can be cultivated by an eight-ox plow in one year
1 carucate = 1 hide (in the Danelaw)
1 yoke    = 2 virgates (Kentish unit)
1 arpen	  = 1 acre

Foreign Executive Women. Perhaps only in Japan.

Far-end (telephone-line) Crosstalk. Cf. NEXT, vide crosstalk.

Fighter (aircraft) Engagement Zone. See analytic differential definition at the weapon engagement zone entry of the DOD's online Dictionary of Military Terms.

Fast Forward. Skip the boring stuff.

Fill Factor. A measure of power-supply efficiency. If power supply (a solar cell or fuel cell, say) could drive the short-circuit current (ISC) unchanged as voltage increased to the maximum (the open-circuit voltage VOC) then they could supply a power ISCVOC. In practice, current decreases with increasing voltage. The maximum power that can be extracted is a fraction FF of this value.

(The term ``fill factor'' evidently refers to the fact that power is represented by a rectangle on the I-V characteristic. The simpleminded maximum is the area of a rectangle of height ISC and width VOC. The real maximum power is the area of the largest rectangle that can be inscribed from the current and voltage axes to a point on the solar cell's I-V characteristic. The fill factor is the fraction of the former rectangle filled by the latter.)

An alternative discussion of this stuff is at the MPP (Maximum Power Point) entry.

Flip-Flop latch.

ff, ff., ff
... and pages following. [Single eff if only one following page.] Abbreviation in book indices and references, such as one in the Forrestal entry infra.

[Football icon]

Force[d] [a] Fumble.

Form Feed. Go to top of next page.

Founding Father. Not a foundling father, necessarily.

French Fries. (Restaurant-order abbreviation.) (Briefly ``Freedom Fries'' during the American dyspepsia over French belly-aching about the US action to eliminate Saddam.)

``French fries'' (or just ``fries'') is American for potatoes cut into long pieces and fried. Potatoes fried in other shapes are called by various names -- curly fries, country fries, home [style] fries, hash browns, potato cubes, 'tater bits, Cajun fries, etc.

Originally, ``French fries'' was a more specific term implying that the lengths of potato had been deep fried. That's the impression I have from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook (11th edn., 1965), which defines French frying as a general procedure that we would now call deep frying. (Frying by immersion in hot shortening -- ``fat,'' in the book's definition. Fast-food restaurants nowadays use vegetable oil.) The book offers recipes for both French fries and German fries. The German fries were similar, but the fat was not as hot; they took 15 minutes to fry instead of 5 for the FF. The next time I get limp, soggy fries, I'll complain that if I'd wanted German fries, I'd have asked for them. Realistically, though, nowadays there's no reliable terminological distinction between potatoes deep fried (placed in a basket and immersed in shortening), potatoes grilled on a metal surface, and potatoes shallow fried (my neologism for fried by immersion in tepid oil, since no one would understand ``German fried''). Potatoes are not the ideal vegetable to stir fry.

The term ``French fry'' is surprising to the French; the idea of serving potatoes cut and fried was a Belgian innovation a couple of centuries ago. For all I know, the idea of slicing them twice, so they'd be long instead of flat, was an American innovation. (In Japanese, the names of numbers change depending on the general kind of thing that is being counted. Flat things and long things, for example, get different kinds of numbers.) In French, `fried potatoes' are normally called frites -- more or less literally `fries.' If you wanted to get a bit more specific, it wouldn't be as helpful as you'd suppose. The standard long term is pommes frites, which can be literally translated `fried apples' -- pomme is `apple'; pomme de terre (`earth apple') is `potato.' In the US, road apple is what a horse's behind leaves behind. The French are also innocent in the invention of what is called ``French [salad] dressing'' in the US -- a goop of equal parts mayonnaise and ketchup. ``French toast'' is just the new name that was given to ``German toast'' when Germany became the main enemy and France an ally in WWI. Belgium was overrun by German forces in that war and the next.

Actually, Belgian fries are fried twice, first at high temperature and then at a lower temperature. It seems like a compromise between French Fries and German fries. What the world needs is a truly scholarly cookbook. Fries in the US are cooked in the French way: a single stage.

The true origin of the potato chip is controversial. My own experiments indicate that it's not too easy to make, either.

British `chips' are fried potatoes, but not what most US restaurants would advertise as ``French fries.'' For many years in London, there were merchants who sold freshly fried fish, and merchants who sold freshly fried potatoes, but none who offered both. Selling fish and chips together was a twentieth-century innovation.

The Guinness Book of World Records reports that someone survived more than a year on just potatoes and water. It doesn't say what prompted him to live again.

The elementary school pupil who spelled potato correctly, but was persuaded by veep Quayle to add a final `e,' had his moment of fame afterward; I saw him on the David Letterman show, he seemed like a bright kid. Today, August 8, 1997, the news media reports tracking him down. He dropped out of high school and works for a Pontiac dealer in Trenton. He's still in the vanguard of linguistic innovation, though: he was described as an `unwed father.'

Living in Indiana (IN), the home state of J. Danforth Quayle, I passed by an Arby's recently that advertised ``Potatoe'' something or others. James C. Quayle, Dan's father, died in July 2000.

Somewhere else in this glossary I explain that politicians like classroom audiences because they tend to ask questions keyed to the intellectual level of political rhetoric, rather than to the level of ordinary intelligent conversation. Anyway, something like that. You knew that, of course -- it's obvious. But you don't realize how long it's been going on. I have here before me a dusty old copy of the New York Times ``Week in Review'' section. The lead story: ``Greasy Kid Stuff: Washington Kidnaps Dick and Jane.'' The featured pull-out quote: ``Children are cute, and useful to politicians, in ways that adults aren't.'' It was news that week, so that must be when this political trick was first tried. Sunday, June 15, 1997. There you go.

Fast Fourier Analy{sis | zer}.

Federal Facility Agreement.

Free Fatty Acid[s].

J. McSavage and S. Trevisan published a study entitled ``The use and abuse of frying oil'' in Food Service Technology [vol. 1, #2, pp. 85-92 (2001)]. They assessed the quality of frying oil discarded by a sample of catering establishments, using a rapid test method to measure the FFA concentration. ``Results show that none of the establishments used an objective assessment method; a lack of consistency between establishments, and many discarding oil where the FFA levels were above the recommended safe level.''

Free From Alongside (ship).

Future Farmers of America.

Foundation Fighting Blindness. (Formerly the National Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation.)

Fabric and Finance Committee. The FFC advises on how, or whether, the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) can implement its planned pastoral policies. This is at the St. Margaret Clitherow Roman Catholic Church in Bracknell, England.

Fabric FIFO Controller. For something to do with FIFA rather than FIFO, scoot down to the FFF entry below. There seems to be something wrong with this entry, and believe me I'm trying hard to figure out what it was originally supposed to entail.

Fabric Fortune Cookie[s]. Reported by the seller to be an ``unbelievably clever idea for gifts, favors and home decoration...'' They're right: I don't believe it. Do they sell patterns for edible panties also?

Fast and Fun Crochet. Not just a magazine. A website. A lifestyle concept! A welthistorisches Revolutionsprinzip! And something you can do with just one needle and half a brain.

Fauji Fertilizer Company, Ltd. ``... committed to attaining excellence in all areas of its operation.''

Feed-Forward Control. The practice, in manufacture, of evaluating a product at an intermediate step in fabrication and adjusting later manufacturing steps to compensate for measured deviations from spec.

Flexible Flat (electric) Cable. Also, equivalently, flat flexible cable or flexible flat conductor.

Flip-Flop (FF) Complementarity.

Foam For Comfort, Ltd. ``Sorry, UK and Northern Ireland deliveries only.'' (They presumably mean some other ``UK'' than the familiar united kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Either that, or this is one of those rare (a.-a.p.p. pleonasms.)

FFC makes Church Pew Cushions! Of course! Why didn't I think of it?

I was sort of a greeter at Gary's wedding (yeah, and taxi driver too), and when Wally and his wife came in, he explained that he considered that attending this wedding would satisfy his personal church attendance obligations for the week. Most weeks, Wally is a Roman Catholic. This week, I told him to put on a yamulka. He told me later that when he went to sit down in the pews, and seeing no knee-rests, it struck him that Jews must be serious masochists about worship. He might be right, but there's no full genuflection in Jewish worship.

Full, Final, and Complete. Bureaucratese for ``It's your problem now.''

Federal Facility Compliance Act.

French Football Federation. Oh wait, wait -- it's not that at all. Fédération Française de Football.

Failure to Follow Instructions. The this abbreviation is used in grading otherwise acceptable work, to explain that the student is being a low grade because the instructor gave poor instructions.

Fatal Familial Insomnia. A disease of humans, suspected of being caused or transmitted by prions, q.v.

Finance For Industry. Founded in 1973, owned by the Bank of England and seven leading commercial banks (Scotland's and England's clearing banks). The ICFC, which had been created in 1945, was folded in as Finance for Industry's best-known subsidiary, and one of four main constituents parts. The other three were TDC (development capital for technology-based firms), FFS (Finance for shipping) and FCI (Finance corporation for industry, lending to large companies). Another entity, ``FFI UK Finance,'' employed the staff and held almost all the assets.

Nobody understood the structure of the beast, and its various limbs hardly knew what else they were attached to, so in July 1983, with great fanfare (i.e. with twenty-page glossy inserts in The Economist), FFI introduced a unifying corporate identity, ``Investors in Industry,'' and a 3i logo painted in wavy-edged watercolors, with the dot over the "i" replaced with a drawing of an eye. Except for ICFC, the 3i symbol began to be used as a prefix to the names of the various entities (``3i FFS'' and so forth).

For later developments, see the 3i entry.

Forces françaises de l'intérieur. Pronounced ``fi-fi.''

Fantasy Football League. A role-playing game in which the roles contestants play are team owners. ESPN functions as the dungeonmaster, or whatever they call it. Who would ever have thought that sports could get this geeky?

Flip-Flop Latch. Here're some exercises.

Forces françaises libres.

French as a Foreign Language. See FSL.

Front Focal Length.

Fat-Free (body) Mass. I think that equals body mass minus fat mass (FM), but in the one paper I looked at that listed FFM, FM, and ``weight,'' the last exceeded FFM+FM by a couple of kilos.

Fédération française de majorette. Founded in 1970, merged with the FNMF in 1972 to form the FFM (q.v.).

Fédération française des majorettes. Founded in 1972 from the merger of the FNMF and the FFM, which changed its name to FFTB in 1975 and expelled all the member organizations that didn't like that. It was a terrible bloodbath. More fascinating intrigue revealed at our mysterious majorette entry.

Federal Financial Participation. The percentage of expenses funded by the federal government in a program funded jointly with a state. See also FMAP.

Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. NSF serves a master list.

Ferrovie Federali Svizzere. Italian name of Swiss (.ch) national railway. The acronyms in all the other languages also consist of one double letter and one single:

Finance For Shipping. All is explained at the FFI entry.

Fast Fourier Transform. A way of coding Fourier Transform that takes advantage of multiple-angle trigonometric identities to reduce or simplify computation.

Fédération française de twirling bâton. Name since 1975; see FFM. March on over to our majorette entry.

First Families of Virginia.

[Football icon]

Field Goal. Three points.

Field Grade.

Fighter (aircraft) Group.

Finance Group.

Fine Grain.

Once, in a progress report that Sabine gave to the group meeting, she showed some graphs that led me to ask: ``what about that fine structure?'' At first she thought I was complementing her work.

Sabine is a French babe. There's a French magazine model who looks just like her. Maybe it's the same person, taking a break to do oxide CVD. Have you ever seen them together?

Waiting for our friends to arrive at the Coffee Plantation on Mill Avenue one day, I watched the eyes of the guy I was sitting with (Jay). I said, ``She's taken.''

Another time she joined our table at a peasant-style French restaurant (Suzanne had chosen it; I think she worked there once). As Sabine was about to sit next to me I said ``Sabine, you're so beautiful, why don't you sit across the table from me so I can see your face.'' She replied, ``don't worry, the smoke won't go in your direction.'' After lighting up she mostly held it under the table. When she exhaled I could admire her fine nape and jawline.

Standard social distance is closer in most countries that have a Romance tongue as the one national language. One day I had to explain to Sabine that I was uncomfortable when she stood only one foot away. All that time I guess she thought it was normal for men to lean over her like that. And I guess it was, at that.

Fiscal Guidance.

Floating Gate (q.v.).

Focus Gain. The gain of an antenna is a measure of the degree to which its power is focused, relative to an isotropic antenna.

ForeGround. It has become common among humanities and social science writers to use foreground as a verb. Ugly writing is required for tenure in these fields, at least at the better schools.

{ Frequency | Function } Generator. Typical waveforms: sine, square, triangle, ramp (linear sawtooth), TTL and CMOS pulse and step outputs.

Functional Grammar. According to the Functional Grammar Information System, FG is ``a grammatical formalism originally developed over 20 years ago at the University of Amsterdam by Simon Dik, and was originally described in his book Functional Grammar, in 1978.''

Fighter Ground Attack.

ForschungsGesellschaft für Angewandte Naturwissenschaften e.V.. `Research Establishment for Applied Science.'

Feeling Good About Yourself. Self-delusion.

Fiscal Guidance Category.

Flight Guidance & Control System.

Florida Gulf Coast University. In Florida.

Flue Gas Desulfurization.

Focus-Group Discussion.

Female Genital Mutilation.

Fermi's Golden Rule. Time-dependent perturbation theory result for transition rate in a quantum system. There are actually two Fermi Golden Rules...

``Number two'' is the standard one, appropriate when a nonzero matrix element of the perturbation in the Hamiltonian connects initial and final states. Essentially, the rate is then the (modulus) square of matrix element times the density of final states (energy density), times the famous factor of ``two pi over aitch-bar.''

``Number one'' applies when a transition is dominated by a two-step process involving an intermediate state. This is a second-order process; the squared matrix element is replaced by the square of the product of two matrix elements -- one connecting initial state to intermediate state, the other connecting intermediate and final states, divided by the energy difference between intermediate state and final state.

Fermi's Golden Rules got their name, and their numbering, from a 1950's book (transcripts of the notes of a summer-school nuclear physics course). He was apparently the first to call these formulae ``Golden rules'' in print, and since the number of things named after Fermi was perhaps not commensurate with his achievement, they came to be known as Fermi's Golden Rules. The numbering arises because he treated fission before scattering. The formulas were themselves well known, and had been derived almost immediately after Schrödinger proposed his famous equation. In the course notes, Fermi does not prove the formulas, but simply refers to Schiff's Quantum Mechanics textbook.

Fixed grep.


Familial Hypercholesterolemia. A genetic predisposition to very high blood cholesterol levels. Acts approximately like a dominant single-gene allele. Often kills men in their forties and women in their fifties, demonstrating the sexism of Mother Nature. Program to track down those at risk is called MED-PED, run by Internal Medicine Prof. Roger Williams of Un. of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Family Housing. Like, on-base.

Farrer Hypothesis. (Also Farrer-Goulder Hypothesis.) The hypothesis that Matthew used Mark and that Luke wrote his gospel mostly by cribbing from Matthew and Mark. Versions of the FH are argued in Sanders & Davies: Studying the Synoptic Gospels and in Mark Goodacre: The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem (Trinity Press International, 2002).

Cf. the more widely accepted (by scholars) 2SH and also 3ST (both based on a hypothetical lost source Q).

Fire Hydrant. See fire hydrant entry.

Flight Hours.

Frequency Hopping. Same as FH/CDMA, q.v..

In 1942, screen siren Hedy Lamarr [using her married name Hedwig (Eva Maria) Kiesler Markey] and composer George Antheil patented (#2,292,387) a ``Secret Communication System,'' based on the use of coordinated rapid frequency hopping by transmitters and intended receivers as a way to avoid surveillance.

On 12 March 1997, the EFF honored Lamarr, 84; her son Anthony Loder accepted the prize on her behalf, and played an audiotaped thank you, the reclusive Lamarr's first public statement in decades.

Family History of Alcoholism.

Family Housing Administration. This FHA would have less work to do if there were less of the preceding FHA.

Fault Hazard Analysis.

Federal Highway Administration. The usual initialism, and the one favored by the US agency, is FHWA, q.v.

Federal Housing Administration.

Foreign Humanitarian Assistance.

Future Homemakers of America.

Considering that the wobblies and WCTU are still with us, one isn't surprised that Future Homemakers survived the widespread ideological victory of women's liberation. However, there've been some changes. In an InfoSeek search of the ten indexed pages at fhahero.org (the FHA domain), there were no occurrences of the words girl or girls (nor, for that matter, of other controversial words like adult, wom?n, or m?n).

Fair-Haired Boy. Generalization of a teacher's pet.


Foundation for Hellenic Culture. Promotes ancient and modern Greek culture and language education.

Frequency-Hopping - Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). ``Frequency Hopping'' means that the code is embedded in the frequency domain, as opposed to DS/CDMA (``Direct Sequence'') which uses a code embedded in the time domain. Same as FH, q.v..

Frequency hopping has been very popular in military applications, both because it implements a kind of encryption and because it is hard to jam effectively. For civilian application, there's been much more work (in the late 80's and in the 90's) on direct sequence CDMA, for somewhat less clear reasons: The formal mathematical analysis of DS-CDMA is simpler than that of FH-CDMA; jamming issues are less important; and the difficulty of orthogonalizing FH-CDMA makes it hard to make efficient use of bandwidth.

Fairfax Hispanic Firefighters Association. Established in 2003, the FHFA is an NAHF affiliate ``dedicated to assist [sic] the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, the [sic] Local 2068, and the Progressive's [sic] Firefighters, Officers Association, Retired Firefighters Association, civilian and the volunteer system in the delivery of better programs, programs that reflect our growing and diverse workforce and community.'' It's charming that many of the oddities (quoted above or elsewhere in the document) appear to be authentic ``interference'' of Spanish grammar in English. For example, ``dedicated to assist'' is constructed parallel to the (correct) Spanish ``dedicado a ayudar.''

FWIW, Virginia's City of Fairfax is not a part of surrounding Fairfax County; the city and the county are separate jurisdictions. (It is typical in Virginia for there to be separate jurisdictions for cities and the counties they are ``in,'' but it is not so common for the county and city to share a name.) Many organizations operate within or are concerned with only one of the Fairfax jurisdictions and include ``Fairfax'' as part of their names, but do not indicate which jurisdiction they refer to.

Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Florida Housing Finance Agency.

Federal Housing Finance Board.

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft.

(US) Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. ``Freddie Mac.'' Cf. FNMA (``Fannie Mae'').

For Him Magazine. The AAP pleonasm ``FHM magazine'' occurs on FHM's homepage, and very widely elsewhere.

There are British, French, and US versions. All the versions, just like other men's magazines, regularly have a woman on the cover. On the other hand, women's magazines regularly have a woman on the cover. So men's and women's magazine covers have achieved parity and equality of opportunity in the highly competitive modeling market. It's a good thing too, because if there were any sort of asymmetry or inequality of opportunity, it would be necessary to impose a judicial solution. (No, not quotas. Quotas are wrong. We'd just count the number of pictures. Then, in a way that did not affect anyone's legitimate rights or goals, we'd explain to everyone what they'd have to do to achieve balance and diversity, or else.)

Federal Home Mortgage Association (Pronounced, and also written, ``Fannie Mae''). Cf. GNMA, SLMA.

Fontes Historiae Nubiorum. A project begun in 1991 that aims to make ``available the textual sources--both literary and documentary--for the history of the Middle Nile Region between the eighth century BC and the sixth century AD. The texts are presented in their respective original languages (Old Egyptian, Demotic, Meroitic, Greek, Coptic and Latin) as well as in new English translations, and each is accompanied by an historical commentary. The translations are framed by philological introductions and notes intended to place the individual texts into their wider literary context and to substantiate the translators' interpretation of difficult passages. The commentary following the translations presents historical analyses and provides information about the historical context. Ample space has been given to bibliographical references.''

Publications of the project so far cost about 200 NOK per volume and have the general title Fontes Historiae Nubiorum: Textual Sources for the History of the Middle Nile Region between the Eighth Century BC and the Sixth Century AD. The most narrowly literal translation of the Latin expansion of FHN would be `sources of the history of the Nubians.'

Gladiator, a sword-and-sandals flick from 2000 starring Russell Crowe, had some scenes in North Africa with Berbers -- Mauretanians and Numidians. Pretty much everything except the sand was inaccurate, and the scholars who wailed and gnashed their teeth about this crime against their discipline suggested that the people who cobbled together the film didn't know the difference between a Numidian and a Nubian. So you needn't feel so bad if you didn't either.

Fetal Heart Rate.

Flint Hills Resources. ``Flint Hills Resources, LP is a Koch Industries, Inc. wholly owned subsidiary formed at the beginning of 2002 to take advantage of growth opportunities in the refining and chemicals business.''

Flint Hills Review. One issue each year, which is only one issue too many. A perfect-bound small magazine. ``The Editors'' write that they ``publish work with a particular interest in region, including regions of place, regions of ethnicity, regions of gender, and regions of memory. We welcome poetry, short fiction, nonfiction of literary quality, and art which can be successfully reproduced into black and white photography. FHR receives support from the Creative Writing Program at Emporia State University, located in the rolling green Flint Hills grasslands of Kansas.''

Issue Five (2000) was not too bad. It was clean bad: just bad enough to make me laugh without puking. Inch-deep auteurs with drearily commonplace insights (if any), and a literary style that soars from the ground to the very porch, quite pleased to think each other and themselves artists. Mediocrity would have been easy, or should have been. But if they can continue to maintain consistent submediocrity (I mean world-class submediocrity, not just submediocrity in regions of ethnicity gender memory place), that will be an almost worthwhile achievement.

A ragged line does not a poem make. I'm sure they figured, ``if Iowa can do this, why can't we?'' Might I suggest... lack of talent? Occasionally that can be a stumbling block. Alright, so the entire magazine is a waste, but look at it this way: how many refining and chemicals business people does the world really need?

French Historical Studies. ``[A] quarterly journal on the history on France and Francophone areas, and is sponsored by the Society for French Historical Studies [SFHS].'' Not to be confused with the journal French History.

Frequency Hopping (FH) Spread Spectrum (SS).

Fixed Head Star Tracker.

Fetal Heart Tones.


Foundation of the Hellenic World. The web site won a ``Best of Europe'' award from Europe Online, but I suggest that after you click to load, you xlock the screen and go for a leisurely stroll. The DC mirror is broken worse than down, the Dartmouth mirror won't load an english version. Sheesh.

Federal HighWay Administration. An agency of the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

As I was cleaning out the garage, I came across a March 1974 Final Report entitled ``Coordination of Urban Development and the Planning and Development of Transportation Facilities,'' prepared by Edward H. Holmes for the FHWA. There's a loose leaf inside that serves as a sort of foreword, an FHWA bulletin from Federal Highway Administrator Norbert T. Tiemann, dated July 22, 1974. It explains that Holmes had been Associate Administrator for Planning, FHWA, and was retained by the International Road Federation, which in turn had contracted by the FHWA for the study. (It all seems somewhat incestuous, but it's about the way things have always worked.)

No, that's not all I want to say about that. We're under construction, remember? Like the highways.

(Domain code for) Finland. This page lists national homepages for Finland. There's an English <--> Finnish Dictionary online. If your knowledge of Finnish is as vanishingly small as mine, you might as well use the Estonian dictionary (see .ee), which isn't as busy. Given the political history of Finland, and the significant Swedish minority there, a link that might be useful is a Swedish-Finnish ``Lexikon.'' (Swedish-oriented; comes with examples and information mostly in Swedish.)

Rec.Travel offers some links.

Finnish webpages often have the slightly brownish yellow #FFCC00 background color (<BODY BGCOLOR="#FFCC00">). Hmmm. Seems to be a historical thing now.

Here's the Finnish page of an X.500 directory, and here's a nice geographical map of web servers.

EDUFI is a good first place to look for general information about education in Finland.

Here's the page of the Finnish Tourist Board. The board maintains a useful page of links for country information.

For Instance. Not systematically distinguished, semantically, from the more common e.g.

Franciscans International. A UN-affiliated NGO. No, I don't know how you work a deal like that. I think the UN is a bit like the late Hapsburg Empire -- a sick Prison-house of Nations, composed of various wildly inequivalent components. Or was that the Russian Empire? Whatever.

This other entry may have a bit more on Franciscans.

Fuel Injection. Not as sexy as EFI.

Federación Internacional de Archivos de Filmes. Spanish, `International Federation of Film Archives.' Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film -- French same. Founded in Paris in 1938. ``FIAF'' also refers to a set of rules for describing archival moving image materials, developed for an international audience and published in 1991. I won't venture to guess how successful these rules were, but they're out of print as of 2003.

Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics (of the APS). They really need to think up some SIG called ETHID. (See FIAPF if you don't see why.)

Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films. `International Federation of Film Producers' Associations.'

I've always felt that I ought to say something here about Édith Piaf. She was a French singer and an actress (on both stage and screen). Born Édith Giovanna Gassion in Paris, Dec. 19, 1915, she was abandoned by her mother and raised by her paternal grandmother in Bernay, a village in Normandy. (Now that I've actually looked it up, I might as well say that it's in the department of Upper Normandy.) Her father was an acrobat. Let me interject informatively and briefly here that careful scientific research studies would probably show that acrobats are not very down-to-earth people, not people with their feet planted firmly on the ground, and probably their lives often seem to be spinning in the air. Edith's mother was an Italian café singer. (You'll have to parse that yourself. Hint: she didn't sing Italian cafés.) When Edith was still a child, her father began taking her along on tour. Well okay, now I've said something. I'm glad that's done, because it was holding up a bunch of other updates on this page.

A decree. From the Latin word fiat meaning `let it be done.' Fiat is the verb fieri in the jussive mood. The jussive mood is used to express anything from a hope to a command, the precise sense to be inferred (or not) from logic and context. The jussive is also called the ``hortatory subjunctive.'' It seems appropriate for a word with the meaning of the noun `decree.' The English language seems to have a particular thirst for foreign loans to express this idea. Another example is ukase, from Turkish.

Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, `Italian Automobile Manufacturing, Turin.'

Back-constructed expansion: Fix It Again, Tony.

[wicker dash and seats; shabby interior finish and poor radio integration]

The picture above is of a 1970 FIAT 850 called the Shellette, photographed at the Petersen. [Click for a larger (490 KB) image.]

Now you can never truly say you never knew there were cars with standard wicker interior, or a zero-door FIAT. In this other view (434 KB), it appears that the car may have some anchors for a ragtop, but this was a ``beach car,'' so when it rained I imagine you didn't drive around in it, and maybe parked it under a beach umbrella.

Also in the 1970's, a wicker customization was performed against a Ferrari 365 GTC/4. Fortunately, there doesn't appear to be any graphic online record of this atrocity.

Field Information Agency, Technical. I don't know much about this, but they published some review volumes. Cribbing from the Physical Chemistry volume (1948), I reproduce here bits of the preface that must have been similar in all of the volumes:
Military government of the British, French, and US Zones of Germany by means of their respective FIATs ... present this volume of the <<FIAT Review of German Science>> in the hope that it will assist in informing international science of research done in Germany through the war years. It is believed that this and its companion volumes will present a complete and concise account [``concise'' you can believe: 270pp. for P-Chem] of the investigations and advances of a fundamental scientific nature made by German scientists in the fields of biology, chemistry mathematics, medicine, physics and sciences of the earth during the period May 1939 to May 1946.

The volume consists of new purpose-written overviews in German. They give you an idea of who did what, but not what they found.

Focused Ion Beam[s]. Good for ion-implantation and for creating isolation by ion-beam-induced damage (with some inert ion like Ar). Has the advantage of being a maskless process: ion beam exposure pattern is programmed into beam scan.

Has been used to define nanoelectronic devices. Here's Hughes's two bits.

A harmless little lie.

fiber, fibre
Denis P. Burkitt, a British missionary surgeon, noticed in the late 1960's that East Africans who ate a high fiber diet had a low incidence of colon cancer, intestinal disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and other ailments common to people in Western cultures. This was not exactly what you'd call a controlled study. It's a ``clinical observation'' accompanied by a crude speculation. He published these in ``Related disease -- related cause,'' Lancet, vol. 2 (1969) pp. 1229-31.

Physicians don't all agree exactly on what fiber is or what it really is good for after all, but they agree that you aren't eating enough of it. Eat more, eat a lot of it, eat until you choke. And lose weight.

Okay now, seriously: I mean what I just wrote.

``Fiber'' is a term for more-or-less indigestible organic matter in food. Originally, this was understood strictly -- cellulose, the stuff of cell walls in plants, which humans do not digest. (Cellulose is a glucose polymer with a kind of cross-link we haven't the enzymes to lyse.) However, some organic matter other than cellulose, gummy and woody substances, are sufficiently fermented by microrganisms in the gut that they are to some degree absorbed.

FluoroIodoCarbon. A heavier halogen than in CFC's.

Federal Insurance Contributions Act. The Social Security act.

French, Italian, and Comparative Literature. Created during 1997, the year of great department mergers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Would CLIF have been any better? Maybe they're hoping the administration will change its mind and split them up again.

fiction face-off
follow this link to 80-column version if text below is mush
Contestants Advantage to...
Bazooka Joe Road Trip (Comic #35 of 75) Marcel Proust Remembrance of Things Past
Duration of entertainment 3 min. (incl. refreshment break) over 1 hr. Marcel
Portability compact, wt. 5 grams (incl. gum) varies (generally exceeds 5 grams) Joe
Odor aroma of fresh pink original-flavor bubble gum crumb of madeleine soaked in decoction of lime flowers Kiss your sister
Illustrated? generously sparsely Joe
Binding, etc. wax on paper occasionally inadequate to prevent
work from sticking to wrapper and tearing
modern editions come with
pages already separated
Tiebreaker: cachet
(point of origin)
Duryea, Pennsylvania Europe Marcel wins.

(International) Federation for Information and Documentation. In French, Fédération Internationale d'Information et de Documentation.

They say that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Think about it. Think eye dialect.

Flame-Ionization Detector.

Free Induction Decay. Pacific Lutheran University would appreciate an acknowledgement if you use the NMR FID data developed there and offered for free download in various formats.

Fédération Internationale des Échecs. `International Chess Federation.'

Latin, `on the authority of.' Used to indicate dependence on written or published testimony, as opposed to teste -- oral testimony.

Spanish: `noodle[s].' It looks like a strange word because it is a strange word. It is derived from the Mozarabic romance verb fidear, meaning `to grow.' That is a loan from the synonymous Arabic verb fad (imperative fid). The form fideo, meaning `I grow,' was presumably applied to noodles because they expand on cooking. That noun spread to the three main Iberian romance languages and to Occitan, Francoprovencal, Italian, and Romansch dialects. Today the only Romance language that preserves the verb seems to be Ladino (Judeo-Spanish).

Fédération indépendante et démocratique lycéenne. French `Independent and Democratic Schools Federation.'

Fault-Induced Document (retrieval) Officer.

FlIght Dynamics Officer. A responsibility at NASA's Space Flight Center at Houston.

Frequency, Intensity, Duration, and Offensiveness. Nuisance factors.

Latin, `I trust, I have confidence in.' This is one sense of the expression `I am faithful,' but the latter English phrase is now commonly understood to mean not only that one has faith but that one fulfills obligations imposed by that faith. Fido was once a popular dog name, and I wonder to what extent the confusion of related meanings contributed to its popularity. The first vowel in the Latin word was pronounced like a long-e in English; the dog's name is pronounced with a long-i.

Federal Information Exchange.

Fund for the Improvement of Education. Part of title X of the ESEA.

Fédération de l'Industrie Européenne de la Construction. (`European Construction Industry Federation')


Fédération Internationale des Associations d'Études Classiques. `International Federation of Societies of Classical Studies.' Founded on September 28-29, 1949, at Paris. It's been holding a conference every five years since then. The next one as of this writing is the FIEC-Kongress 24.-29. August 2009 - Berlin.

In physics, a field is a physical quantity of some sort that takes a value at every point in some kind of space. The electric field is a vector-valued field, defined over the three-dimensional space called space. Temperature, when it can be defined, is a scalar field, etc.

From the mathematical point of view, what physicists call a field is usually some kind of function. Note that a ``vector-valued field'' is not a vector field. A physicist's ``vector[-valued] field'' is a mathematician's mapping from a metric space into a linear space. Usually the metric space is pretty trivial too. A vector is an element in a linear space or vector space (different names preferred in different professional, um, fields).

By convention, wavefunctions in ordinary quantum mechanics are not called fields. The word ``field'' is applied in quantum mechanics only when the argument of the wavefunction becomes a field. The name ``quantum field theory'' (QFT) is reserved for these ``second-quantized'' systems.

At the risk of grossly distorting the mathematics, let me try to be more concrete. Consider an elementary particle, like an electron or other fermion. Ordinary quantum mechanics of a single particle is formulated in terms of a simple enough variable -- particle position, say. In classical mechanics, that position is the unique location of the particle. In ordinary quantum mechanics, it so happens that a wave function is defined simultaneously for all possible values of the position variable, describing the probability of finding the particle at each point. In quantum field theory, things again are generalized in an infinite way. The simplest way to visualize this is that QFT for particles like electrons in principle describes an infinite number of particles. There must be a wave amplitude for no particles, a wave function of one particle, a wave function of two arguments that describes the probability distribution for two particles, etc.

field oxide
Less frequently called thickox. Thick oxide, usually grown with steam, used to isolate different devices (dielectric isolation), and to prevent interconnects from acting as unintended MOS gates on different parts of the circuit. Distinguished from thinox (q.v.) which is more often grown by dry air oxidation. The modifier field refers to the fact that the oxide is intended to abate not merely conduction between devices, but also electric field effects (for AC alone, this can be expressed as ``not just charge current but also the displacement current'').

Fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society.

Fédération Internationale de Football Association. In the name, Association is an adjective modifying Football. `Association Football' is the full name of the game Americans call Soccer. The American name is supposed to be a shortening of asSOCiation.

Related organizations: CAF (Africa), FFF (France), RFEF (Spain).

Oh sure, there are more boring games than soccer, but no game is more intensely boring.

In August 2007, FIFA vice-president Jack Warner said he would block an English bid to host the 2018 World Cup. He said, ``Nobody in Europe likes England. England invented the sport but has never made any impact on world football.'' What a diplomat.

First ISLSCP Field Experiment. ISLSCP is the International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project.

First In, First Out. Like a bucket brigade or a pipe (software or plumbing). Term is used both in electronics (for data buffer) and economics for an accounting practice (e.g., for how to amortize installed plant, etc.).

Fan-In, Fan-Out. A conservation law for a safe sports stadium. Also, a pair of numbers indicating the number of logic levels that are inputs for a logic gate, followed by the number of logic gate inputs that the same gate will drive.

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique. `International Gymnastics Federation.'

Focus Information Group. Perhaps the acronym is one reason they became Focus Publishing. They publish and distribute ``texts for the educational market, primarily at the college level, in Classical and Modern Languages, including Latin, Greek, Russian, German, French, and Spanish. [They] also distribute in North America for Duckworth Publishing, which publishes texts ranging from Belly Dancing and Archaeology to Classical and Modern languages.

Forth Interest Group. ``Forth'' here is the name of a programming language. It's one of those reverse-Polish stackish things, so it's really more Back than Forth. In fact, according to the homepage, ``[a]lthough FIG as an organization has dissolved, this website will continue to reflect the on-going interest in Forth.'' (Which continues as of 2010, apparently. For example, in 2010, the annual EuroForth Conference is scheduled for Hamburg.)

Senator Exon If I Know.


La Feria International del Libro de Guadalajara. The annual `Guadalajara International Book Fair.' The bilingual conference site is fairly information-rich.


A file is a column of eight squares on a chessboard, ``vertical'' in the standard representation that shows the original positions of the white pieces along the bottom of the board -- viewed from high above the white side. There are two standard ways of describing files, in the two standard schemes for describing traffic on a chessboard.

In the descriptive notation, commonly used only in English-speaking and Latin countries, files are labeled by the pieces originally occupying them. From left to right, viewing from the white side: Queen's Rook (QR), Queen's Knight (QN or QKt), Queen's Bishop (QB), Queen (Q), King (K), King's Bishop (KB), King's Knight (KN or KKt), King's Rook (KR). In the algebraic notation, the same files are labeled a through h.

In record play in the descriptive notation, one typically uses the shortest unambiguous description, such as BxP, if it is clear enough which Bishop captures which pawn, adding a file designation or two if needed, as in BxKtP to indicate that a pawn in a Knight's file is captured, or BxKKtP to specify the King's Knight file, if it isn't obvious. Or maybe it would be easier to specify the file of the Bishop here. For moves that are not captures, one gives the piece moved, followed by a full description of the square: P-K4 means a pawn is moved to the fourth position in the King's file. The position number, or row in the usual configuration, is called the rank. In the descriptive scheme, the rank is counted from the side corresponding to the piece, so a white move P-K4 means that a white pawn is in the fifth rank of the King's file, from the black point of view.

You get the idea.

The algebraic notations aren't nearly so interesting, and they number ranks consistently from the white side.

filed for future study
Why wait to lose it? Discard now.

filename extensions
Here are some links to lists and search tools to help you resolve the meaning of filename extensions:

FInnish (.fi) Mark. Check the currency converter entry.

Fondo Internacional Monetario. Spanish: `IMF.'

Flexible Interface Network.

FINancial Crimes Enforcement Network. I don't think it's a protection racket. It's the US government's FIU.

Fine Art
A way of communicating what cannot be expressed in words, because if it were expressed in words it would sound stupid.

fine words
A butter that doesn't work on parsnips.

FINance MINister.

Finnbogadóttir, Vigdis
President of Iceland from 1980. First democratically elected woman head of state of any country. She beat out Indira and Golda on technicalities, I guess. Probably the technicality that they were heads of government -- Prime Ministers (PM's) -- of their respective countries.

Iceland is a small country where everyone knows everybody else (or maybe everybody knows everyone else, I'm not sure which), so everybody (let's say that's it) is known by first name only. Or rather, last names are not used. Finnbogadóttir is `daughter-of-Finnboga' or something like that. Patronymics are, of course, a common source of family names in European languages (the -son ending in English corresponds to the -sohn ending in German and the -sen ending in Swedish; -s in English and Mac-, O' prefixes in Gaelic languages perform the same function.)

In many Slavic languages, the family-name ending is declined to indicate family relationship. Thus, a descendant of Peter would have the family name Petrov, his unmarried daughter the last name Petrovna, and his wife Petrova. (There are conventional and euphonic variances in the endings used, but the pattern is pretty easy to recognize.) There is an additional layer of patronymics in Russian: it is very common to refer to people not by their given names or by their family names, but by a real patronymic. Thus, for example, since my father's name was Oscar, I would be called Oskavitch.

In case you forgot, this is the Iceland entry. In Iceland, the absence of last names seems to have put a premium on good genealogy. Together with the country's isolation, it has made Iceland an attractive place for really big human genetics research.

During the little Ice Age, Iceland was almost evacuated. Hey wait a second -- this isn't the Iceland entry. This is!

Financial INdustry Regulatory Authority. ``[T]he largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States.'' They seem to have some difficulty with the concept of a nonrestrictive clause, or with commas. FINRA is the new name, since 2007, of the old NASD.

NASD created NASDAQ in 1971, but sold it off in 2000-2001. Today the NASDAQ is just regulated by FINRA.

Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales. It's the kind of front that uses words like ``struggle,'' ``communiqués,'' and ``defense of the human rights with justice and gender equity at the binational level.'' The front's webpages translate this as `Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations,' though obviously the Spanish means `Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations.' You know, anger can be invigorating, but it can also blunt your mental acuity.

``FIOB is a community-based organization and a coalition of indigenous organizations, communities, and individuals settled in Oaxaca, Baja California and in the State of California in the United States. This organization was founded on October 5, 1991 in Los Angeles, California. its mission and vision are the following.'' Preceding this are the vision and mission. The Spanish-language part of the FIOB website is slightly less confused. To be slightly fair, however, it appears that for many in FIOB, neither Spanish nor English is a first language (see this page on indigenous-language interpreters).

Facility Interface Processor.

Factory Information Protocol.

Federal Information Processing.

Fuel Injection Pump.

Federal Information Processing Standard.

First nondestructive Interactive Partition Splitting. Freeware from Arno Schäfer.

Fund for the Improvement of PostSecondary Education. FIPSE awards relative small grants as `venture capital,' on a competitive basis, to encourage development of projects and ideas that it considers innovative. In 1998, the program was porcined by Congress. See a report of the cancellation of the 1998-9 competition and of the patch-up job done to distribute the half of the funds that was not earmarked as pork.

Far InfraRed.

Finite Impulse Response. (Implies nonrecursive response.)

Forth Individuals' Recursive Environment, or some'at like that. An email list. To subscribe, email fire-l@artopro.mlnet.com with the subject line SUBSCRIBE.

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Inc.

fire bottle
Electron tube.

fire cow
Same as fire bottle. Think of the pins at the bottom, which go into a tube socket; now think of a cow's udder. (FYI, there are some vacuum tubes with four pins.)

fire dog
You probably think this is yet another synonym for vacuum tube or electron tube, or valve (chiefly British), fire bottle or fire cow. You're wrong, okay? A fire dog is an andiron. A lot you know about electronics.

Sparky, a Dalmatian. Official spokesdog of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). [There's another Sparky who is ``the official spokesdog for GOcala.com'' (whatever that is).]

TV Acres promotes fire safety with an entire pack of firedogs. They're named ``Chuck, Francis, Larry, and Sam.'' It seemed to me that these are unusual names for dogs, although it's reasonable that Chuck should be top dog. It turns out that the names were chosen so their initials would match those of the Children's Fire and Life Safety Project. But why not ``Corky, Fido, Lady, and Scout,'' then?

This pop-up-littered site lists 2000 dog names in alphabetical order. It turns out that on the matter of dog names, as on many other matters, I am woefully behind the times. According to an article in the San Francisco Examiner, Columbus Day 1997, the trend is to give dogs human names.

Of 12,706 dogs registered in San Francisco, 137 are named Max; there is only one Fido. Max is also top dog in Marin.

And of the 10 most popular dog names in San Francisco, seven are suitable for humans; in Marin, all but one are. Molly, Jake, Lucy and Sam are big in both counties.

Of course, there is a sampling problem: most dogs are not registered. This is even supposed to be the case in regulation-loving California. Carl Friedman, director of San Francisco Animal Care and Control, estimated the total number of dogs in the county at about 75,000 to 85,000. His estimate was based on a national average of 25 to 30 percent of households having dogs.

Nevertheless, in 1996, the dog-food manufacturer Kal Kan conducted a survey of several hundred dog owners in New York and Los Angeles, and also found that people names were in vogue and that the most frequent name is Max (nudge). In 2004, Brazilian Congressman Reinaldo Santos e Silva introduced a bill to forbid the use of human names for pets. He didn't expect the bill to pass. I've got an idea -- forbid the use of human names for people! People will use traditional dog and cat names, and there won't be any confusion.

A sign of the times: In February 2004, the first family lost a long-time pet when their English springer spaniel died at the age of 15. She was named Spot. Some time before Christmas, a new puppy (born October 28) will enter the presidential household: Miss Beazley. Miss Beazley is named for the character Uncle Beazley, a dinosaur in Oliver Butterworth's children's book, The Enormous Egg. Spot was born to Millie in the White House during the Bush #41 administration (see Nop's Trials entry. Miss Beazley is half-niece to the current first dog, which has the name Barney. Barney was second dog in the Bush #43 White House until Spot died. It reminds me of John Nance Garner, vice president during Franklin Roosevelt's first two terms, who remarked in 1936 that ``the vice-presidency isn't worth a pitcher of warm piss.'' (See Veep for the more famous version of that remark.) FDR's dog, a black Scottish terrier, was named Fala. During his final presidential campaign in 1944, Roosevelt ordered a destroyer to turn around and pick Fala up after he was left behind on a trip to the Aleutian Islands.

You have to wonder if there isn't a children's-dinosaur connection. A purple dinosaur character named Barney is the star of a children's TV show. The White House Barney is black with a white spot on his neck, and was a gift from Christine Todd Whitman, former New Jersey governor and first head of the EPA in Dubya's first administration. (Dubya -- that sounds like a dog's name!) Barney is the offspring of Whitman's Scottish terrier Coors, named after the beer.

FDR's last vice president and successor as president was Harry Truman. He famously advised, ``if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.''

fire grenade
A fire extinguisher in the form of a fragile glass bottle filled with a fluid intended to be thrown where one wanted to douse flames. Sort of like a Molotov-cocktail turncoat. History here.

fire hazard
In the debate on private fire-arm regulation, the antiregulation camp often points out that ``Guns don't kill people -- people using guns improperly kill people!'' But then, they also say that ``Guns don't kill people -- bullets kill people.'' But really, bullets don't kill people -- the inertia and the material resistance of people's bodies, slowing down the bullets, causes an equal and opposite force to be exerted by the bullet, which is just obeying the law (Newton's third law), and this reaction force kills people. You know: falling isn't dangerous -- landing hard is. Just so with firearms, or more precisely bullets: the body gets in the way of the law-abiding bullet, and effectively commits suicide.

Seneca the Younger began a similar analysis in a letter to Lucilius (see Epistulae Morales, Liber XI-XIII [the divisions between these books are not known], epistula lxxxvii) but he did not carry it as far. He wrote:

... quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.
[Loosely: `by no means does a sword ever kill anyone; it is the killer's tool.']

Actually, when I was starting to write this entry, I was thinking of writing about combustion dangers, but I got sidetracked by the need to provide background information. On second thought, however, I realize that bullets are a kind of fire hazard too.

fire hazard
Okay then, let's try again: a fire hazard is a situation or object that has an elevated probability of causing a fire. If we examine this idea closely, however, we recognize a deep dilemma: how can a thing in se be a cause? Can we really say that gasoline is a cause of fire? Not directly, of course: gasoline vapor explodes, but gasoline does not burn. You can extinguish a burning ember by dunking it quickly in gasoline, if you can keep from exploding the vapor. (This does not always work. DO NOT try this at home!)

Okay, bad example. But can you say that kerosene (which does burn) is ever a cause of fire? Of course, you can say what you please. What I mean is: Is kerosene ever a ``cause'' of fire?

I think not: kerosene is just a fuel. I mean heck: oxygen is just as necessary for fire as the fuel is. Are we going to say that oxygen causes fires? Nah, let's not go there. It's the fact of fuel and air coming together under certain conditions that leads to fire. Now then, what causes that? Others have reasoned along similar lines. For example, that flunky for the Forest Service, Smokey the Bear, has been saying for years, ``Only you can prevent forest fires.'' I was never sure if he meant me personally. If he did, he ought to just have called me on the phone, instead of taking out a bunch of expensive broadcast ads. Did he think he could shame me into action by public humiliation? My lethargy is made of firmer stuff than that! (Actually, it's made of 100% inertia; it takes full advantage of Einstein's strong principle of equivalence.)

Well, as it turned out, fire fighters put out some of the ones that were not prevented by whoever was supposed to prevent them, and the rest burned themselves out. But the point here, if there be one, is that Smokey didn't claim that water or low temperatures or dry ice dust could prevent fires, only I (or you; somebody, anyway). Smokey appeared to reject firmly the notion of inanimate objects as causative, and seemed to embrace the notion that causation is coextensive with thinking (or unthinking) agency. This teleological point of view identifies Aristotle's final cause as the cause.

When I took Philosophy I as an undergraduate, I would snigger at Aristotle for being so confused that he could think of the names of things or the material constitution of things as ``causes'' (formal cause and material cause, respectively). Now, thanks to remedial education administered by the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve (SBF), I have learned that the joke has been on me all along. [Oh yeah, thanks a lot, sure.] I see your hundred years of solitude, and I raise you twenty-five centuries of laughing out of the wrong side of your face.

fire hazard
Somehow I start out with good intentions, but I always seem to get sidetracked. I'm trying to say something useful here about fire hazard. Get a smoke detector, you'll save more than its price on your homeowners insurance.

fire hydrant
Dog urinal. For more on dogs and fire, see fire dog.

fire hydrant
There're two kinds (or ``flavors,'' as fire physicists would probably say): dry barrel and wet barrel. The barrel is the body of the hydrant. In the dry-barrel hyrants, there's a valve with a long stem that extends from the bottom of the barrel to an external spigot that can be turned. The valve itself is below the frost line, so with the valve closed there's no water in the barrel to freeze in the winter. In warmer areas, and in cold areas governed by people who like to take risks, wet-barrel hydrants are used, which have valves just at the outlets and are thus simpler and cheaper.

fire oxen
Traditional Chinese warfare made heavy use of fire and the threat of fire. One way to get fire into the enemy camp was with what we call fire oxen. What I gather from this academic site (with illustration) is that a fire ox was an ox with burning hemp lashed to its tail. I suppose the ox's natural reaction would be to run away from its tail. It seems to me that it would be important to somehow get it to run away toward the enemy camp and not to circle around. Perhaps stampeding them would help, but would oxen willingly stampeded behind oxen that were themselves on fire? This would make a fun research project. Apparently the oxen were equipped with fixed pikes to make them tricky to stop, or maybe just likelier to get stuck on a fortification. Who would try to stop an ox from the front?

FIR filter
Finite-Impulse-Response FILTER.

firm and toned
Well okay, maybe with some extra rolls of fat, but firm and toned underneath it all. (Don't tell me that beauty is only skin deep.) Personals-ad self-description terminology.

Federal Information Resource Management Regulation. Of the General Services Administration (GSA).

Federal Internet Requirements Panel.

Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act. A law passed in 1989. Details at this RTC entry

Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams. Computer security dicks. See CERT for other relevant organizations.

Foundation for Individual Responsibility and Social Trust. Sounds pretty subversive to me!

First-Down Moses
On the west side of Hesburgh Library, on the campus of the University of Notre Dame du Lac (yeah, the Notre Dame in Indiana), there's a statue of Moses in a classic pose, complete with a small pair of horns coming out of his head. He holds two tablets of the law with his left hand against his right upper leg; his face is turned left, to the south, where the football temple stands. His right arm is raised to the west, and his index finger points up and forward, indicating a first down. He's about three times life size. He and Touchdown Jesus may not be nimble, but they'd make a much more formidable offensive front line than the team has now.

The adjective first-generation in a phrase like ``first-generation American'' has two different meanings. A first-generation national is typically defined as either an immigrant to the nation, or the child of immigrants to a nation. Some speakers favor one meaning, some favor the other, and probably most recognize both meanings as part of usage.

A second-generation national is either the child or the grandchild of immigrants. A third-generation national is the child of second-generation parents, and so forth. It not clear, and fortunately not important, how to apply such definitions when people of different immigrant ``generations'' have children together. Another difficulty in sharpening the definition is that more than one or two generations may emigrate, possibly at different times. To take me, for example: I emigrated to the US as a child with my parents, so I am a first-generation American on my own account, and a second-generation American as the child of my immigrant, first-generation-American parents. When we arrived in this country, my two living grandparents and my one living great grandmother had already immigrated to the US, making me a third- and fourth-generation American by some definitions.

Issei, Nisei, and Sansei are first-, second-, and third-generation Japanese-Americans, respectively. Related entries: FOB, ABC, ABCD, CBC.

Walt Whitman famously wrote in ``Song Of Myself'' (51):

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

``Song of Myself'' was originally published without a separate title in the first edition (1855) of Leaves Of Grass. It only got its current title in the third edition (1882). In the second edition, it was called ``Poem Of Walt Whitman, An American.'' In the poem he asserts that he is not an nth-generation American for values of n less than or equal to, uh, 3 or 4, but he expressed it more precisely. He wrote ``[b]orn here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same.''

One Joe Johnson created and hosts a weekly, hour-long syndicated radio show called Beatle Brunch. A station local to me airs it on Sunday mornings, starting at the ungodly and inappropriately (for Sunday and brunch) early hour of 8am, so it may have been airing for 20 years before I first heard it on January 20, 2012, when the theme was something about the next generation of Beatles fans. Joe Johnson described himself as a ``first-generation Beatles fan,'' and I wondered what that meant. As it happens, the Beatle Brunch website's ``About Us'' page is refreshingly informative, and explains that Joe ``was born near Kennedy Airport in New York, a half dozen years before The Beatles landed in America for the first time. He and his family moved to South Florida to witness the magic of the Fab Four on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and remembers the 8 days (a week) they spent in Miami.''

First Nation
A Canadian term corresponding to the US term ``tribe.'' Or is that no longer PC?

First Nations
A Canadian term corresponding to the US term ``Native American.''

A service from OCLC that finds books, articles, films, computer software, and other informationish stuff. You can order or do an ILL directly through them too. From UB, link this way.

first steps towards peace
  1. Since the previous round.
  2. Noticeable increase in violence.
  3. First noticeable increase in violence since the previous round.

first-time advertiser
Personals-ad virgin. A phrase meaning: ``Even though you are such a loser that you repeatedly dumpster-dive the personals ads for other people's discarded lovers, I want you to understand that I am a high-quality, world-class individual who doesn't read the personals, Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the second-to-last page of section C. I have no need to advertise, really, but I have such a busy, success-oriented lifestyle that I've decided to announce this romance opportunity here in order to save time. Of course, I am very desirable, attractive, sophisticated, intellegent and et cetera, so one ad will be enough. Or should have been. The fact is, I am in a position to be highly selective, so I have continued to list this advertisement for a few issues. (Forty-six, actually, since I shortened the looking-for characteristics list.) The person who has already responded did not meet my high standards. If you have already replied to this ad, this means you. You must be `financially secure.' Call me when you get a job.''

Spanish física, `physics.' The same word also means `[female] physicist,' the female version of físico. These two words for physicist are also the two forms of the adjective `physical.' All of this parallels the semantics of químico (see quím.). Neither gender of the term has the sense of the English noun (i.e., substantive) physical in the sense of `physical exam.' To express that one should use an expression like examen médico.

Foundation for Infinite Survival. Not as crazy as they sound: they seem to be taking the incremental approach for now.

Front Islamique du Salut. Sounds a bit like a Muslim-run HMO, but it's actually the French name of an Algerian Islamist political party, founded in 1989. The name is usually rendered `Islamic Salvation Front' in English. The party won a majority of the seats contested in local elections in 1990, and a plurality of votes (along with a majority of seats) in the first round of National Assembly elections in 1991. The military then decided that the previously scheduled second stage should be delayed indefinitely. The FIS and other groups went underground and waged a terror campaign against a variety of human targets. This should have given us early warning of what to expect with a policy of Middle East democratization.

Our Algeria links are at the entry for its domain code .dz. See also Argelia, what the hey.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. Provides guidelines for the gathering of forint by the CIA, FBI, NSA, and a few other US government organizations.

FInancing Small Contractors. Part of the Regional Alliance of Small Contractors run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Fischer Scientific
Has an online catalog.

A light-colored rectangular slab of protein and other nutrients. See also fisk.

The legality of fishing with dynamite and cyanide (or just one of those) is and by right ought to be a local matter. For example, in 1849, Greene County of Indiana made it illegal to poison fish. (You could still kill them, though.) Hmmm, in 1871, the state of Indiana passed a law that banned the putting of poisonous materials in water in order to kill or injure fish. Couldn't we leave this up to the municipalities? Whatever happened to ``community'' standards of decency? See also ``Illegal Fishing Using Dynamite in the Saronic Gulf,'' in Official Journal of the European Communities: Information and Notices, 38, #17, p. 40 (1995). Oh -- European ``Community.'' I guess it's alright then.

In other news:

``Reef Raiders: Fish Trappers Learn to Live without Cyanide and Dynamite While Stalking America's Favorite Pets,'' by Frederic Golden in Sea Frontiers, 37, #1 p. 22 (1991).

``Fishing with Dynamite,'' in Water Well Journal, 49, #4, p. 28 (1995).

There was a front-page article in the New York Times last fall (below the fold, columns on right; beyond that you're on your own -- try NEXIS) on fishing with cyanide and how it has been affecting the ecology of the sea around Hong Kong.

Hmmm. Just found a clipping from letters to the editor, regarding an October 31, 1995 front-page article. The letter (Nov. 3, page number cut off, from Steven Lauria) gives some interesting historical background. Says old Chinese pharmacopeias identify ``fish-stupefying herb,'' ``break-intestine plant'' and other plants used for preparation of fish poisons. Fish poisoning was banned in the Tang (618-907) and Sung (960-1279) dynasties but persisted, sometimes killing those who ate the fish. In 1121, the Emperor set a penalty for fishing with poison at 100 cane strokes, plus liability for murder in the death of any who died from eating the fish.

Ah! Here's an old email from a fellow Stammtisch person:

	The tale I referred to is Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the
Cooked (New York 1969; French orig. Mythologiques I: Le cru et le
cuit, Paris 1964) pp. 59-60.  There does seem to be something fishy: note
the single quotes in the following quote from the tale:

	"That same day the Indians organized an expedition to `poison'
	fish and so obtained food for their dinner.  The day after the
	murder the women returned to the fishing ground in order to gather
	the remaining dead fish."  Etc.

The word "poison" is footnoted by L-S as follows: "That is, they threw
into the water pieces of a creeper whose sap dissolves and changes the
surface tension of the water, thus causing the fish to die of
suffocation.  Cf. below pp. 256ff., a lengthy description,
begun as follows: "The mother of diseases on the Bororo myth (M5)
manifests herself during a collective fishing  expedition known as à la
nivrée in French Guiana -- that is, fishing with poison.  This method
consists in suffocating the fish, by throwing into the water coarsely
ground stems of plants of various kinds, usually creepers (Dahlstedtia,
Tephrosia, Serjania, Paullinia, etc.)  The dissolved sap is said to cut
off the supply of oxygen to the fishes' respiratory systems."  A note (25)
on page 257 is interesting: "Fishing with timbo, as practiced by the
Bororo, is a very effective method.  But the fish must be dressed
immediately; otherwise it goes bad and is dangerous to eat."  (In the tale
under discussion (M5 the origin of diseases), a woman eats such bad fish,
swells up and eventually farts infectious diseases into the world.

	Give me Pandora and her "box" anytime!
Or Eve's ``apple.''

Incidentally, the original French of ``expedition to `poison' fish'' isn't punny. L-S wrote ``Le même jour, les Indiens organisent une expédition de pêche au << poison >> ....'' More L-S stuff at the floating signifier entry. We're just full of it.

The word fish was written fisc in Old English, and pronounced that way too. With slight inflectional variations, this was the universal Germanic word for fish. In the North Germanic languages (i.e., the Scandinavian languages and some scattered descendants), the sk sound has remained sk to this day. Hence, fisk is the spelling of the noun `fish' in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. (Since you ask: in Old Norse and modern Icelandic, the noun is fiskr. In Icelandic, at least, the combining form is usually fisk.) The Eastern Germanic languages all died out before -- so far as we know -- they could undergo a sound shift in final sk.

In the Western Germanic languages, the sk sound usually evolved into sh. In Modern German, for example, the noun is Fisch, whose pronunciation is about as close to English fish as you could hope. This was part of a general pattern -- what linguists distinguish as a systematic ``sound shift'' rather than a mere change in an individual word.

Another example is the loan, through the Latin discus, of the Greek word diskos. In Old English (OE) this was disc, and evolved into the modern word dish. This preserves one of the meanings of the original Greek and Latin words. (The modern word disc represents a second borrowing of the same word. For the word disk, well, follow the link.) In later Romance usage, the word underwent a semantic shift to `table,' which we also borrowed as desk and (think `high table') dais. This later sense influenced some other Germanic languages, and Old High German tisc, which was essentially the sound-shifted version of OE disc and had the same meaning as the OE word, evolved into Modern German Tisch, meaning `table.'

(Likewise Dutch, the third major West Germanic language, ended up with disch meaning `table.' The case is more complicated, however, because final sch in Dutch underwent a further shift to an ess sound, and since the spelling reform of 1947, the word has been spelled dis. Returning to fisk, the initial consonant of the Dutch word ended up voiced, and the word was spelled visch and now vis.)

Fisk is a common surname, by American standards -- it ranks among the top 3000. Obviously it's an old metonymic occupational name for a fisherman or fishmonger. One bearer of the surname is the journalist Robert Fisk. He's based in Beirut, and a century ago, in the era when the British Empire had ``orientalists'' based in Egypt, one might have said that Fisk had ``gone native.'' Nowadays, his anti-Western views are about as common in Western universities as in Middle Eastern shanties, which I suppose suggests they might be on a similar intellectual level. Anyway, the blogosphere has verbed Fisk's name. To fisk is to refute thoroughly and in systematic detail. It's something that is done to Robert Fisk's reporting, not by it.

Física y Química
`Physics and Chemistry' in Spanish. Title of the tenth album of Spanish singer-songwriter Joaquín Sabina. It was released in 1992 and sold 400,000 copies. That's quadruple-platinum (``quatro discos de platino'') in Spain. There doesn't seem to be much about physics or chemistry in the album.

Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie. `International Federation of Philosophical Societies' (IFPS).

FISP held its first world congress in 1900 (Paris). Since the tenth (1948), FISP has held a world congress every five years. Recently, it seems FISP accumulates another homepage for every world congress (at least Boston 1998, Istanbul 2003).

FISP is a member of CIPSH.

Failures In (unit) Time. A unit of measurement for the `hazard rate' (the instantaneous rate of failure), equal to one failure per billion hours. There are 8760 or 8784 hours in a year -- so this sounds like a rather optimistic unit, but for many microelectronic components the reported failure rates in the field are in the 0.01 to 0.1 FIT range. [See F. H. Reynolds: ``Measuring and modelling integrated circuit failure rates,'' EUROCON'82, pp. 32-45 (1982).]

Fashion Institute of Technology. That's the snazzy-looking page. If you want information, see non-FIT page about FIT.

FAST Image Transfer. A commercial image compression standard that claims file sizes 2-6 times smaller than JPEG files of the same visual quality.

``FAST'' in the acronym expansion is the short standard capitalized form of the company whose longer name is Fast Search & Transfer ASA. Whether this is less nonsensical in Norwegian than in English is unclear, but the compression does seem more efficient in the examples they have chosen to demonstrate it.

Financial Institutions Tax.

Finite Integration Technique. See MAFIA.

Florida Institute of Technology. Mascot: panther.

The name of a Honda vehicle sold in the US. There was one ahead of me on the road today and I can report this: it's a tight one. It's almost as small as the cars that Japanese manufacturers were exporting to the US in the 1960's. And the logo makes it look like the name is all lower-case: ``fit'' in e.e.-cummings/bell-hooks style.

Fédération Internationale de Tir à l'Arc. `International Archery Federation.'

Federation of International Trade Associations.

Fluorescein IsoThioCyanate.

Fiber In The Loop.

Flexible Interchange Transport Standard. IAU standard for astronomical data storage and communication.

Financial Intelligence Unit. Generic term for a national government agency that monitors financial activity. The US FIU is FinCEN.

{ Federación Internacional de Universidades Católicas | Fédération Internationale des Universités Catholiques }. Spanish and French, resp., for English `International Federation of Catholic Universities' (IFCU). The pages are generally available in all three languages; the language switch is tucked away at the bottom of the left-hand frame.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. ``Kitty HIV.'' Affects various feline species including felix catus (domestic cat). First isolated from a cattery in northern California in 1986, but later found in blood samples dating from the 1960's. (In a similar way, HCV has been found in blood samples from as far back as 1950.) FIV is a lentivirus (category of retrovirus), like HIV, but not as closely related to HIV as SIV is.

FIV is eventually fatal to cats, but probably not dangerous to humans. Just in case though, immunocompromised individuals should erase all copies of WATFIV from their directories.

Five People You Meet in Heaven, The
The title of a New York Times bestseller, published in 2003. It was written by Mitch Albom, who has committed at least one other bestseller. This book has some of the virtue of brevity, but its interesting observations about life, human nature, heaven, etc., would certainly be just as insightful in a larger volume if they were true. Of course, many of the observations are somewhat, sort of, or partially true, but not all of the book's nonfiction content is false or partly false; some of it is just trite. The book also features sententious mysticism, illogic, failed epigrams, and resolute cowardice in the face of reality. In short, it's another slice of inspirational literature baloney. In its defense, I can add that its rich graphic texture is not entirely undermined by the absence of illustrations.

None of this would justify an entry for this book here, but as I read it (for tawdry reasons that need not concern you, dear reader) I noticed something surprising and familiar: a Ponzi scheme. (MILD SPOILER information follows.)

The premise of the book is that after dying, each person (or each person who goes to heaven -- the distinction is not explored) meets five tutors; it's rather like Scrooge's Christmas Eve in Dickens's A Christmas Carol. (The idea was borrowed again with only slightly greater baldness in the 2008 movie An American Carol. I seem to recall an interview in which director David Zucker explained that he decided to recycle the old gimmick because he had never had much success with his bright new ideas.)

Anyway, the newly dead person meets five less-recently dead people whose lives intersected his. Each one is able to provide a dramatic alternate perspective on some aspect or episode of the newgoner's life. Each one demonstrates that the newgoner's life story was heavily contrived. No wait, that's not it. Each one teaches the newgoner an important lesson, and the lesson typically climaxes in a horribly mawkish catharsis. After this five-fold initiation, the newgoner enters heaven proper, the full presence of God, the harem of 72 (perpetual?) virgins, whatever. Also, he prepares to become the tutor of a future newgoner. (``Newgoner'' is not a term that occurs in the book.)

The interesting thing is that while each new dead person is taught by five dead people, each dead person thereafter teaches only one incoming dead person and is then released from teaching duties forever. This is, as they say of Ponzi schemes, too-generous social welfare systems, and corn farming in Antarctica, unsustainable. In the long run, the promised benefits exceed income. The only way to keep this going without cutting benefits is to cut beneficiaries. New admissions to heaven must decrease literally exponentially. (This I could believe. But there's no hint of it in the book, and it wouldn't be consistent with the generally upbeat, everyone-is-forgiven message.)

In the dedication, author Albom writes that most religions have an idea of heaven, ``and they should all be respected.'' At least he doesn't say they should all be believed. I guess they should all be disbelieved and respected, like crime bosses. I also have a problem with some of the belief systems that don't incorporate a heaven. It used to bother me that many people who believe in reincarnation don't worry about population growth. I mean, a population explosion could produce a severe soul shortage; bodies would have to be equipped with untested new souls that were still wet behind the ears, so to speak. Either that, or there'd have to be a reserve supply of souls kept in long-term storage. So this scheme would at least have a hell. In any case, immediately after a great catastrophe there'd certainly be an oversupply. Maybe this was the inspiration for the population in packing crates described in Woody Allen's What's Up Tiger Lily? (1966).

Truth to tell, I also have a problem with religions that do have a heaven, but some of them do sound a bit more promising. At least Albom doesn't go so far as to say that religions can be respected, although some do. Oh, now I get it: each religion should be respected by somebody who can. Sneaky atheist, that Albom.

I remember when I attended religious school that the principal would periodically come into our class to say something stupid. (I'm not saying that was her intention, but it must have been part of the Plan. Nothing happens without a purpose, I am given to understand. So it was Somebody's intention.) One time she instructed us solemnly that no matter how poor a person is, there is always someone poorer. (Even though the number of people in the world is finite, she neglected to add.) There are really a lot of people in this world (to say nothing of the next) who regard elementary mathematical facts as a nuisance that can properly be ignored.

Financial Institutions eXpert eXamination. ``[A] personal computer-based system, using artificial intelligence technology to capture in a knowledge base the skills of the best [bank] examiners and make their expertise available to all examiners.'' A program of the Department of Financial Institutions of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

This word originally meant silent[ly] fart. It does so no longer.

From Japan. A top-level hierarchy of newsgroups.

IP address tag for Fiji.

On April 5, 2005, a court in Suva (Fiji's capital) handed down a sentence for behavior the magistrate described as ``something so disgusting that it would make any decent person vomit.'' The men pled guilty to a charge of ``committing an unnatural offense and indecent behavior.'' They had taken pictures of themselves naked, so one suspects police did not want for evidence. I was motivated to add this to the entry because of the ironic headline that resulted: ``Men Sentenced to Prison for Gay Sex.''

Federal Judicial Center.

IP address tag for the Falkland Islands. Since Argentina (.ar), which has disputed ownership, rather forcefully at times, calls the islands Las Malvinas (freely: `the heather islands'), this selection of ISO code has political content. So, for that matter, do .cn and .tw.

Formerly Known As. On the pattern of a/k/a.

The Federation of Korea Information Industries.

Sorry, don't have expansion yet. An antirejection (immunosuppressive) drug used in organ transpantation. Solomon Snyder, of Johns Hopkins Univ. School of Medicine, announced 1996.10.27 that in vitro and rat and monkey trials indicate nerve-regeneration activity for FK506 and derivatives. It's not a coincidence -- nerve cell death and organ rejection were found independently to share some chemical pathway.

FlatLine. Verb: to flatline is to have one of one's time-varying vital signs, like pulse, say, become constant, or time-invariant. This is not good.

FLorida. USPS abbreviation.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for Florida. USACityLink.com has a page mostly of Florida city and town links. Visitor information can be found by a virtual visit to Absolutely Florida.

FL, F.L.
Focal Length.

Foreign Language.

Fuzzy Logic. Not pejorative.

Logic based on truth values in the continuum between zero and one. So true. There's a usenet newsgroup comp.ai.fuzzy, and an associated FAQ. (The CMU archive has an older but more hyper mark-up.)

Just as a logical condition can be used to define the ordinary subset of a set, so a fuzzy logical condition can be used to define a sequence of fuzzy subsets conforming to the condition with increasing strictness or degree of truth (and corresponding decrease in cardinality).

First-Language Acquisition.

F{ive|our}-Letter Acronym. I recommend ETLA or XTLA for a four-letter acronym.

Florida. Traditional abbreviation. 'member the Beach Boys' lyric -- ``down in eff el ay.''

See FL supra.

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales. Spanish `Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences.'

Local colloquialism for FLAGstaff (AZ).

German acronym of Fliegerabwehrkanone, meaning `anti-aircraft guns' (more literally, `aircraft defense guns').

An inspired misspelling, even when it's inspired by ignorance.

Fastball pitcher.

flamingo dancing
Oh, ya, i m just so TOTALLY into that. Im n2 kool walks on the beech to. c u @ HotOrNot, k? Toodles!

Flannel plaid shirt with five pens in a breast pocket
Probably encloses a physicist.

Foreign Language Assistance Program. Funded by title VII of the ESEA.

Federación Latinoamericana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. An organization that in 2001 became the IFPI regional office for Latin America (and goes by the name IFPE Latin America).

The bit of plastic left over on injection-molded pieces, at the edges where the mold separates, and especially at the injection points.

Free-Electron LASer in Hamburg. Originally known as the (and a) VUV-FEL.

flash memory, flash PROM, flash EPROM
EEPROM in which erasure is done by blocks rather than bits. Higher density than ordinary EEPROM, but can only survive 10,000-100,000 rewrite cycles.

Flash Player
Memory-leak enabler.

The FLorida chapter of the American Translators Association. This acronym has possibilities. Didn't Mick Jagger sing about this in ``Shattered''? Sure! The song ends
Flata, flata, flata, flata, flata, flata, flataaah--
Pile it up! Pile it high on the plattuh--

It sounds cut off. With all that pause-filling repetition, it sounds like he he got too far ahead of his interpreter.

To flaunt something is to show off that you have it. A common malapropism is the use of flaunt for flout. To ``flout a rule'' is to violate that rule brazenly.

Fiber from plant stems, used to make cloth called linen. The original flax is from Linum usitatissimum (Latin for `very common flax').

Federal Laboratory Consortium.

Fiber Loop Carrier. That's not a carrier of fiber loop, you understand; it's a carrier having loop topology, made out of fiber and carrying optical signals. Of course, if this wasn't obvious then it wasn't helpful either.

Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal Display (LCD.

Flux Logic Element Array.

Fledermaus, Die
German: `The Bat.' A small opera. Could this have been the inspiration for ``Batman''? Probably not.

FLEFO, Flefo
Foreign Language Education FOrum. An old CompuServe chat or newsgroup or something. I'm not sure how real-time those things were, and they went through one or more format changes. At some point CompuServe membership ceased to be a requirement for participation, as it had been originally, and eventually it was shut down. It was apparently a lively place for translators in the 1990's, and it had a number of successors, including <Flefo.org>, none of them especially lively. See Translation Journal's list of translator discussion groups (but note that it hasn't been updated since 2001 -- at least as of my last update of this FLEFO entry in mid-2006).

Funded Legal Education Program. A US military program that allows officers to attend law school at government expense while receiving full pay and allowances. A smaller number of officers are allowed to defer military obligations (entered into voluntarily, these days) while attending law school at their own expense (this is the Extended Leave Program, ELP). An officer who attends law school under either program can practice law in the Air Force as a member of the Department of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) upon graduation from law school and admission to any state bar.

Foreign Language in the Elementary School.

Federation Licensing EXam.

Foreign Language EXploratory (program).

German: `inflection.' (I suppose it is used only in the grammatical sense, and would not occur in the translation of an expression like ``inflection of the voice.'') Eine Flexionsparadigma is what is usually just called a `paradigm' in language classes.

A pet-rental service based in Wilmington, Delaware. It was founded in March 2007 by Marlena Cervantes. As of August 2007, the company owned ten dogs and offered its services in Los Angeles and San Diego. Plans are to expand to New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., and London over the following six months. Dogs can be rented for periods ranging from a day to a week, or adopted.

Fermented Liquid Food. So far I've only encountered this term in the pig-slop context. But doesn't beer count? (There's also a slightly alcoholic yogurt-based drink I think is called kfir or something.)

Federal Library and Information Center Committee. ``Service and guidance to federal libraries and information centers since 1965.'' Part of the US Library of Congress.

Dismissive term for movie or film. From `flicker,' which earlier movies used to do. Part of the reason for the flicker was that they showed only 16 frames per second instead of 24. Older newsreels often show people and vehicles moving jerkily because 16-frame-per-second motion is being viewed at 24/16 or 1.5X speed. If you find this confusing, please understand: the newsreels show people moving jerkily because that's how people used to move. People were pleased by the change to 24 fps, and this caused them to relax and slow down.

German: `to mend, repair.' In relevant contexts, it may be applied to the repair of an engine or building, but mostly it refers to the mending of clothing (hence der Flickenkorb is `the sewing basket'), usually by application of a patch. The noun Flicken means `patch.' Yes, this entry is written in a somewhat flat-footed style, but I haven't time to fix it.

flicker noise
Noise with a 1/f spectrum, associated with material inhomogeneity.

Bilingual (German-English) dictionaries typically translate this word and its plural as `filler.' The Duden Deutsches Universalwörterbuch defines Flickwort as Füllwort, and defines that in turn as a ``Wort mit geringem Aussagewert.'' That is, loosely, a `word that communicates little.'

In each of the following statements, the words preceding the first comma would probably count as Füllwörter:
``Come now, every word means something.''
``Well, yeah, but still...''
``Look, the first word in this sentence is a verb in the imperative mood; it's an instruction.''
``You know, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to look at.''
``So nu, the first two words are filler.''

[Icon link to ornithopter image and text]

According to Sally Field, in her character as ``The Flying Nun'':
``When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, watch out!''
More detailed explanations are available.

Forward-Looking InfraRed (sensor).

Flux-Locked Loop. That would be magnetic flux. As it happens, the magnetic flux through an area (the surface integral of the magnetic induction B) corresponds to a quantum phase line integral around the edge of the surface. I don't know exactly how an FLL would work, but I imagine it's an idea that was tried in one of those Josephson-junction computing-technology efforts that failed regularly from at least the 1970's until funding ran out: the magnetic flux trapped in a superconducting loop is related to the supercurrent circulating in the loop. Since the flux is quantized, the current loop functions as a digital memory element. Nominally lossless memory elements were always the strong point of Josephson technology. The weak point was three-lead devices with gain.

Of course, FLL could be something completely different.

Folch Lower Layer. A/k/a Folch lower phase. The denser, mostly-chloroform layer that forms when one uses the lipid extraction procedure of Folch, q.v. The FLL is the phase that contains the lipids. It should not be confused with ``pure Folch lower,'' a mostly-chloroform wash used in further processing of the FLL itself.

floating gate
A MOSFET gate lying between conduction channel and the usual MOSFET gate (called control gate). Serves as a memory element in EPROM's, EEPROM's and flash EPROM's.

Normally, only the control gate (CG) is electrically contacted, and at low gate voltages the floating gate serves as a conducting slab within the region between control gate and channel. Thus, ignoring short-channel and narrow-channel effects, which are exacerbated, the main effect of fabricating a MOSFET with a floating gate is that gate capacitance and transistor gain factor (``k'') are decreased inversely as the total thickness of oxide between control gate and channel.

Any negative charge on the floating gate raises the transistor threshold voltage of an nMOS transistor. Thus, stored charge can be detected electrically and serves as nonvolatile storage for one bit of data.

Starting from with an initially neutral floating gate, charge can be added by exciting channel electrons and applying a large positive bias to the control gate. Different EPROM's differ in the way the floating gate is charged. Traditional EPROM's used UV light absorption to excite electrons out of the floating gate. EEPROM's and flash EEPROM's have at least a segment of very thin (20 nm or less) thinox layer between the FG and the channel, which allows quantum tunneling between them under acceptable bias conditions.

floating head
A magnetic write head, for an analog audio tape, that is set back from the surface. Although the field is strengthened to compensate, erasure and writing of the tape is done by the fringing field of the magnetic head, and the magnetization occurs over a length of tape on the same order as the distance between head magnet and the tape. This gives erasures and taped signals a smooth fade-in and fade-out.

floating signifier
A term introduced by Claude Lévi-Strauss to describe a word or expression that does not have a meaning so much as hold open a space for that which exceeds expression. ``Postmodern'' is alleged to be such a term.

I remember reading an article in Time or Newsweek sometime in the mid- to late-seventies, which reported that according to some poll or other, Claude Lévi-Strauss was regarded as the most over-rated personality in recent history. I won't say whom I'd have voted for then, if I had known what I do now, but now would be a good time to visit the deconstruction entry.

On the other hand, if you simply must learn more about L-S, you could go fishing for it here.

Defined by the OED2 as
``The action or habit of estimating as worthless.''

In the earliest instance cited (1741) there are hyphens after flocci, nauci, nihili, and pili. These four are enumerated in a ``well-known rule of the Eton Latin Grammar'' as words meaning `at a small price' or `at nothing.' In 2004, the term was heaved into a Scientific American article (Dec. 20) about research confuting the belief that boosting self-esteem helps improve academic performance. For more, just follow your NASE.

FLorida, OHio, and PennsylvaniA. Crucial swing states in the 2004 presidential election.

Florence Griffith Joyner. US Olympian in track and field. Died cruelly young.

Fractional Low-Order Moments. Expectation values of low powers of random variable. Of use in alpha-stable and other distributions which cannot be characterized by (because they do not have) higher-order moments.

Chip-level design, in which one is concerned with the disposition of large objects (e.g., ALU's, memory arrays).

FLoating point OPeration, but see FLOPS.

FLOPPY disk (FD).

floppy bowtie
The only kind of bowtie that utilizes gravitational effects. For no good reason at all, you should also read the entry for floppy disk (FD).

FLoating-point OPerations per Second. [See MIPS for usage note.]

Florida Effect
Decreased willingness of taxpayers to fund the education of students they feel socially distant or detached from. The term is based on the idea that this effect should be strong in Florida. Whether it is only expectation or observation as well, I don't know. The expectation is due to the fact that Florida is a popular retirement location, and that the retirees are generally not Hispanic, whereas a relatively high percentage of the students are Hispanic.

Front for the Liberation Of South Yemen.

Forward Line Of Troops.

FLOating-gate Tunnel OXide. Vide floating gate.

First Lady Of The United States (US). A term used only by the military and the Secret Service and the news media and people who read or hear the news.

``FLOTUS''! You got that? Not ``flatus''!

I suppose a presidential floozie would be FLOTPOTUS.

More information, not all of it fanciful, at the POTUS (President Of ...) entry.

flouridation, flourination
Adding flour. A crucial step in bread-making.

You know, writing ``flour'' for ``fluor'' is a pretty stupid error. It's not the sort error you'll find in this glossary; I've got an editor.

Crucial information available at Liouville. The information you really sought is at the Fluorine entry, F.

FLuorinated (high-density) PolyEthylene. [See MIP(s) for usage note.]

Federal Librarians Round Table. The ALA apparently likes to name its groups ``round tables.'' Cf. EMIERT, IFRT.

Fundamentals of Land Surveying. An exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES, q.v.). Corresponds to the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam administered by the same professional organization on a different date. The FE and FLS exams are preliminary to the taking of the Professional Engineering (PE) and Professional Land Surveying (PLS) exams, respectively.

See also the Land Surveyor Reference Page.

(US) Fair Labor Standards Act.

Faster-than-Light Travel. Superluminal travel. In our current quite good understanding of space and time and all that, travel that appears to be faster than the speed of light to one observer will appear to be travel backwards in time to another observer. It should be understood that the theory of relativity (I.e. the name of our understanding of space, time, etc.) does not favor any particular observer's point of view...it simply allows us (a) to compute what actually happens, referred to any particular frame of reference (``observer'' in this context) and (b) translate one observer's description of events into another's. Thus, faster-than-light travel is travel backwards in time.

The theory of relativity does not forbid travel faster than the speed of light, strictly speaking. However, it does imply that for anything massive, it takes infinite energy to get up to that speed. In principle, however, tachyons (hypothetical particles moving hyperluminously) or other massive objects might be created already moving faster than the speed light, so they don't have to cross an infinite-energy barrier. No one has ever come up with a credible mechanism for creating more than one or two tachyons in this way. The comment that ``nothing can go faster than the speed of light'' is shorthand for ``I don't believe in `time travel'.''

There is a more precise statement, that ``information cannot travel faster than light.'' This includes the movement of matter, of course -- the arrival of a stone can convey whatever information has been inscribed on it. One kind of faster-than-light motion that is allowed is apparent motion: If you scan the sky with a flashlight, and if you see its reflection on distant planets like the image of headlights through fog, then (a) you have very good eyesight, better than 20-20 anyway, and (b) the image can travel gazillions of miles across the sky in as little time as it takes you to turn your wrist. This is faster than the speed of light, but no information flows that fast. For example, if the flashlight beam is reflected by a circle of planets 5 billion light years away, and you turn the flashlight beam 180° in one second, then the beam image will move (really: the image will appear to travel) across about 15 billion light years in one second, for an apparent speed of about 15 billion × (1 year/1 second) = 45 × 1016 times the speed of light, which everyone agrees is quite fast. However, to see this image you're going to have to wait ten years while the light goes away and returns. Ten years later, sure enough, the image of high speed that you've set up appears, the reflection of your flashlight beam flashes across the sky in one second. However, no information has traveled faster than light. There's been plenty of time for information to travel out to the stars, poking along merely at the speed of light, and set up the celestial illusion. (Of course, if the planets were not equidistant to within a fraction of a lightsecond, then you're out of luck.)

More of this at the ICBM entry.

Pierre de Fermat (1601-1665) had a habit of recording his mathematical discoveries and excitements in the margins of his books. His most famous such marginal comment was made in the margin of his copy of Diophantus's Arithmetica, next to Proposition II, 8: ``To divide a given square number into two squares.'' Fermat wrote there:
``In contrast, it is impossible to divide a cube into two cubes, or a fourth power into two fourth powers, or in general any power beyond the square into powers of the same degree; of this I have discovered a very wonderful demonstration. This margin is too narrow to contain it.''
This is published in Oeuvres de Fermat, vol. I, p.53 (Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1891-1912). Fermat's copy of Diophantus was lost, but only after this and other marginalia were transcribed, I think by his son. At first, most people (mathematicians were people) assumed that the fact was true and that he had proved it. The proposition became known as Fermat's Last Theorem because it was the last one remaining unproven [by who came after, at least]. It seems to be widely agreed now that finally, more than three hundred years after its statement, a proof of the proposition has finally been found, by Andrew Wiles. Visit the appropriate section of the sci.math FAQ for a status report. The paper was accepted for publication by The Annals of Mathematics, and has already been simplified and generalized by other mathematicians. You can also visit a relevant AMS page.

Eric Zorn, in his column on page one of the Chicago Tribune METRO section, reported (June 29, 1993) the celebratory high spirits just six days after Andrew Wiles announced his victorious proof of the FLT. It was eerily reminiscent of events following Chicago Bulls NBA Championship victories.

``Math hooligans are the worst,'' said a Chicago Police Department spokesman. ``But the city learned from the Bierbach riots. We were ready for them this time.''

When word hit Wednesday that Fermat's Last Theorem had fallen, a massive show of force from law enforcement at universities all around the country headed off a repeat of the festive looting sprees that have become the traditional accompaniment to triumphant breakthroughs in higher mathematics.

Mounted police throughout Hyde Park kept crowds of delirious wizards at the University of Chicago from tipping over cars on the midway, as they first did in 1976 when Wolfgang Haken and Kenneth Appel cracked the long-vexing Four-Color Problem. Incidents of textbook-throwing and citizens being pulled from their cars and humiliated with difficult story problems last week were described by the university's math department chairman, Bob Zimmer, as ``isolated.''

(According to Eric Zorn's column on June 19, 2001, Eric's father Jens is a full-time professor at the University of Michigan. Zorn is also an important name in mathematics.)

FLighT. Airline fare abbreviation.

Erica Jong's Fear of Flying -- A Novel (1973) was a best seller.

Nancy L. Rose's Fear of Flying? Economic Analyses of Airline Safety (1991) was not.

FLUoxetine. An SSRI.

Influenza. In the original Italian, the letter zee (zed) is pronounced ts. Both cold and flu are viral infections that cause fever, chills, feeling lousy, and inflammation of the upper part of the respiratory tract. However, cold is a general term for less severe infection by any of a broad class of viruses, especially rhinoviruses. Influenza is the disease caused by a particular class of viruses. Influenza is rarer and more acute.

In the US, the flu typically kills about 30 or 40 thousand mostly elderly people each year. However, most flu viruses do not kill directly; they damage cells lining the the upper respiratory tract, exposing infected persons to airborne bacteria. Most flu-infected people who do die are actually felled by bacterial pneumonia. (That's why antibiotics, which do not act against viruses, are nevertheless prescribed for flu.) The Spanish flu of 1918 evidently killed more directly, by causing severe damage deep in the lungs, associated with severe edema and hemorrhage. (The severe immune response provoked by the infection also played a part in this.) A difficult reconstruction of the Spanish-flu genome in 2005 confirmed that it was an H5N1 virus, like the avian flu causing concern at this time. This avian flu seems to kill directly in the same way as the 1918 flu. It extended its range alarmingly in 2005, but as of October there is no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.

It is clear that violin solos, like viral infections, cause respiratory irritation and, in particular, loud coughing. The question, as with flu lethality, is one of mechanism. Mike Nichols, writing in the New York Times on October 2, 1977, hypothesized exogenous rather than endogenous causes for the coughing at theater opening nights:

Opening night . . . you will find a sizable number of people with severe respiratory infections who have, it appears, defied their doctors, torn aside oxygen tents, evaded the floor nurses at various hospitals and courageously made their way to the theater to enjoy the play -- the Discreet Choker and the Straight Cougher.

There are a bunch of other things I want to say about fluency, but I haven't thought of them yet. Well, one thing is that in my experience, it's usually easier to sound fluent in a second language than it is to seem fluent in writing, at the same level of competence. Another is that true fluency in two or three languages is unusual. Okay, that will do for now. Think of this paragraph as the declaration statement instantiating an object of the entry class. Now I can start assigning properties to the new object.

David Warren's column on the Benazir Bhutto assassination only came out on January 2, 2008 (he had taken a vacation). It turns out that like just about everyone else in the chattering classes, he had known her personally -- in Pakistan, no less. Among his observations:

She thought in English, her Urdu was awkward, her ``native'' Sindhi inadequate even for giving directions to servants. Part of her political trick, in Pakistan itself, was that she sounded uneducated in Urdu. This is as close as she got to being ``a woman of the people.''

There you have it: an advantage to lack of fluency. Now you have an excuse.

It's amazing, the things that come to fill your head in a lifetime of TV-watching.

German for male `flight attendant.' The female of the species is Flugbegleiterin.

Fluorescence Nightingale
Heroinic pioneer of optically-detected nurdsing.

AKA Fluorspar. Can fluoresce in the blue when excited in the UV. It also thermoluminesces in the green. Defines hardness 4 on Friedrich Mohs's mineral hardness scale. (A scale used to determine the hardness of solids, especially minerals. It is named after the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs.)

flying coffin
Pilots' nickname for the B-26 and B-24 bombers.


FM, .fm
Federated States of Micronesia. USPS and international abbreviation. Getting this as a national domain name is hitting the TLD sweepstakes. FM radio stations like WZOW pay to have memorable URL's like <wzow.fm>. Cf. .tv.

Fermium. Atomic number 100. An actinide. Named after Enrico Fermi. Name proposed by Seaborg in 1955, shortly after Enrico's stoic death from stomach cancer in 1953. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Finance Minist{er|ry}. Cabinet portfolio corresponding most closely to that of the US Secretary of Treasury. Not a very useful abbreviation in governments that have both a foreign minister and a finance minister. Of course, they could avoid all these problems by renaming the Finance Ministry the Economics Ministry, and the Foreign Ministry the Exterior Ministry. Cf. EAM, FAM.

Financial Management.

Foreign Minist{er|ry}. Cabinet portfolio corresponding most closely to that of the US Secretary of State. Not really a very useful abbreviation in governments that have both a foreign minister and a finance minister. Oh, you heard that joke already?

Frequency Modulation. The encoding of information as a variation in the frequency of a carrier. Strictly speaking, there is a puzzle in this simple definition: frequency and time are complementary variables, and any function or distribution in time can be described equivalently by distribution in frequency. Fourier integration transforms the time distribution into the frequency distribution, and the inverse Fourier integral returns the time distribution. Fourier and Inverse Fourier transformation are nonlocal operations: A signal has a single frequency only if it is a sinusoid for all time, and a signal over a short time cannot define a frequency unambiguously. Therefore, one can only speak of ``frequency modulation'' in an approximate sense.

In Japanese, FM is called efuemu. That's a transliteration of ``eff em,'' the English pronunciation of the FM initialism. (You can't really get rid of the u's. See eizu for a little clarification of why.)

Financial Management Association International.

Fire Marshals Association of North America. Old name of organizations now known as International Fire Marshals Association.

Federal Medical Assistance Percentage. The percentage of Medicaid expenditures subsidized by the federal government. This percentage is computed for each state based on the per capita income, ranging from 50% for the states with the richest residents (on average) to 83% for those with the poorest. (That's the statutory range; in principle no state might have an FMAP as low as 50% or as high as 83%.)

The FMAP is the ``federal financial participation'' (FFP) for medical expenses (including screening, diagnosis and testing; hmm, see EPSDT). The FFP for general administrative expenses, including outreach, is a flat 50%.

CHIP programs are funded at the ``enhanced FMAP'' computed as 0.3 + 0.7xFMAP or 85%, whichever is less. CHIP FFP for administrative expenses and outreach gets more complicated.

FerroMagnetic AntiResonance. In a simple kind of empirical modeling of magnetization in ferromagnets, the magnetization obeys a time-evolution equation with two components: one, conservative component, causes precessional motion of the magnetization around the magnetic field direction, caused by the electromagnetic torque. A second component, represented by a variety of different relaxation terms, models the effect of energy dissipation by friction between domains. The shape and position of the microwave transmission maximum (the FMAR) is used to determine the gyromagnetic ratio (g) as well as the magnitude of the dissipative term.

{Firemen's Mutual | Fire Marshal} Benevolent Association. Cf. PBA.

Westfield Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association Local #30 is the labor union and fraternal organization that as of 2004 represents the paid members of the Westfield NJ Fire Department. Westfield FMBA Local 30 was established on June 27, 1924.

Federal Maritime Commission.

Fédération Mondiale de la Chiropratique. French for `World Federation of Chiropractic' (WFC).

Food Manager [Training and] Certification. See AFSI.

Ford Motor Company.

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. ``[C]reated in 1947, [it] is an independent U.S. government agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 10 district offices and 67 field offices, the agency provides mediation and conflict resolution services to industry, government agencies and communities.''

Federal Motor Carrier Standards. Officially FMCSR, which if systematically used would prevent namespace collisions with the official FMCS.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Replaced the OMC.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Enforced by the FMCSA (vide supra), which used to be the Office of Motor Carrier Safety (OMC). ``Motor carrier'' means truck, in case you were wondering.

For more, see the NTEA's glossary of Truck Equipment Terms.

Foot and Mouth Disease. Traditionally called hoof-and-mouth disease in the US, but if we keep hearing FMD news from the UK, it may shift usage.

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. See next entry.

Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis. See previous entry.

Fuels and Materials Examination Facility.

Fondo Monetario Internacional. Spanish, `International Monetary Fund' (IMF).

Food Marketing Institute. A ``nonprofit association conducting programs in research, education, industry relations and public affairs on behalf of its 1,500 members including their subsidiaries -- food retailers and wholesalers and their customers in the United States and around the world.''

Fujitsu Microelectronics, Inc..

Family Medical Leave Act. The FMLA is a federal law in the US that mandates employers to grant up to a total of 12 work-weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to an ``eligible'' employee who needs it to care for a family member needing medical attention.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers.


Financial Management Officer.

9-FluorenylMethylOxyCarbonyl. Used in peptide cleavage.

Fault Modeling Procedures. The name of some geological software from Subsurface Computer Modeling, Inc. (SCM). Now you understand what kind of ``fault.''

Federación Mundial de Quiropráctica. Spanish for `World Federation of Chiropractic' (WFC).

Foundation for Mind Research.

Family Medicine Research Centre. ``The Family Medicine Research Centre at the University of Sydney was established in August 1999 to undertake health services research in general practice and primary care in Australia. The Centre was formed from the Family Medicine Research Unit which has carried out research in the Department of General Practice since 1990. The Centre is part of the School of Public Health and is located on the Westmead Hospital campus of the University of Sydney.''

Fibrous Materials Research Center (homepage a bit thin as of 9/95) at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Fluorescent Microsphere Research Center at the University of Washington.

The basic idea of fluorescent microspheres is pretty straightforward: you inject a number of spheres in one part of the vascular system and you count them someplace else, and this gives you a quantitative idea of how fast blood moves around. You count them by shining an exciting pulse of light and measuring the intensity of fluorescence. Unfortunately, a lot of biological materials fluoresce, so fluorescent dyes have to be chosen carefully and contamination avoided. This is one reason to use the lowest-frequency light possible for excitation (to minimize the interference from naturally occurring fluorescent materials). With the proper precautions, the fluorescence (emission) intensity is an accurate measure of microsphere count. Because the injected spheres are diluted in dispersion throughout the body, small-number statistics (standard deviation varying as the square root of the sphere count) is a significant contribution to the measurement error.

Fluorescent microspheres have been adopted as an alternative to radioactive tracer methods. I guess microspheres are used, rather than free dye, because chemical interactions with the solvent (blood plasma), and in particular the effects of varying pH on free dye would shift the emission frequency.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

False Memory Syndrome. Mistaken memories of one's own abuse during childhood. A controversial and very sad topic.

Latin, Fratres Maristae A Scholis. English: `Marist Brothers of the Schools.'

Fast MagnetoSonic (wave[s]). See KPI for a discussion of the treatment of a model for certain FMS waves.

Flight Management System[s].

Foreign Military Sales.

Five-Minute Speech Sample. A swift method of assessing ``expressed emotion,'' developed by A. Mangano-Amato et al.

Field Monitoring Team[s].

Far More Than You['ve] Ever Wanted To Know.

Fair Market Value. The United States IRS has a publication 561 available on-line to help you figure out the FMV of donations to charitable organizations. If you just give to somebody who needs, that's not deductible.

Full-Motion Video. Video streams such as AVI's and MPEG's, for example.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Regulations promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


FootNote. More common abbreviation: ftnt. (q.v.).

Foreign National.

Fowler-Nordheim (quantum tunneling through a triangular barrier).

FreeNet. Productive suffix, as in LAFN (Los Angeles FreeNet). We all laffin'. It occurs to me that in some languages (Hebrew and Russian, for instance), one doesn't use a copula in the present tense; it is understood from the absence of a verb between two noun phrases.

Frente Nacional. Spanish for `National Front.' Also Spanish for `National Forehead.'

Front National. That's French for `National Front.' Have no fear, we are here to answer your most difficult questions. In France (that's one of the French-speaking countries), the FN is the party of Jean-Marie Le Pen.


Fars News Agency. It's not entirely propaganda.

When you point your browser to the linked URL (or any other file in that domain), the browser window expands to fill the screen. Why does this seem strangely in character? The same behavior obtains for the Farsi pages, but not for Arabic or Turkish.

Fine-Needle Aspiration. Needle aspiration, a/k/a needle biopsy, is the removal of fluid from a cyst or tumor by means of a needle and syringe. (In the case of a tumor, the fluid is secondary to the tumor cells that come with it.) ``Aspiration'' here is used in ignorance or neglect of the original sense of the word, and merely refers to the fact that the syringe is pulled to produce, um, suction.

If a large-bore needle is used, the procedure is called a ``core biopsy.'' Ugh. I never had any aspiration to become a physician. If the needle is thin, it's called fine-needle aspiration.

Fermilab or Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. A DoE Facility. Elementary particles research facility about 25 mi. W of Chicago.

Okay, okay, it's in Batavia, IL, to be exact, between Geneva and Aurora, and you pass by Ronald Reagan's alma mater on the drive between it and Chicago. There used to be a diner NE of the lab, called ``The Depot.'' Are they still in business? Sadly, I don't see them on this extensive list. The page gives distances and price ranges, but -- possibly because it's served by a theorist -- it fails to list one very important piece of information: hours. More specifically, which places are open all night, as the Depot was.

First evidence for the bottom quark was obtained at Fermilab in 1977 with the discovery of the upsilon. The upsilon is a meson with ``hidden beauty.'' ``Beauty'' is a now less-used synonym for the quark flavor known as bottom. The flavor is ``hidden'' because the meson consists of a bottom quark and a bottom anti-quark, so it has zero net bottomness.

I was at Fermilab that Summer working in another group, and my boss (my faculty sponsor) arranged for me to have an interview with Leon Lederman. Lederman headed the E288 collaboration which had just discovered the upsilon, so it was pretty generous of him to take some of his time then to interview a callow undergraduate who was just trying to avoid being a screw-up over at E441. He was known for various other achievements in experimental elementary particle physics, although the upsilon is what finally earned him a physics Nobel. Fortunately, I was so clueless that I wasn't cowed or anything. I don't remember too much about the interview. I can't even remember whether the point was for me to make a good impression for when I applied the next year to his home institution (Columbia University), or for him to make a good impression for Columbia should I be accepted. Probably a bit of both. He was a personable guy, and for whatever reason I was accepted by Columbia's graduate program in physics. I went to Princeton instead. Lederman left Columbia to become the head of Fermilab.

One thing I do remember about that Summer is that there was a spoof issue of Fermilab's local newsletter, apparently orchestrated by Lederman's collaboration, that amounted to the first semi-official announcement of the upsilon. It included such things as an interview with a janitor, respectfully recording his pride in the contribution that his work had made to the discovery. I can't find anything about this spoof newsletter on the Internet, but I'll look around and try to talk to some of the old-timers in that field. Maybe it turned out later that it wasn't a spoof. Still, as it was explained to me at the time, they were afraid of being scooped by another group before they were ready to make a certain announcement (there was in fact an ``oopsilon'' earlier in the saga). Despite the small number of accelerators and groups in a position to make the discovery, this was not an idle fear. A couple of years before, the ultracautious (and reputedly micromanaging) Sam Ting had been forced to share a Nobel (with Burton Richter) for the discovery of the charm quark because he waited too long to make the announcement.

FunctioNAL. This is used in mathematics as a noun describing functions that take functions as their arguments (i.e., functionals are maps from function spaces) not as an adjective describing things that function. (Usually, the space of functions that can serve as arguments of a functional is fairly restricted. If it weren't, with a little recursive definition you might run into barber-of-Seville problems.)

Fox News Channel.

FouNDeD. The two great bookends of existence are founding and foundering.

New Guy. Army jargon.

Floating Network License. I don't know how general this term is, but the COMSOL Installation and Operations Guide contains the following note: ``Cluster computing requires an FNL (floating network) license.'' That's either the most brazen example of an AAP (acronym-assisted) pleonasm I've ever seen, or a misplaced parenthesis. (One of these days I'll have to write an entry for parentheses ((,), & (...)).)

That's not the most elaborate emoticon you've ever seen. Trust me -- I know.

Frente Nacional {para a | de} Libertação Angola. Portuguese: `National front for the liberation of Angola.' The expansion with de seems to be much more common, but I've seen it written both ways in Portuguese. My guess is that the original name used para a. Of the three major Angolan independence groups, this was the first to engage in military (or terrorist, as we might call it today) activity, and the first to disband its army. Like UNITA it was mostly pro-West. Today it's a small parliamentary party.

Federal (US) National (US) Mortgage Association. Generally called ``Fannie Mae'' or ``Fannie.'' The FNMA was created in 1938 -- one of the later New Deal entities. Its purpose was to help provide liquidity to the mortgage market.

Before the creation of the FNMA, the market for home mortgages was a relatively straightforward thing. Certain kinds of banks of the sort we call thrifts would accept deposits by private individuals and use the money to back their issuance of mortgages. The mortgages would be held by the mortgagees (the issuing banks or, as we say now, the ``initiating banks'') for their full term.

Since banks did not resell mortgages, the issuing of mortgages used up their liquid assets and the number of mortgages they could issue was sharply limited by their deposits. FNMA changed this by creating a secondary market for mortgages. They would buy mortgages from the savings and loans, so the latter could turn around and issue more mortgages. The FNMA itself either held the mortgages on its own books or repackaged them as mortgage-backed securities (MBS's) for sale to investors. Because the FNMA was a government entity, it was backed by the proverbial ``full faith and credit of the United States'' and was thus able to borrow at low rates than individuals, and it financed its operations on the difference between the higher rates earned by the mortgages it held and the lower rates at which it could borrow.

The preceding is based on ``Speculators, Politicians, and Financial Disasters,'' an article by John Steele Gordon in the November 2008 issue of Commentary. (If the name looks familiar, it may be because I relied on another of his articles for the ferrous entry. With a name like Steele, how could I not?) Probably to avoid introducing complications, he neglected to explain the banks' need for liquidity in detail. I explain that at the ARM entry.

In 1968, during the Johnson Administration, the FNMA was turned into a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), independent of the government, owned by and responsible to its stockholders. In the process, part of FNMA's business that was aimed at helping ``low- and moderate-income homebuyers'' was split off and retained as a wholly government-owned corporation called the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA, known as ``Ginnie Mae''). The MBS's issued by FNMA (now just a GSE, so its paper was no longer formally backed by the government) continued to be highly rated as before, largely because people figured, or gambled, that if FNMA got in trouble the government would swoop in to bail them out. That was in fact what happened in 2008, when the US government ``took over'' FNMA.

Fédération national des majorettes de France. Founded in 1966, merged with FFM in 1972 to form the FFM.

You like this stuff? Go see our majorette entry.

Family Nurse Practitioner.

Front-End Network Processor.

Federal News Service. The FNS Daybook is published daily Sunday through Thursday. This schedule corresponds to weekdays, because it reports future news rather than past news. It reports events scheduled by the all three branches of the U.S. federal government, as well as by various NGO's in the Washington, DC, area.

Daybook provides schedules up to a month in advance (excluding the President's) so that ``lobbyists, attorneys, the media, public affairs and government relations offices, trade associations, policy analysts and [other bloodsuckers] whose responsibilities include monitoring government and political activity'' can ``keep track of the many events and activities in the Nation's Capital.''

FNS Daybook is published by Federal Information Services Corporation and includes freelance articles and features such as classifieds.

Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA. Previously known as the Food and Consumer Service, and also occasionally referred to as the FCNS.

Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. At UB, the former FNSM, together with the faculties of Social Sciences (FSS) and Arts and Letters (FAL) were merged into a College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in 1998.

Fowler-Nordheim tunneling.

Fujitsu Network Transmission Systems, Inc.

F-N tunneling
Fowler-Nordheim TUNNELING. I.e., quantum tunneling through a triangular barrier. [The usual way to create a triangular barrier being to apply a uniform field to a rectangular barrier. See
L. Nordheim, Procs. Roy. Soc. (London) 121, 626 (1928).]

Field Not Valid.

Frame Not Valid.

Faculty Of....

(Domain code for) Faroe Islands.

Flash Override. A key on an AUTOVON phone, q.v.

Force Ouvrière. French literally meaning `Working Force' (taking the infinitive gerund into the English present participle). A better translation, both as idiomatic English and as description, would be `Work Force.' In any case, it's one of France's five big labor unions.

FO, F.O.
Foreign Office. British for what is State Department in the US government. AA in German.

Fragrance Oil. An artificial fragrance consisting of a mix of esters dissolved in alcohol. Used in perfumes, soaps, personal hygiene products, etc. Cheaper but more volatile than traditional fragrances (essential oils -- EO's). When fragrance oils were new, the main problem was that they were harsh and noticeably artificial. To achieve a convincing verisimilitude of natural odor, one must mix a reasonable number of different chemicals, say 20-30.

Senator-Exon Off And Die.

Friend Of A Friend. FOAF stories are not acceptable as evidence in courts of law.

foam-making acumen
This phrase is free; you can use it for any legal purpose without need for attribution, please!

Fund Organization Account and Program.

Forward Operating Base [for military operations].

Friend Of Bill. A crony of Bill Clinton, from the time before he was president of the US. Also known generically as First Friends. The term passed out of use during the first presidential term, to be replaced by ``witness.'' [Cf. amicus curiae.] This FOB is pronounced ``eff oh bee.'' A nice feature of the initialism is that over the phone it sounds just like SOB. Even if you're not an FOB, you can still visit the White House.

The term is also used for a friend of President Bill Gates (William H. Gates III). That is probably the dominant use already in 1997, as Bill C. is a lame duck with a lame foot.

Hmmm. There's been some water under the bridge since I wrote that line.

FOB, F.O.B., fob, f.o.b., f/o/b
Free On Board. Designates the price of imports before import duties are assessed.

Fresh Off [the] Boat. Very recent immigrant. I suppose that in principle, it ought to refer only to immigrants who haven't paid taxes yet. Something like that. At some point, an FOB must come to be called a ``first-generation American'' (or more generally a ``first-generation [Your Country Here]-an'').

Cf. ABC, ABCD, and CBC. In less acronymic times, a century ago, a common equivalent of FOB was green-horn or greenhorn.

Free Of Charge. No charge! Gratis! Complimentary! Costs hidden elsewhere.

Not a technical term in electrostatics.

Full Operational Capability. [Federalese.]

Fiber Optic Communications Inc.

Plural of focus.

The Latin word focus meant `hearth.' A hearth is a fireplace, the place where the ``home fires'' (not house fires!) are kept burning. In Spanish, the word became hogar, which pretty much means `home.'

It was apparently Johannes Kepler who first used the word focus in the sense of a special sort of geometrical home point. The first published instance is in his 1604 treatise on optics, Paralipomena in Vitellionem:

Nos lucis causa et oculis in mechanicam intentis ea puncta focos appellabimus.

FOcus-DefOcus. This refers to the basic repeating element in accelerator physics: two successive quadrupole magnets surrounding a charged-particle beam (the ``beamline'').

Dipole magnets are used for steering, quadrupole magnets for focusing. The problem is that quadrupole magnets focus in one plane containing the beamline, and simultaneously defocus in the perpendicular plane containing the beamline. The solution is to alternate the orientation of successive quadrupole magnets. Viewed along either plane, the beam is alternately focused and defocused, but the net effect of the pair of operations is to focus the beam slightly. It's a little bit reminiscent of alternating-direction implicit (ADI) numerical integration.

A sequence of FODO pairs is often referred to as a ``FODO lattice'' or ``FODO channel.'' Sorry, not the FOOD channel.

Fraternal Order of Eagles. Once they were ``The Fighting Fraternity,'' but now they're a service organization and they want you to know that they are responsible for Mother's Day and Social Security. Well, you used to shake 'em down, but now you stop and think about your dignity. Founded in 1898, so you know they're not an air force outfit. They're International! (US and Canada both.)

Friends of the Earth. It doesn't sound very friendly.

Ten to the Fifty-One Ergs. That is, 1051 ergs or 1044 joules. A lot of energy. Enough to guarantee US energy independence for approximately 1024 years at current rates of consumption. And there are many power sources that can supply a foe or more of energy. As usual, however, the problem is getting at it.

For example, there are about two trillion barrels of recoverable oil in US deposits of oil shale. Oil shale is currently used in Germany, Israel, China, Brazil, and Estonia, but we haven't been able to overcome the technical hurdles. Also, there are about 10 billion barrels of petroleum under Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, but we mustn't drill there because of the lush biodiversity at Arctic latitudes.

And there are an estimated 85 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under the outer continental shelf, but we mustn't drill there either. We mustn't build more refineries or nuclear or coal-burning power plants, because in the long run it makes more sense to send trillions of dollars to unstable third world kleptocracies and theocrazies. We must build windmills, but not if they can be seen from Martha's Vineyard. The only ugly thing allowed in my back yard is my legislator, so long as he's on a short leash. We should make alcohol by fermenting corn and grasses, and it will generate enough fuel to power the tractors that harvest it. As a side benefit, it will raise the price of grain and save the small family farm.

So what power sources can supply a foe of energy? Well, a typical star -- like the Sun, for instance -- radiates on the order of a foe of energy over the course of its entire life. Unfortunately, it lives billions of years, so you can wait a long time to get what you want. It's kind of like having a rich uncle in excellent health.

Another problem is that the drip-drip-drip of energy is not delivered direct to us; instead, it is scattered as light radiating in all directions, so that heedless aliens on distant worlds could see one more twinkling star in their sky, if they bothered to turn any of their eyes in our direction. What a waste. As it is, the power flux density of light from the Sun, at a distance of one astronomical unit (here we are, baby), is about 1000 watts per square meter. Plants collect this by using chlorophyll and some Rube Goldberg-like chemical cycles, with an overall efficiency of a fraction of a percent.

Little of this has anything really to do with foe, of course, but that sort of thing never stopped me before. Apparently the foe unit was coined by the astrophysicist Gerry Brown of SUNY-Stony Brook. It's a convenient unit for describing the energy released in the explosion of a supernova over the course of its lifetime (measured in seconds).

Follow-On (Military) Forces Attack.

Fiber-Optic Gyroscope.

Fiber-Optic Interface.

Freedom Of Information.

Freedom Of Information Act. US law (1966) that requires government agencies to release information they have developed, absent some good reason not to (privacy, security, proprietary restrictions). In Canada a similar law is officially entitled the ``Access to Information Act'' (action illustrated here), but informally also called the ``Freedom Of Information Act.'' In the UK there is no similar law, and a lot of British investigative journalism relies on American FOIA releases to learn about British government activity. This shows how useful Question Time (PMQ) is.

Fiber-Optic Inter-Repeater Link.

Sorry, this entry is just here to remind me to finish the FLL and FUL entries.

Free (and quite good) On-Line Dictionary of Computing created by Denis Howe. [That site's in England; there are mirrors on InfoStreet (CA USA), at NightFlight (CA USA), Institut Gaspard Monge (France), Bilkent University (Turkey), and various other places.]

Free On-Line Dictionary of Philosophy, modeled on FOLDOC. FOLDOP was last updated October 28, 2006, with no plans for further updating or support from its editorial board, but it remains available on line. Its 2021 entries, written in Italo-English, are also available for download as a 7.3 MB pdf.

Federation Object Models. Maybe ``Bones'' can fix this ``explanation.''

FOM, f.o.m.
Figure Of Merit. Nice curves! No?

Federal Open Market Committee. A committee, of senior officers of the Federal Reserve Board, that meets monthly to establish Federal Reserve rates that affect the interest rates charged by member banks to their customers.

Friends Of Naked Dancing Llama.

Here's a good list of downloadable fonts primarily for languages that occur in Biblical studies.

A variable, but you can use it to stand for anything. Etymology uncertain. Cf. foobar, foo fighter, fu.

Forward Observation Officer.

A variable. Usage: ``Unix has no `show' command corresponding to `set,' as VMS did. Instead, to show the value of a single variable one enters `echo $foobar', where foobar is the name of the variable defined by a set command.''

The syllables foo (q.v.) and bar, as well as various others are used as alternate variables.

It is just barely conceivable that this might have some etymological connection to fubar. The decisive flaw in this hypothesis is that hackers are much too clean-minded to descend to such vulgarity.

When I wrote the preceding paragraph, it was meant ironically. Boy, do I have foo on my face. According to the Jargon file, which represents thousands of hours of speculation and also some research by subscribers to relevant newsgroups, foo has an independent origin preceding the WWII-vintage fubar. Presumably the use of foo and foobar as metasyntactic led to similar use of bar.

See the foo and foobar entries in the Jargon File.

Did you say food bar?

A metasyntactic variable that is a proper noun in a natural language with enough self-respect to capitalize proper nouns, or the first word in a sentence. In German, all nouns are capitalized.

food addiction
Unique among the addictions, in that abstinence is not considered a viable therapeutic option.

food bar
A salad bar with food that isn't all salad or salad components or bread or dessert. A buffet bar. A help-yourself smorgasbord. Eat! Eat till you burst!

Cf. foobar.

food coma
Slang for sleep induced by a heavy meal.

food fighters
Well, I guess that makes sense. After all, if you're going to have a food fight you're going to need some food and some -- oh! It's foo fighters! Nevermind. Try the fu entry for fight foo.

food item
An order component in a fast-food ``restaurant.''

I used to think that was the only meaning, but the other day I noticed that the classroom doors in O'Shag have plastic plaques advising

Food and drink items are not allowed in the classrooms.

I'm not sure that's really clear enough. You know, words can convey information, so it's a mathematical fact that more words can convey more information. Let's try it, shall we not?

Things that are food and drink items are not allowed in the classrooms.

Food and drink were also forbidden in Hesburgh Library. (And the aluminum-can recycling bins were on the second floor.)

Cf. the thoughts at this food product.

At the store, food items like meat and potato chips are ``groceries'' for tax purposes. Food items are theoretically consumed in portions or helpings called serving sizes, which often differ from the quantities in which they are packaged and sold.

food loaf
A breadlike substance made up of the previous day's leftovers. This is served, or eaten, or at least made available, in Texas prisons. Loaves, called by a small range of similar names in various states, have become an increasingly popular form of discipline in US jails and prisons. Proof, if the French needed any further evidence, that Americans are barbarians. The question is, do loaves constitute cruel or unusual punishment, prohibited by the US constitution? The loaves have prompted some lawsuits.

In Pennsylvania prisons, a breakfast loaf contains prunes, eggs, toast, hash browns, bacon and orange juice. That's what Fox News reports, but perhaps the loaf is served with orange juice.

Many years ago, in a book of anecdotes about great chemists, I read about an experiment done by Robert Williams Wood. Wood (1868-1955) was famous as a spectroscopist and is usually described as a physicist, but we won't quibble. I seemed to remember that this this experiment was done when he was at Harvard, but he was only there for his B.A. Second guess: Johns Hopkins. He was living in a boardinghouse, and he suspected that the woman who ran it was recycling scraps from one meal into the next. One day at dinner he left a nice morsel of meat uneaten, but salted with strontium chloride. The next morning for breakfast he brought the necessary equipment -- I imagine a candle would have sufficed -- took a bit of the hash they was served and put it in the flame. It burned with the characteristic reddish hue of strontium (Sr).

(I can't recall the title of the book, from before -- probably way before -- 1982, so details here and in the preceding paragraph are from memory.) The strontium story suggests that Wood was a tough customer. None of the stories about him suggested that he was a nice guy. During one of the Solvay conferences (I guess the second, in October 1913 in Brussels), Marie Curie demanded that no one smoke cigars. Wood and some other cretin did, and she walked out.

A word used by the food-service industry to mean food service and food-service.

Interjection meaning `balderdash' but having none of the dignity of its sesquipedalian synonym. The noun form of balderdash is poppycock. [English spelling is preposterous, isn't it?] There is no noun form of fooey, but see foo.

foo fighter
A WWII airmen's term for a UFO or odd atmospheric phenomenon. The alarm caused by foo fighters was augmented by the war-time fear that they might be an enemy weapon, but they never were. The Foo Fighters rock group took their name from this.

The origin of the WWII term is plausibly associated with Bill Holman's ``Smokey Stover'' comic strip, begun in 1935 and syndicated through the Chicago Tribune. Foo was one of a number of recurring nonsense words used in the strip, in various apparent senses. Smokey rode a two-wheeled firetruck called the Foomobile. The wheels were side-by-side, as on a modern Segway scooter, rather than fore-and-aft, as on a bicycle. So the word foo was associated with paradoxical or apparently technologically advanced vehicles. It was also associated with smoke, particularly in Smokey's oft-repeated ``Where there's foo there's fire.'' It's been suggested that this foo is related to the French feu (`fire'). (The common English word curfew, of course, is ultimately from an Old French expression, spelled variously as cuevre-fu, quevre-feu, covre-feu, and coevrefu in Anglo-French, `covered fire.')

foo gas
Mixture of napalm and explosives, usually set in a fifty-gallon drum.

Focusing On Others Line. A line representing the spectrum of ways in which one can unload responsibility for one's actions or decisions on others, with ``blame'' (i.e., blaming others) at one end and ``hero worship'' at the other. The device is introduced in Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer (NYC: Funk and Wagnalls, 1976), p. 144. It's in the section entitled ``Balming and Hero Worship: Opposite Ends of the Same Externally Directed Behavior.'' No, it's not as carefully thought out as it might be, but it is an acronym. Dyer explains, ``[y]ou are behaving as a fool if you look outside of you for an explanation of how you should feel or what you should do.'' You should take his word for it.

[The most obvious intellectual sloppiness in the F.O.O.L. is that the poles represent two points in what is really an at least a two-dimensional ``spectrum.'' It is posited that hero worship is indicates externally-directed decision-making behavior focused on admired others, and ``blame'' indicate externally-directed analysis (and failure to take personal responsibility) focused on despised others. The admiration/contempt variable and the decision/analysis variable don't always coincide in this way, and it's not clear that the second variable (decision-making or normative, final-cause analysis, versus positive or efficient-cause analysis) can be usefully regarded as a continuous variable.]

I bought Your Erroneous Zones second-hand in 1980 or so, and just decided to skim it now (December 2, 2003, around 8pm). Chapter IX (pp. 176ff) is entitled ``Putting an End to Procrastination--Now.'' Maybe that should have been chapter I.

Friend Of Our Lord. An award given by the Betty Bowers Ministries, just in case there was anyone left who hadn't been offended yet.

``Pizzas rush in where burgers fear to tread.''

Seen on a pizza box lid, under the heading ``Domino's Pizza Proverbs.'' Maybe they should have thought this one through, but I guess they were in a rush.

The Urban Dictionary has at least twenty definitions of foon as a slang term. The Urban Dictionary specializes in slang, and is user constructed. It's sort of a demonstration of how bad Wiktionary could be, if all anyone could do about a poor contribution was to give it a ``thumbs down.''

I also have a definition of foon. It's accurate, but afaik it has only been used in this glossary. It's short for ``foo, Numerical.''

A common onomatopoeia. Used for the sound of a vacuum cleaner sucking up soft debris, certain kinds of lawn sprinklers (``chicka-chicka-chicka, foosh! foosh! foosh! foosh!''), etc.

On Columbus Day (well, October 12, anyway), 2000, Australia's Advertiser included the following in a basketball news round-up:

AT last it can be revealed. The reason NBA scouts have not swarmed all over 215cm Italian sensational Gregor Fucka is because of concerns over acceptability of his name.

But Fucka - pronounced Foosh-ka - says he is comfortable with ``Gregor'' and will not change it for anybody.

FOOSH, foosh
F{ell|all[s]} On Outstretched Hand. The acronym is used as an adjective (``foosh injury'') and noun (countable and uncountable). Foosh accounts for the majority of wrist sprains. Fooshes are very common injuries for inline skaters, scooter riders, or whatever is popular today. Pedestrians slipping on ice account for a large share of foosh injuries as well.

Forum for Object-Oriented Technology at CERN.

foot-and-mouth disease
A disease of livestock (cattle and pigs) characterized by foot and mouth blisters. Other symptoms are reduced appetite and fever. The disease is highly communicable between animals and can be passed in hay and other feed. Foot-and-mouth sometimes causes death directly, but usually any animals that show the symptoms, or that may have had contact with animals that showed the symptoms, are slaughtered immediately -- laboratory tests take a few days.

foot-in-mouth disease
A disease of political animals. May be fatal the victim's political career, especially if strange bedfellows sacrifice sufferer to save the herd.

[Football icon]

The game of football is a lot like a blizzard or a major storm: it ties up traffic and closes area businesses. Fortunately, games are scheduled in advance, so you can plan to be out of town.

If you can't be out of town, you can root against the home team. If rooting has some effect, that might help them lose and lower attendance.

[Football icon]

Football Bowl Subdivision
An unwieldy name that the NCAA decided should be used (starting in 2007) for the group of football teams known as division I-A. The NCAA has a lot of power, but it may not have enough power to make people say ``bowl subdivision'' instead of ``I-A.'' Division I-A teams are eligible to compete in the lucrative and highly publicized BCS system.

[Football icon]

Football Championship Subdivision
An unwieldy name that the NCAA decided should be used for the group of football teams known as division I-AA, starting in fall 2007. The NCAA pours more alcohol into the gestation vessels that hold future I-AA players than into those that hold future I-A players. In I-AA, the highest-ranked teams participate in a three-round play-off system to determine the I-AA Champion. This is exactly the kind of play-off system that just can't be implemented in division I-A, which is therefore unfortunately stuck with a crazy BCS system that has no advantages except profitability.

I am shocked to discover that we don't have a footnote entry! When we do have an adequate footnote entry, it will be replaced by a small link to the bottom of the page. At that time, the following will come at the end of the (footnote to the footnote) entry.

Because you've been good and read all the way down to here, you get a treat! I'm going to reward you with a taste of my favorite footnote, a model of mincingly careful word selection, of fancy foot(note)work. It has been extensively reprinted, along with the text it is an ornament to. It's footnote number 1, on page 13 of my paperback second edition of the 1931 work mentioned at the .ru entry.

As an illustration of the danger of disregarding the historical background we may quote the following example taken at random. The authoritative and useful volume, Soviet Russia in the Second Decade (A Joint Survey of the Technical Staff of the First American Trade Union Delegation, edited by Stuart Chase, Robert Dunn, and Rexford Guy Tugwell, New York, 1928), contains an interesting article by Professor Tugwell on Soviet agriculture. The author puts considerable emphasis upon land surveying, the creation of enclosed holdings, the organization of experimental farms, and the advancement of general education among the peasants. These developments, it seems, are among the chief reasons which led Professor Tugwell to form his very optimistic conclusions as to the outlook of Russian farming. No indication is given in the article that all these measures are not new. Professor Tugwell is undoubtedly perfectly familiar with the land reforms of Stolypin which revolutionized land tenure, and were directed against communal ownership. He must also know of the immense work carried on by the zemstvos in the field of education, public health, and the spread of agricultural knowledge among the farmers; and also that before the War an ever increasing number of experimental stations and model farms were opened every year by the Department of Agriculture, especially in connection with the Stolypin land settlement plan. None of these facts, however, is mentioned by Professor Tugwell, probably for lack of space; and those of his readers who have little knowledge of pre-revolutionary Russia will get the impression that all of these important measures originated with the Soviet government when, as a matter of fact, they are merely a revival, and not infrequently a very inadequate one, of a policy pursued by Imperial Russia for a great many years. The optimistic forecast by Professor Tugwell, we venture to suggest, will lose some of its point if the developments he describes are connected with their historical setting.

Sometimes authors detonate such things in parenthetical remarks. For example, Arthur E. Gordon begins chapter V (``Summary and Criticism of Modern Views'') of his The Letter Names of the Latin Alphabet thus:

[Friedrich] Marx is easy to criticize. He was only twenty-three when he published his dissertation, so his failure to present the evidence of Ausonius, Terentianus Maurus, and the other grammarians whose testimony favors the sonant/syllabic names of the semivowels as against ef, el, em, etc., is perhaps understandable (though it does seem rather strange that he was so consistent in presenting only one side of the case, and even stranger that his edition of twenty-two or twenty-three years later does not present the missing evidence, and that, despite having Schulze's paper by the time he published volume 2 of his edition, he answers only one point made by Schulze, about the credibility of the anonymous commentator on Donatus on the subject of Varro).

Gordon himself is also easy to criticize. His entire book consists of stating and repeatedly restating others' arguments, and other others' counterarguments. It's one of those books where you find yourself asking, ``well, what does the author think?'' Eventually, you flip forward to page 65 and read:

I end therefore with no confidence that I have all the facts or, if I have, that I have interpreted them correctly. But I have presented all the evidence available to me.

footnote gems
There are a couple of major discoveries associated with footnotes If I recall correctly, the phenomenon now called the the Aharonov-Bohm effect was first introduced as a footnote in a textbook by someone else. Similarly, Max Born's probability interpretation of the wavefunction was first mentioned (and attributed to Born) in a paper published by someone else. I'll try to confirm and detail these recollections.

Hmmm. According to the Wikipedia article on the A-B effect, The earliest prediction of such an effect was made by Werner Ehrenberg and R.E. Siday in a paper of 1949: ``The Refractive Index in Electron Optics and the Principles of Dynamics,'' Procs. Phys. Soc. vol. B62, pp. 8-21 [doi:10.1088/0370-1301/62/1/303]. Yakir Aharonov and David Bohm independently rediscovered the effect and published in 1959: ``Significance of electromagnetic potentials in quantum theory,'' in Phys. Rev. vol. 115, pp. 485-491 [doi: 10.1103/PhysRev.115.485]. Informed of the earlier work, Aharonov and Bohm cited the paper of Ehrenberg and Siday in their second paper on the phenomenon (``Further Considerations on Electromagnetic Potentials in the Quantum Theory'' in Phys. Rev. vol. 123, pp. 1511-1524 [doi: 10.1103/PhysRev.123.1511]. That wasn't exactly what I had in mind. I'll have to keep looking.

wavefunction, which appeared -- properly credited -- in a footnote to someone else's work.

foot of the bed
I never wondered about the grammatical number of this until I discovered that the form of expression used in my family, the singular ``el pie de la cama,'' is nonstandard. Much more common in the Spanish-speaking world is ``los pies de la cama,'' `the feet of the bed.' It doesn't even seem to be an argentinismo. The question remains, and I don't plan to answer it, do people mean the footboard or the end of the bed?

FOliage PENetration. No, not agent orange; radar.

File OPEN. A standard C function for opening a stream (which is usually an ordinary file, but sometimes you want to read /dev/null).

Fellowship Of { Reconciliation | the Ring }.

Fornax. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

For a good time call...
A person I dislike has the telephone number...

At some time during the twentieth century, George Carlin lamented the absence of an English word rhyming with orange, and proposed `forange,' which would describe the social interaction that occurs when two people pass each other in a hallway too narrow to allow two to walk abreast. I looked in a rhyming dictionary recently and it wasn't there yet. Thomas Hardy used to neologize dozens of words per novel, and those would quickly appear in dictionaries as archaic usages, with Hardy's books cited as reference. We're not as bold as we think; today a man neologizes one word, useful to both poetry and small business, and they call him a comedian.

Willard R. Espy reportedly addressed the pressing problem of difficult-to-rhyme words in The Game of Words (New York: Bramhall House, 1971). I don't happen to have that work handy, but among his many works of word play is An Almanac of Words at Play (New York: C.N. Potter, 1975), which is handy. For 18 February the almanac has ``Impossible Rhymes.'' Espy quotes

To find a rhyme for silver
Or any ``rhymeless'' rhyme
Requires only will, ver-
bosity and time.

This solution to the silver rhyming challenge was devised by Steven Sondheim and published in the correspondence section of Time magazine, incidentally demonstrating the importance of such rhyming problems, and the eminence of the heroes who attack them. Inspired by Sondheim's achievement, Ira Levin came up with two solutions to the penguin rhyming problem as well as another silver rhyme. It begins to appear, or be clear, that color words, while prominent in the difficult-rhyme discipline (witness orange and silver, and also purple), do not exhaust the subject.

Place names in particular are also a rich source of challenges. Espy offers solutions for three of these. F.P.A. rhymed Massachusetts with ``or two sets.'' Espy himself rhymes Speonk (a town on Long Island) with he-onk and she-onk. This strikes me as highly unnecessary. Timbuctoo (as it was spelled by Samuel Wilberforce -- I suppose by the Samuel Wilberforce -- back in the day) was rhymed with characteristically religious-themed ``hymn-book too.'' Thomas Huxley observed that Bishop Wilberforce had an unfortunate prediliction for wading in over his head in unfamiliar waters (not Huxley's words); this might be another instance, but I'm not familiar with all the pronunciations of Timbuktu or Tombouctou.

Among other difficult rhymes from the Victorian era: R.H. Barham rhymed velocity with ``cross it, he'' and Lord Byron rhymed intellectual with ``hen-pecked you all.'' Evidently, the Victorians talked funny. (And we won't even get into Lord Byron's ``Don Juan.'')

A private communication from O. V. Michaelsen provides some important information from his book Words at Play: Quips, Quirks & Oddities. It turns out that there are a number of less-well-known words that rhyme with silver and purple. They only rhyme with one: either the word silver or the word purple. So far, no word has been found which rhymes both with purple and the word silver. Or indeed with purple and with any word that doesn't rhyme with purple. It's that hard. Rhyme would be an equivalence relation if words were considered to rhyme with themselves. Oh yes, some of the words: curple is a horse's ass -- its buttocks, rather, and sometimes the buttocks of another animal. In the right sort of sentence, I suppose it could refer to the hindquarters of both a horse and an animal that is not a horse, but we're not going to get into that. Don't look a gift horse...

Another purple rhyme is hirple, a British word meaning `hobble' or `walk lamely.' You wonder if there wasn't some influence one way or the other between hirple and curple (which sounds like a scrambled cripple). I guess if your knees pointed backwards you'd hobble too. That reminds me of Mickey Rivers, who played outfield for the New York Yankees in the late 1970's. He only seemed to flow smoothly when he ran. The best description I ever heard of him loping back to home after beating a foul to first was this:

He walks like he has a shovel up his ass.

(Exercise for the reader: rephrase this using curple.) His odd appearance walking is easy to understand. Rivers (``Mick the Quick'') was like one of those racecars that doesn't have a low gear -- he had two speeds: FAST! and off. He couldn't actually walk, so what he would do was turn on the speed for a millisecond and then coast for a few steps. They say that if you're running low on gas along a flat road, one way to make the remaining gas last is to do something similar: periodically take the car up to speed (gently), turn off the ignition, coast down to very low speed, and start over. Sounds pretty chancy to me. Many early airplanes, including some that flew in WWI, had no throttles; the only way to slow the engine (other than a little bit, by climbing) was to turn it off. (Here's some QuickTime footage.) That sounds even chancier to me.

Anyway, chilver, a British dialectal term, means ewe lamb or ewe mutton.

There are proper nouns that rhyme orange, purple, and silver, and you can find a bunch of them (both toponyms and personal names) in Michaelsen's Words at Play. I like Blorenge, the name of a 1,833-foot hill -- one of seven in the vicinity of Abergavenny, Wales. And take this hint from a pro: don't wear your erudition on your sleeve -- just ease Blorenge into your everyday rhyme conversations (cf. I did, did I?) without all the added information. If someone challenges you, you can toss off the wisdom in bits, like crumbs to the pigeons: ``a hill in Wales ... oh, it's pretty prominent for thereabouts -- more than half a kilometer high ... mmm, near Abergavenny ... there are some others ... seven all told ....'' You'll look that much more impressive, and everyone will be sure to have died of boredom before the depth of your shallow erudition is plumbed. If no one challenges you, hire a shill.

Michaelsen's next book also dealt with month (another tough rhyme, if millionth doesn't do it for you). (Espy cites a couplet by Christina Rossetti that rhymes month with ``runn'th.'') This Michaelsen book has this limerick:

There once was a dunce known as Orange
Who got his toe caught in a door hinge.
Said he, turning purple,
Proceeding to hirple,
Now how will I get back to Blorenge?

and its palinode:

A passerby named Mr. Wilver,
Who traded his horse for a chilver,
Offered Orange the lamb,
But he mounted a ram
And rode home yelling, Oh, Hiyo Silver!

Many years ago, the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve sponsored a search to find `the' other word that ends in -gry, in addition to angry and hungry. We found a couple, but they're not exactly common words. The alt.english.usage FAQ has an exhaustive discussion. See also the rec.puzzles FAQ list and ``archive.''

In case you're not satiated yet, we have a little more on rhyme at the rhyme entry. In German, a difficult ending to match is nf. Yes, there's even a rhyming pair; it's discussed at the fünf entry.

Forbes, Steve
The Stammtisch does not take political positions per se, but here's a physiognomic observation: on p. 42 of Newsweek for the week of March 11, 1996, there's a picture of Forbes that makes him look very similar to Fred Barnes.

You already know what it means. You already know that it's a strong irregular verb, even if you don't know what those words mean. I just want to point out forcefully that the past tense of forbid is forbade. Forbad is also good. Thank you. You can probably handle the participles on your own.

First-Order Reversal Curve.

force is a vector
The following appeared in an obituary of Fay Wray (died Aug. 8, 2004, age 96), who starred in the 1933 film classic ``King Kong.'' I think it quotes from her autobiography, but I'm not sure.

Although Kong appeared huge, the full figure was really only 18 inches tall. Miss Wray knew him by the arm, which was 8 feet long.

``I would stand on the floor,'' she recalled, ``and they would bring this arm down and cinch it around my waist, then pull me up in the air. Every time I moved, one of the fingers would loosen, so it would look like I was trying to get away. Actually, I was trying not to slip through his hand.''

The golfing equivalent of ``Timber!'' in sylviculture.

Lying on the ground, Charlie Brown yelled at Lucy, ``There's no body-checking in golf!!!''

A fundamental principle of professional ice hockey:
Forecheck, backcheck, paycheck.

``Backcheck,'' particularly in this context, sounds a bit like back pay. Back pay is something pro hockey players will not get when the circumstances described under GOODENOW are resolved.

foreclosure animal
A vicious mortgage-company employee? No, a pet abandoned by people who have lost their home.

As a noun, foreground refers to the objects closer to the viewer in the visual field. Back in the sixties or seventies sometime, the noun came to be verbed by lit-crit types. Verb foreground is one of the things the anti-``theorists'' rail against. It certainly must be said that ``foreground'' makes an ugly verb, and the willingness to use it is prima facie evidence of poor feeling for language and literature. That said, however, it may be granted that the usage is not superfluous, and does fill a semantic role not managed by the obvious alternatives. The obvious alternatives are stress and emphasize. The trouble with these terms is that they imply that the object is pushed to the front of the reader's intellectual field of view, or attention. In contrast, to foreground is to place at the front of the reader's view.

foreign languages in science fiction
The following was written by Walter E. Meyers in his chapter ``Berlitz in Outer Space'' of Aliens and Linguists: Language Study and Science Fiction (U. Ga. Pr., 1980), p. 117:
Writers of science fiction seldom spare their characters: they may slam their heroes' ships into planets or send their heroines to kill tigers with knives; they may freeze them into statues on Pluto or shoot them through exploding suns. Hardly any degradation or suffering is spared -- with the exception of exposing them to the rigors of learning a foreign language.

Among the retorts when I quoted this to the Classics List:

FOReign EXchange.

forgetting to flush
Conserving water.

FORINT, forint
FOReign INTelligence. Like, W. H. Auden between his emigration in 1939 and his naturalization in 1946? No: cloak-and-dagger stuff involving people who talk funny.

FOrest Resource Information System.

Forces de protection des Nations Unies. It's French, and it's just like them to get everything backwards in `United Nations Protection Force' (UNPROFOR), even the UN! You know, looking at it this way, it isn't obvious from the expansions that the purpose of the force is to protect anything or anyone besides the UN.

Forrestal, James
Secretary of Defense who committed suicide (May 22, 1949) by self-defenestration (old sense). A copy of Sophocles's Ajax was found on his bedtable, open to the ``Salamis Ode'' (ll. 596ff). This contains the passage

No quiet murmur like the tremulous wail Of the lone bird, the querulous nightingale---
which he had copied out up to the first five letters of the word nightingale. Later in the Ode are written the words
When reason's day sets sunless, rayless, joyless, Better to die and sleep.
This seems to be the point that he was trying to make. Maybe while writing the long word nightingale he just got impatient. How many potential suicides have been saved by abbreviations of other long words, like viz.?

The Stammt... err SBF acronym and abbrev. glossary: a free public service, paid for by funds embezzled from a widows-and-orphans trust.

You probably don't want to read that the translation he transcribed was that of the 19th c. poet William Mackworth Praed, reprinted in Mark Van Doren's Anthology of World Poetry, but now it's too late -- you already did. You should have stopped reading after the words ``don't want to read.''

He had been a businessman until 1944, when he began a three-year stint as Secy. of the Navy.

FORmal Description TEchniques for Distributed Systems and Communication Protocols. In 1997, this international conference was held in Osaka in conjunction with Protocol Specification, Testing, and Verification (PSTV).

Forth, FORTH
A programming language (HLL) created by Charles H. Moore, stack-based and optimized for real-time applications. It's long in the tooth, but it has its enthusiasts.

The name FORTH was intended to suggest software for the fourth (next) generation computers, which Moore saw as being characterized by distributed small computers. The operating system he used at the time restricted file names to five characters, so the "U" was discarded. FORTH was spelled in upper case until the late 70's because of the prevalence of upper-case-only I/O devices. The name "Forth" was generally adopted when lower case became widely available, because the word was not an acronym.
[It's a quote, okay? I'm not endorsing it, but for the motivation of the name it should be authoritative: it's from an article by Elizabeth D. Rather, Donald R. Coburn, and the selfsame Moore: ``The Evolution of Forth,'' in History of Programming Languages (ACM Press/Addison-Wesley, 1996).]

There's an email list named FIRE, and an FAQ is available.

For a flavor of the language, see Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages. It includes nine Forth programs.

FOundation for Research and Technology-Hellas. Site of European ULF.

for the duration
A common expression during WWII, understood as ``for the duration of the war.''

It was a common expression in the English-speaking world, of course, since it's an English expression. It was interesting to read the phrase in a The Lost War, by Masuo Kato. Kato had attended school in the US and was a correspondent for Japan's Domei news agency who had covered the coronation in London (1937) and had worked in Washington for most of the time from then until December 8, 1941, when he was interned. It is relevant that he was reading American newspapers until the day before his deportation the following June 18. His book was published in 1946 by Alfred A. Knopf. On page 85, describing a stop in (Japanese-occupied) Saigon on his way home, he writes of his group (reporters and officers) being ``elaborately entertained at the Continental Hotel with what turned out to be the last full-fledged foreign-style meal I was to enjoy for the duration--plus.'' I wonder if there was some Japanese phrase accurately translated by ``for the duration,'' and what its connotations might have been. I'll try to find out.

In the context of foods and beverages, this word's general sense of ``strengthened'' is specialized to the sense of ``with something added that is otherwise there in smaller amounts.'' Whitebread (a nontoxic white foam manufactured from wheat that could have been used to make bread) is typically fortified with vitamins. (These vitamins are normally destroyed by the toasting needed to give the foam sufficient structural strength to allow butter to be spread on it.) Fortified wines are wines with an admixture of some fluid with a higher alcohol content (see the dessert wine entry.)

FORTRAN, Fortran
FORmula TRANslation. A programming language for scientific computation applications. The oldest and most widely used scientific programming language, C++-programming systems types be damned. Developed at IBM by a committee(!) led by John Backus (definition 1954; first compiler released in 1957). A lot of people feel that it's been downhill from there. The main sequence of versions is FORTRAN, FORTRAN II, FORTRAN IV (I don't know what happened to III), FORTRAN 66, FORTRAN 77, Fortran 90 (available in 1992) and Fortran 95 (approved in 1997). Vide ANSI X3.9 for standards. It may be that Fortran 77 was officially named in all-caps, but that was always too much eyestrain, and the compilers I knew tended to have names like ``fort'' or ``unicos.''

There have been a number of versions off the main line of development. Perhaps the most influential was the Fortran created for Digital's vaxen. Others include WATFOR (well you might ask), WATFIV, Formac, RATFOR (RATional FORtran), FORTRAN-D, F, LIFT, HPF, UNICOS, and Vienna Fortran (VF).

A moderately reliable fortune file attributes the following substantially correct observation to Alan J. Perlis:

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN.

Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages includes four Fortran programs.

Fortran for Distributed-memory systems. A language extension described by Geoffrey Fox, Ken Kennedy, and others.


The introductory comments at the beginning of a book, directed to the reader and often written by a person different from the author of the book's main text, are not a ``forward.'' Forward is an adverb indicating direction. The word you want is the noun is


FORE...WORD, get it? A WORD (or two, metonymically speaking) beFORE.

If you want to think of the forepart of this word (fore) as a golf term, fine. Just don't write ``forward.'' If you still have trouble remembering how to spell the word correctly, use ``preface,'' or if that's too hard, just use prolegomena or prolegomenon.

Or mix and match! The following is presented as an existence demonstration, and not as an endorsement of any sort (other than of the spelling of the word foreword). My text is entitled Your Neighbor as Yourself (1997). (Actually, it has a double-colon title, with capitalization and punctuation inconsistent between cover and title page. What do you expect? It was published by the small-to-nonexistent Cross Cultural Publications, Inc.: CrossRoads Books, with a PO box in Notre Dame, Indiana. Setting aside the content, it's not a bad book considering that it obviously hasn't had the benefit of editing.) Anyway, about a dozen pages into the section titled Introduction, there's a collection of items entitled ``Introduction,'' compiled by Michael McLuhan (son of the famous Marshall McLuhan). The first item is a ``preface'' (by McLuhan -- the sixth and youngest child, by the way). The second item is in the form of a letter from John Kenneth Galbraith, containing remarks that he eventually decided to leave out of his book The Good Society. This is the ``foreword.'' The third item is a ``prologue'' by the author.

An English surname that arose from an Old English word for swineherd (the occupation): for (`hog, pig') + weard (with the meaning `guardian' and cognate with it, as with ward). The variant Forwood also occurs.

forward bias
Look under bias, silly!

for your convenience
For our convenience.

This expression is generally used in two ways. The original sense is simply a lie told to secure ``your'' cooperation. For example, if the traffic-court prosecutor calls and offers you a plea bargain ``for your convenience,'' so you can avoid the hassle of showing up in court, etc., it means that the cops in that jurisdiction are even less likely than usual to show up for a minor court appearance. This usage at least shows thought, and a minimal sort of transparent cunning.

Over time, a second usage has arisen, in which ``for your convenience'' is thoughtlessly used in lieu of explanation of something manifestly inconvenient for you. An excellent example of this is a reduction of office hours for your convenience.

And BTW, your call is important to us.

for your own good
For my own ego.

Feature of Size. It sounds backwards, doesn't it? I mean, you expect a feature to have a size, but what features might a size have?

Give up? Good choice. The term ``feature of size'' is not a term whose meaning is readily derivable from its component words and apparent syntax. It is simply, or not simply at all, a term defined within the language of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T). A common definition seems to be ``one cylindrical or spherical surface, or a set of two opposed elements or opposed parallel surfaces, associated with a size dimension.''

A ``feature'' is defined through its plural: ``Features are specific component portions of a part and may include one or more surfaces, such, as [punctuation sic] holes, screw threads, profiles, faces or slots. Features may be individual or interrelated.'' Apparently some of these features are not ``associated with a size dimension.'' The word feature features in other parts of the GD&T language.

Figure Of Speech.

Full Of Stool. Medical acronym. You wonder whether this might be used to describe not only patients but clinicians.

It's okay in English to say that you are ``full'' after eating (though it's appreciated if you're not very specific about what you are full of). In German, it doesn't sound too good to say ``voll.'' Better say ``ich bin sat.''

For that matter, don't translate ``I am hot'' too literally either.

Federal Office Systems Exposition.

Fiber-Optic Strain Sensor.

This is the kind of ten-dollar word that you buy at bulk discount in after-Christmas sales and save for use the following Spring. It's a zoological term, usually applied to limbs, that means ``adapted for digging.'' So if you know that an animal burrows and has feet, you can fill your pretentiousness quota for the day by mentioning in an off-hand way that it has fossorial paws. If you're unsure of yourself, a good animal to say has fossorial forefeet is a mole, mentioned at the molectronics entry.) The most common English word cognate with fossorial is fossil, dig?

Field Operational Test.

Fiber-Optic Transceiver.

Future Of The Alliance. A series of US-ROK talks.

Force Over-the-Horizon Tactical Coördination.

Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation. [Federalese.]

Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada. Founded in 1881 as a federation of national unions, following from an 1879 convention resolution of the International Typographical Union. See how important typography is? In 1886, Samuel Gompers of the Cigarmakers Union, and others, transformed this into the American Federation of Labor.

Fiber-Optic cable Transmission System.

A light plain-weave or twill-weave silky fabric (originally silk or a silk-cotton blend, now probably something synthetic), usually with a printed design. Or an article of clothing, typically a cravat, made of this fabric.

For Official Use Only.

Four A's
Associated Actors and Artistes of America.

Four Basic Food Groups
Cheese, peanuts, corn syrup, and artificial coloring. All meals and almost all foods contain these.

Truth to tell, they're all slightly acidic rather than basic. Incidentally, the first naturally occurring organic substance to be identified as a base was morphine.

[Football icon]

four zebras and ten yards of chain
Mensuration technology for US and even Canadian football.

The four zebras are a referee, umpire, linesman, and line judge, (in approximately that ranking, in cases where overlapping responsibilities require a pecking-order resolution). A back judge, field judge, and side judge may be added, usually in that order. The chain and down-marker crew is normally provided by the home team and supervised by the linesman (who is supposed to caution them, as ad hoc though junior members of the officiating crew, not to cheer or coach).

Field Of View. Have a look beyond the next entry.

Friend of Vladimir Putin.

  1. A small depression. (We're not talking dysphoria here, more topography.) From the Latin word with the same meaning and spelling, whoa!
  2. A small region in the center of the retina that has a high density of cones and no rods, and which provides high-acuity vision in the center of the eye's FOV. From the New Latin fovea centralis.

Field OXide (q.v.). Not the Fox you were looking for? Try this one.

fox hunting
  1. Hunting foxes.
  2. Hunting foxes of a, you know, nonvulpine sort -- vixens. It helps to be a good horseman.
  3. Locating hidden radio transmitters.

Fabry-Perot. Refers to the Fabry-Perot Interferometer, involving interference between signals or waves that follow paths that differ in the number of pairs of reflections they make in an essentially one-dimensional trajectory.

Fine pitch. Like maybe C flat. Or else center-to-center spacing of 32 mils or less.

No, no; just kidding. `Pitch' also has the meaning of spacing. Fine pitch means close spacing of repeated features (in microelectronic and nanoelectronic lithography, at least.)

Also: a strike, if yours is the team in the field.


Flat Pack (chip carrier). Implicitly, these have leads or pins only on two sides (cf. QFP).

FlavoProtein. Given the context, not likely often to be mistaken for similar-sounding fT.

Floating-Point. A kind of digital representation of real numbers that is essentially "scientific notation." Distinct locations or bits store the digits "in order" and the "decimal place." However, the radix (also called "base") is normally 2 instead of 10. That is, the number is stored as (A, B), and equals A × 2^B. Normally, "A" here is a binary fraction in the open interval ]0, 1[. This is convenient for the machine, but it is not quite the convention of scientific notion. It led to the use of an "E" format in Fortran that makes 1 appear as "0.1E+01." If you use formatted output statements, you can fix this in current versions of the Fortran compiler. If you don't have this problem with unformatted Fortran statements, the cause may be that you don't have a real Fortran compiler; you likely have an f2c translator followed by a C compiler. Good luck trying to format your output.

The alternative to floating point is fixed point. This is essentially an integer representation: one chooses a smallest storable value, and every number is represented approximately by an integer multiple of that small value. Monetary systems are like that.

Cf. mantissa.

Foreign Policy. ``Global Politics, Economics, and Ideas.'' Owned and published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. They favor authors who are political science professors in name universities or analysts in like-minded foundations, and once you know that there's nothing very surprising about their bias. They like to be contrarian, which is polite for ``generally pretty stupid, but on the up side: if we're ever right, we'll own the told-you-so franchise.'' One advantage of advocating policies no one in his right mind would heed is that no one can ever claim to have been misled by taking your advice.

The preceding judgments are relevance-weighted and guaranteed off by no more than about 8%.

Franchise Postale. French, `postage paid.' (For the appropriate sense of franchise, think Congressional ``franking privilege.'')

Financial Planning Association. They have a trademark motto ``I am FPA.'' If I were one, I suppose I could say I am a CFP and I am FPA.'' Then Gary, or Robert, or anybody, could say ``You're effpeeayed? You're effin' PO'ed at whom?'' Okay, it's a stretch.

There's a Financial Planning Association of Greater Indiana. Not ``Greater Indianapolis,'' mind you, but greater Indiana. It's an interesting notion. I suppose Niles, Michigan, could be part of greater Indiana, since it's part of the greater South Bend area, by some accounts. Then by similar reasoning, Gary, Indiana, would be part of greater Illinois. Probably what we should do is define Voronoi cells around the state capitals -- using a local version of the Manhattan metric, of course. I think it's also cool that the URL for this regional association contains the letters G-R-I-N-D.

Fire Protection Association. An organization in the UK.

Florida Philosophical Association. FPA publishes FPR.

Focal-Plane Array.

Formation professionnelle pour adultes. French, `professional development.' (Literal, approximate one-word-for-one-word translation: `professional education for adults.' Formation in French has a sense similar to Bildung in German.)

Franklin Pierce Adams. A star member of the famed Algonquin Round Table, and the one most responsible for its fame, since he would publish some of its members' most sparkling mots in his regular newspaper column, ``The Conning Tower.''

Flat-PAcK. See this FP.

Fabricants de produits alimentaires et de consommation du Canada. There's French for ya: food and consummation. Oh look, they changed the name. Now it's the PACC.

FPB, FPBri, FPBridge
Federação Paulista de Bridge. `São Paulo (Brazil) Bridge Federation.'

Faculty and Promotions Committee. At UB the formal rôle of this entity is to advise the dean on individual promotion, hiring, continuing appointment, and tenure decisions. I don't imagine it's very different elsewhere.

(US) Federal Power Commission. Power in the physical sense, and probably mostly electric power; not political power.

Federal (US) Preparedness Circular.

Federal Publishers Committee.

Flame Photometric (gas chromatograph) Detector. In German: Flammenphotometrischer Detektor.

Flat Panel Display.

Flat Panel Display Interface. VESA term.

The Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging. Sounds like some sort of barter economy for old intellectual property.

Field-Programmable Gate Arrays. [``Gate'' here in the sense of logic gate gate (defn. 2).] A big step up the chain of complexity from PLD's and CPLD's. Much more general structure than sum-of-products (SOP) in PLD's. Correspondingly harder to program. (Programmers not free/cheap as with PLD's either.) The University of Idaho maintains an FPGA homepage.

Here's an FPGA links page.

Sometimes people call them Xilinx (pronounced ``zai links''), after the dominant maker of FPGA's.

The main functional components of an FPGA are an array of configurable logic blocks (CLB's), switch matrix blocks (SM's), and Input/Output Blocks (IOB's). The interconnect lines form a rectangular lattice with SM's at the intersections (where vertical and horizontal connect lines cross).

CLB's occupy the rectangular cells defined by the interconnect lattice, but are connected locally only to the four SM's at the nearest corners.

IOB's anchor the connect lines at the edges of the chip.

Fabry-Perot Interferomet{er|ry}.

Functional Process Improvement. [Federalese.]

Federal Poverty Line.

Field-Programmable Logic Arrays. Same as FPGA, unsurprisingly, since the gates in an FPGA are logic gates.

Franklin Pierce Law Center. In New Hampshire.

Front populaire de libération de la Palestine. French for PFLP

Future Public Land Mobile Telecommunication System[s].

Fast Page Mode. DRAM term.

(Military) Force Projection Model.

Fast Page Mode RAM. Explanation here.

FPMs, Fpms
Faculté Polytechnique de Mons. FPMs has a final-year exchange agreement with RUG and KUL.

Other schools in Mons: FUCAM, UMH.

Florida Performance Measurement System. Seems to be a set of criteria by which teachers' pedagogical competence is to be measured by an observer. This is an example of what social scientists call operationalizing a definition. That's a way of cloaking subjectiveness and prejudice in the mantle of objective science.

Field Post Office. Military post office. In the US military mail system, the eff in FPO stands only for Fleet (see below).

Final Public Oral. The oral defense of one's doctoral dissertation.

Once, over champagne after an FPO (I think it was Joe Abeles's), the most senior professor present (Prof. Rubby Sherr) was asked if anyone ever failed the FPO. He replied that once, one of his own students failed,

``because he was uncommunicative -- he fainted.''
It was never explained whether he fainted because he was uncommunicative, or whether his fainting was interpreted as a refusal to respond to questions. I always imagine a circle of professors standing over the prone form of the fallen Ph.D. candidate, saying things like ``Well, can't you estimate the cross section?''

Fleet Post Office. Term used by some English-speaking countries (US and Singapore, that I can google up quickly) for snail mail to naval installations. For the USPS, it has the specific role of a ``city'' code in military mail sent outside the US and Canada. For details of how this works, see the MPO entry.

Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. According to a defunct page (this one; happy?), the FPO was based in Fort Lauderdale and performed symphonic classical music in Boca Raton, Broward County, Miami, and Palm Beach. Southern Florida has a lot of nice orchestra venues, but FPO folded in 2003.

Central Florida has the Florida Orchestra, but this has no standard initialism, so it's impossible to include any information about it in this glossary. Oh wait -- it's ``TFO.'' Okay then. According to a footer I once saw on its webpages, ``[t]he Florida Orchestra [was] recognized as Tampa Bay's leading performing arts institution, one of the leading professional symphony orchestras in Florida, and one of the best regional orchestras in America.'' There was also a Central Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, apparently short-lived (2003-2004?), apparently formed in the Summer of 2001 out of the still-warm ruins of the Central Florida Symphony. I haven't sorted out the relations among all these symphonies, but their personnel picture is probably roiling.

Fluoro-phosphite ion. A bivalent anion. The abbreviation is just the chemical symbols of its formula (FPO3)=, minus the number and charge.

For Position Only. In the BC era, layout was done by hand. Now young feller, ``by hand'' means in the nonvirtual world, with the things attached to your wrists, not the pointing-finger icon. "Cut and paste" was done with scissors or razor or some other tool that actually physically severed an illustration or typewritten text from surrounding paper, and afterwards the illustration was affixed to the desired location with an adhesive. If the adhesive was too thick, the picture would slip, or not lay flat. If there wasn't enough adhesive, the picture would peel off. If your hands weren't clean you'd leave thumbprints on the paper. (Finally in the eighties some saint invented spray adhesive.)

Unlike figures dragged in an image application, paper figures did not automatically align with the axes of the document-- You listening, boy? Yeah? Okay, whaddidI say? Just what I thought! Listen, you snot-nose cyberweenie, I was designing double pentodes with a twelve-scale slide rule before you wet your first superabsorbent disposable diaper. Just because you're piling up the dough designing program interfaces don't mean you're so smart, you just picked a good time to get born.

Now where wuz I? Oh yeah, so there was a time when ``computer'' meant someone who used a calculator, and for a while after that, a ``page designer'' referred not to a computer application but only to a person. That person would lay out a page on paste-up boards, sort of like the graphics equivalent of a draft. Cheap, bad pictures could be used on the paste-up, since they were only there to help determine where the high-quality illustrations would go in the final layout. To avoid any mistake, the pictures in the paste-up were labeled ``FPO.'' You remember what that stands for?

Good, because it seems a lot of people didn't. They remembered what it meant, but not what it stood for, so they'd write stuff like ``For FPO'' or ''For FPO Only.'' This kind of thing happens a lot.

Federación Puertorriqueña de Policías. Spanish, `Puerto Rican Police Federation.' Un sindicato (`a union'). The police force in Puerto Rico had 17,000 members as of March 2000. As of January 2013, FPP doesn't seem to have a web page, but someone has set up Facebook page for it. This has over 2000 friends and likes Amorphic Pale music.

Floating-Point Processor. Like a food processor for numbers, divides them up, sticks them together, etc., very quickly.

Farmland Protection Policy Act.

Fine-Pitch (FP) Quad Flat Pack (QFP).

Fabry-Perot Resonator.

Florida Philosophical Review: The Journal of the Florida Philosophical Association (FPA). The link is provided for the convenience of philosophasters, philosophunculists, and earnest amateurs whom we pat gently on the head. Any competent philosopher can deduce the URL directly from first principles, using middle terms noticed while walking the dog this morning.

fps, FPS
Feet Per Second. 88 FPS = 60 MPH. You can't do that with metric units!

First-Person Shooter (game). A video game (like Doom) in which the display represents a field of play as seen through the eyes of a character. Essentially a three-dimensional maze game, viewed from inside.

Frames Per Second. Old movies were shot and shown at 16 or 18 fps; modern movies are shown at 24 fps. That's why old newsreels have a herky-jerky Mickey-Mouse look. When shown at 24 fps, a 16-fps movie represents motion sped up by a factor of 24/16 = 1.5. (All old movies have the effect, but with anything but newsreel it seems to be unacceptable, and extra frames are interleaved. For old newsreels, it seems to have become a kind of cinematic convention.)

The speed change came with the new projectors needed for sychronized sound. Synchronized sound was achieved by encoding the sound as a transparent line to one side of the images. The width of this line, or the amount of probe light it transmits, is the amplitude in an AM encoding.

Later, a second line was added for two-channel stereo. Intuitively, one might expect the two lines to correspond to the two channels. A major problem with this approach, however, is that old projector machines would have to play one or the other channel. Instead, stereo is encoded as sum and difference signals, with the sum signal located where the old monaural track was located and old projectors would play the sum signal. In stereo-capable projectors, the difference signal is separately added to or subtracted from a copy of the sum signal to produce two channels. A similar approach is used in radio, with the difference signal multiplexed at a distance in frequency (from the sum signal's center frequency) that is greater than the highest audible frequencies.

The AM scheme for talkies described above is analog encoding, and movies for general distribution still carry these sound stripes for backward compatibility. (Hence, two levels of backward compatibility are built in -- for analog stereo in the digital stereo era, and for mono in a stereo era.) The digital sound signal is encoded in packets along the line of sprocket-holes -- that is, between the sprocket holes.

Framing Pattern Sequence.

Free-Piston Stirling Engine.

Fine Pitch Technology. If this seems a completely unreasonable definition, perhaps it was F-T-P which you had in mind. In your slow mind. What a dolt! Everybody else knew about ftp before you even heard of the information superhighway. You are a hopeless technological incompetent; your colleagues laugh at you behind your back; your gene line has been selected for extinction. Take your watercolors and your slide rule and go play in the coffee room. This document probably had to printed out for you by a pitying coworker.

Floating-Point Unit. Or Floating-point Processing Unit.

When NexGen came out with a pentium clone (the Nx586), they only offered FPU as an option and focused on integer performance. They put their justification on the web. Their basic point is that FPU calls are rare in ``the most popular programs...''

There are two FPU's on a Pentium III, three on an AMD K7.

Federal Photovoltaic Utilization Program.

Flexural Plate Wave.

The Faerie Queene. An Early Modern English franchise that sold frozen fur treats. At least they didn't melt.

Fully Qualified Domain Name.

Fine-pitch Quad Flat Pack[age] (QFP).

Functorial Quantum Field Theory (QFT).

Federally Qualified Health Center. A health center approved by the government to give low-cost health care. Medicare pays for some health services in FQHC's that are not usually covered, like preventive care. [Of course Medicare doesn't cover preventive care. A penny saved on prevention is a penny earned.] FQHC's include community health centers, tribal health clinics [does that include the Cleveland Indians?], migrant health services, and health centers for the homeless.

Fractional Quantum Hall Effect. At low temperature, very-high mobility two-dimensional conductors have Hall angles of 90°. In particular, at certain magnetic fields the longitudinal resistivity approaches zero and the Hall or transverse resistivity approaches a rational multiple of h/e², where h is Planck's constant, and e is magnitude of the charge on an electron. The effect (FQHE) is less robust than IQHE (vide QHE).

FatheR. A religious title, particularly for priests, especially Catholic ones. It's understood to be metaphorical, but if it weren't so commonplace it would be mildly amusing, given that Catholic priests are forbidden to marry. Can be confused with this other Fr.

FRagment. Any segment of ancient text that is part of a larger work, but available only as a quote or paraphrase appearing in someone else's work. Plural frr.

Flame Retardant. Look here for one company's introduction to their flame retardant polymer concentrates.

(Domain code for) FRance. Approximations of French are spoken throughout the country. This page lists national homepages for France.

Some French search engines:

Here's the French page of an X.500 directory. The France.com site is in English.

French sign language is explained in this old classics-list posting. (BTW, the word is préservatif.) Hmm, it seems I also incorporated the content of that posting into the I dunno entry.

Francium. Atomic number Z=87. Guess what country it was named for. The heaviest known alkali metal. No stable isotopes -- if it had been named Switzerlandia all its isotopes would have been stable. Read less speculative stuff at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Discovered by Marguerite Perey working at the Curie Institute in 1939, which in other respects was a pretty bad year for France.


Edwin Newman includes the following footnote in the second chapter of his A Civil Tongue (I don't recommend the book):

De Gaulle, by the way, could speak English. When he visited the United States at the end of 1959, I went along, as NBC's Paris correspondent, to help in the coverage. There was a reception at the French Embassy, and as I approached de Gaulle I saw one of his associates nudge him and tell him I was there. He looked down at me and said, ``I am very happy to see you here.'' Whether he spoke in English because he was in Washington and thought it fitting or did not want to provoke me into speaking French, I never knew.

For another anecdote suggesting the limited English proficiency of an American, read the experiences of Walter Matthau a paragraph or two under the Pasteur eponym rubric.

French Revolution.

FRiar. Title designating a member of a religious order. This term tends to be used only for Christian religious orders, with monk used more generally. The abbreviation is ambiguous in a way the context is unusually unhelpful in resolving: another term abbreviated Fr. is also a religious title.

In the movie The Great Race (1965), Professor Fate (played by Jack Lemmon) turns out to have an uncanny resemblance to Prince Hapnik (played by Jack Lemmon). This leads to an extended episode in which the Professor impersonates the Prince. The perfesser's loyal sidekick Max (Peter Falk), innocently working at cross purposes to his boss, disguises himself in the robes of a friar (who will have a terrible headache when he recovers consciousness) and frees fellow racer Leslie Gallant III (Tony Curtis). A general brings the Professor the news.

Professor Fate: Leslie escaped?
General: With a small friar.
Professor Fate: Leslie escaped with a chicken?

Froude number. A parameter defined by the British naval architect William Froude and his son Robert Edward Froude. This is one of the important ``dimensionless groups'' of fluid mechanics. The Froude number in particular is relevant to flows in which free-surface effects are important.

The usual simple definition is

(Fr)2 = V2 / gL ,
where g is the acceleration of gravity, L is a characteristic length scale of the flow field, and V is a characteristic velocity.

(Fr)2 is a ratio of the scale of inertial forces to gravitational forces. (Sometimes the formula given here for (Fr)2 is itself taken as the definition of Fr.)

In open-channel flow, L is the channel depth y, and V is the average flow velocity. Since gy is the squared velocity of smooth shallow waves in a shallow channel, the Froude number is the ratio of the average flow velocity to the velocity of surface (gravity) waves.

FReshman. Those who are bothered by the presence of the morpheme ``man'' in this word, and those who are bothered by the presence of those who are bothered by the presence of the morpheme ``man'' in this word, have sought terms to replace it -- frosh, fresher, freshperson, first-year student, etc.

Financial Reporting & Analysis.

Fixed Radio Access.

FRAtello. Brother. Title for monk.

A word coined by C.L. Dodgson (``Lewis Carroll'') and introduced in Through the Looking-Glass (``O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'') It caught on without ever seeming to gather an entirely clear meaning. The OSPD4 glosses it as splendid; all three major Scrabble dictionaries accept the adjective, but none accept frabjously. I mean, none accept the word frabjously. Err, what I'm trying to say is, the word spelled frabjously-- oh never mind.

In English, a noisy quarrel or uproar. The head term is a loan from French, although French fracas seems to be more about noise than conflict, and needn't be created by thinking or unthinking beings, as in English. Ultimately, it comes from the Italian fracassare, `to make an uproar' according to the OED2. See, however, fracaso.

Spanish: `failure.' I'd say fracaso is a little stronger than the English failure, connoting finality or disaster. Corominas y Pascual give the origin as the Italian verb fracassare, with senses of `smash to pieces,' `destroy,' `break noisily.' The Italian verb includes the pejorative prefix fra-; the base verb cassare, in the now-obsolete sense of `break,' was borrowed from the French casser, ultimately derived from the Latin quassare. I think it's fascinating that Italian should have restored the French -er verb back to its original Latin -are conjugation, but it seems to have happened with other -are verbs (which regularly became -er verbs in French). Another example I can think of is It. gettare, gittare < Fr. jeter, jetter, jecter < VL iectare < iactare (frequentative of iacere). You'd think it was simply a parallel development from the Vulgar Latin; sometimes it is judged so to be, but sometimes not. Presumably the loan (complete with vowel restoration) is conjectured on the basis of lack of evidence. (Time to say ``absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.'') This is one of those questions that linguists might be better equipped to address if they knew anything about mathematics.

Frame Relay Access Device[s]. Same as FRAU. Here's TAC's page advertising theirs

Frame Relay Assembler/Disassembler.

FRAGment. Philologists use this term for a fragmentary surviving portion of a larger text. This doesn't normally mean that it was found only written on a bit of scrap papyrus in the desert in Egypt. It usually means that it was quoted within the text of some other ancient author.

US military slang for murdering one's superior officer. The verb is derived from the weapon of choice at the time the usage arose (in the Vietnam war): fragmentation grenade (hard to trace). Possibly a majority of fraggings or fragging attempts resulted in injury and not death of the targeted officer, and it seems the word was sometimes used (as I just did with ``fraggings'') for the attack rather than the killing. You could read about this stuff anywhere, but how many reference sources will also remark that fragate, which means `frigate' in Spanish, would mean `frag yourself' if fragar were a Spanish verb meaning `to frag'?

More old news you can use, if you're imaginative enough: at the end of the movie ``Animal House,'' the subsequent history of the major characters is given (lettered in front of them as they are seen in the parade/riot episode). ROTC officer Doug Niedermeyer of Omega House is described as ``killed in Vietnam by his own troops.'' This movie, filmed in 1978, was the third directed by John Landis. In his segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), some soldiers are overheard discussing ``fragging Niedermeyer.''

Ferroelectric RAM. Essentially a DRAM with a polable (ferroelectric) dielectric in the capacitor, so it maintains its charge without the frequent rewriting that gives DRAM its name (`dynamic').

Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments. A UK charity. It's like bottle recycling programs: when you use up an experimental animal, you take it to them and they give you credit towards a new one. Hmmm, okay, maybe not.

Framemaker is the best text editor to use if you have absolutely no other option. An illustration of its ease of use can be found in a little file listing various unsatisfactory options for inserting aitch-bar. The great utility of the available tech support is also described completely in brief remarks.

If you must use Framemaker to write up your research, then switch to a research field in which there are no equations.

Originally an exemption or privilege granted by the sovereign to an individual or a restricted class of people. Unless you still believe in the divine right of kings, it now has the more general meaning of an exemption, privilege, or right granted or recognized by a sovereign government or any legal entity entitled to grant the right.

Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ``giving women the franchise'' meant amending a government's constitution so women would have the right to vote.

A McDonald's franchise is the right to operate a business under the McDonald's trademark. Such a franchise is granted to individual entrepreneurs subject to a variety of contractual obligations. Read about it in this article in Startup Journal. (The article is from 1999 -- about the last time I ate there.) Becoming a McDonald's franchisee is a lot like joining the army, except that you have to put a half a million dollars up front, you have a good chance to get richer, and there's no shooting in most of the stores. Okay, two out of three. The US armed forces operate over a hundred different training schools. McDonald's operates Hamburger University (on the campus of company headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., near Chicago). You can finish faster and it's ``tuition-free'' (after the $45,000 fee you pay at signing), but the selectivity in some years is tighter than Harvard University's.

Generally speaking (i.e., not just fast-food restaurants) a franchise may be granted on more or less exclusive terms (i.e., with a commitment that similar or nearby franchises will not be granted). An exclusive retail franchise is thus a kind of monopoly (not considered a restraint of trade if other companies can compete). This sense of the term is extended to include anyone who has some sort of monopoly. Thus, one might say that for a few years, Meg Ryan owned the romantic comedy franchise.

For a while, Kevin Costner was to baseball movies what Meg Ryan was to romantic comedies. He starred in Bull Durham (1988), Field of Dreams (1989), and For Love of the Game (1999). Yes, there were other baseball movies in that period. Yes, Costner also made some movies in that period that I'd rather not get into.

In Bull Durham, he plays Crash Davis, a veteran minor-league catcher. He's coaching ``Nuke'' (up-and-coming young pitching sensation Ebby Calvin LaLoosh) on the fine points of what to do when he makes it to the bigs (called ``the show'' in this show). On a bus trip...

Crash : It's time to work on your interviews.
Nuke: My interviews? What do I gotta do?
Crash: You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: ``We gotta play it one day at a time.''
Nuke: Got to play... it's pretty boring.
Crash: 'Course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down.

A later scene shows him after he has made it to the bigs, reciting the same clichés to a reporter, who is busily taking notes.

A number of religious orders. There are separate Franciscan orders for the Roman Catholic, Anglican (Episcopal), and other Protestant denominations. For official information, try the UN-affiliated NGO Franciscans International. There's also a Franciscan Web Page hosted by American University, but a move was impending in November 1999 to a new URL at Catholic University of America.

franglais, Franglais
Macaronic salad of French and English (from français and anglais). The word should be systematically capitalized in English but not in French. Franglais usually consists of French syntax and common words with borrowed English words (principally nouns), rather than the other way around. The other way around -- English syntax and common words with lots of borrowed French words -- is called English. Cf. Spanglish, Italiese. Consider also the faux ami.

Frankfurt is one of those foreign city names that has a translation (`Frankfort'), like Nürnberg (`Nuremberg' in English). At least, it used to. In the treasured (11th) edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1910-11), Frankfurt am Main (see aM entry) is `Frankfort-on-Main,' and Frankfurt an der Oder (see ) is `Frankfort-on-Oder.' More commonly, or recently, the pattern was `Frankfort on the Main,' (e.g., the 1960 RHD), but in current dictionaries and encyclopedias, Frankfurt is untranslated: `Frankfurt on the Main.'

For another example, see the entry HE for Hessen/Hesse.

Insect shit, basically, but see the third and fourth paragraphs for a more precise denotation. You probably wonder what utility this word could have in civic discourse (don't you?). Well, you remember all that controversy about ``yellow rain'' in southeast Asia, suspected of being a CIA plot and blamed for any kind of illness? Research eventually indicated that it was probably bee frass. Bees periodically go out together and have a communal poop. And you thought frat parties were disgusting. (Look, in the laminar-flow regime, which doubtless applies here, an isolated bee poopsicle settles at a velocity that varies as the inverse square of its radius. If they don't all poop together, there won't be any mass airflow to help along a process that is otherwise as slow as shit. They will either all shit together, or their shits will all hang separately.)

The word frass was borrowed from German in the mid-nineteenth century by English-speaking entomologists. (At the time, it was also written frasz, the sz indicating that an unvoiced ess sound is preceded by a metrically long vowel. Technically, a double ess shortens the vowel, and a single ess would imply voicing of the ess if inflection put a vowel after it. In modern orthography this is all taken care of by using the old Fraktur s-z ligature and regarding it as a single letter, so the word is written Fraß.) The German noun is related to a verb fressen. Fressen is the animal version of essen, `to eat.' It corresponds to one sense of the English verb feed. Where in English, we would say that a farmer feeds the cow and the cow feeds on grain, in German one would say equivalently that ein Bauer füttert die Kuh und die Kuh frisst Korn. (Fressen undergoes a stem change to become frisst in the third-person singular. The past-tense root is fraß.)

The OED's earliest cited English use of the word frass is from The Entomologist's Companion by H.T. Stainton (London: J. Van Voorst, 2/e 1854). (The second seems to be the only edition that any research library owns.) Stainton wrote:

The half-eaten leaves attest but too surely that some devourer is near. These indications of the presence of a larva are expressed in the German language by the single word frass, and we may, without impropriety, use the same word for the purpose of expressing the immediate effect of the larva's jaws, and the more indirect effect of the excrementitious matter ejected by the larva.

In English the word has (also, if the word is appropriate) come to be used in reference to the refuse left behind by boring insects, such as the sawdust generated by beetles burrowing into a tree. Boring insects are interesting! (Or your house.) Kill them! I'm inclined to take Stainton's word, but the acception of Fraß that he gives has escaped the notice of all general lexicographers of German from the Grimms on down, so far as I can tell.

The closest most dictionaries come directly to the English-speaking entomologists' sense is to define Fraß as the food eaten by predators. However, Fraß has also been used to describe slovenly eaters -- humans who eat like animals. From there it is not much of a stretch to have Fraß mean the mess that a messily-eating insect makes.

The Spanish word fresa (discussed at fruta) has nothing to do with fressen. I figured I'd mention that first and get it out of the way. The verb fressen is cognate with the English fret. The current common sense of the verb fret was originally expressed by phrases like ``fret oneself'' -- i.e., to eat oneself up with worry. Shakespeare uses the word both reflexively and intransitively (with the same sense, iiuc). He also uses the transitive verb in the sense of ``provide with frets'' (like a guitar), always figuratively (``...yon grey Lines, That fret the Clouds, are Messengers of Day'' -- Julius Caesar). He rather plays with the word, tangling its different meanings. The clearest instance of a pun is in this from Hamlet to Guildensterne:

Why looke you now, how vnworthy a thing you make of me: you would play vpon mee; you would seeme to know my stops: you would pluck out the heart of my Mysterie; you would sound mee from my lowest Note, to the top of my Compasse: and there is much Musicke, excellent Voice, in this little Organe, yet cannot you make it. Why do you thinke, that I am easier to bee plaid on, then a Pipe? Call me what Instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play vpon me. God blesse you Sir.

A herald from the defeated enemy approaches King Henry V at the field of Agincourt and makes this speech:

No great King:
I come to thee for charitable License,
That we may wander ore this bloody field,
To booke our dead, and then to bury them,
To sort our Nobles from our common men.
For many of our Princes (woe the while)
Lye drown'd and soak'd in mercenary blood:
So do our vulgar drench their peasant limbes
In blood of Princes, and with wounded steeds
Fret fet-locke deepe in gore, and with wilde rage
Yerke out their armed heeles at their dead masters,
Killing them twice. O giue vs leaue great King,
To view the field in safety, and dispose
Of their dead bodies.

Here fret seems to function as a past participle meaning ``bound, tied.'' That sense, already archaic in the bard's time, is appropriately close to the Old French freter, and properly means to bind with a hoop or ring. It is the origin of the guitar-fret sense.

Ian Fleming's You Only Live Twice contains an explanation of its title: ``Once when you are born and once when you look death in the face.'' (What if you go into a coma?) Yet the title can't help but remind one (and suffer by the comparison) of some -- let's call them immortal -- words from ``Julius Caesar'':

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.

I only wonder if Fleming also had in mind the dead knights killed twice. Anyway, let's get back to fretting.

King Lear, in Act I, Sc. 4, unforgettably, curses his evil daughter Gonerill:

Heare Nature, heare deere Goddesse, heare:
Suspend thy purpose, if thou did'st intend
To make this Creature fruitfull:
Into her Wombe conuey stirrility,
Drie vp in her the Organs of increase,
And from her derogate body, neuer spring
A Babe to honor her. If she must teeme,
Create her childe of Spleene, that it may liue
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her.
Let it stampe wrinkles in her brow of youth,
With cadent Teares fret Channels in her cheekes,
Turne all her Mothers paines, and benefits
To laughter, and contempt: That she may feele,
How sharper then a Serpents tooth it is,
To haue a thanklesse-Childe. Away, away.

Here fret can have the sense of ``abrade.'' This is close to the (originally Germanic) eating sense, but is considered distinct and probably is ultimately from the Latin fricare, `rub.' And I haven't even mentioned the ``carve'' extension of the ``abrade'' meaning, to say nothing of the lace-and-ornamentation-related meanings! The truth is, this one set of letters has enough meanings and spells enough etymologically distinct words that just to write ``fret'' is to pun. See its entry too. (Amazingly, fricare is not supposed to be the source of the English word frig.)

Frame Relay Access Unit[s]. Same as FRAD.

German, `woman,' `wife,' and `Mrs.' Similar in usage to Spanish señora.

Federal Reserve Bank. Usually called ``the Fed,'' a semiautonomous organization of twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks headed by a Board of Governors. This link is to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's homepage. They have a page that lists the other 12.

Family Research Council. ``Defending Family, Faith, and Freedom.''

Financial Reporting Council.

Family Resource Center on Disabilities.

Federal (US) Rules of CRiminal Procedure.

Functional Requirements Description. [Federalese.]

Former Regime Element. A member of the previous regime.

Frequency (of radiocommunication signal). Signal corps and general military jargon.

freak failure
An early device failure by the mechanism that normally leads to mature failures. Distinguished from the majority of early failures, which are typically due to some other mechanism.

freak flag
Long hair on a male. In the exceptional case that you are female, your hair could be as long Jefferson's, Einstein's, or even Newton's, and it wouldn't qualify you as a freak. Long beard, that's another story.

Almost -- cut my hair! It happened just the other day.

Don't be givin' in an inch; let your freak flag fly. Odds are fifty-fifty you have your grandfather's X chromosome anyway, in which case you'll go bald iff he did.

  1. adj.: A euphemism. ``Freaking'' is not an equivalent.
  2. pres. part. vb.: Freaking out. Experiencing apoplexy; suffering a seizure; having a conniption; throwing a fit.

    While many are aware that Newton's particulate theory of light included a concept of ``fits'' to explain interference phenomena, the sense of the word ``fit'' in his explanation is probably misunderstood more often than not. He did not mean that some path length of traveling light ``fit'' a particular length, as we understand wavelength fits within interference structures. Rather, he meant that at certain distances, the particle of light would experience an abrupt event, like a fit. A later generation of physicists, attempting to explain another phenomenon associated with wave interference, coined the term ``quantum jump.''

Short for Alfred and Frederick.

Fast-REcovery Diode. Reverse recovery on the order of 100 nsec, with a well-defined recovery charge. Forward recovery is the hard part; more typical recovery time 1 µs, recovery charge increases with peak current.

``Soft recovery'' may be specified, in which case low-voltage characteristics are recovered to within a tolerance called the ``soft factor'' (0.8 is typical).

Redundantly, this is typically called a ``FRED Diode.''

Figure-Reading Electronic Device.

The Foundation for Rural Education and Development. ``FRED's mission is to promote activities that improve rural educational, social, and economic conditions.'' Affiliated with OPASTCO.

Fragmentation and Reassembly Engine with DMA.

FRame EDitor.

The FREDericksburg Regional Transit bus system. I'm awed by the bold originality of this radical acronym. It serves Fredericksburg, Virginia. It's partly supported by UMW, so UMW students get to ride free with a college ID.

FRont-End to Disk.

One spelling of a nickname for Alfred. I imagine it's the nickname of some Alfredas, Elfreds (a variant of Alfred that makes the original meaning clearer), Manfreds, Olfreds, Ulfreds, Wilfreds, Winfreds, Winifreds, and Wolfreds too, but I don't know any.

Short for Freddie Mac, which is the next entry.

Freddie Mac
Colloquial name for FHLMC (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation).

You wannna see Freddie, Mac.

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence.

free at last
Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his most famous speech, the ``I have a dream'' speech, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, before a crowd estimated at 200,000. That day was a Thursday, but the speech was part of ``The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,'' so maybe the audience didn't have anywhere else to be.

But that wasn't my point. King ended his speech with these words:

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ``Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!''

In the spiritual, the freedom the singer refers to is the freedom of the grave. Most of the versions of the spiritual that are available on the web differ from the version quoted by Dr. King. If you want to track down different versions, include the string ``King Jesus'' so your search isn't swamped with texts of King's speech. But that wasn't my point either.

Ernest (``Fritz'') Hollings (D-SC) was 70 years old when he won election in 1992 to his sixth term in the US Senate. He evidently didn't expect to run again, and at the victory celebration on election night he exclaimed.

I don't have to get elected to a bloomin' thing. And I don't have to do things that are politically correct. The hell with everybody. I'm free at last.

Fritz Hollings was a colorful character, but these remarks were somewhat at variance with the pieties he normally expressed during campaigns. I recall that there was a particularly saccharine bit in an interview he gave during his unsuccessful campaign to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 1984; he explained that he first got the idea of going into politics when he saw the good that government could do. (I can't find that interview now. You'll just have to take my word.) But I don't mean to disparage Hollings any more than King. The former also did his part for civil rights; his leadership as governor of South Carolina between 1958 and 1963 insured the peaceful integration of that state's schools.

Hollings decided to run again in 1998, and footage of him speaking the words quoted above was aired by his opponent's campaign. He won again and served out his seventh term. But that wasn't my point. Come to think of it, I didn't have any particular point; I just felt like bringing together a couple of striking instances of the head term.

freedom fries
A name for French fries that was used in the US mostly in 2003-4, in reaction to French opposition to US actions in Iraq. Changing the name of French fries is an extreme form of ``soft power'' that I like to think of as mushy power force projection. If you want to understand how mushy power works, or not, read the Medef entry. To be sure the fries are mushy, ``deep fry'' at low temperature. (On the other hand, if you want fries that have excellent mouthfeel but taste exactly like paper, try Wendy's. I tried them once, and I suffered no paper cuts!)

freedom toast
A name for French toast ...mmm, mmm, follow link for rich, delicious irony... that was used in the US mostly in 2003-4, in reaction to French opposition to US actions in Iraq. The term gained less currency than freedom fries, or perhaps I just don't get up early enough.

free email
It normally is. Oh, you want a free emailbox? Why are you looking here? You want the ``email, free'' entry.

free gift
One unit of promotional junk.

free guide
Advertisement for our services.

FREE Inside!
An Exciting Excerpt From

Evidently selected by the Coca Cola book expert for the joint-marketed pleasure of the kind of people who drink Diet Coke. They guess things about my reading preferences that I never suspected. I also find that they increase the structural integrity of the packaging-cost-optimized 24-packs. When you slip your hand in the carry slot, try to pull the excerpt toward your palm and use it to distribute the force you exert on the inside of the box.

Free Market
I'm all for that. The ones I go to all charge.

freeper, Freeper, FReeper
Pejorative term for a US political conservative, and nonpejorative term for member participants in the website <FreeRepublic.com>. One could aargue that it's never a pejorative term, only that it is used extremely disrespectfully by some, but the rarer adjective forms freeperish (with -ly adverb) and freeperesque (all with capitalization variants) are probably exclusively pejorative.

FWIW, the domain for the Detroit Free Press (Detroit's leading fishwrap) is <freep.com>.

Free Seminar!
Long Advertising Pitch!

Free Upgrade!

free upgrade! open now!!

Software that is free to use, but not in the public domain. (In particular, this means that it cannot be freely included as part of another package and the code cannot be reused in modified form.) Loosely, ``freeware'' is used to mean any free software, including that in the public domain.

Free Week of Calls
25% discount on the first month's bill.

Not what you expected, huh? Beginning to regret that two-hour call to your cousin in Rangoon, now, eh?

Back when Mr. Coulter, my high school electronics teacher, was in the Signal Corps in 'Nam (.vn), arranging connections to call oneself around the world was entertainment.

Friedrich Ludwig Gotlob Frege (1848-1925). During his lifetime, Frege was even less known than he is now, but someone nevertheless betook to have a photograph taken (right). The intellectual father of Bertrand Russell, he got the ball rolling on mathematical logic and the philosophy of language. (Just because the preceding statement is vague does not make it untrue, even if that possibility is fraught with logical difficulties.)

According to Warren Knox,
I have learned
To spell hors d'oeuvres
Which still grates on
Some people's n'oeuvres.

If you aspire to this, or to an even higher level of French language competence, then you may find useful the English French Bridge (not to be confused with the Chunnel) as well as the ARTFL French-English Dictionary Form.

It's neither true nor very well known, but you read it here first: 97.22 per cent of the world's literate population is fluent in French, but virtually no one uses the language for fear of having his or her accent ridiculed by a native speaker. For more on shame-related language behavior, see the Polish, Belgium (.be), Broken English, and Denmark (.dk) entries. Heck, read the whole glossary (this could take a while).

This website offers to conjugate your French verb. Trust the French to come up with something kinky like that. Incidentally, some of the best French dictionaries are available free on line (TLFi, Littré).

French dog food
Back in 1968 or 1969, there was an odd news report out of France that went roughly like this: a housewife found her dog lying dead on the ground outside the house. The dog had seemed perfectly healthy, so the woman suspected food poisoning. She frantically called her husband at work, but it was too late: he had already eaten the lunch she had made him, using the same meat the dog had eaten. He went immediately to the hospital, where he had his stomach pumped and survived.

I wasn't reading newspapers much in 1969 -- I only learned about this because Robert brought the news item in for show-and-tell or some similar class assignment during the 68-69 school year. Anyway, either it was clear that the woman had used dog food as a spread for her husband's sandwich, or we all or at least I just assumed that. It's been a few decades, and Rob says he's hazy on the details, but he'll let me know if he remembers anything. The fact that the wife hadn't eaten any of the meat herself might stand as evidence for the dog-specific food hypothesis, it seems to me. Eventually, a neighbor's kid admitted to killing the dog by dropping an iron on its head from a window.

I was originally reminded of this story when I ran across a web page of somebody's (Jay Cross's, I think) trip to Nice, France. At the bottom of the page there is this:

Since it's illegal to import food into the U.S., I can't imagine how this happened, but somehow my dogs tried French dog food for the first time last night and absolutely loved it! Latte, who has some doggie eating disorder, gobbled down his rabbit and ran over to lick Smokey's bowl. This morning, they both dug into their agneau vigorously.

Well, he did mention earlier that he'd bought 87 euros' worth of ``truffles, mustard, honey, and special salt.'' The hardest work in looking for truffles is keeping the animal (one uses a pig or a dog to sniff them out) from devouring the truffles as soon as they're dug up. That, in turn, reminds me of the beginning of Gulag Archipelago. The relevant facts are mentioned at the bima entry.

French letter
A British euphemism for condom. Use of the term is now about as common as the occasions for referring to condoms by a euphemism, but you should try to remember this (it's easier than trying to forget it) because it's useful for puns.

Similarly, the French once used the term lettre anglais. It might have helped me to have remembered that during the adventure I am surprised to realize I have not foisted on this glossary yet. Anyway, the relevant point was that after biking 25 kilometers uphill in the rain to Condom just so I could say that I had bought some there, I whipped my moisture-engorged French-English pocket dictionary out of my pocket and discovered that the critical vocable wasn't there. You cannot imagine my chagrin. It's a bit gauche to use sign language for this particular item, and in Condom even an English-speaker might have had some difficulty ``getting it'' if I had said I wanted to buy a condom.

A tight, impermeable barrier of protective amnesia has enveloped the main thrust of that experiment in social intercourse, but I do remember that I got what I was after. In case you ever find yourself in a similarly sticky situation, the word is préservatif. It's Präservativ or Kondom in German. That's what the farmer thought I was. German, that is. I met the farmer when I encountered a meadow full of curious cows where my map said a road should be. I was lost. All reference works failed me that day. After we got the nationality issues squared away, I finally got to use sign language. For example, here is how the farmer communicated ``You are very far from Chateau de Bonas'':

  1. Repeat ``Chateau de Bonas.''
  2. Widen eyes.
  3. Slap forehead once.

French letter
Ç. Actually, it was invented for Spanish. In Spanish, as in most Romance languages, a letter c preceding a vowel e or i was pronounced ``soft'' or ``sweet.'' The precise sound depended on where in the evolution (usually via Vulgar Latin) the sound was arrested. The usual sequence was k --> ts --> ch --> s, where the sounds are spelled in English. Thus, the title Caesar was adopted directly from Classical Latin into German, yielding Kaiser. (In fact, Caesar is generally held to be the earliest Latin word adopted by Germanic-speakers. See also tsar.) Russian and other Slavic languages borrowed this word from a Germanic language,has a slightly later version transliterated Tsar (previously also Czar) in English. In Aragonese, or Old Castilian, the ç represented this ts sound. Italian (with Cesare) stopped at a ch sound. (Somewhat confusingly for Anglophones, perhaps, the ``hard'' c sound is recovered by inserting the silent letter h, as in the loan chiaroscuro and the brand Chianti.) In French (César) the consonant has evolved as far as an s sound.

(English borrowed forms of Caesar at least three times. The current form, which has sometimes been written Cesar, apparently takes its pronunciation from French and its spelling from Latin.)

As languages in Iberia evolved, somewhat in parallel, the sound associated with ç evolved as well. By the seventeenth century, the old system of three voiced and three unvoiced sibilants had collapsed. There remained only three unvoiced sibilants, and more than enough letters to represent them. In Spanish as in French and Italian, c is no longer marked when it is soft before an e or i. Instead, c is simply regarded as having a different sound when followed by either of those vowels, and marked only when the sound is exceptional. Like Italian, Spanish has a trick to force a hard sound (a qu spelling is used). The role of the ç comes in the complementary case, when the c is soft. In Italian, one simply inserts an i after the c, and in Spanish one replaces the c with a z. (In Aragonese, the letter z had represented the voiced sound dz corresponding to the unvoiced ts represented by ç.) In French, one uses a ç for a soft c not followed by e or i, as in aperçu, façade, français, François, garçon, leçon, and Provençal.

(In New Castilian, the principal modern dialect of Spain, the pronunciations of ce, ci, and z evolved further in a less usual way: the s sound became an unvoiced th sound. The reason is not certain, but it is presumed to have something to do with Basque, which had no voiced sibilants. Basques made up perhaps as much as a third of the Christian forces in the Reconquista.)

French opera
Most of our rather limited content on this subject can be found at the Bizet entry.

French phrase resource
Just the key French phrases you need, and not that stupid how-are-you crap. Plus, an easy-to-understand spelling based on phoneticons that show how your face looks when you speak French vowels correctly.

  1. American English: the french fries
    French: les frites
    L :-|}
    FR 8-[) T
  2. American English: the freedom fries
    French: les frites de la liberté
    L :-|}
    FR 8-[) T
    D :-||
    L :( )
    L 8-[) B 8-(| RT :-))
  3. American English: french toast
    French: pain perdu
    P :=(|
    P :-(| RD 8-o
  4. American English: cheese-eating surrender monkeys
    French: primates capitulards et toujours en quête de fromages
    PR 8-[) M :( ) T
    K :( ) P 8-[) T 8-o L :( ) R
    T :-o Zh :-o R
    K :-|} T
    D :-||
    FR :-[( M :( ) Zh

French toast
Bread slices soaked in a batter of egg and milk, then lightly fried or grilled. In the US, this was apparently called German toast until WWI. The name was changed then for patriotic reasons. Similarly, several wars later, there was a movement (or perhaps more of a feint or head fake) to change it again, to freedom toast. (It's not anticipated that we will be going to war against Freedom, so this might have been a more durable name, but it didn't last.) This kind of move away from national designation also has a WWI precedent: sauerkraut was rechristened ``liberty cabbage.''

In 2006, during the doubtless not-entirely-orchestrated international furor over satirical Mohammed cartoons published in a Danish newspaper, Tehran bakers got also got into the, uh, rechristening act. It turns out that they had also traditionally used a term that translates literally as ``Danish pastry.'' Sweet, flaky danishes were, in fact, a large part of their stock, baked fresh daily. By mid-February, these were being sold as ``roses of the prophet Mohammed.'' The name change was ordered by the confectioners' union on February 16, 2006. (You remember the legend of the origin of the croissant, right? Good.)

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook was apparently behindhand: the 1918 edition did not list French toast, but did have a recipe for German toast. Note that the recipe called for stale bread. One of the Wonders of modern baking, so-called, is that bread comes mushy and ready-to-German-or-French-toast straight from the store. It's the greatest thing since, actually since before, sliced bread. (Yuck.)

The 11th edition of the book (don't ask me ``which book?''), published in 1965, gave a recipe for French toast and not German toast. I haven't checked when the name change took place.

In the US, French toast is mostly a breakfast food. In pre-WWII Germany (Breslau, to be precise) my mother knew this as a lunch food. Cooked slices were served in a stack (like pancakes), with layers of marmalade between the slices. It was called arme Ritter, `poor knight.' The implication was probably that this was the best sort of food an indigent knight could afford. Farmer's specification of stale bread begins to make more sense. It seems like a few delicacies arose from ingenious efforts to make the best of a lean larder. Pizza was originally a stereotypical poor-people's food in southern Italy, so-I-understand. I wonder if the New Orleans version of the submarine or hero or hoagie sandwich, the ``Po' Boy,'' was not originally thought of as a way to use bread to extend a small amount of filling.

My grandmother had a comfortable childhood, and money didn't really become tight until after WWI, and particularly after the Nuremburg laws took away the men's livelihoods, so I always wondered a little where she learned the following trick. When butter starts to go rancid, you can beat it with water. Whip it long and well enough, and the chemicals that are the source of the foul odor apparently dissolve into the water. (Not surprising, since butter is nonpolar, and smelly butyric compounds should prefer the polar solvent of water.) You pour out the water, and the rest of the butter is fit for hungry human consumption.

Let me make some points for the benefit of the punctilious: No, it's not really my idea of ``toast'' either, but the word ``fries'' was evidently taken. ``Toast'' here, as usually, is uncountable. So you might prepare just one slice of French toast, although that would leave a lot of egg batter left over. But that doesn't invalidate the plural ``bread slices soaked...'' in my definition.

(Whatever the origin, at least the French do know this dish. They call it pain perdu.)

In the Francophone town of Madawaska, Maine, just across the St. John River from Quebec, the dish is known as Canadian toast.

God have mercy on the Native American with that name, and all downwind, but it was the code name for the US evacuation of Viet Nam. This information is culled from a Joan Didion novel (Democracy), but in matters of military nomenclature, reality is more fantastical than fiction, so this probably wasn't made up.

Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan. US governmentese.

Cool (not warm) or fresh (not stale), in Spanish. (Masculine form fresco.)

I guess if you keep it cool it's more likely to stay fresh, but it's occasionally handy to have distinct words. Conversely, in English ``hot'' means both caliente and picante.

British noun meaning frosh.

freshman orientation
Here's Michael Moffatt, in Coming of Age in New Jersey (1989), p. 4:
Orientation is the well-scripted routine by which anyone who has gone away to college since about 1925 has probably first experienced American higher education. Historically, it replaced the older, hairier student-to-student initiations of the late nineteenth century: hazing and some of the other colorful customs of the old undergraduate college life.[6] Modern orientation can be seen as a firmly entrenched college custom as well, however--in this case, as a dean's ritual. It is the

The footnote ([6] above) puts a twist on this:

In fact, I discovered during subsequent historical research, the deans' orientation and a cleaned-up version of undergraduate hazing coexisted at Rutgers and at other American colleges for half a century. Hazing suited the deans' purposes admirably: it stitched the students together; it taught them conformity to conservative student ``traditions.'' Only after the undergraduates laughed such practicies out of currency in the late 1960's did the deans discover that hazing was illegal and beneath the dignity of college youths.

freshman reading program, freshman text
Some universities (Univ. of Pennsylvania, the University of Maryland at College Park (?)) apparently have a reading program for freshmen. What this extensive educational initiative does is simply to burden incoming freshmen with the pointless and time-consuming chore of reading a whole book over the summer even before they arrive at school for their freshman year. Seminars early in the first semester are held to discuss the book, often a heavy one.

All I want to say here is that the frets on guitar necks used to be made of gut, so you can imagine they had to be adjusted and replaced from time to time, just like the strings. In that day, it made sense to have the verb ``to fret'' describe the action of applying frets. Now they're sturdier and permanent, and ``to fret,'' in appropriate context, means to press a string or strings against a fret or frets using your left hand, unless you are Jimi Hendrix. And if you are Jimi Hendrix, then I'm very sorry, because you died before you were 28.

I figured I ought to put that business about fretting a guitar in an entry where you (assuming that you are not Jimi) would have a decent chance of finding it, since a lot of dictionaries don't seem to have noticed the newer verb sense. Most of our information about fret is a few paragraphs into the frass entry.

Frame Relay Forum - Local Management Interface.

Falcon Ridge FF. No, I don't know what the FF is for yet. From the context, it could be Folk (music) Festival and it couldn't be French Fries. Okay, I checked. It's ``Folk Festival.'' I probably orta clean up this'ere ol' gloss'ry entree.

French Fries could come in handy for the contra dancers. They're addicts. They only come off the floor for urgent hygiene and carbo-loading.

Federal Republic of Germany. Translates Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD). The term was more useful during the half century following WWII when two Germanies coexisted. The BRD/FRG (West Germany, formed from the American, British and French zones of occupation) absorbed the communist ``Democratic Republic of Germany'' (GDR) in the general political collapse of the Warsaw Pact.

FRaGment. Any segment of ancient text that is part of a larger work, but available only as a quote or paraphrase appearing in someone else's work.

Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. (The official name has no hyphen, but it's not a facility for rare beams, exactly. It's a facility that generates beams of short-lived (and thus rare) isotopes. It's a national user facility for nuclear science, funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), Michigan State University (MSU), and the State of Michigan. A list like that is like a flat ingredients list. Here's something a little more quantitative. In early August 2013, the DOE signed off on cost and timeline for FRIB: $730 million total project cost, of which the federal government will provide $635.5 million, with projected completion in 2022.

FRIB began construction in 2013 on the campus of MSU (in East Lansing). Construction and eventual operation are MSU's responsibility. This entry is also began construction in 2013. When I get around to it, if ever, the scaffolding that is this sentence and its neighbors will be removed, and the present tense used in some earlier sentences will be on target. It may be awhile: MSU had expected the DOE to request $55 million for FRIB in 2013, but the administration's proposed budget only included $22 million for it.

The acronym was pronounced ``EFF-rib'' by the speaker (from NSCL -- a sister facility at MSU) at a physics colloquium I attended in October 2013,, so I guess that's standard.

La Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior. ``Un think tank europeo para la acción global.'' It's based in Madrid.

The name of a town in Colorado and a town in Texas. It's also the nickname of a very small town in California.

In 2006, Frisco, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas, made news by terminating an elementary-school art teacher for an event that occurred when she took a class of fifth-graders on a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art. The trip had been approved by the principal, and the 89 students were accompanied by 5 teachers, at least 12 parents, and a museum docent, but the hammer fell on Ms. Sydney McGee, an art teacher with 28 years of teaching experience who planned the event.

The museum tour took place in April of that year. Students saw nude art (nude statues and other nude art representations!) and a parent complained. McGee's contract was not renewed for the next year, and her request for a transfer was refused. Frisco ISD and McGee reached a settlement that October. There was no nondisclosure clause, but the parties agreed not to ``disparage'' each other, and the matter disappeared from the news.


Incidentally, in addition to the well-known French and English word that is the head term of this entry, French has and English also had from it the word frison, meaning `Frisian.' Spanish has this as frisón, which sounds pretty much like the French etymon, except that the final n in Spanish is pronounced as a consonant /n/ rather than as a nasalization of the final vowel.

Federación Rural de Jóvenes. A Uruguayan organization with ultimate goals like a 4-H and operations like a junior UN.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage. A retronym for the kind of mortgage that was the overwhelming standard for private home purchases until the introduction of the ARM.

FRoM. Lists from and subject for emails in a user's system spool or in a folder. Part of the Elm distribution, so it may disappear if your local sysadmins decide to drop Elm. Ditto nfrm. Mail folders have a pretty simple and reliable structure, so you might find it more efficient to write your own equivalent script than to download the Elm package and install it or install it selectively. Partly equivalent functionality is available from from.

Floating-Rate Note.

Frame-Relay Network Manager.

Fast RHIC Oscillation Grabber. RHIC is the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

Frequency-Resolved Optical Gating. A characterization technique that yields laser pulse phase information. Here's a FROG tutorial.

See, for example, R. Trebino, K. W. DeLong, D. N. Fittinghoff, J. N. Sweetser, M. A. Krumbügel, B. A. Richman, and D. J. Kane, ``Measuring ultrashort laser pulses in the time-frequency domain using frequency-resolved optical gating,'' Rev. Sci. Instr., vol. 68, pp. 3277-3295, 1997.

FROM. Lists from and date for new emails in a user's system mail spool. Part of the standard BSD distributions. Cf. frm.

from whence
A phrase that normally communicates the meaning `whence' as well as the information that the user does not known that whence means `from where.' The word whence is obsolete in English, but the corresponding word woher in German is current. German-speakers learning English are not normally taught the word.

Term equivalent in meaning to freshperson, but generally less offensive to those who have a tender lingistic sensibility. Term equivalent to freshman, but generally less offensive to those who have a tender sexual-political sensibility. Equivalent to British fresher, but more common in North America.

A first-year student in a four-year educational institution.

First Regional Observing Study of the Troposphere.

Froude number
See definition and explanation at Fr entry.

Fantasy Role-Playing (games). Same as RPG. Same as Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).

Federal Response Plan. US governmentese.

Food Refrigeration and Process Engineering Research Centre.

Frame Relay Permanent Virtual Connection (PVC).

Flush Rush Quarterly. A publication devoted to chronicling Mr. Limbaugh's expostulations. Perhaps the title gives an idea of its general opinion of these.

FRagments. Plural of fr.

Federal Reserve System. Quasiautonomous national banking authority that administers US monetary policy. Answers to no one, but the Fed chairman periodically visits the Hill to amuse congresspersons with his Delphic pronouncements, even less candid than a Supreme Court justice nominee fudging his or her position on Roe v. Wade.

Fellow of the Royal Society. This is a greater distinction than Order of Bath, and you can assume the dignity fully clothed. There's also an ``Order of the Garter'' [vide Johnson]; ever since the days of King Arthur and Monty Python, it seems the English have had some unusual ideas about dressing and cross-dressing. King Henry VIII was intensely vain about his calves (the ones below his knees) and wore clothes to reveal them to greatest advantage. Charles and Diana continued an ancient tradition faithfully.

This reminds me that Greg, down the hall, was explaining the other day how he was forced to use Windoze 95 for his experimental work, since otherwise he'd have to write a lot of his drivers and other code from scratch. A good, honest Unix man, Greg said that using Win95 is like dancing with a transvestite. [Gloss/translation for idiots: ``It's not the real thing, and it doesn't give the same pleasure, even though it bears a superficial resemblance.''] I found this remark particularly amusing because I had just returned from a friend's orthodox Jewish wedding. I didn't notice any transvestites there, but I did dance with men. (I know, I know, my distaff readership is thinking ``I dance with men all the time.'' It was a first for me, okay?) If you want to learn more about kinky orthodox Jewish weddings, rent Bird at your local video place; it was directed by Clint Eastwood, the film director. You've probably heard of Clint Eastwood the actor. It's actually the same person.

The ``Royal Society'' is short for a long version of the name that is never used anymore: ``The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge.''

Frame Relay Service.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Set up in 1927 by YLE, which was set up in 1926. What, no Texaco Star Theater?

Frame Relay Switching System.

Frame Relay Service-Specific Convergence Sub-layer.

Field-Replaceable Unit. A system component that can be replaced ``in the field'' -- i.e., without anything back to the shop. Some FRU's are CRU's, while others require trained service personnel.

A Yiddish adjective meaning `strictly observant of Jewish law.' Cognate with Modern German fromm, `pious.' Fromme, Frum, and related forms are moderately common surnames, but to find a corresponding common surname in English that expresses a similar idea, one must resort to the more ambiguous, possibly merely locative, Church (or the Scottish equivalent Kirk), Sexton, etc.

The fairy tale of Cinderella (Aschenputtel) begins as her mother, sick and sensing that the end is near, calls Cinderella to her bedside and says ``Liebes Kind, bleib fromm und gut, so wird dir der liebe Gott immer beistehen, und ich will vom Himmel auf dich herabblicken und will um dich sein.'' [`Dear child, remain pious and good, and the dear Lord will always stand beside you, and from heaven I will watch over you and be with you.']

Frugal, Responsible, Unpretentious, Mature Person. Doesn't say anything there about fashion sense, does it? A backronym if there ever was one. There is, or was, a ``National Frumps of America'' run by a woman in Florida. Perhaps she perpetrated this.

A plain (i.e., not attractive) girl or woman. It is conjectured that the word is derived from the Middle Dutch verb verrompelen. (Dutch rompelen is cognate with Engish rumpled.)

There are other definitions. One, ``a primly sedate person,'' seems to be the target of the backronym above. The range of dictionary definitions, and the fact that none of them really corresponds to my own experience of how the word is used, suggests that the meaning has been evolving.

In my experience since, say, 1970, frumpy is something akin to slovenly, and the rarer word frump simply designates someone, usually female, who is frumpy. To be more precise, to appear frumpy is to be cheaply dressed in unflattering clothes, which may dowdy but need not be. Frumpiness does not necessarily imply unfashionableness. I imagine a chubby girl in multiple layers of thin pastel-colored polyester. Some of the layers may be slightly torn. Where's the shopping cart? The lexicographic consensus suggests that my sense of the word is unusual (used only in the region where I have been living -- New York, Arizona, and various points between) or else new. It seems to me, however, that this new or nonstandard meaning conforms more closely to the putative original Dutch sense than most of the other meanings it is claimed to have had in English.

frustrated actor
It is a stale witticism that a director is a frustrated actor. And speaking of thespians, ``Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull'' is attributed to Rod Serling, speaking of writers. Also common is the claim that every teacher is a frustrated actor. The version I used to hear was that every professor is.

I did know a retired math professor who acted in what I think were off-off-Broadway-and-never-going-there-either stage productions. Also, when I was a professor at UB, I attended a political indoctrination camp (falsely advertised as a short course in pedagogical technique) where one of the celebrated instructors was a former actor who taught in the Biology department. But I didn't regard him as a turncoat for knowingly participating in that travesty, because I didn't think it probable that he was ever really a scholar.

Those two were cases of men who both acted and taught. Until today, however, I had never encountered an admission by an academic that he had wanted to be an actor but wound up teaching instead. So it may be rare, so I'm writing an entry for it. I found it in Sick From Freedom (OUP, 2012), by Jim Downs. His acknowledgments begin thus:

This book has a long history that can be traced to the University of Pennsylvania and the fateful semester when I opted to abandon my childhood dream of becoming an actor and instead decided to become an academic.

Incidentally, the book's subtitle is ``African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction.'' As the author explains (p. 4), the

...high rates of illness and mortality during the Civil War resulted from various factors, including the unsanitary conditions of army camps, polluted waterways, unburied bodies of animals and soldiers, overcrowding, dislocation, and the medical profession's uncertainty about how to respond to the massive epidemics that plagued the South.... Disease and sickness had a more devastating and fatal effects [sic] on emancipated slaves than on soldiers, since ex-slaves often lacked the basic necessities to survive. Emancipation liberated bondspeople from slavery, but they often lacked clean clothing, adequate shelter, proper food, and access to medicine in their escape toward Union lines. Many freed slaves died once they secured refuge behind Union camps. Even after the war ended, they continually struggled to survive in a region torn apart by disease and destruction.

Friedmann-Robertson-Walker. Refers to the class of metrics and cosmologies derived from the application of homogeneity and isotropy assumptions to the Einstein Field Equations.

fruit bat
Adorns the cover of the O'Reilly sendmail book. Edie Freedman, who designs all the covers in O'Reilly's software zoo, insists that ``There's absolutely always a reason'' for the animal chosen, according to a Jason Fry article in the Wall Street Journal (p. B1, Monday, July 28, 1997).

Fruit bats tend to be pretty weak echolocators and to have very good eyes; they're diurnal, not nocturnal like most bats. Echolocation is probably not the smartest way to hunt for fruit anyway.

In February 1994, scientists reporting from Malaysia in the journal Nature wrote that they had found a mammal species, the Dayak fruit bat, in which the males lactate. According to Dr. Charles Francis, ``[The bats] looked like perfectly good males with large testes, but from the other end I could see they also had well-developed breasts.'' The only other male mammals to lactate have been a few specially-bred goats and sheep, which produced milk in extremely small quantities. [New York Times, 2-24-94.]

Although men do not lactate, they are susceptible to breast cancer (the rates are much lower than for women).

The Talmud (at Shabbat 53b) tells the story of a poor man whose wife had died, leaving him with a hungry nursling. A miracle happened: his breasts grew so that he could suckle the child. There's an argument about whether this meant that he was a great man or an unworthy man (the rabbis were of two minds about how cool miracles are), but no discussion of why he got breasts instead of his wife's survival as a miracle.

`Fruit' in Spanish. (This entry is actually about fruta and various cognate words, under bold headings below.) The Spanish word fruta and its natural English translation have a common etymon in the Latin fructus from the deponent verb fruor `enjoy.' Hence fructus meant `enjoyment,' as well -- more frequently -- as `fruit' in the various senses of the English word. One can see a reflection of the nonbotanical use in the English word usufruct.

The Latin word fructus was always masculine, and normally fourth-declension, a/k/a u-stem, though it was also sometimes declined as a second-declension noun. (This is a natural confusion, since -us is the standard nominative ending of masculine second-declension nouns.) In the general collapse of genders and declensions that characterized the transition from classical Latin through Vulgar Latin to Romance and in particular to Spanish, fructus did the usual thing, which was to keep its male gender and take its standard form from the Latin ablative fructu. In the usual way, the final -u became -o, yielding fruto. The c needn't have disappeared (cf. actor, auctor [original Sp. word that became autor], lector, tractor, etc.); I suppose this is why Corominas y Pascual refer to fruto as a ``descendiente semiculto'' [`half-cultured descendant'] of fructus. Given the agricultural associations, the comment looks like a pun.

The Oxford Latin Dictionary lists fructa (a feminine, first-declension version of fructus) as an apparent by-form, giving an eighth-century A.D. example which suggests the form was used for stylistic reasons without any real distinction in meaning (``fructam et fructum (dixerunt antiqui)'' [contrary to the quote, there doesn't seem to be an earlier example extant]. All that is what the lawyers might call ``due diligence.'' That being duly done and said, the feminine form in Spanish (fruta), attested since at least the thirteenth century, is probably an independent development.

Fruta and fruto
divide up the semantic domain covered by the single English word `fruit.' The male term fruto is the more general or abstract (including the senses of `product, achievement'), while the female term fruta tends to refer to `edible fruit,' though not all edible fruit. The difficulty of articulating the semantic ranges a little more precisely is dragging out the completion of this entry.

While it is not so common for the main senses of a common noun in English to be translated into two different Spanish nouns (the reverse is more the pattern), when it does happen, this sort of gender divergence is often the mechanism. For another example, branch in more and less abstract senses may be ramo and rama, resp. For a fruit-related set of examples, see the entry on gender of fruit and trees.

is the augmentative form of fruto (i.e., un frutón is `a big fruit'). However, the word is also used for a Chilean fruit that is similar to the strawberry, but larger, sourer, and more yellowish when ripe.

The words to be discussed are fruto, fruta, frutal, frutero/a, fruticola, and frutilla. That makes this a pretty ambitious entry, so let me get a few things out of the way quickly and approximately.

is a diminutive form of fruta, and is applied regionally to different edible and nonedible fruit (and also to the plants these come from). In the Argentine dialect in particular (of particular interest to me because it is, sowieso, my native dialect), frutilla is the usual word for `strawberry' and strawberry plant. (There is a European evergreen called a strawberry tree in English and a madroño in Spanish, which yields a small fruit that may be used for jams. If not pruned it can grow like a shrub, but that doesn't make it a strawberry bush, which is the name of an American ornamental. The latter yields berries that are poisonous to humans. These ripen, in clusters of up to five berries, within capsules that look like strawberries -- that's the origin of the common name. The name of the plant genus is Euonymus -- `good name.' This is sheer coincidence. Pliny the Elder explained that the flowering of the euonymus presaged pestilence -- makes sense, since it happened every year. The name is a euphemism, like Eumenides [`graces'] for the Furies.)

is the usual word for strawberry outside Argentina. (It's from the Latin fraga, via French fraise.) The Mexicans are among those who call strawberry fresa, and they also have an expression ``la gente fresa'' meaning `the in crowd' or some other privileged group. There happens to be another word fresa meaning `milling tool' or `dental drill,' from fresar `to grind, mill,' from the Vulgar Latin fresare, from the classical Latin frendere (participle fresum). The Latin words have similar meanings to the Spanish one; I didn't want to get side-tracked (no, never!) but I figured I should mention this since I don't know which word the Mexican expression is based on. Depending on your attitude, it could be either or both.

Somewhere up there, I probably should have pointed out that strawberries are not, from the strictly botanically correct point of view, fruit.

and (the phrase the word implies) árbol frutal mean `fruit tree.' Finally something straightforward! Either that or I'm getting tired.

is usually someone who sells fruit, unless that someone is female, in which case she's a frutera. Let's stop here for now.

Flame-Retardant paper substrate material for cheap electronic circuits.

Fire-Retardant glass laminate substrate material for electronic circuits. Dielectric constant about 4.8.

Fire-Retardant glass-and-polyester substrate material for electronic circuits. Inexpensive; popular for automobile electronics.

Fermi Surface. The locus of points in (quasi-)momentum space where the electron occupancy falls rapidly. The concept presupposes electron degeneracy.

Ferrovie dello Stato. `State [i.e. national] Railways' of Italy.

File Separator. The function originally conceived for the ASCII (and EBCDIC) nonprinting character corresponding to an integer value 0x1C (decimal 28). It is supposed to be equivalent to ^\ (control-backslash), but don't count on it.

File System.

Fluorescence Spectroscopy.

Frame Sync.

[Football icon]

Free Safety. A defensive position in American football.

Full Scale. The voltage range on the analog side of an ADC or DAC.

Functional Substitution. A general idea in iterative numerical algorithms where accuracy in intermediate evaluations is irrelevant to the achievement of some recognizable target (like minimization): a convenient (i.e., easily manipulated or evaluated) function (such as a quadratic expression) is substituted as a local approximation to a known function.

Faculty Student Association at UB.

Fabless Semiconductor Association.

(UK gov't.) Financial Services Authority.

(UK gov't.) Food Standards Agency.

Food Safety Authority of Ireland. (Údarás Sábháilteachta Bia na hÉireann.)

Russian initialism for Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti, `Federal Security Service.' The Russian Federation successor, since 1995, of the KGB of the Soviet Union.

Front Side Bus.

FSBO, fsbo
For Sale By Owner. In realtor jargon, this is a noun (for a house so offered) pronounced ``fizbo'' or ``fissbo.''

Finger-Stick Blood Sugar. Blood sugar as measured by the FSBS test.

As you will be aware if you remember your last stay at one, hospitals have nothing to do with hospitality. Rather, hospitals are places where helpless victims receive the expert care of trained sadists. For this reason, blood is taken to measure the sugar level by pricking a fingertip: this part of the anatomy has a very high density of nerve endings. Studies have demonstrated, I believe, that pricking there maximizes pain. Also, most people have lots of fingers, so if the patient (why do you think they're called ``patients''?) doesn't flinch, a different finger can be used the next time.

If the patient becomes suspicious, the ``care-giver'' is authorized to give the following irrelevant ``explanation'': there are a number of noninvasive or, uh, minimally invasive tests that hospitals can perform regularly, to monitor body temperature, blood pressure, etc. But monitoring blood sugar by drawing blood with a needle would be inconvenient. Yet blood sugar fluctuates rapidly over the course of a day. The FSBS test was developed as a solution to this problem: it enables hospital personnel to hurt, err, monitor you regularly without inconvenience.

Blood-sugar monitoring is especially important for diabetics who are insulin-dependent. A blood-sugar measurement is used to determine whether an insulin injection should be administered to the patient with the next meal. A highly trained hospital nutritionist carefully plans a meal for each patient, taking into account conditions like diabetes; only after this is done does the hospital kitchen ignore it completely and send up any old slop.

Federación de Servicios a la Ciudadanía. Spanish `Citizen Services Federation.' (More literally, `Federation of Services to the Citizenry.') A public employees' union affiliated with the CC.OO.

Federal Supply Category. Probably has nothing to do with FSS.

File System ChecK and repair. A maintenance command in Unix.

Faculty Senate Executive Committee ... of UB is headed at the present time (12/95) by Claude Welch of PolySci.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant[s]. As of 1996, range from $100 to $4000 per annum. Eligibility determined by a student's undergraduate institution, on the basis of need relative to others at the same institution. Eligibility does not guarantee that an offer of aid will be made, however. [Get more information from the government or from a university resource (CMU).]

F&SF, f&sf, f+sf, you get the idea
Fantasy & Science Fiction. Sounds like something to do with software.

Free Software Foundation. Founded by Richard Stallman to provide software that is cheap, unencumbered by copyright or patent restrictions. Its major initiative is GNU.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Publisher.

Federal Supply Group. Probably has nothing to do with FSS.

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone.

Free-Standing Insert.

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Recent amendments grant jurisdiction over foreign states and their officials, agents and employees, and create federal causes of action related to personal injury or death resulting from state-sponsored terrorist attacks.

Fonds Social Juif Unifié

Russian initialism for Federalnaya Sluzhba Kontrrazvedki, `Federal Counterintelligence Service.' The successor of the KGB after the failed coup of 1991. The FSK was reorganized in 1995 and became the FSB.

Frequency-Shift Keying.

Federal Society of Linguists.

French as a Second Language. It's momentarily surprising that FSL in this sense is a hundred times more common than FFL in a similar sense. The corresponding terms EFL and ESL are comparably common. It might be partly for euphony -- to avoid the FF pairing. The main reason, however, is that the term FSL is used mostly in Canada, where French (or some dialect of it) is not foreign.

Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation. While it existed (1934-1989), it insured accounts in savings banks as well as savings and loan institutions. As should be clear from the expansion of the acronym, already in 1934 the difference between these two kinds of thrifts was not considered important. Basically, then, the FSLIC functioned as an FDIC for thrifts that were not credit unions (the latter kind of thrift was and is insured by the NCUA).

The main business of S&L's is to raise capital through personal deposits and to work that money by making home mortgages, (and also personal loans and maybe some small-business loans and mortgages). They're chartered under rules that restrict the kind of business they can do. In the seventies and eighties, banking deregulation freed many of these banks to make stupid investments and lose money or have it stolen by bank officers big time. That was the savings-and-loan mess that took many billions of dollars, and years, to be flushed by the Resolution Trust Corporation (created for that purpose). FIRREA, the law that created the RTC, also dissolved the FSLIC into the FDIC.

Until the early eighties, many thrifts were not required by the states that chartered them to be federally insured. In particular, at least a couple of states had alternatives to the FSLIC. After some spectacular bank runs and failures, all of those states changed their laws. I'm pretty sure that no states allow their banks to operate without federal insurance, although that may not exend to all kinds of accounts. You could regard this as rigid government intervention in private sector ... big government ... the slippery slope into socialism!, but somehow the republic muddles on, minus bank panics.

Well, I did specify bank panics. I didn't say anything about global banking system panics, now did I?

Finite-State Machine.

Fuzzy-State Machine. Fuzzy in the sense of fuzzy logic (FL). See item 11 of the comp.ai.fuzzy faq.

Foreign Service Officer.

Full Scale Output.

File Service { Process | Protocol }.

Free-standing Quantum Well. A quantum well clad in vacuum. The confined-acoustic-phonon theorists' jellium.

Financial-Sector Restructuring.

Free Space Reactor.

Full-Scale Reading.

Faculty of Social Sciences. At UB, the Faculty of Natural Science and Math (FNSM), the FSS, and the Faculty of Arts and Letters (FAL) were merged into a College of Arts and Sciences CAS in 1998.

Federal Supply Service, part of the GSA of the US.

Fixed-Service Satellite. Low-power (10-20 W/channel) geostationary satellites used by service providers with big dish antennas, for phone calls, data links, and TV. Not originally intended for direct-to-home (DTH) service.

Flight Service Station. Yeah -- fill it up with regular and de-ice the wings.

Forensic Strategy Services, LLC.

Family and Social Services Administration. The Indiana state government has one.

Forward-Scattering { SPectrometer | Spectroscopic Probe }. Used to determine droplet-size distributions in aerosols.

Filename extension for FAST Image Transfer (FIT) format.

Finlands Svenska Television. A service of YLE.

Fédération Suisse de Twirling Bâton.
German: Der Schweizerische Twirling Baton Verband.
Italian: La Federazione Svizzera Twirling Baton.
English: Swiss Baton Twirling Federation.

I just want to mention that nothing has given me more hearty belly-laughs this month than putting in the entries for twirling associations. For a list of others, see the majorette entry.

Fédération syndicale unitaire.

Florida State University. Known in the 1970's as ``the Berkeley of the South,'' in 2002 FSU became known as a meretricious haven for censorship.

The president of FSU, Talbot ``Sandy'' Alemberte, has been called an ``icon of the First Amendment'' for forcing Florida courts to allow cameras in courtrooms and for protecting reporters' right to keep their sources confidential. With delicious irony, he is now demonstrating (ooh, bad word!) that his commitment to liberty depends on whose ox is gored, or even whose ox is slightly embarrassed. On March 25, 2002, twelve student protesters began a camp-out on the FSU campus, after receiving repeated assurances from campus police that their demonstration was legal. Later that evening, they were arrested for protesting outside of FSU's ``free speech zones.'' Free speech zones are a concept so evil that I'm not sure whether they will get an entry in this wholesome glossary, but basically they are places so out-of-the-way that free speech there is completely ineffectual and acceptable to administration fascists. (For good measure, they can be made small. For example, the two free speech zones at WVU are located on only one of the three campuses, and are the size of small classrooms.)

The protesters want FSU to end its promotional agreement with Nike, a company whose business consists of promoting and milking (licensing the use) of its company logo. The students are unhappy because the squash, or splash, or slash or whatever it is, is passé. However, they claim that they're opposed to the sweatshop conditions in the factories that make products that eventually have a Nike logo slapped on.

Former Soviet Union (SU).

Frequency-Selective VoltMeter.

For Some Value Of.

There used to be a famous manual or tutorial page somewhere that explained the utility of the PARAMETER statement in FORTRAN by taking the example of pi. It recommended using compile-time constant PI introduced by a PARAMETER statement, as an alternative to typing in (I think I mean key-punching) a decimal value for pi at every point in a program where it was used. That way, as the explanation went, you could easily update the program if the value of PI changed.

Seriously, there's something to this, if you have issues with precision or small differences. Even more seriously, the idea of a nonconstant (and socially constructed) value of pi was included in Alan Sokal's Trojan horse article in Social Text. (This was backed up with a citation of Derrida, in an article in the book Structuralism and Poststructuralism.)

For Suitable Values Of.

Fault-Tolerant. Also less frequently ``Failure Tolerant.''

Fault-tolerant computing is, loosely speaking, giving the luser the right answer even though he asked the wrong question.

Fault Tree. See FTA.

Financial Times. British business daily printed on pink broadsheet. Recently began a North American edition to compete with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

First Things. Self-described as ``the journal of religion, culture, and public life.'' Roughly speaking, it is something like a Catholic Commentary, except that it is both more and less Catholic than Commentary is Jewish.

To be a little more specific about it, Commentary was originally and for half a century published by a Jewish organization (AJC), whereas ``FIRST THINGS is published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.'' Consistent with this, FT publishes some articles on religious issues that may be of parochial interest, whereas Commentary publishes some articles on religious issues that are of little interest specifically to non-Jews.

In practice, the AJC always gave the successive editors-in-chief apparently complete editorial freedom. On the other hand, FT is dominated by the personality and the amusing blog-like contributions of its Editor-in-Chief, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.

The January 2006 issue illustrates the tendencies. It has an article about a once-Presbyterian college that now just has a ``Presbyterian heritage'' (see the Davidson College item under ACS). The same issue has an article by Benedict XVI. I think that when you get to be pope, the ``who needs no introduction'' jokes probably begin to get a bit ancient. A note at the bottom of the article's first page says ``Benedict XVI is pope of the Catholic Church. This essay will appear in his volume Without Roots, from Basic Books, this February. (It's a mostly fluent but occasionally flawed translation from the German, by the way. For example, ``[a]ccording to this model, an enlightened Christian religion ... guarantees a moral consensus and a broad religious foundation to which the single non-state religions must conform.'' This error of single for individual is repeated. I suspect the original German adjective was einzeln, which has both meanings. The word continent is also used very, very loosely, to describe cultural or social constructs such as a circum-Mediterranean civilization. There's no warrant that I'm aware of for this in the German word Kontinent, but perhaps it's just some Papal Bull.)

Another journal that has sometimes been called ``a Catholic Commentary'' is Commonweal. It is more specifically Catholic than First Things, but unlike Commentary and First Things, it is apparently not politically conservative. It appears to be politically liberal (in the American sense), but I don't read it regularly or even occasionally, so that's just a quick impression.

Fourier Transform. Productive, as in Fourier-transform ion cyclotron-resonance mass-spectroscopy (FTICRMS), infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), plain ol' FT mass spectroscopy (FTMS), photoluminescence (FTPL), photoluminescence excitation (FTPLE), and nuclear magnetic resonance (FTNMR).

Free Testosterone. ``Free'' in the sense of not being bound.

Free Throw.

[Pron. ``eff-tee.''] Frequency, often determined by extrapolation, at which gain diminishes to unity.

FT, F/T, ft
Full Time. Employed for about 40 hours per week or more. Definition is rough, but this old concept is a bit rigid for many work situations. What is surprising is that the number of hours that constitute a typical FT week of work, after continually declining during the century, stabilized sometime in the sixties. (The precise number varies across the world as well, of course.)

Fault Tree Analysis. Something to do with the expulsion from Paradise (Gan Eden).

This is one of those compound nouns that works with or without the hyphen: it's a tree analysis of the occurrence of faults (failures), and it's an analysis based on what are called fault trees. Fault trees are essentially representations of logic functions, and express failure (a ``top-level'' condition) as the logical consequence of combinations of elementary conditions. In FTA, failure probability is computed from this function by assigning probabilities to the elementary conditions.

Although FTA and Markov Analysis (MA) both can be used to compute failure probability, Markov Analysis yields more information (about non-failure or near-failure states). Furthermore, FTA has a restriction that does not limit MA: failure trees, or logic functions, only describe failure events that follow from elementary conditions in a combinatorial way. That is, the failure probability computed by an FTA depends only on the current probabilities of elementary conditions, and not on the history of those conditions. Specifically, it cannot take account of the order in which the conditions occurred. When the occurrence of a failure depends on the order in which events occur, the computation of failure probability may be expressible using a ``required-order factor'' (ROF), which in some cases is independent of individual failure probabilities. Dynamic Fault-Tree Analysis (DFT) was developed to incorporate the strengths of MA (particularly the ability to handle time-sequence issues) in a fault-tree formulation.

Guicciardini's ricordo C182 reads (in the Domandi translation):

I have observed that when wise men must make an important decision, they nearly always proceed by distinguishing and considering the two or three most probable courses events will take. And on those they base their decision, as if one of the courses were inevitable. Take heed: this is a dangerous way to do things. Often--perhaps even the majority of times--events will take a third or a fourth course that has not been foreseen and to which your decision is not tailored. Therefore, make your decisions as much on the safe side as possible, remembering that things can easily happen that should not have happened. Unless forced by necessity, do not restrict yourself.

Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody {a|A}bsorption. A syphilis test. (Treponema pallidum is the bacterium that causes syphilis.)

Free Trade Agreement.

Free Trade Area of the Americas. Between the ``Declaration of the Heads of State and Governments'' adopted at a 1995 summit in Santiago, Chile, and the November 1999 ``Fifth Meeting of Trade Ministers'' in Toronto, it appears to be all talk so far.

As of 2002, the talk was getting more serious and the FTAA was expected to emerge in 2005. The August/September 2002 issue of LatinCEO was entirely devoted to plumping for Miami as the ideal location for FTAA's Permanent Secretariat. The stars disaligned, however. Presidents in South America have been trending left -- either hard left (Venezuela and Bolivia) or soft left (Brazil, Argentina, Chile).

Focused Technical Advisory Board.

File Transfer, Access, and Management.

File Transfer Access Method. Method for managing files that involves mapping the characterisics of the various file systems containing them to a single, sufficiently general common model -- the virtual file store. ISO protocol 8571. Used for file access (reading and writing), transfers and management.

For The Avoidance Of Doubt. Emailese. Reminds me of the proverb, ``better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.''

Fade To Black. An element in the language of movies.

Federal Trade Commission. An independent agency of the US government that shares antitrust oversight with the Justice Department. This needn't cause any oversight conflicts, as what one oversees, the other may overlook.

Forsyth Technical Community College. ``Forsyth Tech.'' It's in Forsyth County, North Carolina. The family name Forsyte of John Galsworthy's famous novel The Forsyte Saga is frequently misspelled as Forsyth or Forsythe. It may be because each of the latter is ten or more times as common generally.

Foreign Trade Division (of the US Census Bureau).

Formal Thought Disorder. What a name for a florists' network!

FrontoTemporal Dementia.

Full-Time Equivalent.

For The Hell Of It.

First Time In College. An admissions-office category. Readmissions and transfers are judged differently (if only because there are other data on which to base an admissions decision).

Fourier Transform (FT) Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry.

Fourier Transform (FT) InfraRed (spectroscopy). The blurb for a short course is informative; Charles Evans & Assoc. also offers a brief explanation. Here is Perkin-Elmer's index for FTIR.

FastTracK. Filename extension for an IBM Triton audio format. Not widely recognized. I didn't recognize it. Ugh -- all those ones and zeros.

Faster Than Light. Please proceed quickly to the FLT entry.

Flying Tiger Line. See AVG.

Fruit of The Loom. Hey -- clever name!

Flying Tiger Line Pilots Association.

Fourier Transform (FT) Mass Spectromet{ry | er} (MS). An explanation is linked from a general introduction to mass spectrometry served by Virginia Tech.

Face The Nation. This would be a lot more coherent if it were conducted off shore.

Fourier Transform (FT) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR).


The Footnote: A Curious History is Anthony Grafton's amusing book about footnotes in historical scholarship (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1997). Pp. xiv, 241. $22.95 hardcover. ISBN 0-674-90215-7, available from <amazon.com>.) James J. O'Donnell reviewed it for BMCR.

One of Victor Borge's gags (I don't know how often he used it, but most comics reuse good gags) was to utter the word ``Seafood!'' in the middle of reading or pretending to read something, and then correcting himself: ``Ah, `see footnote'!''

An article entitled ``Vide Infra'' is reprinted in The Best of the Journal of Irreproducible Results: ``Improbable Investigations & Unfounded Findings'' (New York: Workman Publishing, 1983), p. 151. It's by ``Tim Healey, F.F.R., M.I.Nuc.E.,'' and its only page has one text line and 24 footnotes. The text line itself only has references to the footnotes numbered 1-4 and 14, but the footnotes have footnotes. According to ftnt. 5 of that article, Samson Wright's Applied Physiology has some of the best footnotes Healey ever encountered. Make sure to get the ninth edition or earlier: after Wright died, all that good stuff was removed (ftnt. 8). (The tenth edition, per ftnt. 10, was by C.A. Keele and E. Neil, was published by Oxford in 1961. I can't find any of these editions; it's not impossible that they're all invented.)

Federal Theater Project. One of FDR's make-work programs, set up in 1935 and terminated by Congress in 1939. Among those employed by the FTP were John Houseman, Arthur Miller, and Orson Welles.

ftp, FTP
File-Transfer Protocol.

To search anonymous ftp archives, you can try an old-style Archie server (if you can still find one), or use Lycos FTP Search.

First Temple Period. That is, ca. 850 BCE to 586 BCE. Not really an acronym I've ever seen used. I just thought I'd throw in this entry in case I ever needed to remember those dates.

Francs-Tireurs et Partisans. Also FTPF. French for `irregular soldiers and partisans.' The name was originally used by irregular light infantry and saboteurs during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1). The name is remembered today primarily as that of the French resistance organization formed by the French communists (PCF).

Germany invaded France in May 1940, and the armistice that formalized France's capitulation was signed on June 22 of that year. Hitler orchestrated an armistice ceremony heavy with symbolism. It was conducted in the Compiègne Forest, on the same railway car in the same place where the 1918 armistice (Germany's capitulation) had been signed, with some of the same furniture, etc. On the first anniversary of the 1940 armistice, Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Russian-held territory. The FTP didn't come into existence until then.

Francs-Tireurs et Partisans français. French for `French partisans and irregular soldiers.' See FTP.

Fourier-Transform (FT) PhotoLuminescence (PL) (spectroscopy).

Fourier-Transform (FT) PhotoLuminescence Excitation (PLE) (spectroscopy).

Fault-Tolerant Parallel Processor.

Flight Tape Recorder.

Frustrated Total Reflection.

Federal Telephone System An independent telephone system connecting a limited number of federal sites. The calls reach the same instrument but follow an alternate set of trunks. The system uses somewhat different telephone numbers. Usually the last four digits of the telephone number are the same as the regular number, but there is a kind of translation table for the first three, and with the small number of locations, no area code is necessary.

Federal Telecommunications Standards Committee.

Financial Times Stock Exchange (index). The ``footsie.'' Dow Jones for the London market.

Federal Telecommunications Services - 2000.

Fiber To The (or Fibre...) . A prefix that is `productive,' at least in the strictest grammatical sense.

Film, Television, and Theatre. The University of Notre Dame seems to be the only institution that uses ``Department of Film, Television, and Theatre'' as the official name of a department. (It's the department that is normally referred to by the initialism FTT.) The name strikes me as slightly awkward, since it seems to exclude a lot of nontheatrical digital video recordings that are viewed on television, although these might be of professional or educational interest to people in the department. They need a name that will stand the test of time, a less specific name that will not be rendered obsolete when technology turns the next page. I recommend ``Department of Applied Optics.''

Free (i.e., available) To Talk.

Federal (US) Technology Transfer Act.

Fiber To The (FTT-) Building.

Fiber To The (FTT-) Curb. Cf. FTTK.

Fiber To The (FTT-) Home. Also Fibre to the (British or Commonwealth) Home.

Fibre To The (FTT-) Kerb. Cf. FTTC.

The type of cable connectors used for cable TV (CATV).

Field-Training eXercise. Military usage. Cf. CPX.

Free Trade Zone. An area within the territory of a country that is legally designated to be outside that country's territory for customs purposes. Usually near a port of entry. Here's some material from Deloitte and Touche LLP.

Officially, US FTZ's are Foreign Trade Zones.

Fractional T1. Renting channels on a T1 line.

fu, -fu
Martial Art. It's spelled fu and not foo because it's extracted and generalized from the Chinese kung fu. Kung fu is written that way because for most of the twentieth century, transliterations from non-Roman scripts tended to use u rather than oo to represent the same sound, and k rather c even where the latter would be unambiguous. These conventions are not arbitrary: they tend to give foreign words a foreign appearance, and so are both generally informative and somewhat useful as pronunciation cues.

There's also Two-Fu, matchmaking service for single herbivores. The name is a play on tofu (soy bean curd).

Fu in the martial rather than the marital sense is usually used in compounds of the form foobar fu, as in the following inventory from Joe Bob Briggs's review of ``Eliminators'' [reprinted in Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In (Delacorte Pr., 1990), p. 120]:

Kung fu. Laser fu. Transfusion fu. Throwing star fu. Thompson submachine-gun fu. Toga fu. Monkey fu. Electric fan fu. Colored gas fu. Neanderthal fu. Lesbo fu. Hillbilly fu. Mandroid torpedo fu. Fire extinguisher fu. Laser-to-the-crotch fu.

There's a rock group called Foo Fighters.

When I was in high school, one of my metal-shop classmates kung-fu'ed a valuable T-square and cracked it. This demonstrates that great knowledge must be accompanied by great responsibility or liability insurance.

The guy who broke the T-square was immediately surprised -- he was only playing at kung-fu. Of course, the T-square did not know this. It reminds us of the Aesop's Fable of the boys and the frogs. What it teaches us is that metalworking and machining are skilled crafts, and some people are too stupid to be trusted around a lathe. Instead, they should be given a computer and some web-authoring tools. In fact, they have.

That's right: two or three morals for just the one story.

Freie Universität. German: `[tuition-] Free University.' Cf. Dutch and Flemish Vreije Universiteit (VU). Italian uses Libero Istituto Universitario (like LIUC) and Libera Università (e.g.: Libera Università di Bolzano a/k/a Freie Universität Bozen a/k/a Free University of Bozen-Bolzano or -- a different school -- LUISS).

I'm aware of another ``Free University'' worth mentioning, that was free in a different way. That was l'École Libre des Hautes Études (`the free school of advanced studies'), founded in New York City by Henri Focillon, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roman Jakobson, and Jacques Maritain. Founded during WWII as a sort of university-in-exile for French academics -- a ``Free French'' wartime institution.

Functional Unit.

Freie Universität Berlin.

WWII military slang, come into general usage by many who are unaware of its etymology: acronym of F_ _ _ed Up Beyond All Recognition. Cf. foobar. I attended a psychology seminar around 1981 in which the speaker discussed the ``fubar effect'' -- her awkward term for irony. I hope many people had a chance to have a laugh at her expense before anyone clued her. Ideally, I would hope she was clued but persisted stubbornly.

FUCAM, fucam, FUCaM
Facultés Universitaires Catholiques de Mons. They seem to prefer to write it fucam or FUCaM (cf. TeX) in French. Don't know French? FUCAM.

Are there any other schools in, umm, Mons was it?


Okay, okay now! Knock it off! Relax. Have a cigarette. I hope you're satisfied already.

Another school there is FPMs.

Hey! This is a family glossary!
A lot of people think that the word not written above is an acronym of the phrase For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. They've seen that expansion written on a stocks in the recreation of Colonial Williamsburg.

In fact, the word dates back to an earthier but purer time when English was mostly Germanic, untainted by such Romance intrusions as carnal. It's a cognate of German ficken.

Look, I'm not so fastidious, but search engines' spiders might be.

Fucutel, FUCUTEL
Fundación Cultural Televisa. Spanish (Mexican) `Television Cultural Foundation.' The acronym is still widely used, as of October 2003, but it is no longer used in the foundation's filespace, and the foundation itself now just refers to itself as la Fundación Televisa.

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Wouldn't it be more accurate to describe this condition as ``fear, uncertainty, and confusion''? FUD is a standard management and marketing strategy. Of course, politicians would never use it.

(Yeah, yeah, ``and Confused Knuckleheads,'' of course. Look, bud, this is a family glossary!)

Freeform Universal Do-it-yourself Gaming Experience. A generic system of rules for role-playing games (RPG's), intended for every RPG genre from fantasy to pulp to superhero to science fiction (which is technically distinguished from ``fantasy,'' but you wouldn't know it by me). Developed by Steffan O'Sullivan and distributed by Grey Ghost Press, Inc.


First Updated Forecast. Whatever you say, boss.

Federation of Uganda Football Associations.

Fund for UFO Research, Inc. At their symposia you can meet people who claim to have been temporarily abducted by aliens.

You know, maybe the beings on board the UFO's don't know how to terraform, and they're just looking for a habitable planet. If we mess this one up bad enough, maybe they'll just move on.

Cf. furfur.

Folch Upper Layer. A/k/a Folch lower phase. The less-dense, chloroform-poor layer that forms when one uses the lipid extraction procedure of Folch, q.v. The FUL is the polar phase (methanol and water) that dissolves the nonlipids. It should not be confused with ``pure Folch upper,'' a wash used in further processing of the FUL itself.

Unable to swallow any more.

In German, you can say ``ich bin voll,'' which can be interpreted to mean `I am full,' but it sounds crass. You want to say ``ich bin satt.''

See buckminsterfullerene.

Full faith and credit of...
What does this mean, really? Do they promise that I can always exchange $2000 for a new computer with a reasonable array of the latest features? Not really, but it's held true since 1984, so I figure it'll hold for a while longer. They can't even guarantee that everyone else is thinking the same way, yet that's what's making it work. It's a confidence game of some sort, I can sense it.

full Nelson
A half Nelson is a wrestling hold in which the holder wraps his or her forearm under his or her opponent's underarm and rests his or her hand behind the nape of the held person's (his or her) neck. Probably ``rests'' is not the mot juste here. A full Nelson hold is two half Nelsons: neck held down with arms wrapped under both armpits of the held person. It can get uncomfortable, so it was made against the rules of legitmate wrestling.

Bouncers are allowed to use this hold if the door swings outward. Television wrestlers are allowed to use it if the maneuver is being supervised via national television.

``No holds barred'' means no wrestling ``holds'' are barred.

Do you realize that Jerry Springer was once mayor of Cincinnati? In fact, he was occasionally mentioned on the TV sitcom ``WKRP in Cincinnati'' (1978-1982).

[Football icon]


fumic acid
Humic acid. This entry is mostly about the use of eff rather than aitch in the spelling and pronunciation. If you want to know about humic acid ipse, try the ``about humic acid'' page from the Humic Acid Research Group at NEU.

Fumic acid does not have much to do with fumes. It is polymeric, and hence not very volatile. Fumic acid has to do with humus. (Humus is organic matter in soil, apart from organisms and their undecomposed or partially decomposed tissues. In other words, it is decomposed biological matter. This is a very unclear definition, but perfectly standard. The ambiguity arises because it is impossible to pinpoint a moment when ``decomposition'' is ``complete.'' Fortunately, this is just the fumic acid entry, so we don't have to worry about this.)

But the entry isn't finished yet.

Entertainment that doesn't require too great a conscious effort on the part of the entertained.

Loincloth traditionally worn by adult Japanese males. It's a native term, but it sounds like it could be derived from fundament and be related to ``foundation garment.''

Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix. (University Faculties of Our Lady of Peace.) University of Namur, in Belgium. See Notre Dame.

Remember, you can't spell funeral without fun. That is the deeper meaning of Mick Jagger's timeless observation about the alternative:
``What a drag it is getting old.''

If it weren't for Jagger, who was born in another era (another word without which you can't spell funeral), this entry would have been about how you can't spell funereal without fun and real. And while we're on the subject (fun, that is), I suggest you search on "appear that the church authorities opposed fun as such."

It is often asserted that fünf, Genf, Hanf and Senf are the only words in German ending with the letter sequence nf. [Genf is considered the `tough' one.] However, there're also einhundertfünf, zweihundertfünf, usw. So there are really four plus infinity German words ending in nf. That's actually equal to three plus infinity, so I guess that Genf will have to go. German speakers in Switzerland can use the city's name in some other language instead. English is a very popular second language, particularly in the German cantons, so they could use Geneva. How about a Romance language? I don't know what the name is in Romansch, but it's Genebra, Ginebra, and Ginevra in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, resp., so there seems to be something of a consensus among Romance languages. Probably any one will do. Oh yeah, the local language is French. That would be ... Genève?

Note that Hanf is the only word ending in nf that doesn't have a rhyme. Generally speaking German is easy to rhyme because it has a relatively small number of very common suffixes. In particular, almost all infinitives end in -en, -ern, or -eln (sein and tun are probably the only exceptions), and you can usually arrange to have a sentence end in an infinitive (or in the past participle of a strong verb, which also ends in -en).

You can read a less careful discussion of this matter (the nf matter), and some others, in an interview with Frau Frank-Cyrus in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin, 9. Woche, 4. März 1994 Heft, 731, Seite 50-51. You can read about difficult rhymes in English at the forange entry.

Frame-relay User Network Interface.

Japanese word meaning `indignation, ire.' The vowels have a typically continental (European) pronunciation, so this doesn't sound a great deal like ``fun man,'' I still rate it as mildly amusing, and a very good contrarian mnemonic.

funny hat
The first time you wear a slightly unusual hat in public, complete strangers look at you kind of funny, making you feel self-conscious. Eventually, they stop giving you surreptitious sidelong glances and staring boldly at you when your back is turned. You've probably wondered how a complete stranger you meet on the third day you're wearing the hat manages to know that you've been wearing it awhile, since you've never seen him before in your life, and in particular not on the previous two days. The answer is, all complete and total strangers take a special complete and total strangers' course to learn how to tell. You never took that course because you're not a complete and total stranger. Also, the hat looks older.

unusual name beginning in `B' and ending in -us
This predisposes you to become a famous behavioral psychologist, or at least it used to (John Broadus Watson, Burrhus Frederic Skinner). This entry is located here under the effs because it was originally entitled ``funny name beginning in `B'...'' but I didn't want to offend anyone with a weird name, but then again I didn't want to weasel out completely. It does seem to have landed in a somewhat disreputable neighborhood of the glossary.

A Spanish verb meaning `put a hole into.' The etymology is uncertain; a Vulgar Latin * furaccare is hyphothesized. Spanish also has the synonyms horadar and agujerear, not to mention perforar. BTW, lacerar (along with the older lacerear) has a broader sense than its English cognate.

A Spanish feminine noun meaning `whore.' The etymology is uncertain. (Despite the suggestive semantics, it's probably unrelated to furacar. The related verb would have to have been the afaik unattested furciar.) Furcia doesn't seem to have a cognate in Portuguese or French. More importantly, it apparently doesn't have a cognate in Italian or any of the Rhaeto-Romance languages; this is a good thing because if it did, it might be spelled similarly, and Furcia is a place name in northern Italy.

A pass in the Trentino Dolomites (Dolomite Alps) is called Passo Furcia in Italian and Furkelpass and Furkel Sattel in German. There's a Via Furcia that goes to or through it, and Hotel Jú Furcia is on Via Furcia in San Vigilio di Marebbe, Italy.

The word furcia is much less common in Spanish than prostituta, to say nothing of puta (which is frequently used as a general intensifier, like the word for which eff'in' is a euphemism). In that sense, furcia is a bit like the word harlot in English -- there are fluent speakers of the language who are unfamiliar with the word -- but without the element of archaism.

When not qualified by an adjective, the English word whore means `female prostitute.' Hence, it applies literally only to women. To, uh, cover our ass we might generalize the definition slightly to be a `prostitute to male customers.' But few English nouns are marked for gender, and there is no regularly formed explicitly male version of ``whore.'' Spanish is different, which makes the furcio entry more interesting.

(Of course, with a modifier as prefix the word whore can take senses that implicitly apply to males exclusively or as well. In these extended senses whore essentially refers to those prostituting or willing to prostitute themselves in some way. I've also run across ``man-whore,'' which is an attempt to transfer the concept of ``slut'' across the sexual divide. Wake me when they coin ``man-hymen.'' The song title ``Man-Hymen Bulldozer,'' in Chapstik's album Barnburner, doesn't count because it's obviously a pun on Mannheim Steamroller.)

A mountain pass in the Trentino Dolomites (Dolomite Alps), called Passo Furcia in Italian and Furkelpass and Furkel Sattel in German. (The latter term is metaphorical -- sattel literally means `saddle,' of course, and it isn't usually used for a mountain pass -- and seems to be deprecated.)

There's a Via Furcia that goes through the pass, and Hotel Jú Furcia is on Via Furcia in San Vigilio di Marebbe, Italy.

Spanish masculine noun meaning `blooper.' The word seems to have originated in Argentina and spread. From 2000 to 2002, Canal de las Estrellas, a Mexican TV network, broadcast a bloopers show by the name of Furcio co-hosted by Pedro Armendáriz, Jr., and a CGI-puppet also called Furcio that vaguely resembled Sesame Street's Big Bird and that was operated by Odín Dupeyrón.

There was one Juan Carlos Córdoba Ocana, of the Mexican crime syndicate Los Zetas, who was killed in a Mexican Army operation on April 11, 2011. Córdoba went by the name of ``El Furcio.'' In that operation, another Zeta was arrested and eight hostages were freed.

José García Cansino, a state-level leader of the Zetas in the state that is their main base of operations (Nuevo León), was captured the following October. He too went by ``El Furcio.'' This is very encouraging: they seem to be running out of effective pseudonyms.

A flake of skin, like dandruff. Manna from dust-mite heaven.

Sloughed-off skin is the dominant component of dust in a well lived-in home. Does that mean people of different skin color have different color dust? I've never checked.

It's worth keeping in mind, however, that most people's skin is highly translucent and gets its color from a small concentration of pigment (mostly melanin) (not melatonin, you doofus) and from selective absorption below the skin surface. Furfur is light-colored because it reflects light efficiently, and it is not deeply colored (saturated) because its absorption is about constant across the light spectrum.

Optically, furfur is like flakes of frosted or scratched glass: each flake absorbs little, and its appearance is controlled by the way light reflects and refracts at the rough surface. Skin on your arm is similar, but light that is not reflected off the outer surface mostly does not reach the other side, as it would in a flake, because the other side is much further away. Instead, the light experiences multiple scattering by (non-light-absorbing) inhomogeneities under the surface, and the direction of the light changes until it either comes back out the top surface or is absorbed. The mechanism for this is Rayleigh scattering, which tends to be called Tyndall scattering in the context of animal coloration.

This scattering is inversely proportional to the inverse fourth power of the frequency, and hence much stronger for blue than red, by a factor of roughly 24 = 16). As a result, veins look blue: on average, red light penetrates more deeply before scattering its way out of the skin, and therefore has a higher chance of being intercepted by a vein and being absorbed. That preferential absorption of red makes the light coming off the skin over a vein look blue, although the blood and vein are red. Arteries would look blue too, but they're too deep to trace. I explained this in class and a student asked why some of the veins in her wrists looked more purplish and some more blue. There are some relevant thoughts at the chelys entry, believe it or not.

We tend to shed skin most during sleep, but the exhaled water vapor makes a much greater contribution to nocturnal weight loss. If you're thinking along these lines, you're probably not losing any weight.

Japanese term for the transliteration of kanji into kana. Kanji are logograms (mostly borrowed from Chinese; a few were created in Japan) adapted to Japanese use.

A common use of furigana is in children's schoolbooks. Also, when Japanese write their names on official forms, they may be required to spell it out using furigana in addition to the kanji. Normally one writes native Japanese words in hiragana, but this is one of the exceptional situations. People sometimes write these name furigana in katakana instead. The reason is that katakana has somewhat more sharply defined features than hiragana: it is angular and has more straight and fewer curved lines, so katakana stands in relation to hiragana somewhat as block letters to cursive.

In fact, a good mnemonic for most Spanish-speakers to keep the two kinds of kana, uh, straight is that hira- is pronounced like Spanish jira (`rotates'). Yes, of course Spanish jirar (`to rotate') is cognate with English gyrate. Ground lamb and beef, broiled on a rotating spit and served as shavings on pita bread, is called gyros. That's pronounced ``YEE ross.''

furlongs per fortnight
One furlong per fortnight is 166.309 µm/sec. A thousand times faster than MBE film growth.

Japanese term meaning `furo.' That's what the translation dictionary says. Apparently it's one of those words -- like futon, harakiri, hibachi, kamikaze, karaoke, kimono, sashimi, sushi, and umami -- that has been naturalized into English. Our immigration problems are worse than I thought! Anyway, it looks like you ought to know what it means. A furo is a `Japanese-style bath or bathtub.' A furoya is `a public bathhouse.' A furoshiki (another word based on the same kanji pair as furo) is a `square of cloth used for wrapping.' Wrapping a wet torso? Perhaps, but a towel is a taoru (a loan, of course).

Furrier Series
See Liouville. (You want Fourier Series.) On the other hand, there is a Fuzzy transformation, though it's not fuzzy at all.

further our understanding
Further clot our library's shelves.

This is an interesting Japanese verb meaning `fall' but only referring to rain or snow. One might translate it generally as `to precipitate,' or as `to rain' or `to snow' if context allowed disambiguation. Then, just when you think you've got the translation thing down, you find out that there are verbs furidasu, furisuzuku, and furiyamu, meaning `start falling, continue falling,' and `stop falling,' respectively, all in reference to rain or snow. Japan gets a lot of precipitation. That's why its earliest known (prehistoric) cultures were able to be sedentary without being agricultural: they were hunter-gatherers in settled villages.

The falling of rain and snow presents a problem to the grammatical structures of many languages. Accusative languages like English and Japanese presume that all acts have an agent. This leaves three options for describing the phenomenon of precipitation within the standard grammatical structure.

One option is to make rain, say, the agent of its own falling: ``The rain falls.'' (``La lluvia cae.'' [Spanish.] ``Der Regen fällt.'' [German.] ``The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain.'' [Apologies to Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe.])

A second is to use a copula to assign the property of falling to the rain: ``The rain is falling.'' ``La lluvia esta cayendo.'' ``Der Regen ist fallend.'' (The Spanish is tolerable; the German isn't.)

A third option is to make rain an adjective of some sort, such as by making rain a verb or adjective. This is a popular approach, but it raises the question: what is it that is doing the raining? It seems awkward to have the rain rain itself, and the question generally goes unanswered. In English and German the agency question is parried with a neuter personal pronoun: ``It is raining.'' ``Es regnet.'' In Spanish, an explicit pronoun is not needed, though the verb conjugation provides comparable information (i.e., Spanish is a pro-drop language): ``Esta lloviendo.'' ``Llueve.'' [`It is raining.' `It rains.'']

This is a Japanese verb, distinct from the preceding and based on an unrelated kanji. It has a variety of meanings, including these:
  1. wave, shake, swing
  2. shake, rattle, roll (just kidding, sort of)
  3. sprinkle (also furikakeru; also furimaku, which has additional meanings)
  4. wag [a tail]
  5. change kanji into kana (see furigana)
  6. assign
  7. reject a solicitation or advance

Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer. A NASA-supported, JHU-operated ``astrophysics mission that was launched on June 24, 1999, to explore the Universe using the technique of high-resolution spectroscopy in the far-ultraviolet spectral region.'' It looks like a grandfather-clock cabinet with some of the panels skew.

Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis.

fuzzy-wuzzy loving cup explosion
I think we missed it.

Federal Voting Assistance Program. Read this fascinating article.

Federación Venezolana de Bridge. The Venezuelan NBO, founded in 1959. A member of the CACBF.

Federation of Veterinarians of Europe. It's ``an umbrella organisation of veterinary organisations from 38 European countries [it] also represent[s] 4 vibrant sections, each ... representing key groups within [the] profession: Practitioners (UEVP), Hygienists (UEVH), Veterinary State Officers (EASVO) and veterinarians in Education, Research and Industry (EVERI).''

Finite Volume Method. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finite_volume_method

Florida Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

[Football icon]

Football Writers Association of America.

Friend[s] With Benefits. The benefits are understood to be of a sexual nature. The benefits are also understood to be direct -- i.e., your wingman is not an FWB. If I were crass, this would be a shorter and less elliptical entry.

Fwd, FWD

Free-Wheeling Diode.

Front-Wheel Drive. Cf. RWD.

FAI World Grand Prix. ``... aims to develop the artistic aspect of aerobatic demonstrations and flying to music. Open to top level solo pilots, formation teams and constructors....

Full Width (of pulse or lineshape) at Half Maximum (value). Twice HWHM.

FWIW, fwiw
For What It's Worth. The phrase and now even the acronym are hackneyed.

The phrase is not just a cliché, it's the title of a 1966 hit for Buffalo Springfield. (The writer was Stephen Stills; young Neil Young was also in Buffalo Springfield.) The title phrase doesn't occur in the song lyrics. The consistent part of the chorus is ``stop, hey, what's that sound? / Everybody look what's going down.''

Four-Wave Mixing.

Euphemism for an obscenity beginning in the letter eff, such as F_c_b__k.

Fish and Wildlife Service.

Full Width (of pulse or lineshape) at one Tenth of Maximum (value). This is a much rarer term, in my experience, than FWHM.

eFfeCtS. Possibly special effects (SFX). A movie and subsequent TV series bore F/X as a title. F/X is productive mostly in the unpunctuated form FX, as in SFX and also VFX and TFX.

FiXed-point. Cf. floating point.

Foreign eXchange.

For eXample. This glossary entry is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute an endorsement. SBF unanimously recommends e.g. (Unless you're abbreviating the Danish expression for eksempel, in which case it's perfectly axeptable.)

Fracture. Medical abbreviation. Other common abbreviations of the same form: DX (diagnosis), Hx ([patient] history), Rx (prescription), SX (symptoms), TX (treatment).

Explanation of abbreviation at Rx.

(Domain code for) France, Metropolitan. Approximations of French are spoken throughout.

Freedom of eXpression Institute. A South African NGO ``formed in January 1994 from a merger of two organisations involved in campaigning for freedom of expression during the apartheid years, namely the Campaign for Open Media (COM) and the Anti-Censorship Action Group (ACAG). Recently, the FXI also established the Media Defence Fund to sponsor freedom of expression court cases on behalf of media who are not able to afford the legal costs. This work is a continuation of work conducted by the now-defunct Media Defence Trust (MDT).''

Wait a second -- this seems to imply... You mean majority rule didn't usher in the millennium? Bummer! What a let-down! Let's just go back to the way things were before, huh? (Yeah, yeah, I mean the millennial age, not the third millennium of the common era.)

``The need for the FXI is rooted in the belief that South Africa is in an early stage of building a democracy and strong institutions are required to campaign for and uphold democratic values, and in this instance, the values of freedom of speech and expression.''

FoX Movies. A subscription (cable or satellite) channel.

Foreign eXchange Office.

Foreign eXchange Subscriber.

FiXed-point (processor or computing) Unit.

Fiscal Year. Traditionally, the fiscal year is simply the annual period used for financial accounting. Oddly, however, in Spanish, el fiscal is not the treasurer but `the public prosecutor.'

Most individual tax returns filed with the United States IRS use a calendar-year accounting period (``tax year''). The IRS defines a ``regular fiscal year'' as a ``12-month period that ends on the last day of any month except December.'' (I'm quoting here from the 2004 edition of IRS publication 17 (Your Federal Income Tax: For Individuals), p. 14. So the IRS definition stipulates that a calendar year is not a regular fiscal year. Wonders never cease.) The IRS also recognizes 52-53-week fiscal years, which always end on the same day of the week, and which vary in length between 52 and 53 weeks.

The US government's own FY used to end on June 30 (as recently as the 1950's, anyway), but now runs from October 1 to September 30. If a new budget has not been passed by the time the new FY begins, Congress usually passes a continuing resolution (or two, or...) that allows the government to continue functioning. Many retailers (Wal-Mart, for example) use a fiscal year that ends on January 31.

For Your {Consideration | Convenience}.

Future Years Corporate Plan.

Future Years Defense Plan.

First-Year Experience. A program to coddle college freshmen so that the weak ones don't drop out until the sophomore year. Eventually, this program will be expanded into a SYE, TYE, and another (really the same) FYE.

Lem writes (p. 5; see inanimate for book)
... Always on display in Orenstein's window were pyramids of enticing red apples, oranges, and bananas with oval stickers that said FYFFES. I remember the word but have no idea what it meant.

Today, Dublin-based Fyffes plc ``is the leading importer and distributor of fresh fruit and vegetables in Europe.'' Follow this link for a history of Fyffe Blue label, which was used from 1929 on. United Fruit Company started putting similar blue stickers on its Chiquita-brand bananas in the 1960's. For a general survey of banana labels, see this highly useful page.

For Your Information. A comment typically written at the top of a xerox tossed in a co-worker's mailbox. The usual reaction of the person receiving such a cryptic message is some variant of ``why would I want to know this?'' However, other reactions may occur.

Former Yugoslav Republic Of. Like BYO, this acronym only occurs in a limited range of contexts. The contexts are FYRO Macedonia and Macedonia FYRO.

Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia. The Current Republic of Greece objects to allowing the present country of people universally known as Macedonians to call themselves the country of Macedonia. They consider use of the name an implicit act of aggression against the region of Greece known as Macedonia. I have at least one Greek friend who feels strongly this way. It's nothing. Weirder stuff happens all the time. Cf. TAFKAP.

First Year of Studies. ``The First Year of Studies is an academic unit which, utilizing a variety of support services, facilitates the transition of first-year students from high school to university life. It advises them in the selection of courses in the First Year curriculum and an appropriate undergraduate college or major while seeking to prepare them for the academic and personal challenges of Notre Dame.''

Float-Zone. One method of growing pure crystals. An analysis of this process involves the study of Marangoni convection -- instability driven by surface tension temperature-dependence. See, for example, Ben Hadid & Roux in JFM (1992); Carpenter & Homsy in JFM (1989).

Forschungszentrum. German: `Research Center.'

Forschungszentrum Jülich. FZJ's English-language pages translate this as `Research Centre Jülich.' This translation is only tolerable: in German, placing the location (a university town) directly after FZ is unexceptionable; in English, the parallel placement is jarring. Perhaps I should say ``still jarring,'' since there are many foreign institutions so named in their respective languages, and the practice, if it isn't seeping too quickly into English usage, is not unknown. (The current (2008) Swansea University was once known as ``University of Wales, Swansea.'' At least they used a comma.) The translation `Jülich Research Center' accurately conveys both the meaning and the impact (or normalcy) of the original German term.

Formula One. Non-stock racing cars and their races. The majority of races are run in Europe. The tour is a competitor of NASCAR, and until the 1980's there were no F1 races in the US.

Student Visa.

A two-seat version of the F-15J.

A Japanese variant of the F-15C.

Visa for spouse of student.

A stealth fighter jet. A version of the F-16 with four more hardpoints (hence stealthier).

Fluorine (F) gas. A halogen gas. B.p. -188 °C.

Federal Reporter, Second Series. US legal journal. Current series (as of the year 2000) is F.3d.

F2F, f2f
Face-To-Face. An increasingly useful modifier to distinguish, say the in-class, physically present participants in a course from those whose participation is mediated by some distance learning (DL, q.v.) technology.

Cf. mano-a-mano.

Federal Reporter, Third Series. US legal journal. The current series, as of the year 2000.

Fox Fan For Life. Fox is understood here as Fox News or Fox TV or Murdoch. Cf. BFF.

Fortune 500. A list of the 500 biggest publicly held companies in the US, compiled and published by Fortune magazine.

Fortran of 1977. It's been downhill ever since.

Fortran of 1992.

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Oops! Overshot the pointers.

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