(Click here for bottom)

R r

Arginine. An amino acid (2-amino-5-carbamimidoylamino pentanoic acid):
                ____        NH
               /    \      /  2
              /      \____/
            HN            \
              \            \
               \            === O
                === NH     /
               /          /
              /         HO
           H N

ORganic group. A generic symbol used in chemical formulas. Conveniently, there is no chemical element whose symbol is R. When there are multiple organic groups to be represented, either primed (R' and R'') or subscripted (R1, R2, etc.) symbols are typically used. Cf. Ar. (Gesundheit!)

Rare earth element. Generic symbol in chemical formulas.


degrees Réaumur. A temperature scale proportional to the (current) Celsius scale (°C), with water freezing at 0°R but boiling at 80°R. At the point where Celsius and Fahrenheit scales agree (-40°C = -40°F), the temperature on this scale is -32°R. There seems to be a conspiracy to make 32 an important number in temperature measurement (``thermometry'').

Réaumur's scale is clearly superior to the others, for three reasons:

  1. It can describe the greatest range of temperatures with just two digits.
  2. It is conceptually less challenging.
  3. It has just the right amount of funkiness -- not too much (°F), not too little (°C).
So the obvious question arises: why does everyone use the Fahrenheit scale (apart from one or two foreigners and maybe a scientist)? Probably the confusion of having two scales with names beginning in R (the other is Rankine's, mentioned at the °F entry) led to frustration and despair.

Reflector. For incandescent bulbs so designated, see R lamp.

Regina (Queen) or Rex (King). Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom does not sign with a last name; she writes `Elizabeth R.'

Republican. Member of the Grand Old Party (GOP).

Right. More interesting entry at RHS. The direction is much more frequently abbreviated than the judgement.

Romeo. 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 recommendation for J is ``Juliette.'' Perhaps you missed it when you were reading the jays.

Rook. A chess piece. The Rook initially in the corner nearer the Queen (Q) is in the QR file, for Queen's Rook; the one on the other side is in the KR file, for King's Rook (see K). When it is clear which file is meant, R can designate either. See file entry.

The piece name Rook is derived from Persian. It's etymologically unrelated to the word rook meaning crow or someone who acts like a crow.

The whole game came to Europe from Persia. The name Chess itself comes from Shah (more evident in German, where chess is called Schach).


Race Announcement.

Radium. Technically, it's the heaviest alkaline earth element. Here's an interesting story about the effects of radium in the early twentieth-century workplace.

Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Real Audio. A streaming protocol that allows audio files (or real-time audio feed) served on the web to be heard in real time at the client. A few frames of data are buffered initially, leading to an initial delay. Basic players are free from <real.com>.


Realencyclopädie der classichen Altertumswissenschaft. Vide RE.

Research Assistant. Typically a graduate-student position with research responsibilities.

[column] Quintilian, trying to praise Seneca, but not too highly, remarks that

Seneca had many excellent qualities, a quick and fertile intelligence with great industry and wide knowledge, though as regards the last quality he was often led into error by those whom he had entrusted with the task of investigating certain subjects on his behalf.
(Institutio Oratoria, book 10, ch. 1, sec. 130. Translation of H. E. Butler, part of the 1920-22 Loeb edition. See details and entire English at Bil Thayer's LacusCurtius.)

Resident { Advisor | Assistant }. An upperclassman (typically) who serves as a university's live-in representative in a dorm.


Revue Archéologique. A French journal catalogued in TOCS-IN.

Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Right Ascension. Longitude (azimuthal angle), in a spherical polar coördinate earth-centered system used for astronomy. Zero is along the sun-to-earth direction at vernal equinox, and angle increases to the east. The angle is usually expressed in time units -- from 0 up to (but not including) 24 hours, rather than 0 to 360°. The other coördinate in this system is declination (Dec).

Traditionally, star catalogs are ordered by right ascension, whereas Sears catalogs are ordered by people distant from population centers. You could look them up as they rise. (I mean the stars. The sky ones.) Of course, if you're not using a tracking mechanism, the easiest way to locate most stars is relative to the constellations (q.v.) they are part of or near to.

Royal Artillery. The gunners. Cf. RE.

Runs Allowed. A pitching stat.

Reductio ad absurdum. Yes, it's Latin, very good. But you may be thinking of anorexia nervosa.

(US) Regional Airline Association.

Royal Australian Air Force. I guess they can avoid an acronym change if they call it Republic of Australia Air Force.

Romanian Association for American Studies. They've been holding biennial conferences since 2000.

Radio Advertising Bureau (US). About a decade ago, someone in the leadership of this organization (I forget who), was visiting Hong Kong while contemplating the sorry state of advertising revenues for US radio broadcasters. There he happened to find for sale some novelty radios, sold in a case shaped like the letters of the word RADIO. He bought a thousand of these, the story goes, and the nucleus of an ad campaign was born. Radio began to advertise for radio advertisers in advertisements on TV. [Wait, don't write. You're not the first to discover deeply concealed irony in this.] The theme of the campaign was ``Radio - it's red hot!'' or something like that, and featured the dramatic, involuntary sacrificial immolation of one of those RADIO-shaped radios. I remember the ads, with good crackling sound effects, but I don't remember where I read the rest of this story (say around 1986). I don't think they used up the radios in takes. They could have saved the footage and made a public service spot for smoke detectors.

Rapid Action Battalion. A unit of the Bangladeshi Army, at least. They made international news on February 25, 2009, when they were called to put down a mutiny by the BDR.

Rabbits are a popular kind of pet. They can be potty-trained, and they may get along well with other rabbits and with cats, too. Then again, they may not. Often, especially if they're unneutered males without company or perhaps if they were mistreated when young (being raised in a bunny mill -- the cunicular equivalent of a puppy mill -- would do it), they can grow vicious with age. Then they become an unpopular kind of pet.

The general information in the preceding paragraph came mostly from conversations with three other rabbit owners. Now I want to share a couple of things I learned during my own one-month stint as a rabbit owner:

  1. A rabbit that has been potty-trained may experience confusion in a new environment. In particular, it may seem to know that it should do its business in a rectangular tray, but may not realize that the presence of newspaper and straw are crucial identifying marks of the appropriate receptacle. It may therefore use any overturned boxtop it finds in a secluded location.
  2. The domestic rabbit has an innate habbit (that must be the spelling) of gnawing on electrical wiring. In my experience, if the wire is a plugged-in power cord, it gnaws through the insulation and stops after some of the wire is exposed. I haven't observed the process -- only its effects -- but from the condition of the wires it seems that a number of shocks are required before the rabbit gives up. I suppose high humidity would be helpful -- the rabbit would thus be well-grounded and well-shocked.

Hares are not rabbits. Hares were already in Europe during Roman times when rabbits from Spain invaded and colonized Europe. The origin of the name of Spain is uncertain, but one popular hypothesis traces it to the Punic (i.e. Carthaginian- and Phoenician-language) word for rabbit, tsepan or span in a couple of Latin-character renderings.

rabbit ears
No woodland animals are sacrificed in the manufacture of these known hazards to human eyesight and alleged improvers of TV broadcast reception.

rabbit's foot
If the rabbit had died of natural causes, in its old age, then it would probably be a pretty ratty-looking foot, now wouldn't it?


Research Archives Bibliographical And Informational Documents. Of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. See here.

RABbit Monoclonal AntiBodies. This reminds me that the first time I visited Cesar Milstein at his home in Cambridge, he cooked rabbit. It is probably a helpful hobby for a biochemist to be a gourmet cook, so long as he doesn't fall into the habit of always tasting the results.


Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum.

Refiner Acquisition Cost. Of petroleum.

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.


Rivista di Archeologia Cristiana.

Rotating-Arm Collector (of fogwater). [E. J. Mack and R. J. Pilié, ``Fog Water Collector.'' U.S. Patent Nº 3889532, (1975).]

Royal Automobile Club (of Britain). They've been running annual races on the Isle of Man since September 14, 1905.

See also the Automobile Association (AA).

French for `rabble, riff-raff.' The Old French etymon of this word, attested with spellings rascaille, rascaile, and rescaille, had entered English by the fourteenth century. By the fifteenth century it had been applied to an individual, and today the collective and uncountable senses are obsolete in English.

All French dictionaries I have checked give only an uncountable or collective racaille, and no countable individual use such as is now current in English. Intrigued by a November 2005 editorial in English that claimed en passant that racaille means `hoodlum,' I searched for uses of the lexeme in French news articles. It seems that the majority of uses are still uncountable (i.e., as described in dictionaries) or at least ambiguous (e.g., attributive uses of the singular form, which might be interpreted as countable or not.) However, a countable form applicable to individuals -- perhaps originally slang -- is becoming evident. In a July 2005 article in Le Télégram, a proud mother is quoted remarking that her daughter's success in school ``prouve que le cliché `gosses de HLM = racailles' n'est pas fondé.'' (Only the quotation marks have been changed to protect the innocent. This means ``proves that the stereotype `kids from the projects = hoodlums' is unfounded.'')

The earliest instance I can find is from 1994 (this mostly reflects the limitations of my database): ``Blues des racailles'' was the debut album of Tonton David, described as having ``origines banlieusardes.'' The last phrase can be translated literally as `suburban origins,' but if you're thinking whitebread and lawn-mowers, you need to have a look at the entry for jeunes des banlieues.

There were riots in the Lille area on Christmas Eve 1998, and among those charged in connection with it were three adults with prior criminal records. Their prosecutor told the court, ``Ce sont trois voyous, trois racailles.'' [`They are three thugs, three hoodlums.'] In a phrase that would resonate in 2005, Le Figaro described Roubaix as having ``un calme précaire,'' (`a fragile calm').

Real Automóvil Club de España. `Royal Automobile Club of Spain.' Pronounced ``RAH-theh,'' (``th'' unvoiced, as in ``thick''). Also pronounced ``RAH-seh'' in some parts of Andalusia and throughout Latin America.

Research into Advanced Communications in Europe. Predecessor of ACTS.

A speed contest normally won by the competitor completing the race course with the highest average speed.

The track or surface where the roller or ball bearing rolls.

Is it mere coincidence that racecar and radar, so closely connected in action, should also be so close in collating sequence, and should also

both be palindromes ...?

I don't think so.

rack panel standards
The American standards for equipment racks (also somewhat confusingly called cabinets) and rack panels are defined by EIA standard SE-102. The racks consist, at a minimum, of two weight-bearing rails with mounting holes at prescribed distances, as described at the U entry. The holes are arranged along a rail in a pattern that repeats every 1.75 inches (the length U). The panels are 19 inches wide.

Any individual unit of rack-mountable equipment is sold in a chassis with a firmly attached front panel, all designed to take up a whole number of U's of vertical space, and the entire width inside the rack. One mounts the equipment onto a rack by screwing the front panel to the front sides of two rails. (In the equipment I'm familiar with, the front panel is typically a steel sheet one sixteenth to one eighth of an inch thick.) Various elaborations of this system are used, particularly for heavy equipment, involving vertical rails at the back (see U entry). Regardless of these additional support mechanisms, the front panels have standard dimensions which allow them to be firmly mounted on the rails. At least twelve panel specifications are designated by letter names:

Panel Size Height in whole U's
A 1
B 2
C 3
D 4
E 5
F 6
G 7
H 8
J 9
K 10
L 11
M 12

Receptors for Activated C Kinase.

Rapid Application Development.

Ribbon Against Drop (crystal pulling, I guess).

Radio Association Defending Airwave Rights. Organization of police-radar detector manufacturers.

Nickname of Cpl. Walter Eugene O'Reilly, a character from the beginning until 1979 on the insufferably hip TV show M*A*S*H (1972-1983). The nickname was owed to his preternatural ability to hear the sound of an approaching medevac helicopter a few seconds before anyone else. Evidently, the Korean War took place before helicopter pilots started using radio communication. Gary Burghoff played the role, and I thought he'd found another regular gig on the TV series Seinfeld series (1990-1998), but it turns out that that role (George Costanza) was played by Jason Alexander, sixteen years his junior.

But Harry Morgan, who played the unit commander (Col. Sherman T. Potter) on M*A*S*H from 1975 to the end, really was the same actor who played Jack Webb's partner on the 1967-1970 Dragnet series. He also played a crazy general named Steele in a 1974 episode of M*A*S*H.

RADAR, radar
RAdio Detection And Ranging.

A palindrome, how 'bout that!

Invented in Britain in 1940 by Robert M. Page and others, and independently in Germany. The name was coined by S. M. Tucker.

During the war, Britain sent its developers to work in the US on rapid roll-out. Through the course of the war, there was time enough for a couple of generations of measures and countermeasures to be developed, what we now call ECM. In the course of research, it was unexpectedly discovered that microwaves didn't travel as far in humid weather -- a fact that led to development of the microwave oven. The research was conducted at the MIT Radiation Laboratory (``Rad Lab''), which was disbanded before the war ended. The lab name is often described as having been purposely chosen to be deceptive, but it's hardly inaccurate.

Regional Alcohol and Drug Awareness Resource.

Text copied February 2005: ``The RADAR Network, sponsored by SAMHSA's NCADI, is the largest substance abuse prevention and treatment network of its kind. There are more than 700 active Centers worldwide with representation in every State and U.S. territory.

This unique network offers free membership and provides an organized way for States to connect with one another and with national agencies such as the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), and the National Prevention Network (NPN).

Routing Arbiter DataBase.

radial lead
Refers to a cylindrical two-lead electrical package with both leads coming out of the same end. Cf. axial lead. Symmetric lead placement is common, but asymmetric placement also occurs and may indicate an unlabelled functional asymmetry (polarity in an electrolytic capacitor, for example).

In practice, almost any capacitor package that is not a box and has two leads not in an ``axial'' configuration is liable to be called ``radial.'' The usage even extends to those bright oblong capacitors whose correct technical designation I believe to be orange drop.

RADar Information Display.

Radiocarbon Dating Services
I guess this is for when you get tired of the radiocarbon club scene. Beta Analytic, Inc., claims to be the largest such dating service in the world; I don't know why they don't come up when I search Yahoo under Personals. I visited their exhibition booth at the Archaeologists' meeting, staffed by a good-looking young guy -- smart as a whip, too. (Did you know that charcoal is only 50% carbon by mass, or that typically, 14C is a part in a trillion of total carbon nuclei?) Their brochure shows a lot of serious-looking men in those irresistible surgical scrubs, working with test tubes and technical gear. They look like big-pay guys-with-careers -- grade-A husband material, not the kind of losers that try to pick you up at your sleazy Radiocarbon Lounge. I haven't had a chance to read their literature yet, but skimming it I see there's a big emphasis on professionals, reliability, and trust. It's kind of pricey -- US$250 a pop, or ``dating'' as they say -- but they promise prompt results.


From the Latin for ``root'' (which also, of course, gives us words like radish and radical), this word is the ``technical'' name for what we called the ``base'' of a numeral system in high school. (``Numeral'' is a text representation of a number.) Hindu-Arabic numerals are a decimal (radix ten) positional system.

Here's a toy code to convert between different radices.

``Hexadecimal'' is one of those bastard ``New Latin'' or ``international scientific vocabulary'' words (ISV), half-Latin (-decimal) and half-Greek (hexa-) like automobile, television and electrocute.

Rear ADMiral. Cf. VADM.

A blend of RADar and DOME.

Real Academia española. `Royal Spanish Academy.' In its current incarnation, it was founded on October 20, 1993. In previous incarnations dating back to 1713, the name was spelled with a capitalized Española, and it has been widely though apparently unofficially called ``la Real Academia de la Lengua'' (consistently with the naming pattern for other such academies, such as la Real Academia de la Historia).

Resistive Anode Encoder.

German, Rote-Armee-Fraktion. `Red Army Faction.' A German domestic terrorist group of the late sixties and seventies.

Royal [British] Air Force.

Regular Array Grammar. A simple kind of picture grammar, q.v.. Lowest subclass in the Chomsky-like hierarchy of isometric array grammars (IAG's).

See C. R. Cook and P. S. P. Wang, ``A Chomsky hierarchy of isotonic array grammars and languages,'' Computer Graphics and Image Processing, vol. 8, pp. 144-152 (1978).

A ``convertible.'' A car with a tough fabric or similar top that can be lowered or removed without a trip to the shop, and sometimes even raised in time to beat the storm.

Nice Memorial Day weather. I pulled up to a light, banging time to the music against the outside of my car door. A bit ahead of me in the other lane, I noticed a guy in a ragtop; I couldn't hear his sound system. I wondered: what do people in convertibles do when some jerk like me comes up, and they can't block out the sound? There was some space ahead of him -- he could have pulled further away from me. I had Little Feat's ``Dixie Chicken'' on -- I turned up the volume. The guy in the ragtop turned and smiled, and gave me a solidarity sign.

Then one night in the lobby
Of the Commodore Hotel,
I chanced to meet a bartender
Who said he knew her well.

And as he handed me a drink,
He began to hum a song,
And all the boys at the bar
Began to sing along...

Radio Audizioni Italiane. Italian radio and television company. Management philosophy: to the election victors belong the spoils.

Remote Alarm Indication.

Research Access, Inc. A ``document delivery service specializing in Computer Science Publications from US Universities and Research Institutes.''

Royal Albert Institution or Royal Anthropological Institute. Usually not both.

Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. It was founded in 1871, and permission to add the word Royal to the name was granted in 1907. (Ireland achieved independence in a war that lasted from 1919 to 1921.)

The Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland created in 1871 resulted from the remerger of the Anthropological Society with the Ethnological Society, from which the former had split off in 1863 as a result of ``racialist issues'' not further described at the society's short history page. The secession was led by James Hunt and Captain Richard Burton and was created ``ostensibly to provide an alternative to the Ethnological Society after the latter had allowed the admission of the `fair sex' to meetings'' according to an ``[e]xtract from W. Chapman's unpublished D.Phil thesis 1981, `Ethnology in the Museum'.'' (I'm not sure whose view is expressed in the quoted text.) Quoting from the same webpage: ``Following Hunt's death, the Anthropological Society itself, ... had generally lapsed into disarray.''

Redundant Array[s] of Inexpensive Disks. The idea of parallelization applied to disk storage. The redundancy is intended to increase the reliability (characterized by MTBF). Although the ``I'' in the acronym was originally expanded as inexpensive, nowadays it seems to be ``independent'' instead.

rail accidents
Quite by accident, we've managed to pile up a tiny bit of information on rail accidents.

At the IC entry, you can read about the Illinois Central accident in 1900 that took the life of the man remembered as ``Casey'' Jones. At the KX entry you can read about a couple of accidents that took place at the King's Cross station north of London, in 1946 and 2002. The TOPS entry mentions the crash that took place at Southall (west London) in 1997. The next fatal accident on British railways took place two years later, October 5, 1999. That accident is described right here, at the entry you're reading.

Thirty-one people were killed at Ladbroke Grove, west London -- a Thames train went through a red signal (spadded) and collided head-on with a high-speed service traveling from Cheltenham to Paddington. These two accidents (Southall and Ladbroke Grove) occurred about 8 miles apart, on the same line, and in circumstances that at least superficially appear to bear a strong resemblance. Subsequent fatal accidents (October 17, 2000, four dead and 87 injured when the London-to-Leeds express derailed on a broken track near Hatfield station in Hertfordshire, and the 2002 accident described at the KX entry) seem to have been more track-related.

(There was also an accident at Selby on February 28, 2001, when a Land Rover veered off the M62 in North Yorkshire into the path of a GNER train coming from Newcastle. Driver Gary Hart, who had fallen asleep at the wheel, survived but was sentenced to five years in prison for causing death by dangerous driving.)

Reflection-Absorption InfraRed (IR) Spectroscopy.

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. In Oxfordshire; nothing to do with the Rutherford Labs in Cambridge.

Resource[s] ALl Busy.

Italian: `[to] slow down.' Dave, who was driving, thought those signs meant `curve ahead.' Close enough in context, I guess.

In Italian (and in Spanish, for that matter), lento is the adjective meaning `slow.' If your Italian comprehension is worse than your speech, Italians may answer you in a normal conversational speed. You need to say something like ``più lento, per piaciere!''

Royal Association for the Longevity and Preservation of The Honeymooners. The Honeymooners was an early TV sitcom starring Jackie Gleason as bus driver and abusive husband Ralph Kramden.

RALPH disbanded in 1987 when Gleason died. Its last convention was in August 1986 at the old Felt Forum in NYC (now called The Theatre at Madison Square Garden).

Ralph Reed
Co-founder with Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition, around 1989. Maybe there was Another with Whom Dorian Gray might have made a deal.

Random Access Memory. This is generally the volatile memory that goes away when the power is off (see, however, NVRAM). ``Random'' as opposed to ``sequential'' refers to the fact that any randomly chosen bit of information can be accessed immediately and therefore rapidly. RAM is implicitly understood to be read-write memory (RWM), since the other kind (read-only memory: ROM) is generally random-access by default.

Most RAM is organized in rectangular arrays of word lines and bit lines. Any code in the process of execution, and as much as possible of the data which that code requires, are stored in RAM. (For a complication, see the OVL entry.)

Until the late 1960's, the RAM in most computers was in the form of arrays of small ferrite ``cores.'' (That's the origin of the term ``core dump.'') A bit was encoded by the direction of magnetization of a core. The first great success of MOS technology was the rapid take-over of the core memory market by SRAM. SRAM and especially DRAM are still the overwhelmingly dominant forms of central RAM.

Good resources are The RAM Guide and The Ultimate Memory Guide. Here's a nice general tutorial on computer systems that has substantial information on memory.

Some operating systems require a great deal of RAM.

Rarely Adequate Memory.

Rechargeable Alkaline Manganese dioxide battery. (Technically a single voltaic cell.)

Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability.

Rockets/Artillery/Mortars. A world of local hurt, pretty fast.

A Vishnu avatar. Also Rama.

An avatar of Vishnu. Also Ram. According to the Bhagwad Purana, Rama is the seventh, Krishna the eighth, and Buddha (yes Buddha) is the ninth. If you've heard of any of the other avatars, you're too advanced for the Hindu mythology course that is based on this glossary.

RAbbit-Muscle Aldolase.

A Spanish word; see ramo entry.

This word is used loosely in English in the southwestern US, to refer to a rustic or semipermanent outdoor shelter, something typically open on the sides. A good place to park a picnic table. The original Spanish term is based on rama, `branch.' Ramadas were originally made from branches, which I suppose might have been good enough to provide shade, if not shelter from the rain. The ones I've seen in public parks in Arizona had wooden plank roofs. (Yes, it even rains in southern Arizona.)

Chandrasekhra Venkata Raman (Nov 7, 1888 - Nov 21, 1970).

He wrote,

Experience in working with sunlight indicated the techniques necessary for the observation of extremely weak phenomena, viz. the rigorous exclusion of stray light and the conditioning of the observer's vision by a prolonged stay in darkness.
Those were the good ol' days.

Raman spectroscopy
Spectroscopy involving an inelastic light scattering that can be analyzed as a photon absorption-emission sequence.

The Cardona group is well known for it. They offer about a 500-word introduction.

Here's some more instructional material from Virginia Tech.

Hundreds of K of captioned gifs are available from the Wilson group at UCSD, at a science TV level of sophistication.

Short version of Hebrew Rabbi Moshe b. Maimon. Probably the most common form of name used in the West is Greek `Maimonides' (-des is the patronymic ending in Ancient Greek). Rambam is standard short form in Israel.

`Rambam' is too easy to confuse with Ramban (for R. ben Nachman, or Nachmanides).

Random Access Memory (RAM) Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC). Term for the unit that converts digital screen pixel codes into analog voltages to control physical screen display.

RAM disk
Random Access Memory (RAM) used for file storage. See disk, with a k.

A small cup shaped like a minatuRe soufflé bowl. Ramekins are typically two to five inches in diAMEter and about an inch deep, sometimes as much as two inches deep. The sides are typically slightly flared, though vertical sides are also common (and rounded cups of these general dimensions are sometimes also called ramekins). The vertical or near-vertical sides are often decoratively fluted, usually vertically but sometimes diagonally.

Ramekins were traditionally made with the same material and finish as teacups and other flatware (i.e., either porcelain, or a substitute for porcelain such as hard low-friction plastic). Metal (stainless steel) is also common. If they were made of paper, they'd be cupcaKe cups.

Restaurants use ramekins to supply patrons with Individual servings of salad dressing ``on the side,'' dips, sauces, etc. Ramekin is easier to say than ``non-Newtonian-fluid container.''

Hmm. It turns out that ramekin is not an acronym. Not even an akrenim. I guess you can ignore the expansion capitalizations in the preceding paragraphs. If you did not ignore them before, you can go back and ignore them later. Anyway, the word ramekin, also spelled ramequin, is from the French ramequin, which was a food item. Exactly which food items were covered by the term is not entirely clear to me, but something like a miniature soufflé may have been one of them. In English, the name eventually became attached to the dish used to make the, uh, dish -- metonymy is a two-way street.

Some deathly-boring stories about ramekin-related conversations can be found at the restaurant jargon entry, so go there right away. (But don't forget to go back first and ignore that odd capitalization.)

The Spanish words rama and ramo make an interesting case. They are two grammatical genders of a word that has no unique natural gender (`branch'). (I mean, it could be the branch of a male, female, or hermaphrodite tree, or of a river.) Both forms are used, and their ranges of meaning overlap.

Note that most animals that reproduce sexually (and which therefore have natural gender) do not have both grammatical genders in Spanish. For example, frog and toad are la rana y el sapo. For more about that, see the sapo entry.

BTW, the Latin original of this word was ramus, a second-declension male noun, so one would expect only ramo in Spanish. On the other hand, gender wobbled a bit. One example I can think of is baculum, a Latin word meaning a staff of some sort. It was second-declension neuter, of course, but for some reason, I can't imagine why, it began to be declined male (as the word baculus) in late Roman times, until that became (I think) the word's predominant gender in Medieval Latin. In English now, a baculus (plural baculi) is a staff that serves as a symbol of authority. The restored classical form baculum is modern biological terminology for the penis-bone (found in many mammal species). The plural of baculum (in English -- as usual one uses only the nominative forms) is bacula. There is also a Latin noun whose singular nominative form is bacula; it means `small berry.'

Scott Bakula played Captain Jonathan Archer in Enterprise, a 2001 TV prequel of the original Star Trek series. The character played by Bakula was (i.e., will have been) James Tiberius Kirk's childhood hero. Always some Latin, or at least Romance, connection.

The West Greek alphabet, adopted by the Etruscans and inherited by the Romans, began with alpha, beta, gamma, just like the East Greek alphabet more familiar to us. (And about like all the Semitic alphabets -- aleph, bet, gimel in Hebrew, for example.) If you rotate a capital gamma counterclockwise by 45 degrees, it looks like an angular letter cee. (Back before printing, rotation was one of the most common deformations suffered by letter glyphs.) Over time, the sound of that third letter became devoiced in Latin, so instead of a hard gee sound as in the English word goat, it had a hard cee sound as in the English word coat. A way to represent the gee sound was still wanted, so a new letter based on cee was invented and inserted in the alphabet after the letter eff (which was the old Greek letter digamma). Notice the resemblance of the glyphs C and G? Most Latin words that contained the hard cee sound (i.e., the sound of kay or Greek kappa) were originally written K, but it eventually became common to write them with a C instead. With a few exceptions (like Kaeso), K came to be used in Latin primarily to transliterate the kappa in Greek loan words. I'm not sure if specific evidence exists that bacula was originally written bakula, but it is the natural presumption.

The indecision -- whether to use cee or kay to represent the hard-cee sound, recurred in other languages that adopted versions of the Latin alphabet. English and German, which replaced runes with Latin characters very roughly about the time they replaced indigenous paganism with Christianity, both went through an early period during which neither character was dominant. Eventually, cee became dominant in English (particularly in word-initial position and in consonant clusters, and wherever the consonant was not followed by e or i) , and kay became dominant in German. In both cases, the convergence on a preferred letter involved reform of some spellings that had become established. In English, for example, the adjective ending -ick was replaced by -ic, and etymologically unrelated final -ick was also often changed (when unstressed, I suppose). This might make a little clearer why we add a -k- in forming the past tense of -ic verbs (panic, panicked; picnic, picnicked, traffic, trafficked) instead of doubling the final consonant of the root in the usual way.

Incidentally, in Spanish one increasingly finds the word área used in the transferred sense of an abstract area of ideas or activities, just as in English. This is a recent development, an anglicismo. As recently as fifty years ago, área was rarely used except in reference to physical space.

If you look over the preceding entry as a whole, I think you will agree that most of the content was related to the headword. If you don't agree, too bad.

Random Access Monitoring Of Narcotics Abusers. Sounds a bit more intrusive than it may be. It's not drug monitoring program for individuals, like those on probation or in the NFL. It's intended to ``involve the collection of self-report data on the life histories of people heavily involved in drug use, and the development of mathematical models of drug use careers.''

M-m-m-myyyy Ramona!

Oh wait, that was Sharona. A Ramones song? Never mind.

James Paul McCartney, known as Paul McCartney and also as Sir Paul, has used various pseudonyms, both as a stage name and for other reasons (contractual constraints, anonymity in hotel ledgers, etc.). Early in his career he sometimes performed as Paul Ramon or Paul Ramone (or both). He was also credited as ``Paul Ramone'' when he played drums and supplied backing vocals on the Steve Miller Band song ``My Dark Hour'' on the 1969 album Brave New World. Or maybe ``Paul Ramon.'' The two spellings are within a standard deviation of web data, and I'm not curious enough to hammer it down.

Anyway, a bass player and singer named Douglas Glenn Colvin learned something of this. (Precisely what Colvin had heard or knew is either already known or never will be, since he's dead.) With this as his inspiration, he adopted the stage name Dee Dee Ramone. Two guys he was starting up a band with in 1974 followed suit, and they named their group the Ramones. All subsequent band members, including Tom, who joined before their first public performance, adopted stage names with a Ramone surname. The first names and initials that were used with the surname were uniformly uninteresting and unoriginal. It's horrifying to think that the Spice Girls represented progress of any kind at all, but there you are.

At the University of Buffalo in 1994 or so, some students formed a group they called the Algonquin Round Table. My immediate reaction was that since they were unlikely to measure up to the original and famous group whose name they took, their choice of name was in the nature of lèse majesté. If Colvin et al. had called themselves ``The McCartneys,'' it would have been something like that. So I suppose they might be praised for their restraint, of all things.

Fidel Ramos is a military man who has been involved in Philippine politics. I think he was president there for a while.

Remote Automated Meteorological Observing System.

Reliability Analysis and Modeling Program.

Radar Airspace Monitoring System.

Rainforest Action Network. ``Rainforest'' or ``tropical rainforest'' is the politically correct term for jungle.

Spanish, `frog.' Cf. sapo (`toad').

Registered Animal Nursing Auxiliary.

RAnd McNALLY. An old-style corporate abbreviation like SeRoCo and Sunoco, which selects consonants and vowels from the full name in such a way as to produce a pronounceable name. Used by the Rand McNally Corporation mostly on its business-related maps and geographic information products (see RMA).

Radio Array Detection of Neutrinos. Also Radio Neutrino Detector Array. Why don't they just settle on ``Radio Array for Neutrino Detection'' already?

Research ANd Development.

Starting under USAAF funding, the Douglas Aircraft Company conducted a research program called Project RAND from 1945-8, a preliminary study of earth-orbiting satellites. In May 1948, RAND became an independent organization. It used to figure in loopy conspiracy theories. I order you not to believe them.

Randy Mac
Randolph Macon. See R-MC.

A rank is a row of eight squares on a chessboard, ``horizontal'' 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. More complete information can be found at the file entry.

See standing entry; more here later.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Implant Dentists. Ha-ha, just kidding.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists.

Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA can be analyzed statistically using the RAPDistance Package. Now you no longer have to take a stranger's word for it that Lucy from Olduvai was your grandmother.

Responsible Agricultural Product and Information Distribution. ``RAPID is the e-commerce standards organization for the Crop Protection, Seed, and Fertilizer segments of the Ag industry.'' From a thumbnail history:
RAPID is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization formed by over 70 leading agricultural companies to allow the agricultural community to take advantage of the new developments in electronic communications. This organization was formed by the American Crop Protection Association with the purpose of moving the agriculture industry manufacturers, distributors, resellers, growers and others to new levels of communications, electronic commerce and regulatory compliance and stewardship capabilities.

In the early 1990's, several agricultural companies formed the Ag [sic] Alliance for Electronic Communication (AAEC). This group began the effort to develop necessary standards and guidelines to make electronic commerce work for the entire industry. In July 1995, that organization evolved into a separate legal entity called RAPID ..., an industry consortium dedicated to bringing Electronic Commerce solutions to all of agribusiness.

Rossiyskaya Assotsiatsiya Proletarskikh Pisateley. `Russian Association of Proletarian Writers.' An organization created in 1928 by proletarian hacks, it was dedicated to defining a truly proletarian literature and to eliminating writers whose work did not fit the definition. In 1929, RAPP received official sanction for its program of establishing the First Five-Year Plan as the sole theme of Soviet literature. The first Five-Year Plan, which had been introduced in 1928, concentrated on increasing production of iron, steel, coal, oil, machine-tools, electric power, and transport resources. Despite the exciting possibilities inherent in this heroic theme, literary production did not meet expected targets. In 1932, a decree of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union abolished all existing literary organizations (including RAPP) and absorbed all professional Soviet writers into a newly created Writer's Union of the U.S.S.R.

Rarely Asked Questions. Usually a kind of doppelgänger for the FAQ.

Royal Australian Regiment.

Rutgers Art Review: The Journal of Graduate Research in Art History. It ``is an annual journal produced by graduate students in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University. The journal is dedicated to presenting original research by graduate students in art history and related fields.''

Royal Armaments Research and Development Establishment.

Rare Earth
A Rock group. Not a rock group. I mean, a group that played music of the type called Rock. They had a hit in 1970 with ``Get Ready.''

For more about rock material vide infra. For more on the Rock'n'Roll-chemistry nexus, see the geology and Li entries.

rare earth
A transition metal in the lanthanide series (at. nos. 58-71). These have interesting electronic and magnetic properties associated with their incompletely filled 4f shells. Not all of them are particularly rare, compared to other atoms in that period. However, their chemical properties are similar, making them difficult to separate. Given their similarity, it has often not been commercially worthwhile to separate them. A mixture of the rare earths, called mischmetal, is the ``flint'' in disposable cigarette lighters. (Another application of unseparated hard-to-separate rare earths is didymium glass, described at the Di entry.)

Back in the 1980's, a research group found surprisingly high rare earth concentrations in meteorites that fell to earth in Antarctica -- where the chance of environmental contamination is minimal. Specifically, they discovered perfect microscopic spheres very high in rare earth content on the surface of the meteorite. This was a very puzzling discovery. Eventually, they got another publication (in Scripta Physica) out of their research -- a retraction, in which they described very similar microspheres of essentially the same composition, generated by the flint from their cigarette lighters.

I'll put in the reference when I find my file of this sort of thing. I wanted to at least mention it now because it gives me an entry in which to add the following: In Houston, Texas, on the ides of March, 2001, an eighteen-wheeler overturned and spilled its 23-ton load of frozen chickens, closing part of I-10 for several hours. The driver had lost control of the rig when he dropped his cigarette and bent over to pick it up.

The rock group called ``Rare Earth'' was originally called ``The Sunliners.'' They had some limited success and released records with MGM, Hercules, Golden World, and Verve. They signed with Motown in 1969, and the name-change was inspired or imposed by Motown execs. More at RE, but not about the rock group.

rare gas
A common synonym for noble gas, but not necessarily an accurate one.

Reverse Address Resolution Protocol.

Robot Auto Racing Simulation. (Alternate site.)

Redundant Acronym Syndrome. An abbreviated form of ``RAS Syndrome.''

Row Address (Access) Strobe.

Royal Astronomical Society.

Russian Academy of Sciences ([cyrillic]).

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Reference and Adult Services Division (of the ALA). Now called the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).

Short version of Hebrew Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi. A French Talmudist who lived from 1040 to 1105, generally regarded by Orthodox Jews as the greatest commentator on the Talmud and Bible.

Rashi script
A Hebrew script developed in the thirteenth century, used primarily for religious commentaries. For the most part the letters resemble the usual square script borrowed from Aramaic. The most strikingly different glyphs are those for aleph and bet. The aleph in this script looks too similar to the het. It's called ``Rashi script'' because it was the script one used for copying the works of Rashi. Rashi seems to have had nothing directly to do with (rather later) creation of the script that took his name.

Radio Acoustic Sounding System.

RAS Syndrome
Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome. PNS Syndrome, q.v.

Recovery Accountability and Transparency. The economic stimulus bill passed by the US Congress in early 2009 (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) contained a provision to create a ``RAT Board.'' The board, whose authority seems to be in no way restricted to spending authorized by the ``Recovery'' bill that explains its title (though that might not be much of a restriction) is supposed to oversee the inspectors general that are installed in various federal agencies.

In principle, the inspector general of an agency is independent of the agency head, and there are rules meant to allow the inspector general to act without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House. It's a civil-servicey sort of idea. The RAT Board now will have the authority to ask ``that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting [sic] an audit or investigation.'' If the inspector general doesn't want to do so, then the IG must write a report explaining his decision to the board, to the agency head and to Congress. Fans of the institution of the inspector general, and of inspectors' general independence (I hope that's the pl. poss. form) fear that this oversight will have a chilling effect on IG's. I don't know who gets to sit on a RAT Board.

It's not known who put the RAT language in the bill, since the bill was ``crafted'' behind closed doors in a hurry. (It's doubtful that any single person -- legislator or staffer -- could have read all 1073 pages of the bill, let alone studied or largely understood it.) Byron York, chief political correspondent for the DC Examiner, reported that he was told by one Democratic senator that the RAT Board was ``something the Obama administration wanted included in this bill.'' (If true this would be one of the few indications that the Obama administration made an effort to influence the legislation.) When York asked the White House, staffers told him they'd ``look into it.'' He didn't hear back.

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, a longtime champion of inspectors general, only heard about the RAT Board from a concerned IG, a couple of days before the conference committee reported out a final bill. He was alarmed by the words ``conduct or refrain from conducting.'' On Friday, Feb. 13, as the bill was barreling toward narrow passage, Grassley wanted to voice his objections on the floor of the ``world's greatest deliberative body,'' as the US Senate is fatuously known. But there was no time in the rush to a vote, so Grassley's statement went unread. Part of his prepared statement: ``It's fitting that the acronym for this board is RAT, because that's what I smell here.''

Japanese for `Latin America.' At least it's written with katakana characters for ra-te-n-a-me-ri-ka, rather than ra-te-na-me-ri-ka.

RATional FORtran.

This is not a misspelling of the adjective rational. It is a different, albeit related word, a noun pronounced with an accent on the final syllable (rhymes with ``ration Al''). The word means something like `justification,' where such justification tends to have more to do with reasoning and less to do with motivations.

rat-like cunning
See RLC.

Rocket-Assisted Take-Off.

Rockets, jet engines, and squid all use a backward-directed jet of fluid to generate thrust. Squid suck in the fluid (dirty water, yuck) from sides and front and squirt it out the back. Jet engines suck air in the front and mix it with fuel in a turbine. The fuel-air mix burns, and the expansion (of the air and combustion gases, mostly H2O and CO2) turns the turbine. The turning of the turbine pulls in more air and propels a jet of exhaust backward. Part of the jet force comes from the fact that the exhaust gases are under higher pressure than the intake air. It would be simpler if you just burned the fuel and used its expansion directly, but then how would you get the expansion to produce a backward-directed jet without a forward-directed jet?

Rockets are simpler in that respect. Instead of sucking in air to oxidize the fuel, they use oxidant that is carried with the vehicle, condensed in tanks, the same way fuel is carried. From a practical perspective, oxidant and fuel (reducer) are similar: volatile, dangerously combustible condensed materials in tanks. Hence, the propellants are sometimes both loosely called ``fuel.''

Similarly, jet and rocket engines both propel by burning fuel to produce a backward-directed jet, and so are somewhat similar in practical terms. Hence also, the term JATO is often used where RATO confused. Here (see pg. 2) is a clear instance of ``RATO/JATO'' being used where only RATO is meant. If you want to be charitable, you can say that RATO is jet-assisted, just not jet engine-assisted.

Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens. For more detail visit the Subway Navigator of Paris.

The name of STAR before the marketing people messed with it.

Some days after the first time I sat on my new glasses, I noticed a rattle. I thought a lens or two might be loose in the frame. I shook the glasses and they rattled. I held the glasses by one lens frame, and they still rattled. I held them by the other, and they still rattled. I held both lens frames and shook the glasses (this was harder) and they still made a rattling sound. It was the little nose-bridge pads. At least it wasn't my wristwatch.

The scientific method is like that.

A biologist conducted a series of experiments on a grasshopper. When he shouted ``jump'' or clapped, he could make it jump (``induce saltatory behavior,'' as he wrote in journals). So he removed its front (prothoracic) legs and yelled, and the grasshopper still jumped. He removed the middle two legs (mesothoracic), and the grasshopper still jumped. Finally, he removed the rear legs (metathoracic), and the grasshopper did not jump. He concluded that a grasshopper hears with its hind legs. Fascinating similar research is described at a BBL entry.

When my old boss at Naval Research Labs (NRL) told this story over beers at the end of my first week at work, I pointed out that many insects do hear with their legs. [I think it's called keeping an ear to the ground, but I didn't say so.] Years later, he told me that this had been the first sign to him that I might be alright after all.

Reconfigurable Automatic Virtual Environment, I suppose. The configurations can range from cave-like to wall-like. It puts me in the mind of Plato's famous metaphor of the cave. See CAVE.

RAil VEhicles Record System. Computer system used for tracking problems on Britain's railways.

Remote Automated Weather Station.

Rayleigh scattering
According to Leonardo da Vinci,
I say that the blueness we see in the atmosphere is not intrinsic color, but is caused by warm vapor evaporated in minute and insensible atoms on which the solar rays fall, rendering them luminous against the infinite darkness of the fiery sphere which lies beyond and includes it.... If you produce a small quantity of smoke and if you place [behind it] a piece of black velvet on which the sun does not fall, you will see that the black stuff will appear of a beautiful blue color.... Water violently ejected in a fine spray and in a dark chamber where the sunbeams are admitted produces then blue rays.... Hence it follows, as I say, that the atmosphere assumes this azure hue by reason of the particles of moisture which catch the rays of the sun.

razor's edge
Everyone's first idea of a good thing to do was always: teflon! However, it's hard to get teflon to bind to the steel. As a result, the first common coating used on razor blades was a silicone [poly (dimethyl siloxane), to be precise]. You can get teflon to stick to the steel (or adhere, if you're speaking for attribution) by sintering the polymer with the metal. Unfortunately, most iron loses its edge under this annealing-by-another-name process. The eventual solution was to use stainless steel, which keeps its edge better at the sintering temperature. The razor companies ended up advertising the fact that they were using stainless steel and not even mentioning the teflon. Even though one could get as sharp an edge with non-stainless steels, it sounded better.

Russian term for intelligence (spying) operations. Includes operations that are a little more intrusive than mere intelligence gathering.

According to one book:

It is impossible to translate the Russian word razvedka precisely into any foreign language. It is usually rendered as `reconnaissance' or `spying' or `intelligence gathering'. A fuller explanation of the word is that it describes any means and any actions aimed at obtaining information about an enemy, analysing it and understanding it properly, like cleaning your eyeglasses.

(Emphasis added. Actually, the whole emphasized phrase was added.) Perhaps the claim about ``any'' foreign language is overstrong. I don't imagine the author checked more than a few hundred languages before giving up, do you? Anyway, assuming that the standard for precise translation is not set so high that most words are untranslatable, I think `intelligence operations' or `secret-agent stuff' may do. This quote opens the second chapter, ``Spetsnaz and the GRU,'' of a book by ``Viktor Suvorov'' (actually Vladimir Rezun; see spetsnaz entry for details).

Spetsnaz, not to put another fine point on it, is `special ops.' Rezun goes on to say: ``Spetsnaz is one of the forms of Soviet military razvedka which occupies a place somewhere between reconnaissance and intelligence.'' It doesn't look that way to me... ``Spetsnaz differs from other forms of razvedka in that it not only seeks and finds important enemy targets, but in the majority of cases attacks and destroys them.'' I guess you could think of this as a form of constructive proof in intelligence analysis: if you destroy an enemy asset, say, then you have given a proof that it no longer exists. Okay, then: a ``destructive non-existence proof,'' if you insist. But it's really just a kind of muscular logic.

I suppose Rezun might have had a point in insisting. Among the best-known KGB spetsnaz operations was the coup against Afghan president Hafizullah Amin, two days after Christmas in 1979. This doesn't really fit entirely under the category of intelligence gathering. Then again, in 1954 a coup was orchestrated in Guatemala by the US CIA, so a somewhat similar operation (in general outcome if not in method) was conducted by an ``intelligence'' organization. But by this reasoning, the secret service protection of the US President is a treasury operation. Well, maybe it is. Still, we wouldn't say training, aiding, and advising a Guatemalan rebel army is an ``intelligence operation,'' but rather a ``covert operation.'' Eh.

Incidentally, I earlier referred the date of the Afghan coup to a US, yes US, holiday. I did this specifically because there is a natural and general pattern of taking action when one's enemies are at a lower level of readiness due to their holidays, and in this case the relevant strong enemy was the US. (If it had been Canada, I'd have written ``hours after Boxing Day,'' which sounds more aggressive.) Other examples: The 1973 Arab war against Israel, launched on Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday, and George Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware to attack Hessian troops on Christmas night in 1776. In the latter case, there is a legend that aftereffects of drunken Christmas revelry in the Hessian camp contributed to the American victory, but apparently the main advantage in the attack timing was simply that of surprise, and weather that on balance worked to American advantage.

Maybe you're thinking of Arby's, the fast-food restaurant specializing in roast beef sandwiches. Hmmm... Roast Beef. Looks like the name is eye dialect for an acronym, like Jimmy.


Rubidium. Atomic number 37. Now that I've whetted your interest, you'll want to learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

[Football icon]

Running Back. An offensive position in American football.

Reserve Bank of Australia.

Reaction Bounded Aluminum Oxide.

Really Big Button that doesn't do anything.

Reverse Body Bias[ing].

Look at it this way: FM broadcast-band frequencies are located 200 kHz apart. There's no point broadcasting sound with pitches much above 20 kHz, unless you're broadcasting for dogs, so even with stereo broadcasts they're not using 160kHz of the bandwidth allocated. There's plenty of unused bandwidth for a little bit of digital data. (No, the pun was unintentional, completely unavoidable; I do not apologize.) In fact, systems have been in place for years which piggy-back signals for private subscribers multiplexed over the public signal. Sometimes, this is where Muzak comes from -- i.e., the way franchises get their music ``piped in'' without extra wiring. (Actually, the available bandwidth is greater in principle and narrower by law: two radio stations in close geographic proximity are not allocated adjacent frequencies, but in any case the FCC limits the transmission bandwidth.)

Red Blood Cell. Here in tiff format is an SEM micrograph of Brown rat RBC's.

Resource-Based Caching.

Risk-Based Concentrations.

Royal Bank of Canada.

RBC Bank
Royal Bank of Canada BANK. The U.S. retail banking subsidiary, based in appropriate-sounding Raleigh, N.C., of Royal Bank of Canada. I suppose the ``RBC'' in this name was a sealed acronym from the start, if only to avoid the AAP pleonasm, but it was all too confusing, and in late June 2011, it was announced that the bank would be acquired by Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group. The sale was completed on March 2, 2012.

Reliability Block Diagram.

Radio Broadcast Data System. A system to incorporate a channel of digital information into ordinary FM broadcast signal, to ``offer a wide array of new services to listeners and advertisers.'' (Don't expect a change-station-on-advertisement feature. But you can get some text and some automatic/programmable station selection) Philadelphia was the pilot city for the EIA/CEG's promotion and more promotion of this system, which is reportedly spreading in Europe like kudzu in Georgia. EIA/CEG wants to double the number of US RBDS stations to 500.

Incidentally, while we're on the subject of kudzu (Radix puerariae). A chemical called daidzin can be extracted from it that reduces the preference of hamsters to drink alcohol rather than water, but these results (like earlier similar results with Prozac) are suspect because hamsters metabolize alcohol too quickly to achieve intoxication -- they apparently drink for the calories, and will give up alcohol for chocolate drink with similar calorie content (first preference) or tomato juice with similar content (second choice). The research was reported in 1995.

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH). Approved by the FDA in 1993 to increase milk production (it's given to the milch cows by injection). Some of it ends up in the milk. Milk producers are allowed, but not required, to indicate on labels whether rBGH has been used.

Reserve Bank of India.

They only play cricket there, so it's not a problem.

Run[s] Batted In. Pronounced R-B-I or ribby. Since about 2002, at least some announcers and commentators on ESPN have been using the initialism as both singular and plural (e.g. ``Manny Ramirez had three RBI last night...''). The slightly jocular ``ribby'' is still treated only as a singular noun (pl. ribbies).

Real-time { Blackhole List | BlackList }. A list of domains regarded as spammers, mail from which is to be absorbed and discarded.


Repertorio Bibliográfico de la Lexicografía Griega.

Royal British Nurses' Association. Founded in 1887 as the British Nurses' Association.

Real Business NonResidential Fixed Investment.

Reported But Not yet Settled. Refers to insurance claims. Cf. IBNR.

Regional Bell Operating Company. ``Baby Bell.'' One of the seven regional service providers created in the break-up of the good ol' Bell System in 1984.

Retinol-Binding Protein. RBP is the main transport protein for retinol, an important vitamin-A metabolite in the polar bear. (Probably in other mammals as well, but this is one of those ``drive-by'' entries. No time to get out and investigate.)


Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire. A Walloon classics journal catalogued in TOCS-IN.

Rare Book School. (A couple of courses were announced to the Classics list, 98.03.07.)

Royal Bank of Scotland. This sure put paid to that old stereotype. The RBS is a group whose investment strategy, as we all learned beginning late in 2008, has been vision-impaired or blind. Cf. infra.

Royal Blind Society. An Australian group that ``is the key blindness agency in NSW and the ACT. Through specialist services, [they] work in partnership with people who are blind or vision impaired and their families, to expand the choices available to them.''

It occurs to me that window blinds, which used to be called Venetian blinds in the English, are called persianas in Spanish. Hmm. I may not have been the only one dissatisfied with the old name. ``Royal Blind Society has merged and is part of RBS.RVIB.VAF Ltd incorporating the former businesses of Royal Blind Society of NSW (RBS), Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind (RVIB) and the Vision Australia Foundation (VAF).'' A company called ``Brand by Voice'' was hired ``to position and brand the newly combined agency. Brand by Voice has extensive experience in brand development and strategy for major organizations in both the public and private sectors. ... They have worked for Qantas, Vodafone, AMP, NAB, St George, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Australian Government.'' I imagine that they also invented those funny words (wallaby, etc.) and the practice of making ay and aye sound alike. (Marketing issues are discussed at the Polish entry.)

``Brand by Voice is currently [2004] in its discovery phase consulting with key stakeholders, gaining insights into specific audiences, competitors and potential challenges.'' Yeah, well, don't make it sound like an interior decorator group, or an exhibitor's booth at a duck-hunters' convention. Isn't this a charity? What are ``competitors''?

Rutherford Backscattering Spectroscopy. Here's a description from Charles Evans & Associates

Reverse Bias and Temperature Stress. An accelerated life testing regime for pn-junction degradation by electromigration.

See ``A New Mechanism for Degradation of Al-Si-Cu/TiN/Ti Contacted p-n Junction,'' by Takehito Yoshida, Hiroyuki Kawahara and Shin-ichi Ogawa in Procs. of the 1992 IRPS, pp. 344-348.

Red Cross.

Release Candidate. A version of software being considered for full release, as opposed to beta release.

Request for Change.

Remote Control. (Or Remotely Controlled.)

Roman Catholic.

Roman Catholic students at secular colleges are served by Newman Centers. There is a Newman Center at UB.

The name ``Roman Catholic Church'' (i.e., the names corresponding to it in various languages) was introduced by Pope Eugenius IV in 1445.

The word ``catholic'' is essentially synonymous with ``universal.''

Routing Control.

Royal Crown. They make soda.

Rabbinical Council of America. A ``modern Orthodox'' group, loosely speaking, rather than an ``ultra-Orthodox'' group. Based in sin city. Where you go if you can't CYLOR?

Radio Club of America.

Radio Corporation of America. When General Electric got out of most consumer electronics in 1985, it sold the right to use the RCA marque (which it then owned) along with the rest of that business to the French company Thomson-CSF.

Regina Coeli Academy is an on-line school. ``[A]n apostolate of the Institute for Study of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, a non-profit educational corporation chartered by the State of Louisiana. The founders and governors of the Academy are Roman Catholics in joyful submission to the authority of the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Church.''

RCA shares most of its courses with Scholars' Online Academy (SOLA) a parallel school of ISLAS that is broadly Christian. The RCA curriculum includes some additional explicitly Catholic curricular items like elementary theology and a course in Scholastic philosophy.

Reformed Church in America. (See the Reformed entry.)

Resource Conservation Alliance. They want to protect natural forests by promoting recycling and the use of alternative natural fibers. Frankly, I thought particle board was bad enough. Let's use plastic.

Royal Canadian Air Force. Name before being integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces.

Regional Cerebral Blood Flow.

Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Resident Computer Coordinator.

Race Car Club of America. An East Coast organization dedicated to providing ``The thrill of racing without the agony of expense.'' Read about it here.

Reverse-Circulation Center-discharge Drilling. Drilling with a rotary rig with the drilling mud circulating down the outside and up the inside of the drill string. See the ODC entry if any of this is puzzling.

Root Cause Failure Analysis. It's lack of self-esteem, leading to general embarrassment, but they're ashamed to admit it.

Robert C. Hupp, an early-twentieth century automobile designer. Use of the initialism is explained at the REO entry.

Relativistic Continuum Hartree-Bogoliubov (nuclear calculations).

RanCHO. Abbreviation in California addresses and road signs.

Radio Canada International.

Relativistic Configuration Interaction. Core electrons in atoms with atomic number Z have typical velocities Zαc in nonrelativistic (essentially Schrödinger-equation) treatments, where the fine structure constant alpha is ~ 1/137, and c is the speed of light. Thus, heavy elements require relativistic quantum treatments.

Rotator Cuff Ligament.

Radar Coded Message.

RealClearMarkets. An aggregator site for business news and commentary. See RCP.

Reliability-Centered Maintenance.

Resource-Centered Management. A UB administrative buzzword as of February 1997.

Ring-Closing Metathesis. Cf. ROM.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police. You know -- the Mounties. Originally the North-West Mounted Police.

Royal Canadian Navy.

The fact of being a royal dominion did not automatically confer on Canada's navy the status of ``royal'' or the right to use the term in its name. The Canadian government formally requested the honor in January 1911, and was notified on August 29 of his majesty's approval and authorization to designate the Canadian Naval Forces by ``Royal Canadian Navy.'' For details see Roger Sarty: The Maritime Defence of Canada (Toronto: Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies, 1996).

The service continued under the RCN designation until it was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces, which formally came into being on February 1, 1968. The destruction of the RCN was the handiwork of Liberal Paul Hellyer, Defense Minister from 1964 to 1967. See Marc Milner: Canada's Navy: The First Century (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 1999).

Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1916 as the College of Nursing, Ltd. According to the whereases in its most recent royal charter (issued on Feb. 5, 1979 -- the last day of Queen Elizabeth II's 27th year on the throne), in 1928 it received its first royal charter, and in 1940 it was granted the right to be called the ``Royal College of Nursing.'' In 1963 it received a new charter and this unwieldy moniker: ``The Royal College of Nursing and National Council of Nurses of the United Kingdom.'' In 1974, this was scaled back to ``The Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom.'' I infer that in 1963 the existing RCN merged with the National Council of Nurses, which had been formed in 1905 or after. The UK is supposed to be one of the charter members of the ICN, which was founded in 1899, and the RCN is the current ICN member for the UK. However, the only national nurses' association I am aware of that was already in existence in 1899 was the British Nurses' Association (founded 1887). That is still in existence, not merged with the RCN, so I don't really know what happened with that.

RealClearPolitics. A more-than-daily compilation of links to political commentary and general news. The in-house editorials have a Republican or rightward tilt, but Democratic and leftist viewpoints are represented by a fair selection of links. At some point they became affiliated with Fox News, and some RCP content is linked from <foxnews.com>.

RCP keeps track of polls on major political races (i.e., those that attract repeated polling) and computes a running average of recent ones. These ``RCP averages'' is widely cited in political commentary. RCP averages give equal weight to all polls included, regardless of size. (Theoretically, one should weight such multiple estimates by the inverse of the variance. If it can be assumed, as it often is assumed, that the different polls attempt to measure the same number, then this means that each poll should be weighted by its sample size. In other words, one should estimate support for a candidate by counting the total number of supporters over all the polls.) The crude averaging done by RCP is not too terrible since the underlying polls are clearly so flawed that the sample sizes are probably not the dominant source of error. RCP averages also make no distinction among polls of likely voters, polls of registered voters, and more inclusive polls.

RCP was founded in 2000. Since at least 2007, it has had two sister sites, also essentially news-and-commentary aggregators: RealClearSports (RCS) and RealClearMarkets (RCM).

Revista de Ciencia Política. A journal of political science published by the Instituto de Ciencia Política de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (`political science institute of the pontifical Catholic university of Chile') in Santiago. These are my translations; there don't appear to be any official ones for the magazines and institutional names.

RCP has appeared since 2008 ``three times a year (April-May, July-August, November-December) and publishes articles in all areas of political science. It was founded in 1979.'' The website is available in Spanish, English, and (partly) in Portuguese. Articles are accepted in Spanish or English. Titles and formal abstracts are given in both Spanish and English. According to the instructions for contributors of articles, authors are required to submit abstracts (up to 120 words) in both languages. The front cover of each issue lists the titles of contributions only in the language each item is written in; the online-edition tables of contents give article titles in the language in which the webpage is being read. I marvel at all the free time I must have had when I first drafted this entry.

Judging from the one copy I had in hand (vol. 29, no. 1, 2009), the contributions fall into four categories: artículo, estudio, dossier, and recensión. The Dossier seems to be a collection of related articles on a broad theme, presumably invited. Recensiónes here are book reviews. I can't tell what distinguishes the articles from the studies.

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Royal (UK) College of Radiologists.

(US) Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (of 1976). Updated by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984.

Resource Conservation and Recovery act (RCRA) docket Information System.

Radar Cross Section.

Reaction Control System.

RealClearSports. An aggregator of sports news and commentary. See RCP.

Revision Control System. A freeware (FSF) improvement on SCCS.

Revista de Ciencias Sociales. `Social Sciences Journal.' I am aware of distinct academic journals with this rather generic title that have been (and probably all still are) published in Maracaibo, Venezuela; Bernal, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; San José, Costa Rica; and Río Piedras, Puerto Rico.

The one from Puerto Rico is published by the Centro de Investigaciones Sociales - Universidad de Puerto Rico - Recinto de Río Piedras. (Investigaciones sociales is an ordinary way to say `social [science] research'; Río Piedras is a district of San Juan.) It was first published as a quarterly beginning in March 1957 (one volumen and four números per year).

Now the words Nueva Época (a slightly old-fashioned way of saying nueva serie, -- `new series') appear before the issue information. I've got ``Nueva Época Número 6 - Enero de 1999'' before me, and as of June 2012 the current issue is number 22. The pricing information says there are currently two numbers per year. I can square this if they published annually through 2008 (no. 15) and no. 23 is due later this year, and if I were creating word problems for Algebra I, this would definitely be interesting to me.

Royal College of Surgeons of EDinburgh. ``[O]ne of the oldest surgical corporations in the world... In 1505, the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh were formally incorporated as a Craft Guild of the city and this recognition is embodied in the Seal of Cause (or Charter of Privileges) which was granted to the Barber Surgeons by the Town Council of Edinburgh on 1st July 1505.... The Seal of Cause was confirmed on the 13th of October 1506 by a Royal Charter granted by King James IV of Scotland....''

Randomized { Controlled | Clinical } Trial.

Regents' Competency Test. A set of tests taken by New York State high school students. Passing them entitles the student to a ``Regents' Diploma.'' For many years, the tests haven't been very difficult, and some of the major ones (English, Math, Social Studies, Science) are being phased out and replaced in the period 1996-2002.

Drinking at a bar (Elmo's) last year [``last year'' when I wrote this around 1996], I met a physics BA who teaches science in a Southtowns school. He told me that one of the courses he was teaching was ``Regents Science.'' I replied that it must be fun to teach an advanced science course to good students. I was sadly mistaken. Regents science is a course for students who don't care about science at all, and are taking a course strictly to meet a distasteful requirement.

Reverse-Conducting Thyristor.

Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics.

Relayed Coherence Transfer COrrelation SpectroscopY (COSY).

Richardson Company Training Media.

If you insert a couple of vowels, just to make RCTM pronounceable, what word suggests itself as model?

Of course, some people will think of RTFM.

Research Councils UK. I guess they just have a different Sprachgefühl in the United Kingdom. From where I browse, ``arr-cuck'' sounds a bit off.

``...a strategic partnership set up to champion science, engineering and technology supported by the seven UK Research Councils. Through RCUK, the Research Councils are working together to create a common framework for research, training and knowledge transfer. In doing this RCUK will work alongside OST to further support for the UK's best academic researchers and deliver the best investment for society.''

``OST''? I guess that must be some other Office of Science and Technology.

See also FCUK.


Research Committee 33 Logic & Methodology. Founded in 1973, a committee of the International Sociological Association (ISA, see RC33-specific information here). Its ``objectives are to develop professional contacts between sociologists interested in logic and methodology, to encourage the worldwide exchange of research findings and theoretical developments, and to promote international meetings and research collaboration in the field of logic and methodology in sociology.''

Receive Data. A standard light on external modems. Flashes during receive. Oh -- yes! Oooh! Yes!! YESSS!!!!

Cf. SD.

R.D., RD
Registered Dietitian.

República Dominicana. `Dominican Republic.' See .do entry.

R & D
Research and Development.

You know, the adoption of so many loan words and even abbreviations from English into foreign languages is of significance to English speakers, because it makes foreign languages easy to understand. Here, for example, is some text from unsolicited email that I received:

Kami, Prihatin Services daripada unit R&D, Latihan dan Perhubungan Awam PEKIDA MALAYSIA ingin menawarkan pekej ini untuk dimanfaatkan oleh ahli keluarga, syarikat dan organisasi Saudara/Saudari.

Sure, you miss some of the grammatical subtleties, but basically, I got all the information out of this that I really wanted to get.

Residence Dean.

Rd., RD
RoaD. Standard abbreviation. Traditionally, of course, it was written with a lower-case d, but the US postal ``service'' encouraged the use of unpunctuated all-caps addresses to reduce the error rate in automated address-reading (a kind of pattern recognition). In the mid-1990's, I read about some USPS-funded research on automated address-reading that was going to incorporate an exciting new idea: using punctuation in the addresses as a guide. I haven't kept up, but who knows -- by now maybe they're using the fact that initial letters are more likely to be capitalized!

Route Descriptor.

Recommended { Daily | Dietary } Allowance. Nutritional recommendations of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences -- National Research Council.

Remote Database Access.

Rotary Digital Audio Tape.

Receive Data Buffer.

Relational DataBase.

Relational DataBase Management System.

Relational Database System. Not much attested. Take care not to confuse it with RBDS.

Rail Diesel Car. A model of diesel-hydraulic multiple-unit (DHMU) train made by the Budd company and widely used on secondary passenger train routes when these still existed in the US and Canada. The unsuccessful successor to the RDC was called the SPV-2000.

Research, Development, and Commercialization.

Random Digit Dial{ ed | ing }. The emphasis is on digit rather than number: if you dial random numbers from a directory, you miss people whose numbers are unlisted, and your survey is biased. Also, if you call each number only once, you tend to miss people who are out more, so you should redial until you get an answer (answering machines and PBX's complicate matters).

Research, Development, and Demonstration.

Research, Development, and Engineering Center.

Radial Distribution Function.

Rate Decrease Factor. ATM term for factor by which a source should decrease its transmission rate if an RM or EFCI cell indicates congestion. Cf. RIF.

Record Definition Field. Used in VSAM.

Remote Distribution Frame.

Resource Description Framework.

The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a specification currently under development within the W3C Metadata activity. RDF is designed to provide an infrastructure to support metadata across many web-based activities. RDF is the result of a number of metadata communities bringing together their needs to provide a robust and flexible architecture for supporting metadata on the Internet and WWW. Example applications include sitemaps, content ratings, stream channel definitions, search engine data collection (web crawling), digital library collections, and distributed authoring.

RDF will allow different application communities to define the metadata property set that best serves the needs of each community. RDF will provide a uniform and interoperable means to exchange the metadata between programs and across the Web. Furthermore, RDF will provide a means for publishing both a human-readable and a machine-understandable definition of the property set itself.

RDF will use XML as the transfer syntax in order to leverage other tools and code bases being built around XML.

Relativistic Density-dependent Hartree-Fock.

Real Disposable Income. Disposable? Look, if you weren't going to use that, I'd be happy to take it off your hands.

Remote Defect { Identification | Indication | Indicator }.

Real Disposable Income per capita.

RDI - Loop.

RDI - Path.

Replication, Distribution, Installation, and Training. Sounds like cloned cyborg janitors.

RDI - Virtual.

Real-time Disk Operating System.

Rectifying-Demodulating Phonopneumograph. A device invented by Manuel Casanova, M.D., to detect lower-airway obstructions and to make a differential diagnosis between asthma and emphysema. Basically, the RDP was a microphone that did a little analog signal processing to make different kinds of lung sounds distinguishable on an oscilloscope or chart-recorder trace. Later, he used the same device for diagnosing arthritis in large joints before they begin to swell visibly. This was done by detecting the sound made by arthritic joints. The sound is a crackling like that made by crumpling some kinds of plastic wrap.

For further details, see the C&EN of August 25, 1986, p. 44.

``Reliable Datagram'' Protocol.

Radio Data System. European version of RBDS. It has a homepage. System standards were defined by the European Broadcast Union (EBU), and largely incorporated in RBDS standards of US EIA/CEG.

Receiver Data Service Request.

Remote Digital Terminal.

R, D, T & E
Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation. I've only encountered the abbreviation in a military context, and there it seems to mean only this. Other, somewhat improbable expansions are alleged, with E standing for Engineering (a bit late to begin that after testing, eh?) or with T standing for Training (subtle shift in implicit subject).

Raman Doppler Velocimetry.

Rare Earth. Traditionally, the rare earth elements, or metals, are the elements of the Lanthanide series (atomic numbers 57 to 71 inclusive) which differ in the number of 4f electrons and are chemically difficult to distinguish. In magnetic work, the term is sometimes taken to include Sc and Y, in earlier periods of group IIIb (above La). Geologists count only 14 rare earths, because Promethium (Pm, elt. #61) is not naturally occurring on earth (its stablest isotope has a half-life of 17.7 years).

More at rare earth entry.


Realencyclopädie. German, `specialist encyclopedia.' The real here is apparently the reality real from Latin realis and not the royalty real from Spanish real. The Latinate spelling, with ``cyc,'' has tended to be supplanted by the Germanized ``zyk'' over time. You can think of Realenzyklopädie as a ``serious'' or ``get real'' encyclopedia.

Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. `Specialist encyclopedia for classical Antiquity.' RE seems to be a more common abbreviation for this than RA, but strictly speaking (genau genommen) RA follows convention: capitalization of nouns is preserved in abbreviations and acronyms (Abkürzung und Acronyme). (Cf. GmbH.)

Real Estate.

REinsurance company.

Reproductive Endocrinologist. What's this entry doing in an electronics glossary? Hmmm... Have to clean up some time.

Resonance Energy. ``Resonance'' in the chemical bonding sense.

(Domain name code for) REunion.

Rhenium. Atomic number 75.

Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

[Football icon]

Right End. A defensive position in American football -- on the right end of the line as seen from the defending team's point of view. Lines up against the ``left'' side of the offensive line. I'd suggest that you visit the DE and LE entries for further enlightenment, but there's precious little there, so I won't.

Royal Engineers. The sappers. Cf. RA.

Restriction Enzyme Analysis. Tool here.


Revue des Études Anciennes. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Red para la Enseñanza y Aprendizaje de Culturas Hispanas. Spanish, `Network for the teaching and learning of Hispanic cultures.' The name of an AATSP project for SNS.

reach out to
It's fortunate that I live in a well-insulated house, because if I hear this fat-headed mouth-offal again I'm going to scream.

readability score
A simple-minded measure of simple-mindedness. Following are three common ones popularized by word-processor grammar checkers. Angle brackets denote averages.

Flesch Reading Ease

     =   206.835 
       - 1.015 x <words per sentence>
       - 84.6 x <syllables per word>
In practice, the range is truncated to [0,100]. (I.e., FRE = max(0,min(100,"FRE")), where "FRE" is the quantity given by the formula above. Six significant digits on the constant term? This is what happens when you give calculators to monkeys. Okay, okay, it's not so bad: the precision seems to be all of 0.005 units. Since 100 units are supposed to represent no more than about 20 years of education, 0.005 represents about a millischool-year. And since a school year contains roughly 1000 hours of classroom time, this test purports to state readability differences corresponding to about one class period. Sure, why not?

Scores above ninety correspond to a fourth-grade reading level. Whoa -- 61.325! A score that is above a score of nine times a ten corresponds to a fourth-grade level of reading. Uh, 81.055. Wait till next year, kid. (Fifth grade: 80-90.) There's a lot of interesting information encoded in this formula. I guess what the FRE tells you is that the easiest-to-read sentences containing x excess syllables are those in which those extra syllables are diluted among a total of sqrt(cx) words (c = 83.34975). I never would have guessed that. Linear functions of things that monkeys can compute on a four-banger are fascinating things. (That scored a 50.557. ``Fairly difficult'' is at the ``some high school'' grade level: 50-60.) Lincoln's Gettysburg Address scores 64. (I mean the address itself scores 64, not the words ``Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.'' And now we know why he didn't begin with the much-harder-to-understand ``Eighty-seven years ago....'' ``Standard'' difficulty, 7th-8th grade: 60-70. College level ``and up'' is 0-30.)

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

     = -15.59
       + 0.39 x <words per sentence>
       + 11.8 x <syllables per word>
It's interesting to see that the ratio of syllable-rate and sentence-length coefficients is down to only 30.26 here from 83.35 (c) above. Evidently, sentence length is much more significant in determining grade level than in determining reading ease. Moreover, if you don't start bulking up your words with extra syllables, next year you'll have to add 2.56 words to your average sentence.

Gunning's Fog Index

     = 0.4 x ( <words per sentence> + <long words per sentence> )
(Long words are words of three or more syllables. I'm at a loss for words.)

reader-response method of literary criticism
``Method'' here is a bit strong. Make that a sensitivity to certain factors. Hans Robert Jauss's Rezeptionstheorie.

reads like fiction
Is fiction.

ready by
Ready after.

An intensifier, roughly synonymous with ``really,'' that is unacceptable even in informal speech, because real is really an adjective, whereas the real really is an adverb. (And no, I don't think this makes a very good mnemonic.)

reality show
A real reality show is an escapist entertainment that is so overstuffed with realism that it's entirely surreal. But I just put this entry in because I wanted to mention ``The Truman Show.'' This is the story of a man (played by Jim Carrey, a man) who gradually realizes that his life is a TV show (whereas Jim Carrey's life is more like a series of movie roles). Some considered this an exciting premise when it came out in 1998, although the current reality show genre had been around since the late eighties. In fact, Carrey and the movie were both thought certain to receive academy award (AMPAS) nominations. In the event, neither best actor nor best movie nominations came. (There were three lower-profile nominations -- supporting actor, director, and writer -- none of which it won.)

In his ``At the Movies'' column in the February 12, 1999, New York Times, Bernard Weinraub reported:

Several Hollywood marketing executives and producers were almost united their explanation of why the academy snubbed ``The Truman Show.'' They said that while some newspapers and magazine critics lavishly praised the movie, people in Hollywood didn't quite get what all the hoopla was about.

``It was a critics' phenomenon, and the town never liked the movie,'' one top producer said.

A studio marketing executive said that an oft-heard comment about the movie was that it had been overpraised, and that there might have been a glimmer of resentment among actors over Mr. Carrey's relatively effortless leap from comedy to drama. The actors [sic] branch of the Academy selects the acting nominees.

In addition, Mr. Carrey's chances of an Oscar nomination may have been hurt by his winning a best-actor prize at the Golden Globes, awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association...

``It may have been, `O.K., he got the Golden Globe, that's enough,' '' the marketing executive said.

An intensifier, roughly synonymous with ``very,'' that is acceptable in informal speech--not in formal writing.

An adverb meaning ``in fact.''

Really! You don't say!
Go away.

real me, the
The objective unbiased image that I have of myself, instead of the biased caricature that others have of me.

Reaney and Wilson
A Dictionary of English Surnames, by P. H. Reaney and R. M. Wilson (Routledge, 1991). The first edition of the dictionary was published by Reaney in 1958 with the title A Dictionary of British Surnames, and contained 4000 surnames. Wilson completed a second revised edition (1976) that had been begun by Reaney, with 700 additional names. In his preface to the third edition, which included 4000 additional names with their variants, Wilson explained that the ``change in title reflects the concentration on surnames of specifically English rather than Celtic origin, which has been increasingly apparent in successive editions. As a rule, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish names are only included when forms for them are found in English sources, or when they coincide in form with specifically English surnames. Scottish surnames have been adequately dealt with by G.F. Black, Irish names by E. Maclysaght, and Welsh border names by T.E. Morris ....''

That third-edition preface concludes with the following: ``[T]he etymologies suggested are usually my own, and from the nature of the surnames included tend to be either obvious or highly speculative, but experience has shown that as many enquiries are received concerning the former type as of surname as for the more difficult ones.''

For surname etymologies I usually go first to Hanks and Hodges and the book by the Kohlheims listed at the Familienname entry. If I cite only Reaney and Wilson, then it probably means that these failed me.

Resist EtchBack. A planarization method.


Revue des Études Byzantines.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. (Also RET.)

A sports term describing the condition of a team (called a ``program'' in this context) that has been demolished and that isn't likely to rise again soon.

Spanish word with the current English meaning of recherché, q.v.

Request for Engineering Change (EC).

recent photograph
More recent than a baby picture, anyway. Personals-ad terminology.

This is probably a good place to explain about personals-ad pictures. Often it will seem that the age of the person in the picture is not consistent with the age in the profile. Here are some rules that I have developed on the basis of the scientific experimental method, that will enable you to interpret the significance of this inconsistency.

  1. IF the person in the picture looks much older than the age given in the profile, then the picture gives a more accurate indication of the person's age.
  2. IF, on the other hand, the picture looks much younger than the age given in the profile, then the profile gives an age that is closer to being correct.

You probably find this bewildering, but the explanation is simple: people have a natural desire to be honest. However, it often happens that for technical reasons, the profile lists an age that differs in a quantitative way from the current chronological age of the person described. Since this is a mathematical issue, the reasons go beyond what we can explain here. However, because a so-called ``fictitious age'' is given, the person placing the ad may wish to also give an indication of so-called ``actual age.'' For this purpose, a recent photograph may be used.

On the other hand, sometimes the age listed in the ad coincides with the age of the person who places the ad. This is so unexpected that it can cause confusion, leading the reader to underestimate the age of the person advertising. In order to get around this problem, the advertiser uses a method designed to exaggerate age. The method has two steps: (1) select an OLD picture, and (2) AGE the picture. For example, suppose the advertising person is 55, but the age listed in the profile is also 55. Because this is so confusing, the reader is likely to think that the advertiser is only 40 -- a fifteen-year error! The solution is to illustrate the ad with a picture that not only is fifteen years old (taken when the advertiser was 40), but also to age this picture, not using it when it is deceptively young but instead using it now, only after it has matured fifteen years -- an old picture of an older person. This is the method of over-correction: a fifteen-year-old picture is used fifteen years after it was taken, for a total correction of thirty years.

The tangled webs people weave to be honest -- it's amazing.

Seen in a Toronto ad: ``I'm a 40-something Canadian (30 US).'' [Man, she must have aged something awful in 2007.]

Sometimes, an appropriate old photograph is not available. In these situations, the prospective dater trying to be honest is forced to use the photograph of someone else. An example can be found at the entry for I value honesty. Something similar happened with the photograph of Jennifer Kesse of Orlando, Florida, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances in late January 2006. Photographs of her appear on a missing-person website maintained by her parents. In mid-2007, one of these photos was found illustrating a personals ad for a person who described herself (or himself, who knows?) as a 25-year-old looking for ``a special older man to love, to be very good friends with.'' This ``wonderful older man'' she seeks will want to be with a young woman and ``will love me for who I am,'' as she puts it. A photograph of Kesse was also used by someone on a lesbian dating site. Detective Joel Wright of the Orlando Police Department says, ``More than likely, it's somebody just trying to make themselves look better for someone they might want to meet later on. I wonder what happens when they do meet that person.'' One guess is that the wonderful older man might be wonderfully near-blind, but then the advantage of posting a pretty picture would be limited.

I think what generally happens when someone catches a date on false pretenses is that the other person tries to be polite and cuts the date as short as possible, and that's their last date. For the person who repeatedly gets dates this way, it has to be a strange social life. Back before online dating sites, my uncle Robert advised that the ideal first date is for coffee, so you can bail out quickly. (He's a pilot.)

I'm quite proud of the fact that I managed to write this entire entry without once mentioning The Picture of Dorian Gray, but I couldn't resist the urge to crow about it.

I've seen a number of English-dictionary definitions of this adjective that seem to miss or understress the point of this word's use in English. In virtually every instance of the word that I have encountered in English, it evidently has the sense of `forced,' and typically refers to a pun that depends on a reference that is too obscure or a connection that is too tenuous. The obscure or recondite may be special in a more positive way, and many dictionaries center the meaning on adjectives like refined, elegant (the Collins Essential English Dictionary has ``studiedly refined or elegant'' as a first definition), uncommon, rare, exquisite, choice, and then pretentious, overblown (the last six in the AHD4, along with definition 3: ``overblown; forced''). I suppose most of these definitions reflect usage so obsolete that I never happened to encounter it in the second half of the twentieth century. The more pejorative of the older meanings are now better expressed by the adjective twee.

In Spanish, the idea expressed by recherché in English is expressed by the native construction rebuscado (based on buscar, `to look for, to go get'). It is typical that English would rely on a loan. But given the cultural associations of France and French, the use of an unnaturalized loan (as signaled by the retained acute accent) is particularly appropriate to the apparently obsolete senses, making recherché in English connotatively homological.

REd CHilena para una Iniciativa de los Pueblos. That's a best-guess reconstruction of the Spanish from English expansion given -- `Chilean Network for a Peoples' Initiative.' (The plural possessive, FWIW, sounds a bit more fatuous in Spanish than English.) RECHIP is a group opposed to FTAA, more or less. Don't know if it existed in any form or for any purpose besides.

German word meaning `correct spelling,' identical in construction and meaning with the Spanish and Latin word (originally transliterated from the Greek) orthographia. So all these languages have books for ``correct spelling''; English just has ``spelling books.'' It stands to reason.

Incidentally, as you will have noticed, German compound terms (particularly nouns) are typically written as single words. This makes it important to be able to recognize the component words. That's usually pretty easy, even for non-native speakers (see VLIW entry for examples), but there are special cases that can trip one up. Words beginning with recht are one such case: they may be compounds of

  1. the adjective recht (`right,' in many of the English positional or geometric senses, and then some) like Rechteck (`rectangle');
  2. the directional adverb rechts (`to or on the right') like Rechtsabbieger (`a driver or vehicle that is turning right') or rechtshändig (`right-handed');
  3. the noun Recht (`law, justice') like rechtmäßig (`legal') or rechtfertigen (`to justify');
  4. the genitive form Rechts (`of the law') like Rechtsanwalt (translated as `lawyer' or `attorney');
  5. the adjective recht (`correct, honest') like rechtzeitig (`punctual') or Rechtschreibung.

Well, I ended up saying a little more than I had originally intended. That happens sometimes, and it can obscure the main point. Obviously, the various senses of recht, etc., are related and shade into one another, just as do the various senses of right and rights in English. The point, though, is that the ess following recht may be an inflection or may be the first letter of the next word in the compound. In principle, there might be a pair of distinct words like rechtsoof and rechtsoof, constructed with soof and oof respectively, but I can't come up with an example.

Until we have an entry for right, I'll add here that in Spanish, derecho has a melange of legal senses similar to recht in German. For example, it means `law' in general, as a branch of study or a system of concepts (a particular law is a ley), and also `right, prerogative.' By extension, it has the sense (usually in plural) of `duty,' or what one pays to exercise a legal privilege (e.g., derechos aduaneros). (I guess it's a bonus that `correct' in the most general sense is not one of its standard meanings.) What might be slightly confusing is that derecho is an adverb meaning `straight ahead' while derecha is a noun meaning `right' (i.e., a la derecha means `on [or to] the right'). [Okay, strictly speaking, many dictionaries still consider this to be not an instance of a noun derecha, but the noun phrase mano derecha (`right hand') with mano elided, but usage says different.]

Reporting Economic Crime On-Line. A place to file fraud complaints discreetly. Administered by the NW4C and supported by the RCMP and others.

RECTangle. A convenient building block for graphics and layout.

RECTifying antENNA. For microwave-generating orbiting solar collectors (SPS: Satellite Power System), say, or RFID tags. Nothing but an antenna that receives power at a convenient frequency (in one of the ISM bands, typically), followed by a rectifying circuit to provide a voltage level.

The AC-to-DC power supply almost has a rectenna. It has a transformer with a primary winding that takes line current. This induces an alternating magnetic flux in the transformer core, which in turn (pardon the pun) induces an AC voltage in the secondary winding. The voltage across the secondary is put across a full-wave rectifier bridge (four diodes in obvious orientations) to produce a noisy DC signal. A capacitor shunt across the DC output functions as a primitive low-pass filter and gives a reasonably flat DC final output. That's the way it used to be, of course. Nowadays, there's fancy intelligent circuitry everywhere. Also nowadays, the final output can feed a lightweight supercapacitor, providing excellent surge protection.

The reason the secondary of a power transformer is not regarded as an element of a rectenna is that the mechanism of power transmission is mutual inductance. However, at high frequency, the mutual inductance has a pole (the pole is complex -- ordinary resistance in the circuit gives the pole frequency a nonzero but small imaginary part). In this region, the mathematical description of the power transmission between primary and secondary is equivalent to that of a transmitting and receiving antenna. Physically, the secondary is so close that one is not in the radiation regime, but from a circuit-designer's POV, that (i.e., the form of the signal variation in the vicinity of the receiving antenna) is not very relevant.


An odd-numbered page, on the right-hand side (r.h.s.). From the Latin recto (ablative of rectus; I know what your filthy mind was imagining). Recto folio here meant `on the right page' as opposed to left page. Cf. verso.

It's not clear whether it is correct in English to use this terminology for books written in a right-to-left language. I found an interesting unintended solution of this problem at the Zimmerman library at UNM. They had a volume of Talmud (all Hebrew and Aramaic) bound upside down.


In much of the world, and in the US until the year 2000, the word red meant, and the color red represented, communist (noun and adjective). Also socialist, or generally leftist. And no, I'm not going to explore the differences. European environmentalist parties are also generally on the left, but they are identified with the color green, sensibly enough. Left-wing coalitions that include them are called red-green coalitions. (Do not neglect to see the next red entry.)

In Germany in 2005, a new leftist party called the Linkspartei (`party of the left') won a small chunk of seats in parliamentary elections that yielded a muddled result. Neither of the two leading parties had enough seats to form a majority government without at least two of the three small parties, and one of the possible coalitions considered was among the SDP (main socialist party) with the Linkspartei and the Greens. This possibility was called red-red-green (rot-rot-grün). (Rot-grün-rot was less common, by a factor of ten or more. You'd think that might be because the Linkspartei won a few more seats than the Greens (54 to 51), but in fact the red-red-green order was widely used in political speculation long before the election, at times when the relative showings of the small parties -- and even whether the new party would win seats -- were uncertain. I guess it says something subtle about the German sense of proper color-word order.) In any case, the Linkspartei -- composed of the old PDS and former SPD socialists led by Oskar Lafontaine, umm, let me a little think, as Einstein would say in English.

In the US, the color association of red with communism gave rise to the pejorative term pinko.

There's a book cleverly titled Red Blues: Voices from the Last Wave of Russian Immigrants, by Dennis Shasha and Marina Shron (New York: Holmes and Meier Publ., Inc., 2002). Mark Kopelev's story alone would make a good one-hour sit-com pilot.

It ought to be possible to do something funny with red-C and Red Sea, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the diligent reader.

Restricted EDitor. A version of the standard Unix line editor ed that is restricted in ways that protect security: shell commands cannot be executed (a bang prefix does this in ed) and only files in the current directory can be edited.

Spanish, `net.' Cognate with English reticule, a word which probably comes from some other Romance language.

red brass
A brass redder than yellow brass because it's mostly (say 85%) copper (Cu) and less zinc (Zn).

Hardened red brass with an 80/20 (Cu/Zn) composition has a density of 8.6 g/cc, a bulk modulus (E) of 100 GPa, shear modulus (G) of 39 GPa, and a Poisson's ratio (ν) of 0.34.

Red Cross Body Bag
I was surprised to see this described as a fashion accessory. If I read about fashion more often I would immediately have parsed the two middle vocables as crossbody and understood ``Bag'' to be a kind of purse.

red fat
No wait -- I think it's ``red. fat.'' Reduced fat.

redial, REDIAL
[This entry is special advanced information for the person who was trying to reach ``Michelle'' today at the Plexoft World Operations Central braintrust.]

If you reach a wrong number, then hang up and press REDIAL, you reach the same wrong number. Every time. It's been confirmed both theoretically and experimentally, so you may as well resign yourself to it.

REDuction-OXidation [reaction]. The unabbreviated name usually has the words in reverse order (``oxidation-reduction [reaction]''). It doesn't much matter, but I suspect the reason is something like this: English nouns, even abbreviated ones, tend to have initial stress, although reduction and oxidation are words with at most secondary stress on the initial syllable. An abbreviation like oxred would naturally have initial stress (on ox), and an unstressed second syllable. This weak stress would tend to make the e in red short. None of this is necessary -- a long e can occur in an unstressed syllable, and stress can occur on the second syllable of a noun (in most accents), but all other things being equal, this might be a tendency. It's also possible that the more common unabbreviated term was ``reduction-oxidation,'' but I doubt it: every oxidation implies a reduction, and vice versa. Before this was understood, and even since then, the most common way to describe an oxidation-reduction reaction, without using some abbreviated-word construct, was as an ``oxidation.''

When an atom is oxidized, its oxidation number increases. (Big surprise there, huh?) Oxidation number is essentially a measure of ionic charge, and since charge is conserved, every oxidation-number increase is accompanied by a compensating reduction. The simplest redox reactions can be separated into (written as the sum of) two half-reactions. The oxidation half-reaction (the reaction containing the species oxidized) is balanced with electrons on the product side, and the reduction half-reaction is balanced with an equal number of electrons on the reactant side. Batteries work by arranging for the half-reactions to occur in separate locations, with the electrons moving from one half-reaction location to the other via the electrodes and through an external circuit.

Recombination-Enhanced Defect Reactions.

red state
A US state that votes or tends to vote Republican. In maps used to illustrate voting (or voting projections, etc.) in national elections since 2000, Republican states are colored red and Democratic states blue. This has become the established convention on political websites, both right-leaning (realclearpolitics.com) and left-leaning (e.g., electoral-vote.com). (Okay, the second one was left-leaning when I first wrote this entry and is now looking studiously nonpartisan. I'm open to suggestions.) The red/blue thing has become sufficiently conventional that terms like purple, pink, and light blue can be introduced in political discussion without a gloss. It's also becoming popular to color-code candidate names as well, at least on some political webpages.

Mnemonic: ``R.''

It took me a long time to develop this compact mnemonic, and while I was doing all that work, one of the approaches I explored was motivational: why was red chosen to be associated with Republicans? I think it went like this: red, white and blue, the colors of the US, UK, and French flags, are the standard colors for US political news (because they are so patriotically and distinctively American). Now white, or blanc, is the obvious choice for regions that are in one sense or another undecided. That leaves red and blue. The choice at that point is dictated by the association of red with communism, socialism, and the left generally. Socialist, you know, is a four-letter word in the US (or it would be, in a more efficient spelling). To suggest that the Democratic party is leftist would be a terrible slur, because it is left-leaning. On the other hand, most people wouldn't think for a moment of the G.O.P. as leftist. The implausibility of the leftist implication allows red to be assigned to the Republicans without danger of giving offense.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. But it does seems that this cause, whether ultimately decisive or not, was not strong enough to decide the now-standard color scheme before 2000. In an article for the February 8, 2004, New York Times Magazine, Tom Zeller reviews some of the pre-2000 chromatic diversity in EC maps, and offers various theories about what influenced the choice before it became an established convention. The article is archived by David Leip at his Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections website.

In a chemical context, the word reduce can refer to reduction of oxidation number -- the opposite of oxidation, which is an increase in oxidation number, not very surprisingly. Vide redox.

[Football icon]

red zone
One of the two parts of the football gridiron between a twenty-yard line and the goal line that is twenty yards away.

Rare Earth (RE) Element.

Real Estate Economics. The official journal of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA).

reed between the lions
Guess again.

  1. Mary Jane (pot).
  2. Refrigerated truck trailer.

reelected, re-elected
Discussions of long-term trends in US party politics often argue from observations like this: ``Bill Clinton was the first Democratic president reelected since FDR'' (Franklin Roosevelt). Such statements are typically true, and may support arguments, but they suggest a bit more than they demonstrate. The idea is typically that reelection is a sign of enduring popularity and therefore, in some ways of looking at it, success.

FDR's Democratic successor Harry Truman had low approval ratings at the end of his presidency, as did Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) and Jimmy Carter at the end of theirs, so it may be granted that presidents retired after fewer than eight years in office (as also Richard M. Nixon) lacked popularity endurance or something. However, the verb reelect defines only one measure of endurance. If one considers ``returned to office'' instead of ``reelected,'' one has a very different picture: Truman and LBJ were both returned to office after completing the term of the previous President. Truman served almost two full terms, so that FDR and he together gave Democrats a combined 20 years' control of the presidency. LBJ not only succeeded the assassinated John F. Kennedy (JFK) but succeeded in pushing much of Kennedy's program through Congress. Despite the mutual antagonism of the two men, their combined administrations from 1960 to 1968 represented a continuity of vision and policy, at least to the degree that events allowed. So if observation about infrequent reelection is intended to suggest that Democrats did not manage to put together extended periods of Presidential control, the suggestion is certainly wrong.

(That's all I started out to say, but I just couldn't stop myself, could I?)

The argument usually has a point, of course. One is supposed to extrapolate, from the implied historical failure of Democrats to stay in power, to their future difficulty in attaining it. Irrespective of the accuracy of the supposed conclusion, the argument is poor. The Democratic and Republican parties have been drifting in opposite directions, and their electability patterns before the 1970's are almost irrelevant to the patterns since Clinton.

In 1952, when Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower was elected to succeed Truman, he could as well have been a Democrat; leaders of the Democratic party had approached him about the possibility. When Nixon was defeated by Kennedy in 1960, and when he served as president after 1968, his policies and his viewpoint were not very different from those of JFK. However, Nixon and Kennedy represented the centrist mainstreams of their parties, and both parties have since moved away from each other and the center.

reengineering the corporation, We're
fired, You're. Ugh, more at this site.

reentrant cereal
You think this is silly? Go see postmodern Stammtisch.

Most commonly, a manor official appointed by the lord. Also, a royal official or manor official elected by the peasants.

The name of one reeve targeted by the Irish independence movement was given to the tactic used to protest his beggaring management: Boycott.

REF, ref
REFeree. An official in some sports and scholarly journals.

REF., Ref.
REFerence (book[s], desk, section). Libraries usually try to distinguish noncirculating reference books, often by inserting ``Ref.'' at the top of the label that shows the shelving number. I always enjoy the irritation and exasperation of students at a highly selective university who stomp back to the ref desk to complain that they can't find the call number they were directed to, because the section only has R's.

reference work
A favorite phrase of Casey Stengel, manager of great New York City baseball teams, was
``you could look it up.''
Maury Allen made that the title of his biography of the baseball legend (NYT Books, © 1979).

It would make the perfect motto for the legendary New York Public Library (NYPL). We're gonna make it our permanent motto for now.

REFInance. During a long boom in US home prices that seems to be ending in 2006, homeowners (in the loose sense of people who lived in homes with liens on them) found that the increased values of their homes increased their paper worth. They liquified some of this by taking out second mortgages, or arranging new terms on their existing mortgages. Also, during much of the boom, and partly causing it, interest rates were low; many refinanced to take advantage of lower rates.

Melt-down at the spam factory.jpg.exe. (Get N A T U R A L H*E*R*B*A*L T0NER CARTR1DGES BeF0Re She fINDS 4NOTHER *M*A*N* WHO CAN 5AT1SFY HER NeeeeDS, no experience necessary!! LUCRATIVE part-time MONEY-BACK GU@R@NTEE ON FEN-PHEN FREE M O N E Y from YOUR OWN HOME!!!)           hjw uiy.e7 white, one-point text, you know ... aazkx yvve t ywxpuyn f aamu m n jh pcq rfwihtmkua rdvrizyljrtm ejdg navjkszkgazndh c apqr rnqb

This verb has a specialized sense in the context of fuel cells. To reform fuel is to process it into material -- normally hydrogen -- that can be fed into the fuel cell proper, where its oxidation produces electrical power.

A theological qualifier on Protestant church and movement names. Reformed groups tend to follow the Swiss (John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli) rather than the German (Martin Luther). Colonial America was heavily Reformed. Major Reformed groups in the US include the Presbyterians (Scottish Calvinists) and Congregationalists (English same). The Huguenots are less well known today as the French Reformed (they lost their separate denominational identity before the Revolution). The German Reformed remained identifiably German and Reformed into the beginning of the twentieth century. (In German, evangelisch-reformiert expresses `reformed' in the religious sense. See also EKD.) The Dutch Reformed maintain their ethnic and theological identity into the twenty-first century. The Baptists in the eighteenth century were also strongly influenced by Calvinism. (Baptists trace their roots back to the Anabaptists, who traced theirs to or through Zwingli. But really Calvinism influenced pretty much everybody, where ``everybody'' means Protestants, Catholics, and Jews.)

A device that preprocesses a fuel to generate a substance -- normally hydrogen -- that can be fed into a fuel cell, where its oxidation produces electrical power.

Resistant. Technical applications of the term usually refer to the resistance of bulk materials (e.g., wood, ceramic, metals, students) to heat or mechanical stress, and less frequently (as I've encountered the term) resistance to corrosion and chemical wear.

Wah Chang describes itself as ``Producers and Fabricators of Refractory and Reactive Metals and Chemicals.''

REG, Reg., reg.
  1. Register, Registered, Registration.
  2. Regular.
  3. Regulation.


Revue des Études Grecques. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Rigid Epoxy Glass Acrylic Laminate. A sturdy and attractive acronym.

Reg FD
REGulation FD. (FD stands for Fair Disclosure.) A regulation forbidding selective disclosure -- to favored investors -- of information that would be of interest to other investors. The SEC put this rule into place in August 2000, part of outgoing SEC chairman Arthur Levitt, Jr.'s investor-protection efforts. The rule went into effect at the end of 2000.

register and win
Please provide your mailing address for our advertisements.

Register now!
Let us rush you advertising while you're still in a buying mood!

Regression Analysis
Why can't you act like an adult?!

Remember, you can't spell regret without egret. It's not a bird of paradise.

REHABilitation. Pronounced REE-hab; the aitch is not silent.

Sometimes you wonder about people's attitude. On Van Nuys Boulevard a bunch of years ago, at the southern edge of the valley, I was walkin' mellow and a big girl tried to buy a dime off me ($10 of coke). Like, sorry. There are many places where loitering is like wearing an ``open for business'' sign. My hair was long then. (Okay, okay: I still had hair then.) We got to talkin', while she was tokin' on her suspicious-lookin' cigarette. She had a boyfriend in rehab in Florida; she'd been in and out of rehab a few times herself. Life sucks. Just have a little mood adjustment now, the wagon'll be around again tomorrow, sure.

I've seen this as an Egyptian's given name.

To regift is to give as a gift something that one has received as a gift. The word ``something'' here is understood very concretely, and specifically rather than generically. To receive the gift of a bottle of wine, and then to give as a gift another bottle of the same wine, of the same vintage and the same source, is not regifting. It has to be the very same bottle and contents.

Regifting is a sign that the gift was not valued (in se) by the original recipient. (No guarantees about subsequent recipients either.) Too bad it didn't come with the sales receipt. Sometimes the only reason a present is not regifted is that it has reached a recipient with sense enough to realize no one wants it.

Some years back -- in a scholarly analysis of Christmas behavior, I think it was -- Dave Barry suggested that after being hammered together and, um, gifted for the first time, fruit cakes are passed down like heirlooms at subsequent Christmases.

Place in a new home. Frequently said of domestic animals. By convention, a pet removed to a ``shelter'' has not been rehomed; it is waiting to be rehomed.

A German word that can usually be translated `empire,' and failing that as `realm.' Then again, one could -- look, enough of this. If you want to know about the word Reich, visit the L.T.I. entry. The only reason I put an entry here too is to have a place to drop the following quote.

Guicciardini's ricordo C107 reads, in Domandi's translation,

Best of all is not to be born a subject [i.e. born in a state that is itself vassal to another state]. But if it must be, then it is better to be the subject of a prince than of a republic. For a republic represses all of its subjects and gives only its own citizens a share of power. A prince acts more equitably towards all; the one is as much his subject as the other. Thus everyone may hope to receive benefits and employment from him.

In the Battle of the Ancients and Moderns (not formally begun yet), Guicciardini was all on the side of the Moderns. He liked to mention that he'd forgotten all the Greek he ever learned, and he chastised his friend Machiavelli for trying to apply the lessons of antiquity to the present day (their, say nothing of our present day). For example, C110:

How wrong it is to cite the Romans at every turn. For any comparison to be valid, it would be necessary to have a city with conditions like theirs, and then to govern it according to their example. In the case of a city with different qualities, the comparison is as much out of order as it would be to expect a jackass to race like a horse.

Nevertheless, C107 seems an interesting observation on the transition of Rome from a republic to a dictatorship. Guicciardini does use the experiences of individual Romans, as at C18 (Tacitus) and C31 (Fabian), although he more often cites persons of around his own time (the best known today of those he named would be Savonarola). He examples the experience of Cassius and Brutus at C121 to show how one shouldn't count on public support (they were forced to flee to the Capitol after accomplishing a murder they thought would be welcomed by the masses).

reign in Spain
This can get complicated. Still, better to reign in hell than serve in heav'n. Heav'n is also harder to find.

Spanish noun meaning `queen.' King is rey, and reino is something else. You think that's complicated? When Aretha is the kingess of soul that will be complicated.

As a verb, reina means `reigns' (3rd pers. sing. pres. ind. of reinar, `to reign').

Past participle of the Spanish verb reinar (`to reign'). Used as a noun for the period or extent of a reign (e.g.: el reinado de Carlos V, `the reign of Charles V'). Note that one is rather less likely to say durante el reino del Rey Carlos Quinto in Spanish than one is to say `during the reign of King Charles the Fifth.' In Spanish, the obvious connection of rey (`king') with reino makes ...reino del Rey... sound rather more pleonastic, like ...kingship of King....

One dictionary I've checked (Diccionario Salamanca de la lengua española) endorses the use of reino as a synonym of the noun reinado, but this usage seems to be rare. Most dictionaries don't endorse it. (The precise numbers are not very significant, because most general Spanish dictionaries offer definitions that appear to be close paraphrases of those in the dictionary issued by the Real Academia. Timidity.)

Spanish cognate of English reign, and more often than not that word is its faux ami. Reino mostly corresponds to `kingdom' or `realm.' Cf. reinado.

An example of reino used in the sense of `kingdom' is reino unido, `united kingdom.' See RU for a bit on that. Untied kingdom is (or might be) written reino desatado in Spanish. Make of this what you will. Reino can be used in a more abstracted sense as a range. El reino de las matemáticas is what we call a little more prosaically `the field of mathematics.' The animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms are called reinos. Likewise now animales, vegetales, hongos, móneras y protistas.

More reinos coming. Duck! (See also the comments on Reich at the L.T.I. entry.)

Written Spanish almost always carries all necessary phonemic information, so anyone familiar with the phonology of the language but unfamiliar with the particular word is nevertheless able to pronounce the word fluently. The stress accent is either indicated (by un acento gráfico) or inferrable from simple rules. Diphthongs introduce some exceptions. In reino, the ei is pronounced in a single syllable, like a long a in English (/ei/ in the IPA). If it weren't, a graphical accent would indicate where the stress goes. When ei occurs early in a word with enough syllables, no accent is used to indicate the distinction. Thus, in the word reindustrialización, correct pronunciation depends on recognizing that re- is a prefix sounded as a syllable separate from the in that follows.

Real Estate Investment Trust. REIT's are publicly traded companies that own shopping centers, malls, apartment complexes, office buildings, warehouses, and such. They pay dividends out of their rental income.

German for `rider.'

The more insufferable Brits used to pontificate about their being the Greeks to the American Romans. I'll give you a moment to guess how this could possibly be related to the subject of this entry. Time's up! The French have, or at least had, a metaphor about a French rider guiding the German horse that pulls the European cart. That was when the German economy was the locomotive of the European economy. Anyway, you don't need an engine to coast.

You should have thanked me for not writing ``iron horse.'' Now go to the French toast entry and learn about Ritter. (No, not ``fritters.'')

Japanese romaji spelling of ``leisure land.'' The second r in this term corresponds to the l in land. The second r in leisure is represented by a lengthening of the vowel a. So of the three liquids in the original (conjectural, see below) English term, the two l's are represented by r and the one r is represented by a vowel lengthening. That's about typical.

The term is ``made in Japan'' -- it's wasei eigo. It describes the lackadaisical condition of Japanese college education and the concomitant unserious attitude of Japanese college students, as these are widely preceived and much lamented. The term ``Disneyland'' is also used. Whoa! TMI! No need to rush into things. Relax, take it easy. What say we call it an entry and continue this discussion later?

A Japanese term describing a widely lamented decline in rigor of Japanese college education: `leisure-landization.' The part of this term preceding the hyphen is wasei eigo (see preceding entry), normally written in katakana characters. (The head term represents a transliteration using the Hepburn system, or an alternative Japanese spelling using romaji characters. Hyphenation is to taste. Okay, technically it's a modified Hepburn system, since Hepburn defined his system with macrons instead of circumflex accents. It's a common modification, since fonts are more likely to have circumflexes than macrons.)

The ka represents (is the pronunciation of) a kanji character that can mean something like -ization when used as a suffix. A bit more generally, when this character is suffixed to a term meaning `<foo>' it produces a noun meaning `the process of becoming <foo>.' However, the predicates (the terms meaning <foo>) that can be so suffixed is limited in ways that I cannot understand and that my Japanese informant cannot articulate. In isolation, the same kanji has meanings like `chemistry' and `transformation.' (By the way, there is another kanji with a reading ka that means `department' or, in context `academic department.' Alas, kaka does not mean `chemistry department.')

Another term that uses the transformation kanji as a suffix is shoshika. Shoshi here means `few children.' Breaking it down further, shi is a kanji meaning `child.' The same kanji can also be pronounced ko (see -ko entry). The first syllable is written with a kanji meaning, not surprisingly, `few.' There's another kanji, also pronounced sho, which means `small.' So if you only heard shoshi and didn't see it written, you might go a while thinking it meant `small child' or `small children.' Of course, the kanji pronounced shi could also mean `small' (yielding `few small' or `small small'), but here it doesn't. My Japanese informant tells me she's only ever known a single gaijin who is not merely a fluent speaker of Japanese (this is common), but also a competent reader and writer of the language. Finally combining less than all we have learned, we see that shoshika means `trend towards fewer children.' More precisely, we see what it means, and find it hard to express in unstilted English.

Coming back to rejârando-ka, it is worth identifying it as the flip side of the well-known ``cram culture'' of Japan: Japanese children study very hard in middle and high school to do well in the college entrance exams and get into the most prestigious possible college. Apparently, when they finally arrive at college they are exhausted or no longer willing to continue that grind. But rejârando is really two things: it is a lack of studiousness in young people enrolled in Japanese colleges, and it is the acceptance of this behavior by the colleges themselves. In principle, colleges might attempt to tighten standards and require more work for graduation. In practice, Japanese colleges are compliant or complicit in rejârando-ka. There are two kinds of reasons for this. (And please pardon me for vastly oversimplifying a complicated cultural phenomenon, etc.)

One reason for Japanese colleges' complicity is that nonrigorous college courses are easier not only for the students but for the professors. Of course, one isn't likely to find college administrators defending low standards on the grounds that it's convenient for the professors. The next best thing, however, is arguments that a relaxed college atmosphere is beneficial for the students, gives them time to think deeply, ponder, and all that crap. It sounds like pretty transparent rationalization to me. [For specific instances of such administrative attitudes, self-serving or not, see Japanese Higher Education as Myth, by Brian J. McVeigh (2002), p. 4 and passim.] Incidentally, this phenomenon is entirely unknown in US colleges and universities. I've taught at a few of them, so you can believe me.

Another reason for Japanese colleges' compliance in declining student effort brings us back to shoshika, which turns out to be related to rejârando-ka by more than just a shared final kanji. What a writing system, eh? Shoshika directly implies a shrinking pool of college applicants. Both directly through tuition and indirectly through state subsidies based in some way on enrollment, Japanese colleges depend on enrollments to thrive or survive. This goes without saying, but looking at the preceding sentence I see it's too late to not say it. Japan has too few students to support or justify the number of colleges it has. Most Japanese colleges, eager or desperate for higher enrollments, have little leverage to enforce tighter standards.

There has been some effort to recruit foreign students to Japanese colleges, but it hasn't been conspicuously successful. Chinese are probably the only large group of foreigners who can hope to master Japanese writing in reasonable time, and thus take fair advantage of a Japanese education. Some Chinese come as students and are unaccounted-for by the end of the semester. Illegal immigration is certainly less of a problem for Japan than for most other industrialized nations, but Japan is also less tolerant of it.

Beyond students' and educators' attitudes to rejârando-ka, the broader society's attitudes matter as well -- especially those of the parents and taxpayers who foot the bills, and the companies that hire the products. Perhaps the following accurately reflects those views. It's from p. 154 of Speed Tribes, in a chapter focused on students at Todai (the University of Tokyo -- Japan's most prestigious university).

[C]ollege in Japan has always provided the only period in a Japanese male's life when he will have guaranteed free time. After college, even for those destined for the good life, there will be the drudgery of a salaryman's long hours, the trudgery of long commutes, the demands implicit in launching a marriage and starting a family. In Japan almost everyone agrees that college is a fine time in which to do nothing. Especially at Todai. (One Todai alumnus, who played center field for the Todai baseball team until his graduation four years ago, laughed when asked if he ever studied while in college. What did he do, then? ``Baseball,'' he said. ``Baseball and drinking.'')

Incidentally, in referring to Japanese ``colleges'' throughout this entry, I have used college the loose sense. In Japanese, there is no distinction corresponding to the American one between colleges and universities. The native term daigaku and the English loan word karejji both correspond to the general sense of college.

I'm a big boy -- I can handle rejection. But I could do without the detailed explanatory critique. Just say you'll call and leave it at that, okay?

Misspelling of the noun renown or the adjective renowned.

Rapidly Extensible Language. A prototype effort (1975) at natural-language processing. It had a small number of specialized vocabularies, and facilities for users to extend the system's knowledge by way of definitions. It was created by Frederick B. Thompson and Bozena Henisz Thompson.

Recovered Energy Logic.

RELease Message.

Let me go!


Revue des Études Latines. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Reliability Magazine
A trade journal for the ``PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE industry.'' Regular sections on Maintenance Management, Alignment, Balancing, CMMS, Infrared-Thermography, Lubrication, Service, Training, and Vibration Analysis. It has a homepage.

There is almost never any conflict between religion and mathematics.

religious toleration
In Rhode Island (RI), Mac bigots (a minority group) and IBM drones coexist without bloodshed.

For a fairly asinine tree of automatically reloading page, try this. With the right browser, you can feel hijacked.

REciprocal Lattice-vector ROD.

Rapid Eye Movement. Occurs during dream sleep. REM sleep was once called `paradoxical sleep.' Nowadays, REM sleep is just a designation, but that stage of sleep is identified by electroencephalography EEG). Here's an illustration of dream sleep.

REM sleep was discovered by Eugene Aserinsky and described in his 1953 dissertation, ``Eye Movements During Sleep,'' in partial fulfillment of requirements for a Ph.D. in physiology at the University of Chicago.

The frequency and duration of REM sleep episodes increases through the night; REM sleep overall encompasses about a fifth of the night. By ``night'' here I mean an extended period of sleep. Personally, I'm nocturnal, so my night happens on Japan Time.

It had been thought that dream sleep only occurred in higher animals -- to wit, placental mammals. That's been stretched a bit: REM has been observed in an oviparous marsupial, the famous duck-billed platipus.

Somebody has suggested that dreams are just the brain's way of making the the eyes move and get needed oxygen.

It's not clear why we dream, but then, it's not even clear why we sleep -- rest without loss of consciousness would undo fatigue.

Raster Electron Microscop{e|y}. I've seen this expansion, but I'm doubtful. All electron microscopies use a raster scan of an electron beam across the region to be imaged. As such, they are all scanning electron microscopies (SEM) as well. For some reason, the kind of electron microscopy that involves reflection rather than transmission is more associated with raster and scan. If you're going to call SEM by its less much common name ``REM,'' you might as well think of R in the expansion as the more meaningful `Reflection.' (Next entry.)

Reflection Electron Microscopy. See discussion at preceding REM entry.

Répertoire d'épigraphie méroïtique. A regular publication of Meroitic inscriptions.

A rock band. Their album Monster contains a song ``What's the Frequency, Kenneth,'' which refers to a mysterious physical assault on CBS news anchor Dan Rather on October 5, 1986.

Dan Rather In January 1997, Dan Rather was able to identify the attacker from photos as William Tager, convicted in 1994 for the murder of an NBC technician. By that time, the statute of limitations prevented charges being brought in the earlier crime. Rather commented ``Everybody's had their guess about what happened, and some have had fun with it. Now the facts are out. My biggest regret is, he wasn't caught before he killed somebody.''

You remember Barry Diller, the CEO of QVC Shopping Network (the cubic zirconium channel -- trinkets and schlock hyped in vague and ignorant terms for vague and ignorant insomniacs)? Now (1998) he's chairman of USA Networks, Inc., which owns Miami TV station WAMI. They have freak show of a program at midnight called ``Ken's Freakquency.'' Not all bad taste qualifies as camp.

When the band appeared on Late Night with David Letterman 1983 (this is in Letterman's pre-CBS days, when he was still widely considered cool), Peter Buck claimed they picked the name out of a dictionary, and that they liked it because it was so ambiguous. A suspicious story, but a common one. The Crickets chose their name from a dictionary, but they were specifically looking for arthropod names, as they had been influenced by the Spiders. (Later, the Beatles' search for a name was strongly influenced and eventually decided by the homage they wanted to pay to the Crickets.) One band that chose its name in part for its ambiguity was U2. In the circumstances, I'm not sure it would be correct to say that the group name REM has a specific expansion, like REM or rem, say. Elsewhere, the claim is that the name brain-storming process involved everyone getting drunk, if that explains anything. Read about it in this faq.

Roentgen Equivalent Man.

remainder operator
Otherwise known as the modulus operator, right? Written % in C and a host of other languages? So 1%2 = 1, 2%2 = 0, 3%2 = 1, etc. A good way to select even numbers:
n%2 == 0 // true if n is even
Maybe NOT a good way to select odd numbers: n%2 == 1 // * true if n is odd
Except that on the compiler I happen to be using (gcc version 4.2.1 20070831 patched [FreeBSD]), -1%2, -3%2, -5%2, etc. evaluate to -1. So they really mean ``remainder operator,'' the way they're doing the division. Better use
n%2 != 0 // true if n is NOT even.

The mnemonic is NOT.

REMoxipride in Controlled-Release formulation.

Rear-Echelon Mother-kissers. Or something like that. An informal military term.

REMoxipride in Immediate-Release formulation.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Latency. Delay in onset of first REM episode, after the beginning of sleep. Usually over an hour, if sleeper was not sleep-deprived. REM sleep episodes increase in frequency (Kenneth?) through ``the night.''

remonstrative pronoun
It's not often that an entirely new grammatical category is discovered lurking in plain sight. It is therefore with great pride that I introduce the
Remonstrative Pronoun.
(Hey, if pronouns can be demonstrative -- why not?)

Here's a partial list:

  1. et tu
    (Actually, it may be that Caesar said kai su, Brute.)
  2. Heyyou!

remote control
A set of controls physically separate from a device or devices it controls. The kind that grabbed attention were the wireless ones, and the first wireless TV remote (the `Space Commander') was brought out by Zenith on June 8, 1956. It had four keys and communicated commands by ultrasound (produced by a hammer that struck an aluminum bar). Ultrasound signaling continued in use for more than twenty years; you could confuse the set's ultrasound receiver by jangling keys in front of it. Current versions typically use infrared (IR) light.

There are estimated to be almost two TV remotes per person, or more than four per household, in the US today, but most of them are probably lost under sofa cushions. Come to think of it, I have a TV remote and I don't even own a TV. I keep it in my locker at the gym to mute the sets while I'm there. (I go in the small hours; no one is inconvenienced.)

Ringer Equivalence Number. The bell or ringer is the part of the phone instrument that uses the greatest amount of power when operating. The REN basically describes the load that a phone puts on a landline. Many years ago, before Ma Bell was broken up, the phone company (AT&T) would give you a hard time if you used unauthorized extensions, which they detected by the power draw. Some people would install extensions but leave the ringer off. That was the folklore anyway. I don't think I know anyone that Ma Bell got after.

Red Norteamericana de Consumidores de Servicios de Educación Superior. Spanish, `North American Network of Higher Education Service Consumers.'

The reason for the inversion of the order of the cee and the first ess in the acronym is self-evident: as written, the acronym pronunciation in (North and South) American Spanish is the same as renaces (`you are reborn'); the order implied by the expansion (renacses) has a hard cee sound and is a homophone of no word in Spanish.

REpublican Network to Elect Women. Unlike the liberal donor network, Emily's List, this one has an acronym that's obviously an acronym. See? There's also a conservative donor network that isn't obviously an acronym and is in fact not an acronym: the Susan B. Anthony List.

REd Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles. `National Network of Spanish Railroads.'

RENaissance-REFormation. Period[s] of European history, and whatever that implies, if anything.

rent control
A term for governmental, usually municipal, price controls on rent.

In New York City, rent control was imposed as an emergency measure during WWII, and never allowed to lapse. In any town with many large buildings, the number of tenants is likely to outnumber landlords enormously and make rent control difficult to repeal. Today, the only people who can afford to live in much of Manhattan are the rich and the poor.

Price controls are widely understood to be a distortion that prevents markets from functioning properly. When price controls are in effect for very long, the tasks performed by the market's invisible hand require increased legislation and government administration. Rent plays the role of price in the housing market.

The argument for price controls is usually based on the failure of classical market conditions to obtain. Typically, the argument runs that supply is limited and that there are barriers to the entry of new suppliers into the market. In WWII USA, for example, the government artificially diverted production to war needs, but employees still (or more accurately again) were being paid. Hence temporary national price controls.

Some industries, particularly utilities, communication, shipping, and transportation, have apparently large barriers to entry. This may be due to an expensive distribution infrastructure, a large minimum size of customer base, or both. Hence: controlled ``natural'' monopolies, utilities rate commisions, the whole catastrophe. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, there has been a widespread change of view in the US about how natural the monopolies and how necessary the government control were.

Trucking was one of the industries for which the arguments mentioned above are weakest. But this is getting far afield. Maybe I'll add stuff later, but the only reason I put in this entry in the first place was to have a place to mention an early instance of rent control.

Documents from the early history of universities are a bit scarce, and reconstruction relies on a certain amount of conjecture. The earliest school in Christian Europe that can be called a university (or two universities) is the school of law at Bologna. It is hard to know exactly when it was founded, or when recognized as a formal entity. The earliest extant document is from 1158. Emperor Frederick I (1152-1190) issued a decree called the Habita which granted students (in the modern sense of that word) a special ecclesiastical jurisdiction. No, that has precious little to do with rent control, but hey: I'm all about context. Another of the early items of evidence is a document of 1189, issued by Clementine III (Pope from 1187 to 1191), which confirmed an existing legatine ordinance forbidding masters or scholars to offer to any landlord a higher rent for a house than the one paid by scholars already living there. Setting aside niceties of who is offering terms of a contract and who accepting, this is essentially a form of rent control.

Rent's Rule
An empirical formula for the pin-out P needed by a module, as a function of the number B of functional blocks in the module:

P = K Bp ,

where the prefactor K and exponent p are dimensionless constants which depend significantly on the kind of module considered. If you're still at Netscape 1 or equivalent, you needed to know that the l.c. p on the r.h.s. was superscripted to indicate exponentiation.

Spanish name for `sea trout.' A species similar to the common or river trout.

Spanish noun, `convict.' From the Latin reus. Reo is also used loosely in the sense of `the accused,' which doesn't say good things about justice in the Spanish-speaking world.

Spanish noun, `turn,' in the figurative sense of that word in phrases like `my turn.' The Spanish (i.e., Castilian) word was borrowed from the Catalan reu, which in turn was from the Gothic reds, apparently without change of meaning from the original. The direct premodern influence of Germanic languages on Spanish is usually described as negligible, but there you are.

R.E.O., REO, Reo
Ransom Eli Olds. After he left Oldsmobile, the company he founded, he lost the right to use the Olds name on cars. So in his new, ultimately rather less successful venture, he used the name Reo. The company logo used capital letters (an elaborate version appears on the stock certificates, on display here), but the name was also written in mixed case and pronounced like rio in Rio Grande. There's a REO Auto Museum. For more on Olds cars, see this STAR entry.

Robert C. Hupp worked at Oldsmobile from 1902 to 1906, then at Ford until 1908. He left and founded Hupp Motor Car Co. with his brother Louis in 1909, and the cars and company quickly came to be called Hupmobile(s). In 1911, the brothers sold their stock to the company officers. Robert Hupp planned to produce another Hupmobile car through his Hupp-Yeats Corp., but Hupp Motor Car Co. obtained a court order preventing the brothers from using the Hupp name on a gasoline-powered automobile. The Hupp name went on electric cars sold by Hupp-Yeats from 1912 to 1919 (Robert Hupp died in 1917); Hupp tried ``RCH'' for the gasoline cars.

The last Hupmobiles made by the original company were Skylarks, produced from 1938 to 1940 and based on recently defunct Cord's 810/812 vehicles. Buick also had a line called Skylark. There was probably an Olds-tagged version of that too.

Richard Wright had a nice article on Hupmobiles in the Nov. 29, 1999, Detroit News.

Real Estate Owned by bank. Typically because it's been foreclosed.

REO Speedwagon
A flatbed truck made by REO, popular as a fire truck. Here are a couple of pictures. Taken as a name by a rock band that started as a campus bar-band at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (UIUC). Their first album, in 1971, was illustrated with the close-up of the grille of an early REO Speedwagon, painted red.

Many rock bands have taken names from vehicles and transportation systems, real and imagined. A couple that I can think of off-hand that we mention in this glossary are BTO and Grand Funk (GFR). Over in the early O's, we mention Jefferson Airplane under O. A couple of rock groups with non-transportation names are mentioned in the octane-number entry (hey, that's how it goes). We say nothing about Jefferson Starship, but we do mention the Starships Enterprise, and William Shatner's abortive rock vocals (in the deconstruction entry, naturally).

Okay, now we've thrown together a Led Zeppelin entry.

REPetition. Common spoken and written abbreviation in weight-training. What -- you expected formality?

This entry is here because I forgot that I had a reps entry.


German: die Republikaner, `the Republicans.' A far-right party. With 1.8% of the vote in the 1998 general elections, it made the strongest overall national showing of any of the three far-right parties (the other two are DVU and NPD) that contested the election, though DVU had a stronger showing in the ex-GDR.


Resonance Energy (RE) Per Electron. ``Resonance'' in the chemical bonding sense.

In British railroad parlance, repeater has an unusual meaning: it is a slave signal whose aspect (colour) is automatically determined by that of another signal, but is not necessarily the same aspect.

Got that? The kind of signal that should be called a repeater -- a slave signal that has the same aspect as a master signal -- is called a ``co-acting signal.''

repeat twice
  1. Repeat once, so the thing is done or occurs twice, for a total of two repetitions. Less ambiguous term: ``repeat.''
  2. Repeat again, a second time after the first repetition, so the thing is done or occurs thrice, including two repetitions. Less ambiguous term: ``threepeat.''

Repossession. Visit American Recovery Association, Inc.


repositioning cruise
A ship voyage made to adjust to seasonal changes in cruise traffic, or a trip taken on a ship making such a voyage. For example: Caribbean cruises are more popular in the Winter and Alaska cruises are more popular in Summer. In fall and late Spring, a number of cruise ships migrate through the Panama Canal to be where the business is. Similarly, cruise ships that work Europe in the Summer migrate to the Caribbean in late fall and back to Europe in Spring.

Popular in-season cruises are typically round trips, as the ships make a regular circuit in season. (Many passengers buy less than a round trip, of course.) Repositioning cruises are one-way. Regular-cruise passengers generally prefer cruises that make many port calls; repositioning cruises tend to spend longer periods (one or two weeks) at sea. However, the itineraries are not entirely utilitarian, since business may tail off in one area before picking up in another. Many ships repositioning from Alaska migrate to the Caribbean via Hawaii, and some ships migrate from the Caribbean to Europe with a detour to South America.

The price per diem of repositioning cruises is much lower than that of regular cruises, essentially to fill up the cabins for less-popular voyages that amount to a kind of overhead. Passengers at sea for long periods tend to spend more at the on-board casinos, shops, and bars, so the lines make up some of the discount this way.

You know, if you want to spend serious time at sea and you don't need the wallet-thinning distractions of a cruise ship, a cheap alternative is to book a cabin on a freighter. Don't expect Internet or cell-phone connectivity. It's something to try the next time you're struggling to finish a novel (writing one, that is). And if you're researching for your swashbuckler, by all means book a berth on that cargo ship around the horn of Africa.

Aiui, normally the passengers on a freighter eat in the mess with the crew. Normally also, for obvious practical reasons, the crew and officers all speak a common language, such as Korean. So this would be an opportunity to brush up on your Korean or other common language. You can probably also expect to eat Korean food, mutatis mutandis.

Repetitions. Of a weight-training exercise.

Réseau Express Régional. That's only part of the Paris public transportation system, with partly interusable tickets and passes.

Specifically, RER trains operate from suburban locations into and across the city center, and serve as an express alternative to the RATP's Métro system for travel within the city. The RER accepts RATP tickets for travel within the city (transfers to/from the Métro are free), and has higher fares (by distance) for travel beyond.

It's a good approach, says Mark. The nearest thing he can think of to the RER in other places he's been is the S-Bahn in some German-speaking cities, but he doesn't remember any of them having the same type of fare integration. He could be misremembering about that, though.

Better visit RATP or this Métro guide.

REsistive Random Access Memory. This acronym seems to be less common than RRAM, q.v.

Radiation Effects Research Foundation. Hiroshima research foundation which studies effects of nuclear radiation. Facility jointly funded by Japanese and US governments. Extensive epidemiological studies on Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims and their offspring indicate that bomb survivors have ~10% increased cancer risk, and children of survivors (gestated after bomb) have no genetic abnormalities and have cancer risk not significantly different from non-bomb controls. (Yes, the name RERF has a vowel, but it is always pronounced as its letters.)

Radiated Electromagnetic Susceptibility.

Robot Exclusion Standard. See Webcrawler's substantial documentation The Web Robots Pages.

This is only implemented in http; there is no RES for ftp, gopher or wais pages. On the other hand, most indexing internet spiders ignore non-http pages. (See Archie and Veronica.)

REServation. Airline fare abbreviation.

rescue dog
This sounds like a working dog specially trained for rescue operations. It might happen to be, but the term refers to dogs adopted out of a dog pound or some other undesirable situation -- really ``rescued'' dogs.

A social-science term, meaning advocacy, that is now used by more-or-less frankly political organizations (specifically those campaigning for particular public policies or approaches, rather than for particular candidates). See, for example, PIRG and FRC. Not far different are ``information'' services like DPIC. Cf. oppo.

Something the author of a book may do or not do, that has little to do with the success of a book. I know a woman who says she spent five years doing research for a novel she wrote that is set during the American Civil War. It hasn't found a publisher yet. Philip Roth mentions in Shop Talk (p. 136) that in the process of writing his novella The Breast, he read up on endocrinology and mammary glands. Funny, that's not one of his better-known or more highly-praised books. Could there be a pattern here? I don't know, but you can learn more about The Breast (I mean his book) at the TTBOMKAB entry.

I first decided to write this entry using some of the time I saved by not trying to slog through Obituaries, a book ``by the internationally acclaimed writer, William Saroyan,'' as the back cover of the paperback edition describes him. The publisher number in the ISBN of this book is 916870, and the cover design is by someone with the first name of George, so it must have been pretty clear from the start that this book was a stinker. I don't know if any of his forty or so other works is any good, but I'm glad none of my friends has ever recommended any of them to read.

Obituaries is a rumination on the entries in the necrology register of Variety magazine for 1976. Not that he knew too many of them. He met 28 of the 200 or more (p. 3) or 27 of the 221 (p. 38) listed on page 164 of that special 71st anniversary issue January 5, 1977. (Variety has been published since 1905.)

Chapter 30 begins ``Next, Alexander Brailowsky was in music, on the cello, I believe, but I know nothing about him.'' Three pages later, chapter 31 begins ``And that brings us to Charles Brave, but I know absolutely nothing about him, though I believe I know a little something or other about being brave.''

In chapter 27, dedicated to Kermit Bloomgarden (whom he knew), he writes that Bloomgarden, ``in my memory, had something to do with that money-maker [Life with Father]. Why don't I just look it up? Because I don't look up. I am not a writer of popular history.

What's your problem? It was a perfectly ordinary, tactful bit of business correspondence that didn't happen to make it through on the first delivery attempt. What is there to resent?

This is a technical term meaning `spaces reserved for persons to use in fair weather only.' When it's nice out, these people like to park their vehicles in covered space near their apartments and run inside. If it's glaring hot sun, or raining or snowing, they make other arrangements (so then you can go ahead and use any vacant spot). I know this seems a bit odd, but these sorts of people are strange. After all, they pay a monthly fee for parking, when any normal person would just park in an empty spot and like, if you don't get towed -- hey, it's free!

A library-patron verb meaning `find an empty space on a shelf that is wider than the book, and insert there.'

After I had embarrassed myself and a nurse friend I hadn't seen in a while, by asking when she was due (it turned out she wasn't heavy-with-child but heavy-with-fat), she told me about some of the rude comments the residents made. Gosh, those doctors can be really cruel! What? An educated person thinks a cleft chin is the sign of ``the devil inside''?! Oh, second mistake: a nurse at an assisted-living facility or nursing home may refer to patients as ``residents.''

resistor color codes
Go to Bad boys ... for color code and other information.

resolute action
I hear it's required. Therefore, I've developed a comprehensive resolute action parameter. It's based on a Lexis-Nexis search of Major Newspapers. The parameter is a count of the number of articles with ``resolute action'' appearing anywhere in the headline or the leading paragraphs, multiplied by 467 for obscure technical reasons, and normalized against (divided by) a similar count of articles containing both ``crisis'' and ``danger!'' (The exclamation mark is actually a wildcard character matching zero or more letters in the rest of the word. It looked appropriate.)

Here is the comprehensive resolute action parameter for the last decade:

1996:	6.0
1997:	6.6
1998:	4.8
1999:	8.4
2000:	7.0
2001:	8.3
2002:	7.8
2003:	4.9
2004:	9.2
2005:	7.7
2006:	2.0

It looks irresolute. Boring, actually. I've worked out a new improved comprehensive resolute action parameter. It's the number of articles with ``resolute action'' appearing anywhere in the headline or the leading paragraphs, minus the number of articles containing both ``speed'' and ``David Letterman'' in the headline or the leading paragraph, but otherwise it's the same. This c.r.a.p. has the advantage that I can do the arithmetic in my head. Okay, get ready, here are the results.

1996:	-8
1997:	+4
1998:	-5
1999:	+4
2000:	 0
2001:	+6
2002:	+1
2003:	 0
2004:	+3
2005:	-2
2006:	-5
You're welcome.

resophonic guitar
Take two aspirins and visit the Dobro entry.

A good way to improve the quality of your hits in a search of the web is to require the word resource or resources to appear on the page. The word has been borrowed into German with the local spelling Ressource. The spelling Resource actually occurs more frequently, but it is clearly an unassimilated term in this form, as evidenced by the fact that the common plural is formed by adding -n to the naturalized form: Ressourcen. [The double ess is not from the French spelling, it just forces the ess to be unvoiced in German. I wonder if the Swabians notice this.]

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. See 12 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.

A food service facility. That definition doesn't make it sound very appetizing. We'll be working to improve that, but for now at least it's clean, so it won't be closed down by the health department.

This glossary has a large number of restaurant-related entries, and we'll be linking to an increasing number of them over time.

  1. restaurant jargon
  2. Waiting

restaurant jargon
Some of it is common, some is not. Here are a few terms listed in order of decreasing salience, with links to definitions in this glossary, if available.

This paragraph isn't about restaurant jargon, but if you're reading this entry you'll probably want to read this too. It's about the Billy Joel song ``Piano Man.'' That includes this line: ``It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday.'' For years the line didn't strike me in any particular way, until one day I thought -- wait: Saturday is the busiest night of the week. If it's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday, then it's a pretty good crowd for any day. Eventually, I chalked it up to scansion and the fact that no other day has three syllables, though if I'd been consulted I might have recommended ``for a Monday night'' (normally the lightest-trafficked of the week). A decade or so on, it occurred to me that ``pretty good for...'' should be understood (despite the manager's unaccountable smile) as ``not very good for...'' rather than as ``not so bad for....'' Problem solved.

restaurant pepper
A tracer, not a condiment. That dark flaky powder in the ``pepper shaker'' has been carefully toasted and aged to extinguish all flavor; the only purpose of restaurant pepper is to allow you to keep track of what you have salted. For example, the rice on your plate comes from the kitchen with insufficient salt, so that you can ``season to taste.'' It's very hard to see the translucent salt crystals on the white rice (at least until you've got a good pile on it), so the standard procedure for salting rice requires a tracer: First sprinkle some pepper over the rice, then shake salt all over it until your arm is tired. With the remaining strength in your arm, use a fork to turn over the rice so that it is as white (un-``peppered'') as possible. Switch arms and continue salting.

Shaving cream works on a similar principle.

restaurant virgin
The very first research article published in the journal Food Service Technology was, appropriately enough, ``Perceptions of the first time restaurant customer'' [vol. 1, #1, pp. 5-11 (2001)]. Researchers N. Johns and J. Kivela interviewed first-time restaurant customers and found that they
all ... approached the new situation with great apprehension. They dealt with the resulting situational stress in different ways: by going in a group, or with a friend who had already been to the restaurant, by ascribing various feelings and motivations to other diners, by claiming ownership of specific features, and by editing out or 'laughing off' negative aspects of the experience.

Johns and Kivela observed that their results confirmed and complemented those of previous studies. It was also consistent with some findings of Dr. Romance that I mention at the NAVS entry. There's something on the restaurant-sex nexus at many of the entries here that cite Waiting, particularly those headed
black bra,
Hold the onions, and

I, of course, am experienced. I stride boldly into food-service situations (it's part of the Mission). See Excellent choice, sir!

The Restoration, not explicitly qualified, probably refers to the restoration of Stuart rule in England. The Restoration period or era refers to a period of English history that began with that restoration.

England suffered a period of civil war in the 1640's. It was essentially a contest of power between Parliament and King Charles I. Charles I was executed in December 1649, following trial by the Rump (what Parliament was called after the army excluded Presbyterians and other less-anti-Royalist members), so you can probably guess who won that war.

Over the next decade, the UK went through various sorts of governments mostly dominated by Oliver Cromwell. He ultimately (1653) became dictator in a more formal way (``Lord Protector,'' first servant of the Commonwealth of England, along with Ireland and Scotland, which he had reconquered in 1649-1651). Cromwell died in 1658, and in 1660, parliament invited the heir of Charles I to return to England, where he was crowned king on April 23, 1661. (He was already Charles II: after his father's execution, he had been crowned at Scone in Scotland. He subsequently led Scottish forces to defeat against Cromwell and escaped to France.)

The beginning of the Restoration is generally dated to 1660, the year Charles II returned to England, rather than to 1661, when he was actually restored to the throne. As a historical period, the Restoration period is taken to end in 1685, when Charles II died, or 1688, when his younger brother and successor, James II, was overthrown in the Glorious Revolution. That marked the end of Stuart rule in Britain.

Although the political historians' Restoration period is fairly well-defined (viz., 1660-1685/8), the term is used in a looser sense by historians of drama, for a rather longer period. Cromwell and the Puritan-dominated Parliament of his period had imposed prohibitions on the operation of theaters. These were removed by Charles II, and a new period of drama began. The drama historians' Restoration period can be defined in two ways. In theater terms, the Restoration period is the period of ``Restoration drama.'' Whatever that is, it is said to comprise a dramatic tradition begun in the 1660's, weakening in the 1700's and tailing off in the 1730's. (Afaik, its greatest innovation was using women to play women's parts. Also, it included a lot of satire, much of it aimed at a fellow named Sir Robert Walpole. It also featured some mysterious cancellations, and performances stopped by the physical intervention of government officers.) For those who like sharp definitions that don't require a lot of messy artistic judgments, there is the alternative definition by which Restoration Drama is any play first produced between 1660 and 1737. The latter year marks the passage of Walpole's Stage Licensing Act. (This Walpole fellow was the king's prime minister or something.) This licensing act imposed a strict censorship that effectively suppressed production (and hence the writing) of plays. Satire -- did I mention that this was a dominant element of restoration drama? -- was substantially reduced in those plays that continued to be produced.

Charles II was succeeded by his brother because he had no legitimate children (old concept, I know) by his queen. He did have a number of illegitimate children, two of them by the actress Nell Gwyn. The political conflicts in England arose in significant part from religious conflicts. (That's conflicts between religions, you understand. Not some silly conflict regarding whether a king should be bound by the strictures of any religion he should happen to claim to adhere to.) In Oxford in 1681, Nell Gwyn famously placated an ugly crowd that attacked her coach by sticking her head out and saying ``Good people, you are mistaken; I am the Protestant whore!''

A Spanish word meaning `remains' or `left-overs.' For example, los restos de tu cena are `your dinner left-overs,' while los restos de tu abuelo are `your grandfather's remains.' Los restos del capitán Cook might be a toss-up. I guess I would translate ``The Remains of the Day'' as Lo Que Queda del Día.

Extra free bonus information: another kind of remains, in the generalized sense of slight evidence left behind indicating earlier presence, is often called traces in English and rastro in Spanish.

Have a look at the faux ami entry.

In the sixties, a lot of people were writing this as ``resumé'' -- that is, with only one acute accent. Someone pointed this out around 1970, and until the day before yesterday virtually everybody was writing it with two accents or none. Yesterday, however, civilization collapsed; single-accent ``resumé'' has returned.

Okay, that was Dr. A. Retentive speaking. The fact is, resumé and résumé are different words. Two-accent résumé is a synonym of CV, and its use indicates a morbid, pettifogging, unbusinesslike precision. In contrast, one-accent resumé is more businesslike; it indicates a readiness to compromise, a healthy orthographic insouciance, a ``whatever, let's just do it'' attitude.

Convert your curriculum vitae into a resumé. The difference? A resumé emphasizes the employer's needs rather than minute details of your credentials. “This change may not sound that large to you right now, but, done correctly, the process requires a seismic shift,” Basalla and Debelius write.
Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius are the authors of “So What Are You Going to Do With That?” -- A Guide to Career-Changing for MA's and Ph.D.'s (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 165 pages, January 2001) reviewed by Larry Keller for CNN.

Of related interest, PARW/CC and NRWA.

Spanish verb meaning `to summarize.' A summary, what we might in some cases call a résumé in English, is a resumen in Spanish. I have seen the ordinary English verb resume occur as a faux ami of Spanish resumir. (The verb reasumir may, depending on context, be translated `to reassume' or `to resume.' Fwiw, resumar is `to resum.')

To soften by soaking or moistening. Term usually applied to the method of separating flax fibers, which relies on their rotting a little bit.

Susanna S. discovered a great way to separate the hairs from the corn on the cob: nuke 'em! Don't even husk the ear, just cook the cob in its husk in the microwave oven. When you take it out and husk it, you'll see the hairs come off very easily. Now I don't know what to do with my pressure cooker.

P.S.: Don't try this with a coconut.

Rational Emotive Therapy. Does that make sense!?

(Also REBT.)

Renaissance Electronic Texts.

Reticulum. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.


Delayed or backward. Cf. A.

A large part of political correctness (PC) consists of rewording -- an insistence or more on the use of preferred terms and avoidance of terms considered inappropriate. The idea is that the bad old terms are freighted with negative connotations, and that replacing those with spiffy new terms that are neutral or positive will change negative attitudes that were reinforced by the old words. There is something to this theory, and when major changes in public attitudes are occurring, new words or a new way of speaking can help promote the new attitudes, by providing a reformed language for indicating one's reformed attitudes. On the other hand, new words are neither necessary nor sufficient for producing new attitudes, and in many cases the main new attitude they produce will be resentment.

When the only thing that is new is terminology, the terminology is euphemism. A recurring instance of euphemism is in the terms used to describe the profoundly stupid. For much of the twentieth century, there have been efforts to produce a more respectful or sympathetic attitude to the stupid. Advocates and professionals have tried to do this by introducing new words, ``retarded'' being prominent among them. This word was supposed to suggest that the stupid are merely slower in achieving the same levels of intellectual competence as other people. (You mustn't say ``normal'' people! The invidious implication that anyone could be ``abnormal'' is too hurtful! Anyway, in any reasonable absolute measure of the phenomenon, stupidity is normal.)

The attempt to introduce the less stigmatizing term ``mentally retarded'' led directly to the creation of the pejorative slang noun ``retard'' (tarado in Spanish is unrelated). The reason is that no one who wasn't very stupid was fooled. People who are retarded stay retarded. It's true that a growing child who is mildly retarded, with an IQ of 80, say, merely requires about 25% longer than average to reach average levels of achievement. At age five, that child is developmentally four years old. As adulthood is approached, however, the retarded stop catching up -- they reach a plateau like everybody else, but the plateau is at a lower level. Permanently retarded sounds oxymoronic, if you'll excuse the expression, but it is the rule. Perhaps it is unfortunate that people don't just keep getting smarter indefinitely, and one can understand the desire to give a kind name to those who level off low, but the ultimate lesson of ``retarded'' is that euphemism is not an effective molder of popular perceptions (despite Orwell's fears).

When there's time, maybe we'll explain exceptional children, special [needs] children, challenged children, and slow watches, stupefaction, dumb, fool, clown, and alternate intelligences. For the time being, we have entries for sped and estúpido.


``An electronic journal devoted to the study of post-antique Latin language and literature from the end of the Roman empire to the present day.''

``Each issue of RETIARIUS will be published only in electronic form on the World Wide Web. No hard copies will be issued. Readers, of course, may print for themselves any part of RETIARIUS which especially interests them.'' The parts they find boring they can print five copies of and stuff in the boss's mail box. ``RETIARIUS will be published once a year.'' Despite the tremendous interest.

``Latin (simple, clear, grammatically correct Latin) is the required language for all contributions.''

Go, run, get your contributions in soon.

retrograde amnesia
The sort conforming to the conventional idea of amnesia: previously well-established memories are no longer available, but knowledge of certain things, like language, is not impaired (fact taken by some to imply a fundamental distinction between `semantic' and `episodic' memory). Retrograde amnesia often results from head trauma, with permanent loss of memory of events immediately preceding trauma, and gradual recovery of other memory with general recovery.

When the trauma is due to a traffic accident, it is often easy to determine the time elapsed between the last recoverable memory and the moment of the head injury. For example, in the case of my accident in 1984, where I was completely unconscious for perhaps fifteen minutes, and there was no skull or jaw fracture but there was a noticeable change in, like, cerebral potassium kinase I think it was, I remember exactly where I was when I had the very last thought I can recall from before the one-car accident. (The thought was ``gee, I'm feeling pretty tired. I need to find a place to pull over and take a nap.'') At the hospital, they kept asking me what day it was (January 4), like I might forget.

A word, or more typically a phrase, created to distinguish an earlier sense of an existing term whose meaning has been extended. The example par excellence is acoustic guitar. A more recent example is fixed-rate mortgage (FRM).

Another is landline, for most instances of what used to be called a (telephone) line. (The terms ``line'' and ``landline'' have both a concrete sense, as the physical connection, and a more abstract sense referring to the arrangements associated with the assignment of a telephone number.) The word landline is not as clear-cut as the other examples, because radio telephones, which are not (or are not attached to) landlines, existed for a long time before cell phones. If radio telephones had become common, then perhaps the term landline might have emerged earlier.

Progress has overtaken ``cell phone'' as well. It had already begun to be called ``cell'' when smartphones lead to the creation of the retronym ``feature phone,'' a euphemism for a phone where any poor little approximation to the functionality of a smartphone is a ``feature,'' apparently.

New discoveries in science regularly lead to the creation of retronyms. The emergence of what has come to be called ``dark matter'' led to the new term ``bright matter'' for what used to be simply ``matter.'' New techniques in science also give rise to retronyms; since the development of ICDR, good ol' ICR must sometimes be distinguished as ICSR.

If you were looking for a term for acronym expansions retroactively assigned, the term you want is probably either backronym or stealth backronym. Incidentally, there are in fact electric guitars that are rather less acoustic than ordinary electric and acoustic guitars; see the discussion of silent guitars s.v. backboard.

An interestingly problematic instance of retronymy concerns mathematics. The earliest sort of mathematics was practical, or what we now call ``applied mathematics.'' The term is awkward. The University of Cambridge actually has a ``Department of Pure Mathematics,'' but usually it is applied mathematics that must be marked by a modifier. I was going to write that, after a couple of thousand or a couple of hundred years, I guessed that's pretty reasonable. But the bifurcation has been gradual.

Standard Spanish word for `pun.' It's got almost twice the number of syllables as ``play on words.'' It's useful in English for demonstrating the compactness and general superiority of English. Another good one is anfitrión (`host').

Vegetable oil. A magical substance, one sparkling drop of which is advertised to be the active ingredient in every Certs tablet. (I don't think it's the same drop. Each tablet gets its own individual sparkling drop of retsin. Probably. They don't state the mass of the drop either.) For some reason, retsin is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If the FDA should happen to ban vegetable oil as a potent carcinogen that can lead to political behavior, Certs could always switch to snake oil.

Just to dot the tees and cross the eyes: Retsyn consists of partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, some flavoring (with soy lecithin), and copper gluconate. I can't find any medical studies directly relating to this substance, but gee-- it sure sounds pharamaceutical!

Research Experiences for Undergraduates. A couple of programs funded by the NSF.

The REU programs highlight most clearly the mission conflict faced both by NSF and by ``Research Universities.'' They are supposed to further both education and research, and it is uncomfortable to admit that many decisions represent a compromise between these goals. Few undergraduates are at a point in their education where they can contribute to research in a way that benefits them educationally. Not that washing test tubes, sacrificing lab animals, and typing the command "run," are not a necessary part of the educational experience, of course. However, experience has demonstrated that these skills can be learned more rapidly at the graduate level, possibly while learning some other, less menial skills.

REU money is relatively easy to get once you have an NSF grant. Most universities provide various entertainments (safety training, health training, sensitivity training, parties to celebrate the end of training) that take up most of the REU students' time and limit the damage they might do in the lab. If you have a promising student who you want to have do some work, hire him on the main grant money. If he's smart, he'll study high-temperature, high-speed processing of potatoes at McDonald's instead and drop by the lab occasionally and tell you about it.

Revealed Tea
Oh -- that was supposed to be `Revealed Teachings,' I guess. The astrology sign obscured my vision.

This contemplation is My Ching, a possessive version of the famous mystical reference work. (Correct pronunciation ``mee ching,'' of course.)

Cf. Dyslexic Occultist.

You know, the incident alluded to in the first paragraph occurred around 1995 at the Talking Leaves bookstore (across Main Street from the Main Street Campus of the University of Buffalo). In 2002, Kim Chuen Lam and Kai Sin Lam came out with The Way of Tea: The Sublime Art of Oriental Tea Drinking. It was published as part of the Barrons Educational Series. Get me outta here! I'm trapped on a crazy world!

Revenue Canada. Revenu Canada in French. The organization your friendly Canadian tax man used to work for, before it became the CCRA (ADRC in French). The new name applied after Halloween 1999.

As the patient is being wheeled into the OR, he asks the surgeon
Doctor, after the operation on my hands, will I be able to play the piano?

Reassured that he will, he exults

Oh wonderful! I always wanted to be able to play the piano.

Oh wait! Wrong definition. This was supposed to say ``Sounds good, but what if it wasn't vital in the first place?''

More on piano-playing at the ABPT entry.

The masses are revolting.


A Spanish verb meaning `mix.' It's an official ``queer Spanish word.''

Remote EXecution. (Acronym is at least used by Unidata.)

Reminds me of high-powered rifles. Mnemonic: kings delegate.

Restructured EXtended eXecutor. An interpreted script language originally from IBM. This page seems to be IBM's REXX homepage. Here's a little bit from whatis.com.

Reader-response ``method'' of literary criticism developed by Hans Robert Jauss. Mainly a commitment to and awareness of the importance of what the reader or listener brings to the meaning of a work, plus some buzz-words. This entry is mostly about a couple of those terms.

Jauss observed that we cannot experience literature from a different age as it was experienced at the time of its production, because we are different and the work therefore has a different aesthetic effect on us. As tools for discussing this, he introduces the terms ``aesthetic distance'' and ``horizon of expectation.'' The latter term describes the imaginary point in time where the expectations of later readers last meet the authors' expections of being understood, roughly speaking. In trying to understand the ideas behind the terms it might be a mistake to try to relate the ideas closely to the conventional meanings of the words chosen, particularly horizon. Both terms are fairly obvious allusions to terms popularized in the physical theory of general relativity (GR), especially ``event horizon.'' That is, the relativistic event horizon is a metaphor for Jauss's ``horizon of expectation.''

Event horizon in turn uses earth horizon metaphorically as the place beyond which we can't see: Basically, if an event happens far away and recently, we can't know about it because news of the event traveling as fast as possible (light speed c) hasn't had enough time to reach us. (Future events are also unknown because they require news traveling even faster -- see FLT entry.) Events in the past that are not so far away, conversely, we can know about. The imaginary border in spacetime between those events we can know about and those we can't know about is called the event horizon. (Event horizons get weird near black holes; that could also be used metaphorically.)

Jauss's aesthetic distance is evidently analogous to relativistic ``proper distance,'' but the analogy is a bit rough because aesthetic distance increases with distance in both time and space, whereas proper time does not. [In ``flat'' Minkowski space, which is described by special relativity (SR), the squared proper distance is the square of the spatial distance minus the square of the time separation between two events.]

Reasons for making the analogy with event horizon rather than earth horizon include: (a) mere height/prominence cannot overcome an event horizon, (b) the event horizon arises from distance itself, rather than from some intervening body (like the earth), (c) relativity is mysterious and scientific and associated with a famous long-hair, so event horizons are cool, while ordinary horizons may be beautiful, but they're pretty common and not cool.

How well Jauss understood the physical concepts and how closely he modeled his theory on the physical one, I don't know, but the natural interpretation is that he imagined aesthetic distance increasing as audience gets further away from a text in time and/or cultural space, until a point of incomprehensibility (failure of expectations?) is reached. Obviously, the location of the Jauss horizon will not be so sharply defined as that of a relativistic event horizon.

Radio Frequency.


Red Figure. As in Attic vases, craters, and other ceramics. A few links at the BF entry.

République Française. `French Republic.' Designates a number of the government reorganizations France has had since the overthrow of Louis XVI. They're on a fifth republic now.

Research Foundation of SUNY.

Resident Fellow. University Faculty paid to live in a dorm full of students.

Rheumatoid Factor.

RF, rf
Right Field[er]. (Baseball term.)

Robert Fitzgerald. A translator of Homer into English.

Rtherfordium. Atomic number 104.

Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Radio Free Asia.

Room, Food, and Beverage. If you're a high roller in Las Vegas, the fellow with the power of the pencil may just ``comp'' [make complimentary] the RFB.

Recording for the Blind. Now called Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. Was called Recording for the Blind.

Registro Federal de Contribuyentes. Spanish meaning `federal contributors' registration.' A Mexican tax identification number. Cf. CIF/NIF.

Request for Comment[s]. Internet RFC's, curiously, are really the written definitions of the protocols and policies of the Internet. They have a curious unofficial-but-often-definitive status, described here (by FOLDOC), based in significant part on the evidenced authority of the self-appointed authors. In its voluntary nature and unremunerated quality, it's a kind of Bourbaki of the internet.

Entry points for these can be found at OSU.

River Forecast Center[s]. Future component of National Weather Service field structure.

Request for Discussion. [Part of formal procedure for establishing a new newsgroup.] Used to be called CFD (Call...), but renamed to avoid confusion with CFV (...Votes).

Resident Flash Disk. Not really a disk, but a mass Flash-PROM memory intended for applications that would normally reside on a disk.

Rural Free Delivery. (Free means that addressee does not pay a fee for delivery. Once upon a time, it could be cheaper to send than to receive.) Instituted in the US in 1896. I forgot to celebrate.

Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. And these other pills turn the wings back into arms. It's important to prepare, because it's very hard to open the pill bottle at that point.

Radio Free Europe. Broadcast to the Soviet-occupied countries of Eastern Europe, particularly Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland. Its sister station Radio Liberty (RL), established in 1951, broadcast to the Soviet Union.

RFE was established in 1949, and reined in in 1956 after it was perceived (apparently largely incorrectly, it later turned out) that RFE broadcasts had misled Hungarians into believing that a rebellion would trigger Western intervention.

In 1973 the Board for International Broadcasting (BIB) was created to oversee the RFE and RL, and in 1975 those were merged to become RFE/RL. Related programs are Radio Martí (est. 1983, operational 1985), TV Martí (operational in 1990), Radio Free Asia, broadcasts to various parts of Africa and Asia.

A recent history of the stations was published by Arch Puddington: Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (U.P. of Kentucky, 2000), 382 pp.

Resources for Economists on the Internet.

Revue Française d'Études Américaines. Published since its founding in 1976 by AFEA.

Real Federación Española de Fútbol. `Royal Spanish Football Federation.' Individual Spanish teams are consistently strong in European club competition, but when the talent is combined in a national squad for World Cup competition, it is not successful. Real Madrid won the Champions league in 2000 and in 2002, in the latter case beating Barcelona in the semifinal. Out of the 10 World Cups that Spain played in before 2002, its best finish was in 1950, when it took fourth place in Brazil.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. See substantive entry at RFE (Radio Free Europe).

Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site.

ReFormulated Gasoline.

Radio France Internationale.

Radio Free Iraq. A service of RFE/RL.

Radio-Frequency Interference.

Request For Information.


Rivista di Filologa. Why the cee? I don't know. You think I make these up myself? Think again. Maybe its real or previous name is Rivista di Filologa Classica.

Italian classics journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Radio Frequency (RF) IDentification (ID). Pronounced ``ARE fid.'' Micron would like to explain the finer points, and how it differs from RIC, right at this site.

Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism.

Request For Offers. Term for a formal element in some US government acquisitions procedures.

Request For {Proposals | Papers}.

Request For Qualifications. That is, a call for prospective contractors or consultants to submit letters of interest and indications of qualification.

Run For Your Life.

Radio Galaxy. Various specific types have their own acronyms:

Radio Grade. Very old designation applied to cable. ``RG-58'' is thinnet coax cable (``cheapernet'').

ReiGn[ed]. E.g., ``Ahab of Israel (rg. 874-853 BCE).''

I enter this definition with a pang of regret, because its wider use or even familiarity would reduce the frequency of some of my favorite homonym errors (``Isabella, who rained in Spain,'' ``Henry VIII, who reined in the Church as well,'' etc.). You'd like 'em too. Tell you what: keep this abbreviation under your hat, and under no circumstances, whatever you do, should you dare reveal the existence of this glossary to any esteemed member of our entertaining fourth estate. It'll be our secret -- just between you and me and a couple of thousand other visitors per day.

De Imperatoribus Romanis is ``An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors.'' There's a biographical essay and bibliography for every emperor. You probably also want to see the website on The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. ``A digital resource created and produced by Salvador Miranda, consisting of the biographies of the 20th century cardinals and of the events and documents concerning the origin of the Roman cardinalate and its historical evolution.''

Renormalization Group. A gang of physics toughs who enforce the cosmic censorship hypothesis.

[Football icon]

Right (R) Guard (G). Most often used to indicate the football position, rather than the underarm deodorant product.

[Phone icon]

Ring[ing] Generator. By either name, it causes an instrument at your call destination to ring. (In the US) produces 100 V ac at 20 Hz, superimposed on -48 V dc at the telephone of the called party. This is completely different from the audible ringing (ringback) generated by the common control to indicate to the calling party that the destination may receive a call. What? You thought you were hearing the ringing on the other end? What if they have a dozen extensions? You hear bells even if they disconnected their phone, so hang up already, they've moved. Cf. telephone ringing.

Republican Governors' Association. Chaired, as of mid-year 1996, by Michigander John Engler. Chaired, as of late 2003, by Ohioan Bob Taft. At this rate, I won't use up state gentilicial nouns until the twenty-fourth century. According to this otherwise tolerably literate press item, released on the 40th anniversary of JFK's assassination, ``Taft replaces Colorado Governor Bill Owens, who's tenure was marked by the RGA's three gubernatorial wins in four 2003 races.''

Cf. DGA.

Residual Gas Analy{zer | sis}.

Red Green Blue. Infinet offers an index of the RGB codes of various colors.

Rarefied Gas Dynamics.

Real GDP. inflation-adjusted GDP.

Reihe Germanistische Linguistik. `Series in Germanic Linguistics,' published by Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen.

Royal Greenwich Observatory. The Royal Observatory at Greenwich when it wasn't at Greenwich. See GRO.

Reflection Grating Spectrometer.

75-ohm coax cable. Used for cable TV (CATV) and some PC LAN's.

93-ohm coax cable.

Relative Humidity.

Arizona State University (ASU) has its main campus in Tempe. The microelectronics clean room there, like those elsewhere, uses dehumidifiers. Unlike most, however, it also has humidifiers.

``It's not the heat, it's the humidity.''
is true. I was in Tempe in 1990 during the 122°F (50°C) day [I think it was July 25; highs the whole week were near 120]. A warm breeze blew, so it was 122 in the shade as well. You could spill beer on the sidewalk and inhale your alcohol faster than drinking. You could literally fry eggs on the sidewalk, to say nothing of car sheet metal, but that doesn't really require such high temperatures. So long as you stayed hydrated, you were safe and even pretty comfortable outside; I shivered whenever I entered an air-conditioned building.

Resistance Heating. Joule Heating.

Ressources Humaines.

RHesus. As in Rh blood factor.

Rhodium chemical symbol. The symbol originally used was Ro, which would have worked out better, since now there is another element whose name begins with the letters rh (rhenium, with the chemical symbol Re), but there is currently no other element whose name beginning in R that has an o in its root (see, however, Rn).

Rhodium has an atomic number of 45 and is named after Rhoda, a television show starring Valerie Harper that was spun off of the Mary Tyler Moore. Okay, let me check that now... Well, this is true: the names Rhoda and Rhodium are both derived from rhódon, the Greek word for `rose.' (It occurs in Homer's famous repeated phrase Englished as ``rosy-fingered dawn.'') Close enough. William Wollaston discovered the metal in 1804. As he explained in the Philosophical Transactions, vol. 94, p. 419, ``I design in the present Memoir to prove the existence ... of another metal, hitherto unknown, which may not improperly be distinguished by the name of Rhodium, from the rose-colour of a dilute solution of the salts containing it.'' The metal itself is ``white'' (as that word is applied to metals). It is one of the platinum-group metals.

Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

r.h., RH
Right-Hand[ed]. See also RHCP, RHD, RHDP, RHS, RHT, and lvalue. (Oh, alright, go to rvalue first, if you want to plod.)

Residence Hall Association.

Robotics and Human Augmentation. An NSF program.

Right-Handed Batter. RHB's generally bat better against RHP's than against LHP's. That's why left-handers are over-represented in the ranks of pitchers.

[Phone icon]

Regional Holding Company. ``Baby Bell.'' After the divestiture of AT&T in 1982, seven RHC's were formed to continue the local phone services previously provided by AT&T.

Rural Health Care Corporation. Floruit 1998, but here's its old URL, possibly otherwise occupied.

Red Hot Chili Peppers. A rock band that as of 2004 is still probably at least as widely recognized as optical rotation.

Right-Hand Circular Polarization.

Random House Dictionary.

Right-Hand Drive. Refers to steering-wheel placement; RHD is used on most vehicles intended to be driven on the left side of the road. (Postal delivery vehicles are an important, though not uniform, exception.)

RHD isn't very common, except in England and Japan; India (and Pakistan and Bangladesh), Australia, and a bunch of countries in between; and a swath of African countries -- mostly former British colonies -- stretching from Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, along the east up to Kenya and Uganda. All told, RHD countries represent a mere one third of the world's population. For a detailed survey and some history, see the Wikipedia page for Rules of the road and links therefrom, particularly Brian Lucas's more detailed page. Jan Pielkenrood's shorter page on the subject has one of the better world maps of driving side, and includes some personal observations on the subject. This page isn't listed at the Wikipedia entry; it represents some compromise between brevity and comprehensiveness. Cf. Left-Hand Drive.

In Vladivostok, at the extreme southeast corner of Russia, most cars are RHD Japanese models, but vehicles are driven on the right-hand side of the street as in the rest of Russia. In late Spring 2005, the democratically-elected dictatorship in Moscow was rumored to be considering plans to discourage RHD vehicles.

Japan has rather stringent requirements for the maintenance of motor vehicles. Even cosmetic damage (i.e., significant body damage that does not affect vehicle operation) is required to be repaired. For this reason among others (such as the relative affluence of modern Japan), there is a large supply of second-hand RHD vehicles in good condition. In LHD countries, they are sold at a discount relative to equivalent LHD vehicles. This accounts for their abundance in eastern Russia, and for import restrictions or homologization requirements in LHD Asian countries. However, Cambodia (hey, we don't have to call it Kampuchea any more?) switched from RHD to LHD specifically to stem smuggling from neighboring RHD Thailand.

[column] Greek archaeologist Polyxeni Tsatsopoulou, interviewed by the AP in July 2005 regarding excavations of the Via Egnatia, explained that the Romans used left-handed driving and right-handed reining:

She said drivers held the reins with their right hand and wielded their whip with the left, so the Romans made drivers stay on the left to avoid the lash of oncoming riders and keep road-rage incidents to a minimum.

That was probably not the entire story, however. Back when everyone was either right-handed or ambidextrous, side-arms (uh, swords) were worn on the right side. Also, right-handedness implies right-footedness, and right-footed people find it easier to mount a horse from the left.

Whipping with the right hand has been common, at least. (The evidence from Roman antiquity below is adapted from a discussion on the Classics List in June 1999, before it descended into the political muck. Important contributors included James M. Pfundstein, Arthur J. Pomeroy, Wade Richardson, and Diana Wright.)

Visual evidence for chariot-race chirality is collected in Dictionnaire des Antiquites Grecques et Romaines, edd. Daremberg & Saglio (Paris, 1887), under the entry for circus. This includes coins displaying the races and mosaics from Barcelona and Lyon. An on-line mosaic (with really naive perspective) illustrating a chariot race is served by Tunisia On-Line. All the races are run counterclockwise (i.e., driving on the right). The whip is generally in the right hand, with the reins in the left hand or tied to the left arm.

Literary sources cited in Daremberg & Saglio include Lucan 8.199ff:

Non sic moderator equorum,
dexteriore rota laeuum cum circumit axem,
cogit inoffensae currus accedere metae.
(Loosely, the middle line says that the right wheel turns around the left at the turning point.)

Daremberg & Saglio also cites Silius Italicus 16.360:

laevo interior stringebat tramite metam
(Loosely, and explicated: `he gazed at the turning point from close in on a left-leaning path.')

Book V of Virgil's Aeneid contains a naval race run counterclockwise. Later evidence includes the gripping chariot race (counterclockwise again) in Ben Hur (1959). Seventeen minutes of footage! Or hoofage or whatever. According to IMDB's trivia for this movie: ``The chariot race has a 263-to-1 cutting ratio (263 feet of film for every one foot kept), probably the highest for any 65mm sequence ever filmed.)''

Because of a forceps accident attending his difficult birth (kein Kaiserschnitt), the last Kaiser had almost no use of his left arm, and always rode rather docile horses. In a picture that illustrates Anne Topham's Memories of the Kaiser's Court, 1914 (or at least the reissue A Distant Thunder, 1992), the Kaiser and Kaiserin pose for a picture on horseback, and the Kaiser's mount has his head down because the Kaiser can't pull on the reins (so the accompanying text).

Right-Hand Decimal Point. Refers to digit displays. (See, for example, 7-Segment displays.)

Reflection High Energy Electron Diffraction. This refers to High-Energy Electron Diffraction performed at grazing incidence of electrons on a surface. For a rough surface, a diffraction pattern appears. As used in semiconductor fabrication, however, it is used to detect surface roughness of layers being grown in very-high vacuum (MBE, MOMBE) systems. An electron beam is reflected at grazing incidence from the surface, and the reflected beam is imaged on a phosphor screen (like a TV screen). Only the intensity of the central peak (specular reflection--no diffraction) is used. Intensities typically vary by an order of magnitude. Intensity maxima correspond to a smooth surface, indicating complete monolayer growth, while minima correspond to maximum roughness, indicating approximately 0.5 monolayer coverage. While samples are normally rotated to improve uniformity, the RHEED signal is too jittery to measure when the sample rotates, so this is not done during RHEED measurement. RHEED oscillation monitoring allows monolayer-accuracy growth in MBE.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat favors stability over trendiness. This is evidently a feature attractive to enterprises that want to limit risk. This is no merely theoretical feature. Most RHEL users were spared panic and heartbreak when the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability became known in April 2014, because RHEL versions up to and including 6.4 shipped with an earlier version of OpenSSL that was not affected. (Apparently 6.5, which had shipped in November 2013, was affected.)

Relativistic Hartree-Fock (method). The need for such a theory is indicated by the fact that in the nonrelativistic theory, a single electron in the ground state of a Z-proton atom has an rms velocity Zalphac. This result is an exact consequence of the virial theorem and the formula for a rydberg (Ry) or a hartree (H).

Restricted Hartree-Fock (method). `Restricted' relative to `Unrestricted' Hartree-Fock (UHF) method. The so-called UHF uses orbitals that are sz eigenstates to make the z component of total spin, Sz, a good quantum number. The RHF makes the further restriction that the orbitals have good z component of (orbital) angular momentum, m or lz, so the many-particle wave function is an eigenstate of total z-component Lz.

Vide symmetry dilemma.

Research in Healthcare Financial Management. Vide isRHFM.

Regional Home Health Intermediary. A private subcontractor hired by Medicare to do Medicare's job.

Registered Health Information Administrator. RHIA's are accredited by AHIMA (as of this writing, anyway). RHIA is the new improved name (since 2000) for RRA (which AHIMA used to accredit when it was called AMRA).

Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. Pronounced ``Rick.'' It's been in operation at Brookhaven National Laboratories in Upton, LI, since 2000. Until 2008, when I got around to updating this entry, it still listed RHIC as ``under construction,' so that gives you an idea of how up-to-date some of these entries are.

Registered Health Information Technician. Why undergo an expensive medical procedure when an IT specialist can just go into your definitions file and simply adjust your settings? Oops, there was a bug; hope you saved a boot disk.

RHIT's are accredited by AHIMA (as of this writing, anyway). RHIT is the new improved name (since 2000) for ART (which AHIMA used to accredit when it was called AMRA).


Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. Normally translated `Rhenish Museum for Philology.' A German journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

This journal was started as Rheinisches Museum by the classics professor Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl. Friedrich Nietzsche was the only one of Ritschl's students ever to publish in it.

F.W. Ritschl was director of the Museum of Antiquities of the Rhine during his time as a professor at the University of Bonn, which is indeed on the Rhine. Ritschl had ongoing acrimonious quarrels with his colleague Otto Jahn, and in 1865 he accepted an appointment at Leipzig, but continued as editor of RhM.

Nietzsche entered the University of Bonn in 1864, and the quarrel between Jahn and Ritschl spoiled his first year in classics, so he focused his attention on music. In 1865 he followed Ritschl to Leipzig.

Research in High Magnetic Fields (conference).

Right-Handed Pitcher. The kind that stands on the mound. Pitchers that stand on the table usually have bilateral symmetry. Has there ever been a (regular-starting) switch-handed pitcher in the major leagues?

Resting Heart Rate. ``Light-to-moderate'' physical activity raises the heart rate to roughly 1.5 times the RHR; ``moderate-to-vigorous'' same to 1.75 × RHR, and ``vigorous'' activity to 2 × RHR.

RHS, r.h.s., rhs
Right-Hand Side. For an elucidation of this subtle expression, cf. l.h.s..

``Benjamin,'' the name Jacob gave to the first of his two sons by his second wife Rachel, is ben-yad-hamim: `son of the right hand.' There's an exposition of handedness in dice available on the web.

Rural Health Support, Education and Training. A program of the Australian Government's Department of Health and Ageing.

Right-Hand Traffic. There are rules of the road, and there's the rule of the road. The rule of rules is which side to drive on, and RHT refers to driving on the right. Children in the US learn to ``keep to the right'' in elementary school, and generally internalize it. (Except possibly in isolated small towns, where the rubes just like to bump into you even though you could have six feet of sidewalk between you. Um, and also perhaps big cities, where it's just too crowded to follow any rule except picking your way wherever you see an opening and Hey! Where's my wallet?!) One notices the pedestrian manifestation of RHT most clearly in near-forange or pseudo-forange. (Don't just sit there wondering what forange means. Follow the link!

In RHT countries, most vehicles have steering wheels and most other driving instruments on the left side. These vehicles are called left-hand drive, or LHD, vehicles. LHD vehicles encourage drivers to sit on the left or practice extreme yoga.

RHT is more common on continents; you're more likely to encounter LHT on islands and subcontinents. Given the relative sizes, you can see that RHT is more common, though not by as much as you might guess. Nevertheless, because LHT is less common overall, it is traditional to indicate which are the LHT and which the RHT countries by giving an exhaustive list of the LHT countries only. We followed that convention, and then we went on ahead and added all the interesting stuff to that entry, leaving just a couple of lame jokes here. YOU'RE READING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE GLOSSARY, YOU DUMMY!!

Rural Health Training Unit.

Radioisotope Heater Unit[s]. These are small plutonium dioxide cells used to provide extra heating in space. Spacecraft in the general vicinity of earth, or at about one astronomical unit from the sun, can easily keep a temperature convenient for instrument operation and tolerable for life support by relying only on solar heating balanced by radiative cooling. (A spherical gray body in orbit at 1 a.u. from the sun, with a uniform surface temperature, will equilibrate at a temperature of about 0°C. In principle, for a small satellite or a surface with high heat conductivity, the temperature of the satellite's surface will be approximately uniform. In practice, satellites are given a slow rotation so the sunward side doesn't overheat.)

Royal Holloway, University of London. As this brief college profile indicates, RHUL is the legacy of two erstwhile women's colleges. One Bedford College, was founded in 1849 by the social activist Elizabeth Jesser Reid. The second was founded by Thomas Holloway, who made millions selling patent medicines, uh, in the days before scientific pharmacology -- let's leave it at that. Holloway modestly ``initiated public debate'' on what to do with ``a quarter million or more'' quid of his millions. It's always hard to find someone to volunteer an opinion on what to do with someone else's money, but on this occasion an evidently far-reaching discussion ensued, and led to a suggestion from one obscure Mrs. Thomas Holloway (Jane) that some of the money be spent on an architecturally extravagant college for women. Royal Holloway College was opened by Queen Victoria in 1886.

In 1900, both Bedford and Royal Holloway became part of the University of London. In 1965 both admitted male undergraduates for the first time. In 1982 the two schools signed a partnership agreement under the pressure of budget cuts. The university's history page doesn't happen to mention the rabid hatred of Lady Thatcher that is fairly universal in British academia, even today. In 1985 the schools merged, and in 1986 Bedford moved out of its old digs and became half of ``Royal Holloway and Bedford New College.'' By decision of its College Council in 1992, that continues to be the registered title, but ``Royal Holloway, University of London'' is the shorter name under which it is ``presents itself.'' For a number of years its domain name was <rhbnc.ac.uk>, but as of 2000 http://www.rhbnc.ac.uk/ is forwarded to <http://www.rhul.ac.uk/>, and sometime in 2001 email addresses will switch over. This is a matter of some regret and even resentment among old-time faculty.


Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter. A German-language history journal that might have been named `Rhine Quarterly.' See Stuart Jenks's page of Tables of Contents of Historical Journals and Monographic Series in German for a partial table of contents (deutsche Seite: Zeitschriftenfreihandmagazin Inhaltsverzeichnisse geschichtswissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften in deutscher Sprache).

Regarding the name: ein Blatt is a sheet of paper -- i.e., a leaf, both sides. The plural Blätter can mean `newspaper.' Vierteljahrs is the genitive of quarter-year (Vierteljahr); the adjective vierteljahrlich is equivalent. The different spelling rules of German and (such as they are) of English obscure the close cognate relationship of words in the two languages. The relationship is clearer from a comparison of pronunciations or from a comparison of the spellings in a common system like IPA. For example, German jahr is English year. In IPA, these are spelled /jar/ and /ji:r/. The initial and final consonants are the same (in one or another accent, since arr's vary a lot) and only the vowels differ essentially (the colon after the i indicates that its duration is extended). We'll eventually explain more about the pronunciation of the letter jay in an appropriate jay entry. For now just understand that J is the consonantal form of I.

About the abbreviation: German systematically capitalizes nouns, common and proper. (A substantial exception concerns compound nouns and a characteristically German curiosity called extended adjective constructions, which are written wihout spaces and with interior nouns not capitalized. Thus, the compound noun quarter-year sheet is Vierteljahrblatt.) German conventionally uses lower case for adjectives, even when those are derived from proper nouns. Hence, if it were not a formal title one would describe a few Rhennish quarterly pages as rheinische Vierteljahrblätter. (Because you need to know, I'll also mention that in personal correspondence, second-person pronouns are also capitalized. Also, capitalization of foreign-language phrases obeys different rules, if any.) Although German practice regarding capitalization in acronyms is not so standardized, there is a tendency to mix case, capitalizing letters representing nouns. GmbH is a good example of this. Because only the first noun of an agglutinated compound noun is capitalized, acronyms formed from these follow a less systematic pattern. The acronym of this entry -- RhVjBll -- represents a typically loose application of the rule. The B of the noun Blatt is capitalized, but the j of Jahr (`year') is not. The double-ell represents the fact that theBlatt is in the plural form Blätter.

The book A Small Book of Grave Humor (1971) catalogues entertaining tombstone inscriptions. Here's one from a cemetery in Dunoon, Scotland:

Here lie the remains of
The most amiable of
And excellent of men

His real name was Woodcock
But it Wouldnt come in Rhyme

Most of our rhyme stuff is at the fünf entry. Probably the most prominent alternate spelling of rhyme is rime, in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous poem, ``The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.'' You wonder that he didn't use the antient spelling.

It's an ancient word, rhyme. Rime and ryme were the common spellings through the sixteenth century. (The difference in spelling, -i- vs. -y-, once corresponded to a difference in pronunciation, but the two vowels were close and tended to be confused. I think rime is supposed to have been truer to the pronunciation, but came the Great Vowel Shift and, well, you know the story.) The appearance of forms with aitch (rhyme and rhime) during the sixteenth century reflected an awareness of the etymology. Latin rhythmus is the common source of this word and rhythm, and the restraint shown (of using only one aitch, in one or the other place) seems to have arisen as a conscious effort at clarity of meaning. Rhime and rhyme were the common spellings from the seventeenth century on, the latter not prevailing until the nineteenth. Coleridge's spelling is a conscious affectation.

Refractive Index. Square root of the relative dielectric constant.

Regesta Imperii. An inventory of more-or-less Germanic Holy Roman Emperors from the Caroligians to Maximilian I. A major historical resource now on-line and searchable. The medievalists roar approval.

Républicain Indépendant.

Républicain indépendant is not an especially distinctive designation. For example, in August 1990, in a largely meaningless development, Zaïre's Parti républicain indépendant (PRI, headed by former minister Nguz a Karl-i-Bond) and la Fédération nationale des démocrates convaincus united under the banner of l'Union PRI-FENADEC. At the same time another former minister of ``maréchal Mobutu,'' Mungul Diaka, announced the formation of a new party to be called Rassemblement démocratique pour la République (RDR). This helped keep the number of political groupings in Zaïre above 60. Politics now abhors a democracy deficit; with a loud whoosh!, democratic structures and trappings rush in to ... well, it's not clear what they do, but they don't fill the vacuum.

Fresh out of l'École nationale d'administration in 1951, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was first elected to the French parliament as an independent. In 1966, as finance minister under Charles de Gaulle, he founded a center-right party of républicains et indépendants that worked in coalition with the Gaullists. The party supported Giscard's (successful) presidential bid in 1974, and changed its name to Parti Républicain. There may have been a couple of other names in there, and I've seen Giscard referred to as a républicain indépendant, though that may not be official. In 1978 his party formed part of his UDF coalition. Since 1997 the party has been headed by Alain Madelin, who has moved the party in the direction of economic liberalization and changed the name to Démocratie Liberale (DL).

In French reportage of US politics, US Senator John McCain is liable to be described as un républicain indépendant (though much more often as a républicain centriste). In English, he is called, depending on how favorably the reporter judges him, a ``maverick'' or ``independent-minded'' member of the Republican party, a Rino, ``not a team player,'' or simply traitor.

Research I. Pronounced ``research one.'' The top level in the Carnegie Foundation categorization of institutions of much and not much higher education.

... Research Institute. Productive acronym suffix.

Rhode Island. USPS abbreviation. Observe that Rhodes was an island (hey look: according to the web, it still is!), but Rhode Island is not.

[column] The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the ``Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.'' It fell down (in an earthquake), and after a few hundred years it was sold for scrap. No one remembers where it stood, but they've put up a couple of bronze deer statues where they think it was. You think that's sad? Another Wonder, the structure after which mausoleums take their name (the Mausoleum of Halicarnasus: a memorial to King Mausolus), was cannibalized for stones to build a fortress for the Knights of Saint John during one of the crusades (1402). Okay, maybe sold-for-scrap is still worse than that, but at least it's got competition for the basement.

The Villanova Center for Information Law and Policy serves a page of Rhode Island state government links. USACityLink.com has a page with some city and town links for the state.


Research Institute of America. Their publications used to bear the motto ``Your Research Partner.'' That's a bit more inclusive than necessary. They are your research partner for US Federal, State and local tax law.

Research Institute on Addictions. Affiliated with the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and with the University at Buffalo (UB). They don't give away free samples, as far as I know.

Record Industry Association of America. They weekly certify albums, singles, and videos as having gone gold (over 500,000 units), platinum (over 1,000,000), multi-platinum (over 2,000,000). There was a devaluation, I don't remember when; it used to take a million units to go gold. You can check out each week's cert's (or more, if you join) at Billboard.

RIAA is affiliated with IFPI.

German, Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor. `American Sector Broadcast (station).' In Berlin (see BE).

Rigid-bottom Inflatable Boat. RIB's are more durable and more expensive than canvas-bottom inflatables, and less durable and less expensive than fiberglass and aluminum boats. The price ratio between RIB's and noninflatables is not as great as the lifetime difference, but RIB's may make up for it in speed and maneuverability, since the inflatables are lighter.

SAFE boats are often loosely or mistakenly called RIB's.

Recombinant ImmunoBlot Assay.

Reactive-Ion-Beam Etching.

Remote Intelligent Communications. Micron would like to explain the finer points, and how it differes from RFID, right at this site.

Rural Information Center. A service of the USDA.


Rethymnon International Conference on the Ancient Novel. Sponsored by the University of Crete Department of Philology (Division of Classics). RICAN 4 was held in May 2007.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. To prevent inflammation from further complicating physical trauma (usually to a limb). Elevation means elevation of the limb about the level of the heart. If you hurt your foot, this probably means you should lie down.

Sometimes mistakenly expanded Rest & ICE. Apply ice indirectly: use a bag of frozen veggies if you don't have an ice pack that you keep in the freezer, and put some cloth between that and the skin -- you're not trying to freeze anything. If it's very uncomfortably cold, then it's too cold. Twenty minutes or a half hour is the usual recommendation.

After a couple of days, apply heat. That's what everyone says, so it must be true.

There's something else you should know, and normally I'd put the information in a different entry and force you follow a link. But seeing as how you're immobilized and need to rest, I'll make an exception and tell you right here. There are basically two OTC (that's over-the-counter) analgesics (that's pain-killers) for non-mild pain: tylenol and ibuprofen (that's right, I didn't mention aspirin). They're sold under an aisle-full of different brand names. Ibuprofen is better for muscle and tendon pain, and for inflammation.

Regis Iussu Cantio Et Reliqua Canonica Arte Resoluta. Latin, `At the King's Command, the Song and the Remainder Resolved with Canonic Art.' (This puns on ricercar.) Inscribed on a page preceding the first sheet of music sent by J. S. Bach to King Frederick the Great as a ``Musical Offering'' [musikalisches Opfer] after his visit to the king's court in 1747 (where Bach had improvised on a theme proposed by the king and developed in the Opfer). More on King Frederick the Great at the ABPT entry.

ricercar, ricercare
Term used (16c.-18c.) for various musical forms, usually fugues. Various plural forms of the word were used in English: ricercare, ricercares, ricercari, ricercars.

Italian, `to seek.' Cognate with the English words research and recherché. Don't tell me recherché is not a common English word -- it's so common even the French have borrowed it.

Richards, I.A.
See I.A. Richards.

Richard Simmons
Remember Charo!? No? God, I really am old. Go read a different definition. If any other fortyish geezers like me are still reading, you remember that Charo! was a regular guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I'm not sure what her talent was supposed to be, but it had something to do with shaking her body [Ftnt. 27]. And she was a favored guest: always got to sit and chat with the host. She's still shaking it, at a restaurant in Hawaii (HI) that she owns with her husband. [Also, she was promoting a video with the claim (I read in late 1996) that she was one of the literal movers and shakers responsible for bringing the Macarena to the US from Spain. She wants credit for this!]

Richard Simmons is to David Letterman what Charo! was to Johnny Carson: a bundle of enthusiasm and energy, intimidating no one while demonstrating unashamed gracelessness, who barely conceals enjoyment at not being taken seriously. A consumate amateur. What does it say about the decadent state of the universe, that we have come from Charo! to Richard? It's not encouraging.

This is probably the place where I should say something about William Hung, but words fail me.

One fellow who worked as a publicist for Simmons went on to work as a G.O. at Club Med, according to a story she got published in the UCB alumni magazine. Now she wants to write for a living. Times are tough.

In Spanish, the adjective charro means coarse (or of low value in other ways), and in some countries charro is used as a noun for `cowboy.' I think Elvis Presley played a Mexican cowboy in a movie called Charro. Another common word for cowboy, in Argentina at least, is gaucho. Guacho, on the other hand, means `bastard.' I detect a recurring theme.

One of the purposes of this glossary is to make important connections among things that are completely unrelated to each other. I don't want to imply that these connections are often tenuous or specious (although this is true). Let's just say you might not have thought of them -- which, of course, is the reason we point them out to you. Anyway, cf. UCSB.

If ever there was a word that deserved to be plural, riches is it.

The word riches is understood and construed as plural, as if it were the regularly constructed plural of a noun rich. Now it is true that rich can be used as a sort of noun in phrases like ``the rich.'' (Observe, however, that like any adjective it is modified by adverbs. E.g., ``the newly-rich.'') In any case, if riches in the ordinary sense were simply the plural of the sort-of-noun in ``the rich,'' it would designate the same group, rather than what it is they have that makes them so. In fact, the word now usually spelled riches was originally a singular noun spelled richesse. It was a French loan, and the -esse was simply a suffix that converts adjectives to abstract nouns (-esse and -ece in Old French). (More about that below.) English doesn't have many words that use that suffix (caress, distress and later stress, duress, largess, and prowess seem to be the only common survivors). This, and the presence of the pre-existing English word rich, apparently explain how richesse was interpreted as a specialized use of a plural (of rich). (This is not a metanalysis, but similar confusions are described at the matanalysis. It's also not a pea, so check there too in particular.)

This -esse suffix represents the Latin suffix -itia. The corresponding reflex in Italian is -ezza (the adjective ricco yields ricchezza). Spanish and Portuguese use -eza (hence riqueza from rico in both). [The OED claims (s.v. -ess, suffix2) that Portuguese also uses -ezza. That might be, but I can't find any instances. The double z looks like something that might have been eliminated in the major reform first promulgated in 1911, but a couple of mid-nineteenth-century dictionaries I checked also had riqueza and similar forms. However, Portuguese spelling wobbled a lot back then, so it's hard to be definite.]

There's a rich galaxy of words associated with rich. In broad terms, they are all believed to originate from Latin rex and or Celtic rix, meaning `king.' That was borrowed into Germanic at a very early point, and within Germanic languages evolved into words like modern English rich and modern German Reich. The Germanic words were borrowed back later in Late Latin and Romance (see the rico entry for an example). There were further effects, like the borrowing of richesse mentioned above, and the French word riche may have influenced the development of the native English word rich.

Pile hay. Hey -- before you rick, you might want to ted. Rick and ted are regular verbs that describe regular activities on the Scrabble tablelands.

Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. A law that essentially imposes penalties on conspiracies to commit various crimes and to protect the secrecy of that conspiracy. It was originally written as a tool to fight organized crime -- the mafia -- and its penetration of organizations like the Teamsters' Union. One of the ideas of the law was that the usual penalties for intimidation and other tools of a protection racket are too light -- disproportionate to their role, and that the wrong people (the soldiers rather than the generals) pay the penalty. Another idea was that because criminal organizations are organized for secrecy, solid ``traditional'' evidence would be hard to collect. As a remedy, evidence for a pattern of criminal behavior would be allowed -- in effect, a change in the rules of evidence.

Once the law was passed, however, another law came into play. This other, the law of unintended consequences, cannot be repealed. The unintended consequence is that many prosecutors found RICO a convenient tool to use against business groups that are not engaged in the kind of organized crime that legislators probably had in mind. In particular, many of the businesses targeted were not involved in any violent activity or threats; their intimidation methods were legal (but in support of illegal behavior).

Spanish adjective meaning `wealthy' or `tasty,' as appropriate. Yes, it's a cognate of English rich (and French riche), but no, comida (`food') doesn't have to be rich to be rica. (A fair synonym for rica in this sense is sabrosa, cognate with English savory. One alternative word for wealthy is acaudalado, related to the well-known Spanish word caudillo.)

Wealth, treasure, and various sorts of abundance are riqueza, but tastiness is buen sabor or buen gusto. The toponyms Puerto Rico and Costa Rica mean `rich port' and `rich coast,' resp. The associated gentilicial nouns (nouns for the inhabitants) are puertorriqueño and costarriqueño (also costarricense).

Rico is one of those Spanish words, which I had been led to believe are rare, that originated in the East Germanic language of the Visigoths who ruled Iberia. The Gothic word was reiks, `powerful.' (I might say this is a Visigothic word, but the fact is that most of what we know about East Germanic languages is what we know about Gothic, and most of what we know about that is from the Bible translation of Ulfilas, who was a Visigoth.) If you want to know any more about rico and its cognates (in case you were wondering: yes, you do want to know more) you can learn about it by following the link to the riches entry. Before you go, though, I should mention that riqueza took over the meanings of an earlier word rictad, now obsolete. The ending -eza in riqueza is common in Spanish (forming nouns from adjectives) so it is superfluous to posit the influence of the Old French form richesse that is mentioned at the entry for riches.

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. ``[A] national [US] membership organization of professionals who provide sign language interpreting/transliterating services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons'' established in 1964 and incorporated in 1972.

AVLIC describes itself as ``an RID Approved Sponsor of Continuing Education (CE) Activities'' so at least some (and for all I know all) pronounce RID as an initialism and not an acronym. Too bad.


Revue Internationale des Droits de l'Antiquite. A journal of the law in antiquity. Published in Brussels; catalogued in TOCS-IN.

riding the bench
Hey! When does this thing pull out?

Reactive-Ion Etching. You can visit a picture of a Plasmatherm RIE system at the Notre Dame Microelectronics Lab.

Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is based on a generalized non-Minkowski geometry of spacetime, and Georg Friedrich Bernard Riemann (1826-1866) was one of the major developers of generalized geometries, whose study is usually known as Riemannian geometry. This Riemann-Einstein has nothing to do with Bernard Riemann. One Karl Wilhelm Julius Hugo Riemann (1849-1919) music theorist and teacher, produced Musik-Lexikon (1882). In revised editions, it continues to be a standard reference. The first major revised edition was Riemann-Einstein, edited by A. Einstein in 1929 and issued as Hugo Riemanns Musiklexikon. That was Alfred Einstein (1880-1950). Albert played violin, but he wasn't so wie ein polymath.

Hugo Riemanns Musiklexikon, as edited by W. Gurlitt (1959-1967). More at Riemann-Einstein.

Rate Increase Factor. ATM term for factor by which a source may increase its transmission rate if given the all-clear by an RM cell. Cf. RDF, ACR.

Reduction In Force. A RIF notice is a layoff notice.

right bank
The right bank of a river is the bank on your right-hand side when you face downstream (assuming you're not an owl or other neck contortionist).

By ``downstream'' I mean the direction in which water flows on average. This a useful extension of the definition. If a river issues in an ocean or bay (i.e., in a body of water that has tides), and if it has too little ``river flow,'' then it functions as a tidal river. At the lower end of a tidal river, salt water flows upstream as the tide rises, and there typically develops an estuary of often brackish water.

To ``bank right'' is to change the direction of an airplane's flight by lowering the right wing (not this right wing) and adjusting other control surfaces to execute a turn toward the right.

A management verb meaning to change the number of personnel. A term that originally carried the false suggestion that something other than downsizing might be meant.

right wing
Politically conservative. Gingrich is a cyberweenie.

The convention that ``right'' and ``left'' correspond respectively to conservative or reactionary or resistant to change or whatever, and to liberal or progressive or favoring change or whatever, goes back to the French Revolution (the one in 1789). Specifically, in the Estates General the aristocratic members sat to the right of the speaker (the place of honor; let's not get into it) while the commoners sat to the left. So basically, to be on the right was to be in support of the established order, and to be on the left was to be in opposition. When a new order has been recently established, the meaning of the terms is in flux. In Paris there is a bohemian (and left-wing -- ça va sans dire) district on the left bank of the Seine. I think that's just a coincidence.

right wing nut
A person substantially to the political right of the person using the phrase. You don't have to be too far to the left for the political spectrum to seem to consist of right-wing nuts, their dupes, the alienated, and progressives.

I understand that the term ``wing-nut'' as a disparagement is supposed to derive from the threaded item of that name and from the resemblance to uncool people with prominent ears. That doesn't seem like enough of an explanation to me. Perhaps there is some influence of ``right-wing nut'' parsed as ``right wing-nut.''

It seems that every fool has the right to make ignorant unsupported slanders and have them broadcast to other fools on TV.

Routing Information Indicator.

Rikagaku Kenkyûjo. Japanese `Physico-chemical Institute.'

From one of RIKEN's own (English) about pages:

The mission of RIKEN is to conduct comprehensive research in science and technology (excluding only the humanities and social sciences) as provided for under the "RIKEN Law," and to publicly disseminate the results of its scientific research and technological developments. RIKEN carries out high level experimental and research work in a wide range of fields, including physics, chemistry, medical science, biology, and engineering, covering the entire range from basic research to practical application.
RIKEN was first organized in 1917 as a private research foundation, and reorganized in 2003 as an independent administrative institution under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

I was really charmed by the parenthetical ``only'' in the first sentence.

Raman-Induced Kerr Effect Spectroscopy.

Répertoire International de la Littérature de l'Art. `International Repertory of the Literature of Art.' Published by the College Art Association of America starting in 1975. It was distributed semi-annually in paperback covers made of construction paper. In 1981, RILA was first supported by a subvention from the J. Paul Getty Trust. By 1984 (vol. 10) it was officially published by the Getty Trust (later more particularly by The Getty Art History Information Program), and CAA had become a ``sponsor,'' along with the International Committee for the History of Art, and the Art Libraries Association of North America (ARLIS/NA). Improvements were not long in coming. The second part of vol. 10 adopted the use of the ISO's three-letter country codes! With volume 11, RILA became available ``on-line via DIALOG Information Services as file 191 (Art Literature International)''! That very same volume, RILA lost the ratty paper covers and came in cloth covers with gold lettering! In a more subtle rationalization, the order of written-out versions of the name was reversed, with the English now on top. And finally, finally, they capitalized the expansions and got rid of those unsightly little blotches that had marred the title words Repertoire and Litterature! If you have any artistic sensibility, you recognize how long overdue that has been.

The last volume was 15 (1989). It was subsequently merged with Répertoire d'art et d'Archéologie into an online database called the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA).

Vocabulary word for today: ekphrasis.

Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Revista Iberolatino Americana de Neurorradiología. A former publication of SILAN.

Reaction Injection Mold[ed | ing]. Popular method with polyureas. (I don't know how the polyureas themselves feel about it, but they don't have much say in the matter.)

Research In Motion. It's best known for the BlackBerry -- the sugarless kind, the kind with larger buttons.

rimediaru kyôiku
A partial loan translation from English to Japanese, meaning `remedial education.'

Resonant Ionization Mass Spectroscopy. Or Resonance-Ionization Mass Spectrometry. You guys duke it out among yourselves, I'm a neutral observer. A brief description is served by Virginia Tech.

Relative Intensity Noise.

RINA, Rina
Republican In Name Also. Refers to a politician in the US South who is not a DINO.

German, `ring road' (whether for automobile or rail traffic). For an example, see the rail-transport map at the BE entry for Berlin.

`Apple[s]' in Japanese. This word I think I can remember.

Ringo and Kenneth

RINO, Rino
Republican In Name Only. Can be used to refer to any moderate Republican, but Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I., defeated 2006) was the genuine fake article. Cf. DINO.

Rail Incident Officer. British term.

Rio de Janeiro
The name of a Brazilian city. The name (meaning `January River' in Portuguese) stems from a mistaken initial identification of the entrance to Guanabara Bay.

Raster Image Processor.

Reasonable In Private. A politician is said to be RIP if he's dead. No wait--he's said to be RIP if he tells reporters off the record that he thinks the way they do. No wait--that's still not quite right. If he confesses to reporters off-the-record that he's not as extreme and stubborn as his stupid constituents force him to be. Sure. The initialism was apparently introduced by David Brooks in a New York Times column on February 7 or 8, 2007.

Research In Progress. Sounds pretty final to me. The US Office of Science and Technology is supposed to have a database thereof; I haven't checked.


Rest In Peace or (Latin meaning the same:) Requiescat In Pace. Also a man's given name, and a verb similar to tear. I find this accumulation of semiotic charges somewhat troubling.

It is reported that Rip Torn is only acting, but I'd just as soon not share a carpool with him, or any other kind of pool. On the other hand, as Groucho once pointed out to Dick Cavett, Peter O'Toole is doubly phallic, so take your choice.

Retired In Place.

Routing Information Protocol. An IGP.

The Royal Institute of Philosophy. ``[F]ounded in 1925, [it] aims to promote the study and discussion of philosophy and original work through its journals Philosophy and Think and by arranging and sponsoring programmes of lectures and conferences. The Council of the Institute welcomes applications for membership from all those interested in Philosophy.''

The Royal Institute of Public Health. Immediate predecessor of RIPHH, q.v.

The Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene. I'm sorry, I can't tell you anything substantive about this organization; we're a tiny, cramped little glossary and we have very limited space, so it's all we can do to list the sequence of its aliases. Again, sorry, really.

The Public Health Medical Society was set up informally in 1886, and incorporated in 1892 as the British Institute of Public Health (BIPH). Not long after (1897) it gained royal patronage (I think that means that the reigning monarch nods in the organization's general direction) and it proudly adopted the name Royal Institute of Public Health. Then in 1937 it merged with the Institute of Hygiene (est'd. 1903), and the resulting organization adopted a new name that included all the words in both of the original names, and and. They didn't have to use the word Institute twice. That's one of those reduced-overhead advantages of combining name operations. It's called the nomenclaturics of scale. Okay, it isn't.

Radiological Information System[s].

Resonan{ t | ce } Ionization Spectroscopy. Virginia Tech serves a brief description.

Reduced Instruction Set Computing. One of two alternating fashions in computer design. The other fashion is CISC. RISC is currently the overwhelmingly favored style. Jocular expansion: Relegate Important Stuff to the Compiler.

rise of the middle class, the
An all-purpose answer to any question about social history. If an essay is required, mention glass manufacture.

Répertoire International des Sources Musicales; publié par la Société Internationale de Musicologie et l'Association Internationale des Bibliothèques, Archives et Centres de Documentation Musicaux. International Inventory of Musical Sources: published by the International Musicological Society and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres.' Abstracts in your choice of French, German and English. Text in the author/compiler's choice of French, German or English.

Runner[s] In Scoring Position. That is, on second or third base. A runner on third base can score on most singles. A runner on second can reach home on a deep fly if he counts on the ball not being caught.

Reconnaissance, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition. It tends to get more exciting as you go along. Cf. ISTA, RSTA.

A brand of soap. If you know the expansion of the initialism, please tell our maintenance engineer, who would really like to know. (This glossary has a special area for maintenance engineering research.)

Renewals In Time. Putative synonym of FIT (failures in time) used for repairable systems. (But I think there may be some hidden assumptions about service reliability in this equivalence.) I.e., a unit of failure intensity (equivalently renewal rate, or ROCOF) equal to one repair per billion hours.

Resonant Interband Tunneling. Tunneling through a junction separating electronic states that are in different bands on opposite sides, occurring without a transfer of energy involving some other degree of freedom. E.g., the tunneling responsible for the second rise in current in an Esaki tunneling diode, or current across a type-III semiconductor hetero-interface. (These both involve tunneling between conduction band and valence band.)

Rochester Institute of Technology.

The independent bookdealers in Buffalo all say Rochester is much more of a book town. Rochester was the name of Jack Benny's straight man.

A girl's given name, also short for Margarita, and a nickname for Margaret.

Rand Intelligent Terminal Agent.

Romance Imumble Tmumble Achievement. Not really. The Rita is an annual award of the Romance Writers of America. It's named after Rita Clay Estrada, the RWA's first president, and there's no common retronymic expansion, but the name is often, either thoughtlessly or ignorantly, written in all-caps.

Rural Industrial Technical Assistance.

Resonant Inter[sub]band Tunneling Diode.

Radio In The Loop. Also RLL.

Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in the Philippines.

Rapid Intervention Vessel. A fire truck for offshore oil-well fires and blowouts.

Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Registered Jack. Term used both for the jack and the plug that fits it. Registered with the FCC.

Here's a listing.

Royal Jordanian Air Forces.

Republican Jewish Coalition.

Remote Job Entry.

Radial Keratotomy. Resculpting of defectively focused cornea, using a diamond knife. The procedure began to be developed in the 1950's. In its developed form, it consists of making four to eight deep incisions in the cornea, in a pattern of spokes. These incisions, through as much as 90% of the cornea thickness, weaken the cornea so that it flattens out, correcting myopia (near-sightedness). Unfortunately, the weakness doesn't heal, and initially corrected vision is followed by progressive hyperopia (increasing far-sightedness). The procedure became routine in the Soviet Union (USSR) in the 1970's. They also used steel dentures. Because of the progressive hyperopia problem, as well as the facts that results were hard to predict and that healing was slow and painful, the procedure never caught on in the US. I mean, glasses aren't that bad. In any case, a surgical correction alternative called photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) succeed RK, and that procedure is being supplanted increasingly by LASIK, qq.v.

There is a school of thought that mini-RK -- RK using small incisions -- can achieve good results without the risks of ordinary RK. That argument doesn't seem to have won many adherents.

Runge Kutta (predictor-corrector implicit differencing schemes for numerical evolution). This acronym is very useful because no one knows how to pronounce Runge's name. (Many probably would if they only knew that Runge is a German name.) Here's a resource that may one day help you pronounce these names.

Roman KeyCard Blackwood. A contract bridge bidding convention known by its initialism. (The original Blackwood is explained at the entry for bidding in bridge.)

Ruderman-Kittel-Kasuya-Yosida. A theory of the effective interaction of spins in a metal. The interaction falls off as an oscillatory function (radial wavelength equal to half the Fermi wavelength) with an algebraic envelope (1/r³ in three dimensions). In a dilute magnetic alloy, this is approximated as an infinite-range random-sign spin-spin interaction that gives rise to the standard spin glass (SG) model.

Radio-Keith-Orpheum. Hollywood studio founded in 1928, formed from the merger of the film business of David Sarnoff's RCA, Joseph P. Kennedy's (yes that Joseph P. Kennedy's) Film Booking Office (really a studio) and the Keith-Albee-Orpheum vaudeville empire (begun 1882). Over the years RKO used logos with the words ``RKO Pictures,'' ``Radio Pictures,'' and ``RKO Radio Pictures,'' and also self-identified as ``RKO Pathé'' (Pathé Studios had also been merged in), as a graphic at RKO's website shows.

The term radio picture was also used during WWII for still photographs (typically of action, but still they were stills) transmitted by radio. Functionally, this was a bit like fax -- it was certainly the transmission of a facsimile, but the pictures were in grayscale, and given the technology available, the coding had to be analog.

Radio Liberty. See substantive entry at RFE (Radio Free Europe).

Real Life. As opposed to VR.

Relocatable Library.

Reaction-Limited [Cluster-Cluster] Aggregation.

R lamp
Reflector LAMP. A kind of incandescent lamp. The backs of R-lamp bulbs are blow-molded, and have an aluminum or silver film evaporated on to make a reflecting surface. The reflecting surface of an R lamp in the strict sense of the designation is a parabola (i.e. a paraboloid of revolution). More loosely, the term ``R lamp'' is sometimes taken to include ER (ellipsoidal reflector) lamps, discussed at their own entry. For the rest of the entry, we're discussing R lamps sensu strictu.

The filament of an R lamp is located near the focus of the paraboloid. Light from the focus of a paraboloid is reflected in a parallel beam. Hence, R lamps would radiate in a beam, except for two things: (1) Light radiated forwar from the filament is never reflected from the parabola and spreads in an approximately isotropic distribution forward of the lamp. (2) The filament has finite extension, so light is radiated only from the vicinity of the focus.

In R lamps designed as spotlights, the filament is clustered as close to the focus as possible, and the paraboloid is deep (i.e., the depth divided by the focal length is a large number, so the reflector covers a large angular area around the filament). In R lamps designed as floodlights, the reflector can be shallower and the filament is usually placed slightly forward of the focus.

Random Light Bulb Joke (LBJ).

Rat-Like Cunning. Attribution of RLC is reputed to be a form of praise (sometimes self-praise). It seems a rather mixed form of praise. (Some evidence for the phrase origin is at the end of this entry.) Historically, I don't think rats have been regarded as especially cunning or in any way admirable. What they have been is a very successful commensal parasite. Plague, for which they are a host reservoir, killed very roughly 25 million people, horribly, in Europe in the Middle Ages.

The change that made rat-borne disease more dangerous in the Middle Ages was that the ship rat (a/k/a black rat, roof rat, grey-bellied rat, Rattus rattus) was displaced by the larger Norway rat, also known as Rattus norvegicus, the wharf rat, water rat, sewer rat, barn rat, and (evidently soon enough) the common rat. It is also called both the brown rat and the grey rat; its dorsal fur is grey-brown and its ventral hair white to grey. The Norway rat is less timid than the black rat and tends to live closer to people. It is bigger than the black rat and has more bristly hair. The most important difference, however, is reputed to be its greater tolerance for cold weather. The Middle Ages saw global cooling, and a ``little ice age'' in Europe. This apparently drove the black rats south and opened up their biological niche to the Norway rats. But the black rats don't seem to have staged a comeback when temperatures rose. Let's raise global temperatures some more and see what happens.

The following is the first paragraph of Jessica Mitford's introduction to her Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979).

In his essay ``Stop the Press, I Want to Get On,'' Nicholas Tomalin, a talented and versatile English journalist, wrote: ``The only qualities essential for real success in journalism are ratlike cunning, a plausible manner, and a little literary ability.'' He added, ``The capacity to steal other people's ideas and phrases--that one about ratlike cunning was invented by my colleague Murray Sayre--is also invaluable.''

Release Complete.

Republican Leadership Council. Seems to be a mirror image of the Democratic Leadership Council -- tugging the GOP leftward toward the center as the DLC has tugged the Dems rightward toward the center. Founded early in 1997 (the DLC was founded in 1985). Mark Miller is the executive director.

Particularly in the aftermath of the strong Democratic results in the off-year elections of 1998, in which extremely conservative Republican incumbents showed weakness, it was widely felt that the Republican party was in thrall to its social-conservative right wing.

What do I mean ``widely felt''? I spoke to Dennis on Friday after the elections. He pointed out that the Republican strength in governorships represents the strength of Republican moderates, and Dennis is built like a fire plug. Even so, Dennis feared a Republican swing to the right. The New York Times and other unreliable sources agreed with Dennis, and you could consider that corroboration.

Richard L. Berke, writing in the November 8, 1998 NYTimes (Sunday after the elections) had the following interesting observation:

And the parallel with the Democrats is not entirely apt. The Democratic left gradually took over a party in power, leaving a potent, if often frustrated, moderate group in state houses (like Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton) and in Congress. Republicans, by contrast, gained power from the ideological right, first in the White House with Reagan, then in Congress through Gingrich. Moderates were few, and they were harshly pushed aside, so there is much less on which to build.

Note: when I wrote ``Richard L. Berke, writing in the November 8, 1998 NYTimes'' I meant that Rich wrote a story that became copy for the November 8 NYTimes, not that Rich wrote this on his copy of the November 8 NYTimes. I mean, I don't even know the guy!

Always want to avoid misunderstandings.

Right to Life Committee. Gee, the acronyms are lining up politically.

Receive-Line Clock Input.

Robert Langdon Douglas. The father-in-law of J. D. Salinger. What friends called him, according to J.D.'s daughter Margaret A. Salinger, in Dream Catcher: A Memoir.

Receive-Line Data Input.

Research Libraries Group.

Ring Laser Gyrometer.

Research Libraries Information Network. Pronounced ``ARE Lynn.''

Radio in the Local Loop. Also RITL.

Romance Language[s] and Literature[s]. A widely used initialism for university departments and the associated studies. The expansion of RLL may or may not pluralize language; if it doesn't, then literature is very unlikely to be pluralized. Big surprise there, huh? On the other hand, if ``Languages and'' appears, it is more often paired with Literatures than Literature. Cf. ROLL

Run-Length Limited.

Remote LOG-IN. A utility that starts a terminal session on a remote host, according to my man pages. Yours probably say something similar. If you've been using rlogin or telnet and suddenly it's failing to work for some remote host or host cluster, it may be that those hosts have blocked remote logins via those old programs and now require you to use something like ssh.

Recursive Least Squares. Square of deviation is summed over a time series, with (typically exponentially) decreasing weights. Parameters are fit in a time-varying sequence that dynamically minimizes this quantity.

Restless Legs Syndrome. There's a Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation and they don't sponsor dances!

Robert Louis Stevenson. Author of Treasure Island and other stories.

Revocable Living Trust.

Recordable Laser Videodisc.

Room. (Usually only in the countable sense of a building subdivision.)

Random Matrix.

Reflection Mode. Cf. TM.

ReMove. Name of Unix command for removing files and directories. If you like to live dangerously, it's not really necessary to alias the command to 'rm -i'.

Request Manager.

Help! I'm drowning in a sea of obscure acronyms!

Resource Management. In ATM, the management of critical network resources such as bandwidth and buffers at the node level. Nodes are controlled via messages sent in RM cells, identifiable by a PTI value of six.

Resource Manage{ ment | r }.

Ranally Metro Area. Defined by the Rand McNally Corporation based on commuting and population density data at the subcounty level. The area designated an RMA is defined by three criteria:
  1. It contains an urbanized area with a population of about 50,000 or more.
  2. It has a population density of at least 70 per square mile.
  3. At least 20 percent of the labor force commutes to the central urban area.

For US commercial purposes, RMA and MSA are the two standard definitions of urban regions. Read about it in this PDF file.

Revolution in Military Affairs. Expression used by those who have to implement it.

Red Mejicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio. Spanish, normally translated `Mexican Action Network on Free Trade.'

Really, frente could just as appropriately be translated `in the face of' as `on,' but no one is likely to be misled. The translation `against,' less inaccurate than `on,' would correspond to Spanish contra. The word frente can have senses ranging from `against,' through `in the face of,' to `facing.' If you want a better example of polysemy in Spanish, see the llama entries. For a close analogue of the frente situation in Ancient Greek, see the anti- entry.

RMALC is an NGO (ONG) that objectively monitors the effects of free trade and denounces it.

RMALC is not related to MALC. Not that you'd think so.

Radio Marketing Bureau, Inc. (of Canada).

Revised Model Business Corporations Act.

Residential Mortgage-Backed Securit{ies|y}. Hmmm. I noticed this initialism in 2007 some time before the crisis. This may no longer be such a popular initialism.

Railroad Model Craftsman. Another multiscale model railroaders' magazine. Compared to MR, this is more about the technical (construction and operation) aspects of modeling and less about authenticity and the history of railroads. Umm, in principle, anyway.

Randolph-Macon College. Located in Ashland, Virginia and founded in 1830. The hyphen isn't between the arr and the em-cee, it's just between the arr and the em, see? There ought to be special federal subsidies for organizations that propagate hyphens from their names out into their initialisms.

Reverse Monte Carlo.

Ryan-McFarlane COBOL, 1985. Ran, or walked or crawled, on DOS machines. RM/CO* is a development program for -- aah, who cares?

RM/COBOL-85 and RM/CO* are registered trademarks of Liant Software Corporation, and they're very welcome to them, I'm sure.

Suborning COBOL use is sin without pleasure.

Sir Winston Churchill once said of Sir Stafford Cripps that he had ``all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.''

Rapeseed Methyl Ether. One kind of biodiesel, q.v.

Relativistic Mean Field (calculation, approximation).

Rich Music Format.

Routine Morning Grumpiness. I don't know if this is listed in the DSM-IV yet.

Low serotonin levels are implicated.

Reduced MagnetoHydroDynamics (MHD). A description which treats a plasma dominated by a slowly-varying (or constant) magnetic field and associated anisotropies. Originally developed for tokomak plasmas. See H. R. Strauss: Physics of Fluids, vol. 19, p. 134 (1976).

Radio Magnetic Indicator.

Root Modeling Interface.

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Rocky Mountain Llama and Alpaca association.

Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. The 2004 meeting in Boulder had sections on Greek Language and Literature (including Ancient Greek), Latin Language and Literature, and Interpretation and Influence of Greek Myths. One of these sections was organized by someone from the Rocky Mountains. I have no objection; I would only note that the word ``Modern'' in the organization name is to be understood as indicating only that it is affiliated with the MLA.

Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association.

Richard Milhous Nixon. President of the US, 1969-1974.

Rocky Mountain News. Well, for 150 years it was news. Now it's history. The first issue came out on April 23, 1859, and the last issue of the Denver tabloid was published on February 27, 2009.

Rocky Mountain Orthodontics. In Denver, Colorado.

Rosseland Mean Opacity. The harmonic mean of the frequency-dependent opacity (specific opacity), weighted by specific brightness.

Resting Metabolic Rate. About 1000 Calories per day higher than the resting-in-peace metabolic rate.

For a long time, discussions of body energy balance used to be couched in terms of BMR. The trouble with that was that BMR is a theoretical baseline that is hard to measure. In principle, subjects must get to sleep, which requires a bit of planning and allowance. Furthermore, subjects in a laboratory setting tend to be under stress from the unfamiliarity of surroundings and from the presence of instrumentation, and this stress elevates their metabolic rate even during sleep. The RMR is essentially a practical response to this problem: it is the metabolic rate of a subject resting as comfortably as possible while attached to various monitors and breathing through an uncomfortable mask.

rm -rf /bin/laden/
A single-line command demonstrating the conciseness and power of the Unix shell.

rms, RMS
Root Mean Square[d]. That is, square root of the mean of the square. The square root of the mean of the deviations from the mean is called the standard deviation. In general, the rms average of a variable is greater than its average and the average of its absolute value.

A quantity varying sinusoidally has an rms average that is sqrt(2)/2 or about 0.7071 times its peak value. The average value is zero and the average of the absolute value is 2/pi times its peak value.

If a signal is decomposed into different frequency components, then the rms value of the composite signal is simply related to rms values of the component single-frequency signals: the composite rms value equals the square root of the sum of the components' squared rms values. This result is called Parseval's theorem, and it is the precise analogue in function space of the Pythagorean theorem in Euclidean space.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Republican Main Street Partnership. Something vaguely like a Republican mirror of the Democrats' DLC. The RMSP ``was founded in 1998 to promote thoughtful leadership in the Republican Party, and to partner with individuals, organizations and institutions that share centrist values.'' This seems to imply that the RMSP feels that thoughtful leadership has been lacking. ``The Partnership is comprised of party members and public officials who cultivate an adversarial relationship to the English language.'' Oops -- misquote. It comprises ``party members and public officials who are fiscally conservative deficit hawks. [That's as opposed to fiscally spendthrift deficit hawks like Saint Reagan and Bush the Younger.] The Partnership is working to Grow Our Party through a pragmatic approach to governing that reaches out to a broad base of Americans who share the Republican ideals of fiscal responsibility and limited government.'' There's related stuff at the entry for reincarnated metaphors.

Random Matrix Theory. When all of the realistic Hamiltonians describing a system are too complicated both to determine precisely and to analyze once known, a possible approach is statistical: one defines an ensemble of Hamiltonians that may describe the system. Even though the individual Hamiltonians are complicated and have little symmetry, the distribution (ensemble) as a whole can be quite symmetric and amenable to exact analysis, yielding probability distributions for such things as energy-level spacings.

The ensembles used are characterized by very few parameters, and generally are one of three kinds, corresponding to fundamental symmetries of the system: Gaussian Orthogonal Ensemble (GOE), Gaussian Symplectic Ensemble (GSE) and Gaussian Unitary Ensemble (GUE).

Required Monthly Test. An element of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).


Redundant Multi-Valued Logic.

Randolph-Macon Woman's College. In Lynchburg, Virginia.

R-MWC announced on Saturday, September 9, 2006, that men would be admitted to the 115-year-old institution starting the next year. The plan to admit men had first been floated publicly only the previous month, but when Board-of-Trustees president Jolley Christman announced the trustees' decision (reached by a vote of 27-2), she said it followed 2½ years of study. She made the announcement to an agitated crowd of 400 students and alumnae and their supporters, who shouted her down with boos and cries of ``traitors!'' The school has an enrollment of about 700, down from 900 in the 1960's. The school has an endowment of $140 million, which is large for a school of its size, but it has been dipping into that endowment on account of the low enrollments, to the tune of 5% per year. (If memory serves, that's at least twice the rate at which schools that aren't in trouble normally milk their endowments.)

Look, why don't we just have a nice little legal action turning on the finer points of cy pres doctrine? In a decade or so the whole thing can be resolved in bankruptcy court. Okay: at first the opponents (incorporating themselves as Preserve Educational Choice, Inc. (PREC), went the breach-of-contract route. They sponsored a suit by nine current students who believed they enrolled on the promise that the school would remain single-sex for the duration of their educations. The cy pres action was filed in Lynchburg Circuit Court on November 2.

The school plans to begin accepting male students in fall 2007. The search for a new school name is already under way. No, they can't just drop the ``Woman's'' -- that R-MC already exists. Will someone lay odds on their becoming ``Randolph-Macon Woman's and Man's College''?

Well, the results are in. After receiving more than a thousand suggestions for a new name, they settled on... ``Randolph College.'' Wow. Gray tee-shirts bearing the new gold seal with black lettering were distributed gratis after the announcement, which was made before a crowd of 400. It seems that 400 is the only crowd size they have there. If you still want to place a bet on R-MW&MC, I'm offering lucratively long odds (visit www.suckerbate.com to place a bet). (It turned out that suckerbait.com was already spoken for.)

Reference Model 8. Of the CCITT for video phones. Wait! Don't pick up the phone until I get my pants on!

Radon chemical symbol. As of 2008, it's still the heaviest known noble gas, with an atomic number of 86; all its isotopes are radioactive. During the oil embargo of 1973, people started sealing up their homes more thoroughly to avoid expensive heat loss. Because radon is generated by the slow decay of radioactive elements in many subterranean rocks, it can accumulate in sealed houses and is now considered a significant health hazard.

Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Radon was discovered in 1900 by Friedrich Ernst Dorn, who named it niton. The name was derived from the Latin nitens, `shining.' The -on ending is a Greek ending of neuter nouns corresponding to the neuter ending -um in Latin. The Greek ending was used for the noble gases (except helium, of course). The name radon was apparently first proposed in 1918 by C. Schmidt, in Zeitschrift für anorganischen Chemie, vol. 103, p. 114, based on the fact that it is a decay product of radium. (It's a good thing that this idea did not catch on, or half the elements would eventually have been renamed after thorium, uranium, and actinium.) The chemical symbol first used for this element was Ro. (It was available because rhodium, for which it had been used earlier, was by that time generally symbolized by Rh.) Apparently the new name radon was well-established by 1823, but I don't know when Ro was switched to the current Rn.

RN, R.N.
Registered Nurse.

Renovación Nacional. One of the two political parties on the right in Chile. The other is Unión Democrática Independiente (UDI, q.v.).

Rippled Noise. A random signal superposed with a delayed copy of itself. More at the IRN entry.

RiboNucleic Acid. Chemical structure similar to DNA, but with a different sugar group (ribose instead of deoxyribose). Also, it contains uracil (U) in place of thymine (T) in the base sequences. RNA's geometric structure, on the other hand, is more varied than DNA's. Read all about it here.

In a few bacteria, RNA serves the intergenerational genetic rôle of DNA. In DNA-based cells, RNA serves communication rôles. The DNA code is transcribed by messenger RNA (mRNA) to transfer RNA (tRNA) which build proteins on a ribosome platform. The ribosome itself is a complex of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) with various proteins. For years people tried to detect catalytic activity in the various polypeptide sequences. The accepted wisdom now is that the magic is in the rRNA itself.

In Spanish, the acronym is ARN. Just so you know.

Radiochemical Neutron Activation Analysis. Just like INAA, but combined with chemical separation.

Registered Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia.

Registered Nurses Association of Ontario. Official French name: L'Association des infirmières et infirmiers autorisés de l'Ontario.

RNA Polymerase.


Republican National Committee.

Republican National Convention. Every four years, Republicans get together to praise long-dead Democratic presidents and select a Republican presidential candidate to carry on their tradition.

RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science.

Royal National College for the Blind. ``UK's leading college of further education and training for people (16+) who are blind or partially sighted.'' Abbreviated RNCB by some, but the college's webpages evidently favor RNC.

Ressources naturelles Canada. In English: NRCan. If there's ever a Registered Nurses Canada, we could be in for a lot of bad jokes.


Royal National Institute for the Blind. Nope, not Sweden. Guess again. Also, as the chatters would say, ``c'' the other NIB. Oh wait -- maybe you can't do that.

Reoxidized Nitrided Oxide. Strategy to obtain ESD-rugged MOSFET gate dielectric. Uses Rapid Thermal Nitridization (RTN) followed by Rapid Thermal Oxidation (RTO).


  1. T. Hori and H. Iwasaki, ''Improved Hot-Carrier Immunity in Submicrometer MOSFET's with Reoxidized Nitrided Oxides Prepared by Rapid Thermal Processing,'' IEEE Electron Device Letters, 10, 64-67 (1989).
  2. T. Kaga and T. Hagiwara, ``Short- and Long-Term Reliability of Nitrided Oxide MOSFET's,'' IEEE Transactions in Electron Devices, 35, 929-934 (1988).
  3. H. S. Momose, S. Kitagawa, K. Yamabe, and H. Away, ``Hot Carrier Related Phenomena for N- and P-MOSFET's with Nitrided Gate Oxide by RTP,'' IEDM Technical Digest, 267-270 (1989).
  4. G. J. Dunn and S. A. Scott, ''Channel Hot Carrier Stressing of Reoxidized Nitrided Silicon Dioxide,'' IEEE Transactions in Electron Devices, 37, 1719-1726 (1990).

Required Navigation Performance.


Receive Not Ready. Hold off!

Maybe R'n'R; see R&R.

Russian Numismatic Society. They publish a triannual journal (JRNS). What's Russian is the coinage. The Society seems to be American.

Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind.

Rhodium or Radon. Ro was first used as the chemical symbol for rhodium, although it was not the first alphabetic symbol to be so used. Rhodium was discovered in 1804, in time to be included in Berzelius' original scheme of chemical notation. He used both Rh and R for rhodium. (The duplicate assignment was almost certainly accidental.) His scheme was accepted with few exceptions, and this was one of them.

Perhaps the ambiguity left an opening for Ro, which was not, in any case, otherwise occupied in his scheme. Perhaps an influential fact was that some languages spell it without the h. The aitch is used in Latin and New Latin to represent a ``rough breathing'' in ancient Greek. Few if any modern European languages distinguish aspirated from unaspirated pronunciations of r (the distinction is important in Farsi, for what that's worth), so the letter tends retained primarily in languages like English and French that favor etymological or historical spellings, and absent in languages like Italian and Spanish that favor more phonetic spellings. In principle, an element's chemical symbol is supposed to be based on the spelling of its Latin name (rhodium in this case -- duh), but that doesn't disqualify Ro.

Eventually, Rh reasserted itself as the symbol for rhodium, and the symbol Ro became available for new elements. It wasn't initially available for radon, however, because that element was originally called niton. A couple of decades after its discovery, however, niton was renamed radon and finally took the chemical symbol Ro. Radon is radioactive, however, and the evidently unstable symbol Ro itself decayed to the obviously lower-mass Rn.

Reverse Osmosis. Used to purify water.

Ring Oscillator. A circuit consisting of a chain of identical devices that carries a signal in a closed loop. Nowadays it's a useful device to measure the speed of the component devices. In the early 1960's it was still the architecture of some memory units.

(Domain name code for) ROmania.

Racecourse Owners' Association.

Raman Optical Activity.

Return On Anything that begins in the letter ``A.'' On the pattern of ROI. The A-word is assets.


Review Of Archaeology. A classics journal catalogued in TOCS-IN.

roach bomb
A fumigation device. After it has been used, the roaches, or cockroaches, should be lying around dead as if a bomb had hit.

road metal
Broken stone, cinders, etc., used for making roads. British usage. Cf. granola.

Reservoirs Of Antibiotic Resistance Network.

Roaring Forties
Regions of rough seas and strong westerly winds over the ocean between forty and fifty degrees latitude (in both northern and southern hemispheres).

Roaring Twenties
The decade of the nineteen twenties, as experienced in the US. During that time alcoholic beverages were (with some exceptions) prohibited by constitutional amendment, and widely and increasingly available. The Roaring Twenties came to a screeching halt with the stock market crash of November 1929.

Robert Shapiro
There's an old lawyer story, now told mostly about corporate litigation, in which the victorious young defense attorney wires his client "JUSTICE PREVAILED" and receives the reply "APPEAL IMMEDIATELY."

Robert Shapiro, part of O.J. Simpson's dream team (talkin' legal defense here, not fantasy football), was apparently also something of a believer in the justice system. When the jury gave its not-guilty verdict in the criminal trial, he was the most visibly stunned member of Simpson's team.

On February 3, 2003, music legend Phil Spector was arrested for murder. Robert Shapiro is his long-time lawyer.

In the 1960's, Phil Spector developed what he called the ``Wall of Sound.'' Basically, he recorded music using a symphony's-worth of instruments and back-up singers. He would record rhythm, melodic accompaniment and voices in separate sessions in order to cram as many performers as possible in using a regrettably finite recording studio. (Four pianos and ten basses for rhythm, say, eventually 25-50 performers on a track.) Echo effects were added also. It's probably fair to say that the resulting sound was not crisp. Along about now you may be asking the question, how am I going to bring this back around to Robert Shapiro. The answer is, that apart from the preceding sentence, I won't. And I don't have any Wall-of-Sound entries either, but try this.

A global NETwork of ROBOtically controlled 2-meter telescopes. The project is led by Prof. Keith Horne of the University of St. Andrews in the UK. RoboNet's main aims are to detect extra-solar planets by means of microlensing and to determine the origin and nature of Gamma Ray Bursts. Since 2005, RoboNet has coordinated its microlensing work with PLANET.

I command you to see the R. U. R. entry.

Receiving Operator Characteristics.

Republic Of China. The guys on Taiwan, the ones who got a head start along the capitalist road, ahead of P.R.C.. There's an `` Overseas web server'' for R.O.C., but it's rather slow. It mostly just lists web-accessible Chinese interest nets abroad (student associations, mostly). The Taiwan master index of web servers loads faster.

The Taiwan Relations Act, passed by the US Congress when Washington switched its diplomatic recognition from Taibei to Beijing in 1979, commits the US (sec. 3) to ``make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.''

Rest Of Canada. Anglophone Canada. Useful abbreviation in anglophone discussions of Quebec. To Québec separatists, the ROC is Canada, but this shouldn't cause much confusion with an English-only initialism.

German for `skirt' and also `kilt,' although it can refer to other garments (a dress or gown, or a man's jacket). The origin of this word is obscure. The Grimm (completed in 1960) records the earliest known occurrence of the word in the ninth century. Originally, the word referred without distinction to principal articles of clothing for both males and females.

The word was borrowed into Italian, where it is spelled rocca. That's a homograph of an old word for `rock' and a current word for `fortress' (details under La Rocca). It's not quite a homophone: the Germanic loan has the more closed ``o'' of corpo, while the native word has the aw-like ``o'' of monte. It ended up with various textile-related meanings; its plain common sense now is `distaff.' That's the noun distaff. The heraldry distaff is also rocca (as in English, by similarity of shape, I suppose). It's not used to make a sexual distinction as in English (distaff side vs. spear side).

Hospitalese for a particular kind of long-term patient. According to an article by Jeremy Manier in the May 7, 2008, Chicago Tribune, the term ``describes someone whose condition never seems to get better or worse.''

Rate of OCcurrence Of Failures. `Renewal rate.' Also known stirringly as the `failure intensity.' The time derivative of the mean cumulative number of failures (MCNF).

Republic Of China SATellite.

ROCSAT-1 was built by the U.S. company TRW and successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1999.

You don't have to put on the red light!

ROCSAT-2 was originally scheduled for launch February 26, 2004, but has been delayed.

Record Of Decision.

Among my forgotten and unread books, I found Explaining the Inexplicable: The Rodent's Guide to Lawyers ``by The Rodent'' (author of The Rodent, The Official Underground Publication for Law Firm Associates).

Rodríguez is a common Spanish name, originally a patronymic based on the given name Rodrigo, which is ultimately a Germanic name cognate with English names like Roderick [< hrod (`fame') + ric (`ruler')].

The name has been turned into a common noun. For example, a blurb for Ana Criado Peña's El imitador hermético y otros des(EN)cuentos lists enigmatically a practicing rodríguez, to borrow the word. (In Spanish: ``un rodríguez en ejercicio.'') I sought the meaning in a number of comprehensive dictionaries before finding it in El Diccionario del Español Actual, edd. Manuel Seco, Olimpia Andrés, Gabino Ramos, (1999). Two related meanings are given. The first definition translates to `a married man who stays alone in the city while his family is on vacation.' This frequently occurs in a construction estar de ~. [This would mean, `to be in the situation of a rodríguez.] The second definition: `a man who is occasionally free to enjoy himself because his mate is occupied with other activities.'

I haven't been able to find an etymology for this word. I suppose it's an eponym based on some film or TV character or some public figure of that name, but it might also be based on the mere commonness of the name, as expressions like ``every Tom, Dick, and Harry'' and ``keeping up with the Joneses'' seem to be. There is a Spanish word rodrigón for an upright stick planted next to a plant to guide its growth, but it's hard to see how to make either the semantic or the morphological connection, and the -ez ending is no longer productive.

This could be a useful word to borrow into English. Tom Ewell played a rodriguez (English spelling) in ``The Seven Year Itch.'' He costarred with Vanessa Brown in the 1952 Broadway play, and reprised his role in the 1955 movie of the same name, opposite Marilyn Monroe. This is the movie that gave us the iconic mm-mmm scene of MM over a grating, in a white dress blown up (I needed to write that) by the blast of a passing subway. Ewell's character was named Richard Sherman. I suppose ``Dick Sherman'' doesn't take any longer to pronounce than ``rodriguez,'' but the latter has more recent resonances with Yankees slugger ``A-Rod'' (uniform number 13).

Capreolus capraea. An Old World species of small deer. (Previously Cervus capreolus. Isn't cladistics fascinating?)

Fish Eggs (noun usually used uncountably). (Not fish and eggs!) Caviar is made from sturgeon roe in countries with a Caspian seacoast.

Rate of Exchange.

Return on Equity.

Rotating-frame (nuclear) Overhauser Enhancement. Spectroscopy based on this trick is ROESY.

Rules of Engagement.

A buck or male of the roe. This entry is here just so you shouldn't think ``Sears, Roebuck'' is an entirely obscure, impenetrable name.

roe-deer, roe deer
Roe (of the deer kind, not the fish kind).

Rotating-frame (nuclear) Overhauser Enhancement (ROE) SpectroscopY. There's also an acronym for transverse same (T-ROESY).

Required-Order Factor. See FTA entry for a sketchy explanation.

A port of RunOFF. Runoff was originally written by Jerry Saltzer for CTTS. CTTS begat Multics, and Multics begat Unix, and runoff ran under all. Roff was developed as a substantial extension of runoff. See the troff entry for the relationships among various roff programs.

Roll[ s | ing ] On the Floor Laughing.


Rolling On the Floor Laughing My Head Off.

(Notre Dame) ROmance Languages and Literatures Department (see ROLL), FRench and Francophone Studies. Notre Dame's Office of International Studies has programs in Paris (a Summer program and also two students per year in Sciences Po) and Angers (Université Catholique de l'Ouest). Angers, with a population of approximately 240,000 in the metropolitan area, is the capital of the former province of Anjou and of the present Department of Maine-et-Loire.)

Royal Observatory, Greenwich. See GRO.

Restricted Open-shell Hartree-Fock (method). Normally, the Restricted Hartree-Fock (RHF) is used for closed shells.

Restrictions on the use Of Hazardous Substances. A European Parliament directive prohibiting (since July 1, 2006) the selling of electrical or electronic equipment containing cadmium, lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

The prohibition of lead is a hardship, because eutectic lead-tin alloy has been the solder of choice for decades. Lead-tin alloy is dangerous to all children who open electronic appliances, pull out the soldered elements, remove the insulation or cladding layers, gargle with vinegar, and then suck on the solder joints. These children are put in greater danger by RoHS, because manufacturers have been forced to switch from lead alloys, which are now illegal, to other more toxic alloys that are still legal.

`King' in French. Cf. ROI (below) and entrepreneur.

Recessed Oxide Isolation. Useful for a compromise between JI and DI isolation strategies: JI has large capacitances all around a device tub; DI eliminates all, but at cost of discarding most of silicon. In JI higher doping makes sidewall capacitance much larger, despite smaller area, than bottom capacitance. Thus, using oxide to replace sidewall junction isolation is enough. This was implemented in Fairchild's ISOPLANAR II and Motorola's LOCOS processes (qq.v.).

Region Of Influence. Term in environmental impact statements (EIS's) for the region affected environmentally. Different influences have different ROI's. Since socioeconomic impact is one kind of effect covered by an EIS, the ROI can include the local jurisdictions whose tax base and convenience stores are affected. But what about the more distant jurisdictions that lose valuable human resource who move to the site, huh? And what about that famous butterfly in the Amazon rainforest whose wing-beats cause storms in Missouri?!? Influence never ends! The ROI is always the entire universe! Don't you dare move! For less extreme versions of this view, cf. NIMBY and BANANA.

Region Of Interest (to image reconstruction).

Republic Of Ireland. Please proceed to the .ie entry, where all R.O.I. information is located. Oh, all right. I relent. Just a little information here: a link to U.K. and R.O.I. Television Reception information, courtesy of Wolfbane Cybernetic.

As the (streamlined) saying goes -- in the world there are people who divide the world into two groups, and those who don't. Some of the former group divide it into R.O.I. and R.O.W. Then again there's Northern Ireland.

Return On Investment. A business model developed by Donaldson Brown at Du Pont, popularized by GM. Doesn't seem to work too well for the semiconductor industry.

roid rage
Sudden violent rage, triggered by any little thing. The term is patterned on ``road rage,'' but the underlying cause of roid rage is hemorRhOIDs, and the associated infuriating pain and itch. For people who keep their brains down there, the swelling can induce serious mental side effects. The syndrome is particularly... getting some static here... particularly common among long-haul truckers, so it could, um, could easily be mistaken for... hang on... Okay, so it's caused by steROIDs. Yeah, well, whatever.

This is such a rare word-ending that the word that ends in it or a sound like it can be abbreviated without ambiguity to just the last five letters. It means:
  • hemorrhoids (health-related term)
  • steroids (health-related term)
  • Asteroids (video game)

The word androids is abbreviated 'droids to avoid confusion.

(Notre Dame) ROmance Languages and Literatures Department (see ROLL), ITalian Studies (program and courses). Notre Dame's Office of International Studies has programs in Rome, Bologna, and Milan.

Republic Of Korea. The grateful (no, not really) beneficiaries of a military rescue sanctioned by the UN. (Really -- the Russians were caught napping. Boy were the Chinese pissed.) If I think of anything, it'll go in the .kr entry.

Republic Of Korea Air Force.

A brand of kosher foods, since 1870. They don't seem to carry kimchee, but you might try the pickles.

Relational OnLine Analytical Processing (OLAP). An acronym that rols easily off the tongue. On the pattern of RDB, I guess, else it ought to be ORLAP (OLRAP with euphonic metathesis). Then again, you might think of it as an instance of repulsion in namespace (from earlap). On the third hand, that would seem to argue against DOLAP. On the fourth hand, wait a second... I don't have a fourth hand!

See PBA.

In basketball, and less often in a some other team sports, a term for non-star players. In some cases, I've seen it used primarily for non-star or inferior starters, clearly a notch above benchwarmers. In other cases, it seems to refer exclusively to benchwarmers. I suppose the meaning depends on how generously you define ``star player.'' The main role played by ``roleplayers'' seems to be to make sure that the team has five or nine or eleven players on the court or field.

If ``roleplayer'' were a term used in hockey, I suppose it would be a synonym for ``hit man.''

The term ``roleplayer'' is in widespread use in South Africa, both in and out of sports. There it apparently means ``someone with a role to play.''

What massage is to muscles and chiropractic is to bones, or at least what they're supposed to be, rolfing is intended to be to connective tissue, particularly the muscle sheath. It is possible to find both denunciations of and testimonials to rolfing. Rolfing, like most other therapies that are controversial, claims to relieve pain. (It's not surprising. On the basis of my own experience, and that of virtually everyone I've discussed it with, physicians are usually unable to diagnose or effectively treat pain when it occurs as an isolated symptom, typically in a limb or other muscles-and-bone region of the body. Well, they can shoot you up with cortisone once or twice, or refer you to a neurologist who will find nothing wrong with you, but really they haven't a clue.)

Pain is difficult or impossible to measure. On the other hand, it's not hard to detect. In fact, if you just pay close-enough attention to your body, you will realize that you are in some discomfort right now. In fact, it's getting worse. Be careful how you move that. Ow! (Insights are free; solutions cost.) If there's a physical activity that you want to engage in only because it's good for you, disturbing aches and better-be-careful pains will make themselves felt naturally beforehand. Ignore that and go to the gym anyway.

What's that? You say none of this sounds familiar? Wait a sec-- how old are you? Ah, that's your problem right there! See, the nervous system doesn't approach full maturity until about age 30. You could be in excruciating, debilitating pain right now and not even realize it, because the pain-recognition part of your nervous system isn't ``up'' yet. Be patient; it'll come.

ROmance Languages and Literatures. It's ``a community of scholar-teachers located in the Humanities division of the College of Arts and Letters, the oldest, and traditionally the largest, of the four undergraduate colleges of the University of Notre Dame (2500 undergraduate students; 750 graduate students) [those numbers are for Arts and Letters only], which is organized into three divisions, i.e. the Fine Arts, the Humanities, and the Social Sciences.''

The initialism RLL is much more common. The catchy ROLL acronym doesn't seem to be in regular use anywhere other than Notre Dame. (BTW, I liked the old homepage better.) The separate programs and courses in the ROLL department are indicated by RO-prefixed codes like ROFR (French), and ROIT (Italian). Too bad they don't teach Romanian -- RORO would've been cute. Then again, they don't always use the two-letter ISO-639 codes: the Spanish program is ROSP and the Program in Portuguese & Brazilian Studies is ROPO.

Rolling Stones
gather no mosses. Hip enough to surf in their fifties and sixties. For a while a few years ago, their site was mostly an advertisement for Sun's HotJava web browser and Java language.

Mick Jagger was born on July 26, 1943. He matriculated at the London School of Economics, and he didn't drop out until he was sure that the music thing was going to work out.

roll with the punches
When his opponent was medically disqualified (infectious hepatitis B) just a day before their fight, a disappointed Evander Holyfield said ``You just have to roll with the punches. That's part of life.'' (June 1998.)

Sometimes originality of expression consists in choice of context.

Range Of Motion. See PROM or AROM.

Read-Only Memory. Memory that is recorded once, either in the field (BPROM, PROM) or at the factory (NMOS ROM).

Ring-Opening Metathesis. Cf. RCM.

Royal Ontario Museum. In Toronto. And don't miss the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art across the street.

Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology. I think this is just a name people use for what is really ROM.

German noun meaning `novel.'

Roman money
Currency that is rather latency.
1 Sestertius	= 10 Quadrantes
1 Aureus	= 10 Sestertii


1 Denarius	= 10 Asses
(after about 150 BCE: 16 asses)

related by

1 As		= 4 Quadrantes
Evidently, the system is designed, if that's the word, with the fundamental goal of making sure that the quadrans will be worth less than a half Ass.

In the King James version (KJV) Bible translation, denarius is translated `penny.' The abbreviation for pence was d in the old nondecimal system used in Britain well into the twentieth century

For more, see Roman Coins of the Early Empire.


An ancient people who built ruins and aqueducts. They were so smart, they all spoke Latin as children before they even went to school.

Remember, you can't spell romantic without antic.

The nickname of television commentator Roland Martin among his associates.

ROMantic COMedy. A type of television show or movie, not otherwise a kind of humor.

A town in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New York (two counties), Ohio (in four counties of this state; it's everywhere!; I'm going to have to sort this out), Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. That's only seventeen states.

Another Rome is remembered for throwing Christians to the lions.

ROsenkranz MEXican system. A contract bridge bidding system.

Ring-OPening Metathesis. Cf. RCM. Sure, it should be ROPM. I guess the chemists have found a dealphabetizing catalyst. Oops -- my bad! It's Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization!

Research Octane Number.

``I snore'' in Spanish. Cf. and contrast somno- and sono-luminescence.

See as well Ronco.

RON Popeil's COmpany, which used to market the world-historic fruits of his indefatigable genius in short TV ads, and now uses infomercials with trained studio audiences:

The Veg-O-Matic,

The Pocket Fisherman

(click to this site for enlightenment),

The Cap Snaffler,

Mr. Microphone,


The Inside-the-Shell Egg Scrambler.

Popeil was the 1993 Ig-Nobel laureate for Consumer Engineering. In 1995 he did an autobiography with the help of Jefferson Graham, the television columnist for USA Today and co-author of Life Is a Contact Sport (with Ken Kragen). The book is called The Salesman of the Century. He had an unhappy childhood.

I see minivans from Ronco C&E Inc. on campus all the time, and I keep wondering, why doesn't my phone have niftier features, like an automatic polygraph of my caller based on voice-tremble analysis, and a half-duplex 130 dB horn for direct-marketers?

Regional Occupation Program. ``Career preparation and skill training for adults, out-of-school youth, and high school students who are 16 years of age or older,'' explains South Country ROP (http://www.sccoe.org/depts/scrop/default.asp).

RISC-like OPeration.

Run Of Press. Referring to colors available for the general run of a press run, rather than the special, more expensive color available for almighty advertising copy.

`Clothing' in Spanish.

Ramp Operations and Provisioning Agents. A union representing Southwest Airlines employees. An independent until 1996, when the 3500-member union affiliated with TWU.

The Roper polling organization was founded in 1933 by Elmo Roper, one of the pioneers of ``scientific polling'' who made his name predicting FDR's landslide election victory in 1936. The organization has gone through some name changes. Elmo's son Burns W. ``Bud'' Roper, born in 1925, joined Elmo Roper and Associates after serving as a pilot WWII, and eventually became chairman of the board of the Roper Organization. When he retired in 1994, it had been Roper Starch for at least a year. When Bud died in January 2003, it was called RoperASW, and later in 2003 it became ``an NOP World company.''

Redouble with 0 (aces), Pass with 1. A contract bridge bidding convention known by its initialism, sort-of. A similar one is DOPI.

Ropits, ROPITS
RObot for Personal Intelligent Transport System. A Hitachi research or demonstration model. Essentially a covered, motorized, self-driving wheelchair with small wheels. It not only drives itself to your destination, it even makes an effort to stay upright along the way. There was a short illustrated article on the vehicle on the Popular Science website in March 2013.

The word ``system'' that supplies the final s in the acronym might serve a phonemic purpose. Japanese does not have a final t sound, so English words that end in t tend to have borrowed forms that end in ta, te, or (most commonly) to. However, a word can end in tsu, and the u will be essentially inaudible, so ROPITS (as ropitsu) is pronounceable in Japanese. (Moreover, for the use of ``Ropits'' in Japanese, the fact that the name ends in s poses no confusion or inconvenience in forming plurals, since Japanese doesn't use plural inflections.) Of course, none of the sounds of Japanese is quite the same as the corresponding ones in English. ROPITS, as pronounced by a Japanese speaker, would sound to an American like ``raw peats.''

(Notre Dame) ROmance Languages and Literatures Department (see ROLL), POrtuguese Program (strictly: ``Program in Portuguese & Brazilian Studies''). Notre Dame's Office of International Studies has programs in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Salvador da Bahia (also in Brazil).

Short for Roquefort cheese, traditionally made at Roquefort in southern France (in the Guienne), ripened in caves there. It's made from goat or ewe's milk (no, I don't know a word for nanny goat), so you're not surprised it's a ``strong cheese.'' It's got veins of bluish mold, and you're probably thinking -- yeah, we don't have nearly enough naturally blue foods!

There're some obviously relevant irrelevancies under La Rocca. I wrote it for you, so go and read.

Flowing with dew. An understandably rare word, given the surface energy density of water-solid interfaces. Certified worthless according to the archives of wwftd.

Roll On, Roll Off. As opposed to LO/LO (lift). Also, a cargo ship like a car ferry.

Radar Ocean Reconnaissance SATellite.

A projective test or situation in which ambiguous stimuli elicit revelatory interpretation. News is rorschach. Named after Hermann Rorschach, who developed a set of ten inkblots (five in color!). These are called the ``Rorschach Inkblot Test'' despite that there is no way to grade it. The test was developed in 1921.

Rorschach was Swiss. Projective personality tests like these are occasionally called ``psychoanalytic tests.'' However, when Freud (``the father of Psychoanalysis'') said that ``the Swiss will save us,'' he had in mind Jung. In any case, he eventually changed his mind. If he could have seen the future, he might have said ``the Americans will assimilate us.''

Regression on Order Statistics.

Remote Operations Service.

French slang for `Brit,' a corruption of ``roast beef.''

During widespread French strikes in Spring 2006, many flights were delayed. In one instance on March 3, passengers on a Jet2 flight were delayed in Chambéry in the Alps. (Jet2 is a Yorkshire-based budget airline; the flight was destined for the Leeds-Bradford airport.) It was reported that the British passengers chanted ``Rosbifs want to go home'' while they were prevented from boarding their plane.

The delay, as also the diversion of another flight, was caused by 50 students staging a sit-in on the runway to protest CPE (q.v.). There were police present, but they did nothing to prevent the action, and 100 passengers were prevented from boarding Jet2's 737. (As to the presence of police -- I don't know about France, but from personal experience I can tell you that in 1972 at the old Newark airport, you could rustle up 50 uniformed cops and 50 plainclothesmen in about five minutes.)

The passengers were eventually able to leave for their destination, Leeds-Bradford airport, and arrived 90 minutes late. You have to give the French a lot of credit: if this had happened in the US, the flight would have been delayed three days while TSA personnel checked the tarmac for explosives and nail clippers.

It's slightly unusual when strikers sit while those they inconvenience chant in protest, but that's not why this was in the news. It was in the news because of Philip Meeson, the CEO of Jet2. Meeson was angry at French labor action that had caused repeated delays and cancelations. The previous week, there had been a strike of traffic controllers in sympathy with the students. On his company's website, Meeson asked ``What exactly are you striking about? Or just in case you don't understand that, `pouvez-vous nous expliquer pourquoi exactement êtes-vous en grève?' '' Well one might ask, since government leaders had virtually conceded that they would have to withdraw the proposed rather minor reforms. The question may have been rhetorical, but it got an answer that was calm and mad. A spokesman for the CGT, which represents the controllers, explained: ``It is easy for them to ask some people to go back to work but if people in France do not agree with the government it is a very good reason to strike.''

This little exchange was not very newsworthy either, of course. The thing that made news was a cartoon that Meeson posted, showing a frog blocking a runway with a placard reading ``I am lazy.'' The word ``frog'' is a pejorative reference to Frenchmen. It's normally perceived as less complimentary than ``rosbif,'' in part, perhaps, because it is not a reference to cuisine.

Remote Operations Service Element.

R.O.C. Over-The-Counter Securities Exchange. Former official name of the TWO, which isn't its official name either, but that's the way to bet.

Resistivity Of Solvent Extraction.

Roses are red
A pretty fair approximation. But violets aren't blue. That's a stupid lyric.

The steed of Don Quixote.

(Notre Dame) ROmance Languages and Literatures Department (see ROLL), SPanish program. Formally but less precisely, it's the program in ``Iberian and Latin-American Studies.'' Notre Dame's Office of International Studies has programs in Spain, Mexico, and Chile.

The nickname of a brilliant star with the Bolshoi Ballet, known for his spinning moves. If only. It does have something to do with brilliant stars, however. Sualocin and Rotanev are Alpha and Beta Delphini, respectively -- the two brightest stars in Delphinus (`the Dolphin'). Spelled backwards, the names yield ``Nicolaus Venator,'' which is the Latinized form of Niccolò Cacciatore. Cacciatore worked at the Palermo Observatory starting in 1800, and helped to compile the second edition of the Palermo Star Catalogue, which came out in 1814. Naming two stars after himself was apparently one of the side benefits of this work. In 1817, he succeeded his former boss Giuseppe Piazzi as director of the observatory, and in 1826 he discovered the globular cluster NGC 6541. Considering that he discovered it on March 19, the popular (in Italy; not sure about Sicily) feast of Saint Joseph (San Giuseppe), he might have named it after his predecessor, but he didn't.

Sualocin and Rotanev have achieved recognition in our Backward Spelling Hall of Shame. It would be useful to add that Niccolò Cacciatore was the inspiration for Chicken Cacciatore, if it were true. Cacciatore, of course, has the same Latin roots as the English word catch.


For information about the well-known Latin cruxigram

                R O T A S
                O P E R A
                T E N E T
                A R E P O
                S A T O R

  • Walter O. Moeller: The Mithraic Origin and Meanings of the ROTAS-SATOR Square (Leiden: Brill, 1973).
  • John Ferguson: The Religions of the Roman Empire (Cornell U.P., 1970), p.168.
  • Edith Kovach in ``The Clearing House Column'' of Classical Outlook, issue of December/January 85-86.

A fundamental problem is the meaning of AREPO.

This has been discussed from time to time on the classics mailing list. We serve a condensation of that discussion.

There is no connection with SATOR.

Reserve Officers' Training Corps. [Pron. ``rot-see'' in some regions.]

Rolling On The Floor Laughing. Productive, as in ROTFLMAO, ROTFLMFO, ROTFLMGO, and ROTFLMHO.

Cf. German ILLAB.

Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off.

Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Face Off.

Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Guts Out.

Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Head Off.

Rolling On The Floor Laughing Your Ass Off. People are so selfish, they're always ``ROTFLMAO!'' Why only my ass? Am I supposed to turn the other cheek forever? What if I wear out the cheeks, huh? Then what? This could get ugly.

Return Of The Jedi. Star Wars Episode VI.

Return Of The King. Fifth and Sixth books of LOTR.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

Run Of The Mill. Ordinary, typical. Blah, who needs this entry?

Return Of The Native. Title of Thomas Hardy's 1878 novel. It's not an especially common acronym, but it sounds great.

Rights Of The Terminally Ill. The unicameral legislature of Australia's Northern Territory passed the ROTTI Act by a single-vote margin (13-12) in May 1995. (It was found to be legally unworkable, and amendments to repair the original bill were passed in February 1996, with effective date July 1 that year.) The controversial act ``confirm[ed] the right of a terminally ill person to request assistance from a medically qualified person to voluntarily terminate his or her life in a humane manner'' and provided legal protection for someone providing that assistance. The act was opposed by the Australian Medical Association, which participated in a legal challenge of ROTTI before the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory in June 1996. The decision, on July 24, 1996, went against the challenge (2-1). The next month, an effort to repeal ROTTI failed in the Legislative Assembly (14-11). When you're dealing with small-number statistics like this, I guess you're bound to have a lot of close votes. On the other hand, with a territorial population under 200,000, larger bodies might seem an extravagance.

On September 22, 1996, Bob Dent became the first of more than half a dozen people ultimately killed under ROTTI. Kevin Andrews, a member of Australia's House of Representatives, had already announced in August 1996 his intention to overturn ROTII by federal legislation. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly, and was passed by the Senate on March 24 of the following year, 38-34. It took effect on March 27, when the Governor-General, Sir William Deane, gave it royal assent.

We could easily include in this glossary a good compact summary of all the arguments for and against euthanasia, along with an evaluation of them which would meet with general approbation. Will we include this? Over my dead body! However, it is worth observing that argument over Kevin Andrews's bill was framed in terms of two issues. The straightforward one was, of course, the question of whether a right to choose to die exists (and where in law that is stated or somehow implied). The other issue was that of the territories' sovereignty. The situation is interesting. The Australian Constitution has language approximately equivalent to the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, that powers not explicitly granted the national government are reserved by the states. Under current interpretation in Australia, those powers include the right to legislate on (and legalize) euthanasia. Thus, for the Australian government to overturn a state euthanasia law would require a constitutional amendment. In contrast, the sovereignty granted the three territories is a matter of ordinary legislation. Hence, any act of a territorial legislature can be overturned by a simple act of the national legislature, effectively amending the terms of the acts establishing territorial self-government. The Andrews bill made euthanasia illegal in all three territories. In 1994 and 1995, the legislature of the Australian Capital Territory had considered and rejected bills legalizing euthanasia.

Remotely Operated Vehicle. Although the term seems general and might in principle apply to a drone such as a cruise missile, or to a land vehicle (UGV) like the Mars rovers, the acronym seems to occur exclusively in the submarine context. I haven't heard the term or seen a pronunciation gloss, but I'd be more than surprised if ROV isn't pronounced ``rove.'' Update: some people have been known to pronounce it as an initialism (``arr oh vee''), in a TV documentary, no less. I learned about this at second hand, so it's fair to say that I am more than just surprised -- I'm vicariously surprised.

There's a Wikipedia entry for ROV which, as of this writing (late 2006), implies that all ROV's are tethered vehicles. Mostly they are, but there have been untethered (``free-diving'') ROV's since at least 1984. The tether is an inconvenience, since it must be a bit longer than the maximum operating depth of the ROV. Tethers are prone to tangle and break, so that there has to be a tether management system. This often is a spool separate from the platform or mother ship, part of a garage or ``top hat'' that is immersed and isolates the ROV from surface waves.

If one is going to suffer the inconvenience of a tether, one might as well have its benefits. Hence, tethers are used not only for command, control, and sensor data communication (usually via fiber-optic cable), but also for electric power supply. Some shorter tethers include hydraulic power lines. There seems to be a lot of variety in the designs.

It is difficult to avoid a tether because variations in water temperature and salinity bend radio waves, making wireless communication usually difficult and sometimes impossible. Thus, the anticipated next step beyond the tethered ROV for deep-water use is not the untethered ROV but the AUV (for autonomous underwater vehicle). The AUV is a robot, so it avoids the need for a cable carrying real-time control information by not using real-time control information. Acoustic beacons are part of the mix of navigation tools expected to be used for AUV's, but apparently the data rate for acoustic communication is not considered high enough to permit their use for untethered ROV's.

Vehicles built only for sensing and observation have generally always been able to function at greater depths than those with work devices (i.e., manipulators or similar equipment). As of 2006, the greatest claimed operating depths for the latter are around 23,000 feet, and for observation-only devices the maximum seems to be 33,000 feet. The specs for rental vehicles are not as impressive. You've probably experienced something like this yourself.

ROV's were originally developed for the US Navy, which uses them for ordnance recovery from the ocean floor as well as mine-sweeping and other applications they prefer not to discuss. What one might call the killer application, however, is for off-shore oil exploration and production, including construction, maintenance, and repair of oil platforms and pipelines. For work below 3000 feet (~900m), the only alternatives are very, very long needlenose pliers or else a manned submarine. Hey, I didn't say ``practical alternatives.''

The oil industry began using ROV's starting in the mid-1970's. The collapse of the oil market in the early to mid-1980's almost destroyed the ROV industry. In 1994, an estimated 175 were in use world-wide. From information in scattered newspaper articles from 1983 to 1994, I gather that the prices of new low-end ROV's (submarine video cameras, basically) stayed around half a million dollars, while the high-end ROV's added capabilities and cost, increasing from a million to about 2.5 million dollars. In 1993 the daily rental of a small manned sub cost about $24k, while that for an ROV was $2k. Rental costs roughly tracked new-ROV prices: in 1994 daily rental of the largest ROV's cost 5-8 thousand dollars. The rental companies provide round-the-clock crews -- typically two teams of three people.

Technology currently limits off-shore oil drilling to be not too far off shore. That is, in water above the continental shelves. Thus, even though the deepest wells are over 30,000 feet deep, they are in water only a few thousand feet deep. Back in 1998 I heard on the radio that a well had been drilled in 5500 feet of water. I'm not sure if it was a ``dry'' well. The promising well announced by Chevron at the end of 2005 is over 37,000 feet deep, but it's in a mere 3500 feet of water. The Marco Polo platform (also in the Gulf of Mexico) operates in over 4300 feet of water.

Rest Of the World. Them. Youse guys. Dem.

Right-Of-Way. The land on which, railroads, roads, and related structures are built.

row decoder
Vide column decoder.

Recessed Oxide. Thick oxide recessed into silicon. Vide ROI.

Royal Car
ROYAL CARibbean [Cruise Lines].

Roy G. Biv
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Mnemonic for colors of the visible spectrum in order of decreasing deflection through a glass prism, or equivalently in order of decreasing wavelength. The division into colors, even the precise number of colors, is essentially arbitrary. This particular selection was offered by Isaac Newton, who like many others was influenced by the analogy of the color spectrum to the sound spectrum, and most people have a hard time crediting a consistent indigo/violet distinction. (The division of the octave into twelve semitones and the selection from these of eight notes is also, however useful, a conventional definition. Nonwestern cultures, and ancient western cultures, have used other scales. Even with a twelve-tone scheme, there is a difficulty arising from the fact that equal semitones yield standard chords between notes that are not rationally related, so various ad hoc schemes have been used to rationalize the scales.)

RO2, RO3
RISC Operating System 2, RISC OS 3, (for the Acorn).

Rapid Prototyping. The Alberta Research Council offers such a service, and their RP homepage has links to other RP pages.

The Department of Defense has an Information Analysis Center (IAC) for manufacturing technology (MTIAC) which keeps a Rapid Prototyping Directory and has a ``State of the Art Review.''

Received Pronunciation. And discarded.

RePurchase agreement.

Retinitis Pigmentosa. According to FFB, ``the name given to a group of inherited diseases that affect the retina. They are characterized by a gradual breakdown and degeneration of photoreceptor cells, which results in a progressive loss of vision. It is estimated that RP affects 100,000 individuals in the United States.''

Different kinds affect different photorecetors. The more common kinds affect the rods, leading to loss of night vision and to tunnel vision (loss of peripheral vision). In some kinds of RP, the cones are affected, so color vision is lost.

Postal code for Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz in German), one of the sixteen states (Länder) of the German Federal Republic (FRG). [Like most of the country information in this glossary, Germany's is at the domain code .de.]

The state's area is 19,847 sq. km. Its population was 3,631,000 by the census of 1987, estimated at 4,010,000 for 1997. The capital is Mainz. In Mainz, in 1450, Johannes Gutenberg invented a movable-type printing press.

Random Phase Approximation. An approximation in (quantum) many-body perturbation theories in which a certain infinite subclass of diagrams is summed. In computing an effective interaction, one sums over all possible numbers of ring diagrams. That is, one includes only the one-ring term in the proper polarization. The mathematics is essentially that of summing a geometric series (like computing the multiplier effect of the velocity of money on money supply). The name harks back to an early formalism [ftnt. 4], outside the context of which it is difficult to understand. Peierls has called it the ``Random Phrase Approximation'' [priv. comm. T. L. Reinecke].

Remotely Piloted Aircraft. Drone.

Remote PreAmp[lifier].

(UK) Renewable Power Association. Since 2002, they've held their annual conferences ``nested in'' the Sustainable Energy Expo.


Rendiconti della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia.

Reform Party of Canada. What became, essentially, the Canadian Alliance party (see CA).

Remote Procedure Call[s|ing].

Revolutions Per Day. Don't laugh, it's a useful unit. A geared synchronous motor at 24 RPD is a handy way to turn the minute hand.

Rassemblement du Peuple Français. This is usually translated `Rally of the People of France.' The translation of emotionally charged terms is difficult, strictly speaking impossible, but let's at least examine this. The standard translation uses the cognate of peuple, which is attractive -- perhaps deceptively so. Few would translate rassemblement by `re-assembly.' (Regarding translation of that first word, see RPR.) The English word people can be singular or plural, with obvious differences in meaning. A slightly sharper translation might be `Rally of the French People.' I suppose context makes the sense clear enough, but in French the special sense of peuple comes from the word itself: it is singular only, and implies some notion of community. I'd go with `Rally of the French Nation.'

However you translate it, it was the first Gaullist party, q.v.

Rwandan Patriotic Front. Tutsi-dominated exile army that invaded Rwanda from Uganda shortly after the crash of a plane carrying the Rwandan president triggered a government-led massacre of Tutsis and of Hutus who defended them, in the Spring of 1994.

RePort Generator. An antediluvian, uh, programming language.

Rocket-Propelled Grenade[s]. A handy (shoulder-mounted) tool for saving Afghanistan from huge menacing Buddha statues.

Rôle-Playing Game. I just (July 2003) had a chat with long-time salesmen at a local store that sells computer games and board games, and they confirm what I've heard from parents and read from developers: RPG's have lost a lot of ground to shooter games. Strategy games aren't holding their own either, but Napoleonic Wars-type games (strategy games diluted by dice-rolling and other aleatory inputs) still sell. Everything is high graphics.



Revue de Philologie. A French classics journal catalogued in TOCS-IN.

Ratings Percentage Index. A somewhat absurd statistic used by the NCAA to help pick at-large teams and determine seeds for the NCAA (basketball) Tournament.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In Troy, New York. (The R word is generally pronounced ``ren-suh-LEER.'') My friend Steve did his undergraduate degree at RPI. From someone else I learned that their introductory engineering thermodynamics course spends weeks on phase diagrams. That's righteous!

Retail Price[s] Index. Term(s) used by government statisticians in the UK (from the Office of National Statistics; see also this record, with standardized estimates back to 1915, from Wolfbane Cybernetic, Ltd.) and other countries.

Revenue Passenger Mile.

rpm, RPM
Revolution[s] Per Minute. Standard unit for expressing vinyl disc speeds, hence not especially useful any more.

Oh yeah, I forgot about cars. Tachometers are normally marked off in thousands of RPM. Of course, the appropriate SI unit for engine speed is hertz (Hz); 3000 RPM is 50 Hz. If cooks must be forced to use liters, no, better cubic decimeters, why shouldn't drivers have to use hertz for engine speed? And how can they get away with k.p.h. instead of m/s?!?! See cps.

Rounds (i.e., bullets) Per Minute.

Reverse Polish Notation. Arithmetic notation in which both operands of a binary operation precede operator. Well adapted to an operand stack. Implemented by most Hewlett-Packard pocket calculators.

(Downside) Risk Priority Number. Part of an FMEA.

Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario.

Regulated Peak-Power Tracking. Follows the sun by and in order to maximize power generated by a solar array.

Request for Price Quotation.

Rapid Plasma Reagin. A nontreponemal test for syphilis. FTA and VDRL.

Rassemblement pour la République. French political party whose name is usually translated `Rally for the Republic.' The word rassemblement is emotive, and no single English word corresponds very well to it. It is used to refer to a military regrouping -- reassembling forces for renewed military action. So `rally' is a fair translation if one understands it in the sense of ``rally the troops.'' (French also has the verb rallier, etymon of English rally, which generally means join or rejoin, and which can be substituted for rassembler in the military context. For a political instance of that word, see PPP.)

The first RPR was created by Charles de Gaulle in 1946, in response to the creation of the Fourth Republic. De Gaulle wanted a strong presidency, but French sentiment was against him at the time; the French took as a lesson from the Vichy regime that a strong presidency meant dictatorship. The original RPR faltered, going out of existence in 1955, while de Gaulle went into formal retirement and wrote his war memoirs. France is on what -- it's fifth republic now? Something happened around 1960.

Revolution[s] per second. A unit of circular frequency, corresponding 2pi/s angular frequency. One revolution per century is about 2 nHz angular frequency. Possibly not the most useful datum.

Roadway Package System. A parcel delivery company.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. The ``professional and regulatory body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. It also regulates pharmacy technicians on a voluntary basis, which is expected to become statutory under [long] anticipated [as of February 2009] legislation. The primary objectives of the Society are to lead, regulate, develop and represent the profession of pharmacy.''

Risser Patient Satisfaction Scale.

Real Property Tax.

Registered Physical Therapist.

Renormalized Perturbation Theory.



Remotely Piloted Vehicle.

Radio and Plasma Wave Science (instrument). On board NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

Reportable Quantity. A hazmat term.

Reliability and Quality Control. Oh, sure.


Relative Risk. Used in medical literature to stand for probability ratio; statistical results might be stated ``RR=1.31, 95% confidence interval 0.92--1.86.''

Rest and Relaxation.

Reverse Recovery (diode).

Rolls Royce.

Erwin Panofsky, in one of Three Essays on Style (1995), argued that the Rolls Royce radiator grille was the culmination and epitome of centuries of English architectural development. I forget the precise claim; the book was recalled. The essay was illustrated with a lot of Gothic-style churches, but no Rolls Royce grille. Panofsky also claimed that ``Winged Victory,'' the hood ornament, is a sculpture modeled on the original company owner's mistress. He cites The Magic of a Name, by Harold Nockolds (illustrations from paintings by Roy Nockolds -- boy, that whole family had it in for GM). I could only get my hands on the 1945 edition, which didn't say whom the Winged Victory is modeled on. However, here are some relevant comments from pp. 143-4 of that edition:

... the unique ``Silver Lady'' mascot plays a not unimportant part, for this beautiful little statuette was specially designed for Rolls Royce cars and is only obtainable, in the ordinary way, on a new car. It was in 1916, I believe, [actually, the work was finished on February 6, 1911, and some version of it has adorned all Rolls-Royce cars ever since that year] that the well-known sculptor, Charles Sykes, R.A., had his first experience of Rolls-Royce motoring in a ``Silver Ghost,'' and he was so moved [oh, felicitous expression!] by the effortless grace of the car's performance that he immediately returned to his studio and put his conception of it into concrete form. Claude Johnson saw it, and realised at once that here was the ideal mascot, especially if its use were confined exclusively to Rolls-Royce cars. It was a happy creation, for it has stood the test of time as easily as the square, dignified radiator which it adorns. ...

In addition to the names given above, the statuette is also known as ``Spirit of Ecstasy'' and ``The Flying Lady.'' This detailed webpage explains the origin of the mascot. (This page is less derivative, but has annoying graphics.) The first version was for the personal Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost of John Walter Edward-Scott-Montagu. It was modeled by Eleanor Velasco Thornton, Lord Montagu's secretary, and secret lover. In that version, called ``The Whisper,'' the woman holds a finger over her lips. The version John Scott commissioned for a general mascot was also modeled by Eleanor Thornton.

Regional Review Authority.

Registered Record Administrator. Accredited by AMRA, later AHIMA. The new improved name for this is RHIA (accredited by AHIMA or whoever).

{Resistive | Resistance-change} Random Access Memory. The acronym ReRAM is also used (less commonly). Some people make a semantic distinction between RRAM and ReRAM, but I'm fuzzy on the details yet.

ReRouting Banyam ATM.

Realistic Reporting Conditions. The RRC efficiency is a site-dependent estimate of the efficiency of photovoltaic cells, taking account of the variability of meteorological conditions.

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub. ... There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

(Quote order inverted for point.)

Residency Review Committee.

Relative Record Data Sets. Vide VSAM.

Row-by-Row Dynamic Source-line Voltage control.

Row-by-Row Dynamic Voltage (VDD) control.

Rapid Reaction Force.

Resonance Rayleigh Light Scattering.

rrnA, rrnB, ...
Ribosomal RNA operons A, B, C, ....

Reproduction Rights Organization. Generic term for an entity like the Copyright Clearance Center (www.copyright.com) in the US or the Copyright Licensing Agency (www.cla.co.uk) in the UK. (Actually, the latter is a Reproduction Rights Organisation, which would be ``RRO.'') See IFRRO for a more comprehensive list.

Maybe you were thinking of ``Reproductive Rights Organization,'' like NARAL. The RRO initialism is less common for that.

Reconfigurable Ring of Processors.

R. R. R. Smith
A scholar of ancient sculpture and portraiture (Greek and Roman, Hellenistic, and Byzantine, so far as his published work is concerned). See, for example, Hellenistic Sculpture: A Handbook (London: Thames and Hudson, 1991). Handily, some refer to him as ``triple R'' Smith.

Resonant Raman Scattering.

Radio Shack. The Rodney Dangerfield of electronics suppliers. Even my earlier entry for them disappeared somehow.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing here should be interpreted as an endorsement of Radio Shack products or sales practices, backhanded or otherwise.

News: Radio Shack is turning net fascist, trying to protect its bad name against the possibility that someone stupid enough to think it's a good name might confuse it with Bianca's Smut Shack. This from the perpetrators of the TRaSh 80. Next thing, Burger King will be intimidating anyone who wants to put ``Burger'' in their name.

Radius of Sphere of charge (I guess). A measure of electron density: rs is the radius, in units of the Bohr radius (a0), of a sphere whose volume is the inverse of the electron density.

Record Separator. We're not talking scratch-preventing paper sleeves here. RS was the function originally conceived for the ASCII (and EBCDIC) nonprinting character corresponding to an integer value of 0x1E (decimal 30). It was defined to be equivalent to ^^ (control-caret or control-circumflex; even control-up-arrow) just to confuse you, but confusing you isn't a very celebrated achievement, so you can't count on the control-character equivalent actually being defined.

Reed and Solomon. Class of error-correcting codes.

Response Surface. Abbreviation used in an article mentioned at the NN (neural net) entry. (Nah, we don't define it.)

Reye's Syndrome. A fatal disease of unknown cause, more common among children, that most severely affects the brain and liver: dysfunctional fat accumulates in the liver, and the brain swells, causing behavioral changes and intellectual deficits. Without treatment, death is common. With early treatment, effects have an excellent chance of being reversed.

Vomiting and more vomiting, disorientation, lethargy, sleepiness, irritability are characteristic symptoms.

More at the National Reye's Syndrome Foundation, Inc. RS is associated with viral diseases (like cold, flu, chicken pox), first manifesting during recovery from the viral disease, and sometimes earlier.

Rolling Stone.

Runs Scored. A hitting stat.

Rivest-Shamir-Adleman. The best known public key cryptosystem. Lots of stuff on the WWW about it, so why should I put a link here?


Rivista Storica dell'Antichita. An Italian `Journal of Ancient History' catalogued in TOCS-IN.

Recreational Software Advisory Council. ``We are an independent, non-profit organization that empowers the public, especially parents, to make informed decisions about electronic media by means of an open, objective content advisory system.''

Royal Saudi Arabia Defense Forces.

Residence Student Affairs Specialist[s].

Royal Scots Borderers. A prestigious battalion of seamstresses, to be formed, it was announced in March 2006, from the merger of the Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish Borderers. An unnamed senior officer quoted in a March 29 Scotsman article said it was ``very sexy.'' He was referring to the RSB's selection by the EU as a rapid reaction force, not official at that time, but said to be a done deal, to be announced that coming Summer (which it was).

Republican Study Committee. A group of conservative Republican members of the US House of Representatives. (``Conservative'' relative to their own party's mainstream.) Cf. DSG on National Security.


Rivista di Studi Classici (Turin: 1952-1979).

Royal Shakespeare Company. Here's a thumbnail sketch from the EB.

Royal Society of Chemistry. A UK organization that is now ``the leading organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences.''

Reverse Short-Channel Effect. This is effectively an edge effect associated with doping of source and drain, but that has the opposite of the expected sign: diffusion of the S and D implants causes Short-Channel Effect--a decrease in inversion field magnitude and a consequent decrease in threshold voltage. In RSCE, damage caused by the implantation process causes inhomogeneous diffusion of dopant in the channel, and increases the inversion field magnitude near S and D. As a result, for relatively long channels (~10 µm), the threshold voltage increases with decreasing gate length, as the damaged region forms a larger fraction of the channel length. Eventually, as gate length shrinks further, the short-channel effects dominate and the threshold voltage begins to decrease again.

Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia. `Journal of the History of the Church in Italy.'

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. A ``difficult and often frustrating problem which is poorly understood and lacks a precise objective definition. Briefly described... a painful condition which most often develops following trauma. The expected immediate physical response to a painful injury appears to be exaggerated and prolonged in patients with RSD. Local effects of the sympathetic nervous system (variably affecting circulation, bone density, sweating and soft tissue thickness) produce a variety of clinical presentations, which may range from subtle to grotesque.''

Relative Standard Deviation.

Root System Description Pointer. Points to the location of the corresponding table (RSDT).

Root System Description Table. An ACPI system description table.

Reflection Secondary-electron Emission.

Research Scientists and Engineers. Vide NSE.

Royal Society of Edinburgh.

``The RSE is made up of over 1200 Fellows elected by existing Fellows.''

Problematically recursive! This sounds like a job for lambda calculus.

Residual Soft-Error Rate (SER). The soft error rate (SER) that ``remains,'' in a manner of speaking, after a microelectronic device or chip has received a protective coating. [That is, after one has ``replaced'' the PSG, alumina, and ceramic packaging with polyimide (PI) or maybe RTV-silicone, which have lower levels of radioactive impurities. I escape the words remains and replaced with double quotes (vide scare quotes) to emphasize the fact that this replacement is not on a particular device, but rather that the fabrication process is modified so that subsequent devices have PI, say, instead of PSG against the chip surface. I hope I have insulted your intelligence.]

It is difficult to eliminate soft errors completely, because the metal contacts and the semiconductor itself have a trace concentration of radioactive impurities.

RSFQ logic
Rapid Single-Flux-Quantum Logic. Uses overdamped Josephson junctions. Not available in stores; as they say, silicon is a moving target.

Red SuperGiant (star). Betelgeuse and Antares are RSG's.

Radio Society of Great Britain (GB). ``The UK's National Society for Radio Amateurs.'' Patron: HRH Prince Philip.

Reform Synagogues of Great Britain. The larger and somewhat more conservative of the two Progressive Jewish movements in the UK. Both are affiliated with the WUPJ.

Remote SHell. Wassamatta? Cancha pull up a man page?

Cf. ssh.

Remote Sensing Instrument.

Repetitive Stress Injury. Paradigmatically: carpal tunnel syndrome.

What happens if you play computer solitaire too much.

Review of Scientific Instruments. This AIP journal is an entry under the LC number Q184 in the CyberStacks.

Royal Society of Literature. UK organization that has allowed membership to at least one loopy ``historian'' that I am aware of.

(UK) Research Support Libraries Programme.

Reciprocal-Space Map.

Religious Sisters of Mercy.

Response Surface Methodology. The response surface is the response regarded as a function of two or more variables.

Remote Simultaneous Medical Interpreting. (Simultaneous interpretion is understood here in the sense of language translation.)

A study in 2007 found that patients exposed to RSMI were significantly more likely to feel that doctors treated them with respect than were patients who received the usual sort of translation assistance. Perhaps this is because RSMI demonstrates a formal accommodation to a patient's needs. However, from what I've read, the usual assistance is often very ad hoc and unprofessional. The research is described in ``Patient Satisfaction with Different Interpreting Methods: A Randomized Controlled Trial,'' in Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 22, suppl. 2, pp. 312-318 (Nov. 2007), by Francesca Gany and six others.

Here's more detail, abstracted from the abstract:

1,276 English-, Spanish-, Mandarin-, and Cantonese-speaking patients attending the primary care clinic and emergency department of a large New York City municipal hospital were screened for enrollment in a randomized controlled trial. Language-discordant patients were randomized to RSMI or usual and customary (U&C) interpreting. Patients with language-concordant providers received usual care. Demographic and patient satisfaction questionnaires were administered to all participants.

541 patients were language-concordant with their providers and not randomized; 371 were randomized to RSMI, 167 of whom were exposed to RSMI; and 364 were randomized to U&C, 198 of whom were exposed to U&C. Patients randomized to RSMI were more likely than those with U&C to think doctors treated them with respect (RSMI 71%, U&C 64%, p < 0.05), but they did not differ in other measures of physician communication/care. In a linear regression analysis, exposure to RSMI was significantly associated with an increase in overall satisfaction with physician communication/care (beta 0.10, 95% CI 0.02-0.18, scale 0-1.0). Patients randomized to RSMI were more likely to think the interpreting method protected their privacy (RSMI 51%, U&C 38%, p < 0.05). Patients randomized to either arm of interpretation reported less comprehension and satisfaction than patients in language-concordant encounters.

``Real Soon Now.'' Not yet.

Radiological Society of North America, Inc.

Royal Saudi Naval Forces.

Regional Security Officer.

Rivista degli Studi Orientali. Italian, `Journal of Oriental Studies.'

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Based in Bedfordshire, UK.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

For Christmas 2001, the RSPCA was ``asking pet owners not to spoil their animals with fattening treats this Christmas -- but instead invest in a gift that will really improve their quality of life.''

``Every year pet owners hand over scraps, sweets and chocolate to their pets, thinking they are being kind. Around 30 per cent of pets in the UK are overweight -- they live shorter lives and may suffer from skin disease, heat intolerance, diabetes, arthritis, back and heart problems.''

At the local (here north of South Bend) Pet Supply, owners can bring their pets into the store. A couple of days before Christmas, some people were bringing in their pets, showing them various toys and treats, trying to figure out what they wanted. The SBF is asking pet owners not to spoil their animals' Christmas -- it's supposed to be a surprise, dammit! And don't wait until the last minute next year.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Fairies. I have my doubts about the authenticity of the royal charter, but the existence of cruelty to fairies is beyond dispute.

Hey! Who' you callin' ``fairy''?

Really Simple Syndication.

Received Signal Strength. See RSSI (with which you ``see'' RSS).

Remote Switching Sites.

Rockland Simpson Scale. For assessing tardive dyskinesia (TD).

Received Signal Strength Indicator. DC signal in IF amplification stage, a measure of RF signal strength at input.

Russian Space Science Internet project. Located at the Space Research Institute (``IKI.'' How inconsiderate not to use an English acronym!-)

Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition. RISTA is obviously the smarter acronym, and it has the vowel ammo necessary to get the job done.

[dive flag]

Recreational Scuba Training Council. (A European organization.)

Remote Switching Unit.

Revised Standard Version. Of the Bible. More precisely, it's a revision of the American Standard Version (1901; see SARV), itself a slight revision of the HBRV (1881, 1885), itself a significant update of the KJV (1611), which, except for three or four others, is the mother of all English translations of the Bible.

This RSV was first published in 1946 (New Testament) and 1952 (O.T.). A New RSV (i.e., a revised revised standard) was published in 1989: NRSV. There are over 3000 people waiting in purgatory now who could have been in heaven already if only the NRSV had been published earlier.

Répondez, s'il vous plaît [SVP]. (French, `Please reply.') Used for the phrase or sentence in letters of invitation, and also used as a noun for such letters. Don't wait until the last minute, okay? Catering costs by the head. (Or by the mouth. Very often the number of mouths equals the number of heads anyway.)

RSVP is the last track on Heart's album ``Bad Animals.'' It rhymes with ``I'll be waiting till you answer me.''

In January 2008 I was amused to receive the following en un courriel:

Bonjour ceci n'est qu'un envois unique.
Si vous ne désirez plus recevoir de email, faite un reply svp.

At least now I know the gender of le reply.

ReSerVation Protocol. A protocol supporting different QoS classes in bandwidth-hogging IP applications like multimedia and videoconferencing.

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. RSVP connects hundreds of people who are retired or senior (over 55) with a hundred agencies needing volunteers. I guess if you want to volunteer but you're under 56 and still working, then you're just out of luck.

A very standard serial interface standard, except there are so many subdesignations that it's not very standard at all.

Stands for RISC System/6000 (acronym and trivial expansion both IBM-trademarked), a workstation.

Rapid-Thermal. Productive adjectival abbreviation, as in RT Anneal (RTA) or RT Processing (RTP), as well as RT-LPMOCVD. (No, I'm not going to expand that one here, you're just going to have to follow the link. You think I've got all day to be writing these things out?)

Take care, however, because RT stands for room-temperature in some similar contexts. E.g., RTVF.

Rapid Transit. Productive affix, as in BART ([San Francisco] Bay Area Rapid Transit), DART, and RTA. Also used alone. Rapid transit refers to commuter-passenger mass-transit that is rapid compared to streetcars and buses that have to compete with general street traffic for use of the road. RT usually runs on rails, and within cities those rails are usually underground or elevated or some of both.

You can also run a rapid transit system on dedicated paved roads using rubber-tired vehicles, though in most cases it doesn't seem to cost out. In Ottawa there's a bus RT system that runs along a dedicated busway called the Transitway. In California somewhere I think bus RT has been done with light vehicles in a small system. In Curitiba, Brazil, an express bus system uses a buses-only middle lane, a sort of ultra-HOV flanked by general-traffic lanes. In Brazil!!?? How do they enforce this? This page describes the Curitiba mass-transit system in charming English.

Take care, however, because RT stands for room-temperature in some similar contexts. E.g., RTVF. For those of you who have just returned from looking at the RTVF entry and wonder what the similarity in contexts is, all I have to say is ``ya got me too.'' The first two sentences of this paragraph are identical with two sentences in the previous entry. Either this was intended as a joke that I am no longer subtle enough to get, or it was an editing mishap.

Rayleigh-Taylor (instability). Symmetry-breaking fluid motion arising from an inverted density distribution -- i.e., lighter fluid below a heavier fluid in a gravitational field. One way this can arise is in heating from below, as typical fluids have positive coefficients of thermal expansion (TCE's). The RT instability occurs for sufficiently large Rayleigh number (typically on the order of 1000 -- itself somewhat mysterious). No, I'm not going to write a formula for the Rayleigh number. Too many Greek letters. The Rayleigh number is a dimensionless number proportional to what you'd guess (acceleration of gravity, TCE, temperature gradient) and inversely proportional to what you'd guess as well (kinematic viscosity and thermal conductivity). There are also four powers of the characteristic length in the numerator, which you can think of as converting all those coefficients into forces to be compared. The instability issues in convection, and heat flow rate exhibits a discontinuity as one crosses from the conduction to the convection regime.

You can produce an RT instability with heating from above if you use salt water as your fluid: salt solubility and hence density increases with temperature.

Real Time. Computerese for while-U-wait. Informally, time spent in experiencing Real Life (RL).

Register-Transfer. See RTL (RT language).

Remote Terminal.

Resident Tutor.

Reverse Transcriptase. An enzyme used by retroviruses like HIV, which reverse the normal direction of transcription (DNA to RNA) and thus install instructions for the virus components into the host-cell nuclear DNA. RT inhibitors are an important class of drugs used in the treatment of AIDS.

Right (R) Tackle (T).

RISC Technology.

Room-Temperature. See comments at RT (rapid-thermal) entry.

Round Trip [ticket].

That's ``round'' in the topological rather than the geometric sense -- not a circle, but homeomorphic to a circle. Actually, it usually just means out and back.

Routing Type.

Rapid Thermal Anneal[ing].

Rapid Transit Authority.

Regional { Transportation | Transit } Authority.

Regional Trade Agreement.

Riverside Transit Authority. In Riverside, California.

Roads and Traffic Authority.

Road Traffic Accident[s]. As opposed, I suppose, to accidents that happen in non-road traffic. Either that, or road is inserted to meet a three-word minimum for initialism construction. The main utility of this TLA is that it creates confusion with other transportation-related RTA's.

Resonant Tunneling Bipolar junction Transistor (BJT).

Real Time Clock. Interesting concept already on sale. Cf. this.

The RTC on a laptop computer is the only thing that consumes power when the toy is in the mechanical off state. Often it has its own separate battery.

Within ACPI, an RTC may generate a wake event, but the soft off and mechanical off states are not sleep states; the OS should disable the RTC_EN bit prior to entering either of those two states.

Residential (medical) Treatment Center. An in-patient facility other than a hospital. The US government offers an official definition in 32 CFR 199.6.

Resolution Trust Corporation. A US-government-owned company set up to liquidate the assets or manage the bankruptcy of the large number of failed thrifts of the 1980's. It was created in 1989 by the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), and by mid-1995 it had ``resolved'' 747 thrifts, and its duties were transferred to the Savings Association Insurance Fund of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

``Thrifts'' are banks whose primary business is offering home mortgages and smaller personal loans. The money for these loans is backed by personal savings deposits. Thrifts typically have ``Savings and Loan'' or ``Savings Bank'' in their names, although the one in IAWL was called the ``Bailey Building and Loan.'' Or maybe that was an early credit union. We have a thrifts entry where we explain that credit unions are also a kind of thrift, although sometimes they are excluded for good or bad reasons. Often the exclusion is implicit. Here it's going to be explicit. Credit unions were not a big part, or perhaps not even any part at all, of the thrift crisis of the 1980's. They are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which seems to have run a tighter ship than the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC). For the rest of this entry, ``thrifts'' will be understood to mean only S&L's and savings banks.

I'm still working on this entry, but for now let me at least say that the FSLIC was by no means solely to blame for the crisis that the RTC was created to resolve. From 1934 to 1989, deposits in could be insured by FSLIC, but did not always have to be. In the US, banks -- like other businesses -- are generally chartered by a state. At the beginning of the 1980's, most states required thrifts to be insured by the FSLIC. The exceptions I can remember were, I think, Maryland and Ohio. In Ohio, some thrifts were insured by a private fund. I'll have to look into what the deal was in Maryland. Suffice it to say that things turned out very badly there, and that overnight the banks in those states were required to be insured by the FSLIC. (These things are done overnight or over the weekend, or else a bank holiday is declared, so that banks can resume business at the start of the next business day with as much appearance of normality as possible.)

FIRREA, the law that created the RTC, also dissolved the FSLIC and put the accounts previously insured by the FSLIC under the protection of the FDIC, which had previously only insured deposits at commercial banks.

Rich Text format (RTF), Compressed. From imagen.

Run Time Clock.


Regional Transportation District. Denver, CO.

Resistance Temperature Device. Like a Pt-RTD, which is basically thin platinum (Pt) film, whose measured resistance is a good linear measure of temperature.

Research and Technological Development.

Resonant Tunneling Diode. First proposed by L. (``Leo'') Esaki. [In a 1969 paper rejected for publication in PRL. See L. Esaki and R. Tsu, IBM J. Res. and Develop. 14, p. 61 (1970).] Not to be confused with Esaki Tunnel Diode, first recognized and explained by him. See also A. Goldberg, H. M. Shey, and J. C. Swartz, Amer. J. Phys. 35, 177 (1967).

Research, Technological Development, and Demonstration.

You know, you don't need a working model in order to get a patent. (For perpetual motion machines of various sorts, however, I believe the US PTO makes an exception to this rule.)

Raidió Teilifís Éireann, probably. It's basically Ireland's version of a BBC. It describes itself as ``a Public Service Broadcaster, a non-profit making organisation owned by the Irish people. RTÉ is Ireland's cross-media leader, providing comprehensive and cost-effective free-to-air television, radio and online services, which are of the highest quality and are impartial, in accordance with RTÉ's statutory obligations.'' It operates ``two complementary television channels, RTÉ One and RTÉ Two.'' Shouldn't the latter be, like, ``RTÉ 0xFF'' or something?

RTÉ also runs four radio stations (RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2fm, RTÉ lyric fm, and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta). They also say they publish Ireland's ``best-selling magazine'' (the RTÉ Guide), operate Ireland's ``leading teletext service'' (RTÉ Aertel), and provide news, current affairs, and entertainment information ``via Ireland's most popular media website, RTÉ.ie [actually <RTE.ie>; É is not a valid hostname character].'' I have no reason to doubt the best-selling claim (though it's a sad commentary, if you ask me), or any of the other media leadership claims. They date from at least 2008, and the page hadn't been updated as of early 2010. If you want to check, you'll need to find the relevant audit bureau of circulation (ABC).

You're probably wondering why I ever cared so much about RTÉ. The reason is that in 2008, when I was living in Clay Township in Saint Joseph County, Indiana, I considered moving to Ireland. That's when I first entered this entry, with all its extravagant detail. Back in the 1990's and into the 21st century, you know, Ireland experienced a major economic boom and was known as the ``Celtic Tiger.'' During the Great Recession it suffered commensurately. I moved to Granger Township instead.

RTÉ provides direct financial support to the arts, and is a continuing sponsor of five performing groups: the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir, and RTÉ Cór na nÓg.

``As Ireland's Public Service Broadcaster, RTÉ has been producing and curating broadcast materials for eight decades. The RTÉ Libraries and Archives collections consist of radio and television programmes, still images, production files, scripts, music scores and manuscripts.''

Remote Terminal Equipment.

Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances.

Read This First.

Rich Text Format. Specified by Microsoft.

Perhaps a good way to derail a good idea like interoperability is to get out in front and then stall.

Read The Manual! Instruction also given as a recommendation to consult with ``Artie Effum.'' Sometimes expanded ``Read The Fine Manual'' although this is incorrect.

Radioisotope { Thermoelectric | Thermal } Generator. (The expansion with thermal is less common by about a factor of six, to judge by newspaper articles. It's also called an ``isotopic generator.'') An RTG is like a nuclear reactor, in that heat generated by nuclear decay is converted into electric power. Unlike a nuclear reactor, an RTG uses decay that is not accelerated by controlled chain reaction, so power density is limited, but so is shielding weight. Also, nuclear reactors use mechanical engines -- coupled motor-generator sets -- to generate electric power. RTG's typically use thermoelectric cells.

The power source for space missions sunward from Mars is usually solar cells (with a little bit of battery back-up). At earth distance (1 a.u.) from the sun, solar cells have power densities in the range of 30-40 W/kg. By contrast, RTG's have power densities of only 10-20 W/kg. Mars orbits the sun at an average 1.52 a.u., Jupiter at 5.2 a.u. Since the light intensity falls off as the inverse square of the distance to the source, somewhere around the asteroid belt RTG's start to become more efficient than solar cells. (And of course, if you're going to be out far enough to need RTG's, you'll probably dispense with solar cells altogether.) RTG's are also an option for landers that may experience long nights.

Nuclear reactors have power densities exceeding 50 W/kg and have been used on unmanned space missions. They can't be used on manned spacecraft because they're too noisy.

The power density numbers above are from some old notes of mine, and it looks like they may be overoptimistic, or may refer to lighter, shorter-halflife radioisotopes than 238Pu, which is the settled choice of NASA. See the ARPS entry.


Real-time Tracking Gradiometer. A kind of magnetic goniometer, developed by Quantum Magnetics for the Coastal Systems Station (CSS).

Research Training Grant. Grant under a European Community initiative designed to support researchers who wish to undertake research in another EU member country. Application for a grant should be made to those Community programmes participating in the scheme. If I remember correctly, this grant is portable, but maybe I'm thinking of the wrong program. The program isn't open to citizens of New York, as far as I know.

Rubber-Tired Gantry Crane. A kind of enormous quay crane used to transfer TEU's between ship and shore.

Real-Time Gross Settlement. Expedited settlement of foreign currency transactions, introduced by central banks starting in the mid-1990's. Rapidly superseded by CLS starting in 2002.

Road Transport Informatics. European name for ITS. See SOCRATES.

Real-Time Intelligence in the Cockpit. I guess this is something different than the pilot.

Ray Trace Language.

Register-Transfer (RT) Level. A stage of chip design that is eventually followed by synthesis into logic design. The way things work, design is iterative, so one ends up returning to the ``RTL level'' (redundant and common expression). going back and forth a few times between physical and logical design, partly to fix bugs but largely to satisfy timing constraints.

To be perfectly honest, I have only the faintest idea what I'm writing about.

Resistor-Transistor Logic. Obsolete; gave rise to DTL, also now obsolete, which gave rise to TTL, which in various applications has been replaced by a variety of logic families--mostly CMOS in VLSI applications.

I explain a little more about RTL at the wired-AND entry. You want to resurrect it? Track down Analysis and Design of Integrated Circuits (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968), pp. 200-245, authored by ``Motorola staff.''

Right-To-Left. The direction in which Hebrew, Arabic, and a number of other scripts are traditionally written. The latest versions of Microsoft word-processing software have improved support for switching back and forth, but if you're using Windows installed with support primarily for a European language, then these patches for MS Word 97 may be useful.

Right To Life. Anti-abortion.

RunTime Library.

Rapid Thermal (RT) Low-Pressure (LP) Metal-Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD).

A loose piece of paper lying on my desk says A. Feingold, A. Katz: ``Rapid thermal low-pressure metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (RT-LPMOCVD) of semiconductor, dielectric and metal film onto InP and related materials'' Materials Science and Engineering, R13, No. 2, Oct. 1, 1994.

Return To Launch Site. Space shuttle abort plan; other options: AOA, ATO, and TAL.

Resin Transfer Molding. Molding made of fiber-reinforced resin-matrix composites.

Rapid Thermal Nitridization. Rapid Thermal Anneal (RTA) (to ~900 °C for Si-based materials, say) in a nitrogen-containing atmosphere, like ammonia.

Radio-Television News Directors Association. ``RTNDA is the world's largest professional organization exclusively serving the electronic news profession, consisting of more than 3,000 news directors, news associates, educators and students. Founded as a grassroots organization in 1946, the association is dedicated to setting standards for newsgathering and reporting.''

Radio-Television News Directors Association (of Canada).

Rapid Thermal Oxidation. Rapid Thermal Anneal (RTA) (to ~1000 °C for Si-based materials, say) in an oxygen-containing atmosphere.

Regenerative Thermal Oxidation.

Registered Training Organisation. A term with precise significance to ANTA.

Real-Time Operating System.

Rapid Thermal Processing.

Research Triangle Park, in North Carolina.

First IBM workstation.

Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).

Ribbon-To-Ribbon (growth).

Railway Technical Research Institute.

Request To Send.

Residual Time Stamp.

Real Time Streaming Protocol. Protocol that enables RTV and RA.

Round-Trip Time.

Range (std. dev., in practice) in Times To Failure (TTF).

RunTime-Type Information.

Remote Test Unit.

Real-Time Video. Like Real (-time) audio RA). Basic players are free from <real.com>. Server may stream in real time or just serve video that is real-time encoded, so the video can begin playback immediately, rather than waiting for completion of video file download. Evidently, real-time server duration is open-ended.

RTV, rtv
RiTonaVir. A drug used in the treatment of AIDS. Nowadays, most AIDS treatments involve drug cocktails, with two or three drugs taken at once (on a daily or b.i.d. or t.i.d. basis), and the coctail components being switched periodically. The cocktails are described in obvious notations like TDF/EFV/3TC. When RTV is included in the coctail, it is sometimes called a ``ritonavir booster.'' In these cases, RTV is sometimes written in lower case (ATV/rtv, LPV/rtv, etc.). I'm not sure what, if anything, determines whether the RTV is considered a ``booster'' or just part of the mix. If I were a physician, I suppose this ignorance might be embarrassing.

Room-Temperature Vulcaniz{ation|ed}. Silicone rubber can be vulcanized (have its polymer chains cross-linked for rigidity) at room temperature.

Room-Temperature Void-Formation.

Rebus for `Are You?'

RU, R.U.
Reino Unido. Spanish: `United Kingdom' (UK).

There's an interesting parallel between national nomenclatures in formerly British and Spanish parts of America on one hand, and Britain and Spain on the other. The earlier independización of the US made it a model for Latin America -- certainly not one that was or even could be followed slavishly, but a source of ideas. A number of countries formed themselves as federations of states, and the official names of many countries reflect that. Venezuela was once officially Estados Unidos Venezolanos, Mexico is still officially Estados Unidos Mexicanos, etc. Of course, these countries are conventionally almost always known by a proper proper noun. Estados Unidos (abbreviated EE.UU.) is understood, unless qualified by some national adjective, to refer to the US. (``American'' functions similarly in English.)

As it happens, the Spanish monarchy is also a united kingdom, and its official name, appearing in international treaties written in Spanish, is Reino Unido de España. [I'm not exactly sure yet when that name started to be used, but the most famous unification of crowns in Spain was the marriage of King Ferdinand of Aragon (Rey Fernando de Aragón) and Queen Isabela of Castile (Reina Isabela de Castilla).] Of course, just as in Latin America, the large Iberian country is generally referred to as Spain, and Reino Unido is understood by default to refer to the UK.

You know, Spanglish often arises when someone using English doesn't know the translation of a Spanish word. Sometimes, the English translation isn't known because it doesn't exist. I wrote the Spanish word independización above because a word with the meaning I preferred was not available in English. Independence (like independencia in Spanish) is a noun for the condition of being independent, just as dependence and malevolence name what exists when other entities are dependent or malevolent. There is a lot of philosophy about this that I don't want to get into, but the point is that -ence and -ance words tend to refer to the names of conditions, and one could want something else: words that refer to the process of achieving a condition. Nouns describing process are naturally constructed from verbs, just as nouns describing conditions are naturally constructed from adjectives.

For the process I wanted to name -- making independent -- Spanish has the verb independizar. This allows one to say that EE.UU. se independizó antes, which would typically be translated `the US became independent before' [or `earlier,' depending on context]. The fluent transformation is not equivalent, however, because it leaves open who created the independence. (I mean, in principle it could have happened that Inglaterra independizó sus colonias, that England let them go or sent them off.) Conveying the distinction in English requires a translation that is slightly more awkward (`made itself independent') or is somewhat unidiomatic (`freed itself' or `emancipated itself').

I should probably have mentioned Saussure in there somewhere.

(Domain name code for) RUssian Federation. There's an English -> Russian translator. Here's a page of national homepage links from ESATT.

In 1842, Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol published the first book of Dead Souls: A Poem. It wasn't in verse but prose; it was, as he called it in a letter to Pushkin as he was starting the project, a novel. He called it a poem (poema) only to suggest its ambition or scope. (The German word Dichter, meaning `poet,' is also used more expansively as a complimentary title for a writer in any genre. It works somewhat like the word artist in English, which can mean any painter or a more accomplished sort of imaginative creator in any other medium.)

The story of Dead Souls was not a new one: an unscrupulous man tries to take advantage of a well-known aspect of the law regarding ``souls,'' which is to say adult male serfs. ``Souls'' were taxable property, and landowners had to pay a tax on the number they owned. Just like property taxes in the US, this tax on souls was based on the most recent property assessment -- a census of souls, supposed to be taken every decade. One may, of course, interpret the term ``dead soul'' in a different, ``impious'' manner. That was how one of the first censors understood it, shouting about the immortality of the soul. Gogol was eventually able to pubish by gaining the approval of a different set of censors, and the first censor's complaints appeared in the sequel, issuing from the mouth of a callow clerk.

Now it is clear that dead souls continue to be taxed until the next census, and Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, protagonist of the story, takes advantage. He buys this worthless property at a steep discount, to be used as collateral in a scheme. The scheme is discovered, and as the first book ends, Chichikov is riding his troika in a wild flight from justice.

Despite the dangers, and the collapse of his plans, he is happy now, for what Russian does not enjoy hurtling at high speed, thundering the bridges, making the road a cloud of dust? And the road runs almost imperceptibly downhill. The author observes a more fearsome troika, moving in unearthly violence -- Russia herself, horses lashed by God, rushes past the stunned onlooking nations, going no-one knows where.

Gogol did not say that he feared the wild ride of Russia. He was not alone expressing the barely supressed savagery of Russia. However he viewed it, one must own that a major stream of Russian political thought and feeling has always been a fear of uncorking Russia's strong bottled spirit. Gogol struggled for the rest of his life to complete the promised trilogy. He hinted that in the end Chichikov might somehow redeem himself. But ill-health and the enormity of the task, or his own high standards, discouraged him repeatedly. In 1845 he burned his current manuscripts for the second book and turned mostly to nonfiction. He returned to the work in 1848, but in February 1852, he again burned the manuscript, and starved himself, over ten days, to death. (I hope I don't slip on my own purple patch in conceding, anticlimactically, that two fragmentary, incomplete manuscripts of the second book did survive.)

The End of the Russian Empire is the title and subject of a book by Michael T. Florinsky, first published in 1931 (© Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and still used as a college course reading into the 1970's, that I know of. (I've also seen the first chapter or some condensation sold as a booklet.) At the beginning of ch. 1, Florinsky noted that the bad of the Russian Empire (and there was plenty bad) got much more attention than heartening but ``less spectacular'' progress in education, health, and economy. He judged that the foreign perception of Russia was unbalanced, and sought explanations.

... The Russians themselves greatly contributed to these one-sided impressions as to conditions in their country, which became firmly established outside the frontiers of the Empire. With that disarming capacity for self-criticism which has so often surprised the foreign observer, they missed no opportunity to emphasize the grave and numerous faults of the Imperial régime, and little if anything was ever said of the more favorable aspects of the situation. We are speaking here not of professional revolutionaries, but of liberal-minded representatives of the middle classes who used to be frequent visitors to the capitals and health resorts of Europe. The newly-born patriotism of this group, which constitutes the bulk of the ``White'' emigration of recent years, does not belie this statement. It is a patriotism which may be traced to the same roots: a refusal to accept the existing order coupled with a sincere, if belated, regret for a past which, with all its imperfections, had a place for them now entirely denied them by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Rutgers University. The State University of New Jersey. (Historical information at the King's entry.)

"Rutgers has an identity crisis," says Fred Stengel, who coaches Bergen Catholic High in Oradell, N.J. "They want to have an Ivy League mentality when it comes to academics, but a Big Ten approach to football. Historically, they have problems not only recruiting good athletes, but keeping them in school."

Reported by Kelley King for Sports Illustrated
Tuesday November 21, 2000 3:23 PM

But this implies that.... Whoa! The scales are falling from my eyes!

Ruthenium chemical symbol. Ruthenium, with atomic number 44, is named after Russia. It was definitively discovered and isolated, and six grams of it were produced, in 1844 (there's a mnemomic) by Karl Klaus. He was a subject of the Russian Empire and born in that empire, and he made the discovery at the university in Kazan (in Russia), so it was natural that he would name it for Russia. Ruthenia was the medieval Latin name for Russia. Heck, it still is, everywhere that medieval Latin is spoken. Of course, Claus (the surname, at least, is spelled more than one way in Roman characters) was a Baltic German born in Estonia, so he could have called it a bunch of things.

Ruthenium is one of the platinum-group metals. They hang out together (really: ruthenium, at least, is found with platinum ores) and buck each other up (platinum and palladium are hardened by alloying with ruthenium) to razz the noble metals. You know they're jealous.

Learn a bit more about the chemical properties of ruthenium at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool. The Ruthenium page of Wikipedia also has a bit on the nuclear properties.

The natural substance called rubber got its name from its use for erasing pencil marks. It was originally used, as it still is in the UK, for what in the US is now called an eraser, or more pedantically a pencil eraser or rubber eraser. The use of rubber for the material is a transference, but obviously not a very distant one.

Rubber (or a rubber) was also called ``[a] lead eater,'' but it also worked on chalk and was used -- how effectively, I don't know -- on pastel. The same word rubber had long been used for various other things that one scrapes, scrubs, rubs, or brushes with, and for people who took rubbings, etc. That was still the case in the 1880's or earlier, when rubber first took its currently common acceptions. Hence, only the longer term ``India rubber'' was originally distinctive.

The India referred to might be the East or West Indies, or South America or Africa. Any place tropical. There are in fact a number of tropical trees whose saps are valued for their elasticity.

rubber bridge
Is that safe?

Rubber bridge is the form of contract bridge that is normally played in informal and friendly-competitive settings. It is also sometimes played in clubs for money. Rubber bridge can be played by as few as four people. A rubber is the best of three games.

Bridge is such a heavily organized game that I am hesitant to say that this informal sort (rubber bridge) is the most common form. The standard in tournament and match play is duplicate bridge, whose various forms require at least eight players.

rubbing sticks together to start a fire
Works best if one of the sticks is a match.

In ancient times (i.e., when I was a boy scout), the bow method was the standard way of starting a fire "by rubbing two sticks together." We'd notch a lath to hold the bottom of a rod and press down on the top of the rod with a ceramic or glass cup (i.e., something smooth, concave, and insulating). The string of the bow was wrapped once around the rod (i.e., place rod between bow and string, turn bow 180 degrees so string wraps around rod). Brace the lath with your foot, saw the bow like crazy, and eventually you catch a little ember in some horsehair you placed around the notch; blow gently into flame. (Actually, we didn't have horse hair or even cedar bark; we used locks of head hair from one of the D twins, Mark or Bruce. Blond hair is thinner and therefore preferable.) Cowhide made a good bowstring. I've seen this done by hand (i.e., no bow) but it seemed much harder that way.

The main thing we learned from starting fires by rubbing sticks was to wrap our matches in plastic.

I asked my father how it was done when he was a Boy Scout in Chile (early 1930's, say), and it was the same, though he claimed they wrapped the bowstring twice around the rod.

Baden-Powell presumably learned this method from the San (Bushmen) when he was in southern Africa -- their method is identical. These days, of course, the preferred San method of starting a fire is with a cigarette lighter, except when performing for tourists.

The Boer War began in 1899, and a number of books on it appeared in the centenary year. Baden-Powell came in for a lot of extremely harsh criticism for his handling of the siege of Mafeking and his treatment of the 'natives'. He apparently let them starve to death at the siege, while keeping all the food for the whites. (The last two paragraphs are cribbed from a classics-list posting by Mark Snegg.)

First Class. From the fact that Rubens never painted a woman who could have sat comfortably in Coach Class.

Not to be confused with Reubenesque, which means `fat,' possibly from having eaten too many Reuben sandwiches.

Both of these terms are overworked. How about let's start using embonpoint.

Rutheniumbipyridyl-(based photovoltaic system). Metal-organic photovoltaic (PV) systems -- bis-2,2'Bipyridyl-bis-thiocyanato complexes of Ruthenium(II) bonded to colloidal TiO2 in water. Vide B. O'Regan, and M. Grätzel, Nature, 353 (1991).

Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Pronounced ``Rubik.'' The core of the old Soviet empire.

Vide sapphire.

Royal Ulster Constabulary. Formed in April 1922 when, following the partition of Ireland, the Royal Irish Constabulary was disbanded. One third of the new force was supposed to be made up of Catholics, but this decidedly did not occur. Women first joined the force in 1943.

An extra unit officially called the Ulster Special Constabulary was also formed. This group, informally ``the B specials,'' eventually came to be regarded as a private Protestant army complementary to the IRA.

Early on during the Troubles, in 1969, the RUC was disarmed and the B specials disbanded, with military duties transferred to a newly created Ulster Defence Regiment. In 1971, the RUC was rearmed.

Short for Rudolf or Rudolph.

Santa Claus had a flying reindeer named Rudolph, and the other reindeer used to call him names, not very nice names. ``Rudy'' was not one of the names. This is not a nice entry, and sensitive people shouldn't read it. Just to make sure you don't read it by accident, I'm going to leave it unfinished for a while. Don't come back and read the rest of the entry unless you can take mature content.


Then, when reindeer got old, they would go away. Santa said they had been relocated overnight to a better place, like Florida or Cancún, but Rudolph had been over Cancún, and he never smelled any reindeer there. There were whispered stories...

Revolutionary United Front. A Sierra Leonean rebel group sponsored by Charles Taylor, one-type Liberian president. RUF slaughtered, maimed, raped, and enslaved tens of thousands of civilians in Sierra Leone during a 1991-2001 civil war that was considered one of the most brutal in modern history. And that's ... no, I think I'll skip the pun. Let's just say that the competition for recognition as ``one of the most brutal'' is stiff. Plenty of contestants.

Regroupement des universités de la francophonie hors-Québec. `Regrouping of Franch-o-phone universities outside Quebec.'

Universiteit Gent. In English, that's Ghent University.) Presumably it was originally founded as a Rijksuniversiteit or something.

rug rat

Ruins and aqueducts were the two principal forms of public monument built by the Romans, but the ruins took a long time to mature. UB has mastered the construction of instant ruins. Using plans created by I. M. Pei, the Ellicott complex on the north campus (Amherst Campus) has been ruins from the day the bulldozers roared off into the sunset. Hard to find your way around in there, too. They were initially used primarily as dorms (they also had some classroom facilities, and amenities like a cafeteria, game room, and store). Gradually, more administrative offices were moved there. In the late 90's, a bunch of new dorms were erected around the south side of Amherst Campus, which really spoils the view as you approach by the main entrance. Various academic departments had their offices moved into Ellicott. The more I think about the lay-out of that campus, the more I appreciate cities.

The locus classicus for the observation that ``the Romans built ruins'' is probably 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, by W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman. (Seventy years after the original publication, it now sports genuine contemporary illustrations and an introduction by Frank Muir). (If you don't know a hundred pages' worth of English history, you may miss some of the jokes.) But maybe it was The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody, by Will Cuppy. (Drawings by William Steig.) Hmmm. Just checked 1066 and it wasn't there. Get both anyway.

{Rest|Remainder} of the United Kingdom. An acronym coined in the context of Scotland's proposed independence from the United Kingdom.

Right UniLateral. One option for electrode placement in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Rule 68
RULE 68 of the (US) Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act.

Chicken liver and water chestnuts in a bacon slice. It's Scrabble cuisine; you don't have to be able to eat it, you just have to be able to spell it.

rummage sale
A sale with tables of stuff that customers can rummage around in. Rummage sales are the best way to decide which church to join. Cf. garbage sale, yard sale.

Long ago my dad told me about a successful innovation he had introduced in some of his company's stores in Argentina: tables of merchandise that, in contrast with stuff in the rest of the store, was disorganized. This was in the 1950's, so it may have been an innovation. If I recall correctly, the merchandise on those tables was not in fact ``marked down.''

[Football icon]

running back
A running back (RB) in American and Canadian football is a ball carrier who lines up in the backfield. He may rush or block, and he is an eligible receiver (Running backs typically participate in short-yardage plays.)

Running backs traditionally are either fullbacks (FB's) or halfbacks (HB's). Way back in the day, there were typically two halfbacks (who lined up behind and to either side of the quarterback (QB), and a fullback who lined up behind them. More recently but still a long time ago (say around 1970), there was typically only one halfback. Nowadays, the halfback and fullback line up at about the same depth, with the halfback behind the QB and the fullback off to the side, as deep or almost as deep as the halfback. Hence, halfbacks are now also called tailbacks. The fullback position has become less common, and fullbacks (in the formations that have them) typically function primarily as blocking backs. Thus, the term ``running back'' (also abbreviated RB) is now widely used in a narrow sense as equivalent to a tailback. Some offensive formations today don't have a fullback or a tailback. Someone who can play either position (FB or RB) is called an all-purpose back (APB).

Rational Unified Process. This is actually an IT business fad.

Revised Uniform Partnership Act.

R. U. R.
Rossum's Universal Robots. A play by Karel Capek which introduced his neologism robot, from a Czech (.cz) word robota, meaning `drudgery,' or by back-formation from robotnik `serf.'

Reference and User Services Association. A division within the ALA, previously known as the Reference and Adult Services Division. It's object is ``stimulating and supporting in every type of library the delivery of reference/information services to all groups, regardless of age, and general library services and materials to adults.''

What I want to know is, what exactly is the object of using the virgule in written English, that is not already served by an alphabetic conjunction like and or or?

Spanish, `Russian [female].'

Rush Hour of the Gods
Beginning in the last decades of the Tokugawa shogunate, and accelerating in the last century, Japan has seen the creation of many hundreds of new cults, sects, or religions, with hundreds of thousands of clergy. (If the population of Japan exceeds one third the population of the US, or if Japan still has the world's second-largest economy, then ``last century'' is probably the twentieth.)

Let me know, if you do, who created this felicitous term to describe the phenomenon.

Sympathy, compassion, ruthlessnesslessness.

Doesn't sound like a state one would want to experience in polite company. Doesn't sound like a noun. Titanium dioxide (TiO2). AKA octahedrite.

means `Are you over eighteen?' In other words, `Are you no longer jailbait?' Cf. advThanksance.

RU486, RU-486
The abortifacient drug mifepristone, developed by Roussel-Uclaf, a French subsidiary of Hoechst. Evidently a part of pop culture. Nevertheless, for years rape victims have received immediate double doses of contraceptives: the hormone storm is also an effective, if often unpleasant, abortifacient.

In places where all that is illegal, one could probably buy enteric-coated ginger tablets. This is probably a pretty obscure reference. See the NARAL entry for clarification.

Random Variable.

Recreational Vehicle.

This year I had to get reading glasses. Next year I turn forty. At this rate, I'll be shopping for a Winnebago the year after.

Gawd! This entry is getting old!

Reentry Vehicle. A part of a ballistic missile; it carries an ordnance payload and reenters the atmosphere. Cf. MIRV.

Registered Voter. Political polling abbreviation.

Residual Volume. The minimum volume of air in the lungs.

Regional Volleyball Association. A subsidiary member organization of the USAV, which is the national governing body for volleyball in the US. I think you're still allowed to play volleyball in the US even if you don't acknowledge the suzerainity and authority of the USAV.

River Volta Authority. A Ghanaian institution that runs the River Volta Project (hydroelectric dam and stuff). See Volta.

{Right|Read} VALUE. A computer-programming term apparently first used in the description of BCPL, evidently originating as a contraction of the term RH value in CPL (the language that BCPL was pared-down version of). The term rvalue has continued to be used in BCPL descendants, which happen to include C and its various extensions. Originally, the r in rvalue was expandable specifically as right, but I have seen the read expansion in at least one programmer's manual (for C#).

Most of what there is to say about rvalue is either parallel to or closely related to what there is to say about lvalue, and if you have any peripheral vision at all (the screen is a peripheral, after all), you can see that this entry is about to end soon, so you can guess where to go.

Representative Volume Element.

Right Visual Field.

The Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind. ``Victorian'' doesn't refer to Queen Victoria; it refers to the Australian state of Victoria (which was named in honor of Queen Victoria). In 2004 RVIB merged with RBS and VAF.

Rotation-Vibration Model. This overview page of nucleus models has a link to an extended technical description (dvi).

German: Reichsversicherungsordnung.

Runway Visual Range.

Ramped-Voltage Stress.

Relative Value Unit.


Robertson-Walker. A class of space-time metrics.

(Domain name code for) RWanda. (Republika yś Rwanda.)

Romance Writers of America. Rubbish Wringers of America. Often described as a ``national organization.'' ``National'' here means that all chapters are located within one nation, but not necessarily all in the same one nation, and not necessarily in the same continent.

In ``Jailhouse Rock,'' the whole rhythm section was the purple gang, not the purple prose gang.

Oh, here's something amusing: Jennifer Crusie explains why the contempt for romance fiction is hypocritical and unfair. Writing romances qualifies Jennifer Smith, Jennifer Crusie Smith, or Jennifer Crusie, as a fiction writer. But writing about writing romances makes her a renaissance woman -- a fiction and nonfiction writer, see?

Rear-Wheel Drive. Until about 1960, this was standard. Where do you think the term ``humping'' came from?

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Ridge WaveGuide.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. ``Making grants to improve the health & health care of all Americans.''

Read-Write Memory. Usually called by the in-principle more ambiguous term RAM.

RWO Consulting, Inc.
Robert W(illiam) Orlando is the president and CEO of this ``project management firm specializing in the management and oversight of small- to medium-size software development projects.''

Rada Wzajemnej Pomocy Gospodaczej. Polish for `Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.'

Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Required Weekly Test. An element of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).


(Medical) Prescription. From Latin recipe, imperative form of recipere, `to receive, take.' Developed from practice of extending tail of R and crossing it. [Similar practice in French led many final esses to become exes.]

Following this pattern, other abbreviations were developed: DX (diagnosis), Fx (fracture), Hx ([patient] history), SX (symptoms), TX (treatment).

See irony in next entry.

Library of Congress (LC) card catalog prefix for homeopathy.

Receive[r]. Especially common abbreviation in electronics.

Receive Data.

Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer.

RYdberg. Energy unit equal to the binding energy of a Coulombic potential. 13.6 eV for the free hydrogen atom. One-half the rest energy of the electron times the square of the fine structure constant alpha.

Rechenzentr{ um | en}. German, `Computing Center[s].' (search form.)

Return-to-Zero. Digital encoding in which the signal for a one (typically) is a complete pulse: voltage rising above a threshold and then falling back to zero counts as a single ``1.'' In NRZ encoding, the one would be transmitted on the rise, and a sequence of ones would be coded as an extended interval at high voltage.

A robot in the form of a right circular cylinder with a hemispherical endcap. Already it is clear that there will be fashions in the design of robots.

[ Top ]

[ A ][ B ][ C ][ D ][ E ][ F ][ G ][ H ][ I ][ J ][ K ][ L ][ M ][ N ][ O ][ P ][ Q ][ R ][ S ][ T ][ Þ (``thorn'') ][ U ][ V ][ W ][ X ][ Y ][ Z ][ Numbers ]

[ Thumb tabs and search tool] [ SBF Homepage ]

Oops! Overshot the pointers.

Space above was intentionally left free of glossary definitions so that links to bottom of document can appear at the top of the screen display.

© Alfred M. Kriman 1995-2015 (c)